The Book of
The Thousand Nights and a Night

كتاب ألف ليلة وليلة

A Plain and Literal Translation of the Arabian Nights Entertainments


Translated and Annotated by
Richard F. Burton

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Last updated Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at 12:55.

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Table of Contents

Editor’s Note to this Web Edition

Dedications to the Original Ten Volumes

The Translator’s Foreword.

The Book of The Thousand Nights and a Night

  1. The Story Of King Shahryar and His Brother
  2. Tale of the Trader and the Jinni.
    1. The First Shaykh’s Story.
    2. The Second Shaykh’s Story.
    3. The Third Shaykh’s Story.
  3. The Fisherman and the Jinni.
    1. The Tale of the Wazir and the Sage Duban.
      1. King Sindibad and his Falcon.
      2. The Tale of the Husband and the Parrot.
      3. The Tale of the Prince and the Ogress.
    2. The Tale of the Ensorcelled Prince.
  4. The Porter and the Three Ladies of Baghdad.
  5. The Tale of the Three Apples
  6. Tale of Nur Al-Din and his Son.
  7. The Hunchback’s Tale.
  8. Nur Al–Din Ali and the Damsel Anis Al–Jalis
  9. Tale of Ghanim bin Ayyub, the Distraught, the Thrall o’ Love.
  10. Tale of King Omar Bin Al–Nu’uman and his sons Sharrkan and Zau Al–Makan, and what befel them of things seld-seen and Peregrine.
  11. The Birds and Beasts and The Carpenter
  12. The Hermits.
  13. Tale of the Water Fowl and The Tortoise.
  14. Tale of the Wolf and the Fox.
  15. Tale of the Mouse and the Ichneumon
  16. The Cat and the Crow
  17. The Fox and the Crow
  18. The Hedgehog and the Wood-Pigeons
  19. The Thief and his Monkey
  20. The Sparrow and the Peacock
  21. Tale of Ali Bin Bakkar and of Shams Al-Nahar.
  22. Tale of Kamar Al Zaman
  23. Ala Al-Din Abu Al-Shamat.
  24. Hatim of the Tribe of Tayy.
  25. Tale of Ma’an the Son of Zaidah.
  26. Ma’an Son of Zaidah and the Badawi.
  27. The City of Labtayt.
  28. The Caliph Hisham and the Arab Youth.
  29. Ibrahim Bin Al-Mahdi and The Barber-Surgeon.
  30. The City of Many Columned Iram and Abdullah Son of Abi Kilabah.
  31. Isaac of Mosul.
  32. The Sweep and the Noble Lady.
  33. The Mock Caliph.
  34. Ali the Persian.
  35. Tale of Harun Al-Rashid and the Slave-Girl and the Imam Abu Yusuf.
  36. Tale of the Lover Who Feigned Himself A Thief.
  37. Ja’afar the Barmecide and the Bean Seller.
  38. Abu Mohammed Hight Lazybones.
  39. Generous Dealing of Yahya Bin Khalid the Barmecide with Mansur.
  40. Generous Dealing of Yahya Son of KhÁLid with A Man Who Forged A Letter in His Name.
  41. Caliph Al-Maamun and the Strange Scholar.
  42. Ali Shar and Zumurrud.
  43. The Loves of Jubayr Bin Umayr and the Lady Budur.
  44. The Man of Ai-Yaman and his Six Slave-Girls.
  45. Harun Al-Rashid and the Damsel and Abu Nowas.
  46. The Man Who Stole the Dish of Gold Wherein the Dog Ate.
  47. The Sharper of Alexandria and the Chief of Police.
  48. Al-Malik Al-Nasir and the Three Chiefs of Police.
  49. The Thief and the Shroff.
  50. The Chief of the Kus Police and the Sharper.
  51. Ibrahim Bin Al-Mahdi and The Merchant’s Sister.
  52. The Woman Whose Hands Were Cut Off for Giving Alms to the Poor.
  53. The Devout Israelite.
  54. Abu Hassan Al-Ziyadi and The Khorasan.
  55. The Poor Man and his Friend in Need.
  56. The Ruined Man Who Became Rich Again Through A Dream.
  57. Caliph Al-Mutawakkil and his Concubine Mahbubah.
  58. Wardan the Butcher; his Adventure with the Lady and the Bear.
  59. The King’s Daughter and the Ape.
  60. The Ebony Horse.
  61. Uns Al-Wujud and the Wazir’s Daughter Al-Ward Fi’l-Akmam or Rose-IN-Hood.
  62. Abu Nowas with the Three Boys and the Caliph Harun Al-Rashid
  63. Abdallah Bin Ma’amar with the Man of Bassorah and his Slave-Girl.
  64. The Lovers of the Banu Ozrah
  65. Wazir of Al-Yaman and his Young Brother
  66. The Loves of the Boy and Girl at School
  67. Al-Mutalammis and his Wife Umaymah
  68. The Caliph Harum Al-Rashid and Queen Zubaydah in the Bath
  69. Harun Al-Rashid and the Three Poets
  70. Mus’ab Bin Al-Zubayr and Ayishah his Wife
  71. Abu Al-Aswad and his Slave-Girl
  72. Harun Al-Rashid and the Two Slave-Girls
  73. The Caliph Harun Al-Rashid and the Three Slave-Girls
  74. The Miller and his Wife
  75. The Simpleton and the Sharper
  76. The Kazi Abu Yusuf with Harun Al-Rashid and Queen Zubaydah
  77. The Caliph Al-Hakim and The Merchant
  78. King Kisra Anushirwan and The Village Damsel
  79. Water-Carrier and the Goldsmith’s Wife
  80. Khusrau and Shirin and the Fisherman
  81. Yahya Bin Khalid the Barmecide and the Poor Man
  82. Mohammed Al-Amin and the Slave-Girl
  83. The Sons of Yahya Bin Khalid and Sa’id Bin Salim Al-Bahili
  84. The Woman’s Trick Against her Husband
  85. The Devout Woman and the Two Wicked Elders
  86. Ja’afar the Barmecide and the Old Badawl
  87. The Caliph Omar Bin Al-Khattab and the Young Badawi
  88. The Caliph Al-Maamun and The Pyramids of Egypt
  89. The Thief and the Merchant
  90. Masrur the Eunuch and Ibn Al-Karibi
  91. The Devotee Prince
  92. The Unwise Schoolmaster Who Fell in Love by Report
  93. The Foolish Dominie
  94. Illiterate Who Set Up for A Schoolmaster
  95. The King and the Virtuous Wife.
  96. Abd Al-Rahman the Maghribi’s Story of the Rukh.
  97. Adi Bin Zayd and the Princess Hind.
  98. Di’ibil Al-Khuza’i with the Lady and Muslim Bin Al-Walid.
  99. Isaac of Mosul and the Merchant.
  100. The Three Unfortunate Lovers.
  101. How Abu Hasan Brake Wind.
  102. The Lovers of the Banu Tayy.
  103. The Mad Lover.
  104. The Prior Who Became A Moslem.
  105. The Loves of Abu Isa and Kurrat Al-Ayn.
  106. Al-Amin Son of Al-Rashid and his Uncle Ibrahim Bin Al-Mahdi.
  107. Al-Fath Bin Khakan and the Caliph Al-Mutawakkil.
  108. The Man’s Dispute with the Learned Woman Concerning the Relative Excellence of Male and Female.
  109. Abu Suwayd and the Pretty Old Woman.
  110. The Emir Ali Bin Tahir and The Girl Muunis.
  111. The Woman Who Had A Boy and the Other Who Had A Man to Lover.
  112. Ali the Cairene and the Haunted House in Baghdad.
  113. The Pilgrim Man and the Old Woman.
  114. Abu Al-Husn and his Slave-Girl Tawaddud.
  115. The Angel of Death with The Proud King and the Devout Man.
  116. The Angel of Death and the Rich King.
  117. The Angel of Death and the King of the Children of Israel.
  118. Iskandar Zu Al-Karnayn and A Certain Tribe of Poor Folk.
  119. The Righteousness of King Anushirwan.
  120. The Jewish Kazi and his Pious Wife.
  121. The Shipwrecked Woman and her Child.
  122. The Pious Black Slave.
  123. The Devout Tray-Maker and his Wife.
  124. Al-Hajjaj and the Pious Man.
  125. The Blacksmith Who Could Handle Fire Without Hurt.
  126. The Devotee to Whom Allah Gave A Cloud for Service and the Devout King.
  127. The Moslem Champion and The Christian Damsel.
  128. The Christian King’s Daughter and the Moslem.
  129. The Prophet and the Justice of Providence.
  130. The Ferryman of the Nile and the Hermit.
  131. The Island King and the Pious Israelite.
  132. Abu Al-Hasan and Abu Ja’afar the Leper.
  133. The Queen of the Serpents.
  134. Sindbad The Seaman and Sindbad The Landsman.
  135. The City of Brass.
  136. Craft and Malice of Women, or The Tale of the King, His Son, His Concubine and the Seven Wazirs.
  137. Judar and his Brethren.
  138. History of Gharib and his Brother Ajib.
  139. Otbah and Rayya.
  140. Hind, Daughter of Al-Nu’man and Al-Hajjaj.
  141. Khuzaymah Bin Bishr and Ikrimah Al-Fayyaz.
  142. Yunus the Scribe and the Caliph Walid Bin Sahl.
  143. Harun Al-Rashid and the Arab Girl.
  144. Al-Asma’i and the Three Girls of Bassorah.
  145. Ibrahim of Mosul and the Devil.
  146. The Lovers of the Banu Uzrah.
  147. The Badawi and his Wife.
  148. The Lovers of Bassorah.
  149. Ishak of Mosul and his Mistress and the Devil.
  150. The Lovers of Al-Medinah.
  151. Al-Malik Al-Nasir and his Wazir.
  152. The Rogueries of Dalilah The Crafty and her Daughter Zaynab the Coney-Catcher.
  153. Ardashir and Hayat Al-Nufus.
  154. Julnar the Sea-Born and her Son King Badr Basim of Persia.
  155. King Mohammed Bin Sabaik and the Merchant Hasan.
  156. Hasan of Bassorah.
  157. Khalifah the Fisherman of Baghdad
  158. Khalifah The Fisherman of Baghdad.
  159. Masrur and Zayn Al-Mawasif.
  160. Ali Nur Al-Din and Miriam The Girdle-Girl
  161. The Man of Upper Egypt and his Frankish Wife.
  162. Ruined Man of Baghdad and his Slave-Girl
  163. King Jali’ad of Hind and His Wazir Shimas; Followed by the History of King Wird Khan, Son of King Jali’ad, with His Women and Wazirs.
  164. Abu Kir the Dyer and Abu sir the Barber.
  165. Abdullah the Fisherman and Abdullah the Merman.
  166. Harun Al-Rashid and Abu Hasan, the Merchant of Oman.
  167. Ibrahim and Jamilah.
  168. Abu Al-Hasan of Khorasan.
  169. Kamar Al-Zaman and the Jeweller’s Wife.
  170. Abdullah Bin Fazil and his Brothers.
  171. Ma’aruf the Cobbler and his Wife
  172. Conclusion.

Terminal Essay


Appendix

Appendix I

  1. Index to the Tales in the ten Volumes.
  2. Alphabetical Table of the Notes (Anthropological, etc.) prepared by F. Steingass, Ph.D.
  3. Alphabetical Table of First Lines (metrical portion) in English and Arabic, prepared by Dr. Steingass.
  4. Tables of Contents of the various Arabic texts.

Appendix II


Supplemental Nights
to
The Book of the Thousand and One Nights

Breslau Text

  1. The Sleeper and the Waker.
    1. Story of the Larrikin and the Cook
  2. The Caliph Omar Bin Abd Al-Aziz and the Poets
  3. Al-Hajjaj and the Three Young Men
  4. Harun Al-Rashid and the Woman of the Barmecides
  5. The Ten Wazirs: Or the History of King Azadbakht and his son.
    1. Of the Uselessness of Endeavour Against Persistent Ill Fortune.
      1. The Story of the Merchant Who Lost his Luck.
    2. Of Looking to the Ends of Affairs.
    3. The Tale of the Merchant and his Sons.
    4. Of the Advantages of Patience.
      1. The Story of Abu Sabir.
    5. Of the Ill Effects of Impatience.
      1. The Story of Prince Bihzad.
    6. Of the Issues of Good and Evil Actions.
      1. The Story of King Dadbin and his Wazirs.
    7. Of Trust in Allah.
      1. The Story of King Bakhtzaman.
    8. Of Clemency.
      1. The Story of King Bihkard.
    9. Of Envy and Malice.
      1. The Story of Aylan Shah and Abu Tammam.
    10. Of Destiny or That Which is Written on the Forehead.
      1. The Story of King Ibrahim and his Son.
    11. Of the Appointed Term, Which, if it be Advanced, may not be Deferred, and if it be Deferred, may not be Advanced.
      1. The Story of King Sulayman Shah and his Niece.
    12. Of the Speedy Relief of Allah.
      1. The Story of the Prisoner and How Allah Gave Him Relief.
  6. Ja’afar Bin Yahya and Abd Al-Malik Bin Salith the Abbaside
  7. Al-Rashid and the Barmecides
  8. Ibn Al-Sammak and Al-Rashid
  9. Al-Maamun and Zubaydah
  10. Al-Nu’uman and the Arab of the Banu Tay
  11. Firuz and his Wife
  12. King Shah Bakht and his Wazir Al-Rahwan.
    1. The Tale of the Man of Khorasan, his Son and his Tutor.
    2. Tale of the Singer and the Druggist.
    3. The Tale of the King who Kenned the Quintessence of Things.
    4. The Tale of the Richard who Married his Beautiful Daughter to the Poor Old Man.
    5. The Tale of the Sage and his Three Sons.
    6. The Tale of the Prince who Fell in Love with the Picture.
    7. The Tale of the Fuller and his Wife and the Trooper.
    8. The Tale of the Merchant, the Crone and the King.
    9. The Tale of the Simpleton Husband.
    10. The Tale of the Unjust King and the Tither.
      1. The Story of David and Solomon.
    11. The Tale of the Robber and the Woman.
    12. The Tale of the Three Men and our Lord Isa.
      1. The Disciple’s Story.
    13. The Tale of the Dethroned Ruler Whose Reign and Wealth Were Restored to Him.
    14. The Tale of the Man whose Caution Slew Him.
    15. The Tale of the Man who was Lavish of his House and his Provision to One Whom He Knew Not.
    16. The Tale of the Melancholist and the Sharper.
    17. The Tale of Khalbas and his Wife and the Learned Man.
    18. The Tale of the Devotee Accused of Lewdness.
    19. The Tale of the Hireling and the Girl.
    20. The Tale of the Weaver who Became a Leach by Order of his Wife.
    21. The Tale of the Two Sharpers who each Cozened his Compeer.
    22. The Tale of the Sharpers with the Shroff and the Ass.
    23. The Tale of the Cheat and the Merchants.
      1. The Story of the Falcon and the Locust.
    24. The Tale of the King and his Chamberlain’s Wife.
      1. The Story of the Crone and the Draper’s Wife.
    25. The Tale of the Ugly Man and his Beautiful Wife.
    26. The Tale of the King who lost Kingdom and Wife and Wealth and Allah restored them to Him.
    27. The Tale of Salim, the Youth of Khorasan, and Salma, his Sister.
    28. The Tale of the King of Hind and his Wazir.
  13. Al-Malik Al-Zahir Rukn Al-Din Bibars Al-Bundukdari and the Sixteen Captains of Police.
    1. The First Constable’s History.
    2. The Second Constable’s History.
    3. The Third Constable’s History.
    4. The Fourth Constable’s History.
    5. The Fifth Constable’s History.
    6. The Sixth Constable’s History.
    7. The Seventh Constable’s History.
    8. The Eighth Constable’s History.
    9. The Ninth Constable’s History.
    10. The Tenth Constable’s History.
    11. The Eleventh Constable’s History.
    12. The Twelfth Constable’s History.
    13. The Thirteenth Constable’s History.
    14. The Fourteenth Constable’s History.
    15. The Fifteenth Constable’s History.
    16. The Sixteenth Constable’s History.
  14. Tale of Harun Al-Rashid and Abdullah Bin Nafi’.
  15. Women’s Wiles.
  16. Nur Al-Din Ali of Damascus and the Damsel Sitt Al-Milah.
  17. Tale of King Ins Bin Kays and his daughter with the son of King Al-‘Abbas.
  18. Tale of the Two Kings and the Wazir’s Daughters.
  19. The Concubine and the Caliph.
  20. The Concubine of Al-Maamun.

Appendix:
Variants and Analogues
of Some of the Tales in Volumes xi. and xii.
By. W. A. Clouston.


Supplemental Nights

Contents of the Third Volume.

  1. The Tale of Zayn Al-Asnam.
  2. Alaeddin; or, the Wonderful Lamp.
  3. Khudadad and his Brothers.
  4. The Caliph’s Night Adventure.
    1. The Story of the Blind Man, Baba Abdullah.
    2. History of Sidi Nu’uman.
    3. History of Khwajah Hasan al-Habbal.
  5. Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves.
  6. Ali Khwajah and the Merchant of Baghdad
  7. Prince Ahmad and the Fairy Peri-Banu.
  8. The Two Sisters who Envied Their Cadette

Appendix.
Variants and Analogues
of the Tales In Volume xiii.
By W. A. Clouston.


Supplemental Nights

Contents of the Fourth Volume

  1. Story of the Sultan of Al-Yaman and his three Sons.
  2. The Story of the Three Sharpers.
    1. The Sultan who Fared Forth in the Habit of a Darwaysh.
    2. The History of Mohammed, Sultan of Cairo.
    3. The Story of the First Lunatic.
    4. Story of the Second Lunatic.
    5. Story of the Sage and the Scholar.
    6. The Night-Adventure of Sultan Mohammed of Cairo.
    7. The Story of the Broke-Back Schoolmaster.
    8. Story of the Split-Mouthed Schoolmaster.
    9. The Story of the Limping Schoolmaster.
    10. Story of the Three Sisters and Their Mother.
  3. The Story of the Kazi who Bare a Babe.
  4. The Tale of the Kazi and the Bhang-Eater.
    1. History of the Bhang-Eater and his Wife.
    2. How Drummer Abu Kasim Became a Kazi.
    3. The Story of the Kazi and his Slipper.
    4. Tale of Mahmud the Persian and the Kurd Sharper.
    5. The Tale of the Sultan and His Sons and the Enchanting Bird.
    6. Story of the King of Al-Yaman and his Three Sons.
    7. History of the First Larrikin.
    8. History of the Second Larrikin.
    9. The Tale of the Third Larrikin.
    10. Story of a Sultan of Al-Hind and his Son Mohammed.
    11. Tale of the Fisherman and his Son
    12. Tale of the Third Larrikin Concerning Himself.
  5. The History of Abu Niyyah and Abu Niyyatayn.

Contents of the Fifth Volume

  1. The History of the King’s Son of Sind and the Lady Fatimah.
  2. History of the Lovers of Syria
  3. History of Al-Hajjaj Bin Yusuf and the Young Sayyid.
  4. Night Adventure of Harun Al-Rashid and the Youth Manjab.
  5. The Loves of Al-Hayfa and Yusuf.
  6. The Three Princes of China.
  7. The Righteous Wazir Wrongfully Gaoled.
  8. The Cairene Youth, the Barber, and the Captain.
  9. The Goodwife of Cairo and Her Four Gallants.
  10. The Tailor and the Lady and the Captain.
  11. The Syrian and the Three Women of Cairo.
  12. The Lady with Two Coyntes.
  13. The Whorish Wife who Vaunted her Virtue.
  14. Cèlebs the Droll and His Wife and Her Four Lovers.
  15. The Gate-Keeper of Cairo and the Cunning she-Thief.
  16. Tale of Mohsin and Musa.
  17. Mohammed the Shalabi and His Mistress and His Wife.
  18. The Fellah and His Wicked Wife.
  19. The Woman who Humoured Her Lover at Her Husband’s Expense.
  20. The Kazi Schooled by His Wife.
  21. The Merchant’s Daughter and the Prince of Al-Irak.
  22. Story of the Youth who Would Futter His Father’s Wives.
  23. Story of the Two Lack-Tacts of Cairo and Damascus.
  24. Tale of Himself Told by the King

Appendix I. Catalogue of Wortley Montague Manuscript Contents.


Appendix II.
By W. F. Kirby.

  1. Notes on the Stories Contained in Volume IV of "SUpplemental Nights".
  2. Notes on the Stories Contained in Volume V of "SUpplemental Nights".

Supplemental Nights

Contents of the Sixth Volume

  1. The Say of Haykar the Sage. 6
  2. The History of Al-Bundukani or, The Caliph Harun Al-Rashid and the Daughter of King Kisra.
  3. The Linguist-Dame, the Duenna and the King’s Son.
  4. The Tale of the Warlock and the Young Cook of Baghdad.
  5. The Pleasant History of the Cock and the Fox.
  6. History of what Befel the Fowl-Let with the Fowler
  7. The Tale of Attaf.
    1. Note on the Tale of Attaf.
  8. History of Prince Habib And what Befel Him with the Lady Durrat Al-Ghawwas.
    1. Note On The History of Habib

Appendix I.

Notes on the Stories Contained in Volume xvi. By W. F. Kirby.

Appendix II.

Index to the Tales and Proper Names in the Supplemental Nights.
Variants and Analogues of Some of the Tales in the Supplemental Nights. By W. A. Clouston.
Additional Notes.

Appendix III.

Additional Notes on the Bibliography of the Thousand and One Nights. By W. F. Kirby.

The Biography of the Book and Its Reviewers Reviewed.
Opinions of the Press.

List of Illustrations

From the 1897 “Library Edition”, painted by Albert Letchford.

  1. The Jinni seated her under the tree. . . . Presently she raised her gracious head towards the tree-top and saw the two kings
  2. I climbed upon the roof. . . . And lo! my fair cousin had gone in to a hideous negro slave
  3. Then she came up out of the cistern, and throwing herself upon the Porter’s lap, said, ‘O my lord, O my love, what callest thou this?’
  4. He put his mouth to my cheek. . . . But, while kissing me, he bit me so hard a bite that it tore the flesh from my cheek
  5. Then the singing-girls beat their tabrets. . . . And the bride was as the full moon when at fullest. . . . Thus they displayed the bride . . . wholly neglecting the Gobbo, who sat moping alone
  6. So I bade the page open the box and the Barber laid down the astrolabe, leaving the greater part of my head unpolled; and, sitting on the ground, turned over the scents and incense and aloes-wood and essences till I was well-nigh distraught
  7. Then she set out at a run, and he ran after her while she rushed into room after room and rushed out of room after room, my brother scampering after her in a rage of desire
  8. Next he kissed her lips and she kissed his and . . . when the two little slave-girls saw their young master go in unto the damsel, Anis al-Jalis, they cried out
  9. One night as he laid by her side . . . she awoke and sat upright. . . . When Ghanim heard her words and knew that she was a concubine of the Caliph, he drew back
  10. He set his breast against hers; but when he felt waist touch waist his strength failed him, and she . . . threw him to the ground
  11. When the vile slave heard this from her, he waxt more enraged and his eyes grew redder: and he came up to her and, smiting her with the sword on her neck, wounded her to the death
  12. So at last we lifted up the door; and, going in, found him dead, with his flesh torn into strips and bits and his bones broken. When we saw him in this condition it was grievous to us
  13. I stood behind the door . . . and ere I knew it a damsel ran up . . . she had tucked up her trousers to her knees
  14. The King . . . being violently enraged, seized a dagger, and was about to strike Taj al-Muluk with it
  15. I arose in haste and, drawing the sword from under his head, dealt him a blow that made his head fall from his body. . . . Then she drew a sword . . . and threw herself thereon . . . and she fell to the ground dead
  16. While they were thus enjoying themselves, lo! up came a damsel, trembling for fear and said, ‘O my Lady! The Commander of the Faithful’s eunuchs are at the door’
  17. And inside she saw a couch spread, whereon was a human form with the wax-candle burning at his head, and the lanthorn at his feet. . . . Then she folded her wings and stood by the bed and, drawing back the coverlid, discovered Kamar al-Zaman’s face
  18. Wherein was a saloon and, behold! in the middle of it there were forty old men, well stricken in years, collected together and forming a single ring as they sat round about a lighted fire to which they were doing worship and prostrating themselves
  19. One of the Badawin levelled his javelin and would have plunged it into his breast when he cried out . . . and behold! he saw a hand turn the lance away from his breast
  20. And repairing to the Caliph’s sitting-saloon planted his scaling ladder and cast his grapnel on to the side of the terrace-roof; then, raising the trap-door, let himself down into the saloon, where he found the eunuchs asleep
  21. She drugged a cup with Bhang, and he drank it off and fell upon his back. . . . Ala al-Din went to the King, and finding him lying drugged and helpless, pinioned him fast and manacled and fettered him with chains. . . . Then he wrote a scroll
  22. So I mounted on his back, and he flew up with me into the firmament. . . . But as we flew, behold! one clad in green raiment, with streaming tresses and radiant face, holding in his hand a javelin whence flew sparks of fire, accosted me
  23. Then I fumigated the vulture with musk, and lo! the Ifrits flocked to me from all sides, saying, ‘At thy service’ (frontispiece)
  24. They sat down and she took place on her chair of state, watching them. . . . Then they fell to eating
  25. The horse forthwith soared with him high in ether, as it were a bird, and gave not over flying till it disappeared. . . . The King . . . was enraged with sore rage . . . and gave himself up to weeping and keening, he and his wife and daughters and all the folk of the city
  26. There came up to him a serpent as big as a mule, bearing on its back a tray of gold, wherein lay another serpent which shone like crystal and whose face was as that of a woman and who spake with human speech
  27. And they saw lying at full length upon the throne our lord Solomon . . . his right hand was passed over his breast, and on the middle finger was the seal-ring whose lustre outshone that of all other gems in the place. . . . Then he (Affan) went up to the throne, but as he drew near unto it, lo! a mighty serpent came forth from beneath it and cried out at him with so terrible a cry that the whole place trembled and sparks flew from its mouth (frontispiece)
  28. They all rejoiced with exceeding joy, and King Shahlan took horse and rode out, commanding all his guards and Ifrits and Marids honourably to meet the Prince . . . and . . . brought him in great state to the castle
  29. So he took him up, shrieking for fear, and flew with him to Janshah, who hade the four Marids bind him on the litter and hang him liigh in the air over his camp, that he miglit witness the slaughter of his men
  30. So I threw the devil off my shoulders . . . and fearing lest he should shake off his drunkenness and do me a mischief . . . I took up a great stone from among the trees and coming up to him smote him therewith on the head with all my might, and crushed in his skull as he lav dead drunk
  31. He took me on his back and flew up with me so high in air, that I heard the angels glorifying God
  32. They came to the chief market-place . . . and found all its shops open . . . and they beheld the merchants sitting on the shop-boards dead
  33. Then the Moor took the two caskets and conjured over them both . . . till the two caskets flew in sunder, the fragments flying about, and there came forth two men, with pinioned hands
  34. Behold, the water disappeared and uncovered the river-bed, and discovered the door of the treasure. . . . There came forth a figure with a drawn sword, who said to him, ‘Stretch forth thy neck’
  35. They hastened to skin the Infidel and roasted him and brought him to the Ghul, who ate his flesh and crunched his bones
  36. The two Marids, after catching up Gharib and Sahim in their sleep, carried them to Mura’ash, King of the Jann, whom they saw seated on the throne of his kingship, as he were a huge mountain, with four heads on his body, the first that of a lion, the second that of an elephant, the third that of a panther, and the fourth that of a lynx. . . . They brought a brazier of gold and setting it before him, kindled therein fire and cast on drugs
  37. So the two Marids flew aloft. . . . Kaylajan came forward, caught up the Prince and Kurajan snatched up the King, and the twain flew back with them to Gharib
  38. They found Gharib standing at the gate, clad in complete war-gear. . . . They ran at him, but he fell on them like a rending lion . . . slaying of them much people. . . . When the night came they . . . would have taken him by strenuous effort, when, behold! there descended upon the Infidels a thousand Marids
  39. Then he took up a cup of water, and conjuring over it, sprinkled Ali with somewhat thereof, saying, ‘Take thou shape of bear;’ whereupon he instantly became a bear, and the Jew put a collar about his neck, muzzled him, and chained him to a picket of iron. Then he sat down and ate and drank
  40. Thereupon the two walked down to the sea-shore and the Princess stood on the beach, whilst the Prince waded in the water to his waist and laying his hand with the ring on the surface of the sea . . . the coffer of alabaster rose to the surface
  41. But the damsel he loved sought for her plumage that she might put it on, but found it not; whereupon she shrieked and beat her cheeks
  42. The old woman set Hasan a couch of alabaster . . . by the river-side, and he sat down thereon, having first bound his face with a chin-kerchief, that discovered naught of him but his eyes. . . . So the whole army mustered before her and putting off their clothes went down into the stream
  43. Smiting the earth with the rod . . . the earth clave asunder and out came ten Ifrits, with their feet in the bowels of the earth and their heads in the clouds
  44. Their Queen and her chief officers and the grandees of her realm were captive ta’en . . . The Seven Kings . . . set thereby a throne of ivory
  45. So Khalifah rose forthright, and casting his net into the Tigris drew up a great cat-fish the bigness of a lamb. . . . He carried it to the ape
  46. So the Captain set the sack in the boat and paddled till he came unto the palace, where he saw the King seated at the lattice
  47. He gave not over tugging at the net till blood came from the palms of his hands, and when he got it ashore, he saw a man in it, and took him for one of the Ifrits of the lord Solomon . . . wherefore he fled from him
  48. There came to him a damsel with a face like the rondure of the moon and hair long, hips heavy, eyes black-edged and waist slender; but she was naked and had a tail. . . . In came the Merman’s wife, who was beautiful of form and favour, and with her two children
  49. He emptied the cup behind the pillow and laid down. . . . Then, taking a sharp knife, she went in to him
  50. Taking up a lump of granite, I . . . hurled it at the dragon. It smote him on the head and crushed it, and ere I knew, the white snake changed and became a young girl bright with beauty and loveliness and brilliancy and perfect grace
  51. So they aligned the idols in a Diwan, setting my father’s idol on a chair of gold at the upper end . . . he went up to the idol and dealt it a cuff on the neck, that it fell to the ground, whereupon the King waxed wrath
  52. Suddenly and unexpectedly there came to me the Red King’s daughter . . . she seized me, and pulling out a whip, flogged me till I fainted away
  53. Now while he sat weeping, behold, the wall clave and there came forth to him therefrom one of tall stature, whose aspect caused his body-pile to bristle and his flesh to creep
  54. Then they entered the Cathedral-mosque and prayed the noon-prayers, and what was left him of the thousand gold pieces he scattered on the heads of the worshippers
  55. So the Jinni signed with his hand to the ground, which clave asunder . . . presently, there came forth young boys full of grace and fair of face, bearing golden baskets filled with gold
  56. She dealt him a kick, her foot striking him full in the stomach, and he fell over on his back senseless; whereupon she cried out to her attendants, who came to her in haste
  57. As he looked, behold, he caught sight of an earthern pan lying arsy-versy upon its mouth; so he raised it from the ground and found under it a horse’s tail, freshly cut off and the blood oozing from it; whereby he knew that the Cook adulterated his meat with horseflesh
  58. Accordingly, he dug him up and pulled him forth of the grave. . . . Then he tied the dead man’s legs and laid on to him with the staff and beat him a grievous beating; but the body never budged
  59. Presently, she set it aside and taking the lute, tightened its strings. . . . Then she turned and saw within the chamber an old man, handsome in his hoariness and stately of semblance
  60. Up came the guards and eunuchs escorting the women, who were weeping and shrieking and farewelling one another. . . . Now each of them was shackled
  61. She had only began when appeared to her one of the Jann . . . she fell to the ground oppressed by her affright
  62. She beheld a man crying, ‘Ho! who will exchange old lamps for new lamps?’ and the little ones pursuing and laughing at him
  63. Then the twain dug up from the grave a corpse which had been newly buried, and the Ghul and my wife Aminah tore off pieces of the flesh which she ate, making merry the while and chatting with her companion
  64. But the unhappy man ran full tilt against the Captain, who stood in front of the band, and felled him to the ground; whereupon a robber standing near his chief at once bared his brand and with one cut clave Kasim clean in twain
  65. And lastly he handed to me the slipper, which was exceeding long and broad and heavy. . . . So I took it up and fared forth
  66. Then I stripped him of all his clothing, and drawing forth a calf’s tail . . . I beat him till I stripped him of his skin and he lost his senses
  67. Then lo and behold! a wall a-middlemost the chamber clave asunder, and there issued forth the cleft a Basilisk resembling a log of palm-tree, and he was blowing like the storm-blast and his eyes were as cressets and he came on wriggling and waving
  68. ‘Rise and fill me an ewer with water; then mount therewith to the terrace-roof and pour down the contents round and about the house, after which come down to me.’ The youth did his bidding . . . when, lo and behold! the site had become an island a-middlemost a main dashing with clashing billows
  69. He retired and clomb the branches of a tree. . . . But as regards the Princess, she ceased not to roam about the Emir Salamah’s garden until there approached her two score of snow-white birds
  70. Thereupon he donned a closely-woven mail-coat and armed himself with the magical scymitar and spear; then, taking the skins of animals freshly slain, he made a hood and vizor thereof and wrapped strips of the same around his arms and legs that no harm from the sea might enter his frame. . . . And as soon as he touched bottom he was confronted by the Ifrit

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Cover of the 1897 Library edition

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Editor’s Note to this Web Edition

Burton’s The Book of The Thousand Nights and a Night was originally privately published by The Kama Shastra Society, in ten volumes, in 1885. (A further six volumes were subsequently published as a Supplement to the Nights.)

This web edition has used the online plain-text transcription from Project Gutenberg <http://gutenberg.org> — in which most volumes are noted as "Privately Published by the Burton Society". Edition details are otherwise sketchy. Unfortunately, the Project Gutenberg transcription contains many errors (either from typing or OCR conversion). Many of these errors have been corrected here, but some undoubtedly remain. The Editor will be pleased to receive any notifications of errors found.

In creating this web edition, some organisational changes have been made from the original. Most obviously, the division into ten volumes has gone, and this edition is published as a single piece. The original division into volumes was deemed of no relevance to the text, especially in as much as tales were split between volumes. The dedications in each of the original volumes have been retained, and collected together at the beginning of the edition.

The second obvious change is to footnotes, which occur at the foot of each page in the original. The transcribers of the Project Gutenberg version had collected all footnotes together at the end of each volume. In this web edition, I have relocated footnotes to the end of each section of text, placing them as near as practical to the reference point without overly interrupting the flow.

Thirdly, I have grouped the text into sections, in two ways: first by starting a new section at the start of each tale; second by starting a new section at the start of each new night. The whole collection of tales is then arbitrarily split into parts, so that each part is no more than 100,000 bytes long — this purely for the convenience of readers, who may find larger pieces to be too big a bite at one time.

In all other respects, the arrangement of the original is unaffected.

A facsimile edition is available from the Internet Archive:

The book of the thousand nights and a night; a plain and literal translation of the Arabian nights' entertainments, with introd., explanatory notes on the manners and customs of Moslem men and a terminal essay upon the history of the nights / Reprinted from the original ed. and edited by Leonard G. Smithers [1897] v.1; v.2; v.3; v.4; v.5; v.6; v.7; v.8; v.9; v.10; v.11; v.12

S.G.A. Thomas,
March 2006.

Dedications to the Original Ten Volumes

Dedication to Volume One

Inscribed to the Memory
of
My Lamented Friend
John Frederick Steinhaeuser,
(Civil Surgeon, Aden)
who
A Quarter of a Century Ago
Assisted Me in this Translation.

Dedication to Volume Two

To John Payne, Esq.

My Dear Sir,

Allow me thus publicly to express my admiration of your magnum opus, “The Book of the Thousand Nights and One Night;” and to offer you my cordial thanks for honouring me with the dedication of that scholar-like and admirable version.

Ever yours sincerely,

Richard F. Burton.

Queen’s College, Oxford,

August 1, 1885.

Dedication to Volume Three

Inscribed to the Memory
of
A Friend
Who
During A Friendship of Twenty–Six Years
Ever Showed Me The Most
Unwearied Kindness,
Richard Monckton Milnes
Baron Houghton.

Dedication to Volume Four

To Foster Fitzgerald Arbuthnot.

My Dear Arbuthnot,

I have no fear that a friend, whose friendship has lasted nearly a third of a century, will misunderstand my reasons for inscribing his name upon these pages. You have lived long enough in the East and, as your writings show, observantly enough, to detect the pearl which lurks in the kitchen-midden, and to note that its lustre is not dimmed nor its value diminished by its unclean surroundings.

Ever yours sincerely,

Richard F. Burton.

Athenæum Club, October 1, 1885

Dedication to Volume Five

To Doctor George Bird.

My Dear Bird,

This is not a strictly medical work, although in places treating of subjects which may modestly be called hygienic. I inscribe it to you because your knowledge of Egypt will enable you to appreciate its finer touches; and for another and a yet more cogent reason, namely, that you are one of my best and oldest friends.

Ever yours sincerely,

Richard F. Burton

Athenæum Club, October 20, 1885.

Dedication to Volume Six

I Inscribe This Volume
To My Old And Valued Correspondent,
I Whose Debt I Am Deep,

Professor Aloys Sprenger
(of Heidelberg),

Arabist, Philosopher and Friend.

Richard F. Burton.

Dedication to Volume Seven

I Inscribe these pages
to
An Old And Valued Friend,

John W. Larking
(Whilome of Alexandria).

In Whose Hospitable Home (“The Sycamores”) I Made My Final
Preparations For A Pilgrimage To Meccah
and El–Medinah.

R. F. Burton

Dedication to Volume Eight

A Message to
Frederick Hankey,
formerly of No. 2, Rue Laffitte, Paris.

My Dear Fred,

If there be such a thing as “continuation,” you will see these lines in the far Spirit-land and you will find that your old friend has not forgotten you and Annie.

Richard F. Burton.

Dedication to Volume Nine

To Alexander Baird of Urie.

My Dear Baird,

I avail my self of a privilege of authorship, not yet utterly obsolete, to place your name at the head of this volume. Your long residence in Egypt and your extensive acquaintance with its “politic,” private and public, make you a thouroughly competent judge of the merits and demerits of this volume; and encourage me to hope that in reading it you will take something of the pleasure I have had in writing it.

Ever yours sincerely,

Richard F. Burton.

Tangier, December 31, 1885.

Dedication to Volume Ten

To
His Excellency Yacoub Artin Pasha,
Minister of Instruction, Etc. Etc. Etc. Cairo.

My Dear Pasha,

During the last dozen years, since we first met at Cairo, you have done much for Egyptian folk-lore and you can do much more. This volume is inscribed to you with a double purpose; first it is intended as a public expression of gratitude for your friendly assistance; and, secondly, as a memento that the samples which you have given us imply a promise of further gift. With this lively sense of favours to come I subscribe myself

Ever yours friend and fellow worker,

Richard F. Burton

London, July 12, 1886.

“To the pure all things are pure” (Puris omnia pura)

— Arab Proverb.

“Niuna corrotta mente intese mai sanamente parole.”

— “Decameron” — conclusion.

“Erubuit, posuitque meum Lucretia librum Sed coram Bruto. Brute! reced, leget.

— Martial.

“Miculx est de ris que de larmes escripre, Pour ce que rire est le propre des hommes.”

— Rabelais.

“The pleasure we derive from perusing the Thousand and One Stories makes us regret that we possess only a comparatively small part of these truly enchanting fictions.”

— Crichton’s “History of Arabia.”

The Translator’s Foreword.

This work, labourious as it may appear, has been to me a labour of love, an unfailing source of solace and satisfaction. During my long years of official banishment to the luxuriant and deadly deserts of Western Africa, and to the dull and dreary half clearings of South America, it proved itself a charm, a talisman against ennui and despondency. Impossible even to open the pages without a vision starting into view; with out drawing a picture from the pinacothek of the brain; without reviving a host of memories and reminiscences which are not the common property of travellers, however widely they may have travelled. From my dull and commonplace and “respectable” surroundings, the Jinn bore me at once to the land of my pre-direction, Arabia, a region so familiar to my mind that even at first sight, it seemed a reminiscence of some by gone metem-psychic life in the distant Past. Again I stood under the diaphanous skies, in air glorious as aether, whose every breath raises men’s spirits like sparkling wine. Once more I saw the evening star hanging like a solitaire from the pure front of the western firmament; and the after glow transfiguring and transforming, as by magic, the homely and rugged features of the scene into a fairy land lit with a light which never shines on other soils or seas. Then would appear the woollen tents, low and black, of the true Badawin, mere dots in the boundless waste of lion tawny clays and gazelle brown gravels, and the camp fire dotting like a glow worm the village centre. Presently, sweetened by distance, would be heard the wild weird song of lads and lasses, driving or rather pelting, through the gloaming their sheep and goats; and the measured chant of the spearsmen gravely stalking behind their charge, the camels; mingled with bleating of the flocks and the bellowing of the humpy herds; while the reremouse flitted overhead with his tiny shriek, and the rave of the jackal resounded through deepening glooms, and — most musical of music — the palm trees answered the whispers of the night breeze with the softest tones of falling water.

And then a shift of scene. The Shaykhs and “white beards” of the tribe gravely take their places, sitting with outspread skirts like hillocks on the plain, as the Arabs say, around the camp fire, whilst I reward their hospitality and secure its continuance by reading or reciting a few pages of their favourite tales. The women and children stand motionless as silhouettes outside the ring; and all are breathless with attention; they seem to drink in the words with eyes and mouths as well as with ears. The most fantastic flights of fancy, the wildest improbabilities, the most impossible of impossibilities, appear to them utterly natural, mere matters of every day occurrence. They enter thoroughly into each phase of feeling touched upon by the author: they take a personal pride in the chivalrous nature and knightly prowess of Taj al-Mulúk; they are touched with tenderness by the self sacrificing love of Azízah; their mouths water as they hear of heaps of untold gold given away in largesse like clay; they chuckle with delight every time a Kázi or a Fakír — a judge or a reverend — is scurvily entreated by some Pantagruelist of the Wilderness; and, despite their normal solemnity and impassibility, all roar with laughter, sometimes rolling upon the ground till the reader’s gravity is sorely tried, at the tales of the garrulous Barber and of Ali and the Kurdish Sharper. To this magnetising mood the sole exception is when a Badawi of superior accomplishments, who sometimes says his prayers, ejaculates a startling “Astagh-faru’llah”— I pray Allah’s pardon! — for listening, not to Carlyle’s “downright lies,” but to light mention of the sex whose name is never heard amongst the nobility of the Desert.

Nor was it only in Arabia that the immortal Nights did me such notable service: I found the wildlings of Somali land equally amenable to its discipline; no one was deaf to the charm and the two women cooks of my caravan, on its way to Harar, were in continently dubbed by my men “Shahrazad” and “Dinazad.”

It may be permitted me also to note that this translation is a natural outcome of my Pilgrimage to Al–Medinah and Meccah. Arriving at Aden in the (so called) winter of 1852, I put up with my old and dear friend, Steinhaeuser, to whose memory this volume is inscribed; and, when talking over Arabia and the Arabs, we at once came to the same conclusion that, while the name of this wondrous treasury of Moslem folk lore is familiar to almost every English child, no general reader is aware of the valuables it contains, nor indeed will the door open to any but Arabists. Before parting we agreed to “collaborate” and produce a full, complete, unvarnished, uncastrated copy of the great original, my friend taking the prose and I the metrical part; and we corresponded upon the subject for years. But whilst I was in the Brazil, Steinhaeuser died suddenly of apoplexy at Berne in Switzerland and, after the fashion of Anglo India, his valuable Mss. left at Aden were dispersed, and very little of his labours came into my hands.

Thus I was left alone to my work, which progressed fitfully amid a host of obstructions. At length, in the spring of 1879, the tedious process of copying began and the book commenced to take finished form. But, during the winter of 1881–82, I saw in the literary journals a notice of a new version by Mr. John Payne, well known to scholars for his prowess in English verse, especially for his translation of “The Poems of Master Francis Villon, of Paris.” Being then engaged on an expedition to the Gold Coast (for gold), which seemed likely to cover some months, I wrote to the “Athenaeum” (Nov. 13, 1881) and to Mr. Payne, who was wholly unconscious that we were engaged on the same work, and freely offered him precedence and possession of the field till no longer wanted. He accepted my offer as frankly, and his priority entailed another delay lasting till the spring of 1885. These details will partly account for the lateness of my appearing, but there is yet another cause. Professional ambition suggested that literary labours, unpopular with the vulgar and the half educated, are not likely to help a man up the ladder of promotion. But common sense presently suggested to me that, professionally speaking, I was not a success, and, at the same time, that I had no cause to be ashamed of my failure. In our day, when we live under a despotism of the lower “middle class” Philister who can pardon anything but superiority, the prizes of competitive services are monopolized by certain “pets” of the Médiocratie, and prime favourites of that jealous and potent majority — the Mediocnties who know “no nonsense about merit.” It is hard for an outsider to realise how perfect is the monopoly of common place, and to comprehend how fatal a stumbling stone that man sets in the way of his own advancement who dares to think for himself, or who knows more or who does more than the mob of gentlemen employee who know very little and who do even less.

Yet, however behindhand I may be, there is still ample room and verge for an English version of the “Arabian Nights’ Entertainments.”

Our century of translations, popular and vernacular, from (Professor Antoine) Galland’s delightful abbreviation and adaptation (A.D. 1704), in no wise represent the eastern original. The best and latest, the Rev. Mr. Foster’s, which is diffuse and verbose, and Mr. G. Moir Bussey’s, which is a re- correction, abound in gallicisms of style and idiom; and one and all degrade a chef d’oeuvre of the highest anthropological and ethnographical interest and importance to a mere fairy book, a nice present for little boys.

After nearly a century had elapsed, Dr. Jonathan Scott (LL.D. H.E.I.C.‘s S., Persian Secretary to the G. G. Bengal; Oriental Professor, etc., etc.), printed his “Tales, Anecdotes, and Letters, translated from the Arabic and Persian,” (Cadell and Davies, London, A.D. 1800); and followed in 1811 with an edition of “The Arabian Nights’ Entertainments” from the Ms. of Edward Wortley Montague (in 6 vols., small 8vo, London: Longmans, etc.). This work he (and he only) describes as “Carefully revised and occasionally corrected from the Arabic.” The reading public did not wholly reject it, sundry texts were founded upon the Scott version and it has been imperfectly reprinted (4 vole., 8vo, Nimmo and Bain, London, 1883). But most men, little recking what a small portion of the original they were reading, satisfied themselves with the Anglo French epitome and metaphrase. At length in 1838, Mr. Henry Torrens, B.A., Irishman, lawyer (“of the Inner Temple”) and Bengal Civilian, took a step in the right direction; and began to translate, “The Book of the Thousand Nights and One Night,” (1 vol., 8vo, Calcutta: W. Thacker and Co.) from the Arabic of the Ægyptian (!) Ms. edited by Mr. (afterwards Sir)William H. Macnaghten. The attempt, or rather the intention, was highly creditable; the copy was carefully moulded upon the model and offered the best example of the verbatim et literatim style. But the plucky author knew little of Arabic, and least of what is most wanted, the dialect of Egypt and Syria. His prose is so conscientious as to offer up spirit at the shrine of letter; and his verse, always whimsical, has at times a manner of Hibernian whoop which is comical when it should be pathetic. Lastly he printed only one volume of a series which completed would have contained nine or ten.

That amiable and devoted Arabist, the late Edward William Lane does not score a success in his “New Translation of the Tales of a Thousand and One Nights” (London: Charles Knight and Co., MDCCCXXXIX.) of which there have been four English editions, besides American, two edited by E. S. Poole. He chose the abbreviating Bulak Edition; and, of its two hundred tales, he has omitted about half and by far the more characteristic half: the work was intended for “the drawing room table;” and, consequently, the workman was compelled to avoid the “objectionable” and aught “approaching to licentiousness.” He converts the Arabian Nights into the Arabian Chapters, arbitrarily changing the division and, worse still, he converts some chapters into notes. He renders poetry by prose and apologises for not omitting it altogether: he neglects assonance and he is at once too Oriental and not Oriental enough. He had small store of Arabic at the time — Lane of the Nights is not Lane of the Dictionary — and his pages are disfigured by many childish mistakes. Worst of all, the three handsome volumes are rendered unreadable as Sale’s Koran by their anglicised Latin, their sesquipedalian un English words, and the stiff and stilted style of half a century ago when our prose was, perhaps, the worst in Europe. Their cargo of Moslem learning was most valuable to the student, but utterly out of place for readers of “The Nights;” re-published, as these notes have been separately (London, Chatto, 1883), they are an ethnological text book.

Mr. John Payne has printed, for the Villon Society and for private circulation only, the first and sole complete translation of the great compendium, “comprising about four times as much matter as that of Galland, and three times as much as that of any other translator;” and I cannot but feel proud that he has honoured me with the dedication of “The Book of The Thousand Nights and One Night.” His version is most readable: his English, with a sub-flavour of the Mabinogionic archaicism, is admirable; and his style gives life and light to the nine volumes whose matter is frequently heavy enough. He succeeds admirably in the most difficult passages and he often hits upon choice and special terms and the exact vernacular equivalent of the foreign word, so happily and so picturesquely that all future translators must perforce use the same expression under pain of falling far short. But the learned and versatile author bound himself to issue only five hundred copies, and “not to reproduce the work in its complete and uncastrated form.” Consequently his excellent version is caviaire to the general — practically unprocurable.

And here I hasten to confess that ample use has been made of the three versions above noted, the whole being blended by a callida junctura into a homogeneous mass. But in the presence of so many predecessors a writer is bound to show some raison d’etre for making a fresh attempt and this I proceed to do with due reserve.

Briefly, the object of this version is to show what “The Thousand Nights and a Night” really is. Not, however, for reasons to be more fully stated in the Terminal Essay, by straining verbum reddere verbo, but by writing as the Arab would have written in English. On this point I am all with Saint Jerome (Pref. in Jobum) “Vel verbum e verbo, vel sensum e sensu, vel ex utroque commixtum, et medic temperatum genus translationis.” My work claims to be a faithful copy of the great Eastern Saga book, by preserving intact, not only the spirit, but even the mécanique, the manner and the matter. Hence, however prosy and long drawn out be the formula, it retains the scheme of The Nights because they are a prime feature in the original. The Ráwí or reciter, to whose wits the task of supplying details is left, well knows their value: the openings carefully repeat the names of the dramatic personae and thus fix them in the hearer’s memory. Without the Nights no Arabian Nights! Moreover it is necessary to retain the whole apparatus: nothing more ill advised than Dr. Jonathan Scott’s strange device of garnishing The Nights with fancy head pieces and tail pieces or the splitting up of Galland’s narrative by merely prefixing “Nuit,” etc., ending moreover, with the ccxxxivth Night: yet this has been done, apparently with the consent of the great Arabist Sylvestre de Sacy (Paris, Ernest Bourdin). Moreover, holding that the translator’s glory is to add something to his native tongue, while avoiding the hideous hag like nakedness of Torrens and the bald literalism of Lane, I have carefully Englished the picturesque turns and novel expressions of the original in all their outlandishness; for instance, when the dust cloud raised by a tramping host is described as “walling the horizon.” Hence peculiar attention has been paid to the tropes and figures which the Arabic language often packs into a single term; and I have never hesitated to coin a word when wanted, such as “she snorted and sparked,” fully to represent the original. These, like many in Rabelais, are mere barbarisms unless generally adopted; in which case they become civilised and common currency.

Despite objections manifold and manifest, I have preserved the balance of sentences and the prose rhyme and rhythm which Easterns look upon as mere music. This “Saj’a,” or cadence of the cooing dove, has in Arabic its special duties. It adds a sparkle to description and a point to proverb, epigram and dialogue; it corresponds with our “artful alliteration” (which in places I have substituted for it) and, generally, it defines the boundaries between the classical and the popular styles which jostle each other in The Nights. If at times it appear strained and forced, after the wont of rhymed prose, the scholar will observe that, despite the immense copiousness of assonants and consonants in Arabic, the strain is often put upon it intentionally, like the Rims cars of Dante and the Troubadours. This rhymed prose may be “un English” and unpleasant, even irritating to the British ear; still I look upon it as a sine quâ non for a complete reproduction of the original. In the Terminal Essay I shall revert to the subject.

On the other hand when treating the versical portion, which may represent a total of ten thousand lines, I have not always bound myself by the metrical bonds of the Arabic, which are artificial in the extreme, and which in English can be made bearable only by a tour de force. I allude especially to the monorhyme, Rim continuat or tirade monorime, whose monotonous simplicity was preferred by the Troubadours for threnodies. It may serve well for three or four couplets but, when it extends, as in the Ghazal-cannon, to eighteen, and in the Kasidah, elegy or ode, to more, it must either satisfy itself with banal rhyme words, when the assonants should as a rule be expressive and emphatic; or, it must display an ingenuity, a smell of the oil, which assuredly does not add to the reader’s pleasure. It can perhaps be done and it should be done; but for me the task has no attractions: I can fence better in shoes than in sabots. Finally I print the couplets in Arab form separating the hemistichs by asterisks.

And now to consider one matter of special importance in the book — its turpiloquium. This stumbling-block is of two kinds, completely distinct. One is the simple, naïve and child like indecency which, from Tangiers to Japan, occurs throughout general conversation of high and low in the present day. It uses, like the holy books of the Hebrews, expressions “plainly descriptive of natural situations;” and it treats in an unconventionally free and naked manner of subjects and matters which are usually, by common consent, left undescribed. As Sir William Jones observed long ago, “that anything natural can be offensively obscene never seems to have occurred to the Indians or to their legislators; a singularity (?) pervading their writings and conversation, but no proof of moral depravity.” Another justly observes, Les peuples primitifs n’y entendent pas malice: ils appellent les choses par leurs noms et ne trouvent pas condamnable ce qui est naturel. And they are prying as children. For instance the European novelist marries off his hero and heroine and leaves them to consummate marriage in privacy; even Tom Jones has the decency to bolt the door. But the Eastern story teller, especially this unknown “prose Shakespeare,” must usher you, with a flourish, into the bridal chamber and narrate to you, with infinite gusto, everything he sees and hears. Again we must remember that grossness and indecency, in fact les turpitudes, are matters of time and place; what is offensive in England is not so in Egypt; what scandalises us now would have been a tame joke tempore Elisœ. Withal The Nights will not be found in this matter coarser than many passages of Shakespeare, Sterne, and Swift, and their uncleanness rarely attains the perfection of Alcofribas Naiser, “divin maitre et atroce cochon.” The other element is absolute obscenity, sometimes, but not always, tempered by wit, humour and drollery; here we have an exaggeration of Petronius Arbiter, the handiwork of writers whose ancestry, the most religious and the most debauched of mankind, practised every abomination before the shrine of the Canopic Gods.

In accordance with my purpose of reproducing the Nights, not virginibus puerisque, but in as perfect a picture as my powers permit, I have carefully sought out the English equivalent of every Arabic word, however low it may be or “shocking” to ears polite; preserving, on the other hand, all possible delicacy where the indecency is not intentional; and, as a friend advises me to state, not exaggerating the vulgarities and the indecencies which, indeed, can hardly be exaggerated. For the coarseness and crassness are but the shades of a picture which would otherwise be all lights. The general tone of The Nights is exceptionally high and pure. The devotional fervour often rises to the boiling point of fanaticism. The pathos is sweet, deep and genuine; tender, simple and true, utterly unlike much of our modern tinsel. Its life, strong, splendid and multitudinous, is everywhere flavoured with that unaffected pessimism and constitutional melancholy which strike deepest root under the brightest skies and which sigh in the face of heaven:—

Vita quid est hominis? Viridis floriscula mortis;

Sole Oriente oriens, sole cadente cadens.

Poetical justice is administered by the literary Kází with exemplary impartiality and severity; “denouncing evil doers and eulogising deeds admirably achieved.” The morale is sound and healthy; and at times we descry, through the voluptuous and libertine picture, vistas of a transcendental morality, the morality of Socrates in Plato. Subtle corruption and covert licentiousness are utterly absent; we find more real”vice” in many a short French roman, say La Dame aux Camélias, and in not a few English novels of our day than in the thousands of pages of the Arab. Here we have nothing of that most immodest modern modesty which sees covert implication where nothing is implied, and “improper” allusion when propriety is not outraged; nor do we meet with the Nineteenth Century refinement; innocence of the word not of the thought; morality of the tongue not of the heart, and the sincere homage paid to virtue in guise of perfect hypocrisy. It is, indeed, this unique contrast of a quaint element, childish crudities and nursery indecencies and “vain and amatorious” phrase jostling the finest and highest views of life and character, shown in the kaleidoscopic shiftings of the marvellous picture with many a “rich truth in a tale’s presence”, pointed by a rough dry humour which compares well with “wut; “the alternations of strength and weakness, of pathos and bathos, of the boldest poetry (the diction of Job) and the baldest prose (the Egyptian of today); the contact of religion and morality with the orgies of African Apuleius and Petronius Arbiter — at times taking away the reader’s breath — and, finally, the whole dominated everywhere by that marvellous Oriental fancy, wherein the spiritual and the supernatural are as common as the material and the natural; it is this contrast, I say, which forms the chiefest charm of The Nights, which gives it the most striking originality and which makes it a perfect expositor of the medieval Moslem mind.

Explanatory notes did not enter into Mr. Payne’s plan. They do with mine: I can hardly imagine The Nights being read to any profit by men of the West without commentary. My annotations avoid only one subject, parallels of European folklore and fabliaux which, however interesting, would overswell the bulk of a book whose speciality is anthropology. The accidents of my life, it may be said without undue presumption, my long dealings with Arabs and other Mahommedans, and my familiarity not only with their idiom but with their turn of thought, and with that racial individuality which baffles description, have given me certain advantages over the average student, however deeply he may have studied. These volumes, moreover, afford me a long sought opportunity of noticing practices and customs which interest all mankind and which “Society” will not hear mentioned. Grate, the historian, and Thackeray, the novelist, both lamented that the bégueulerie of their countrymen condemned them to keep silence where publicity was required; and that they could not even claim the partial licence of a Fielding and a Smollett. Hence a score of years ago I lent my best help to the late Dr. James Hunt in founding the Anthropological Society, whose presidential chair I first occupied (pp. 2–4 Anthropologia; London, Balliere, vol. i., No. I, 1873). My motive was to supply travellers with an organ which would rescue their observations from the outer darkness of manuscript, and print their curious information on social and sexual matters out of place in the popular book intended for the Nipptisch and indeed better kept from public view. But, hardly had we begun when “Respectability,” that whited sepulchre full of all uncleanness, rose up against us. “Propriety” cried us down with her brazen blatant voice, and the weak kneed brethren fell away. Yet the organ was much wanted and is wanted still. All now known barbarous tribes in Inner Africa, America and Australia, whose instincts have not been overlaid by reason, have a ceremony which they call “making men.” As soon as the boy shows proofs of puberty, he and his coevals are taken in hand by the mediciner and the Fetisheer; and, under priestly tuition, they spend months in the “bush,” enduring hardships and tortures which impress the memory till they have mastered the “theorick and practick” of social and sexual relations. Amongst the civilised this fruit of the knowledge tree must be bought at the price of the bitterest experience, and the consequences of ignorance are peculiarly cruel. Here, then, I find at last an opportunity of noticing in explanatory notes many details of the text which would escape the reader’s observation, and I am confident that they will form a repertory of Eastern knowledge in its esoteric phase. The student who adds the notes of Lane (“Arabian Society,” etc., before quoted) to mine will know as much of the Moslem East and more than many Europeans who have spent half their lives in Orient lands. For facility of reference an index of anthropological notes is appended to each volume.

The reader will kindly bear with the following technical details. Steinhaeuser and I began and ended our work with the first Bulak (“Bul.”) Edition printed at the port of Cairo in A.H. 1251 = A.D. 1835. But when preparing my Mss. for print I found the text incomplete, many of the stories being given in epitome and not a few ruthlessly mutilated with head or feet wanting. Like most Eastern scribes the Editor could not refrain from “improvements,” which only debased the book; and his sole title to excuse is that the second Bulak Edition (4 vols. A.H. 1279 = A.D. 1863), despite its being “revised and corrected by Sheik Mahommed Qotch Al-Adewi,” is even worse; and the same may be said of the Cairo Edit. (4 vols. A.H. 1297 = A. D. 1881). The Calcutta (“Calc.”) Edition, with ten lines of Persian preface by the Editor, Ahmed al-Shirwani (A.D. 1814), was cut short at the end of the first two hundred Nights, and thus made room for Sir William Hay Macnaghten’s Edition (4 vols. royal 4to) of 1839–42. This (“Mac.”), as by far the least corrupt and the most complete, has been assumed for my basis with occasional reference to the Breslau Edition (“Bres.”) wretchedly edited from a hideous Egyptian Ms. by Dr. Maximilian Habicht (1825–43). The Bayrut Text “Alif–Leila we Leila” (4 vols. at. 8vo, Beirut, 1881–83) is a melancholy specimen of The Nights taken entirely from the Bulak Edition by one Khalil Sarkis and converted to Christianity; beginning without Bismillah, continued with scrupulous castration and ending in ennui and disappointment. I have not used this missionary production.

As regards the transliteration of Arabic words I deliberately reject the artful and complicated system, ugly and clumsy withal, affected by scientific modern Orientalists. Nor is my sympathy with their prime object, namely to fit the Roman alphabet for supplanting all others. Those who learn languages, and many do so, by the eye as well as by the ear, well know the advantages of a special character to distinguish, for instance, Syriac from Arabic, Gujrati from Marathi. Again this Roman hand bewitched may have its use in purely scientific and literary works; but it would be wholly out of place in one whose purpose is that of the novel, to amuse rather than to instruct. Moreover the devices perplex the simple and teach nothing to the learned. Either the reader knows Arabic, in which case Greek letters, italics and “upper case,” diacritical points and similar typographic oddities are, as a rule with some exceptions, unnecessary; or he does not know Arabic, when none of these expedients will be of the least use to him. Indeed it is a matter of secondary consideration what system we prefer, provided that we mostly adhere to one and the same, for the sake of a consistency which saves confusion to the reader. I have especially avoided that of Mr. Lane, adopted by Mr. Payne, for special reasons against which it was vain to protest: it represents the debased brogue of Egypt or rather of Cairo; and such a word as Kemer (ez-Zeman) would be utterly un-pronounceable to a Badawi. Nor have I followed the practice of my learned friend, Reverend G. P. Badger, in mixing bars and acute accents; the former unpleasantly remind man of those hateful dactyls and spondees, and the latter should, in my humble opinion, be applied to long vowels which in Arabic double, or should double, the length of the shorts. Dr. Badger uses the acute symbol to denote accent or stress of voice; but such appoggio is unknown to those who speak with purest articulation; for instance whilst the European pronounces Mus-cat’, and the Arab villager Mas’-kat; the Children of the Waste, “on whose tongues Allah descended,” articulate Mas-kat. I have therefore followed the simple system adopted in my “Pilgrimage,” and have accented Arabic words only when first used, thinking it unnecessary to preserve throughout what is an eyesore to the reader and a distress to the printer. In the main I follow “Johnson on Richardson,” a work known to every Anglo–Orientalist as the old and trusty companion of his studies early and late; but even here I have made sundry deviations for reasons which will be explained in the Terminal Essay. As words are the embodiment of ideas and writing is of words, so the word is the spoken word; and we should write it as pronounced. Strictly speaking, the e-sound and the o-sound (viz. the Italian o-sound not the English which is peculiar to us and unknown to any other tongue) are not found in Arabic, except when the figure Imálah obliges: hence they are called “Yá al-Majhúl” and “Waw al-Majhúl” the unknown y (í) and u. But in all tongues vowel-sounds, the flesh which clothes the bones (consonants) of language, are affected by the consonants which precede and more especially which follow them, hardening and softening the articulation; and deeper sounds accompany certain letters as the sád ( ) compared with the sín ( ). None save a defective ear would hold, as Lane does, “Maulid” ( = birth-festival) “more properly pronounced ‘Molid.’” Yet I prefer Khokh (peach) and Jokh (broad cloth) to Khukh and Jukh; Ohod (mount) to Uhud; Obayd (a little slave) to Ubayd; and Hosayn (a fortlet, not the P. N. Al–Husayn) to Husayn. As for the short e in such words as “Memlúk” for “Mamluk” (a white slave), “Eshe” for “Asha” (supper), and “Yemen” for “Al-Yaman,” I consider it a flat Egyptianism, insufferable to an ear which admires the Badawi pronunciation. Yet I prefer “Shelebi” (a dandy) from the Turkish Chelebi, to “Shalabi;” “Zebdani” (the Syrian village) to “Zabdani,” and “Fes and Miknes” (by the figure Imálah) to “Fas and Miknás,”, our “Fez and Mequinez.”

With respect to proper names and untranslated Arabic words I have rejected all system in favour of common sense. When a term is incorporated in our tongue, I refuse to follow the purist and mortify the reader by startling innovation. For instance, Aleppo, Cairo and Bassorah are preferred to Halab, Kahirah and Al–Basrah; when a word is half naturalised, like Alcoran or Koran, Bashaw or Pasha, which the French write Pacha; and Mahomet or Mohammed (for Muhammad), the modern form is adopted because the more familiar. But I see no advantage in retaining,, simply because they are the mistakes of a past generation, such words as “Roc” (for Rikh),), Khalif (a pretentious blunder for Kalífah and better written Caliph) and “genie” ( = Jinn) a mere Gallic corruption not so terrible, however, as “a Bedouin” ( = Badawi).). As little too would I follow Mr. Lane in foisting upon the public such Arabisms as “Khuff” (a riding boot), “Mikra’ah” (a palm rod) and a host of others for which we have good English equivalents. On the other hand I would use, but use sparingly, certain Arabic exclamations, as “Bismillah” ( = in the name of Allah!) and “Inshallah” ( = if Allah please!), (= which have special applications and which have been made familiar to English ears by the genius of Fraser and Morier.

I here end these desultory but necessary details to address the reader in a few final words. He will not think lightly of my work when I repeat to him that with the aid of my annotations supplementing Lane’s, the student will readily and pleasantly learn more of the Moslem’s manners and customs, laws and religion than is known to the average Orientalist; and, if my labours induce him to attack the text of The Nights he will become master of much more Arabic than the ordinary Arab owns. This book is indeed a legacy which I bequeath to my fellow countrymen in their hour of need. Over devotion to Hindu, and especially to Sanskrit literature, has led them astray from those (so called) “Semitic” studies, which are the more requisite for us as they teach us to deal successfully with a race more powerful than any pagans — the Moslem. Apparently England is ever forgetting that she is at present the greatest Mohammedan empire in the world. Of late years she has systematically neglected Arabism and, indeed, actively discouraged it in examinations for the Indian Civil Service, where it is incomparably more valuable than Greek and Latin. Hence, when suddenly compelled to assume the reins of government in Moslem lands, as Afghanistan in times past and Egypt at present, she fails after a fashion which scandalises her few (very few) friends; and her crass ignorance concerning the Oriental peoples which should most interest her, exposes her to the contempt of Europe as well as of the Eastern world. When the regrettable raids of 1883–84, culminating in the miserable affairs of Tokar, Teb and Tamasi, were made upon the gallant Sudani negroids, the Bisharin outlying Sawakin, who were battling for the holy cause of liberty and religion and for escape from Turkish task-masters and Egyptian tax-gatherers, not an English official in camp, after the death of the gallant and lamented Major Morice, was capable of speaking Arabic. Now Moslems are not to be ruled by raw youths who should be at school and college instead of holding positions of trust and emolument. He who would deal with them successfully must be, firstly, honest and truthful and, secondly, familiar with and favourably inclined to their manners and customs if not to their law and religion. We may, perhaps, find it hard to restore to England those pristine virtues, that tone and temper, which made her what she is; but at any rate we (myself and a host of others) can offer her the means of dispelling her ignorance concerning the Eastern races with whom she is continually in contact.

In conclusion I must not forget to notice that the Arabic ornamentations of these volumes were designed by my excellent friend Yacoub Artin Pasha, of the Ministry of Instruction, Cairo, with the aid of the well-known writing artist, Shayth Mohammed Muunis the Cairene. My name, Al–Hajj Abdullah ( = the Pilgrim Abdallah) was written by an English calligrapher, the lamented Professor Palmer who found a premature death almost within sight of Suez.

Richard F. Burton

Wanderers’ Club, August 15, 1885.

The Story Of King Shahryar and His Brother

In the Name of Allah,
the Compassionating, the Compassionate!

Praise Be to Allah
The Beneficent King
The Creator of the Universe
Lord of the Three Worlds
Who Set Up the Firmament Without Pillars in Its Stead
and Who Stretched Out the Earth Even As A Bed
and Grace, and Prayer-Blessing Be Upon Our Lord Mohammed
Lord of Apostolic Men
and Upon his Family and Companion Train
Prayer and Blessings Enduring and Grace Which Unto the Day of Doom Shall Remain
Amen!
O Thou of the Three Worlds Sovereign!

And afterwards. Verily the works and words of those gone before us have become instances and examples to men of our modern day, that folk may view what admonishing chances befel other folk and may therefrom take warning; and that they may peruse the annals of antique peoples and all that hath betided them, and be thereby ruled and restrained:— Praise, therefore, be to Him who hath made the histories of the Past an admonition unto the Present! Now of such instances are the tales called “A Thousand Nights and a Night,” together with their far famed legends and wonders. Therein it is related (but Allah is All knowing of His hidden things and All ruling and All honoured and All giving and All gracious and All merciful 1) that, in tide of yore and in time long gone before, there was a King of the Kings of the Banu Sásán in the Islands of India and China, a Lord of armies and guards and servants and dependents.2 He left only two sons, one in the prime of manhood and the other yet a youth, while both were Knights and Braves, albeit the elder was a doughtier horseman than the younger. So he succeeded to the empire; when he ruled the land and forded it over his lieges with justice so exemplary that he was beloved by all the peoples of his capital and of his kingdom. His name was King Shahryár3, and he made his younger brother, Shah Zamán hight, King of Samarcand in Barbarian land. These two ceased not to abide in their several realms and the law was ever carried out in their dominions; and each ruled his own kingdom, with equity and fair dealing to his subjects, in extreme solace and enjoyment; and this condition continually endured for a score of years. But at the end of the twentieth twelvemonth the elder King yearned for a sight of his younger brother and felt that he must look upon him once more. So he took counsel with his Wazír4 about visiting him, but the Minister, finding the project unadvisable, recommended that a letter be written and a present be sent under his charge to the younger brother with an invitation to visit the elder. Having accepted this advice the King forthwith bade prepare handsome gifts, such as horses with saddles of gem encrusted gold; Mamelukes, or white slaves; beautiful handmaids, high breasted virgins, and splendid stuffs and costly. He then wrote a letter to Shah Zaman expressing his warm love and great wish to see him, ending with these words, “We therefore hope of the favour and affection of the beloved brother that he will condescend to bestir himself and turn his face us wards. Furthermore we have sent our Wazir to make all ordinance for the march, and our one and only desire is to see thee ere we die; but if thou delay or disappoint us we shall not survive the blow. Wherewith peace be upon thee!” Then King Shahryar, having sealed the missive and given it to the Wazir with the offerings aforementioned, commanded him to shorten his skirts and strain his strength and make all expedition in going and returning. “Harkening and obedience!” quoth the Minister, who fell to making ready without stay and packed up his loads and prepared all his requisites without delay. This occupied him three days, and on the dawn of the fourth he took leave of his King and marched right away, over desert and hill’ way, stony waste and pleasant lea without halting by night or by day. But whenever he entered a realm whose ruler was subject to his Suzerain, where he was greeted with magnificent gifts of gold and silver and all manner of presents fair and rare, he would tarry there three days,5 the term of the guest rite; and, when he left on the fourth, he would be honourably escorted for a whole day’s march. As soon as the Wazir drew near Shah Zaman’s court in Samarcand he despatched to report his arrival one of his high officials, who presented himself before the King; and, kissing ground between his hands, delivered his message. Hereupon the King commanded sundry of his Grandees and Lords of his realm to fare forth and meet his brother’s Wazir at the distance of a full day’s journey; which they did, greeting him respectfully and wishing him all prosperity and forming an escort and a procession. When he entered the city he proceeded straightway to the palace, where he presented himself in the royal presence; and, after kissing ground and praying for the King’s health and happiness and for victory over all his enemies, he informed him that his brother was yearning to see him, and prayed for the pleasure of a visit. He then delivered the letter which Shah Zaman took from his hand and read: it contained sundry hints and allusions which required thought; but, when the King had fully comprehended its import, he said, “I hear and I obey the commands of the beloved brother!” adding to the Wazir, “But we will not march till after the third day’s hospitality.” He appointed for the Minister fitting quarters of the palace; and, pitching tents for the troops, rationed them with whatever they might require of meat and drink and other necessaries. On the fourth day he made ready for wayfare and got together sumptuous presents befitting his elder brother’s majesty, and stablished his chief Wazir viceroy of the land during his absence. Then he caused his tents and camels and mules to be brought forth and encamped, with their bales and loads, attend ants and guards, within sight of the city, in readiness to set out next morning for his brother’s capital. But when the night was half spent he bethought him that he had forgotten in his palace somewhat which he should have brought with him, so he re turned privily and entered his apartments, where he found the Queen, his wife, asleep on his own carpet bed, embracing with both arms a black cook of loathsome aspect and foul with kitchen grease and grime. When he saw this the world waxed black before his sight and he said, “If such case happen while I am yet within sight of the city what will be the doings of this damned whore during my long absence at my brother’s court?” So he drew his scymitar and, cutting the two in four pieces with a single blow, left them on the carpet and returned presently to his camp without letting anyone know of what had happened. Then he gave orders for immediate departure and set out at once and began his travel; but he could not help thinking over his wife’s treason and he kept ever saying to himself, “How could she do this deed by me? How could she work her own death?,” till excessive grief seized him, his colour changed to yellow, his body waxed weak and he was threatened with a dangerous malady, such an one as bringeth men to die. So the Wazir shortened his stages and tarried long at the watering stations and did his best to solace the King. Now when Shah Zaman drew near the capital of his brother he despatched vaunt couriers and messengers of glad tidings to announce his arrival, and Shahryar came forth to meet him with his Wazirs and Emirs and Lords and Grandees of his realm; and saluted him and joyed with exceeding joy and caused the city to be decorated in his honour. When, however, the brothers met, the elder could not but see the change of complexion in the younger and questioned him of his case whereto he replied, “Tis caused by the travails of wayfare and my case needs care, for I have suffered from the change of water and air! but Allah be praised for reuniting me with a brother so dear and so rare!” On this wise he dissembled and kept his secret, adding, “O King of the time and Caliph of the tide, only toil and moil have tinged my face yellow with bile and hath made my eyes sink deep in my head.” Then the two entered the capital in all honour; and the elder brother lodged the younger in a palace overhanging the pleasure garden; and, after a time, seeing his condition still unchanged, he attributed it to his separation from his country and kingdom. So he let him wend his own ways and asked no questions of him till one day when he again said, “O my brother, I see thou art grown weaker of body and yellower of colour.” “O my brother,” replied Shah Zaman “I have an internal wound:”6 still he would not tell him what he had witnessed in his wife. Thereupon Shahryar summoned doctors and surgeons and bade them treat his brother according to the rules of art, which they did for a whole month; but their sherbets and potions naught availed, for he would dwell upon the deed of his wife, and despondency, instead of diminishing, prevailed, and leach craft treatment utterly failed. One day his elder brother said to him, “I am going forth to hunt and course and to take my pleasure and pastime; maybe this would lighten thy heart.” Shah Zaman, however, refused, saying, “O my brother, my soul yearneth for naught of this sort and I entreat thy favour to suffer me tarry quietly in this place, being wholly taken up with my malady.” So King Shah Zaman passed his night in the palace and, next morning, when his brother had fared forth, he removed from his room and sat him down at one of the lattice windows overlooking the pleasure grounds; and there he abode thinking with saddest thought over his wife’s betrayal and burning sighs issued from his tortured breast. And as he continued in this case lo! a pastern of the palace, which was carefully kept private, swung open and out of it came twenty slave girls surrounding his bother’s wife who was wondrous fair, a model of beauty and comeliness and symmetry and perfect loveliness and who paced with the grace of a gazelle which panteth for the cooling stream. Thereupon Shah Zaman drew back from the window, but he kept the bevy in sight espying them from a place whence he could not be espied. They walked under the very lattice and advanced a little way into the garden till they came to a jetting fountain amiddlemost a great basin of water; then they stripped off their clothes and behold, ten of them were women, concubines of the King, and the other ten were white slaves. Then they all paired off, each with each: but the Queen, who was left alone, presently cried out in a loud voice, “Here to me, O my lord Saeed!” and then sprang with a drop leap from one of the trees a big slobbering blackamoor with rolling eyes which showed the whites, a truly hideous sight.7 He walked boldly up to her and threw his arms round her neck while she embraced him as warmly; then he bussed her and winding his legs round hers, as a button loop clasps a button, he threw her and enjoyed her. On like wise did the other slaves with the girls till all had satisfied their passions, and they ceased not from kissing and clipping, coupling and carousing till day began to wane; when the Mamelukes rose from the damsels’ bosoms and the blackamoor slave dismounted from the Queen’s breast; the men resumed their disguises and all, except the negro who swarmed up the tree, entered the palace and closed the postern door as before. Now, when Shah Zaman saw this conduct of his sister in law he said in himself, “By Allah, my calamity is lighter than this! My brother is a greater King among the kings than I am, yet this infamy goeth on in his very palace, and his wife is in love with that filthiest of filthy slaves. But this only showeth that they all do it8 and that there is no woman but who cuckoldeth her husband, then the curse of Allah upon one and all and upon the fools who lean against them for support or who place the reins of conduct in their hands.” So he put away his melancholy and despondency, regret and repine, and allayed his sorrow by constantly repeating those words, adding, “ ’Tis my conviction that no man in this world is safe from their malice!” When supper time came they brought him the trays and he ate with voracious appetite, for he had long refrained from meat, feeling unable to touch any dish however dainty. Then he returned grateful thanks to Almighty Allah, praising Him and blessing Him, and he spent a most restful night, it having been long since he had savoured the sweet food of sleep. Next day he broke his fast heartily and began to recover health and strength, and presently regained excellent condition. His brother came back from the chase ten days after, when he rode out to meet him and they saluted each other; and when King Shahryar looked at King Shah Zaman he saw how the hue of health had returned to him, how his face had waxed ruddy and how he ate with an appetite after his late scanty diet. He wondered much and said, “O my brother, I was so anxious that thou wouldst join me in hunting and chasing, and wouldst take thy pleasure and pastime in my dominion!” He thanked him and excused himself; then the two took horse and rode into the city and, when they were seated at their ease in the palace, the food trays were set before them and they ate their sufficiency. After the meats were removed and they had washed their hands, King Shahryar turned to his brother and said, “My mind is overcome with wonderment at thy condition. I was desirous to carry thee with me to the chase but I saw thee changed in hue, pale and wan to view, and in sore trouble of mind too. But now Alham-dolillah — glory be to God! — I see thy natural colour hath returned to thy face and that thou art again in the best of case. It was my belief that thy sickness came of severance from thy family and friends, and absence from capital and country, so I refrained from troubling thee with further questions. But now I beseech thee to expound to me the cause of thy complaint and thy change of colour, and to explain the reason of thy recovery and the return to the ruddy hue of health which I am wont to view. So speak out and hide naught!” When Shah Zaman heard this he bowed groundwards awhile his head, then raised it and said, “I will tell thee what caused my complaint and my loss of colour; but excuse my acquainting thee with the cause of its return to me and the reason of my complete recovery: indeed I pray thee not to press me for a reply.” Said Shahryar, who was much surprised by these words, “Let me hear first what produced thy pallor and thy poor condition.” “Know, then, O my brother,” rejoined Shah Zaman, “that when thou sentest thy Wazir with the invitation to place myself between thy hands, I made ready and marched out of my city; but presently I minded me having left behind me in the palace a string of jewels intended as a gift to thee. I returned for it alone and found my wife on my carpet bed and in the arms of a hideous black cook. So I slew the twain and came to thee, yet my thoughts brooded over this business and I lost my bloom and became weak. But excuse me if I still refuse to tell thee what was the reason of my complexion returning.” Shahryar shook his head, marvelling with extreme marvel, and with the fire of wrath flaming up from his heart, he cried, “Indeed, the malice of woman is mighty!” Then he took refuge from them with Allah and said, “In very sooth, O my brother, thou hast escaped many an evil by putting thy wife to death,9 and right excusable were thy wrath and grief for such mishap which never yet befel crowned King like thee. By Allah, had the case been mine, I would not have been satisfied without slaying a thousand women and that way madness lies! But now praise be to Allah who hath tempered to thee thy tribulation, and needs must thou acquaint me with that which so suddenly restored to thee complexion and health, and explain to me what causeth this concealment.” “O King of the Age, again I pray thee excuse my so doing!” “Nay, but thou must.” “I fear, O my brother, lest the recital cause thee more anger and sorrow than afflicted me.” “That were but a better reason,” quoth Shahryar, “for telling me the whole history, and I conjure thee by Allah not to keep back aught from me.” Thereupon Shah Zaman told him all he had seen, from commencement to con elusion, ending with these words, “When I beheld thy calamity and the treason of thy wife, O my brother, and I resected that thou art in years my senior and in sovereignty my superior, mine own sorrow was belittled by the comparison, and my mind recovered tone and temper: so throwing off melancholy and despondency, I was able to eat and drink and sleep, and thus I speedily regained health and strength. Such is the truth and the whole truth.” When King Shahryar heard this he waxed wroth with exceeding wrath, and rage was like to strangle him; but presently he recovered himself and said, “O my brother, I would not give thee the lie in this matter, but I cannot credit it till I see it with mine own eyes.” “An thou wouldst look upon thy calamity,” quoth Shah Zaman, “rise at once and make ready again for hunting and coursing.10 and then hide thyself with me, so shalt thou witness it and thine eyes shall verify it.” “True,” quoth the King; whereupon he let make proclamation of his in tent to travel, and the troops and tents fared forth without the city, camping within sight, and Shahryar sallied out with them and took seat amidmost his host, bidding the slaves admit no man to him. When night came on he summoned his Wazir and said to him, “Sit thou in my stead and let none wot of my absence till the term of three days.” Then the brothers disguised themselves and returned by night with all secrecy to the palace, where they passed the dark hours: and at dawn they seated themselves at the lattice overlooking the pleasure grounds, when presently the Queen and her handmaids came out as before, and passing under the windows made for the fountain. Here they stripped, ten of them being men to ten women, and the King’s wife cried out, “Where art thou, O Saeed?” The hideous blackamoor dropped from the tree straightway; and, rushing into her arms without stay or delay, cried out, “I am Sa’ad al Din Saood!”11 The lady laughed heartily, and all fell to satisfying their lusts, and remained so occupied for a couple of hours, when the white slaves rose up from the handmaidens’ breasts and the blackamoor dismounted from the Queen’s bosom: then they went into the basin and, after performing the Ghusl, or complete ablution, donned their dresses and retired as they had done before. When King Shahryar saw this infamy of his wife and concubines he became as one distraught and he cried out, “Only in utter solitude can man be safe from the doings of this vile world! By Allah, life is naught but one great wrong.” Presently he added, “Do not thwart me, O my brother, in what I propose;” and the other answered, “I will not.” So he said, “Let us up as we are and depart forthright hence, for we have no concern with Kingship, and let us overwander Allah’s earth, worshipping the Almighty till we find some one to whom the like calamity hath happened; and if we find none then will death be more welcome to us than life.” So the two brothers issued from a second private postern of the palace; and they never stinted wayfaring by day and by night, until they reached a tree a middle of a meadow hard by a spring of sweet water on the shore of the salt sea. Both drank of it and sat down to take their rest; and when an hour of the day had gone by: lo! they heard a mighty roar and uproar in the middle of the main as though the heavens were falling upon the earth; and the sea brake with waves before them, and from it towered a black pillar, which grew and grew till it rose skywards and began making for that meadow. Seeing it, they waxed fearful exceedingly and climbed to the top of the tree, which was a lofty; whence they gazed to see what might be the matter. And behold, it was a Jinni,12 huge of height and burly of breast and bulk, broad of brow and black of blee, bearing on his head a coffer of crystal. He strode to land, wading through the deep, and coming to the tree whereupon were the two Kings, seated himself beneath it. He then set down the coffer on its bottom and out it drew a casket, with seven padlocks of steel, which he unlocked with seven keys of steel he took from beside his thigh, and out of it a young lady to come was seen, white-skinned and of winsomest mien, of stature fine and thin, and bright as though a moon of the fourteenth night she had been, or the sun raining lively sheen. Even so the poet Utayyah hath excellently said:—

She rose like the morn as she shone through the night

And she gilded the grove with her gracious sight:

From her radiance the sun taketh increase when

She unveileth and shameth the moonshine bright.

Bow down all beings between her hands

As she showeth charms with her veil undight.

And she floodeth cities13 with torrent tears

When she flasheth her look of leven light.

The Jinni seated her under the tree by his side and looking at her said, “O choicest love of this heart of mine! O dame of noblest line, whom I snatched away on thy bride night that none might prevent me taking thy maidenhead or tumble thee before I did, and whom none save myself hath loved or hath enjoyed: O my sweetheart! I would fief sleep a little while.” He then laid his head upon the lady’s thighs; and, stretching out his legs which extended down to the sea, slept and snored and sparked like the roll of thunder. Presently she raised her head towards the tree top and saw the two Kings perched near the summit; then she softly lifted off her lap the Jinni’s pate which she was tired of supporting and placed it upon the ground; then standing upright under the tree signed to the Kings, “Come ye down, ye two, and fear naught from this Ifrit.”14 They were in a terrible fright when they found that she had seen them and answered her in the same manner, “Allah upon thee15 and by thy modesty, O lady, excuse us from coming down!” But she rejoined by saying, “Allah upon you both, that ye come down forthright, and if ye come not, I will rouse upon you my husband, this Ifrit, and he shall do you to die by the illest of deaths;” and she continued making signals to them. So, being afraid, they came down to her and she rose be fore them and said, “Stroke me a strong stroke, without stay or delay, otherwise will I arouse and set upon you this Ifrit who shall slay you straightway.” They said to her, “O our lady, we conjure thee by Allah, let us off this work, for we are fugitives from such and in extreme dread and terror of this thy husband. How then can we do it in such a way as thou desirest?” “Leave this talk: it needs must be so;” quoth she, and she swore them by Him16 who raised the skies on high, without prop or pillar, that, if they worked not her will, she would cause them to be slain and cast into the sea. Whereupon out of fear King Shahryar said to King Shah Zaman, “O my brother, do thou what she biddeth thee do;” but he replied, “I will not do it till thou do it before I do.” And they began disputing about futtering her. Then quoth she to the twain, “How is it I see you disputing and demurring; if ye do not come forward like men and do the deed of kind ye two, I will arouse upon you the If rit.” At this, by reason of their sore dread of the Jinni, both did by her what she bade them do; and, when they had dismounted from her, she said, “Well done!” She then took from her pocket a purse and drew out a knotted string, whereon were strung five hundred and seventy17 seal rings, and asked, “Know ye what be these?” They answered her saying, “We know not!” Then quoth she; “These be the signets of five hundred and seventy men who have all futtered me upon the horns of this foul, this foolish, this filthy Ifrit; so give me also your two seal rings, ye pair of brothers.” When they had drawn their two rings from their hands and given them to her, she said to them, “Of a truth this If rit bore me off on my bride night, and put me into a casket and set the casket in a coffer and to the coffer he affixed seven strong padlocks of steel and deposited me on the deep bottom of the sea that raves, dashing and clashing with waves; and guarded me so that I might remain chaste and honest, quotha! none save himself might have connexion with me. But I have lain under as many of my kind as I please, and this wretched Jinni wotteth not that Des tiny may not be averted nor hindered by aught, and that whatso woman willeth the same she fulfilleth however man nilleth. Even so saith one of them. —

Rely not on women;

Trust not to their hearts,

Whose joys and whose sorrows

Are hung to their parts!

Lying love they will swear thee

Whence guile ne’er departs:

Take Yusuf18 for sample

‘Ware sleights and ‘ware smarts!

Iblis19 ousted Adam

(See ye not?) thro’ their arts.

And another saith:—

Stint thy blame, man! ’Twill drive to a passion without bound;

My fault is not so heavy as fault in it hast found.

If true lover I become, then to me there cometh not

Save what happened unto many in the bygone stound.

For wonderful is he and right worthy of our praise

Who from wiles of female wits kept him safe and kept him sound.”

Hearing these words they marvelled with exceeding marvel, and she went from them to the Ifrit and, taking up his head on her thigh as before, said to them softly, “Now wend your ways and bear yourselves beyond the bounds of his malice.” So they fared forth saying either to other, “Allah! Allah!” and, “There be no Majesty and there be no Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great; and with Him we seek refuge from women’s malice and sleight, for of a truth it hath no mate in might. Consider, O my brother, the ways of this marvellous lady with an Ifrit who is so much more powerful than we are. Now since there hath hap pened to him a greater mishap than that which befel us and which should bear us abundant consolation, so return we to our countries and capitals, and let us decide never to intermarry with womankind and presently we will show them what will be our action.” Thereupon they rode back to the tents of King Shahryar, which they reached on the morning of the third day; and, having mustered the Wazirs and Emirs, the Chamberlains and high officials, he gave a robe of honour to his Viceroy and issued orders for an immediate return to the city. There he sat him upon his throne and sending for the Chief Minister, the father of the two damsels who (Inshallah!) will presently be mentioned, he said, “I command thee to take my wife and smite her to death; for she hath broken her plight and her faith.” So he carried her to the place of execution and did her die. Then King Shahryar took brand in hand and repairing to the Serraglio slew all the concubines and their Mamelukes.20 He also sware himself by a binding oath that whatever wife he married he would abate her maidenhead at night and slay her next morning to make sure of his honour; “For,” said he, “there never was nor is there one chaste woman upon face of earth.” Then Shah Zaman prayed for permission to fare homewards; and he went forth equipped and escorted and travelled till he reached his own country. Mean while Shahryar commanded his Wazir to bring him the bride of the night that he might go in to her; so he produced a most beautiful girl, the daughter of one of the Emirs and the King went in unto her at eventide and when morning dawned he bade his Minister strike off her head; and the Wazir did accordingly for fear of the Sultan. On this wise he continued for the space of three years; marrying a maiden every night and killing her the next morning, till folk raised an outcry against him and cursed him, praying Allah utterly to destroy him and his rule; and women made an uproar and mothers wept and parents fled with their daughters till there remained not in the city a young person fit for carnal copulation. Presently the King ordered his Chief Wazir, the same who was charged with the executions, to bring him a virgin as was his wont; and the Minister went forth and searched and found none; so he returned home in sorrow and anxiety fearing for his life from the King. Now he had two daughters, Shahrazad and Dunyazad hight,21 of whom the elder had perused the books, annals and legends of preceding Kings, and the stories, examples and instances of by gone men and things; indeed it was said that she had collected a thousand books of histories relating to antique races and departed rulers. She had perused the works of the poets and knew them by heart; she had studied philosophy and the sciences, arts and accomplish meets; and she was pleasant and polite, wise and witty, well read and well bred. Now on that day she said to her father, “Why do I see thee thus changed and laden with cark and care? Concerning this matter quoth one of the poets. —

Tell whoso hath sorrow

Grief never shall last:

E’en as joy hath no morrow

So woe shall go past.”

When the Wazir heard from his daughter these words he related to her, from first to last, all that had happened between him and the King. Thereupon said she, “By Allah, O my father, how long shall this slaughter of women endure? Shall I tell thee what is in my mind in order to save both sides from destruction?” “Say on, O my daughter,” quoth he, and quoth she, “I wish thou wouldst give me in marriage to this King Shahryar; either I shall live or I shall be a ransom for the virgin daughters of Moslems and the cause of their deliverance from his hands and thine.”22 “Allah upon thee!” cried he in wrath exceeding that lacked no feeding, “O scanty of wit, expose not thy life to such peril! How durst thou address me in words so wide from wisdom and unfar from foolishness? Know that one who lacketh experience in worldly matters readily falleth into misfortune; and whoso considereth not the end keepeth not the world to friend, and the vulgar say:— I was lying at mine ease: nought but my officiousness brought me unease.” “Needs must thou,” she broke in, “make me a doer of this good deed, and let him kill me an he will: I shall only die a ransom for others.” “O my daughter,” asked he. “and how shall that profit thee when thou shalt have thrown away thy life?” and she answered, “O my father it must be, come of it what will!” The Wazir was again moved to fury and blamed and reproached her, ending with, “In very deed — I fear lest the same befal thee which befel the Bull and the Ass with the Husband man.” “And what,” asked she, “befel them, O my father?” Whereupon the Wazir began the

1 Allaho A’alam, a deprecatory formula, used because the writer is going to indulge in a series of what may possibly be untruths.

2 The “Sons of Sásán” are the famous Sassanides whose dynasty ended with the Arabian Conquest (A.D.641). “Island” Jazírah) in Arabic also means “Peninsula,” and causes much confusion in geographical matters.

3 Shahryár not Shahriyar (Persian) = “City-friend.” The Bulak edition corrupts it to Shahrbáz (City-hawk), and the Breslau to Shahrbán or “Defender of the City,” like Marz-ban=Warden of the Marshes. Shah Zamán (Persian)=“King of the Age:” Galland prefers Shah Zenan, or “King of women,” and the Bull edit. changes it to Shah Rummán, “Pomegranate King.” Al–Ajam denotes all regions not Arab (Gentiles opposed to Jews, Mlechchhas to Hindus, Tajiks to Turks, etc., etc.), and especially Persia; Ajami (a man of Ajam) being an equivalent of the Gr. {Greek Letters}. See Vol.. ii., p. 1.

4 Galland writes “Vizier,” a wretched frenchification of a mincing Turkish mispronunciation; Torrens, “Wuzeer” (Anglo- Indian and Gilchristian); Lane, “Wezeer”; (Egyptian or rather Cairene); Payne, “Vizier,” according to his system; Burckhardt (Proverbs), “Vizír;” and Mr. Keith–Falconer, “Vizir.” The root is popularly supposed to be “wizr” (burden) and the meaning “Minister;” Wazir al-Wuzará being “Premier.” In the Koran (chaps. xx., 30) Moses says, “Give me a Wazir of my family, Harun (Aaron) my brother.” Sale, followed by the excellent version of the Rev. J. M. Rodwell, translates a “Counsellor,” and explains by “One who has the chief administration of affairs under a prince.” But both learned Koranists learnt their Orientalism in London, and, like such students generally, fail only upon the easiest points, familiar to all old dwellers in the East.

5 This three-days term (rest-day, drest-day and departure day) seems to be an instinct-made rule in hospitality. Among Moslems it is a Sunnat or practice of the Prophet.)

6 i.e., I am sick at heart.

7 Debauched women prefer negroes on account of the size of their parts. I measured one man in Somali-land who, when quiescent, numbered nearly six inches. This is a characteristic of the negro race and of African animals; e.g. the horse; whereas the pure Arab, man and beast, is below the average of Europe; one of the best proofs by the by, that the Egyptian is not an Asiatic, but a negro partially white-washed. Moreover, these imposing parts do not increase proportionally during erection; consequently, the “deed of kind” takes a much longer time and adds greatly to the woman’s enjoyment. In my time no honest Hindi Moslem would take his women-folk to Zanzibar on account of the huge attractions and enormous temptations there and thereby offered to them. Upon the subject of Imsák = retention of semen and “prolongation of pleasure,” I shall find it necessary to say more.

8 The very same words were lately spoken in England proving the eternal truth of The Nights which the ignorant call “downright lies.”

9 The Arab’s Tue la!

10 Arab. “Sayd wa kanas”: the former usually applied to fishing; hence Sayda (Sidon) = fish-town. But noble Arabs (except the Caliph Al–Amin) do not fish; so here it means simply “sport,” chasing, coursing, birding (oiseler), and so forth.

11 In the Mac. Edit. the negro is called “Mas’úd”; here he utters a kind of war-cry and plays upon the name, “Sa’ád, Sa’íd, Sa’úd,” and “Mas’ud”, all being derived from one root, “Sa’ad” = auspiciousness, prosperity.

12 The Arab. singular (whence the French “génie”), fem. Jinniyah; the Div and Rakshah of old Guebre-land and the “Rakshasa,” or “Yaksha,” of Hinduism. It would be interesting to trace the evident connection, by no means “accidental,” of “Jinn” with the “Genius” who came to the Romans through the Asiatic Etruscans, and whose name I cannot derive from “gignomai” or “genitus.” He was unknown to the Greeks, who had the Daimon {Greek Letters}, a family which separated, like the Jinn and the Genius, into two categories, the good (Agatho-dæmons) and the bad (Kako-dæmons). We know nothing concerning the status of the Jinn amongst the pre-Moslemitic or pagan Arabs: the Moslems made him a supernatural anthropoid being, created of subtile fire (Koran chapts. xv. 27; lv. 14), not of earth like man, propagating his kind, ruled by mighty kings, the last being Ján bin Ján, missionarised by Prophets and subject to death and Judgment. From the same root are “Junún” = madness (i.e., possession or obsession by the Jinn) and “Majnún”=a madman. According to R. Jeremiah bin Eliazar in Psalm xii. 5, Adam was excommunicated for one hundred and thirty years, during which he begat children in his own image (Gen. v. 3) and these were Mazikeen or Shedeem-Jinns. Further details anent the Jinn will presently occur.

13 Arab. “Amsár” (cities): in Bull Edit. “Amtár” (rains), as in Mac. Edit. So Mr. Payne (I., 5) translates: And when she flashes forth the lightning of her glance, She maketh eyes to rain, like showers, with many a tear. I would render it, “She makes whole cities shed tears,” and prefer it for a reason which will generally influence me its superior exaggeration and impossibility.

14 Not “A-frit,” pronounced Aye-frit, as our poets have it. This variety of the Jinn, who, as will be shown, are divided into two races like mankind, is generally, but not always, a malignant being, hostile and injurious to mankind (Koran xxvii. 39).

15 i.e., “I conjure thee by Allah;” the formula is technically called “Inshád.”

16 This introducing the name of Allah into an indecent tale is essentially Egyptian and Cairene. But see Boccaccio ii. 6, and vii. 9.

17 So in the Mac. Edit.; in others “ninety.” I prefer the greater number as exaggeration is a part of the humour. In the Hindu “Kathá Sárit Ságara” (Sea of the Streams of Story), the rings are one hundred and the catastrophe is more moral, the good youth Yashodhara rejects the wicked one’s advances; she awakes the water-sprite, who is about to slay him, but the rings are brought as testimony and the improper young person’s nose is duly cut off. (Chap. Ixiii.; p. 80, of the excellent translation by Prof. C. H. Tawney: for the Bibliotheca Indica: Calcutta, 1881.) The Kathá, etc., by Somadeva (century xi), is a poetical version of the prose compendium, the “Vrihat Kathá” (Great Story) by Gunadhya (cent. vi).

18 The Joseph of the Koran, very different from him of Genesis. We shall meet him often enough in The Nights.

19 “Iblis,” vulgarly written “Eblis,” from a root meaning The Despairer, with a suspicious likeness to Diabolos; possibly from “Bales,” a profligate. Some translate it The Calumniator, as Satan is the Hater. Iblis (who appears in the Arab. version of the N. Testament) succeeded another revolting angel Al–Haris; and his story of pride refusing to worship Adam, is told four times in the Koran from the Talmud (Sanhedrim 29). He caused Adam and Eve to lose Paradise (ii. 34); he still betrays mankind (xxv. 31), and at the end of time he, with the other devils, will be “gathered together on their knees round Hell” (xix. 69). He has evidently had the worst of the game, and we wonder, with Origen, Tillotson, Burns and many others, that he does not throw up the cards.

20 A similar tale is still told at Akká (St. John d’Acre) concerning the terrible “butcher”— Jazzár (Djezzar) Pasha. One can hardly pity women who are fools enough to run such risks. According to Frizzi, Niccolò, Marquis of Este, after beheading Parisina, ordered all the faithless wives of Ferrara to be treated in like manner.

21 “Shahrázád” (Persian) = City-freer, in the older version Scheherazade (probably both from Shirzád=lion-born). “Dunyázád”=World-freer. The Bres. Edit. corrupts former to Sháhrzád or Sháhrazád, and the Mac. and Calc. to Shahrzád or Shehrzád. I have ventured to restore the name as it should be. Galland for the second prefers Dinarzade (?) and Richardson Dinazade (Dinázád = Religion — freer): here I have followed Lane and Payne; though in “First Footsteps” I was misled by Galland. See Vol. ii. p. 1.

22 Probably she proposed to “Judith” the King. These learned and clever young ladies are very dangerous in the East.

Tale of the Bull1 and the Ass.

Know, O my daughter, that there was once a merchant who owned much money and many men, and who was rich in cattle and camels; he had also a wife and family and he dwelt in the country, being experienced in husbandry and devoted to agriculture. Now Allah Most High had endowed him with under standing the tongues of beasts and birds of every kind, but under pain of death if he divulged the gift to any. So he kept it secret for very fear. He had in his cow house a Bull and an Ass each tethered in his own stall one hard by the other. As the merchant was sitting near hand one day with his servants and his children were playing about him, he heard the Bull say to the Ass, “Hail and health to thee O Father of Waking!2 for that thou enjoyest rest and good ministering; all under thee is clean swept and fresh sprinkled; men wait upon thee and feed thee, and thy provaunt is sifted barley and thy drink pure spring water, while I (unhappy creature!) am led forth in the middle of the night, when they set on my neck the plough and a something called Yoke; and I tire at cleaving the earth from dawn of day till set of sun. I am forced to do more than I can and to bear all manner of ill treatment from night to night; after which they take me back with my sides torn, my neck flayed, my legs aching and mine eyelids sored with tears. Then they shut me up in the byre and throw me beans and crushed straw,3 mixed with dirt and chaff; and I lie in dung and filth and foul stinks through the livelong night. But thou art ever in a place swept and sprinkled and cleansed, and thou art always lying at ease, save when it happens (and seldom enough!) that the master hath some business, when he mounts thee and rides thee to town and returns with thee forthright. So it happens that I am toiling and distress while thou takest thine ease and thy rest; thou sleepest while I am sleepless; I hunger still while thou eatest thy fill, and I win contempt while thou winnest good will.” When the Bull ceased speaking, the Ass turned to wards him and said, “O Broad o’ Brow,4 0 thou lost one! he lied not who dubbed thee Bull head, for thou, O father of a Bull, hast neither forethought nor contrivance; thou art the simplest of simpletons,5 and thou knowest naught of good advisers. Hast thou not heard the saying of the wise:—

For others these hardships and labours I bear

And theirs is the pleasure and mine is the care;

As the bleacher who blacketh his brow in the sun

To whiten the raiment which other men wear.6

But thou, O fool, art full of zeal and thou toilest and moilest before the master; and thou tearest and wearest and slayest thy self for the comfort of another. Hast thou never heard the saw that saith, None to guide and from the way go wide? Thou wendest forth at the call to dawn prayer and thou returnest not till sundown; and through the livelong day thou endurest all manner hardships; to wit, beating and belabouring and bad language. Now hearken to me, Sir Bull! when they tie thee to thy stinking manger, thou pawest the ground with thy forehand and rashest out with thy hind hoofs and pushest with thy horns and bellowest aloud, so they deem thee contented. And when they throw thee thy fodder thou fallest on it with greed and hastenest to line thy fair fat paunch. But if thou accept my advice it will be better for thee and thou wilt lead an easier life even than mine. When thou goest a field and they lay the thing called Yoke on thy neck, lie down and rise not again though haply they swinge thee; and, if thou rise, lie down a second time; and when they bring thee home and offer thee thy beans, fall backwards and only sniff at thy meat and withdraw thee and taste it not, and be satis fied with thy crushed straw and chaff; and on this wise feign thou art sick, and cease not doing thus for a day or two days or even three days, so shalt thou have rest from toil and moil.” When the Bull heard these words he knew the Ass to be his friend and thanked him, saying, “Right is thy rede;” and prayed that all blessings might requite him, and cried, “O Father Wakener!7 thou hast made up for my failings.” (Now8 the merchant, O my daughter, understood all that passed between them.) Next day the driver took the Bull, and settling the plough on his neck,9 made him work as wont; but the Bull began to shirk his ploughing, according to the advice of the Ass, and the ploughman drubbed him till he broke the yoke and made off; but the man caught him up and leathered him till he despaired of his life. Not the less, however, would he do nothing but stand still and drop down till the evening. Then the herd led him home and stabled him in his stall: but he drew back from his manger and neither stamped nor ramped nor butted nor bellowed as he was wont to do; whereat the man wondered. He brought him the beans and husks, but he sniffed at them and left them and lay down as far from them as he could and passed the whole night fasting. The peasant came next morning; and, seeing the manger full of beans, the crushed straw untasted and the ox lying on his back in sorriest plight, with legs outstretched and swollen belly, he was concerned for him, and said to himself, “By Allah, he hath assuredly sickened and this is the cause why he would not plough yesterday.” Then he went to the merchant and reported, “O my master, the Bull is ailing; he refused his fodder last night; nay more, he hath not tasted a scrap of it this morning.” Now the merchant farmer understood what all this meant, because he had overheard the talk between the Bull and the Ass, so quoth he, “Take that rascal donkey, and set the yoke on his neck, and bind him to the plough and make him do Bull’s work.” Thereupon the ploughman took the Ass, and worked him through the live long day at the Bull’s task; and, when he failed for weakness, he made him eat stick till his ribs were sore and his sides were sunken and his neck was hayed by the yoke; and when he came home in the evening he could hardly drag his limbs along, either fore hand or hind legs. But as for the Bull, he had passed the day lying at full length and had eaten his fodder with an excellent appetite, and he ceased not calling down blessings on the Ass for his good advice, unknowing what had come to him on his ac count. So when night set in and the Ass returned to the byte the Bull rose up before him in honour, and said, “May good tidings gladden thy heart, O Father Wakener! through thee I have rested all this day and I have eaten my meat in peace and quiet.” But the Ass returned no reply, for wrath and heart burning and fatigue and the beating he had gotten; and he repented with the most grievous of repentance; and quoth he to himself: “This cometh of my folly in giving good counsel; as the saw saith, I was in joy and gladness, nought save my officiousness brought me this sadness. But I will bear in mind my innate worth and the nobility of my nature; for what saith the poet?

Shall the beautiful hue of the Basil10 fail

Tho’ the beetle’s foot o’er the Basil crawl?

And though spider and fly be its denizens

Shall disgrace attach to the royal hall?

The cowrie,11 I ken, shall have currency

But the pearl’s clear drop, shall its value fall?

And now I must take thought and put a trick upon him and return him to his place, else I die.” Then he went aweary to his manger, while the Bull thanked him and blessed him. And even so, O my daughter, said the Wazir, thou wilt die for lack of wits; therefore sit thee still and say naught and expose not thy life to such stress; for, by Allah, I offer thee the best advice, which cometh of my affection and kindly solicitude for thee.” “O my father,” she answered, “needs must I go up to this King and be married to him.” Quoth he, “Do not this deed;” and quoth she, “Of a truth I will:” whereat he rejoined, “If thou be not silent and bide still, I will do with thee even what the merchant did with his wife.” “And what did he?” asked she. “Know then, answered the Wazir, that after the return of the Ass the merchant came out on the terrace roof with his wife and family, for it was a moonlit night and the moon at its full. Now the ter race overlooked the cowhouse and presently, as he sat there with his children playing about him, the trader heard the Ass say to the Bull, “Tell me, O Father Broad o’ Brow, what thou purposest to do to morrow?” The Bull answered, “What but continue to follow thy counsel, O Aliboron? Indeed it was as good as good could be and it hath given me rest and repose; nor will I now depart from it one little: so, when they bring me my meat, I will refuse it and blow out my belly and counterfeit crank.” The Ass shook his head and said, “Beware of so doing, O Father of a Bull!” The Bull asked, “Why,” and the Ass answered, “Know that I am about to give thee the best of counsel, for verily I heard our owner say to the herd, If the Bull rise not from his place to do his work this morning and if he retire from his fodder this day, make him over to the butcher that he may slaughter him and give his flesh to the poor, and fashion a bit of leather12 from his hide. Now I fear for thee on account of this. So take my advice ere a calamity befal thee; and when they bring thee thy fodder eat it and rise up and bellow and paw the ground, or our master will assuredly slay thee: and peace be with thee!” Thereupon the Bull arose and lowed aloud and thanked the Ass, and said, “To morrow I will readily go forth with them;” and he at once ate up all his meat and even licked the manger. (All this took place and the owner was listening to their talk.) Next morning the trader and his wife went to the Bull’s crib and sat down, and the driver came and led forth the Bull who, seeing his owner, whisked his tail and brake wind, and frisked about so lustily that the merchant laughed a loud laugh and kept laughing till he fell on his back. His wife asked him, “Whereat laughest thou with such loud laughter as this?”; and he answered her, “I laughed at a secret something which I have heard and seen but cannot say lest I die my death.” She returned, “Perforce thou must discover it to me, and disclose the cause of thy laughing even if thou come by thy death!” But he rejoined, “I cannot re veal what beasts and birds say in their lingo for fear I die.” Then quoth she, “By Allah, thou liest! this is a mere pretext: thou laughest at none save me, and now thou wouldest hide somewhat from me. But by the Lord of the Heavens! an thou disclose not the cause I will no longer cohabit with thee: I will leave thee at once.” And she sat down and cried. Whereupon quoth the merchant, “Woe betide thee! what means thy weeping? Bear Allah and leave these words and query me no more questions.” “Needs must thou tell me the cause of that laugh,” said she, and he replied, “Thou wottest that when I prayed Allah to vouchsafe me understanding of the tongues of beasts and birds, I made a vow never to disclose the secret to any under pain of dying on the spot.” “No matter,” cried she, “tell me what secret passed between the Bull and the Ass and die this very hour an thou be so minded;” and she ceased not to importune him till he was worn out and clean distraught. So at last he said, “Summon thy father and thy mother and our kith and kin and sundry of our neighbours,” which she did; and he sent for the Kazi13 and his assessors, intending to make his will and reveal to her his secret and die the death; for he loved her with love exceeding because she was his cousin, the daughter of his father’s brother, and the mother of his children, and he had lived with her a life of an hundred and twenty years. Then, having assembled all the family and the folk of his neighbourhood, he said to them, “By me there hangeth a strange story, and ’tis such that if I discover the secret to any, I am a dead man.” Therefore quoth every one of those present to the woman, “Allah upon thee, leave this sinful obstinacy and recognise the right of this matter, lest haply thy husband and the father of thy children die.” But she rejoined, “I will not turn from it till he tell me, even though he come by his death.” So they ceased to urge her; and the trader rose from amongst them and repaired to an out house to perform Wuzu ablution,14 and he purposed thereafter to return and to tell them his secret and to die. Now, daughter Shahrazad, that merchant had in his out houses some fifty hens under one cock, and whilst making ready to farewell his folk he heard one of his many farm dogs thus address in his own tongue the Cock, who was flapping his wings and crowing lustily and jumping from one hen’s back to another and treading all in turn, saying “O Chanticlear! how mean is thy wit and how shameless is thy conduct! Be he disappointed who brought thee up!15 Art thou not ashamed of thy doings on such a day as this!” “And what,” asked the Rooster, “hath occurred this day?” when the Dog answered, “Doss thou not know that our master is this day making ready for his death? His wife is resolved that he shall disclose the secret taught to him by Allah, and the moment he so doeth he shall surely die. We dogs are all a mourning; but thou clappest thy wings and clarionest thy loudest and treadest hen after hen. Is this an hour for pastime and pleasuring? Art thou not ashamed of thyself?”16 “Then by Allah,” quoth the Cock, “is our master a lack wit and a man scanty of sense: if he cannot manage matters with a single wife, his life is not worth prolonging. Now I have some fifty Dame Partlets; and I please this and provoke that and starve one and stuff another; and through my good governance they are all well under my control. This our master pretendeth to wit and wisdom, and he hath but one wife, and yet knoweth not how to manage her.” Asked the Dog, “What then, O Cock, should the master do to win clear of his strait?” “He should arise forthright,” answered the Cock, “and take some twigs from yon mulberry tree and give her a regular back basting and rib roasting till she cry:— I repent, O my lord! I will never ask thee a question as long as I live! Then let him beat her once more and soundly, and when he shall have done this he shall sleep free from care and enjoy life. But this master of ours owns neither sense nor judgment.” “Now, daughter Shahrazad,” continued the Wazir, “I will do to thee as did that husband to that wife.” Said Shahrazad, “And what did he do?” He replied, “When the merchant heard the wise words spoken by his Cock to his Dog, he arose in haste and sought his wife’s chamber, after cutting for her some mulberry twigs and hiding them there; and then he called to her, “Come into the closet that I may tell thee the secret while no one seeth me and then die.” She entered with him and he locked the door and came down upon her with so sound a beating of back and shoulders, ribs, arms and legs, saying the while, “Wilt thou ever be asking questions about what concerneth thee not?” that she was well nigh senseless. Presently she cried out, “I am of the repentant! By Allah, I will ask thee no more questions, and indeed I repent sincerely and wholesomely.” Then she kissed his hand and feet and he led her out of the room submissive as a wife should be. Her parents and all the company rejoiced and sadness and mourning were changed into joy and gladness. Thus the merchant learnt family discipline from his Cock and he and his wife lived together the happiest of lives until death. And thou also, O my daughter!” continued the Wazir, “Unless thou turn from this matter I will do by thee what that trader did to his wife.” But she answered him with much decision, “I will never desist, O my father, nor shall this tale change my purpose. Leave such talk and tattle. I will not listen to thy words and, if thou deny me, I will marry myself to him despite the nose of thee. And first I will go up to the King myself and alone and I will say to him:— I prayed my father to wive me with thee, but he refused being resolved to disappoint his lord, grudging the like of me to the like of thee.” Her father asked, “Must this needs be?” and she answered, “Even so.” Hereupon the Wazir being weary of lamenting and contending, persuading and dissuading her, all to no purpose, went up to King Shahryar and after blessing him and kissing the ground before him, told him all about his dispute with his daughter from first to last and how he designed to bring her to him that night. The King wondered with exceeding wonder; for he had made an especial exception of the Wazir’s daughter, and said to him, “O most faithful of Counsellors, how is this? Thou wottest that I have sworn by the Raiser of the Heavens that after I have gone in to her this night I shall say to thee on the morrow’s morning:— Take her and slay her! and, if thou slay her not, I will slay thee in her stead without fail.” “Allah guide thee to glory and lengthen thy life, O King of the age,” answered the Wazir, “it is she that hath so determined: all this have I told her and more; but she will not hearken to me and she persisteth in passing this coming night with the King’s Majesty.” So Shahryar rejoiced greatly and said, “’Tis well; go get her ready and this night bring her to me.” The Wazir returned to his daughter and reported to her the command saying, “Allah make not thy father desolate by thy loss!” But Shahrazed rejoiced with exceeding joy and got ready all she required and said to her younger sister, Dunyazad, “Note well what directions I entrust to thee! When I have gone in to the King I will send for thee and when thou comest to me and seest that he hath had his carnal will of me, do thou say to me:— O my sister, an thou be not sleepy, relate to me some new story, delectable and delightsome, the better to speed our waking hours;” and I will tell thee a tale which shall be our deliverance, if so Allah please, and which shall turn the King from his blood thirsty custom.” Dunyazad answered “With love and gladness.” So when it was night their father the Wazir carried Shahrazad to the King who was gladdened at the sight and asked, “Hast thou brought me my need?” and he answered, “I have.” But when the King took her to his bed and fell to toying with her and wished to go in to her she wept; which made him ask, “What aileth thee?” She replied, “O King of the age, I have a younger sister and fief would I take leave of her this night before I see the dawn.” So he sent at once for Dunyazad and she came and kissed the ground between his hands, when he permitted her to take her seat near the foot of the couch. Then the King arose and did away with his bride’s maidenhead and the three fell asleep. But when it was midnight Shahrazad awoke and signalled to her sister Dunyazad who sat up and said, “Allah upon thee, O my sister, recite to us some new story, delightsome and delectable, wherewith to while away the waking hours of our latter night.”17 “With joy and goodly gree,” answered Shahrazad, “if this pious and auspicious King permit me.” “Tell on,” quoth the King who chanced to be sleepless and restless and therefore was pleased with the prospect of hearing her story. So Shahrazad rejoiced; and thus, on the first night of the Thousand Nights and a Night, she began with the

1 In Egypt, etc., the bull takes the place of the Western ox. The Arab. word is “Taur” (Thaur, Saur); in old Persian “Tore” and Lat. “Taurus,” a venerable remnant of the days before the “Semitic” and “Aryan’> families of speech had split into two distinct growths. “Taur” ends in the Saxon “Steor” and the English “Steer ”

2 Arab. “Abú Yakzán” = the Wakener, because the ass brays at dawn.

3 Arab. “Tibn”; straw crushed under the sledge: the hay of Egypt, Arabia, Syria, etc. The old country custom is to pull up the corn by handfuls from the roots, leaving the land perfectly bare: hence the “plucking up” of Hebrew Holy Writ. The object is to preserve every atom of “Tibn.”

4 Arab. “Yá Aftah”: Al–Aftah is an epithet of the bull, also of the chameleon.

5 Arab. “Balíd,” a favourite Egyptianism often pleasantly confounded with “Wali” (a Santon), hence the latter comes to mean “an innocent,” a “ninny.”

6 From the Calc. Edit., Vol. 1., p. 29.

7 Arab. “Abu Yakzán” is hardly equivalent with “Père l’Eveillé.”

8 In Arab. the wa (x) is the sign of parenthesis.

9 In the nearer East the light little plough is carried afield by the bull or ass.

10 Ocymum basilicum, the “royal herb,” so much prized all over the East, especially in India, where, under the name of “Tulsi,” it is a shrub sacred to the merry god Krishna. I found the verses in a Ms. copy of The Nights.

11 Arab. “Sadaf,” the Kauri, or cowrie, brought from the Maldive and Lakdive Archipelago. The Kámús describes this “Wada’” or Concha Veneris as “a white shell (whence to “shell out”) which is taken out of the sea, the fissure of which is white like that of the date-stone. It is hung about the neck to avert the evil eye.” The pearl in Arab. is “Murwarid,” hence evidently “Margarita” and Margaris (woman’s name).

12 Arab. “Kat’a” (bit of leather): some read “Nat’a;” a leather used by way of table-cloth, and forming a bag for victuals; but it is never made of bull’s hide.

13 The older “Cadi,” a judge in religious matters. The Shuhúd, or Assessors, are officers of the Mahkamah or Kazi’s Court.

14 Of which more in a future page. He thus purified himself ceremonially before death.

15 This is Christian rather than Moslem: a favourite Maltese curse is “Yahrak Kiddisak man rabba-k!” = burn the Saint who brought thee up!

16 A popular Egyptian phrase: the dog and the cock speak like Fellahs.

17 i. e. between the last sleep and dawn when they would rise to wash and pray.

Tale of the Trader and the Jinni.

It is related, O auspicious King, that there was a merchant of the merchants who had much wealth, and business in various cities. Now on a day he mounted horse and went forth to re cover monies in certain towns, and the heat sore oppressed him; so he sat beneath a tree and, putting his hand into his saddle bags, took thence some broken bread and dry dates and began to break his fast. When he had ended eating the dates he threw away the stones with force and lo! an Ifrit appeared, huge of stature and brandishing a drawn sword, wherewith he approached the mer chant and said, “Stand up that I may slay thee, even as thou slewest my son!” Asked the merchant, “How have I slain thy son?” and he answered, “When thou atest dates and threwest away the stones they struck my son full in the breast as he was walking by, so that he died forthwith.”1 Quoth the merchant, “Verily from Allah we proceeded and unto Allah are we re turning. There is no Majesty, and there is no Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great! If I slew thy son, I slew him by chance medley. I pray thee now pardon me.” Rejoined the Jinni, “There is no help but I must slay thee.” Then he seized him and dragged him along and, casting him to the earth, raised the sword to strike him; whereupon the merchant wept, and said, “I commit my case to Allah,” and began repeating these couplets:—

Containeth Time a twain of days, this of blessing that of bane

And holdeth Life a twain of halves, this of pleasure that of pain.

See’st not when blows the hurricane, sweeping stark and striking strong

None save the forest giant feels the suffering of the strain?

How many trees earth nourisheth of the dry and of the green

Yet none but those which bear the fruits for cast of stone complain.

See’st not how corpses rise and float on the surface of the tide

While pearls o’price lie hidden in the deepest of the main!

In Heaven are unnumbered the many of the stars

Yet ne’er a star but Sun and Moon by eclipse is overta’en.

Well judgedst thou the days that saw thy faring sound and well

And countedst not the pangs and pain whereof Fate is ever fain.

The nights have kept thee safe and the safety brought thee pride

But bliss and blessings of the night are ‘genderers of bane!

When the merchant ceased repeating his verses the Jinni said to him, “Cut thy words short, by Allah! needs must I slay thee.” But the merchant spake him thus, “Know, O thou Ifrit, that I have debts due to me and much wealth and children and a wife and many pledges in hand; so permit me to go home and dis charge to every claimant his claim; and I will come back to thee at the head of the new year. Allah be my testimony and surety that I will return to thee; and then thou mayest do with me as thou wilt and Allah is witness to what I say.” The Jinni took sure promise of him and let him go; so he returned to his own city and transacted his business and rendered to all men their dues and after informing his wife and children of what had betided him, he appointed a guardian and dwelt with them for a full year. Then he arose, and made the Wuzu ablution to purify himself before death and took his shroud under his arm and bade farewell to his people, his neighbours and all his kith and kin, and went forth despite his own nose.2 They then began weeping and wailing and beating their breasts over him; but he travelled until he arrived at the same garden, and the day of his arrival was the head of the New Year. As he sat weeping over what had befallen him, behold, a Shaykh,3 a very ancient man, drew near leading a chained gazelle; and he saluted that merchant and wishing him long life said, “What is the cause of thy sitting in this place and thou alone and this be a resort of evil spirits?” The merchant related to him what had come to pass with the Ifrit, and the old man, the owner of the gazelle, wondered and said, “By Allah, O brother, thy faith is none other than exceeding faith and thy story right strange; were it graven with gravers on the eye corners, it were a warner to whoso would be warned.” Then seating himself near the merchant he said, “By Allah, O my brother, I will not leave thee until I see what may come to pass with thee and this Ifrit.” And presently as he sat and the two were at talk the merchant began to feel fear and terror and exceeding grief and sorrow beyond relief and ever growing care and extreme despair. And the owner of the gazelle was hard by his side; when behold, a second Shaykh approached them, and with him were two dogs both of greyhound breed and both black. The second old man after saluting them with the salam, also asked them of their tidings and said “What causeth you to sit in this place, a dwelling of the Jann?”4 So they told him the tale from beginning to end, and their stay there had not lasted long before there came up a third Shaykh, and with him a she mule of bright bay coat; and he saluted them and asked them why they were seated in that place. So they told him the story from first to last: and of no avail, O my master, is a twice told tale! There he sat down with them, and lo! a dust cloud advanced and a mighty send devil appeared amidmost of the waste. Presently the cloud opened and behold, within it was that Jinni hending in hand a drawn sword, while his eyes were shooting fire sparks of rage. He came up to them and, haling away the merchant from among them, cried to him, “Arise that I may slay thee, as thou slewest my son, the life stuff of my liver.”5 The merchant wailed and wept, and the three old men began sighing and crying and weeping and wailing with their companion. Presently the first old man (the owner of the gazelle) came out from among them and kissed the hand of the Ifrit and said, “O Jinni, thou Crown of the Kings of the Jann! were I to tell thee the story of me and this gazelle and thou shouldst consider it wondrous wouldst thou give me a third part of this merchant’s blood?” Then quoth the Jinni “Even so, O Shaykh! if thou tell me this tale, and I hold it a marvellous, then will I give thee a third of his blood.” Thereupon the old man began to tell

1 Travellers tell of a peculiar knack of jerking the date-stone, which makes it strike with great force: I never saw this “Inwá” practised, but it reminds me of the water splashing with one hand in the German baths.

2 i.e., sorely against his will.

3 Arab. “Shaykh”=an old man (primarily), an elder, a chief (of the tribe, guild, etc.), and honourably addressed to any man. Comp. among the neo Latins “Sieur,” “Signora,” “Señor,” “Senhor,” etc. from Lat. “Senior,” which gave our “Sire” and “Sir.” Like many in Arabic the word has a host of different meanings and most of them will occur in the course of The Nights. Ibrahim (Abraham) was the first Shaykh or man who became grey. Seeing his hairs whiten he cried, “O Allah what is this?” and the answer came that it was a sign of dignified gravity. Hereupon he exclaimed, “O Lord increase this to me!” and so it happened till his locks waxed snowy white at the age of one hundred and fifty. He was the first who parted his hair, trimmed his mustachios, cleaned his teeth with the Miswák (tooth-stick), pared his nails, shaved his pecten, snuffed up water, used ablution after stool and wore a shirt (Tabari).

4 The word is mostly plural = Jinnís: it is also singular = a demon; and Ján bin Ján has been noticed.

5 With us moderns “liver” suggests nothing but malady: in Arabic and Persian as in the classic literature of Europe it is the seat of passion, the heart being that of affection. Of this more presently.

The First Shaykh’s Story.

Know O Jinni! that this gazelle is the daughter of my paternal uncle, my own flesh and blood, and I married her when she was a young maid, and I lived with her well nigh thirty years, yet was I not blessed with issue by her. So I took me a concubine1 who brought to me the boon of a male child fair as the full moon, with eyes of lovely shine and eyebrows which formed one line, and limbs of perfect design. Little by little he grew in stature and waxed tall; and when he was a lad fifteen years old, it became needful I should journey to certain cities and I travelled with great store of goods. But the daughter of my uncle (this gazelle) had learned gramarye and egromancy and clerkly craft2 from her childhood; so she bewitched that son of mine to a calf, and my handmaid (his mother) to a heifer, and made them over to the herdsman’s care. Now when I returned after a long time from my journey and asked for my son and his mother, she answered me, saying “Thy slave girl is dead, and thy son hath fled and I know not whither he is sped.” So I remained for a whole year with grieving heart, and streaming eyes until the time came for the Great Festival of Allah.3 Then sent I to my herdsman bid ding him choose for me a fat heifer; and he brought me one which was the damsel, my handmaid, whom this gazelle had ensorcelled. I tucked up my sleeves and skirt and, taking a knife, proceeded to cut her throat, but she lowed aloud and wept bitter tears. Thereat I marvelled and pity seized me and I held my hand, saying to the herd, “Bring me other than this.” Then cried my cousin, “Slay her, for I have not a fatter nor a fairer!” Once more I went forward to sacrifice her, but she again lowed aloud upon which in ruth I refrained and commanded the herdsman to slay her and flay her. He killed her and skinned her but found in her neither fat nor flesh, only hide and bone; and I repented when penitence availed me naught. I gave her to the herdsman and said to him, “Fetch me a fat calf;” so he brought my son ensorcelled. When the calf saw me, he brake his tether and ran to me, and fawned upon me and wailed and shed tears; so that I took pity on him and said to the herdsman, “Bring me a heifer and let this calf go!” Thereupon my cousin (this gazelle) called aloud at me, saying, “Needs must thou kill this calf; this is a holy day and a blessed, whereon naught is slain save what be perfect pure; and we have not amongst our calves any fatter or fairer than this!” Quoth I, “Look thou upon the condition of the heifer which I slaughtered at thy bidding and how we turn from her in disappointment and she profited us on no wise; and I repent with an exceeding repentance of having killed her: so this time I will not obey thy bidding for the sacrifice of this calf.” Quoth she, “By Allah the Most Great, the Compassionating, the Compassionate! there is no help for it; thou must kill him on this holy day, and if thou kill him not to me thou art no man and I to thee am no wife.” Now when I heard those hard words, not knowing her object I went up to the calf, knife in hand — And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.4 Then quoth her sister to her, “How fair is thy tale, and how grateful, and how sweet and how tasteful!” And Shahrazad answered her, “What is this to that I could tell thee on the coming night, were I to live and the King would spare me?” Then said the King in himself, “By Allah, I will not slay her, until I shall have heard the rest of her tale.” So they slept the rest of that night in mutual em brace till day fully brake. Then the King went forth to his audience hall5 and the Wazir went up with his daughter’s shroud under his arm. The King issued his orders, and promoted this and deposed that, until the end of the day; and he told the Wazir no whit of what had happened. But the Minister wondered thereat with exceeding wonder; and when the Court broke up King Shahryar entered his palace.

1 Originally in Al–Islam the concubine (Surriyat, etc.) was a captive taken in war and the Koran says nothing about buying slave-girls. But if the captives were true believers the Moslem was ordered to marry not to keep them. In modern days concubinage has become an extensive subject. Practically the disadvantage is that the slave-girls, knowing themselves to be the master’s property, consider him bound to sleep with them; which is by no means the mistress’s view. Some wives, however, when old and childless, insist, after the fashion of Sarah, upon the husband taking a young concubine and treating her like a daughter — which is rare. The Nights abound in tales of concubines, but these are chiefly owned by the Caliphs and high officials who did much as they pleased. The only redeeming point in the system is that it obviated the necessity of prostitution which is, perhaps, the greatest evil known to modern society.

2 Arab. “Al–Kahánah”=the craft of a “Káhin” (Heb. Cohen) a diviner, soothsayer, etc.

3 Arab. “Id al-kabír = The Great Festival; the Turkish Bayrám and Indian Bakar-eed (Kine-fête), the pilgrimage-time, also termed “Festival of the Kurbán” (sacrifice) because victims are slain, Al–Zuha (of Undurn or forenoon), Al–Azhá (of serene night) and Al–Nahr (of throat-cutting). For full details I must refer readers to my “Personal Narrative of a Pilgrimage to El–Medinah and Meccah” (3 vols. 8vo, London, Longmans, 1855). I shall have often to refer to it.

4 Arab. “Kalám al-mubáh,” i.e., that allowed or permitted to her by the King, her husband.

5 Moslem Kings are expected, like the old Gabble Monarchs, to hold “Darbar” (i.e., give public audience) at least twice a day, morning and evening. Neglect of this practice caused the ruin of the Caliphate and of the Persian and Moghul Empires: the great lords were left uncontrolled and the lieges revolted to obtain justice. The Guebre Kings had two levée places, the Rozistan (day station) and the Shabistan (night-station — istán or stán being a nominal form of istádan, to stand, as Hindo-stán). Moreover one day in the week the sovereign acted as “Mufti” or Supreme Judge.

When it was the Second Night,

said Dunyazad to her sister Shahrazad, “O my sister, finish for us that story of the Merchant and the Jinni;” and she answered “With joy and goodly gree, if the King permit me.” Then quoth the King, “Tell thy tale;” and Shahrazad began in these words: It hath reached me, O auspicious King and Heaven directed Ruler! that when the merchant purposed the sacrifice of the calf but saw it weeping, his heart relented and he said to the herdsman, “Keep the calf among my cattle.” All this the old Shaykh told the Jinni who marvelled much at these strange words. Then the owner of the gazelle continued:— O Lord of the Kings of the Jann, this much took place and my uncle’s daughter, this gazelle, looked on and saw it, and said, “Butcher me this calf, for surely it is a fat one;” but I bade the herdsman take it away and he took it and turned his face homewards. On the next day as I was sitting in my own house, lo! the herdsman came and, standing before me said, “O my master, I will tell thee a thing which shall gladden thy soul, and shall gain me the gift of good tidings.”1 I answered, “Even so.” Then said he, “O merchant, I have a daughter, and she learned magic in her childhood from an old woman who lived with us. Yesterday when thou gayest me the calf, I went into the house to her, and she looked upon it and veiled her face; then she wept and laughed alternately and at last she said:— O my father, hath mine honour become so cheap to thee that thou bringest in to me strange men? I asked her:— Where be these strange men and why west thou laughing, and crying?; and she answered, Of a truth this calf which is with thee is the son of our master, the merchant; but he is ensorcelled by his stepdame who bewitched both him and his mother: such is the cause of my laughing; now the reason of his weeping is his mother, for that his father slew her unawares. Then I marvelled at this with exceeding marvel and hardly made sure that day had dawned before I came to tell thee.” When I heard, O Jinni, my herdsman’s words, I went out with him, and I was drunken without wine, from the excess of joy and gladness which came upon me, until I reached his house. There his daughter welcomed me and kissed my hand, and forthwith the calf came and fawned upon me as before. Quoth I to the herdsman’s daughter, “Is this true that thou sayest of this calf?” Quoth she, “Yea, O my master, he is thy son, the very core of thy heart.” I rejoiced and said to her, “O maiden, if thou wilt release him thine shall be whatever cattle and property of mine are under thy father’s hand.” She smiled and answered, “O my master, I have no greed for the goods nor will I take them save on two conditions; the first that thou marry me to thy son and the second that I may be witch her who bewitched him and imprison her, otherwise I cannot be safe from her malice and malpractices.” Now when I heard, O Jinni, these, the words of the herdsman’s daughter, I replied, “Beside what thou askest all the cattle and the house hold stuff in thy father’s charge are thine and, as for the daughter of my uncle, her blood is lawful to thee.” When I had spoken, she took a cup and filled it with water: then she recited a spell over it and sprinkled it upon the calf, saying, “If Almighty Allah created thee a calf, remain so shaped, and change not; but if thou be enchanted, return to thy whilom form, by command of Allah Most Highest!” and lo! he trembled and became a man. Then I fell on his neck and said, “Allah upon thee, tell me all that the daughter of my uncle did by thee and by thy mother.” And when he told me what had come to pass between them I said, “ O my son, Allah favoured thee with one to restore thee, and thy right hath returned to thee.” Then, O Jinni, I married the herdsman’s daughter to him, and she transformed my wife into this gazelle, saying:— Her shape is a comely and by no means loathsome. After this she abode with us night and day, day and night, till the Almighty took her to Himself. When she deceased, my son fared forth to the cities of Hind, even to the city of this man who hath done to thee what hath been done;2 and I also took this gazelle (my cousin) and wandered with her from town to town seeking tidings of my son, till Destiny drove me to this place where I saw the merchant sitting in tears. Such is my tale! Quoth the Jinni, “This story is indeed strange, and therefore I grant thee the third part of his blood.” There upon the second old man, who owned the two greyhounds, came up and said, “ O Jinni, if I recount to thee what befel me from my brothers, these two hounds, and thou see that it is a tale even more wondrous and marvellous than what thou hast heard, wilt thou grant to me also the third of this man’s blood?” Replied the Jinni, “Thou hast my word for it, if thine adventures be more marvellous and wondrous.” Thereupon he thus began

1 Arab. “Al–Bashárah,” the gift everywhere claimed in the East and in Boccaccio’s Italy by one who brings good news. Those who do the reverse expose themselves to a sound strappado.

2 A euphemistic formula, to avoid mentioning unpleasant matters. I shall note these for the benefit of students who would honestly prepare for the public service in Moslem lands.

The Second Shaykh’s Story.

Know, O lord of the Kings of the Jann! that these two dogs are my brothers and I am the third. Now when our father died and left us a capital of three thousand gold pieces,1 I opened a shop with my share, and bought and sold therein, and in like guise did my two brothers, each setting up a shop. But I had been in business no long while before the elder sold his stock for a thousand diners, and after buying outfit and merchandise, went his ways to foreign parts. He was absent one whole year with the caravan; but one day as I sat in my shop, behold, a beggar stood before me asking alms, and I said to him, “Allah open thee another door!”2 Whereupon he answered, weeping the while, “Am I so changed that thou knowest me not?” Then I looked at him narrowly, and lo! it was my brother, so I rose to him and welcomed him; then I seated him in my shop and put questions concerning his case. “Ask me not,” answered he; “my wealth is awaste and my state hath waxed un stated!” So I took him to the Hammam bath3 and clad him in a suit of my own and gave him lodging in my house. Moreover, after looking over the accounts of my stock in trade and the profits of my business, I found that industry had gained me one thousand diners, while my principal, the head of my wealth, amounted to two thousand. So I shared the whole with him saying, “Assume that thou hast made no journey abroad but hast remained at home; and be not cast down by thine ill luck.” He took the share in great glee and opened for himself a shop; and matters went on quietly for a few nights and days. But presently my second brother (yon other dog), also setting his heart upon travel, sold off what goods and stock in trade he had, and albeit we tried to stay him he would not be stayed: he laid in an outfit for the journey and fared forth with certain wayfarers. After an absence of a whole year he came back to me, even as my elder brother had come back; and when I said to him, “O my brother, did I not dissuade thee from travel?” he shed tears and cried, “O my brother, this be destiny’s decree: here I am a mere beggar, penniless4 and without a shirt to my back.” So I led him to the bath, O Jinni, and clothing him in new clothes of my own wear, I went with him to my shop and served him with meat and drink. Furthermore I said to him, “O my brother, I am wont to cast up my shop accounts at the head of every year, and whatso I shall find of surplusage is between me and thee.”5 So I proceeded, O Ifrit, to strike a balance and, finding two thousand diners of profit, I returned praises to the Creator (be He extolled and exalted!) and made over one half to my brother, keeping the other to my self. Thereupon he busied himself with opening a shop and on this wise we abode many days. After a time my brothers began pressing me to travel with them; but I refused saying, “What gained ye by travel voyage that I should gain thereby?” As I would not give ear to them we went back each to his own shop where we bought and sold as before. They kept urging me to travel for a whole twelvemonth, but I refused to do so till full six years were past and gone when I consented with these words, “O my brothers, here am I, your companion of travel: now let me see what monies you have by you.” I found, however, that they had not a doit, having squandered their substance in high diet and drinking and carnal delights. Yet I spoke not a word of reproach; so far from it I looked over my shop accounts once more, and sold what goods and stock in trade were mine; and, finding myself the owner of six thousand ducats, I gladly proceeded to divide that sum in halves, saying to my brothers, “These three thousand gold pieces are for me and for you to trade withal,” adding, “Let us bury the other moiety underground that it may be of service in case any harm befal us, in which case each shall take a thousand wherewith to open shops.” Both replied, “Right is thy recking;” and I gave to each one his thousand gold pieces, keeping the same sum for myself, to wit, a thousand diners. We then got ready suitable goods and hired a ship and, having embarked our merchandise, proceeded on our voyage, day following day, a full month, after which we arrived at a city, where we sold our venture; and for every piece of gold we gained ten. And as we turned again to our voyage we found on the shore of the sea a maiden clad in worn and ragged gear, and she kissed my hand and said, “O master, is there kindness in thee and charity? I can make thee a fitting return for them.” I answered, “Even so; truly in me are benevolence and good works, even though thou render me no return.” Then she said, “Take me to wife, O my master, and carry me to thy city, for I have given myself to thee; so do me a kindness and I am of those who be meet for good works and charity: I will make thee a fitting return for these and be thou not shamed by my condition.” When I heard her words, my heart yearned towards her, in such sort as willed it Allah (be He extolled and exalted!); and took her and clothed her and made ready for her a fair resting place in the vessel, and honourably entreated her. So we voyaged on, and my heart became attached to her with exceeding attachment, and I was separated from her neither night nor day, and I paid more regard to her than to my brothers. Then they were es banged from me, and waxed jealous of my wealth and the quantity of merchandise I had, and their eyes were opened covetously upon all my property. So they took counsel to murder me and seize my wealth, saying, “Let us slay our brother and all his monies will be ours;” and Satan made this deed seem fair in their sight; so when they found me in privacy (and I sleeping by my wife’s side) they took us both up and cast us into the sea. My wife awoke startled from her sleep and, forthright be coming an Ifritah,6 she bore me up and carried me to an island and disappeared for a short time; but she returned in the morning and said, “Here am I, thy faithful slave, who hath made thee due recompense; for I bore thee up in the waters and saved thee from death by command of the Almighty. Know — that I am a Jinniyah, and as I saw thee my heart loved thee by will of the Lord, for I am a believer in Allah and in His Apostle (whom Heaven bless and preserve!). Thereupon I came to thee conditioned as thou sawest me and thou didst marry me, and see now I have saved thee from sinking. But I am angered against thy brothers and assuredly I must slay them.” When I heard her story I was surprised and, thanking her for all she had done, I said, “But as to slaying my brothers this must not be.” Then I told her the tale of what had come to pass with them from the beginning of our lives to the end, and on hearing it quoth she, “This night will I fly as a bird over them and will sink their ship and slay them.” Quoth I, “Allah upon thee, do not thus, for the proverb saith, O thou who doest good to him that cloth evil, leave the evil doer to his evil deeds. Moreover they are still my brothers.” But she rejoined, “By Allah, there is no help for it but I slay them.” I humbled myself before her for their pardon, whereupon she bore me up and flew away with me till at last she set me down on the terrace roof of my own house. I opened the doors and took up what I had hidden in the ground; and after I had saluted the folk I opened my shop and bought me merchan disc. Now when night came on I went home, and there I saw these two hounds tied up; and, when they sighted me, they arose and whined and fawned upon me; but ere I knew what happened my wife said, “These two dogs be thy brothers!” I answered, “And who hath done this thing by them?” and she rejoined, “I sent a message to my sister and she entreated them on this wise, nor shall these two be released from their present shape till ten years shall have passed.” And now I have arrived at this place on my way to my wife’s sister that she may deliver them from this condition, after their having endured it for half a score of years. As I was wending onwards I saw this young man, who acquainted me with what had befallen him, and I determined not to fare hence until I should see what might occur between thee and him. Such is my tale! Then said the Jinni, “Surely this is a strange story and therefor I give thee the third portion of his blood and his crime.” Thereupon quoth the third Shaykh, the master of the mare mule, to the Jinni, “I can tell thee a tale more wondrous than these two, so thou grant me the remainder of his blood and of his offense,” and the Jinni answered, “So be it!” Then the old man began

1 Arab. “Dínár,” from the Latin denarius (a silver coin worth ten ounces of brass) through the Greek {Greek Letters}: it is a Koranic word (chaps. iii.) though its Arab equivalent is “Miskál.” It also occurs in the Kathá before quoted, clearly showing the derivation. In the “Book of Kalilah and Dimnah” it is represented by the Daric or Persian Dinár, {Greek Letters}, from Dárá= a King (whence Darius). The Dinar, sequin or ducat, contained at different times from 10 and 12 (Abu Hanifah’s day) to 20 and even 25 dirhams or drachmas, and, as a weight, represented a drachma and a half. Its value greatly varied, but we may assume it here at nine shillings or ten francs to half a sovereign. For an elaborate article on the Dinar see Yule’s “Cathay and the Way Thither” (ii., pp. 439–443).

2 The formula used in refusing alms to an “asker” or in rejecting an insufficient offer: “Allah will open to thee!” (some door of gain — not mine)! Another favourite ejaculation is “Allah Karim” (which Turks pronounce “Kyereem”) = Allah is All-beneficent! meaning Ask Him, not me.

3 The public bath. London knows the word through “The Hummums.”

4 Arab. “Dirham” (Plur. diráhim, also used in the sense of money, “siller”), the drachuma of Plautus (Trin. 2, 4, 23). The word occurs in the Panchatantra also showing the derivation; and in the Syriac Kalilah wa Dimnah it is “Zúz.” This silver piece was = 6 obols (9 3/4d.) and as a weight = 66 1/2 grains. The Dirham of The Nights was worth six “Dánik,” each of these being a fraction over a penny. The modern Greek Drachma is=one franc.

5 In Arabic the speaker always puts himself first, even if he address the King, without intending incivility.

6 A she-Ifrit, not necessarily an evil spirit.

The Third Shaykh’s Story.

Know, O Sultan and head of the Jann, that this mule was my wife. Now it so happened that I went forth and was absent one whole year; and when I returned from my journey I came to her by night, and saw a black slave lying with her on the carpet bed and they were talking, and dallying, and laughing, and kissing and playing the close buttock game. When she saw me, she rose and came hurriedly at me with a gugglet1 of water; and, muttering spells over it, she besprinkled me and said, “Come forth from this thy shape into the shape of a dog;” and I became on the instant a dog. She drove me out of the house, and I ran through the doorway nor ceased running until I came to a butcher’s stall, where I stopped and began to eat what bones were there. When the stall owner saw me, he took me and led me into his house, but as soon as his daughter had sight of me she veiled her face from me, crying out, “Doss thou bring men to me and cost thou come in with them to me?” Her father asked, “Where is the man?”; and she answered, “This dog is a man whom his wife hath ensorcelled and I am able to release him.” When her father heard her words, he said, “Allah upon thee, O my daughter, release him.” So she took a gugglet of water and, after uttering words over it, sprinkled upon me a few drops, saying, “Come forth from that form into thy former form.” And I returned to my natural shape. Then I kissed her hand and said, “I wish thou wouldest transform my wife even as she bans formed me.” Thereupon she gave me some water, saying, “As soon as thou see her asleep, sprinkle this liquid upon her and speak what words thou heardest me utter, so shall she become whatsoever thou desirest.” I went to my wife and found her fast asleep; and, while sprinkling the water upon her, I said, “Come forth from that form into the form of a mare mule.” So she became on the instant a she mule, and she it is whom thou seest with thine eyes, O Sultan and head of the Kings of the Jann! Then the Jinni turned towards her and said, “Is this sooth?” And she nodded her head and replied by signs, “In deed, ’tis the truth: for such is my tale and this is what hath be fallen me.” Now when the old man had ceased speaking the Jinni shook with pleasure and gave him the third of the mer chant’s blood. And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say. Then quoth Dunyazad, “O. my sister, how pleasant is thy tale, and how tasteful; how sweet and how grateful!” She replied, “And what is this com pared with that I could tell thee, the night to come, if I live and the King spare me?”2 Then thought the King, “By Allah, I will not slay her until I hear the rest of her tale, for truly it is wondrous.” So they rested that night in mutual embrace until the dawn. After this the King went forth to his Hall of Estate, and the Wazir and the troops came in and the court was crowded, and the King gave orders and judged and appointed and deposed, bidding and forbidding during the rest of the day. Then the Divan broke up, and King Shahryar entered his palace.

1 Arab. “Kullah” (in Egypt pron. “gulleh”), the wide mouthed jug, called in the Hijaz “baradlyah,” “daurak” being the narrow. They are used either for water or sherbet and, being made of porous clay, “sweat,” and keep the contents cool; hence all old Anglo Egyptians drink from them, not from bottles. Sometimes they are perfumed with smoke of incense, mastich or Kafal (Amyris Kafal). For their graceful shapes see Lane’s “Account of the Manners and Customs of the Modern Egyptians” (chaps. v) I quote, here and elsewhere, from the fifth edition, London, Murray, 1860.

2 “And what is?” etc. A popular way of expressing great difference. So in India:— “Where is Rajah Bhoj (the great King) and where is Gangá the oilman?”

When it was the Third Night,

And the King had had his will of the Wazir’s daughter, Dunyazad, her sister, said to her, “Finish for us that tale of thine;” and she replied, “With joy and goodly gree! It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the third old man told a tale to the Jinni more wondrous than the two preceding, the Jinni marveiled with exceeding marvel, and, shaking with delight, cried, Lo! I have given thee the remainder of the merchant’s punishment and for thy sake have I released him.” Thereupon the merchant embraced the old men and thanked them, and these Shaykhs wished him joy on being saved and fared forth each one for his own city. Yet this tale is not more wondrous than the fisherman’s story.” Asked the King, “What is the fisherman’s story?” And she answered by relating the tale of

The Fisherman and the Jinni.

It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that there was a Fisher man well stricken in years who had a wife and three children, and withal was of poor condition. Now it was his custom to cast his net every day four times, and no more. On a day he went forth about noontide to the sea shore, where he laid down his basket; and, tucking up his shirt and plunging into the water, made a cast with his net and waited till it settled to the bottom. Then he gathered the cords together and haled away at it, but found it weighty; and however much he drew it landwards, he could not pull it up; so he carried the ends ashore and drove a stake into the ground and made the net fast to it. Then he stripped and dived into the water all about the net, and left not off working hard until he had brought it up. He rejoiced thereat and, donning his clothes, went to the net, when he found in it a dead jackass which had torn the meshes. Now when he saw it, he exclaimed in his grief, “There is no Majesty, and there is no Might save in Allah the Glorious, the Great!” Then quoth he, “This is a strange manner of daily bread;” and he began re citing in extempore verse:—

O toiler through the glooms of night in peril and in pain

Thy toiling stint for daily bread comes not by might and main!

Seest thou not the fisher seek afloat upon the sea

His bread, while glimmer stars of night as set in tangled skein.

Anon he plungeth in despite the buffet of the waves

The while to sight the bellying net his eager glances strain;

Till joying at the night’s success, a fish he bringeth home

Whose gullet by the hook of Fate was caught and cut in twain.

When buys that fish of him a man who spent the hours of night

Reckless of cold and wet and gloom in ease and comfort fain,

Laud to the Lord who gives to this, to that denies his wishes

And dooms one toil and catch the prey and other eat the fishes.1

Then quoth he, “Up and to it; I am sure of His beneficence, Inshallah!” So he continued:—

When thou art seized of Evil Fate, assume

The noble soul’s long suffering: ’tis thy best:

Complain not to the creature; this be plaint

From one most Ruthful to the ruthlessest.

The Fisherman, when he had looked at the dead ass, got it free of the toils and wrung out and spread his net; then he plunged into the sea, saying, “In Allah’s name!” and made a cast and pulled at it, but it grew heavy and settled down more firmly than the first time. Now he thought that there were fish in it, and he made it fast, and doffing his clothes went into the water, and dived and haled until he drew it up upon dry land. Then found he in it a large earthen pitcher which was full of sand and mud; and seeing this he was greatly troubled and began repeating these verses2:—

Forbear, O troubles of the world,

And pardon an ye nill forbear:

I went to seek my daily bread

I find that breadless I must fare:

For neither handcraft brings me aught

Nor Fate allots to me a share:

How many fools the Pleiads reach

While darkness whelms the wise and ware.

So he prayed pardon of Allah and, throwing away the jar, wrung his net and cleansed it and returned to the sea the third time to cast his net and waited till it had sunk. Then he pulled at it and found therein potsherds and broken glass; whereupon he began to speak these verses:—

He is to thee that daily bread thou canst nor loose nor bind

Nor pen nor writ avail thee aught thy daily bread to find:

For joy and daily bread are what Fate deigneth to allow;

This soil is sad and sterile ground, while that makes glad the hind.

The shafts of Time and Life bear down full many a man of worth

While bearing up to high degree wights of ignoble mind.

So come thou, Death! for verily life is not worth a straw

When low the falcon falls withal the mallard wings the wind:

No wonder ’tis thou seest how the great of soul and mind

Are poor, and many a loser carle to height of luck designed.

This bird shall overfly the world from east to furthest west

And that shall win her every wish though ne’er she leave the nest.

Then raising his eyes heavenwards he said, “O my God!3 verily Thou wottest that I cast not my net each day save four times4; the third is done and as yet Thou hast vouchsafed me nothing. So this time, O my God, deign give me my daily bread.” Then, having called on Allah’s name,5 he again threw his net and waited its sinking and settling; whereupon he haled at it but could not draw it in for that it was entangled at the bottom. He cried out in his vexation “There is no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah!” and he began reciting:—

Fie on this wretched world, an so it be

I must be whelmed by grief and misery:

Tho’ gladsome be man’s lot when dawns the morn

He drains the cup of woe ere eve he see:

Yet was I one of whom the world when asked

“Whose lot is happiest?” oft would say “’Tis he!”

Thereupon he stripped and, diving down to the net, busied him self with it till it came to land. Then he opened the meshes and found therein a cucumber shaped jar of yellow copper,6 evidently full of something, whose mouth was made fast with a leaden cap, stamped with the seal ring of our Lord Sulayman son of David (Allah accept the twain!). Seeing this the Fisherman rejoiced and said, “If I sell it in the brass bazar ’tis worth ten golden diners.” He shook it and finding it heavy continued, “Would to Heaven I knew what is herein. But I must and will open it and look to its contents and store it in my bag and sell it in the brass market.” And taking out a knife he worked at the lead till he had loosened it from the jar; then he laid the cup on the ground and shook the vase to pour out whatever might be inside. He found nothing in it; whereat he marvelled with an exceeding marvel. But presently there came forth from the jar a smoke which spired heavenwards into aether (whereat he again marvelled with mighty marvel), and which trailed along earth’s surface till presently, having reached its full height, the thick vapour condensed, and became an Ifrit, huge of bulk, whose crest touched the clouds while his feet were on the ground. His head was as a dome, his hands like pitchforks, his legs long as masts and his mouth big as a cave; his teeth were like large stones, his nostrils ewers, his eyes two lamps and his look was fierce and lowering. Now when the Fisherman saw the Ifrit his side muscles quivered, his teeth chattered, his spittle dried up and he became blind about what to do. Upon this the Ifrit looked at him and cried, “There is no god but the God, and Sulayman is the prophet of God;” presently adding, “O Apostle of Allah, slay me not; never again will I gainsay thee in word nor sin against thee in deed.”7 Quoth the Fisherman, “O Marid,8 diddest thou say, Sulayman the Apostle of Allah; and Sulayman is dead some thousand and eight hundred years ago,9 and we are now in the last days of the world! What is thy story, and what is thy account of thyself, and what is the cause of thy entering into this cucurbit?” Now when the Evil Spirit heard the words of the Fisherman, quoth he; “There is no god but the God: be of good cheer, O Fisherman!” Quoth the Fisherman, “Why biddest thou me to be of good cheer?” and he replied, “Because of thy having to die an ill death in this very hour.” Said the Fisherman, “Thou deservest for thy good tidings the withdrawal of Heaven’s protection, O thou distant one!10 Wherefore shouldest thou kill me and what thing have I done to deserve death, I who freed thee from the jar, and saved thee from the depths of the sea, and brought thee up on the dry land?” Replied the Ifrit, “Ask of me only what mode of death thou wilt die, and by what manner of slaughter shall I slay thee.” Rejoined the Fisherman, “What is my crime and wherefore such retribution?” Quoth the Ifrit, “Hear my story, O Fisherman!” and he answered, “Say on, and be brief in thy saying, for of very sooth my life breath is my nostrils.”11 Thereupon quoth the Jinni, “Know, that I am one among the heretical Jann and I sinned against Sulayman, David son (on the twain be peace!) I together with the famous Sakhr al Jinni;”12 whereupon the Prophet sent his minister, Asaf son of Barkhiya, to seize me; and this Wazir brought me against my will and led me in bonds to him (I being downcast despite my nose) and he placed me standing before him like a suppliant. When Sulayman saw me, he took refuge with Allah and bade me embrace the True Faith and obey his behests; but I refused, so sending for this cucurbit13 he shut me up therein, and stopped it over with lead whereon he impressed the Most High Name, and gave his orders to the Jann who carried me off, and cast me into the midmost of the ocean. There I abode an hundred years, during which I said in my heart, “Whoso shall release me, him will I enrich for ever and ever.” But the full century went by and, when no one set me free, I entered upon the second five score saying, “Whoso shall release me, for him I will open the hoards of the earth.” Still no one set me free and thus four hundred years passed away. Then quoth I, “Whoso shall release me, for him will I fulfil three wishes.” Yet no one set me free. Thereupon I waxed wroth with exceeding wrath and said to myself, “Whoso shall release me from this time forth, him will I slay and I will give him choice of what death he will die; and now, as thou hast released me, I give thee full choice of deaths.” The Fisherman, hearing the words of the Ifrit, said, “O Allah! the wonder of it that I have not come to free thee save in these days!” adding, “Spare my life, so Allah spare thine; and slay me not, lest Allah set one to slay thee.” Replied the Contumacious One, “There is no help for it; die thou must; so ask me by way of boon what manner of death thou wilt die.” Albeit thus certified the Fisherman again addressed the Ifrit saying, “Forgive me this my death as a generous reward for having freed thee;” and the Ifrit, “Surely I would not slay thee save on account of that same release.” “O Chief of the Ifrits,” said the Fisherman, “I do thee good and thou requitest me with evil! in very sooth the old saw lieth not when it saith:—

We wrought them weal, they met our weal with ill;

Such, by my life! is every bad man’s labour:

To him who benefits unworthy wights

Shall hap what inapt to Ummi Amir’s neighbor.14

Now when the Ifrit heard these words he answered, “No more of this talk, needs must I kill thee.” Upon this the Fisherman said to himself, “This is a Jinni; and I am a man to whom Allah hath given a passably cunning wit, so I will now cast about to com pass his destruction by my contrivance and by mine intelligence; even as he took counsel only of his malice and his frowardness.”15 He began by asking the Ifrit, “Hast thou indeed resolved to kill me?” and, receiving for all answer, “Even so,” he cried, “Now in the Most Great Name, graven on the seal ring of Sulayman the Son of David (peace be with the holy twain!), an I question thee on a certain matter wilt thou give me a true answer?” The Ifrit replied “Yea;” but, hearing mention of the Most Great Name, his wits were troubled and he said with trembling, “Ask and be brief.” Quoth the Fisherman, “How didst thou fit into this bottle which would not hold thy hand; no, nor even thy foot, and how came it to be large enough to contain the whole of thee?” Replied the Ifrit, “What! cost not believe that I was all there?” and the Fisherman rejoined, “Nay! I will never believe it until I see thee inside with my own eyes.” And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

1 Here, as in other places, I have not preserved the monorhyme, but have ended like the English sonnet with a couplet; as a rule the last two lines contain a “Husn makta’” or climax.

2 Lit. “he began to say (or speak) poetry,” such improvising being still common amongst the Badawin as I shall afterwards note. And although Mohammed severely censured profane poets, who “rove as bereft of their senses through every valley” and were directly inspired by devils (Koran xxvi.), it is not a little curious to note that he himself spoke in “Rajaz” (which see) and that the four first Caliphs all “spoke poetry.” In early ages the verse would not be written, if written at all, till after the maker’s death. I translate “inshád” by “versifying” or “repeating” or “reciting,” leaving it doubtful if the composition be or be not original. In places, however, it is clearly improvised and then as a rule it is model doggrel.

3 Arab. “Allahumma”=Yá Allah (O Allah) but with emphasis the Fath being a substitute for the voc. part. Some connect it with the Heb. “Alihím,” but that fancy is not Arab. In Al–Hariri and the rhetoricians it sometimes means to be sure; of course; unless indeed; unless possibly.

4 Probably in consequence of a vow. These superstitious practices, which have many a parallel amongst ourselves, are not confined to the lower orders in the East.

5 i.e., saying “Bismillah!” the pious ejaculation which should precede every act. In Boccaccio (viii., 9) it is “remembering Iddio e’ Santi.”

6 Arab. Nahás asfar = brass, opposed to “Nahás” and “Nahás ahmar,” = copper.

7 This alludes to the legend of Sakhr al-Jinn), a famous fiend cast by Solomon David son into Lake Tiberias whose storms make it a suitable place. Hence the “Bottle imp,” a world-wide fiction of folk-lore: we shall find it in the “Book of Sindibad,” and I need hardly remind the reader of Le Sage’s “Diable Boiteux,” borrowed from “El Diablo Cojuelo,” the Spanish novel by Luiz Velez de Guevara.

8 Márid (lit. “contumacious” from the Heb. root Marad to rebel, whence “Nimrod” in late Semitic) is one of the tribes of the Jinn, generally but not always hostile to man. His female is “Máridah.”

9 As Solomon began to reign (according to vulgar chronometry) in B.C. 1015, the text would place the tale circ. A.D. 785, = A.H. 169. But we can lay no stress on this date which may be merely fanciful. Professor Tawney very justly compares this Moslem Solomon with the Hindu King, Vikramáditya, who ruled over the seven divisions of the world and who had as many devils to serve him as he wanted.

10 Arab. “Yá Ba’íd:” a euphemism here adopted to prevent using grossly abusive language. Others will occur in the course of these pages.

11 i. e. about to fly out; “My heart is in my mouth.” The Fisherman speaks with the dry humour of a Fellah.

12 “Sulayman,” when going out to ease himself, entrusted his seal-ring upon which his kingdom depended to a concubine “Amínah” (the “Faithful”), when Sakhr, transformed to the King’s likeness, came in and took it. The prophet was reduced to beggary, but after forty days the demon fled throwing into the sea the ring which was swallowed by a fish and eventually returned to Sulayman. This Talmudic fable is hinted at in the Koran (chaps. xxxviii.), and commentators have extensively embroidered it. Asaf, son of Barkhiya, was Wazir to Sulayman and is supposed to be the “one with whom was the knowledge of the Scriptures” (Koran, chaps. xxxvii.), i.e. who knew the Ineffable Name of Allah. See the manifest descendant of the Talmudic Koranic fiction in the “Tale of the Emperor Jovinian” (No. lix.) of the Gesta Romanorum, the most popular book of mediæval Europe composed in England (or Germany) about the end of the thirteenth century.

13 Arab. “Kumkam,” a gourd-shaped bottle of metal, china or glass, still used for sprinkling scents. Lane gives an illustration (chaps. viii., Mod. Egypt.).

14 Arab. meaning “the Mother of Amir,” a nickname for the hyena, which bites the hand that feeds it.

15 The intellect of man is stronger than that of the Jinni; the Ifrit, however, enters the jar because he has been adjured by the Most Great Name and not from mere stupidity. The seal-ring of Solomon according to the Rabbis contained a chased stone which told him everything he wanted to know.

When it was the Fourth Night,

Her sister said to her, “Please finish us this tale, an thou be not sleepy!” so she resumed:— It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the Fisherman said to the Ifrit, “I will never and nowise believe thee until I see thee inside it with mine own eyes;” the Evil Spirit on the instant shook1 and became a vapour, which condensed, and entered the jar little and little, till all was well inside when lo! the Fisherman in hot haste took the leaden cap with the seal and stoppered therewith the mouth of the jar and called out to the Ifrit, saying, “Ask me by way of boon what death thou wilt die! By Allah, I will throw thee into the sea2 be fore us and here will I build me a lodge; and whoso cometh hither I will warn him against fishing and will say:— In these waters abideth an Ifrit who giveth as a last favour a choice of deaths and fashion of slaughter to the man who saveth him!” Now when the Ifrit heard this from the Fisherman and saw him self in limbo, he was minded to escape, but this was prevented by Solomon’s seal; so he knew that the Fisherman had cozened and outwitted him, and he waxed lowly and submissive and began humbly to say, “I did but jest with thee.” But the other an swered, “Thou liest, O vilest of the Ifrits, and meanest and filthiest!” and he set off with the bottle for the sea side; the Ifrit calling out “Nay! Nay!” and he calling out “Aye! Aye!” There upon the Evil Spirit softened his voice and smoothed his speech and abased himself, saying, “What wouldest thou do with me, O Fisherman?” “I will throw thee back into the sea,” he answered; “where thou hast been housed and homed for a thousand and eight hundred years; and now I will leave thee therein till Judgment day: did I not say to thee:— Spare me and Allah shall spare thee; and slay me not lest Allah slay thee? yet thou spurn east my supplication and hadst no intention save to deal un graciously by me, and Allah hath now thrown thee into my hands and I am cunninger than thou.” Quoth the Ifrit, “Open for me and I may bring thee weal.” Quoth the Fisherman, “Thou liest, thou accursed! my case with thee is that of the Wazir of King Yunan with the sage Duban.”3 “And who was the Wazir of King Yunan and who was the sage Duban; and what was the story about them?” quoth the Ifrit, whereupon the Fisherman began to tell

1 The Mesmerist will notice this shudder which is familiar to him as preceding the “magnetic” trance.

2 Arab. “Bahr” which means a sea, a large river, a sheet of water, etc., lit. water cut or trenched in the earth. Bahri in Egypt means Northern; so Yamm (Sea, Mediterranean) in Hebrew is West.

3 In the Bull Edit. “Ruyán,” evidently a clerical error. The name is fanciful not significant.

The Tale of the Wazir and the Sage Duban.

Know, O thou Ifrit, that in days of yore and in ages long gone before, a King called Yunan reigned over the city of Fars of the land of the Roum.1 He was a powerful ruler and a wealthy, who had armies and guards and allies of all nations of men; but his body was afflicted with a leprosy which leaches and men of science failed to heal. He drank potions and he swallowed pow ders and he used unguents, but naught did him good and none among the host of physicians availed to procure him a cure. At last there came to his city a mighty healer of men and one well stricken in years, the sage Duban hight. This man was a reader of books, Greek, Persian, Roman, Arabian, and Syrian; and he was skilled in astronomy and in leechcraft, the theorick as well as the practick; he was experienced in all that healeth and that hurteth the body; conversant with the virtues of every plant, grass and herb, and their benefit and bane; and he understood philosophy and had compassed the whole range of medical science and other branches of the knowledge tree. Now this physician passed but few days in the city, ere he heard of the King’s malady and all his bodily sufferings through the leprosy with which Allah had smitten him; and how all the doctors and wise men had failed to heal him. Upon this he sat up through the night in deep thought and, when broke the dawn and appeared the morn and light was again born, and the Sun greeted the Good whose beauties the world adorn,2 he donned his handsomest dress and going in to King Yunan, he kissed the ground before him: then he prayed for the endurance of his honour and prosperity in fairest language and made himself known saying, “O King, tidings have reached I me of what befel thee through that which is in thy person; and how the host of physicians have proved themselves unavailing to abate it; and lo! I can cure thee, O King; and yet will I not make thee drink of draught or anoint thee with ointment.” Now when King Yunan heard his words he said in huge surprise, “How wilt thou do this? By Allah, if thou make me whole I will enrich thee even to thy son’s son and I will give thee sumptuous gifts; and whatso thou wishest shall be thine and thou shalt be to me a cup companion3 and a friend.” The King then robed him with a dress of honour and entreated him graciously and asked him, “Canst thou indeed cure me of this complaint without drug and unguent?” and he answered, “Yes! I will heal I thee without the pains and penalties of medicine.” The King marvelled with exceeding marvel and said, “O physician, when shall be this whereof thou speakest, and in how many days shall it take place? Haste thee, O my son!” He replied,“I hear and I obey; the cure shall begin tomorrow.” So saying he went forth from the presence, and hired himself a house in the city for the better storage of his books and scrolls, his medicines and his aromatic roots. Then he set to work at choosing the fittest drugs and simples and he fashioned a bat hollow within, and furnished with a handle without, for which he made a ball; the two being prepared with consummate art. On the next day when both were ready for use and wanted nothing more, he went up to the King; and, kissing the ground between his hands bade him ride forth on the parade ground4 there to play at pall and mall. He was accompanied by his suite, Emirs and Chamberlains, Wazirs and Lords of the realm and, ere he was seated, the sage Duban came up to him, and handing him the bat said, “Take this mall and grip it as I do; so! and now push for the plain and leaning well over thy horse drive the ball with all thy might until thy palm be moist and thy body perspire: then the medicine will penetrate through thy palm and will permeate thy person. When thou hast done with playing and thou feelest the effects of the medicine, return to thy palace, and make the Ghusl ablation5 in the Hammam bath, and lay thee down to sleep; so shalt thou be come whole; and now peace be with thee!” Thereupon King Yunan took the bat from the Sage and grasped it firmly; then, mounting steed, he drove the ball before him and gallopped after it till he reached it, when he struck it with all his might, his palm gripping the bat handle the while; and he ceased not malling the ball till his hand waxed moist and his skin, perspiring, imbibed the medicine from the wood. Then the sage Duban knew that the drugs had penetrated his person and bade him return to the palace and enter the Hammam without stay or delay; so King Yunan forthright returned and ordered them to clear for him the bath. They did so, the carpet spreaders making all haste, and the slaves all hurry and got ready a change of raiment for the King. He entered the bath and made the total ablution long and thoroughly; then donned his clothes within the Hammam and rode therefrom to his palace where he lay him down and slept. Such was the case with King Yunan, but as regards the sage Duban, he returned home and slept as usual and when morning dawned he repaired to the palace and craved audience. The King ordered him to be admitted; then, having kissed the ground between his hands, in allusion to the King he recited these couplets with solemn intonation:—

Happy is Eloquence when thou art named her sire

But mourns she whenas other man the title claimed.

O Lord of fairest presence, whose illuming rays

Clear off the fogs of doubt aye veiling deeds high famed,

Ne’er cease thy face to shine like Dawn and rise of Morn

And never show Time’s face with heat of ire inflamed!

Thy grace hath favoured us with gifts that worked such wise

As rain clouds raining on the hills by words enframed:

Freely thou lavishedst thy wealth to rise on high

Till won from Time the heights whereat thy grandeur aimed.

Now when the Sage ceased reciting, the King rose quickly to his feet and fell on his neck; then, seating him by his side he bade dress him in a sumptuous dress; for it had so happened that when the King left the Hammam he looked on his body and saw no trace of leprosy: the skin was all clean as virgin silver. He joyed thereat with exceeding joy, his breast broadened6 with delight and he felt thoroughly happy. Presently, when it was full day he entered his audience hall and sat upon the throne of his kingship whereupon his Chamberlains and Grandees flocked to the presence and with them the Sage Duban. Seeing the leach the King rose to him in honour and seated him by his side; then the food trays furnished with the daintiest viands were brought and the physician ate with the King, nor did he cease companying him all that day. Moreover, at nightfall he gave the physician Duban two thousand gold pieces, besides the usual dress of honour and other gifts galore, and sent him home on his own steed. After the Sage had fared forth King Yunan again expressed his amazement at the leach’s art, saying, “This man medicined my body from without nor anointed me with aught of ointments: by Allah, surely this is none other than consummate skill! I am bound to honour such a man with re wards and distinction, and take him to my companion and my friend during the remainder of my days.” So King Yunan passed the night in joy and gladness for that his body had been made whole and had thrown off so pernicious a malady. On the morrow the King went forth from his Serraglio and sat upon his throne, and the Lords of Estate stood about him, and the Emirs and Wazirs sat as was their wont on his right hand and on his left. Then he asked for the Sage Duban, who came in and kissed the ground before him, when the King rose to greet him and, seating him by his side, ate with him and wished him long life. Moreover he robed him and gave him gifts, and ceased not con versing with him until night approached. Then the King ordered him, by way of salary, five dresses of honour and a thousand dinars.7 The physician returned to his own house full of gratitude to the King. Now when next morning dawned the King repaired to his audience hall, and his Lords and Nobles surrounded him and his Chamberlains and his Ministers, as the white en closeth the black of the eye.8 Now the King had a Wazir among his Wazirs, unsightly to look upon, an ill omened spectacle; sor did, ungenerous, full of envy and evil will. When this Minister saw the King place the physician near him and give him all these gifts, he jaloused him and planned to do him a harm, as in the saying on such subject, “Envy lurks in every body;” and the say ing, “Oppression hideth in every heart: power revealeth it and weakness concealeth it.” Then the Minister came before the King and, kissing the ground between his hands, said, “O King of the age and of all time, thou in whose benefits I have grown to manhood, I have weighty advice to offer thee, and if I withhold it I were a son of adultery and no true born man; wherefore an thou order me to disclose it I will so do forthwith.” Quoth the King (and he was troubled at the words of the Minister), “And what is this counsel of thine?” Quoth he, “O glorious monarch, the wise of old have said:— Whoso regardeth not the end, hath not Fortune to friend; and indeed I have lately seen the King on far other than the right way; for he lavisheth largesse on his enemy, on one whose object is the decline and fall of his king ship: to this man he hath shown favour, honouring him with over honour and making of him an intimate. Wherefore I fear for the King’s life.” The King, who was much troubled and changed colour, asked, “Whom cost thou suspect and anent whom doest thou hint?” and the Minister answered, “O King, an thou be asleep, wake up! I point to the physician Duban.” Rejoined the King, “Fie upon thee! This is a true friend who is favoured by me above all men, because he cured me with some thing which I held in my hand, and he healed my leprosy which had baffled all physicians; indeed he is one whose like may not be found in these days — no, not in the whole world from furthest east to utmost west! And it is of such a man thou sayest such hard sayings. Now from this day forward I allot him a settled solde and allowances, every month a thousand gold pieces; and, were I to share with him my realm ’twere but a little matter. Perforce I must suspect that thou speakest on this wise from mere envy and jealousy as they relate of the King Sindibad.”— And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day, and ceased saying her permitted say. Then quoth Dunyazad, “O my sister, how pleasant is thy tale, and how tasteful, how sweet, and how grateful!” She replied, “And where is this compared with what I could tell thee on the coming night if the King deign spare my life?” Then said the King in himself, “By Allah, I will not slay her until I hear the rest of her tale, for truly it is wondrous.” So they rested that night in mutual embrace until the dawn. Then the King went forth to his Hall of Rule, and the Wazir and the troops came in, and the audience chamber was thronged and the King gave orders and judged and appointed and deposed and bade and forbade during the rest of that day till the Court broke up, and King Shahryar returned to his palace.

1 The geography is ultra-Shakespearean. “Fárs” (whence “Persia”) is the central Province of the grand old Empire now a mere wreck, “Rúm” (which I write Roum, in order to avoid Jamaica) is the neo-Roman or Byzantine Empire, while “Yunan” is the classical Arab term for Greece (Ionia) which unlearned Moslems believe to be now under water.

2 The Sun greets Mohammed every morning even as it dances on Easter Day for Christendom. Risum teneatis?

3 Arab. “Nadím,” a term often occurring. It denotes one who was intimate enough to drink with the Caliph, a very high honour and a dangerous. The last who sat with “Nudamá” was Al–Razi bi’llah A.H. 329 = 940. See Al–Siyuti’s famous “History of the Caliphs” translated and admirably annotated by Major H. S. Jarrett, for the Bibliotheca Indica, Calcutta, 1880.

4Arab. Maydán (from Persian); Lane generally translates it “horse course ‘ and Payne “tilting yard.” It is both and something more; an open space, in or near the city, used for reviewing troops, races, playing the Jeríd (cane-spear) and other sports and exercises: thus Al–Maydan=Gr. hippodrome. The game here alluded to is our —‘polo,” or hockey on horseback, a favourite with the Persian Kings, as all old illustrations of the Shahnamah show. Maydan is also a natural plain for which copious Arabic has many terms, Fayhah or Sath (a plain generally), Khabt (a low-lying plain), Bat’há (a low sandy flat), Mahattah (a plain fit for halting) and so forth. (Pilgrimage iii., 11.)

5 For details concerning the “Ghusl” see Night xliv.

6 A popular idiom and highly expressive, contrasting the upright bearing of the self-satisfied man with the slouch of the miserable and the skirt-trailing of the woman in grief. I do not see the necessity of such Latinisms as “dilated” or “expanded.”

7 All these highest signs of favour foreshow, in Eastern tales and in Eastern life, an approaching downfall of the heaviest; they are so great that they arouse general jealousy. Many of us have seen this at native courts.

8 This phrase is contained in the word “ihdák” =encompassing, as the conjunctive does the pupil.

When it was the Fifth Night,

Her sister said, “Do you finish for us thy story if thou be not sleepy,” and she resumed:— It hath reached me, O auspicious King and mighty Monarch, that King Yunan said to his Minister, “O Wazir, thou art one whom the evil spirit of envy hath possessed because of this physician, and thou plottest for my putting him to death, after which I should repent me full sorely, even as repented King Sindibad for killing his falcon.” Quoth the Wazir, Pardon me, O King of the age, how was that?” So the King began the story of

King Sindibad and his Falcon.

It is said (but Allah is All knowing!1) that there was a King of the Kings of Fars, who was fond of pleasuring and diversion, especially coursing end hunting. He had reared a falcon which he carried all night on his fist, and whenever he went a chasing he took with him this bird; and he bade make for her a golden cuplet hung around her neck to give her drink therefrom. One day as the King was sitting quietly in his palace, behold, the high falcaner of the household suddenly addressed him, “O King of the age, this is indeed a day fit for birding.” The King gave orders accordingly and set out taking the hawk on fist; and they fared merrily forwards till they made a Wady2 where they planted a circle of nets for the chase; when lo! a gazelle came within the toils and the King cried, “Whoso alloweth yon gazelle to spring over his head and loseth her, that man will I surely slay.” They narrowed the nets about the gazelle when she drew near the King’s station; and, planting herself on her hind quarter, crossed her forehand over her breast, as if about to kiss the earth before the King. He bowed his brow low in acknowledgment to the beast; when she bounded high over his head and took the way of the waste. Thereupon the King turned towards his troops and seeing them winking and pointing at him, he asked, “O Wazir, what are my men saying?” and the Minister answered, “They say thou didst proclaim that whoso alloweth the gazelle to spring over his head, that man shall be put to death.” Quoth the King, “Now, by the life of my head! I will follow her up till I bring her back.” So he set off gallopping on the gazelle’s trail and gave not over tracking till he reached the foot hills of a mountain chain where the quarry made for a cave. Then the King cast off at it the falcon which presently caught it up and, swooping down, drove her talons into its eyes, bewildering and blinding it;3 and the King drew his mace and struck a blow which rolled the game over. He then dismounted; and, after cutting the antelope’s throat and flaying the body, hung it to the pommel of his saddle. Now the time was that of the siesta4 and the wold was parched and dry, nor was any water to be found anywhere; and the King thirsted and his horse also; so he went about searching till he saw a tree dropping water, as it were melted butter, from its boughs. Thereupon the King who wore gauntlets of skin to guard him against poisons took the cup from the hawk’s neck, and filling it with the water set it before the bird, and lo! the falcon struck it with her pounces and upset the liquid. The King filled it a second time with the dripping drops, thinking his hawk was thirsty; but the bird again struck at the cup with her talons and overturned it. Then the King waxed wroth with the hawk and filling the cup a third time offered it to his horse: but the hawk upset it with a flirt of wings. Quoth the King, “Allah confound thee, thou unluckiest of flying things! thou keepest me from drinking, and thou deprivest thyself also, and the horse.” So he struck the falcon with his sword and cut off her wing; but the bird raised her head and said by signs, “Look at that which hangeth on the tree!” The King lifted up his eyes accordingly and caught sight of a brood of vipers, whose poison drops he mistook for water; thereupon he repented him of having struck off his falcon’s wing, and mounting horse, fared on with the dead gazelle, till he arrived at the camp, his starting place. He threw the quarry to the cook saying, Take and broil it,” and sat down on his chair, the falcon being still on his fist when suddenly the bird gasped and died; whereupon the King cried out in sorrow and remorse for having slain that falcon which had saved his life. Now this is what occurred in the case of King Sindibad; and I am assured that were I to do as thou desirest I should repent even as the man who killed his parrot.” Quoth the Wazir, “And how was that?” And the King began to tell

1 I have noted this formula, which is used even in conversation when about to relate some great unfact.

2 We are obliged to English the word by “valley,” which is about as correct as the “brook Kedron,” applied to the grisliest of ravines. The Wady (in old Coptic wah, oah, whence “Oasis”) is the bed of a watercourse which flows only after rains. I have rendered it by “Fiumara” (Pilgrimage i., 5, and ii., 196, etc.), an Italian or rather a Sicilian word which exactly describes the “wady.”

3 I have described this scene which Mr. T. Wolf illustrated by an excellent lithograph in “Falconry, etc.” (London, Van Voorst, MDCCCLII.)

4 Arab. “Kaylúlah,” mid-day sleep; called siesta from the sixth canonical hour.

The Tale of the Husband and the Parrot.1

A certain man and a merchant to boot had married a fair wife, a woman of perfect beauty and grace, symmetry and loveliness, of whom he was mad-jealous, and who contrived successfully to keep him from travel. At last an occasion compelling him to leave her, he went to the bird market and bought him for one hundred gold pieces a she parrot which he set in his house to act as duenna, expecting her to acquaint him on his return with what had passed during the whole time of his absence; for the bird was kenning and cunning and never forgot what she had seen and heard. Now his fair wife had fallen in love with a young Turk, 2 who used to visit her, and she feasted him by day and lay with him by night. When the man had made his journey and won his wish he came home; and, at once causing the Parrot be brought to him, questioned her concerning the conduct of his consort whilst he was in foreign parts. Quoth she, “Thy wife hath a man friend who passed every night with her during thine absence.” Thereupon the husband went to his wife in a violent rage and bashed her with a bashing severe enough to satisfy any body. The woman, suspecting that one of the slave girls had been tattling to the master, called them together and questioned them upon their oaths, when all swore that they had kept the secret, but that the Parrot had not, adding, “And we heard her with our own ears.” Upon this the woman bade one of the girls to set a hand mill under the cage and grind therewith and a second to sprinkle water through the cage roof and a third to run about, right and left, dashing a mirror of bright steel through the livelong night. Next morning when the husband returned home after being entertained by one of his friends, he bade bring the Parrot before him and asked what had taken place whilst he was away. “Pardon me, O my master,” quoth the bird, “I could neither hear nor see aught by reason of the exceeding murk and the thunder and lightning which lasted throughout the night.” As it happened to be the summer tide the master was astounded and cried, “But we are now in mid Tammuz,3 and this is not the time for rains and storms.” “Ay, by Allah,” rejoined the bird, “I saw with these eyes what my tongue hath told thee.” Upon this the man, not knowing the case nor smoking the plot, waxed exceeding wroth; and, holding that his wife had been wrongously accused, put forth his hand and pulling the Parrot from her cage dashed her upon the ground with such force that he killed her on the spot. Some days after wards one of his slave girls confessed to him the whole truth,4 yet would he not believe it till he saw the young Turk, his wife’s lover, coming out of her chamber, when he bared his blade 5 and slew him by a blow on the back of the neck; and he did the same by the adulteress; and thus the twain, laden with mortal sin, went straightways to Eternal Fire. Then the merchant knew that the Parrot had told him the truth anent all she had seen and he mourned grievously for her loss, when mourning availed him not. The Minister, hearing the words of King Yunan, rejoined, ‘O Monarch, high in dignity, and what harm have I done him, or what evil have I seen from him that I should compass his death? I would not do this thing, save to serve thee, and soon shalt thou sight that it is right; and if thou accept my advice thou shalt be saved, otherwise thou shalt be destroyed even as a certain Wazir who acted treacherously by the young Prince.” Asked the King, “How was that?” and the Minister thus began

1 This parrot-story is world-wide in folk-lore and the belief in metempsychosis, which prevails more or less over all the East, there lends it probability. The “Book of Sindibad” (see Night dlxxix. and “The Academy,” Sept. 20, 1884, No. 646) converts it into the “Story of the Confectioner, his Wife and the Parrot,” and it is the base of the Hindostani text — book, “Tota–Kaháni” (Parrot-chat), an abridgement of the Tutinámah (Parrot-book) of Nakhshabi (circ. A.D. 1300), a congener of the Sanskrit “Suka Saptati,” or Seventy Parrot-stories. The tale is not in the Bull. or Mac. Edits. but occurs in the Bresl. (i., pp. 90, 91) much mutilated; and better in the Calc. Edit I cannot here refrain from noticing how vilely the twelve vols. of the Breslau Edit have been edited; even a table of contents being absent from the first four volumes.

2 The young “Turk” is probably a late addition, as it does not appear in many of the Mss., e. g. the Bresl. Edit. The wife usually spreads a cloth over the cage; this in the Turkish translation becomes a piece of leather.

3 The Hebrew–Syrian month July used to express the height of summer. As Herodotus tells us (ii. 4) the Egyptians claimed to be the discoverers of the solar year and the portioners of its course into twelve parts.

4 This proceeding is thoroughly characteristic of the servile class; they conscientiously conceal everything from the master till he finds a clew; after which they tell him everything and something more.

5 Until late years, merchants and shopkeepers in the nearer East all carried and held it a disgrace to leave the house unarmed.

The Tale of the Prince and the Ogress.

A certain King, who had a son over much given to hunting and coursing, ordered one of his Wazirs to be in attendance upon him whithersoever he might wend. One day the youth set out for the chase accompanied by his father’s Minister; and, as they jogged on together, a big wild beast came in sight. Cried the Wazir to the King’s son, “Up and at yon noble quarry!” So the Prince followed it until he was lost to every eye and the chase got away from him in the waste; whereby he was confused and he knew not which way to turn, when lo! a damsel appeared ahead and she was in tears. The King’s son asked, “Who art thou?” and she answered, “I am daughter to a King among the Kings of Hind, and I was travelling with a caravan in the desert when drowsiness overcame me, and I fell from my beast unwittingly whereby I am cut off from my people and sore bewildered.” The Prince, hearing these words, pitied her case and, mounting her on his horse’s crupper, travelled until he passed by an old ruin 1, when the damsel said to him, “O my master, I wish to obey a call of nature”: he therefore set her down at the ruin where she delayed so long that the King’s son thought that she was only wasting time; so he followed her without her knowledge and behold, she was a Ghulah,2 a wicked Ogress, who was saying to her brood, “O my children, this day I bring you a fine fat youth, 3 for dinner;” whereto they answered, “Bring him quick to us, O our mother, that we may browse upon him our bellies full.” The Prince hearing their talk, made sure of death and his side muscles quivered in fear for his life, so he turned away and was about to fly. The Ghulah came out and seeing him in sore affright (for he was trembling in every limb? cried, “Wherefore art thou afraid?” and he replied, “I have hit upon an enemy whom I greatly fear.” Asked the Ghulah, “Diddest thou not say:— I am a King’s son?” and he answered, “Even so.” Then quoth she, “Why cost not give thine enemy something of money and so satisfy him?” Quoth he, “He will not be satisfied with my purse but only with my life, and I mortally fear him and am a man under oppression.” She replied, “If thou be so distressed, as thou deemest, ask aid against him from Allah, who will surely protect thee from his ill doing and from the evil whereof thou art afraid.” Then the Prince raised his eyes heavenwards and cried, “O Thou who answerest the necessitous when he calleth upon Thee and dispellest his distress; O my God! grant me victory over my foe and turn him from me, for Thou over all things art Almighty.” The Ghulah, hearing his prayer, turned away from him, and the Prince returned to his father, and told him the tale of the Wazir; whereupon the King summoned the Minister to his presence and then and there slew him. Thou likewise, O King, if thou continue to trust this leach, shalt be made to die the worst of deaths. He verily thou madest much of and whom thou entreatedest as an intimate, will work thy destruction. Seest thou not how he healed the disease from outside thy body by something grasped in thy hand? Be not assured that he will not destroy thee by something held in like manner! Replied King Yunan, “Thou hast spoken sooth, O Wazir, it may well be as thou hintest O my well advising Minister; and belike this Sage hath come as a spy searching to put me to death; for assuredly if he cured me by a something held in my hand, he can kill me by a something given me to smell.” Then asked King Yunan, “O Minister, what must be done with him?” and the Wazir answered, “Send after him this very instant and summon him to thy presence; and when he shall come strike him across the neck; and thus shalt thou rid thyself of him and his wickedness, and deceive him ere he can I deceive thee.” ‘Thou hast again spoken sooth, O Wazir,” said the King and sent one to call the Sage who came in joyful mood for he knew not what had appointed for him the Compassionate; as a certain poet saith by way of illustration:—

O Thou who fearest Fate, confiding fare

Trust all to Him who built the world and wait:

What Fate saith “Be” perforce must be, my lord!

And safe art thou from th undecreed of Fate.

As Duban the physician entered he addressed the King in these lines:—

An fail I of my thanks to thee nor thank thee day by day

For whom com posed I prose and verse, for whom my say and lay?

Thou lavishedst thy generous gifts ere they were craved by me

Thou lavishedst thy boons unsought sans pretext or delay:

How shall I stint my praise of thee, how shall I cease to laud

The grace of thee in secresy and patentest display?

Nay; I will thank thy benefits, for aye thy favours lie

Light on my thought and tongue, though heavy on my back they weigh.

And he said further on the same theme:—

Turn thee from grief nor care a jot!

Commit thy needs to Fate and Lot!

Enjoy the Present passing well

And let the Past be clean forgot

For whatso haply seemeth worse

Shall work thy weal as Allah wot

Allah shall do whate’er He wills

And in His will oppose Him not.

And further still. —

To th’ All wise Subtle One trust worldly things

Rest thee from all whereto the worldling clings:

Learn wisely well naught cometh by thy will

But e’en as willeth Allah, King of Kings.

And lastly. —

Gladsome and gay forget thine every grief

Full often grief the wisest hearts outwore:

Thought is but folly in the feeble slave

Shun it and so be saved evermore.

Said the King for sole return, “Knowest thou why I have summoned thee?” and the Sage replied, “Allah Most Highest alone kenneth hidden things!” But the King rejoined, “I summoned thee only to take thy life and utterly to destroy thee.” Duban the Wise wondered at this strange address with exceeding wonder and asked, “O King, and wherefore wouldest thou slay me, and what ill have I done thee?” and the King answered, “Men tell me thou art a spy sent hither with intent to slay me; and lo! I will kill thee ere I be killed by thee;” then he called to his Sworder, and said, “Strike me off the head of this traitor and deliver us from his evil practices.” Quoth the Sage, “Spare me and Allah will spare thee; slay me not or Allah shall slay thee.” And he repeated to him these very words, even as I to thee, O Ifrit, and yet thou wouldst not let me go, being bent upon my death. King Yunan only rejoined, “I shall not be safe without slaying thee; for, as thou healedst me by something held in hand, so am I not secure against thy killing me by something given me to smell or otherwise.” Said the physician, “This then, O King, is thy requital and reward; thou returnest only evil for good.” The King replied, “There is no help for it; die thou must and without delay.” Now when the physician was certified that the King would slay him without waiting, he wept and regretted the good he had done to other than the good. As one hath said on this subject:—

Of wit and wisdom is Maymunah4 bare

Whose sire in wisdom all the wits outstrippeth:

Man may not tread on mud or dust or clay

Save by good sense, else trippeth he and slippeth.

Hereupon the Sworder stepped forward and bound the Sage Duban’s eyes and bared his blade, saying to the King, “By thy leave;” while the physician wept and cried, “Spare me and Allah will spare thee, and slay me not or Allah shall slay thee,” and began repeating:—

I was kind and ’scaped not, they were cruel and escaped;

And my kindness only led me to Ruination Hall,

If I live I’ll ne’er be kind; if I die, then all be damned

Who follow me, and curses their kindliness befal.

“Is this,” continued Duban, “the return I meet from thee? Thou givest me, meseems, but crocodile boon.” Quoth the King,“What is the tale of the crocodile?”, and quoth the physician, “Impossible for me to tell it in this my state; Allah upon thee, spare me, as thou hopest Allah shall spare thee.” And he wept with ex ceeding weeping. Then one of the King’s favourites stood up and said, “O King! grant me the blood of this physician; we have never seen him sin against thee, or doing aught save healing thee from a disease which baffled every leach and man of science.” Said the King, “Ye wot not the cause of my putting to death this physician, and this it is. If I spare him, I doom myself to certain death; for one who healed me of such a malady by something held in my hand, surely can slay me by something held to my nose; and I fear lest he kill me for a price, since haply he is some spy whose sole purpose in coming hither was to compass my destruction. So there is no help for it; die he must, and then only shall I be sure of my own life.” Again cried Duban, “Spare me and Allah shall spare thee; and slay me not or Allah shall slay thee.” But it was in vain. Now when the physician, O Ifrit, knew for certain that the King would kill him, he said, “O King, if there be no help but I must die, grant me some little delay that I may go down to my house and release myself from mine obligations and direct my folk and my neighbours where to bury me and distribute my books of medicine. Amongst these I have one, the rarest of rarities, which I would present to thee as an offering: keep it as a treasure in thy treasury.” “And what is in the book?” asked the King and the Sage answered, “Things beyond compt; and the least of secrets is that if, directly after thou hast cut off my head, thou open three leaves and read three lines of the page to thy left hand, my head shall speak and answer every question thou deignest ask of it.” The King wondered with exceeding wonder and shaking5 with delight at the novelty, said, “O physician, cost thou really tell me that when I cut off thy head it will speak to me?” He replied, “Yes, O King!” Quoth the King, “This is indeed a strange matter!” and forthwith sent him closely guarded to his house, and Duban then and there settled all his obligations. Next day he went up to the King’s audience hall, where Emirs and Wazirs, Chamberlains and Nabobs, Grandees and Lords of Estate were gathered together, making the presence chamber gay as a garden of flower beds. And lo! the physician came up and stood before the King, bearing a worn old volume and a little etui of metal full of powder, like that used for the eyes.6 Then he sat down and said, “Give me a tray.” So they brought him one and he poured the powder upon it and levelled it and lastly spake as follows: “O King, take this book but do not open it till my head falls; then set it upon this tray, and bid press it down upon the powder, when forthright the blood will cease flowing. That is the time to open the book.” The King thereupon took the book and made a sign to the Sworder, who arose and struck off the physician’s head, and placing it on the middle of the tray, pressed it down upon the powder. The blood stopped flowing, and the Sage Duban unclosed his eyes and said, “Now open the book, O King!” The King opened the book, and found the leaves stuck together; so he put his finger to his mouth and, by moistening it, he easily turned over the first leaf, and in like way the second, and the third, each leaf opening with much trouble; and when he had un stuck six leaves he looked over them and, finding nothing written thereon, said, “O physician, there is no writing here!” Duban re plied, “Turn over yet more;” and he turned over three others in the same way. Now the book was poisoned; and before long the venom penetrated his system, and he fell into strong convulsions and he cried out, “The poison hath done its work!” Whereupon the Sage Duban’s head began to improvise:—

There be rulers who have ruled with a foul tyrannic sway

But they soon became as though they had never, never been:

Just, they had won justice: they oppressed and were oppress

By Fortune, who requited them with ban and bane and teen:

So they faded like the morn, and the tongue of things repeats

“Take this far that, nor vent upon Fortune’s ways thy spleen.”

No sooner had the head ceased speaking than the King rolled over dead. Now I would have thee know, O Ifrit, that if King Yunan had spared the Sage Duban, Allah would have spared him, but he refused so to do and decreed to do him dead, wherefore Allah slew him; and thou too, O Ifrit, if thou hadst spared me, Allah would have spared thee. And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say: then quoth Dunyazad, “O my sister, how pleasant is thy tale, and how tasteful; how sweet, and how grateful!” She replied, “And where is this compared with what I could tell thee this coming night, if I live and the King spare me?” Said the King in himself, “By Allah, I will not slay her until I hear the rest of her story, for truly it is wondrous.” They rested that night in mutual embrace until dawn: then the King went forth to his Darbar; the Wazirs and troops came in and the audience hall was crowded; so the King gave orders and judged and appointed and deposed and bade and forbade the rest of that day, when the court broke up, and King Shahryar entered his palace,

1 The Bresl. Edit. absurdly has Jazírah (an island).

2 The Ghúlah (fem. of Ghúl) is the Heb. Lilith or Lilis; the classical Lamia; the Hindu Yogini and Dakini, the Chaldean Utug and Gigim (desert-demons) as opposed to the Mas (hill-demon) and Telal (who steal into towns); the Ogress of our tales and the Bala yaga (Granny-witch) of Russian folk-lore. Etymologically “Ghul” is a calamity, a panic fear; and the monster is evidently the embodied horror of the grave and the graveyard.

3 Arab. “Shább” (Lat. juvenis) between puberty and forty or according to some fifty; when the patient becomes a “Rajul ikhtiyár” (man of free will) politely termed, and then a Shaykh or Shaybah (gray-beard, oldster).

4 Some proverbial name now forgotten. Torrens (p. 48) translates it “the giglot” (Fortune?) but “cannot discover the drift.”

5 Arab. “Ihtizáz,” that natural and instinctive movement caused by good news suddenly given, etc.

6 Arab. “Kohl,” in India, Surmah, not a “collyrium,” but powdered antimony for the eyelids. That sold in the bazars is not the real grey ore of antimony but a galena or sulphuret of lead. Its use arose as follows. When Allah showed Himself to Moses on Sinai through an opening the size of a needle, the Prophet fainted and the Mount took fire: thereupon Allah said, “Henceforth shalt thou and thy seed grind the earth of this mountain and apply it to your eyes!” The powder is kept in an étui called Makhalah and applied with a thick blunt needle to the inside of the eyelid, drawing it along the rim; hence etui and probe denote the sexual rem in re and in cases of adultery the question will be asked, “Didst thou see the needle in the Kohl-pot?” Women mostly use a preparation of soot or lamp-black (Hind. Kajala, Kajjal) whose colour is easily distinguished from that of Kohl. The latter word, with the article (Al–Kohl) is the origin of our “alcohol;” though even M. Littré fails to show how “fine powder” became “spirits of wine.” I found this powder (wherewith Jezebel “painted” her eyes) a great preservative from ophthalmia in desert-travelling: the use in India was universal, but now European example is gradually abolishing it.

When it was the Sixth Night,

Her sister, Dunyazad, said to her,“Pray finish for us thy story;” and she answered, “I will if the King give me leave.” “Say on,” quoth the King. And she continued:— It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the Fisherman said to the Ifrit, “If thou hadst spared me I would have spared thee, but nothing would satisfy thee save my death; so now I will do thee die by jailing thee in this jar and I will hurl thee into this sea.” Then the Marid roared aloud and cried, “Allah upon thee, O Fisher man, don’t! Spare me, and pardon my past doings; and, as I have been tyrannous, so be thou generous, for it is said among sayings that go current:— O thou who doest good to him who hath done thee evil, suffice for the ill doer his ill deeds, and do not deal with me as did Umamah to ‘Atikah.”1 Asked the Fisherman, “And what was their case?” and the Ifrit answered, “This is not the time for story telling and I in this prison; but set me free and I will tell thee the tale.” Quoth the Fisherman, “Leave this language: there is no help but that thou be thrown back into the sea nor is there any way for thy getting out of it for ever and ever. Vainly I placed myself under thy protection,2 and I humbled my self to thee with weeping, while thou soughtest only to slay me, who had done thee no injury deserving this at thy hands; nay, so far from injuring thee by any evil act, I worked thee nought but weal in releasing thee from that jail of thine. Now I knew thee to be an evil doer when thou diddest to me what thou didst, and know, that when I have cast thee back into the sea, I will warn whomsoever may fish thee up of what hath befallen me with thee, and I will advise him to toss thee back again; so shalt thou abide here under these waters till the End of Time shall make an end of thee.” But the Ifrit cried aloud, “Set me free; this is a noble occasion for generosity and I make covenant with thee and vow never to do thee hurt and harm; nay, I will help thee to what shall put thee out of want.” The Fisherman accepted his promises on both conditions, not to trouble him as before, but on the contrary to do him service; and, after making firm the plight and swearing him a solemn oath by Allah Most Highest he opened the cucurbit. Thereupon the pillar of smoke rose up till all of it was fully out; then it thickened and once more became an Ifrit of hideous presence, who forthright ad ministered a kick to the bottle and sent it flying into the sea. The Fisherman, seeing how the cucurbit was treated and making sure of his own death, piddled in his clothes and said to himself, “This promiseth badly;” but he fortified his heart, and cried, “O Ifrit, Allah hath said3:— Perform your covenant; for the performance of your covenant shall be inquired into hereafter. Thou hast made a vow to me and hast sworn an oath not to play me false lest Allah play thee false, for verily he is a jealous God who respiteth the sinner, but letteth him not escape. I say to thee as said the Sage Duban to King Yunan, “Spare me so Allah may spare thee!” The Ifrit burst into laughter and stalked away, saying to the Fisherman, “Follow me;” and the man paced after him at a safe distance (for he was not assured of escape) till they had passed round the suburbs of the city. Thence they struck into the uncultivated grounds, and crossing them descended into a broad wilderness, and lo! in the midst of it stood a mountain tarn. The Ifrit waded in to the middle and again cried, “Follow me;” and when this was done he took his stand in the centre and bade the man cast his net and catch his fish. The Fisherman looked into the water and was much astonished to see therein vari coloured fishes, white and red, blue and yellow; however he cast his net and, hauling it in, saw that he had netted four fishes, one of each colour. Thereat he rejoiced greatly and more when the Ifrit said to him, “Carry these to the Sultan and set them in his presence; then he will give thee what shall make thee a wealthy man; and now accept my excuse, for by Allah at this time I wot none other way of benefiting thee, inasmuch I have lain in this sea eighteen hundred years and have not seen the face of the world save within this hour. But I would not have thee fish here save once a day.” The Ifrit then gave him God speed, saying, Allah grant we meet again;”4 and struck the earth with one foot, whereupon the ground clove asunder and swallowed him up. The Fisherman, much marvelling at what had happened to him with the Ifrit, took the fish and made for the city; and as soon as he reached home he filled an earthen bowl with water and therein threw the fish which began to struggle and wriggle about. Then he bore off the bowl upon his head and repairing to the King’s palace (even as the Ifrit had bidden him) laid the fish before the presence; and the King wondered with exceeding wonder at the sight, for never in his lifetime had’ he seen fishes like these in quality or in conformation. So he said, “Give those fish to the stranger slave girl who now cooketh for us,” meaning the bond maiden whom the King of Roum had sent to him only three days before, so that he had not yet made trial of her talents in the dressing of meat. Thereupon the Wazir carried the fish to the cook and bade her fry them5 saying, “O damsel, the King sendeth this say to thee:— I have not treasured thee, O tear o’ me! save for stress time of me; approve, then, to us this day thy delicate handiwork and thy savoury cooking; for this dish of fish is a present sent to the Sultan and evidently a rarity.” The Wazir, after he had carefully charged her, returned to the King, who commanded him to give the Fisherman four hundred diners: he gave them accordingly, and the man took them to his bosom and ran off home stumbling and falling and rising again and deeming the whole thing to be a dream. However, he bought for his family all they wanted and lastly he went to his wife in huge joy and gladness. So far concerning him; but as regards the cookmaid, she took the fish and cleansed them and set them in the frying pan, basting them with oil till one side was dressed. Then she turned them over and, behold, the kitchen wall crave asunder, and therefrom came a young lady, fair of form, oval of face, perfect in grace, with eyelids which Kohl lines enchase.6 Her dress was a silken head kerchief fringed and tasseled with blue: a large ring hung from either ear; a pair of bracelets adorned her wrists; rings with bezels of priceless gems were on her fingers; and she hent in hand a long rod of rattan cane which she thrust into the frying pan, saying, “O fish! O fish! be ye constant to your covenant?” When the cookmaiden saw this apparition she swooned away. The young lady repeated her words a second time and a third time, and at last the fishes raised their heads from the pan, and saying in articulate speech “Yes! Yes!” began with one voice to recite:—

Come back and so will I! Keep faith and so will I!

And if ye fain forsake, I’ll requite till quits we cry!

After this the young lady upset the frying pan and went forth by the way she came in and the kitchen wall closed upon her. When the cook maiden recovered from her fainting fit, she saw the four fishes charred black as charcoal, and crying out, “His staff brake in his first bout,”7 she again fell swooning to the ground. Whilst she was in this case the Wazir came for the fish and looking upon her as insensible she lay, not knowing Sunday from Thursday, shoved her with his foot and said, “Bring the fish for the Sultan!” Thereupon recovering from her fainting fit she wept and in formed him of her case and all that had befallen her. The Wazir marvelled greatly and exclaiming, “This is none other than a right strange matter!”, he sent after the Fisherman and said to him, “Thou, O Fisherman, must needs fetch us four fishes like those thou broughtest before.” Thereupon the man repaired to the tarn and cast his net; and when he landed it, lo! four fishes were therein exactly like the first. These he at once carried to the Wazir, who went in with them to the cook maiden and said, “Up with thee and fry these in my presence, that I may see this business.” The damsel arose and cleansed the fish, and set them in the frying pan over the fire; however they remained there but a little while ere the wall crave asunder and the young lady appeared, clad as before and holding in hand the wand which she again thrust into the frying pan, saying, “O fish! O fish! be ye constant to your olden covenant?” And behold, the fish lifted their heads, and repeated “Yes! Yes!” and recited this couplet:

Come back and so will I! Keep faith and so will I!

But if ye fain forsake, I’ll requite till quits we cry!

And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

1 The tale of these two women is now forgotten.

2 Arab. “Atadakhkhal.” When danger threatens it is customary to seize a man’s skirt and cry “Dakhíl-ak!” ( = under thy protection). Among noble tribes the Badawi thus invoked will defend the stranger with his life. Foreigners have brought themselves into contempt by thus applying to women or to mere youths.

3 The formula of quoting from the Koran.

4 Lit. “Allah not desolate me” (by thine absence). This is still a popular phrase — Lá tawáhishná = Do not make me desolate, i.e. by staying away too long, and friends meeting after a term of days exclaim “Auhashtani!”=thou hast made me desolate, Je suis desole.

5 Charming simplicity of manners when the Prime Minister carries the fish (shade of Vattel!)!) to the cookmaid. The “Gesta Romanorum” is nowhere more naïve.

6 Arab. “Kahílat al-taraf” = lit. eyelids lined with Kohl; and figuratively “with black lashes and languorous look.” This is a phrase which frequently occurs in The Nights and which, as will appear, applies to the “lower animals” as well as to men. Moslems in Central Africa apply Kohl not to the thickness of the eyelid but upon both outer lids, fixing it with some greasy substance. The peculiar Egyptian (and Syrian) eye with its thick fringes of jet-black lashes, looking like lines of black drawn with soot, easily suggests the simile. In England I have seen the same appearance amongst miners fresh from the colliery.

7 Of course applying to her own case.

When it was the Seventh Night,

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the fishes spoke, and the young lady upset the frying pan with her rod, and went forth by the way she came and the wall closed up, the Wazir cried out, “This is a thing not to be hidden from the King.” So he went and told him what had happened, where upon quoth the King, “There is no help for it but that I see this with mine own eyes.” Then he sent for the Fisherman and commended him to bring four other fish like the first and to take with him three men as witnesses. The Fisherman at once brought the fish: and the King, after ordering them to give him four hundred gold pieces, turned to the Wazir and said, “Up and fry me the fishes here before me!” The Minister, replying “To hear is to obey,” bade bring the frying pan, threw therein the cleansed fish and set it over the fire; when lo! the wall crave asunder, and out burst a black slave like a huge rock or a remnant of the tribe Ad1 bearing in hand a branch of a green tree; and he cried in loud and terrible tones, “O fish! O fish! be ye all constant to your antique covenant?” whereupon the fishes lifted their heads from the frying pan and said, “Yes! Yes! we be true to our vow;” and they again recited the couplet:

Come back and so will I! Keep faith and so will I!

But if ye fain forsake, I’ll requite till quits we cry!

Then the huge blackamoor approached the frying pan and upset it with the branch and went forth by the way he came in. When he vanished from their sight the King inspected the fish; and finding them all charred black as charcoal, was utterly bewildered and said to the Wazir, “Verily this is a matter whereanent silence cannot be kept, and as for the fishes, assuredly some marvellous adventure connects with them.” So he bade bring the Fisherman and asked him, saying “Fie on thee, fellow! whence came these fishes?” and he answered, “From a tarn between four heights lying behind this mountain which is in sight of thy city.” Quoth the King, “How many days’ march?” Quoth he, “O our lord the Sultan, a walk of half hour.” The King wondered and, straight way ordering his men to march and horsemen to mount, led off the Fisherman who went before as guide, privily damning the Ifrit. They fared on till they had climbed the mountain and descended unto a great desert which they had never seen during all their lives; and the Sultan and his merry men marvelled much at the wold set in the midst of four mountains, and the tarn and its fishes of four colours, red and white, yellow and blue. The King stood fixed to the spot in wonderment and asked his troops and all present, “Hath any one among you ever seen this piece of water before now?” and all made answer, “O King of the age never did we set eyes upon it during all our days.” They also questioned the oldest inhabitants they met, men well stricken in years, but they replied, each and every, “A lakelet this we never saw in this place.” Thereupon quoth the King, “By Allah I will neither return to my capital nor sit upon the throne of my forbears till I learn the truth about this tarn and the fish therein.” He then ordered his men to dismount and bivouac all around the mountain; which they did; and summoning his Wazir, a Minister of much experience, sagacious, of penetrating wit and well versed in affairs, said to him, “’Tis in my mind to do a certain thing whereof I will inform thee; my heart telleth me to fare forth alone this night and root out the mystery of this tarn and its fishes. Do thou take thy seat at my tent door, and say to the Emirs and Wazirs, the Nabobs and the Chamberlains, in fine to all who ask thee:— The Sultan is ill at ease, and he hath ordered me to refuse all admittance;2 and be careful thou let none know my design.” And the Wazir could not oppose him. Then the King changed his dress and ornaments and, slinging his sword over his shoulder, took a path which led up one of the mountains and marched for the rest of the night till morning dawned; nor did he cease wayfaring till the heat was too much for him. After his long walk he rested for a while, and then resumed his march and fared on through the second night till dawn, when suddenly there appeared a black point in the far distance. Hereat he rejoiced and said to himself, “Haply some one here shall acquaint me with the mystery of the tarn and its fishes.” Presently drawing near the dark object he found it a palace built of swart stone plated with iron; and, while one leaf of the gate stood wide open, the other was shut, The King’s spirits rose high as he stood before the gate and rapped a light rap; but hearing no answer he knocked a second knock and a third; yet there came no sign. Then he knocked his loudest but still no answer, so he said, “Doubtless ’tis empty.” Thereupon he mustered up resolution and boldly walked through the main gate into the great hall and there cried out aloud, “Holla, ye people of the palace! I am a stranger and a wayfarer; have you aught here of victual?” He repeated his cry a second time and a third but still there came no reply; so strengthening his heart and making up his mind he stalked through the vestibule into the very middle of the palace and found no man in it. Yet it was furnished with silken stuffs gold starred; and the hangings were let down over the door ways. In the midst was a spacious court off which set four open saloons each with its raised dais, saloon facing saloon; a canopy shaded the court and in the centre was a jetting fount with four figures of lions made of red gold, spouting from their mouths water clear as pearls and diaphanous gems. Round about the palace birds were let loose and over it stretched a net of golden wire, hindering them from flying off; in brief there was everything but human beings. The King marvelled mightily thereat, yet felt he sad at heart for that he saw no one to give him account of the waste and its tarn, the fishes, the mountains and the palace itself. Presently as he sat between the doors in deep thought behold, there came a voice of lament, as from a heart grief spent and he heard the voice chanting these verses:—

I hid what I endured of him3 and yet it came to light,

And nightly sleep mine eyelids fled and changed to sleepless night:

Oh world! Oh Fate! withhold thy hand and cease thy hurt and harm

Look and behold my hapless sprite in colour and affright:

Wilt ne’er show ruth to highborn youth who lost him on the way

Of Love, and fell from wealth and fame to lowest basest wight.

Jealous of Zephyr’s breath was I as on your form he breathed

But whenas Destiny descends she blindeth human sight4

What shall the hapless archer do who when he fronts his foe

And bends his bow to shoot the shaft shall find his string undight?

When cark and care so heavy bear on youth5 of generous soul

How shall he ’scape his lot and where from Fate his place of flight?

Now when the Sultan heard the mournful voice he sprang to his feet; and, following the sound, found a curtain let down over a chamber door. He raised it and saw behind it a young man sitting upon a couch about a cubit above the ground; and he fair to the sight, a well shaped wight, with eloquence dight; his forehead was flower white, his cheek rosy bright, and a mole on his cheek breadth like an ambergris mite; even as the poet cloth indite:—

A youth slim waisted from whose locks and brow

The world in blackness and in light is set.

Throughout Creation’s round no fairer show

No rarer sight thine eye hath ever met:

A nut brown mole sits throned upon a cheek

Of rosiest red beneath an eye of jet.6

The King rejoiced and saluted him, but he remained sitting in his caftan of silken stuff pureed with Egyptian gold and his crown studded with gems of sorts; but his face was sad with the traces of sorrow. He returned the royal salute in most courteous wise adding, “O my lord, thy dignity demandeth my rising to thee; and my sole excuse is to crave thy pardon.”7 Quoth the King, “Thou art excused, O youth; so look upon me as thy guest come hither on an especial object. I would thou acquaint me with the secrets of this tarn and its fishes and of this palace and thy loneliness therein and the cause of thy groaning and wailing.” When the young man heard these words he wept with sore weeping;8 till his bosom was drenched with tears and began reciting —

Say him who careless sleeps what while the shaft of Fortune flies

How many cloth this shifting world lay low and raise to rise?

Although thine eye be sealed in sleep, sleep not th’ Almighty’s eyes

And who hath found Time ever fair, or Fate in constant guise?

Then he sighed a long fetched sigh and recited:—

Confide thy case to Him, the Lord who made mankind;

Quit cark and care and cultivate content of mind;

Ask not the Past or how or why it came to pass:

All human things by Fate and Destiny were designed!

The King marvelled and asked him, “What maketh thee weep, O young man?” and he answered, “How should I not weep, when this is my case!” Thereupon he put out his hand and raised the skirt of his garment, when lo! the lower half of him appeared stone down to his feet while from his navel to the hair of his head he was man. The King, seeing this his plight, grieved with sore grief and of his compassion cried, “Alack and well away! in very sooth, O youth, thou heapest sorrow upon my sorrow. I was minded to ask thee the mystery of the fishes only: whereas now I am concerned to learn thy story as well as theirs. But there is no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great!9 Lose no time, O youth, but tell me forthright thy whole tale.” Quoth he, “Lend me thine ears, thy sight and thine in sight;” and quoth the King, “All are at thy service!” Thereupon the youth began, “Right wondrous and marvellous is my case and that of these fishes; and were it graven with gravers upon the eye corners it were a warner to whoso would be warned.” “How is that?” asked the King, and the young man began to tell

1 Prehistoric Arabs who measured from 60 to 100 cubits high: Koran, chaps. xxvi., etc. They will often be mentioned in The Nights.

2 I Arab. “Dastúr” (from Persian) = leave, permission. The word has two meanings (see Burckhardt, Arab. Prov. No. 609) and is much used, ea. before walking up stairs or entering a room where strange women might be met. So “Tarík” = Clear the way (Pilgrimage, iii., 319). The old Persian occupation of Egypt, not to speak of the Persian speaking Circassians and other rulers has left many such traces in popular language. One of them is that horror of travelers — “Bakhshísh” pron. bakh-sheesh and shortened to shísh from the Pers. “bakhshish.” Our “Christmas box” has been most unnecessarily derived from the same, despite our reading:–

Gladly the boy, with Christmas box in hand.

And, as will be seen, Persians have bequeathed to the outer world worse things than bad language, e.g.. heresy and sodomy.

3 He speaks of his wife but euphemistically in the masculine.

4 A popular saying throughout Al–Islam.

5 Arab. “Fata”: lit.=a youth; a generous man, one of noble mind (as youth-tide should be). It corresponds with the Lat. “vir,” and has much the meaning of the Ital. “Giovane,” the Germ. “Junker” and our “gentleman.”

6 From the Bul.Edit.

7 The vagueness of his statement is euphemistic.

8 This readiness of shedding tears contrasts strongly with the external stoicism of modern civilization; but it is true to Arab character, and Easterns, like the heroes of Homer and Italians of Boccacio, are not ashamed of what we look upon as the result of feminine hysteria — “a good cry.”

9 The formula (constantly used by Moslems) here denotes displeasure, doubt how to act and so forth. Pronounce, “Lá haula wa lá kuwwata illá bi ‘lláhi ‘I-Aliyyi ‘I-Azim.” As a rule mistakes are marvellous: Mandeville (chaps. xii.) for “Lá iláha illa ‘lláhu wa Muhammadun Rasúlu ’llah” writes “La ellec sila, Machomete rores alla.” The former (lá haula, etc.), on account of the four peculiar Arabic letters, is everywhere pronounced differently. and the exclamation is called “Haulak” or “Haukal.”

The Tale of the Ensorcelled Prince.

Know then, O my lord, that whilome my sire was King of this city, and his name was Mahmud, entitled Lord of the Black Islands, and owner of what are now these four mountains. He ruled three score and ten years, after which he went to the mercy of the Lord and I reigned as Sultan in his stead. I took to wife my cousin, the daughter of my paternal uncle,1 and she loved me with such abounding love that whenever I was absent she ate not and she drank not until she saw me again. She cohabited with me for five years till a certain day when she went forth to the Hammam bath; and I bade the cook hasten to get ready all requisites for our supper. And I entered this palace and lay down on the bed where I was wont to sleep and bade two damsels to fan my face, one sitting by my head and the other at my feet. But I was troubled and made restless by my wife’s absence and could not sleep; for although my eyes were closed my mind and thoughts were wide awake. Presently I heard the slave girl at my head say to her at my feet, “O Mas’udah, how miserable is our master and how wasted in his youth and oh! the pity of his being so be trayed by our mistress, the accursed whore!’’2 The other replied, “Yes indeed: Allah curse all faithless women and adulterous; but the like of our master, with his fair gifts, deserveth something better than this harlot who lieth abroad every night.” Then quoth she who sat by my head, “Is our lord dumb or fit only for bubbling that he questioneth her not!” and quoth the other, “Fie on thee! cloth our lord know her ways or cloth she allow him his choice? Nay, more, cloth she not drug every night the cup she giveth him to drink before sleep time, and put Bhang3 into it? So he sleepeth and wotteth not whither she goeth, nor what she doeth; but we know that after giving him the drugged wine, she donneth her richest raiment and perfumeth herself and then she fareth out from him to be away till break of day; then she cometh to him, and burneth a pastile under his nose and he awaketh from his deathlike sleep.” When I heard the slave girl’s words, the light became black before my sight and I thought night would never-fall. Presently the daughter of my uncle came from the baths; and they set the table for us and we ate and sat together a fair half hour quaffing our wine as was ever our wont. Then she called for the particular wine I used to drink before sleeping and reached me the cup; but, seeming to drink it according to my wont, I poured the contents into my bosom; and, lying down, let her hear that I was asleep. Then, behold, she cried, “Sleep out the night, and never wake again: by Allah, I loathe thee and I loathe thy whole body, and my soul turneth in disgust from cohabiting with thee; and I see not the moment when Allah shall snatch away thy life!” Then she rose and donned her fairest dress and perfumed her person and slung my sword over her shoulder; and, opening the gates of the palace, went her ill way. I rose and followed her as she left the palace and she threaded the streets until she came to the city gate, where she spoke words I understood not, and the padlocks dropped of themselves as if broken and the gate leaves opened. She went forth (and I after her without her noticing aught) till she came at last to the outlying mounds4 and a reed fence built about a round roofed hut of mud bricks. As she entered the door, I climbed upon the roof which commanded a view of the interior, and lo! my fair cousin had gone in to a hideous negro slave with his upper lip like the cover of a pot, and his lower like an open pot; lips which might sweep up sand from the gravel-floor of the cot. He was to boot a leper and a paralytic, lying upon a strew of sugar cane trash and wrapped in an old blanket and the foulest rags and tatters. She kissed the earth before him, and he raised his head so as to see her and said, “Woe to thee! what call hadst thou to stay away all this time? Here have been with me sundry of the black brethren, who drank their wine and each had his young lady, and I was not content to drink because of thine absence.” Then she, “O my lord, my heart’s love and coolth of my eyes 5 knowest thou not that I am married to my cousin whose very look I loathe, and hate myself when in his company? And did not I fear for thy sake, I would not let a single sun arise before making his city a ruined heap wherein raven should croak and howlet hoot, and jackal and wolf harbour and loot; nay I had removed its very stones to the back side of Mount Kaf.” 6 Rejoined the slave, Thou liest, damn thee! Now I swear an oath by the velour and honour of blackamoor men (and deem not our manliness to be; the poor manliness of white men), from today forth if thou stay away till this hour, I will not keep company with thee nor will I glue my body with thy body and strum and belly bump Dost play fast and loose with us, thou cracked pot, that we may satisfy thy dirty lusts? stinkard! bitch! vilest of the vile whites!” When I heard his words, and saw with my own eyes what passed between these two wretches, the world waxed dark be fore my face and my soul knew not in what place it was. But my wife humbly stood up weeping before and wheedling the slave, and saying, O my beloved, and very fruit of my heart, there is none left to cheer me but thy dear self; and, if thou cast me off who shall take me in, O my beloved, O light of my eyes?” And she ceased not weeping and abasing herself to him until he deigned be reconciled with her. Then was she right glad and stood up and doffed her clothes, even to her petticoat trousers, and said, 0 my master what hast thou here for thy handmaiden to eat? Uncover the basin,” he grumbled, “and thou shalt find t the bottom the broiled bones of some rats we dined on, pick at them, and then go to that slop pot where thou shalt find some leavings of beer 7 which thou mayest drink.” So she ate and drank and washed her hands, and went and lay down by the side of the slave, upon the cane trash and, stripping herself stark naked, she crept in with him under his foul coverlet and his rags and tatters. When I saw my wife, my cousin, the daughter of my uncle, do this deed8 I clean lost my wits, and climbing down from the roof, I entered and took the sword which she had with her and drew it, determined to cut down the twain. I first struck at the slave’s neck and thought that the death decree had fallen on him.”—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

1 An Arab holds that he has a right to marry his first cousin, the daughter of his father’s brother, and if any win her from him a death and a blood-feud may result. It was the same in a modified form amongst the Jews and in both races the consanguineous marriage was not attended by the evil results (idiotcy, congenital deafness, etc.) observed in mixed races like the English and the Anglo–American. When a Badawi speaks of “the daughter of my uncle” he means wife; and the former is the dearer title, as a wife can be divorced, but blood is thicker than water.

2 Arab. “Kahbah;” the coarsest possible term. Hence the unhappy “Cave” of Don Roderick the Goth, which simply means The Whore.

3 The Arab “Banj” and Hindú “Bhang” (which I use as most familiar) both derive from the old Coptic “Nibanj” meaning a preparation of hemp (Cannabis sativa seu Indica); and here it is easy to recognise the Homeric “Nepenthe.” Al — Kazwini explains the term by “garden hemp (Kinnab bostáni or Sháhdánaj). On the other hand not a few apply the word to the henbane (hyoscyamus niger) so much used in mediæval Europe. The Kámús evidently means henbane distinguishing it from Hashish al haráfísh” = rascals’ grass, i.e. the herb Pantagruelion. The “Alfáz Adwiya” (French translation) explains “Tabannuj” by “Endormir quelqu’un en lui faisant avaler de la jusquiame.” In modern parlance Tabannuj is = our anæsthetic administered before an operation, a deadener of pain like myrrh and a number of other drugs. For this purpose hemp is always used (at least I never heard of henbane); and various preparations of the drug are sold at an especial bazar in Cairo. See the “powder of marvellous virtue” in Boccaccio, iii., 8; and iv., 10. Of these intoxicants, properly so termed, I shall have something to say in a future page.

The use of Bhang doubtless dates from the dawn of civilisation, whose earliest social pleasures would be inebriants. Herodotus (iv. c. 75) shows the Scythians burning the seeds (leaves and capsules) in worship and becoming drunken with the fumes, as do the S. African Bushmen of the present day. This would be the earliest form of smoking: it is still doubtful whether the pipe was used or not. Galen also mentions intoxication by hemp. Amongst Moslems, the Persians adopted the drink as an ecstatic, and about our thirteenth century Egypt, which began the practice, introduced a number of preparations to be noticed in the course of The Nights.

4 The rubbish heaps which outlie Eastern cities, some (near Cairo) are over a hundred feet high.

5 Arab. “Kurrat al-aye;” coolness of eyes as opposed to a hot eye (“sakhin”) one red with tears. The term is true and picturesque so I translate it literally. All coolness is pleasant to dwellers in burning lands: thus in Al–Hariri Abu Z yd says of Bassorah, “I found there whatever could fill the eye with coolness.” And a “cool booty” (or prize) is one which has been secured without plunging into the flames of war, or imply a pleasant prize.

6 Popularly rendered Caucasus (see Night cdxcvi): it corresponds so far with the Hindu “Udaya” that the sun rises behind it; and the “false dawn” is caused by a hole or gap. It is also the Persian Alborz, the Indian Meru (Sumeru), the Greek Olympus and the Rhiphæan Range (Veliki Camenypoys) or great starry girdle of the world, etc.

7 Arab. “Mizr” or “Mizar;” vulg. Búzah; hence the medical Lat. Buza, the Russian Buza (millet beer), our booze, the O. Dutch “buyzen” and the German “busen.” This is the old of negro and negroid Africa, the beer of Osiris, of which dried remains have been found in jars amongst Egyptian tombs. In Equatorial Africa it known as Pombe; on the Upper Nile “Merissa” or “Mirisi” and amongst the Kafirs (Caffers) “Tshuala,” “Oala” or “Boyala:” I have also heard of “Buswa”in Central Africa which may be the origin of “Buzah.” In the West it became, (Romaic, Xythum and cerevisia or cervisia, the humor ex hordeo, long before the days of King Gambrinus. Central Africans drink it in immense quantities: in Unyamwezi the standing bedsteads, covered with bark-slabs, are all made sloping so as to drain off the liquor. A chief lives wholly on beef and Pombe which is thick as gruel below. Hops are unknown: the grain, mostly Holcus, is made to germinate, then pounded, boiled and left to ferment. In Egypt the drink is affected chiefly by Berbers, Nubians and slaves from the Upper Nile, but it is a superior article and more like that of Europe than the “Pombe.” I have given an account of the manufacture in The Lake Regions of Central Africa, vol. ii., p. 286. There are other preparations, Umm-bulbul (mother nightie gale), Dinzáyah and Súbiyah, for which I must refer to the Shaykh El–Tounsy.

8 There is a terrible truth in this satire, which reminds us of the noble dame who preferred to her handsome husband the palefrenier laid, ord et infâme of Queen Margaret of Navarre (Heptameron No. xx.). We have all known women who sacrificed everything despite themselves, as it were, for the most worthless of men. The world stares and scoffs and blames and understands nothing. There is for every woman one man and one only in whose slavery she is “ready to sweep the floor.” Fate is mostly opposed to her meeting him but, when she does, adieu husband and children, honour and religion, life and “soul.” Moreover Nature (human) commands the union of contrasts, such as fair and foul, dark and light, tall and short; otherwise mankind would be like the canines, a race of extremes, dwarf as toy-terriers, giants like mastiffs, bald as Chinese “remedy dogs,” or hairy as Newfoundlands. The famous Wilkes said only a half truth when he backed himself, with an hour s start, against the handsomest man in England; his uncommon and remarkable ugliness (he was, as the Italians say, un bel brutto) was the highest recommendation in the eyes of very beautiful women.

When it was the Eighth Night,

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the young ensorcelled Prince said to the King, “When I smote the slave with intent to strike off his head, I thought that I had slain him; for he groaned a loud hissing groan, but I had cut only the skin and flesh of the gullet and the two arteries! It awoke the daughter of my uncle, so I sheathed the sword and fared forth for the city; and, entering the palace, lay upon my bed and slept till morning when my wife aroused me and I saw that she had cut off her hair and had donned mourning garments. Quoth she:— O son of my uncle, blame me not for what I do; it hath just reached me that my mother is dead, and my father hath been killed in holy war, and of my brothers one hath lost his life by a snake sting and the other by falling down some precipice; and I can and should do naught save weep and lament. When I heard her words I refrained from all reproach and said only:— Do as thou list; I certainly will not thwart thee. She continued sorrowing, weeping and wailing one whole year from the beginning of its circle to the end, and when it was finished she said to me. — I wish to build me in thy palace a tomb with a cupola, which I will set apart for my mourning and will name the House of Lamentations.1 Quoth I again:— Do as thou list! Then she builded for herself a cenotaph wherein to mourn, and set on its centre a dome under which showed a tomb like a Santon’s sepulchre. Thither she carried the slave and lodged him; but he was exceeding weak by reason of his wound, and unable to do her love service; he could only drink wine and from the day of his hurt he spake not a word, yet he lived on because his appointed hour2 was not come. Every day, morning and evening, my wife went to him and wept and wailed over him and gave him wine and strong soups, and left not off doing after this manner a second year; and I bore with her patiently and paid no heed to her. One day, however, I went in to her unawares; and I found her weeping and beating her face and crying:— Why art thou absent from my sight, O my heart’s delight? Speak to me, O my life; talk with me, O my love? Then she recited these verses:—

For your love my patience fails and albeit you forget

I may not, nor to other love my heart can make reply:

Bear my body, bear my soul wheresoever you may fare

And where you pitch the camp let my body buried lie:

Cry my name above my grave, and an answer shall return

The moaning of my bones responsive to your cry.3

Then she recited, weeping bitterly the while:—

The day of my delight is the day when draw you near

And the day of mine affright is the day you turn away:

Though I tremble through the night in my bitter dread of death

When I hold you in my arms I am free from all affray

Once more she began reciting:—

Though a morn I may awake with all happiness in hand

Though the world all be mine and like Kisra-kings4 I reign;

To me they had the worth of the winglet of the gnat

When I fail to see thy form, when I look for thee in vain

When she had ended for a time her words and her weeping I said to her — O my cousin, let this thy mourning suffice, for in pouring forth tears there is little profit! Thwart me not, answered she, in aught I do, or I will lay violent hands on myself! So I held my peace and left her to go her own way; and she ceased not to cry and keen and indulge her affliction for yet another year. At the end of the third year I waxed aweary of this lonesome mourning, and one day I happened to enter the cenotaph when vexed and angry with some matter which had thwarted me, and suddenly I heard her say:— O my lord, I never hear thee vouch safe a single word to me! Why cost thou not answer me, O my master? and she began reciting:—

O thou tomb! O, thou tomb! be his beauty set in shade?

Hast thou darkened that countenance all sheeny as the noon?

O thou tomb! neither earth nor yet heaven art to me

Then how cometh it in thee are conjoined my sun and moon?

When I heard such verses as these rage was heaped upon my rage I cried out:— Well away! how long is this sorrow to last? and I began repeating:—

O thou tomb! O thou tomb! be his horrors set in blight?

Hast thou dark ened his countenance that sickeneth the soul?

O thou tomb! neither cess pool nor pipkin art to me

Then how cometh it in thee are conjoined soil and coal?

When she heard my words she sprang to her feet crying. — Fie upon thee, thou cur! all this is of thy doings; thou hast wounded my heart s darling and thereby worked me sore woe and thou hast wasted his youth so that these three years he hath lain abed more dead than alive! In my wrath I cried:— O thou foulest of harlots and filthiest of whores ever futtered by negro slaves who are hired to have at thee!5 Yes indeed it was I who did this good deed; and snatching up my sword I drew it and made at her to cut her down. But she laughed my words and mine intent to scorn crying: To heel, hound that thou art! Alas6 for the past which shall no more come to pass nor shall any one avail the dead to raise. Allah hath indeed now given into my hand him who did to me this thing, a deed that hath burned my heart with a fire which died not and a flame which might not be quenched! Then she stood up; and, pronouncing some words to me unintelligible, she said:— By virtue of my egromancy become thou half stone and half man; whereupon I became what thou seest, unable to rise or to sit, and neither dead nor alive. Moreover she ensorcelled the city with all its streets and garths, and she turned by her gramarye the four islands into four mountains around the tarn whereof thou questionest me; and the citizens, who were of four different faiths, Moslem, Nazarene, Jew and Magian, she transformed by her enchantments into fishes; the Moslems are the white, the Magians red, the Christians blue and the Jews yellow.7 And every day she tortureth me and scourgeth me with an hundred stripes, each of which draweth floods of blood and cutteth the skin of my shoulders to strips; and lastly she clotheth my upper half with a hair cloth and then throweth over them these robes.” Hereupon the young man again shed tears and began reciting:—

In patience, O my God, I endure my lot and fate;

I will bear at will of Thee whatsoever be my state:

They oppress me; they torture me; they make my life a woe

Yet haply Heaven’s happiness shall compensate my strait:

Yea, straitened is my life by the bane and hate o’ foes

But Mustafa and Murtaza8 shall ope me Heaven’s gate.

After this the Sultan turned towards the young Prince and said, “O youth, thou hast removed one grief only to add another grief; but now, O my friend, where is she; and where is the mausoleum wherein lieth the wounded slave?” “The slave lieth under yon dome,” quoth the young man, “and she sitteth in the chamber fronting yonder door. And every day at sunrise she cometh forth, and first strippeth me, and whippeth me with an hundred strokes of the leathern scourge, and I weep and shriek; but there is no power of motion in my lower limbs to keep her off me. After ending her tormenting me she visiteth the slave, bringing him wine and boiled meats. And to morrow at an early hour she will be here.” Quoth the King, “By Allah, O youth, I will as suredly do thee a good deed which the world shall not willingly let die, and an act of derring do which shall be chronicled long after I am dead and gone by.” Then the King sat him by the side of the young Prince and talked till nightfall, when he lay down and slept; but, as soon as the false dawn9 showed, he arose and doffing his outer garments10 bared his blade and hastened to the place wherein lay the slave. Then was he ware of lighted candles and lamps, and the perfume of incenses and unguents, and directed by these, he made for the slave and struck him one stroke killing him on the spot: after which he lifted him on his back and threw him into a well that was in the palace. Presentry he returned and, donning the slave’s gear, lay down at length within the mausoleum with the drawn sword laid close to and along his side. After an hour or so the accursed witch came; and, first going to her husband, she stripped off his clothes and, taking a whip, flogged him cruelly while he cried out, “Ah! enough for me the case I am in! take pity on me, O my cousin!’ But she replied, “Didst thou take pity on me and spare the life of my true love on whom I coated?” Then she drew the cilice over his raw and bleeding skin and threw the robe upon all and went down to the slave with a goblet of wine and a bowl of meat broth in her hands. She entered under the dome weeping and wailing, “Well-away!” and crying, “O my lord! speak a word to me! O my master! talk awhile with me!” and began to recite these couplets. —

How long this harshness, this unlove, shall bide?

Suffice thee not tear floods thou hast espied?

Thou cost prolong our parting purposely

And if wouldst please my foe, thou’rt satisfied!

Then she wept again and said, “O my lord! speak to me, talk with me!” The King lowered his voice and, twisting his tongue, spoke after the fashion of the blackamoors and said “‘lack! ‘lack! there be no Ma’esty and there be no Might save in Allauh, the Gloriose, the Great!” Now when she heard these words she shouted for joy, and fell to the ground fainting; and when her senses returned she asked, “O my lord, can it be true that thou hast power of speech?” and the King making his voice small and faint answered, “O my cuss! cost thou deserve that I talk to thee and speak with thee?” “Why and wherefore?” rejoined she; and he replied “The why is that all the livelong day thou tormentest thy hubby; and he keeps calling on ‘eaven for aid until sleep is strange to me even from evenin’ till mawnin’, and he prays and damns, cussing us two, me and thee, causing me disquiet and much bother: were this not so, I should long ago have got my health; and it is this which prevents my answering thee.” Quoth she, “With thy leave I will release him from what spell is on him;“and quoth the King, “Release him and let’s have some rest!” She cried, “To hear is to obey;” and, going from the cenotaph to the palace, she took a metal bowl and filled it with water and spake over it certain words which made the contents bubble and boil as a cauldron seetheth over the fire. With this she sprinkled her husband saying, “By virtue of the dread words I have spoken, if thou becamest thus by my spells, come forth out of that form into thine own former form.” And lo and behold! the young man shook and trembled; then he rose to his feet and, rejoicing at his deliverance, cried aloud, “I testify that there is no god but the God, and in very truth Mohammed is His Apostle, whom Allah bless and keep!” Then she said to him, “Go forth and return not hither, for if thou do I will surely slay thee;” screaming these words in his face. So he went from between her hands; and she returned to the dome and, going down to the sepulchre, she said, “O my lord, come forth to me that I may look upon thee and thy goodliness!” The King replied in faint low words, “What11 thing hast thou done? Thou hast rid me of the branch but not of the root.” She asked, “O my darling! O my negro ring! what is the root?” And he answered, “Fie on thee, O my cuss! The people of this city and of the four islands every night when it’s half passed lift their heads from the tank in which thou hast turned them to fishes and cry to Heaven and call down its anger on me and thee; and this is the reason why my body’s baulked from health. Go at once and set them free then come to me and take my hand, and raise me up, for a little strength is already back in me.” When she heard the King’s words (and she still supposed him to be the slave) she cried joyously, O my master, on my head and on my eyes be thy commend, Bismillah12!’’ So she sprang to her feet and, full of joy and gladness, ran down to the tarn and took a little of its water n the palm of her hand — And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

1 Every Moslem burial-ground has a place of the kind where honourable women may sit and weep unseen by the multitude. These visits are enjoined by the Apostle:— Frequent the cemetery, ’twill make you think of futurity! Also:— Whoever visiteth the graves of his parents (or one of them) every Friday, he shall be written a pious son, even though he might have been in the world, before that, a disobedient. (Pilgrimage, ii., 71.) The buildings resemble our European “mortuary chapels.” Said, Pasha of Egypt, was kind enough to erect one on the island off Suez, for the “use of English ladies who would like shelter whilst weeping and wailing for their dead.” But I never heard that any of the ladles went there.

2 Arab. “Ajal”=the period of life, the appointed time of death: the word is of constant recurrence and is also applied to sudden death. See Lane’s Dictionary, s.v.

3 “The dying Badawi to his tribe” (and lover) appears to me highly pathetic. The wild people love to be buried upon hill slopes whence they can look down upon the camp; and they still call out the names of kinsmen and friends as they pass by the grave-yards. A similar piece occurs in Wetzstein (p. 27, “Reisebericht ueber Hauran,” etc.):—

O bear with you my bones where the camel bears his load

And bury me before you, if buried I must be;

And let me not be burled ‘neath the burden of the vine

But high upon the hill whence your sight I ever see!

As you pass along my grave cry aloud and name your names

The crying of your names shall revive the bones of me:

I have fasted through my life with my friends, and in my death,

I will feast when we meet, on that day of joy and glee.

4 The Akásirah (plur. of Kasrá=Chosroës) is here a title of the four great dynasties of Persian Kings. 1. The Peshdadian or Assyrian race, proto-historics for whom dates fail, 2. The Káyánián (Medes and Persians) who ended with the Alexandrian invasion in B. C. 331. 3. The Ashkánián (Parthenians or Arsacides) who ruled till A. D. 202; and 4. The Sassanides which have already been mentioned. But strictly speaking “Kisri” and “Kasra” are titles applied only to the latter dynasty and especially to the great King Anushirwan. They must not be confounded with “Khusrau” (P. N. Cyrus, Ahasuerus? Chosroës?), and yet the three seem to have combined in “Cæsar,” Kaysar and Czar. For details especially connected with Zoroaster see vol. I, p. 380 of the Dabistan or School of Manners, translated by David Shea and Anthony Troyer, Paris, 1843. The book is most valuable, but the proper names are so carelessly and incorrectly printed that the student is led into perpetual error.

5 The words are the very lowest and coarsest; but the scene is true to Arab life.

6 Arab.“Hayhát:” the word, written in a variety of ways is onomatopoetic, like our “heigh-ho!” it sometimes means “far from me (or you) be it!” but in popular usage it is simply “Alas.”

7 Lane (i., 134) finds a date for the book in this passage. The Soldan of Egypt, Mohammed ibn Kala’ún, in the early eighth century (Hijrah = our fourteenth), issued a sumptuary law compelling Christians and Jews to wear indigo-blue and saffron-yellow turbans, the white being reserved for Moslems. But the custom was much older and Mandeville (chaps. ix.) describes it in A. D. 1322 when it had become the rule. And it still endures; although abolished in the cities it is the rule for Christians, at least in the country parts of Egypt and Syria. I may here remark that such detached passages as these are absolutely useless for chronology: they may be simply the additions of editors or mere copyists.

8 The ancient “Mustaphá” = the Chosen (prophet, i. e. Mohammed), also titled Al–Mujtaba, the Accepted (Pilgrimage, ii., 309). “Murtaza”=the Elect, i.e. the Caliph Ali is the older “Mortada” or “Mortadi” of Ockley and his day, meaning “one pleasing to (or acceptable to) Allah.” Still older writers corrupted it to “Mortis Ali” and readers supposed this to be the Caliph’s name.

9 The gleam (zodiacal light) preceding the true dawn; the Persians call the former Subh-i-kázib (false or lying dawn) opposed to Subh-i-sádik (true dawn) and suppose that it is caused by the sun shining through a hole in the world — encircling Mount Kaf.

10 So the Heb. “Arún” = naked, means wearing the lower robe only; = our “in his shirt.”

11 Here we have the vulgar Egyptian colloquialism “Aysh” (— Ayyu shayyin) for the classical “Má” = what.

12 “In the name of Allah!” here said before taking action.

When it was the Ninth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the young woman, the sorceress, took in hand some of the tarn water and spake over it words not to be understood, the fishes lifted their heads and stood up on the instant like men, the spell on the people of the city having been removed. What was the lake again became a crowded capital; the bazars were thronged with folk who bought and sold; each citizen was occupied with his own calling and the four hills became islands as they were whilome. Then the young woman, that wicked sorceress, returned to the King and (still thinking he was the negro) said to him, O my love! stretch forth thy honoured hand that I may assist thee to rise.” “Nearer to me,” quoth the King in a faint and feigned tone. She came close as to embrace him when he took up the sword lying hid by his side and smote her across the breast, so that the point showed gleaming behind her back. Then he smote her a second time and cut her in twain and cast her to the ground in two halves. After which he fared forth and found the young man, now freed from the spell, awaiting him and gave him joy of his happy release while the Prince kissed his hand with abundant thanks. Quoth the King, “Wilt thou abide in this city or go with me to my capital?” Quoth the youth, “O King of the age, wottest thou not what journey is between thee and thy city?” “Two days and a half,” answered he, whereupon said the other, “An thou be sleeping, O King, awake! Between thee and thy city is a year’s march for a well girt walker, and thou haddest not come hither in two days and a half save that the city was under enchantment. And I, O King, will never part from thee; no, not even for the twinkling of an eye.” The King rejoiced at his words and said, “Thanks be to Allah who hath bestowed thee upon me! From this hour thou art my son and my only son, for that in all my life I have never been blessed with issue.” Thereupon they embraced and joyed with exceeding great joy; and, reaching the palace, the Prince who had been spell bound informed his lords and his grandees that he was about to visit the Holy Places as a pilgrim, and bade them get ready all things necessary for the occasion. The preparations lasted ten days, after which he set out with the Sultan, whose heart burned in yearning for his city whence he had been absent a whole twelvemonth. They journeyed with an escort of Mamelukes1 carrying all manners of precious gifts and rarities, nor stinted they wayfaring day and night for a full year until they approached the Sultan’s capital, and sent on messengers to announce their coming. Then the Wazir and the whole army came out to meet him in joy and gladness, for they had given up all hope of ever seeing their King; and the troops kissed the ground before him and wished him joy of his safety. He entered and took seat upon his throne and the Minister came before him and, when acquainted with all that had be fallen the young Prince, he congratulated him on his narrow escape. When order was restored throughout the land the King gave largesse to many of his people, and said to the Wazir, “Hither the Fisherman who brought us the fishes!” So he sent for the man who had been the first cause of the city and the citizens being delivered from enchantment and, when he came in to the presence, the Sultan bestowed upon him a dress of honour, and questioned him of his condition and whether he had children. The Fisherman gave him to know that he had two daughters and a son, so the King sent for them and, taking one daughter to wife, gave the other to the young Prince and made the son his head treasurer. Furthermore he invested his Wazir with the Sultanate of the City in the Black Islands whilome belonging to the young Prince, and dispatched with him the escort of fifty armed slaves together with dresses of honour for all the Emirs and Grandees. The Wazir kissed hands and fared forth on his way; while the Sultan and the Prince abode at home in all the solace and the delight of life; and the Fisherman became the richest man of his age, and his daughters wived with Kings, until death came to them. And yet, O King! this is not more wondrous than the story of

1 Arab. “Mamlúk” (plur. Mamálik) lit. a chattel; and in The Nights a white slave trained to arms. The “Mameluke Beys” of Egypt were locally called the “Ghuzz,” I use the convenient word in its old popular sense;

’Tis sung, there’s a valiant Mameluke

In foreign lands ycleped (Sir Luke)—

Hudibras.

And hence, probably, Molière’s “Mamamouchi”; and the modern French use “Mamalue.” See Savary’s Letters, No. xl.

The Porter and the Three Ladies of Baghdad.

Once upon a time there was a Porter in Baghdad, who was a bachelor and who would remain unmarried. It came to pass on a certain day, as he stood about the street leaning idly upon his crate, behold, there stood before him an honourable woman in a mantilla of Mosul1 silk, broidered with gold and bordered with brocade; her walking shoes were also purfled with gold and her hair floated in long plaits. She raised her face veil2 and, showing two black eyes fringed with jetty lashes, whose glances were soft and languishing and whose perfect beauty was ever blandishing, she accosted the Porter and said in the suavest tones and choicest language, “Take up thy crate and follow me.” The Porter was so dazzled he could hardly believe that he heard her aright, but he shouldered his basket in hot haste saying in himself, “O day of good luck! O day of Allah’s grace!” and walked after her till she stopped at the door of a house. There she rapped, and presently came out to her an old man, a Nazarene, to whom she gave a gold piece, receiving from him in return what she required of strained wine clear as olive oil; and she set it safely in the hamper, saying “Lift and follow.” Quoth the Porter, “This, by Allah, is indeed an auspicious day, a day propitious for the granting of all a man wisheth.” He again hoisted up the crate and followed her; till she stopped at a fruiterer’s shop and bought from him Shami3 apples and Osmani quinces and Omani4 peaches, and cucumbers of Nile growth, and Egyptian limes and Sultani oranges and citrons; besides Aleppine jasmine, scented myrtle berries, Damascene nenuphars, flower of privet5 and camomile, blood red anemones, violets, and pomegranate bloom, eglantine and narcissus, and set the whole in the Porter’s crate, saying, “Up with it.” So he lifted and followed her till she stopped at a butcher’s booth and said, “Cut me off ten pounds of mutton.” She paid him his price and he wrapped it in a banana leaf, whereupon she laid it in the crate and said “Hoist, O Porter.” He hoisted accordingly, and followed her as she walked on till she stopped at a grocer’s, where she bought dry fruits and pistachio kernels, Tihamah raisins, shelled almonds and all wanted for dessert, and said to the Porter, “Lift and follow me.” So he up with his hamper and after her till she stayed at the confectioner’s, and she bought an earthen platter, and piled it with all kinds of sweetmeats in his shop, open worked tarts and fritters scented with musk and “soap cakes,” and lemon loaves and melon preserves,6 and “Zaynab’s combs,” and “ladies’ fingers,” and “Kazi’s tit-bits” and goodies of every description; and placed the platter in the Porter’s crate. Thereupon quoth he (being a merry man), “Thou shouldest have told me, and I would have brought with me a pony or a she camel to carry all this market stuff.” She smiled and gave him a little cuff on the nape saying, “Step out and exceed not in words for (Allah willing!) thy wage will not be wanting.” Then she stopped at a perfumer’s and took from him ten sorts of waters, rose scented with musk, grange Lower, waterlily, willow flower, violet and five others; and she also bought two loaves of sugar, a bottle for perfume spraying, a lump of male in cense, aloe wood, ambergris and musk, with candles of Alex’ andria wax; and she put the whole into the basket, saying, “Up with thy crate and after me.” He did so and followed until she stood before the greengrocer’s, of whom she bought pickled safflower and olives, in brine and in oil; with tarragon and cream cheese and hard Syrian cheese; and she stowed them away in the crate saying to the Porter, “Take up thy basket and follow me.” He did so and went after her till she came to a fair mansion fronted by a spacious court, a tall, fine place to which columns gave strength and grace: and the gate thereof had two leaves of ebony inlaid with plates of red gold. The lady stopped at the door and, turning her face veil sideways, knocked softly with her knuckles whilst the Porter stood behind her, thinking of naught save her beauty and loveliness. Presently the door swung back and both leaves were opened, whereupon he looked to see who had opened it; and behold, it was a lady of tall figure, some five feet high; a model of beauty and loveliness, brilliance and symmetry and perfect grace. Her forehead was flower white; her cheeks like the anemone ruddy bright; her eyes were those of the wild heifer or the gazelle, with eyebrows like the crescent moon which ends Sha’aban and begins Ramazan;7 her mouth was the ring of Sulayman,8 her lips coral red, and her teeth like a line of strung pearls or of camomile petals. Her throat recalled the antelope’s, and her breasts, like two pomegranates of even size, stood at bay as it were,9 her body rose and fell in waves below her dress like the rolls of a piece of brocade, and her navel10 would hold an ounce of benzoin ointment. In fine she was like her of whom the poet said:—

On Sun and Moon of palace cast thy sight

Enjoy her flower like face, her fragrant light:

Thine eyes shall never see in hair so black

Beauty encase a brow so purely white:

The ruddy rosy cheek proclaims her claim

Though fail her name whose beauties we indite:

As sways her gait I smile at hips so big

And weep to see the waist they bear so slight.

When the Porter looked upon her his wits were waylaid, and his senses were stormed so that his crate went nigh to fall from his head, and he said to himself, “Never have I in my life seen a day more blessed than this day!” Then quoth the lady portress to the lady cateress, “Come in from the gate and relieve this poor man of his load.” So the provisioner went in followed by the portress and the Porter and went on till they reached a spacious ground floor hall,11 built with admirable skill and beautified with all manner colours and carvings; with upper balconies and groined arches and galleries and cupboards and recesses whose curtains hung before them. In the midst stood a great basin full of water surrounding a fine fountain, and at the upper end on the raised dais was a couch of juniper wood set with gems and pearls, with a canopy like mosquito curtains of red satin silk looped up with pearls as big as filberts and bigger. Thereupon sat a lady bright of blee, with brow beaming brilliancy, the dream of philosophy, whose eyes were fraught with Babel’s gramarye12 and her eye brows were arched as for archery; her breath breathed ambergris and perfumery and her lips were sugar to taste and carnelian to see. Her stature was straight as the letter I13 and her face shamed the noon sun’s radiancy; and she was even as a galaxy, or a dome with golden marquetry or a bride displayed in choicest finery or a noble maid of Araby.14 Right well of her sang the bard when he said:—

Her smiles twin rows of pearls display

Chamomile-buds or rimey spray

Her tresses stray as night let down

And shames her light the dawn o’ day.

15The third lady rising from the couch stepped forward with grace ful swaying gait till she reached the middle of the saloon, when she said to her sisters, “Why stand ye here? take it down from this poor man’s head!” Then the cateress went and stood before him, and the portress behind him while the third helped them, and they lifted the load from the Porter’s head; and, emptying it of all that was therein, set everything in its place. Lastly they gave him two gold pieces, saying, “Wend thy ways, O Porter.” But he went not, for he stood looking at the ladies and admiring what uncommon beauty was theirs, and their pleasant manners and kindly dispositions (never had he seen goodlier); and he gazed wistfully at that good store of wines and sweet scented flowers and fruits and other matters. Also he marvelled with exceeding marvel, especially to see no man in the place and delayed his going; whereupon quoth the eldest lady, “What aileth thee that goest not; haply thy wage be too little?” And, turning to her sister the cateress, she said, “Give him another diner!” But the Porter answered, “By Allah, my lady, it is not for the wage; my hire is never more than two dirhams; but in very sooth my heart and my soul are taken up with you and your condition. I wonder to see you single with ne’er a man about you and not a soul to bear you company; and well you wot that the minaret toppleth o’er unless it stand upon four, and you want this same fourth; and women’s pleasure without man is short of measure, even as the poet said:—

Seest not we want for joy four things all told

The harp and lute, the flute and flageolet;

And be they companied with scents four fold

Rose, myrtle, anemone and violet

Nor please all eight an four thou wouldst withold

Good wine and youth and gold and pretty pet.

You be there and want a fourth who shall be a person of good sense and prudence; smart witted, and one apt to keep careful counsel.” His words pleased and amused them much; and they laughed at him and said, “And who is to assure us of that? We are maidens and we fear to entrust our secret where it may not be kept, for we have read in a certain chronicle the lines of one Ibn al-Sumam:-

Hold fast thy secret and to none unfold

Lost is a secret when that secret’s told

An fail thy breast thy secret to conceal

How canst thou hope another’s breast shall hold?

And Abu Nowás16 said well on the same subject:—

Who trusteth secret to another’s hand

Upon his brow deserveth burn of brand!”

When the Porter heard their words he rejoined, “By your lives! I am a man of sense and a discreet, who hath read books and perused chronicles; I reveal the fair and conceal the foul and I act as the poet adviseth:—

None but the good a secret keep

And good men keep it unrevealed:

It is to me a well shut house

With keyless locks and door ensealed”17

When the maidens heard his verse and its poetical application addressed to them they said, “Thou knowest that we have laid out all our monies on this place. Now say, hast thou aught to offer us in return for entertainment? For surely we will not suf fer thee to sit in our company and be our cup companion, and gaze upon our faces so fair and so rare without paying a round sum.18 Wottest thou not the saying:—

Sans hope of gain

Love’s not worth a grain?”

Whereto the lady portress added, “If thou bring anything thou art a something; if no thing, be off with thee, thou art a nothing;” but the procuratrix interposed, saying, “Nay, O my sisters, leave teasing him for by Allah he hath not failed us this day, and had he been other he never had kept patience with me, so whatever be his shot and scot I will take it upon myself.” The Porter, over joyed, kissed the ground before her and thanked her saying, “By Allah, these monies are the first fruits this day hath given me.” Hearing this they said, “Sit thee down and welcome to thee,” and the eldest lady added, “By Allah, we may not suffer thee to join us save on one condition, and this it is, that no questions be asked as to what concerneth thee not, and frowardness shall be soundly flogged.” Answered the Porter, “I agree to this, O my lady, on my head and my eyes be it! Lookye, I am dumb, I have no tongue. Then arose the provisioneress and tightening her girdle set the table by the fountain and put the flowers and sweet herbs in their jars, and strained the wine and ranged the flasks in row and made ready every requisite. Then sat she down, she and her sisters, placing amidst them the Porter who kept deeming himself in a dream; and she took up the wine flagon, and poured out the first cup and drank it off, and likewise a second and a third.19 After this she filled a fourth cup which she handed to one of her sisters; and, lastly, she crowned a goblet and passed it to the Porter, saying:—

“Drink the dear draught, drink free and fain

What healeth every grief and pain.”

He took the cup in his hand and, louting low, returned his best thanks and improvised:—

Drain not the bowl save with a trusty friend

A man of worth whose good old

For wine, like wind, sucks sweetness from the sweet

And stinks when over stench It haply blow:”

Adding:—

Drain not the bowl; save from dear hand like thine

The cup recall thy gifts; thou, gifts of wine.”

After repeating this couplet he kissed their hands and drank and was drunk and sat swaying from side to side and pursued:—

“All drinks wherein is blood the Law unclean

Doth hold save one, the blood shed of the vine:

Fill! fill! take all my wealth bequeathed or won

Thou fawn! a willing ransom for those eyne.”

Then the cateress crowned a cup and gave it to the portress, who took it from her hand and thanked her and drank. Thereupon she poured again and passed to the eldest lady who sat on the couch, and filled yet another and handed it to the Porter. He kissed the ground before them; and, after drinking and thanking them, he again began to recite:

“Here! Here! by Allah, here!

Cups of the sweet, the dear’

Fill me a brimming bowl

The Fount o’ Life I speer

Then the Porter stood up before the mistress of the house and said, “O lady, I am thy slave, thy Mameluke, thy white thrall, a, thy very bondsman;” and he began reciting:—

“A slave of slaves there standeth at thy door

Lauding thy generous boons and gifts galore

Beauty! may he come in awhile to ‘joy

Thy charms? for Love and I part nevermore!”

She said to him, “Drink; and health and happiness attend thy drink.” So he took the cup and kissed her hand and recited these lines in sing song:

“I gave her brave old wine that like her cheeks

Blushed red or flame from furnace flaring up:

She bussed the brim and said with many a smile

How durst thou deal folk’s cheek for folk to sup?

“Drink!” (said I) “these are tears of mine whose tinct

Is heart blood sighs have boiled in the cup.”

She answered him in the following couplet:—

“An tears of blood for me, friend, thou hast shed

Suffer me sup them, by thy head and eyes!”

Then the lady took the cup, and drank it off to her sisters’ health, and they ceased not drinking (the Porter being in the midst of them), and dancing and laughing and reciting verses and singing ballads and ritornellos. All this time the Porter was carrying on with them, kissing, toying, biting, handling, groping, fingering; whilst one thrust a dainty morsel in his mouth, and another slapped him; and this cuffed his cheeks, and that threw sweet flowers at him; and he was in the very paradise of pleasure, as though he were sitting in the seventh sphere among the Houris20 of Heaven. They ceased not doing after this fashion until the wine played tucks in their heads and worsted their wits; and, when the drink got the better of them, the portress stood up and doffed her clothes till she was mother naked. However, she let down her hair about her body by way of shift, and throwing herself into the basin disported herself and dived like a duck and swam up and down, and took water in her mouth, and spurted it all over the Porter, and washed her limbs, and between her breasts, and inside her thighs and all around her navel. Then she came up out of the cistern and throwing herself on the Porter’s lap said, “O my lord, O my love, what callest thou this article?” pointing to her slit, her solution of continuity. “I call that thy cleft,” quoth the Porter, and she rejoined, Wah! wah, art thou not ashamed to use such a word?” and she caught him by the collar and soundly cuffed him. Said he again, Thy womb, thy vulva;” and she struck him a second slap crying, “O fie, O fie, this is another ugly word; is here no shame in thee?” Quoth he, “Thy coynte;” and she cried, O thou! art wholly destitute of modesty?” and thumped and bashed him. Then cried the Porter, “Thy clitoris,”21 whereat the eldest lady came down upon him with a yet sorer beating, and said, “No;” and he said, “’Tis so,” and the Porter went on calling the same commodity by sundry other names, but whatever he said they beat him more and more till his neck ached and swelled with the blows he had gotten; and on this wise they made him a butt and a laughing stock. At last he turned upon them asking, And what do you women call this article?” Whereto the damsel made answer, “The basil of the bridges.”22 Cried the Porter, “Thank Allah for my safety: aid me and be thou propitious, O basil of the bridges!” They passed round the cup and tossed off the bowl again, when the second lady stood up; and, stripping off all her clothes, cast herself into the cistern and did as the first had done; then she came out of the water and throwing her naked form on the Porter’s lap pointed to her machine and said, “O light of mine eyes, do tell me what is the name of this concern?” He replied as before, “Thy slit;” and she rejoined, “Hath such term no shame for thee?” and cuffed him and buffeted him till the saloon rang with the blows. Then quoth she, “O fie! O fie! how canst thou say this without blushing?” He suggested, “The basil of the bridges;” but she would not have it and she said, “No! no!” and stuck him and slapped him on the back of the neck. Then he began calling out all the names he knew, “Thy slit, thy womb, thy coynte, thy clitoris;” and the girls kept on saying, “No! no!” So he said, “I stick to the basil of the bridges;” and all the three laughed till they fell on their backs and laid slaps on his neck and said, “No! no! that’s not its proper name.” Thereupon he cried, “O my sisters, what is its name?” and they replied, “What sayest thou to the husked sesame seed?” Then the cateress donned her clothes and they fell again to carousing, but the Porter kept moaning, “Oh! and Oh!” for his neck and shoulders, and the cup passed merrily round and round again for a full hour. After that time the eldest and handsomest lady stood up and stripped off her garments, whereupon the Porter took his neck in hand, and rubbed and shampoo’d it, saying, “My neck and shoulders are on the way of Allah!”23 Then she threw herself into the basin, and swam and dived, sported and washed; and the Porter looked at her naked figure as though she had been a slice of the moon24 and at her face with the sheen of Luna when at full, or like the dawn when it brighteneth, and he noted her noble stature and shape, and those glorious forms that quivered as she went; for she was naked as the Lord made her. Then he cried “Alack! Alack!“ and began to address her, versifying in these couplets:—

“If I liken thy shape to the bough when green

My likeness errs and I sore mistake it;

For the bough is fairest when clad the most

And thou art fairest when mother naked.”

When the lady heard his verses she came up out of the basin and, seating herself upon his lap and knees, pointed to her genitory and said, “O my lordling, what be the name of this?” Quoth he, “The basil of the bridges;” but she said, “Bah, bah!” Quoth he, “The husked sesame;” quoth she, “Pooh, pooh!” Then said he, “Thy womb;” and she cried, “Fie, Fie! art thou not ashamed of thyself?” and cuffed him on the nape of the neck. And whatever name he gave declaring “’Tis so,” she beat him and cried “No! no!” till at last he said, “O my sisters, and what is its name?” She replied, “It is entitled the Khan25 of Abu Mansur;” whereupon the Porter replied, “Ha! ha! O Allah be praised for safe deliverance! O Khan of Abu Mansur!” Then she came forth and dressed and the cup went round a full hour. At last the Porter rose up, and stripping off all his clothes, jumped into the tank and swam about and washed under his bearded chin and armpits, even as they had done. Then he came out and threw himself into the first lady’s lap and rested his arms upon the lap of the portress, and reposed his legs in the lap of the cateress and pointed to his prickle26 and said, “O my mistresses, what is the name of this article?” All laughed at his words till they fell on their backs, and one said, “Thy pintle!” But he replied, “No!” and gave each one of them a bite by way of forfeit. Then said they, “Thy pizzle!” but he cried “No,” and gave each of them a hug; And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

1 The name of this celebrated succesor of Nineveh, where some suppose The Nights were written, is orig. (middle-gates) because it stood on the way where four great highways meet. The Arab. form “Mausil” (the vulgar “Mosul”) is also significant, alluding to the “junction” of Assyria and Babylonis. Hence our “muslin.”

2 This is Mr. Thackeray’s “nose-bag.” I translate by “walking-shoes” the Arab “Khuff” which are a manner of loose boot covering the ankle; they are not usually embroidered, the ornament being reserved for the inner shoe.

3 i.e. Syria (says Abulfeda) the “land on the left” (of one facing the east) as opposed to Al–Yaman the “land on the right.” Osmani would mean Turkish, Ottoman. When Bernard the Wise (Bohn, p.24) speaks of “Bagada and Axiam” (Mabillon’s text) or “Axinarri” (still worse), he means Baghdad and Ash–Shám (Syria, Damascus), the latter word puzzling his Editor. Richardson (Dissert, lxxii.) seems to support a hideous attempt to derive Shám from Shámat, a mole or wart, because the country is studded with hillocks! Al–Shám is often applied to Damascus-city whose proper name Dimishk belongs to books: this term is generally derived from Damáshik b. Káli b. Málik b. Sham (Shem). Lee (Ibn Batùtah, 29) denies that ha-Dimishki means “Eliezer of Damascus.”

4 From Oman = Eastern Arabia.

5 Arab. “Tamar Hannà” lit. date of Henna, but applied to the flower of the eastern privet (Lawsonia inermis) which has the sweet scent of freshly mown hay. The use of Henna as a dye is known even in Enland. The “myrtle” alluded to may either have been for a perfume (as it is held an anti-intoxicant) or for eating, the bitter aromatic berries of the “Ás” being supposed to flavour wine and especially Raki (raw brandy).

6 Lane. (i. 211) pleasantly remarks, “A list of these sweets is given in my original, but I have thought it better to omit the names” (!) Dozy does not shirk his duty, but he is not much more satisfactory in explaining words interesting to students because they are unfound in dictionaries and forgotten by the people. “Akrás (cakes) Laymunìyah (of limes) wa Maymunìyah” appears in the Bresl. Edit. as “Ma’amuniyah” which may mean “Ma’amun’s cakes” or “delectable cakes.” “Amshát” = (combs) perhaps refers to a fine kind of Kunàfah (vermicelli) known in Egypt and Syria as “Ghazl al-banát” = girl’s spinning.

7 The new moon carefully looked for by all Moslems because it begins the Ramazán-fast.

8 Solomon’s signet ring has before been noticed.

9 The “high-bosomed” damsel, with breasts firm as a cube, is a favourite with Arab tale tellers. Fanno baruffa is the Italian term for hard breasts pointing outwards.

10 A large hollow navel is looked upon not only as a beauty, but in children it is held a promise of good growth.

11 Arab. “Ka’ah,” a high hall opening upon the central court: we shall find the word used for a mansion, barrack, men’s quarters, etc.

12 Babel = Gate of God (El), or Gate of Ilu (P. N. of God), which the Jews ironically interpreted “Confusion.” The tradition of Babylonia being the very centre of witchcraft and enchantment by means of its Seven Deadly Spirits, has survived in Al–Islam; the two fallen angels (whose names will occur) being confined in a well; Nimrod attempting to reach Heaven from the Tower in a magical car drawn by monstrous birds and so forth. See p. 114, Francois Fenormant’s “Chaldean Magic,” London, Bagsters.

13 Arab. “Kámat Alfíyyah” = like the letter Alif, a straight perpendicular stroke. In the Egyptian hieroglyphs, the origin of every alphabet (not syllabarium) known to man, one form was a flag or leaf of water-plant standing upright. Hence probably the Arabic Alif-shape; while other nations preferred other modifications of the letter (ox’s head, etc), which in Egyptian number some thirty-six varieties, simple and compound.

14 I have not attempted to order this marvellous confusion of metaphors so characteristic of The Nights and the exigencies of Al-Saj’a = rhymed prose.

15 Here and elsewhere I omit the “kála (dice Turpino)” of the original: Torrens preserves “Thus goes the tale” (which it only interrupts). This is simply letter-wise and sense-foolish.

16 Of this worthy more at a future time.

17 i.e., sealed with the Kazi or legal authority’s seal of office.

18 “Nothing for nothing” is a fixed idea with the Eastern woman: not so much for greed as for a sexual point d’ honneur when dealing with the adversary — man.

19 She drinks first, the custom of the universal East, to show that the wine she had bought was unpoisoned. Easterns, who utterly ignore the “social glass” of Western civilisation drink honestly to get drunk; and, when far gone are addicted to horse-play (in Pers. “Badmasti” = le vin mauvais) which leads to quarrels and bloodshed. Hence it is held highly irreverent to assert of patriarchs, prophets and saints that they “drank wine;” and Moslems agree with our “Teatotallers” in denying that, except in the case of Noah, inebriatives are anywhere mentioned in Holy Writ.

20 Arab. “Húr al-Ayn,” lit. (maids) with eyes of lively white and black, applied to the virgins of Paradise who will wive with the happy Faithful. I retain our vulgar “Houri,” warning the reader that it is a masc. for a fem. (“Huríyah”) in Arab, although accepted in Persian, a genderless speach.

21 Arab. “Zambúr,” whose head is amputated in female circumcision. See Night cccclxxiv.

22 Ocymum basilicum noticed in Introduction, the bassilico of Boccaccio iv. 5. The Book of Kalilah and Dimnah represents it as “sprouting with something also whose smell is foul and disgusting and the sower at once sets to gather it and burn it with fire.” (The Fables of Bidpai translated from the later Syriac version by I. G. N. Keith–Falconer, etc., etc., etc., Cambridge University Press, 1885). Here, however, Habk is a pennyroyal (mentha puligium), and probably alludes to the pecten.

23 i. e. common property for all to beat.

24 “A digit of the moon” is the Hindú equivalent.

25 Better known to us as Caravanserai, the “Travellers’ Bungalow” of India: in the Khan, however, shelter is to be had, but neither bed nor board.

26 Arab. “Zubb.” I would again note that this and its synonyms are the equivalents of the Arabic, which is of the lowest. The tale-teller’s evident object is to accentuate the contrast with the tragical stories to follow.

When it was the Tenth Night,

Quoth her sister Dunyazad, “Finish for us thy story;” and she answered, “With joy and goodly greet” It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the damsels stinted not saying to the Porter “Thy prickle, thy pintle, thy pizzle,” and he ceased not kissing and biting and hugging until his heart was satisfied, and they laughed on till they could no more. At last one said, “O our brother, what, then, is it called?” Quoth he, “Know ye not?” Quoth they, “No!” “Its veritable name,” said he, “is mule Burst all, which browseth on the basil of the bridges, and muncheth the husked sesame, and nighteth in the Khan of Abu Mansur.” Then laughed they till they fell on their backs, and returned to their carousel, and ceased not to be after this fashion till night began to fall. Thereupon said they to the Porter, ‘‘Bismillah,1 O our master, up and on with those sorry old shoes of thine and turn thy face and show us the breadth of thy shoulders!” Said he, “By Allah, to part with my soul would be easier for me than departing from you: come let us join night to day, and to morrow morning we will each wend our own way.” “My life on you,” said the procuratrix, “suffer him to tarry with us, that we may laugh at him: we may live out our lives and never meet with his like, for surely he is a right merry rogue and a witty.”2 So they said, “Thou must not remain with us this night save on condition that thou submit to our com mends, and that whatso thou seest, thou ask no questions there anent, nor enquire of its cause.” “All right,” rejoined he, and they said, “Go read the writing over the door.” So he rose and went to the entrance and there found written in letters of gold wash; Whoso speaketh of what concerneth him not, shall hear what pleaseth him not! 3 The Porter said, Be ye witnesses against me that I will not speak on whatso concerneth me not.” Then the cateress arose, and set food before them and they ate; after which they changed their drinking place for an other, and she lighted the lamps and candles and burned amber gris and aloes wood, and set on fresh fruit and the wine service, when they fell to carousing and talking of their lovers. And they ceased not to eat and drink and chat, nibbling dry fruits and laughing and playing tricks for the space of a full hour when lo! a knock was heard at the gate. The knocking in no wise dis turbed the seance, but one of them rose and went to see what it was and presently returned, saying, “Truly our pleasure for this night is to be perfect.” “How is that?” asked they; and she answered, “At the gate be three Persian Kalandars4 with their beards and heads and eyebrows shaven; and all three blind of the left eye — which is surely a strange chance. They are foreigners from Roum-land with the mark of travel plain upon them; they have just entered Baghdad, this being their first visit to our city; and the cause of their knocking at our door is simply because they cannot find a lodging. Indeed one of them said to me:— Haply the owner of this mansion will let us have the key of his stable or some old out house wherein we may pass this night; for evening had surprised them and, being strangers in the land, they knew none who would give them shelter. And, O my sisters, each of them is a figure o’ fun after his own fashion; and if we let them in we shall have matter to make sport of.” She gave not over persuading them till they said to her, “Let them in, and make thou the usual condition with them that they speak not of what concerneth them not, lest they hear what pleaseth them not.” So she rejoiced and going to the door presently returned with the three monoculars whose beards and mustachios were clean shaven.5 They salam’d and stood afar off by way of respect; but the three ladies rose up to them and welcomed them and wished them joy of their safe arrival and made them sit down. The Kalandars looked at the room and saw that it was a pleasant place, clean swept and garnished with cowers; and the lamps were burning and the smoke of perfumes was spireing in air; and beside the dessert and fruits and wine, there were three fair girls who might be maidens; so they exclaimed with one voice, “By Allah, ’tis good!” Then they turned to the Porter and saw that he was a merry faced wight, albeit he was by no means sober and was sore after his slappings. So they thought that he was one of themselves and said, “A mendicant like us! whether Arab or foreigner.”6 But when the Porter heard these words, he rose up, and fixing his eyes fiercely upon them, said, “Sit ye here without exceeding in talk! Have you not read what is writ over the door? surely it befitteth not fellows who come to us like paupers to wag your tongues at us.” “We crave thy pardon, O Fakír,”7 rejoined they, “and our heads are between thy hands.” The ladies laughed consumedly at the squabble; and, making peace between the Kalandars and the Porter, seated the new guests before meat and they ate. Then they sat together, and the portress served them with drink; and, as the cup went round merrily, quoth the Porter to the askers, “And you, O brothers mine, have ye no story or rare adventure to amuse us withal?” Now the warmth of wine having mounted to their heads they called for musical instruments; and the portress brought them a tambourine of Mosul, and a lute of Irák, and a Persian harp; and each mendicant took one and tuned it; this the tambourine and those the lute and the harp, and struck up a merry tune while the ladies sang so lustily that there was a great noise.8 And whilst they were carrying on, behold, some one knocked at the gate, and the portress went to see what was the matter there. Now the cause of that knocking, O King (quoth Shahrazad) was this, the Caliph, Harun al-Rashid, had gone forth from the palace, as was his wont now and then, to solace himself in the city that night, and to see and hear what new thing was stirring; he was in merchant’s gear, and he was attended by Ja’afar, his Wazir, and by Masrur his Sworder of Vengeance.9 As they walked about the city, their way led them towards the house of the three ladies; where they heard the loud noise of musical instruments and singing and merriment; so quoth the Caliph to Ja’afar, “I long to enter this house and hear those songs and see who sing them.” Quoth Ja’afar, “O Prince of the Faithful; these folk are surely drunken with wine, and I fear some mischief betide us if we get amongst them.” “There is no help but that I go in there,” replied the Caliph, “and I desire thee to contrive some pretext for our appearing among them.” Ja’afar replied, “I hear and I obey;”10 and knocked at the door, whereupon the portress came out and opened. Then Ja’afar came forward and kissing the ground before her said, “O my lady, we be merchants from Tiberias town: we arrived at Baghdad ten days ago; and, alighting at the mer chants’ caravanserai, we sold all our merchandise. Now a certain trader invited us to an entertainment this night; so we went to his house and he set food before us and we ate: then we sat at wine and wassail with him for an hour or so when he gave us leave to depart; and we went out from him in the shadow of the night and, being strangers, we could not find our way back to our Khan. So haply of your kindness and courtesy you will suffer us to tarry with you this night, and Heaven will reward you!”11 The portress looked upon them and seeing them dressed like merchants and men of grave looks and solid, she returned to her sisters and repeated to them Ja’afar’s story; and they took compassion upon the strangers and said to her, “Let them enter.” She opened the door to them, when said they to her, “Have we thy leave to come in?” “Come in,” quoth she; and the Caliph entered followed by Ja’afar and Masrur; and when the girls saw them they stood up to them in respect and made them sit down and looked to their wants, saying, “Welcome, and well come and good cheer to the guests, but with one condition!” “What is that?” asked they, and one of the ladies answered, “Speak not of what concerneth you not, lest ye hear what pleaseth you not.” “Even so,” said they; and sat down to their wine and drank deep. Presently the Caliph looked on the three Kalandars and, seeing them each and every blind of the left eye, wondered at the sight; then he gazed upon the girls and he was startled and he marvelled with exceeding marvel at their beauty and loveliness. They continued to carouse and to converse and said to the Caliph, “Drink!” but he replied, “I am vowed to Pilgrimage;”12 and drew back from the wine. Thereupon the portress rose and spreading before him a table cloth worked with gold, set thereon a porcelain bowl into which she poured willow flower water with a lump of snow and a spoonful of sugar candy. The Caliph thanked her and said in himself,“By Allah, I will recompense her to morrow for the kind deed she hath done.” The others again addressed themselves to conversing and carousing; and, when the wine get the better of them, the eldest lady who ruled the house rose and making obeisance to them took the cateress by the hand, and said, “Rise, O my sister and let us do what is our devoir.” Both answered “Even so!” Then the portress stood up and proceeded to remove the table service and the remnants of the banquet; and renewed the pastiles and cleared the middle of the saloon. Then she made the Kalandars sit upon a sofa at the side of the estrade, and seated the Caliph and Ja’afar and Masrur on the other side of the saloon; after which she called the Porter, and said, “How scanty is thy courtesy! now thou art no stranger; nay, thou art one of the household.” So he stood up and, tightening his waist cloth, asked, “What would ye I do?” and she answered, “Stand in thy place.” Then the procuratrix rose and set in the midst of the saloon a low chair and, opening a closet, cried to the Porter, “Come help me.” So he went to help her and saw two black bitches with chains round their necks; and she said to him, “Take hold of them;” and he took them and led them into the middle of the saloon. Then the lady of the house arose and tucked up her sleeves above her wrists and, seizing a scourge, said to the Porter, “Bring forward one of the bitches.” He brought her forward, dragging her by the chain, while the bitch wept, and shook her head at the lady who, however, came down upon her with blows on the sconce; and the bitch howled and the lady ceased not beating her till her forearm failed her. Then, casting the scourge from her hand, she pressed the bitch to her bosom and, wiping away her tears with her hands, kissed her head. Then she said to the Porter, “Take her away and bring the second;” and, when he brought her, she did with her as she had done with the first. Now the heart of the Caliph, was touched at these cruel doings; his chest straitened and he lost all patience in his desire to know why the two bitches were so beaten. He threw a wink at Ja’afar wishing him to ask, but; the Minister turning towards him said by signs, “Be silent!” Then quoth the portress to the mistress of the house, “O my lady, arise and go to thy place that I in turn may do my devoir.”13 She answered, “Even so”; and, taking her seat upon the couch of juniper wood, pargetted with gold and silver, said to the portress and cateress, “Now do ye what ye have to do.” Thereupon the portress sat upon a low seat by the couch side; but the procuretrix, entering a closet, brought out of it a bag of satin with green fringes and two tassels of gold. She stood up before the lady of the house and shaking the bag drew out from it a lute which she tuned by tightening its pegs; and when it was in perfect order, she began to sing these quatrains:—

“Ye are the wish, the aim of me

And when, O Love, thy sight I see14

The heavenly mansion openeth;15

But Hell I see when lost thy sight.

From thee comes madness; nor the less

Comes highest joy, comes ecstasy:

Nor in my love for thee I fear

Or shame and blame, or hate and spite.

When Love was throned within my heart

I rent the veil of modesty;

And stints not Love to rend that veil

Garring disgrace on grace to alight;

The robe of sickness then I donned

But rent to rags was secrecy:

Wherefore my love and longing heart

Proclaim your high supremest might;

The tear drop railing adown my cheek

Telleth my tale of ignomy:

And all the hid was seen by all

And all my riddle ree’d aright.

Heal then my malady, for thou

Art malady and remedy! But she whose cure is in thy hand

Shall ne’er be free of bane and blight;

Burn me those eyne that radiance rain

Slay me the swords of phantasy;

How many hath the sword of Love

Laid low, their high degree despite?

Yet will I never cease to pine

Nor to oblivion will I flee. Love is my health, my faith, my joy

Public and private, wrong or right.

O happy eyes that sight thy charms

That gaze upon thee at their gree!

Yea, of my purest wish and will

The slave of Love I’ll aye be hight.”

When the damsel heard this elegy in quatrains she cried out “Alas! Alas!” and rent her raiment, and fell to the ground fainting; and the Caliph saw scars of the palm rod16 on her back and welts of the whip; and marvelled with exceeding wonder. Then the portress arose and sprinkled water on her and brought her a fresh and very fine dress and put it on her. But when the company beheld these doings their minds were troubled, for they had no inkling of the case nor knew the story thereof; so the Caliph said to Ja’afar, “Didst thou not see the scars upon the damsel’s body? I cannot keep silence or be at rest till I learn the truth of her condition and the story of this other maiden and the secret of the two black bitches.” But Ja’afar answered, “O our lord, they made it a condition with us that we speak not of what concerneth us not, lest we come to hear what pleaseth us not.” Then said the portress “By Allah, O my sister, come to me and complete this service for me.” Replied the procuratrix, “With joy and goodly gree;” so she took the lute; and leaned it against her breasts and swept the strings with her finger tips, and began singing:—

“Give back mine eyes their sleep long ravished

And say me whither be my reason fled:

I learnt that lending to thy love a place

Sleep to mine eyelids mortal foe was made.

They said, “We held thee righteous, who waylaid

Thy soul?” “Go ask his glorious eyes,” I said.

I pardon all my blood he pleased to spill

Owning his troubles drove him blood to shed.

On my mind’s mirror sun like sheen he cast

Whose keen reflection fire in vitals bred

Waters of Life let Allah waste at will

Suffice my wage those lips of dewy red:

An thou address my love thou’lt find a cause

For plaint and tears or ruth or lustihed.

In water pure his form shall greet your eyne

When fails the bowl nor need ye drink of wine.17

Then she quoted from the same ode:—

“I drank, but the draught of his glance, not wine,

And his swaying gait swayed to sleep these eyne:

’Twas not grape juice grips me but grasp of Past

’Twas not bowl o’erbowled me but gifts divine:

His coiling curl-lets my soul ennetted

And his cruel will all my wits outwitted.18

After a pause she resumed:—

“If we ‘plain of absence what shall we say?

Or if pain afflict us where wend our way?

An I hire a truchman19 to tell my tale

The lover’s plaint is not told for pay:

If I put on patience, a lover’s life

After loss of love will not last a day:

Naught is left me now but regret, repine

And tears flooding cheeks for ever and aye:

O thou who the babes of these eyes20 hast deaf

Thou art homed in heart that shall never stray

Would heaven I wot hast thou kept our pact

Long as stream shall cow, to have firmest fey?

Or hast forgotten the weeping slave

Whom groans afflict and whom griefs waylay?

Ah, when severance ends and we side by side

Couch, I’ll blame thy rigours and chide thy pride!”

Now when the portress heard her second ode she shrieked aloud and said, “By Allah! ’tis right good!”; and laying hands on her garments tore them, as she did the first time, and fell to the ground fainting. Thereupon the procuratrix rose end brought her a second change of clothes after she had sprinkled water on her. She recovered and sat upright and said to her sister the cateress, “Onwards, and help me in my duty, for there remains but this one song.” So the provisioneress again brought out the lute and began to sing these verses:—

“How long shall last, how long this rigour rife of woe

May not suffice thee all these tears thou seest flow?

Our parting thus with purpose fell thou cost prolong

Is’t not enough to glad the heart of envious foe?

Were but this Iying world once true to lover heart

He had not watched the weary night in tears of woe:

Oh pity me whom overwhelmed thy cruel will

My lord, my king, ’tis time some ruth to me thou show:

To whom reveal my wrongs, O thou who murdered me?

Sad, who of broken troth the pangs must undergo!

Increase wild love for thee and phrenzy hour by hour

And days of exile minute by so long, so slow;

O Moslems, claim vendetta21 for this slave of Love

Whose sleep Love ever wastes, whose patience Love lays low:

Doth law of Love allow thee, O my wish! to lie

Lapt in another’s arms and unto me cry Go!?

Yet in thy presence, say, what joys shall I enjoy

When he I love but works my love to overthrow?”

When the portress heard the third song she cried aloud; and, laying hands on her garments, rent them down to the very skirt and fell to the ground fainting a third time, again showing the scars of the scourge. Then said the three Kalandars, “Would Heaven we had never entered this house, but had rather righted on the mounds and heaps outside the city! for verily our visit hath been troubled by sights which cut to the heart.” The Caliph turned to them and asked, “Why so?” and they made answer, “Our minds are sore troubled by this matter.” Quoth the Caliph, “Are ye not of the household?” and quoth they, “No; nor indeed did we ever set eyes on the place till within this hour.” Hereat the Caliph marvelled and rejoined, “This man who sitteth by you, would he not know the secret of the matter?” and so saying he winked and made signs at the Porter. So they questioned the man but he replied, “By the All might of Allah, in love all are alike!22 I am the growth of Baghdad, yet never in my born days did I darken these doors till to day and my companying with them was a curious matter.” “By Allah,” they rejoined, “we took thee for one of them and now we see thou art one like ourselves.” Then said the Caliph, “We be seven men, and they only three women without even a fourth to help them; so let us question them of their case; and, if they answer us not, fain we will be answered by force.” All of them agreed to this except Ja’afar who said,23 “This is not my recking; let them be; for we are their guests and, as ye know, they made a compact and condition with us which we accepted and promised to keep: wherefore it is better that we be silent concerning this matter; and, as but little of the night remaineth, let each and every of us gang his own gait.” Then he winked at the Caliph and whispered to him, “There is but one hour of darkness left and I can bring them before thee to morrow, when thou canst freely question them all concerning their story.” But the Caliph raised his head haughtily and cried out at him in wrath, saying, “I have no patience left for my longing to hear of them: let the Kalandars question them forthright.” Quoth Ja’afar, “This is not my rede.” Then words ran high and talk answered talk, and they disputed as to who should first put the question, but at last all fixed upon the Porter. And as the jingle increased the house mistress could not but notice it and asked them, “O ye folk! on what matter are ye talking so loudly?” Then the Porter stood up respectfully before her and said, “O my lady, this company earnestly desire that thou acquaint them with the story of the two bitches and what maketh thee punish them so cruelly; and then thou fallest to weeping over them and kissing them; and lastly they want to hear the tale of thy sister and why she hath been bastinado’d with palm sticks like a man. These are the questions they charge me to put, and peace be with thee.”24 Thereupon quoth she who was the lady of the house to the guests, “Is this true that he saith on your part?” and all replied, “Yes!” save Ja’afar who kept silence. When she heard these words she cried, “By Allah, ye have wronged us, O our guests. with grievous wronging; for when you came before us we made compact and condition with you, that whoso should speak of what concerneth him not should hear what pleaseth him not. Sufficeth ye not that we took you into our house and fed you with our best food? But the fault is not so much yours as hers who let you in.” Then she tucked up her sleeves from her wrists and struck the floor thrice with her hand crying, “Come ye quickly;” and lo! a closet door opened and out of it came seven negro slaves with drawn swords in hand to whom she said, “Pinion me those praters’ elbows and bind them each to each.” They did her bidding and asked her, “O veiled and virtuous! is it thy high command that we strike off their heads?”; but she answered, “Leave them awhile that I question them of their condition, before their necks feel the sword.” “By Allah, O my lady!” cried the Porter, “slay me not for other’s sin; all these men offended and deserve the penalty of crime save myself. Now by Allah, our night had been charming had we escaped the mortification of those monocular Kalandars whose entrance into a populous city would convert it into a howling wilderness.” Then he repeated these verses:

“How fair is ruth the strong man deigns not smother!

And fairest fair when shown to weakest brother:

By Love’s own holy tie between us twain,

Let one not suffer for the sin of other.”

When the Porter ended his verse the lady laughed And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

1 “ln the name of Allah,” is here a civil form of dismissal.

2 Lane (i. 124) is scandalised and naturally enough by this scene, which is the only blot in an admirable tale admirably told. Yet even here the grossness is but little more pronounced than what we find in our old drama (e. g., Shakespeare’s King Henry V.) written for the stage, whereas tales like The Nights are not read or recited before both sexes. Lastly “nothing follows all this palming work:” in Europe the orgie would end very differently. These “nuns of Theleme” are physically pure: their debauchery is of the mind, not the body. Galland makes them five, including the two doggesses.

3 So Sir Francis Walsingham’s “They which do that they should not, should hear that they would not.”

4 The old “Calendar,” pleasantly associated with that form of almanac. The Mac. Edit. has Karandaliyah,” a vile corruption, like Ibn Batutah’s “Karandar” and Torrens’ “Kurundul:” so in English we have the accepted vulgarism of “Kernel” for Colonel. The Bull Edit. uses for synonym “Su’ulúk”=an asker, a beggar. Of these mendicant monks, for such they are, much like the Sarabaites of mediæval Europe, I have treated and of their institutions and its founder, Shaykh Sharif Bu Ali Kalandar (ob. A. H. 724 =1323–24), at some length in my “History of Sindh,” chaps. viii. See also the Dabistan (i. 136) where the good Kalandar exclaims:—

If the thorn break in my body, how trifling the pain!

But how sorely I feel for the poor broken thorn!

D’Herbelot is right when he says that the Kalandar is not generally approved by Moslems: he labours to win free from every form and observance and he approaches the Malámati who conceals all his good deeds and boasts of his evil doings — our “Devil’s hypocrite.”

5 The “Kalandar” disfigures himself in this manner to show “mortification.”

6 Arab. “Gharíb:” the porter is offended because the word implies “poor devil;” esp. one out of his own country.

7 A religious mendicant generally.

8 Very scandalous to Moslem “respectability” Mohammed said the house was accursed when the voices of women could be heard out of doors. Moreover the neighbours have a right to interfere and abate the scandal.

9 I need hardly say that these are both historical personages; they will often be mentioned, and Ja’afar will be noticed in the Terminal Essay.

10 Arab. “Same ‘an wa tá‘atan”; a popular phrase of assent generally translated “to hear is to obey;” but this formula may be and must be greatly varied. In places it means “Hearing (the word of Allah) and obeying” (His prophet, viceregent, etc.)

11 Arab. “Sawáb”==reward in Heaven. This word for which we have no equivalent has been naturalized in all tongues (e. g. Hindostani) spoken by Moslems.

12 Wine-drinking, at all times forbidden to Moslems, vitiates the Pilgrimage rite: the Pilgrim is vowed to a strict observance of the ceremonial law and many men date their “reformation” from the “Hajj.” Pilgrimage, iii., 126.

13 Here some change has been necessary; as the original text confuses the three “ladies.”

14 In Arab. the plural masc. is used by way of modesty when a girl addresses her lover and for the same reason she speaks of herself as a man.

15 Arab. “Al–Na’ím”, in ful “Jannat-al-Na’ím” = the Garden of Delights, i.e. the fifth Heaven made of white silver. The generic name of Heaven (the place of reward) is “Jannat,” lit. a garden; “Firdaus” being evidently derived from the Persian through the Greek {Greek Letters}, and meaning a chase, a hunting park. Writers on this subject should bear in mind Mandeville’s modesty, “Of Paradise I cannot speak properly, for I was not there.”

16 Arab. “Mikra’ah,” the dried mid-rib of a date-frond used for many purposes, especially the bastinado.

17 According to Lane (i., 229) these and the immediately following verses are from an ode by Ibn Sahl al-Ishbili. They are in the Bull Edit. not the Mac. Edit.

18 The original is full of conceits and plays on words which are not easily rendered in English.

19 Arab. “Tarjumán,” same root as Chald. Targum ( = a translation), the old “Truchman,” and through the Ital. “tergomano” our “Dragoman,” here a messenger.

20 Lit. the “person of the eyes,” our “babe of the eyes,” a favourite poetical conceit in all tongues; much used by the Elizabethans, but now neglected as a silly kind of conceit. See Night ccix.

21 Arab. “Sár” (Thár) the revenge-right recognised by law and custom (Pilgrimage, iii., 69).

22 That is “We all swim in the same boat.”

23 Ja’afar ever acts, on such occasions, the part of a wise and sensible man compelled to join in a foolish frolic. He contrasts strongly with the Caliph, a headstrong despot who will not be gainsaid, whatever be the whim of the moment. But Easterns would look upon this as a proof of his “kingliness.”

24 Arab. “Wa’l — Salám” (pronounced Was–Salám); meaning “and here ends the matter.” In our slang we say “All right, and the child’s name is Antony.”

When it was the Eleventh Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the lady, after laughing at the Porter despite her wrath, came up to the party and spake thus, “Tell me who ye be, for ye have but an hour of life; and were ye not men of rank and, perhaps, notables of your tribes, you had not been so froward and I had hastened your doom.” Then said the Caliph, “Woe to thee, O Ja’afar, tell her who we are lest we be slain by mistake; and speak her fair be fore some horror befal us.” “’Tis part of thy deserts,“replied he; whereupon the Caliph cried out at him saying, “There is a time for witty words and there is a time for serious work.” Then the lady accosted the three Kalandars and asked them, “Are ye brothers?”; when they answered, “No, by Allah, we be naught but Fakirs and foreigners.” Then quoth she to one among them, “West thou born blind of one eye?”; and quoth he, “No, by Allah, ’twas a marvellous matter and a wondrous mischance which caused my eye to be torn out, and mine is a tale which, if it were written upon the eye corners with needle gravers, were a warner to whoso would be warned.”1 She questioned the second and third Kalandar; but all replied like the first, “By Allah, O our mistress, each one of us cometh from a different country, and we are all three the sons of Kings, sovereign Princes ruling over suzerains and capital cities.” Thereupon she turned towards them and said, “Let each and every of you tell me his tale in due order and explain the cause of his coming to our place; and if his story please us let him stroke his head2 and wend his way.” The first to come forward was the Hammal, the Porter, who said, “O my lady, I am a man and a porter. This dame, the cateress, hired me to carry a load and took me first to the shop of a vintner, then to the booth of a butcher; thence to the stall of a fruiterer; thence to a grocer who also sold dry fruits; thence to a confectioner and a perfumer cum druggist and from him to this place where there happened to me with you what happened. Such is my story and peace be on us all!” At this the lady laughed and said, “Rub thy head and wend thy ways!”; but he cried, “By Allah, I will not stump it till I hear the stories of my companions.” Then came forward one of the Monoculars and began to tell her

1 This is a favourite jingle, the play being upon “ibrat” (a needle-graver) and “ ‘ibrat” (an example, a warning).

2 That is “make his bow,” as the English peasant pulls his forelock. Lane (i., 249) suggests, as an afterthought, that it means:—“Recover thy senses; in allusion to a person’s drawing his hand over his head after sleep or a fit.” But it occurs elsewhere in he sense of “cut thy stick.”

The First Kalandar’s Tale.

Know, O my lady, that the cause of my beard being shorn and my eye being out torn was as follows. My father was a King and he had a brother who was a King over another city; and it came to pass that I and my cousin, the son of my paternal uncle, were both born on one and the same day. And years and days rolled on; and, as we grew up, I used to visit my uncle every now and then and to spend a certain number of months with him. Now my cousin and I were sworn friends; for he ever entreated me with exceeding kindness; he killed for me the fattest sheep and strained the best of his wines, and we enjoyed long conversing and carousing. One day when the wine had gotten the better of us, the son of my uncle said to me, “O my cousin, I have a great service to ask of thee; and I desire that thou stay me not in whatso I desire to do!” And I replied, “With joy and goodly will.” Then he made me swear the most binding oaths and left me; but after a little while he returned leading a lady veiled and richly apparelled with ornaments worth a large sum of money. Presently he turned to me (the woman being still behind him) and said, “Take this lady with thee and go before me to such a burial ground” (describing it, so that I knew the place), “and enter with her into such a sepulchre1 and there await my coming.” The oaths I swore to him made me keep silence and suffered me not to oppose him; so I led the woman to the cemetery and both I and she took our seats in the sepulchre; and hardly had we sat down when in came my uncle’s son, with a bowl of water, a bag of mortar and an adze somewhat like a hoe. He went straight to the tomb in the midst of the sepulchre and, breaking it open with the adze set the stones on one side; then he fell to digging into the earth of the tomb till he came upon a large iron plate, the size of a wicket door; and on raising it there appeared below it a staircase vaulted and winding. Then he turned to the lady and said to her, “Come now and take thy final choice!” She at once went down by the staircase and disappeared; then quoth he to me, “O son of my uncle, by way of completing thy kindness, when I shall have descended into this place, restore the trap door to where it was, and heap back the earth upon it as it lay before; and then of thy goodness mix this unslaked lime which is in the bag with this water which is in the bowl and, after building up the stones, plaster the outside so that none looking upon it shall say:— This is a new opening in an old tomb. For a whole year have I worked at this place whereof none knoweth but Allah, and this is the need I have of thee;” presently adding, “May Allah never bereave thy friends of thee nor make them desolate by thine absence, O son of my uncle, O my dear cousin!” And he went down the stairs and disappeared for ever. When he was lost to sight I replaced the iron plate and did all his bidding till the tomb became as it was before and I worked almost unconsciously for my head was heated with wine. Returning to the palace of my uncle, I was told that he had gone forth a-sporting and hunting; so I slept that night without seeing him; and, when the morning dawned, I remembered the scenes of the past evening and what happened between me and my cousin; I repented of having obeyed him when penitence was of no avail, I still thought, however, that it was a dream. So I fell to asking for the son of my uncle; but there was none to answer me concerning him; and I went out to the grave-yard and the sepulchres, and sought for the tomb under which he was, but could not find it; and I ceased not wandering about from sepulchre to sepulchre, and tomb to tomb, all without success, till night set in. So I returned to the city, yet I could neither eat nor drink; my thoughts being engrossed with my cousin, for that I knew not what was become of him; and I grieved with exceeding grief and passed another sorrowful night, watching until the morning. Then went I a second time to the cemetery, pondering over what the son of mine uncle had done; and, sorely repenting my hearkening to him, went round among all the tombs, but could not find the tomb I sought. I mourned over the past, and remained in my mourning seven days, seeking the place and ever missing the path. Then my torture of scruples2 grew upon me till I well nigh went mad, and I found no way to dispel my grief save travel and return to my father. So I set out and journeyed homeward; but as I was entering my father’s capital a crowd of rioters sprang upon me and pinioned me.3 I wondered thereat with all wonderment, seeing that I was the son of the Sultan, and these men were my father’s subjects and amongst them were some of my own slaves. A great fear fell upon me, and I said to my soul,4 “Would heaven I knew what hath happened to my father!” I questioned those that bound me of the cause of their doing, but they returned me no answer. However, after a while one of them said to me (and he had been a hired servant of our house), “Fortune hath been false to thy father; his troops betrayed him and the Wazir who slew him now reigneth in his stead and we lay in wait to seize thee by the bidding of him.” I was well nigh distraught and felt ready to faint on hearing of my father’s death; when they carried me off and placed me in presence of the usurper. Now between me and him there was an olden grudge, the cause of which was this. I was fond of shooting with the stone bow,5 and it befel one day as I was standing on the terrace roof of the palace, that a bird lighted on the top of the Wazir’s house when he happened to be there. I shot at the bird and missed the mark; but I hit the Wazir’s eye and knocked it out as fate and fortune decreed. Even so saith the poet:—

We tread the path where Fate hath led

The path Fate writ we fain must tread:

And man in one land doomed to die

Death no where else shall do him dead.

And on like wise saith another:—

Let Fortune have her wanton way

Take heart and all her words obey:

Nor joy nor mourn at anything

For all things pass and no things stay.

Now when I knocked out the Wazir’s eye he could not say a single word, for that my father was King of the city; but he hated me everafter and dire was the grudge thus caused between us twain. So when I was set before him hand bound and pinioned, he straightway gave orders for me to be beheaded. I asked, “For what crime wilt thou put me to death?”; whereupon he answered, “What crime is greater than this?” pointing the while to the place where his eye had been Quoth I, “This I did by accident not of malice prepense;” and quoth he, “If thou didst it by accident, I will do the like by thee with intention.’’6 Then cried he, “Bring him forward,” and they brought me up to him, when he thrust his finger into my left eye and gouged it out; whereupon I became one eyed as ye see me. Then he bade bind me hand and foot, and put me into a chest and said to the sworder, “Take charge of this fellow, and go off with him to the waste lands about the city; then draw thy scymitar and slay him, and leave him to feed the beasts and birds.” So the headsman fared forth with me and when he was in the midst of the desert, he took me out of the chest (and I with both hands pinioned and both feet fettered) and was about to bandage my eyes before striking off my head. But I wept with exceeding weeping until I made him weep with me and, looking at him I began to recite these couplets:—

“I deemed you coat o’ mail that should withstand

The foeman’s shafts, and you proved foeman’s brand

I hoped your aidance in mine every chance

Though fail my left to aid my dexter hand:

Aloof you stand and hear the railer’s gibe

While rain their shafts on me the giber-band:

But an ye will not guard me from my foes

Stand clear, and succour neither these nor those!”

And I also quoted:—

“I deemed my brethren mail of strongest steel

And so they were — from foes I to fend my dart!

I deemed their arrows surest of their aim;

And so they were– when aiming at my heart!”

When the headsman heard my lines (he had been sworder to my sire and he owed me a debt of gratitude) he cried, “O my lord, what can I do, being but a slave under orders?” presently adding, “Fly for thy life and nevermore return to this land, or they will slay thee and slay me with thee, even as the poet said:—

Take thy life and fly whenas evils threat;

Let the ruined house tell its owner’s fate:

New land for the old thou shalt seek and find

But to find new life thou must not await.

Strange that men should sit in the stead of shame,

When Allah’s world is so wide and great!

And trust not other, in matters grave

Life itself must act for a life beset:

Ne’er would prowl the lion with maned neck,

Did he reckon on aid or of others reck.”

Hardly believing in my escape, I kissed his hand and thought the loss of my eye a light matter in consideration of my escaping from being slain. I arrived at my uncle’s capital; and, going in to him, told him of what had befallen my father and myself; whereat he wept with sore weeping and said, “Verily thou addest grief to my grief, and woe to my woe; for thy cousin hath been missing these many days; I wot not what hath happened to him, and none can give me news of him.” And he wept till he fainted. I sorrowed and condoled with him; and he would have applied certain medicaments to my eye, but he saw that it was become as a walnut with the shell empty. Then said he, “O my son, better to lose eye and keep life!” After that I could no longer remain silent about my cousin, who was his only son and one dearly loved, so I told him all that had happened. He rejoiced with extreme joyance to hear news of his son and said, “Come now and show me the tomb;” but I replied, “By Allah, O my uncle, I know not its place, though I sought it carefully full many times, yet could not find the site.” However, I and my uncle went to the grave yard and looked right and left, till at last I recognised the tomb and we both rejoiced with exceeding joy. We entered the sepulchre and loosened the earth about the grave; then, up raising the trap door, descended some fifty steps till we came to the foot of the staircase when lo! we were stopped by a blinding smoke. Thereupon said my uncle that saying whose sayer shall never come to shame, “There is no Majesty and there is no Might, save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great!” and we advanced till we suddenly came upon a saloon, whose floor was strewed with flour and grain and provisions and all manner necessaries; and in the midst of it stood a canopy sheltering a couch. Thereupon my uncle went up to the couch and inspecting it found his son and the lady who had gone down with him into the tomb, lying in each other’s embrace; but the twain had become black as charred wood; it was as if they had been cast into a pit of fire. When my uncle saw this spectacle, he spat in his son’s face and said, “Thou hast thy deserts, O thou hog!7 this is thy judgment in the transitory world, and yet remaineth the judgment in the world to come, a durer and a more enduring “— And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

1 This would be a separate building like our family tomb and probably domed, resembling that mentioned in “The King of the Black Islands.” Europeans usually call it “a little Wali;” or, as they write it, “Wely,” the contained for the container; the “Santon” for the “Santon’s tomb.” I have noticed this curious confusion (which begins with Robinson, i. 322) in “Unexplored Syria,” i. 161.

2 Arab. “Wiswás,” = diabolical temptation or suggestion. The “Wiswásí” is a man with scruples (scrupulus, a pebble in the shoe), e.g. one who fears that his ablutions were deficient, etc.

3 Arab. “Katf” = pinioning by tying the arms behind the back and shoulders (Kitf) a dire disgrace to free-born men.

4 Arab. “Nafs.”=Hebr. Nephesh (Nafash) =soul, life as opposed to “Ruach”= spirit and breath. In these places it is equivalent to “I said to myself.” Another form of the root is “Nafas,” breath, with an idea of inspiration: so ‘Sáhib Nafas” ( = master of breath) is a minor saint who heals by expiration, a matter familiar to mesmerists (Pilgrimage, i., 86).

5 Arab. “Kaus al-Banduk;” the “pellet bow” of modern India; with two strings joined by a bit of cloth which supports a ball of dry clay or stone. It is chiefly used for birding.

6 In the East blinding was a common practice, especially in the case of junior princes not required as heirs. A deep perpendicular incision was made down each corner of the yes; the lids were lifted and the balls removed by cutting the optic nerve and the muscles. The later Caliphs blinded their victims by passing a red-hot sword blade close to the orbit or a needle over the eye-ball. About the same time in Europe the operation was performed with a heated metal basin — the well known bacinare (used by Ariosto), as happened to Pier delle Vigne (Petrus de Vineâ), the “godfather of modern Italian.”

7 Arab. “Khinzír” (by Europeans pronounced “Hanzír”), prop. a wild-boar, but popularly used like our “you pig!”

When it was the Twelfth Night,

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Kalandar thus went on with his story before the lady and the Caliph and Ja’afar:— My uncle struck his son with his slipper1 as he lay there a black heap of coal. I marvelled at his hardness of heart, and grieving for my cousin and the lady, said, “By Allah, O my uncle, calm thy wrath: cost thou not see that all my thoughts are occupied with this misfortune, and how sorrowful I am for what hath befallen thy son, and how horrible it is that naught of him remaineth but a black heap of charcoal? And is not that enough, but thou must smite him with thy slipper?” Answered he,“O son of my brother, this youth from his boyhood was madly in love with his own sister;2 and often and often I forbade him from her, saying to myself:— They are but little ones. However, when they grew up sin befel between them; and, although I could hardly believe it, I confined him and chided him and threatened him with the severest threats; and the eunuchs and servants said to him:— Beware of so foul a thing which none be fore thee ever did, and which none after thee will ever do; and have a care lest thou be dishonoured and disgraced among the Kings of the day, even to the end of time. And I added:— Such a report as this will be spread abroad by caravans, and take heed not to give them cause to talk or I will assuredly curse thee and do thee to death. After that I lodged them apart and shut her up; but the accursed girl loved him with passionate love, for Satan had got the mastery of her as well as of him and made their foul sin seem fair in their sight. Now when my son saw that I separated them, he secretly built this souterrain and furnished it and transported to it victuals, even as thou seest; and, when I had gone out a-sporting, came here with his sister and hid from me. Then His righteous judgment fell upon the twain and consumed them with fire from Heaven; and verily the last judgment will deal them durer pains and more enduring!” Then he wept and I wept with him; and he looked at me and said, “Thou art my son in his stead.” And I bethought me awhile of the world and of its chances, how the Wazir had slain my father and had taken his place and had put out my eye; and how my cousin had come to his death by the strangest chance: and I wept again and my uncle wept with me. Then we mounted the steps and let down the iron plate and heaped up the earth over it; and, after restoring the tomb to its former condition, we returned to the palace. But hardly had we sat down ere we heard the tomtoming of the kettle drum and tantara of trumpets and clash of cymbals; and the rattling of war men’s lances; and the clamours of assailants and the clanking of bits and the neighing of steeds; while the world was canopied with dense dust and sand clouds raised by the horses’ hoofs.3 We were amazed at sight and sound, knowing not what could be the matter; so we asked and were told us that the Wazir who usurped my father’s kingdom had marched his men; and that after levying his soldiery and taking a host of wild Arabs4 into service, he had come down upon us with armies like the sands of the sea; their number none could tell and against them none could prevail. They attacked the city unawares; and the citizens, being powerless to oppose them, surrendered the place: my uncle was slain and I made for the suburbs saying to myself, “If thou fall into this villain’s hands he will assuredly kill thee.” On this wise all my troubles were renewed; and I pondered all that had betided my father and my uncle and I knew not what to do; for if the city people or my father’s troops had recognised me they would have done their best to win favour by destroying me; and I could think of no way to escape save by shaving off my beard and my eyebrows. So I shore them off and, changing my fine clothes for a Kalandar’s rags, I fared forth from my uncle’s capital and made for this city; hoping that peradventure some one would assist me to the presence of the Prince of the Faithful,5 and the Caliph who is the Viceregent of Allah upon earth. Thus have I come hither that I might tell him my tale and lay my case before him. I arrived here this very night, and was standing in doubt whither I should go, when suddenly I saw this second Kalandar; so I salam’d to him saying —“I am a stranger!” and he answered:—“I too am a stranger!” And as we were conversing behold, up came our companion, this third Kalandar, and saluted us saying:—“I am a stranger!” And we answered:—“We too be strangers!” Then we three walked on and together till darkness overtook us and Destiny crave us to your house. Such, then, is the cause of the shaving of my beard and mustachios and eyebrows; and the manner of my losing my right eye. They marvelled much at this tale and the Caliph said to Ja’afar, “By Allah, I have not seen nor have I heard the like of what hath happened to this Kalandar!” Quoth the lady of the house, “Rub thy head and wend thy ways;” but he replied, “I will not go, till I hear the history of the two others.” Thereupon the second Kalandar came forward; and, kissing the ground, began to tell

1 Striking with the shoe, the pipe-stick and similar articles is highly insulting, because they are not made, like whips and scourges, for such purpose. Here the East and the West differ diametrically. “Wounds which are given by instruments which are in one’s hands by chance do not disgrace a man,” says Cervantes (D. Q. i., chaps. 15), and goes on to prove that if a Zapatero (cobbler) cudgel another with his form or last, the latter must not consider himself cudgelled. The reverse in the East where a blow of a pipe stick cost Mahommed Ali Pasha’s son his life: Ishmail Pasha was burned to death by Malik Nimr, chief of Shendy (Pilgrimage, i., 203). Moreover, the actual wound is less considered in Moslem law than the instrument which caused it: so sticks and stones are venial weapons, whilst sword and dagger, gun and pistol are felonious. See ibid. (i., 336) for a note upon the weapons with which nations are policed.

2 Incest is now abominable everywhere except amongst the overcrowded poor of great and civilised cities. Yet such unions were common and lawful amongst ancient and highly cultivated peoples, as the Egyptians (Isis and Osiris), Assyrians and ancient Persians. Physiologically they are injurious only when the parents have constitutional defects: if both are sound, the issue, as amongst the so-called “lower animals “ is viable and healthy.

3 Dwellers in the Northern Temperates can hardly imagine what a dust-storm is in sun parched tropical lands. In Sind we were often obliged to use candles at mid-day, while above the dust was a sun that would roast an egg.

4 Arab. “ ‘Urban,” now always used of the wild people, whom the French have taught us to call les Bedouins; “Badw” being a waste or desert, and Badawi (fem. Badawíyah, plur. Badáwi and Bidwán), a man of the waste. Europeans have also learnt to miscall the Egyptians “Arabs”: the difference is as great as between an Englishman and a Spaniard. Arabs proper divide their race into sundry successive families. “The Arab al-Arabá” (or al — Aribah, or al-Urubíyat) are the autochthones, prehistoric, proto-historic and extinct tribes; for instance, a few of the Adites who being at Meccah escaped the destruction of their wicked nation, but mingled with other classes. The “Arab al-Muta’arribah,” (Arabised Arabs) are the first advenæ represented by such noble strains as the Koraysh (Koreish), some still surviving. The “Arab al-Musta’aribah” (insititious, naturalized or instituted Arabs, men who claim to be Arabs) are Arabs like the Sinaites, the Egyptians and the Maroccans descended by intermarriage with other races. Hence our “Mosarabians” and the “Marrabais” of Rabelais (not, “a word compounded of Maurus and Arabs”). Some genealogists, however, make the Muta’arribah descendants of Kahtan (possibly the Joktan of Genesis x., a comparatively modern document, B.C. 700?); and the Musta’aribah those descended from Adnán the origin of Arab genealogy. And, lastly, are the “Arab al-Musta’ajimah,” barbarised Arabs, like the present population of Meccah and Al–Medinah. Besides these there are other tribes whose origin is still unknown, such as the Mahrah tribes of Hazramaut, the “Akhdám” (=serviles) of Oman (Maskat); and the “Ebná” of Al–Yaman: Ibn Ishak supposes the latter to be descended from the Persian soldiers of Anushirwan who expelled the Abyssinian invader from Southern Arabia. (Pilgrimage, m., 31, etc.)

5 Arab. “Amír al-Muuminín.” The title was assumed by the Caliph Omar to obviate the inconvenience of calling himself “Khalífah” (successor) of the Khalífah of the Apostle of Allah (i.e. Abu Bakr); which after a few generations would become impossible. It means “Emir (chief or prince) of the Muumins,” men who hold to the (true Moslem) Faith, the “Imán” (theory, fundamental articles) as opposed to the “Dín,” ordinance or practice of the religion. It once became a Wazirial time conferred by Sultan Malikshah (King King — king) on his Nizám al-Murk. (Richardson’s Dissert. [viii.)

The Second Kalandar’s Tale.

Know, O my lady, that I was not born one eyed and mine is a strange story; an it were graven with needle graver on the eye corners, it were a warner to whoso would be warned. I am a King, son of a King, and was brought up like a Prince. I learned intoning the Koran according the seven schools;1 and I read all manner books, and held disputations on their contents with the doctors and men of science; moreover I studied star lore and the fair sayings of poets and I exercised myself in all branches of learning until I surpassed the people of my time; my skill in calligraphy exceeded that of all the scribes; and my fame was bruited abroad over all climes and cities, and all the kings learned to know my name. Amongst others the King of Hind heard of me and sent to my father to invite me to his court, with offerings and presents and rarities such as befit royalties. So my father fitted out six ships for me and my people; and we put to sea and sailed for the space of a full month till we made the land. Then we brought out the horses that were with us in the ships; and, after loading the camels with our presents for the Prince, we set forth inland. But we had marched only a little way, when behold, a dust cloud up flew, and grew until it walled2 the horizon from view. After an hour or so the veil lifted and discovered beneath it fifty horsemen, ravening lions to the sight, in steel armour dight. We observed them straightly and lo! they were cutters off of the highway, wild as wild Arabs. When they saw that we were only four and had with us but the ten camels carrying the presents, they dashed down upon us with lances at rest. We signed to them, with our fingers, as it were saying, “We be messengers of the great King of Hind, so harm us not!” but they answered on like wise, “We are not in his dominions to obey nor are we subject to his sway.” Then they set upon us and slew some of my slaves and put the lave to flight; and I also fled after I had gotten a wound, a grievous hurt, whilst the Arabs were taken up with the money and the presents which were with us. I went forth unknowing whither I went, having become mean as I was mighty; and I fared on until I came to the crest of a mountain where I took shelter for the night in a cave. When day arose I set out again, nor ceased after this fashion till I arrived at a fair city and a well filled. Now it was the season when Winter was turning away with his rime and to greet the world with his flowers came Prime, and the young blooms were springing and the streams flowed ringing, and the birds were sweetly singing, as saith the poet concerning a certain city when describing it:—

A place secure from every thought of fear

Safety and peace for ever lord it here:

Its beauties seem to beautify its sons

And as in Heaven its happy folk appear.

I was glad of my arrival for I was wearied with the way, and yellow of face for weakness and want; but my plight was pitiable and I knew not whither to betake me. So I accosted a Tailor sitting in his little shop and saluted him; he returned my salam, and bade me kindly welcome and wished me well and entreated me gently and asked me of the cause of my strangerhood. I told him all my past from first to last; and he was concerned on my account and said, “O youth, disclose not thy secret to any: the King of this city is the greatest enemy thy father hath, and there is blood wit3 between them and thou hast cause to fear for thy life.” Then he set meat and drink before me; and I ate and drank and he with me; and we conversed freely till night fall, when he cleared me a place in a corner of his shop and brought me a car pet and a coverlet. I tarried with him three days; at the end of which time he said to me, “Knowest thou no calling whereby to win thy living, O my son?” “I am learned in the law,” I replied, “and a doctor of doctrine; an adept in art and science, a mathematician and a notable penman.” He rejoined, “Thy calling is of no account in our city, where not a soul under standeth science or even writing or aught save money making.” Then said I, “By Allah, I know nothing but what I have mentioned;” and he answered, “Gird thy middle and take thee a hatchet and a cord, and go and hew wood in the wold for thy daily bread, till Allah send thee relief; and tell none who thou art lest they slay thee.” Then he bought me an axe and a rope and gave me in charge to certain wood cutters; and with these guardians I went forth into the forest, where I cut fuel wood the whole of my day and came back in the evening bearing my bundle on my head. I sold it for half a diner, with part of which I bought provision and laid by the rest. In such work I spent a whole year and when this was ended I went out one day, as was my wont, into the wilderness; and, wandering away from my companions, I chanced on a thickly grown lowland4 in which there was an abundance of wood. So I entered and I found the gnarled stump of a great tree and loosened the ground about it and shovelled away the earth. Presently my hatchet rang upon a copper ring; so I cleared away the soil and behold, the ring was attached to a wooden trap door. This I raised and there appeared beneath it a staircase. I descended the steps to the bottom and came to a door, which I opened and found myself in a noble hall strong of structure and beautifully built, where was a damsel like a pearl of great price, whose favour banished from my heart all grief and cark and care; and whose soft speech healed the soul in despair and captivated the wise and ware. Her figure measured five feet in height; her breasts were firm and upright; her cheek a very garden of delight; her colour lively bright; her face gleamed like dawn through curly tresses which gloomed like night, and above the snows of her bosom glittered teeth of a pearly white.5 As the poet said of one like her:—

Slim waisted loveling jetty hair encrowned

A wand of willow on a sandy mound:

And as saith another. —

Four things that meet not, save they here unite

To shed my heart blood and to rape my sprite:

Brilliantest forehead; tresses jetty bright;

Cheeks rosy red and stature beauty dight.

When I looked upon her I prostrated myself before Him who had created her, for the beauty and loveliness He had shaped in her, and she looked at me and said, “Art thou man or Jinni?” “I am a man,” answered I, and she, “Now who brought thee to this place where I have abided five and twenty years without even yet seeing man in it?” Quoth I (and indeed I found her words wonder sweet, and my heart was melted to the core by them), “O my lady, my good fortune led me hither for the dispelling of my cark and care.” Then I related to her all my mishap from first to last, and my case appeared to her exceeding grievous; so she wept and said, “I will tell thee my story in my turn. I am the daughter of the King Ifitamus, lord of the Islands of Abnus,6 who married me to my cousin, the son of my paternal uncle; but on my wedding night an Ifrit named Jirjís7 bin Rajmús, first cousin that is, mother’s sister’s son, of Iblís, the Foul Fiend, snatched me up and, flying away with me like a bird, set me down in this place, whither he conveyed all I needed of fine stuffs, raiment and jewels and furniture, and meat and drink and other else. Once in every ten days he comes here and lies a single night with me, and then wends his way, for he took me without the consent of his family; and he hath agreed with me that if ever I need him by night or by day, I have only to pass my hand over yonder two lines engraved upon the alcove, and he will appear to me before my fingers cease touching. Four days have now passed since he was here; and, as there remain six days before he come again, say me, wilt thou abide with me five days, and go hence the day before his coming?” I replied “Yes, and yes again! O rare, if all this be not a dream!” Hereat she was glad and, springing to her feet, seized my hand and carried me through an arched doorway to a Hammam bath, a fair hall and richly decorate. I doffed my clothes, and she doffed hers; then we bathed and she washed me; and when this was done we left the bath, and she seated me by her side upon a high divan, and brought me sherbet scented with musk. When we felt cool after the bath, she set food before me and we ate and fell to talking; but presently she said to me, “Lay thee down and take thy rest, for surely thou must be weary.” So I thanked her, my lady, and lay down and slept soundly, forgetting all that had happened to me. When I awoke I found her rubbing and shampooing my feet;8 so I again thanked her and blessed her and we sat for awhile talking. Said she, “By Allah, I was sad at heart, for that I have dwelt alone underground for these five and twenty years; and praise be to Allah, who hath sent me some one with whom I can converse!” Then she asked, “O youth, what sayest thou to wine?” and I answered, “Do as thou wilt.” Whereupon she went to a cupboard and took out a sealed flask of right old wine and set off the table with flowers and scented herbs and began to sing these lines:—

“Had we known of thy coming we fain had dispread

The cores of our hearts or the balls of our eyes;

Our cheeks as a carpet to greet thee had thrown

And our eyelids had strown for thy feet to betread.”

Now when she finished her verse I thanked her, for indeed love of her had gotten hold of my heart and my grief and anguish were gone. We sat at converse and carousel till nightfall, and with her I spent the night — such night never spent I in all my life! On the morrow delight followed delight till midday, by which time I had drunken wine so freely that I had lost my wits, and stood up, staggering to the right and to the left, and said “Come, O my charmer, and I will carry thee up from this underground vault and deliver thee from the spell of thy Jinni.” She laughed and replied “Content thee and hold thy peace: of every ten days one is for the Ifrit and the other nine are thine.” Quoth I (and in good sooth drink had got the better of me), “This very instant will I break down the alcove whereon is graven the talisman and summon the Ifrit that I may slay him, for it is a practice of mine to slay Ifrits!” When she heard my words her colour waxed wan and she said, “By Allah, do not!” and she began repeating:—

“This is a thing wherein destruction lies

I rede thee shun it an thy wits be wise.”

And these also:—

“O thou who seekest severance, draw the rein

Of thy swift steed nor seek o’ermuch t’ advance;

Ah stay! for treachery is the rule of life,

And sweets of meeting end in severance.”

I heard her verse but paid no heed to her words, nay, I raised my foot and administered to the alcove a mighty kick And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

1 This may also mean “according to the seven editions of the Koran “ the old revisions and so forth (Sale, Sect. iii. and D’Herbelot “Alcoran.”) The schools of the “Mukri,” who teach the right pronunciation wherein a mistake might be sinful, are seven, Harnzah, Ibn Katír, Ya’akúb, Ibn Amir, Kisái, Asim and Hafs, the latter being the favourite with the Hanafis and the only one now generally known in Al–Islam.

2 Arab. “Sadd”=wall, dyke, etc. the “bund” or “band” of Anglo–India. Hence the “Sadd” on the Nile, the banks of grass and floating islands which “wall” the stream. There are few sights more appalling than a sandstorm in the desert, the “Zauba’ah” as the Arabs call it. Devils, or pillars of sand, vertical and inclined, measuring a thousand feet high, rush over the plain lashing the sand at their base like a sea surging under a furious whirlwind; shearing the grass clean away from the roots, tearing up trees, which are whirled like leaves and sticks in air and sweeping away tents and houses as if they were bits of paper. At last the columns join at the top and form, perhaps three thousand feet above the earth, a gigantic cloud of yellow sand which obliterates not only the horizon but even the mid-day sun. These sand-spouts are the terror of travellers. In Sind and the Punjab we have the dust-storm which for darkness, I have said, beats the blackest London fog.

3 Arab. Sár = the vendetta, before mentioned, as dreaded in Arabia as in Corsica.

4 Arab. “Ghútah,” usually a place where irrigation is abundant. It especially applies (in books) to the Damascus-plain because “it abounds with water and fruit trees.” The Ghutah is one of the four earthly paradises, the others being Basrah (Bassorah), Shiraz and Samarcand. Its peculiarity is the likeness to a seaport the Desert which rolls up almost to its doors being the sea and its ships being the camels. The first Arab to whom we owe this admirable term for the “Companion of Job” is “Tarafah” one of the poets of the Suspended Poems: he likens (v. v. 3, 4) the camels which bore away his beloved to ships sailing from Aduli. But “ships of the desert” is doubtless a term of the highest antiquity.

5 The exigencies of the “Saj’a,” or rhymed prose, disjoint this and many similar pas. sages.

6 The “Ebony” Islands; Scott’s “Isle of Ebene,” i., 217.

7 “Jarjarís” in the Bul. Edit.

8 Arab. “Takbís.” Many Easterns can hardly sleep without this kneading of the muscles, this “rubbing” whose hygienic properties England is now learning.

When it was the Thirteenth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the second Kalandar thus continued his tale to the lady:— But when, O my mistress, I kicked that alcove with a mighty kick, behold, the air starkened and darkened and thundered and lightened; the earth trembled and quaked and the world became invisible. At once the fumes of wine left my head: I cried to her, “What is the matter?” and she replied, “The Ifrit is upon us! did I not warn thee of this? By Allah, thou hast brought ruin upon me; but fly for thy life and go up by the way thou camest down!” So I fled up the staircase; but, in the excess of my fear, I forgot sandals and hatchet. And when I had mounted two steps I turned to look for them, and lo! I saw the earth cleave asunder, and there arose from it an Ifrit, a monster of hideousness, who said to the damsel “What trouble and posher be this wherewith thou disturbest me? What mishap hath betided thee?” “No mishap hath befallen me” she answered, “save that my breast was straitened1 and my heart heavy with sadness! so I drank a little wine to broaden it and to hearten myself; then I rose to obey a call of Nature, but the wine had gotten into my head and I fell against the alcove.” “Thou liest, like the whore thou art!” shrieked the Ifrit; and he looked around the hall right and left till he caught sight of my axe and sandals and said to her, “What be these but the belongings of some mortal who hath been in thy society?” She answered, “I never set eyes upon them till this moment: they must have been brought by thee hither cleaving to thy garments.” Quoth the Ifrit, “These words are absurd; thou harlot! thou strumpet!” Then he stripped her stark naked and, stretching her upon the floor, bound her hands and feet to four stakes, like one crucified;2 and set about torturing and trying to make her confess. I could not bear to stand listening to her cries and groans; so I climbed the stair on the quake with fear; and when I reached the top I replaced the trap door and covered it with earth. Then repented I of what I had done with penitence exceeding; and thought of the lady and her beauty and loveliness, and the tortures she was suffering at the hands of the accursed Ifrit, after her quiet life of five and twenty years; and how all that had happened to her was for the cause of me. I bethought me of my father and his kingly estate and how I had become a woodcutter; and how, after my time had been awhile serene, the world had again waxed turbid and troubled to me. So I wept bitterly and repeated this couplet:—

What time Fate’s tyranny shall most oppress thee

Perpend! one day shall joy thee, one distress thee!

Then I walked till I reached the home of my friend, the Tailor, whom I found most anxiously expecting me; indeed he was, as the saying goes, on coals of fire for my account. And when he saw me he said, “All night long my heart hath been heavy, fearing for thee from wild beasts or other mischances. Now praise be to Allah for thy safety!” I thanked him for his friendly solicitude and, retiring to my corner, sat pondering and musing on what had befallen me; and I blamed and chided myself for my meddlesome folly and my frowardness in kicking the alcove. I was calling myself to account when behold, my friend, the Tailor, came to me and said, “O youth, in the shop there is an old man, a Persian,3 who seeketh thee: he hath thy hatchet and thy sandals which he had taken to the woodcutters,4 saying, “I was going out at what time the Mu’azzin began the call to dawn prayer, when I chanced upon these things and know not whose they are; so direct me to their owner.” The woodcutters recognised thy hatchet and directed him to thee: he is sitting in my shop, so fare forth to him and thank him and take thine axe and sandals.” When I heard these words I turned yellow with fear and felt stunned as by a blow; and, before I could recover myself, lo! the floor of my private room clove asunder, and out of it rose the Persian who was the Ifrit. He had tortured the lady with exceeding tortures, natheless she would not confess to him aught; so he took the hatchet and sandals and said to her, “As surely as I am Jirjis of the seed of Iblis, I will bring thee back the owner of this and these!”5 Then he went to the woodcutters with the presence aforesaid and, being directed to me, after waiting a while in the shop till the fact was confirmed, he suddenly snatched me up as a hawk snatcheth a mouse and dew high in air; but presently descended and plunged with me under the earth (I being aswoon the while), and lastly set me down in the subterranean palace wherein I had passed that blissful night. And there I saw the lady stripped to the skin, her limbs bound to four stakes and blood welling from her sides. At the sight my eyes ran over with tears; but the Ifrit covered her person and said, “O wanton, is not this man thy lover?” She looked upon me and replied, “I wot him not nor have I ever seen him before this hour!” Quoth the Ifrit, “What! this torture and yet no confessing;” and quoth she,“I never saw this man in my born days, and it is not lawful in Allah’s sight to tell lies on him.” “If thou know him not,” said the Ifrit to her, “take this sword and strike off his head.’’6 She hent the sword in hand and came close up to me; and I signalled to her with my eyebrows, my tears the while flowing adown my cheeks. She understood me and made answer, also by signs, “How couldest thou bring all this evil upon me?” and I rejoined after the same fashion, “This is the time for mercy and forgiveness.” And the mute tongue of my case7 spake aloud saying:—

Mine eyes were dragomans for my tongue betted

And told full clear the love I fain would hide:

When last we met and tears in torrents railed

For tongue struck dumb my glances testified:

She signed with eye glance while her lips were mute

I signed with fingers and she kenned th’ implied:

Our eyebrows did all duty ‘twixt us twain;

And we being speechless Love spake loud and plain.

Then, O my mistress, the lady threw away the sword and said, “How shall I strike the neck of one I wot not, and who hath done me no evil? Such deed were not lawful in my law!” and she held her hand. Said the Ifrit, “’Tis grievous to thee to slay thy lover; and, because he hath lain with thee, thou endurest these torments and obstinately refusest to confess. After this it is clear to me that only like loveth and pitieth like.” Then he turned to me and asked me, “O man, haply thou also cost not know this woman;” whereto I answered, “And pray who may she be? assuredly I never saw her till this instant.” “Then take the sword,” said he “and strike off her head and I will believe that thou wottest her not and will leave thee free to go, and will not deaf ‘hardly with thee.” I replied, “That will I do;” and, taking the sword went forward sharply and raised my hand to smite. But she signed to me with her eyebrows, “Have I failed thee in aught of love; and is it thus that thou requirest me?” I understood what her looks implied and answered her with an eye-glance, “I will sacrifice my soul for thee.” And the tongue of the case wrote in our hearts these lines:—

How many a lover with his eyebrows speaketh

To his beloved, as his passion pleadeth:

With flashing eyne his passion he inspireth

And well she seeth what kits pleading needeth.

How sweet the look when each on other gazeth;

And with what swiftness and how sure it speedeth:

And this with eyebrows all his passion writeth;

And that with eyeballs all his passion readeth.

Then my eyes filled with tears to overflowing and I cast the sword from my hand saying, “O mighty Ifrit and hero, if a woman lacking wits and faith deem it unlawful to strike off my head, how can it be lawful for me, a man, to smite her neck whom I never saw in my whole life. I cannot do such misdeed though thou cause me drink the cup of death and perdition.” Then said the Ifrit, “Ye twain show the good understanding between you; but I will let you see how such doings end.” He took the sword, and struck off the lady’s hands first, with four strokes, and then her feet; whilst I looked on and made sure of death and she farewelled me with her dying eyes. So the Ifrit cried at her, “Thou whorest and makest me a wittol with thine eyes;” and struck her so that her head went flying. Then he turned to me and said, “O mortal, we have it in our law that, when the wife committeth advowtry it is lawful for us to slay her. As for this damsel I snatched her away on her bride-night when she was a girl of twelve and she knew no one but myself. I used to come to her once every ten days and lie with her the night, under the semblance of a man, a Persian; and when I was well assured that she had cuckolded me, I slew her. But as for thee I am not well satisfied that thou hast wronged me in her; nevertheless I must not let thee go unharmed; so ask a boon of me and I will grant it.” Then I rejoiced, O my lady, with ex ceeding joy and said, “What boon shall I crave of thee?” He replied, “Ask me this boon; into what shape I shall bewitch thee; wilt thou be a dog, or an ass or an ape?” I rejoined (and indeed I had hoped that mercy might be shown me), “By Allah, spare me, that Allah spare thee for sparing a Moslem and a man who never wronged thee.” And I humbled myself before him with exceeding humility, and remained standing in his presence, saying, “I am sore oppressed by circumstance.” He replied “Talk me no long talk, it is in my power to slay thee; but I give thee instead thy choice.” Quoth I, “O thou Ifrit, it would besit thee to pardon me even as the Envied pardoned the Envier.” Quoth he, “And how was that?” and I began to tell him

1 The converse of the breast being broadened, the drooping, “draggle-tail” gait compared with the head held high and the chest inflated.

2 This penalty is mentioned in the Koran (chaps. v.) as fit for those who fight against Allah and his Apostle, but commentators are not agreed if the sinners are first to be put to death or to hang on the cross till they die. Pharaoh (chaps. xx.) threatens to crucify his magicians on palm-trees, and is held to be the first crucifier.

3 Arab. “‘Ajami”=foreigner, esp. a Persian: the latter in The Nights is mostly a villain. I must here remark that the contemptible condition of Persians in Al–Hijáz (which I noted in 1852, Pilgrimage, i., 327) has completely changed. They are no longer, “The slippers of All and hounds of Omar:” they have learned the force of union and now, instead of being bullied, they bully.

4 The Calc. Edit. turns into Tailors (Khayyátín) and Torrens does not see the misprint.

5 i.e. Axe and sandals.

6 Lit. “Strike his neck.”

7 A phrase which will frequently recur; meaning the situation suggested such words a these.

The Tale of the Envier and the Envied.

They relate, O Ifrit, that in a certain city were two men who dwelt in adjoining houses, having a common party wall; and one of them envied the other and looked on him with an evil eye,1 and did his utmost endeavour to injure him; and, albeit at all times he was jealous of his neighbour, his malice at last grew on him till he could hardly eat or enjoy the sweet pleasures of sleep. But the Envied did nothing save prosper; and the more the other strove to injure him, the more he got and gained and throve. At last the malice of his neighbour and the man’s constant endeavour to work him a harm came to his knowledge; so he said, “By Allah! God’s earth is wide enough for its people;” and, leaving the neighbourhood, he repaired to another city where he bought himself a piece of land in which was a dried up draw well,2 old and in ruinous condition. Here he built him an oratory and, furnishing it with a few necessaries, took up his abode therein, and devoted himself to prayer and worshipping Allah Almighty; and Fakirs and holy mendicants docked to him from all quarters; and his fame went abroad through the city and that country side. Presently the news reached his envious neighbour, of what good fortune had befallen him and how the city notables had become his disciples; so he travelled to the place and presented himself at the holy man’s hermitage, and was met by the Envied with welcome and greeting and all honour. Then quoth the Envier, “I have a word to say to thee; and this is the cause of my faring hither, and I wish to give thee a piece of good news; so come with me to thy cell.” Thereupon the Envied arose and took the Envier by the hand, and they went in to the inmost part of the hermitage; but the Envier said, “Bid thy Fakirs retire to their cells, for I will not tell thee what I have to say, save in secret where none may hear us.” Accordingly the Envied said to his Fakirs, “Retire to your private cells;” and, when all had done as he bade them, he set out with his visitor and walked a little way until the twain reached the ruinous old well. And as they stood upon the brink the Envier gave the Envied a push which tumbled him headlong into it, unseen of any; whereupon he fared forth, and went his ways, thinking to have had slain him. Now this well happened to be haunted by the Jann who, seeing the case, bore him up and let him down little by little, till he reached the bottom, when they seated him upon a large stone. Then one of them asked his fellows, “Wot ye who be this man?” and they answered, “Nay.” “This man,” continued the speaker, “is the Envied hight who, flying from the Envier, came to dwell in our city, and here founded this holy house, and he hath edified us by his litanies3 and his lections of the Koran; but the Envier set out and journeyed till he rejoined him, and cunningly contrived to deceive him and cast him into the well where we now are. But the fame of this good man hath this very night come to the Sultan of our city who designeth to visit him on the morrow on account of his daughter.” “What aileth his daughter?” asked one, and another answered “She is possessed of a spirit; for Maymun, son of Damdam, is madly in love with her; but, if this pious man knew the remedy, her cure would be as easy as could be.” Hereupon one of them inquired, “And what is the medicine?” and he replied, “The black tom cat which is with him in the oratory hath, on the end of his tail, a white spot, the size of a dirham; let him pluck seven white hairs from the spot, then let him fumigate her therewith and the Marid will flee from her and not return; so she shall be sane for the rest of her life.” All this took place, O Ifrit, within earshot of the Envied who listened readily. When dawn broke and morn arose in sheen and shone, the Fakirs went to seek the Shaykh and found him climbing up the wall of the well; whereby he was magnified in their eyes.4 Then, knowing that naught save the black tomcat could supply him with the remedy required, he plucked the seven tail hairs from the white spot and laid them by him; and hardly had the sun risen ere the Sultan entered the hermitage, with the great lords of his estate, bidding the rest of his retinue to remain standing outside. The Envicd gave him a hearty welcome, and seating him by his side asked him, “Shall I tell thee the cause of thy coming?” The King answered, “Yes.” He continued, “Thou hast come upon pretext of a visitation;5 but it is in thy heart to question me of thy daughter.” Replied the King, “’Tis even so, O thou holy Shaykh;” and the Envied continued, “Send and fetch her, and I trust to heal her forthright (an such it be the will of Allah!)” The King in great joy sent for his daughter, and they brought her pinioned and fettered. The Envied made her sit down behind a curtain and taking out the hairs fumigated her therewith; whereupon that which was in her head cried out and departed from her. The girl was at once restored to her right mind and veiling her face, said, “What hath happened and who brought me hither?” The Sultan rejoiced with a joy that nothing could exceed, and kissed his daughter’s eyes,6 and the holy man’s hand; then, turning to his great lords, he asked, “How say ye! What fee deserveth he who hath made my daughter whole?” and all answered, “He deserveth her to wife;” and the King said, “Ye speak sooth!” So he married him to her and the Envied thus became son in law to the King. And after a little the Wazir died and the King said, “Whom can I make Minister in his stead?” “Thy son in law,” replied the courtiers. So the Envied became a Wazir; and after a while the Sultan also died and the lieges said, “Whom shall we make King?” and all cried, “The Wazir.” So the Wazir was forthright made Sultan, and he became King regnant, a true ruler of men. One day as he had mounted his horse; and, in the eminence of his kinglihood, was riding amidst his Emirs and Wazirs and the Grandees of his realm his eye fell upon his old neighbour, the Envier, who stood afoot on his path; so he turned to one of his Ministers, and said, “Bring hither that man and cause him no affright.” The Wazir brought him and the King said, “Give him a thousand miskals7 of gold from the treasury, and load him ten camels with goods for trade, and send him under escort to his own town.” Then he bade his enemy farewell and sent him away and forbore to punish him for the many and great evils he had done. See, O Ifrit, the mercy of the Envied to the Envier, who had hated him from the beginning and had borne him such bitter malice and never met him without causing him trouble; and had driven him from house and home, and then had journeyed for the sole purpose of taking his life by throwing him into the well. Yet he did not requ ite his injurious dealing, but forgave him and was bountiful to him.8 Then I wept before him, O my lady, with sore weeping, never was there sorer, and I recited:—

“Pardon my fault, for ’tis the wise man’s wont

All faults to pardon and revenge forgo:

In sooth all manner faults in me contain

Then deign of goodness mercy grace to show:

Whoso imploreth pardon from on High

Should hold his hand from sinners here below.”

Said the Ifrit, “Lengthen not thy words! As to my slaying thee fear it not, and as to my pardoning thee hope it not; but from my bewitching thee there is no escape.” Then he tore me from the ground which closed under my feet and hew with me into the firmament till I saw the earth as a large white cloud or a saucer9 in the midst of the waters. Presently he set me down on a moun fain, and taking a little dust, over which he muttered some magical words, sprinkled me therewith, saying, “Quit that shape and take thou the shape of an ape!” And on the instant I became an ape, a tail less baboon, the son of a century10. Now when he had left me and I saw myself in this ugly and hateful shape, I wept for myself, but resigned my soul to the tyranny of Time and Circumstance, well weeting that Fortune is fair and constant to no man. I descended the mountain and found at the foot a desert plain, long and broad, over which I travelled for the space of a month till my course brought me to the brink of the briny sea.11 After standing there awhile, I was ware of a ship in the offing which ran before a fair wind making for the shore. I hid myself behind a rock on the beach and waited till the ship drew near, when I leaped on board. I found her full of merchants and passengers and one of them cried, “O Captain, this ill omened brute will bring us ill luck!” and another said, “Turn this ill omened beast out from among us;” the Captain said, “Let us kill it!” another said, “Slay it with the sword;” a third, “Drown it;” and a fourth, “Shoot it with an arrow.” But I sprang up and laid hold of the Rais’s12 skirt, and shed tears which poured down my chops. The Captain took pity on me, and said, “O merchants! this ape hath appealed to me for protection and I will protect him; henceforth he is under my charge: so let none do him aught hurt or harm, otherwise there will be bad blood between us.” Then he entreated me kindly and whatsoever he said I understood and ministered to his every want and served him as a servant, albeit my tongue would not obey my wishes; so that he came to love me. The vessel sailed on, the wind being fair, for the space of fifty days; at the end of which we cast anchor under the walls of a great city wherein was a world of people, especially learned men, none could tell their number save Allah. No sooner had we arrived than we were visited by certain Mameluke officials from the King of that city; who, after boarding us, greeted the merchants and giving them joy of safe arrival said, “Our King welcometh you, and sendeth you this roll of paper, whereupon each and every of you must write a line. For ye shall know that the King’s Minister, a calligrapher of renown, is dead, and the King hath sworn a solemn oath that he will make none Wazir in his stead who cannot write as well as he couId.” Hethen gave us the scroll which measured ten cubits long by a breadth of one, and each of the merchants who knew how to write wrote a line thereon, even to the last of them; after which I stood up (still in the shape of an ape) and snatched the roll out of their hands. They feared lest I should tear it or throw it overboard; so they tried to stay me and scare me, but I signed to them that i could write, whereat all marvelled, saying, “We never yet saw an, ape write.” And the Captain cried, “Let him write; and if he scribble and scrabble we will kick him out and kill him; but if he; write fair and scholarly I will adopt him as my son; for surely I never yet saw a more intelligent and well mannered monkey than he. Would Heaven my real son were his match in morals and manners.” I took the reed, and stretching out my paw, dipped it in ink and wrote, in the hand used for letters,13 these two couplets:—

Time hath recorded gifts she gave the great;

But none recorded thine which be far higher

Allah ne’er orphan men by loss of thee

Who be of Goodness mother. Bounty’s sire.

And I wrote in Rayháni or larger letters elegantly curved14:—

Thou hast a reed15 of rede to every land,

Whose driving causeth all the world to thrive;

Nil is the Nile of Misraim by thy boons

Who makest misery smile with fingers five

Then I wrote in the Suls16 character:—

There be no writer who from Death shall fleet,

But what his hand hath writ men shall repeat:

Write, therefore, naught save what shall serve thee when

Thou see’s on Judgment–Day an so thou see’s!

Then I wrote in the character Naskh17:—

When to sore parting Fate our love shall doom,

To distant life by Destiny decreed,

We cause the inkhorn’s lips to ‘plain our pains,

And tongue our utterance with the talking reed.

And I wrote in the Túmár character18:—

Kingdom with none endures; if thou deny

This truth, where be the Kings of earlier earth?

Set trees of goodliness while rule endures,

And when thou art fallen they shall tell thy worth.

And I wrote in the character Muhakkak19:—

When oped the inkhorn of thy wealth and fame

Take ink of generous heart and gracious hand;

Write brave and noble deeds while write thou can

And win thee praise from point of pen and brand.

Then I gave the scroll to the officials and, after we all had written our line, they carried it before the King. When he saw the paper no writing pleased him save my writing; and he said to the assembled courtiers, “Go seek the writer of these lines and dress him in a splendid robe of honour; then mount him on a she mule,20 let a band of music precede him and bring him to the presence.” At these words they smiled and the King was wroth with them and cried, “O accursed! I give you an order and you laugh at me?” “O King,” replied they, “if we laugh ’tis not at thee and not without a cause.” “And what is it?” asked he; and they answered, “O King, thou orderest us to bring to thy presence the man who wrote these lines; now the truth is that he who wrote them is not of the sons of Adam,21 but an ape, a tail-less baboon, belonging to the ship captain.” Quoth he, “Is this true that you say?” Quoth they, “Yea! by the rights of thy munificence!” The King marvelled at their words and shook with mirth and said, “I am minded to buy this ape of the Captain.” Then he sent messengers to the ship with the mule, the dress, the guard and the state drums, saying, “Not the less do you clothe him in the robe of honour and mount him on the mule and let him be surrounded by the guards and preceded by the band of music.” They came to the ship and took me from the Captain and robed me in the robe of honour and, mounting me on the she mule, carried me in state procession through the streets’, whilst the people were amazed and amused. And folk said to one another, “Halloo! is our Sultan about to make an ape his Minister?”; and came all agog crowding to gaze at me, and the town was astir and turned topsy turvy on my account. When they brought me up to the King and set me in his presence, I kissed the ground before him three times, and once before the High Chamberlain and great officers, and he bade me be seated, and I sat respectfully on shins and knees,22 and all who were present marvelled at my fine manners, and the King most of all. Thereupon he ordered the lieges to retire; and, when none remained save the King’s majesty, the Eunuch on duty and a little white slave, he bade them set before me the table of food, con taining all manner of birds, whatever hoppeth and flieth and treadeth in nest, such as quail and sand grouse. Then he signed me to eat with him; so I rose and kissed ground before him, then sat me down and ate with him. And when the table was removed I washed my hands in seven waters and took the reed-case and reed; and wrote instead of speaking these couplets:—

Wail for the little partridges on porringer and plate;

Cry for the ruin of the fries and stews well marinate:

Keen as I keen for loved, lost daughters of the Katá-grouse,23

And omelette round the fair enbrowned fowls agglomerate:

O fire in heart of me for fish, those deux poissons I saw,

Bedded on new made scones24 and cakes in piles to laniate.

For thee, O vermicelli! aches my very maw! I hold

Without thee every taste and joy are clean annihilate

Those eggs have rolled their yellow eyes in torturing pains of fire

Ere served with hash and fritters hot, that delicatest cate.

Praised be Allah for His baked and roast and ah! how good

This pulse, these pot-herbs steeped in oil with eysill combinate!

When hunger sated was, I elbow-propt fell back upon

Meat pudding25 wherein gleamed the bangles that my wits amate.

Then woke I sleeping appetite to eat as though in sport

Sweets from broceded trays and kickshaws most elaborate.

Be patient, soul of me! Time is a haughty, jealous wight;

Today he seems dark-lowering and tomorrow fair to sight.26

Then I rose and seated myself at a respectful distance while the King read what I had written, and marvelled, exclaiming, “O the miracle, that an ape should be gifted with this graceful style and this power of penmanship! By Allah, ’tis a wonder of wonders!” Presently they set before the King choice wines in flagons of glass and he drank: then he passed on the cup to me; and I kissed the ground and drank and wrote on it:—

With fire they boiled me to loose my tongue,27

And pain and patience gave for fellowship:

Hence comes it hands of men upbear me high

And honey dew from lips of maid I sip!

And these also:—

Morn saith to Night, “withdraw and let me shine;”

So drain we draughts that dull all pain and pine:28

I doubt, so fine the glass, the wine so clear,

If ’tis the wine in glass or glass in twine.

The King read my verse and said with a sigh, “Were these gifts29 in a man, he would excel all the folk of his time and age!” Then he called for the chess board, and said, “Say, wilt thou play with me?”; and I signed with my head, “Yes.” Then I came forward and ordered the pieces and played with him two games, both of which I won. He was speechless with surprise; so I took the pen case and, drawing forth a reed, wrote on the board these two couplets:—

Two hosts fare fighting thro’ the livelong day

Nor is their battling ever finished,

Until, when darkness girdeth them about,

The twain go sleeping in a single bed.30

The King read these lines with wonder and delight and said to his Eunuch,31 “O Mukbil, go to thy mistress, Sitt al-Husn,32 and say her, ‘Come, speak the King who biddeth thee hither to take thy solace in seeing this right wondrous ape!”’ So the Eunuch went out and presently returned with the lady who, when she saw me veiled her face and said, “O my father! hast thou lost all sense of honour? How cometh it thou art pleased to send for me and show me to strange men?” “O Sitt al-Husn,” said he, “no man is here save this little foot page and the Eunuch who reared thee and I, thy father. Prom whom, then, cost thou veil thy face?” She answered, “This whom thou deemest an ape is a young man, a clever and polite, a wise and learned and the son of a King; but he is ensorcelled and the Ifrit Jirjaris, who is of the seed of Iblis, cast a spell upon him, after putting to death his own wife the daughter of King Ifitamus lord of the Islands of Abnus.” The King marvelled at his daughter’s words and, turning to me, said, “Is this true that she saith of thee?”; and I signed by a nod of my head the answer, “Yea, verily;” and wept sore. Then he asked his daughter, “Whence knewest thou that he is ensorcelled?”; and she answered, “O my dear papa, there was with me in my childhood an old woman, a wily one and a wise and a witch to boot, and she taught me the theory of magic and its practice; and I took notes in writing and therein waxed perfect, and have committed to memory an hundred and seventy chapters of egro mantic formulas, by the least of which I could transport the stones of thy city behind the Mountain Kaf and the Circum ambient Main,33 or make its site an abyss of the sea and its people fishes swimming in the midst of it.” “O my daughter,” said her father, “I conjure thee, by my life, disenchant this young man, that I may make him my Wazir and marry thee to him, for indeed he is an ingenious youth and a deeply learned.” “With joy and goodly gree,” she replied and, hending in hand an iron knife whereon was inscribed the name of Allah in Hebrew characters, she described a wide circle — And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

1 The smiter with the evil eye is called “A’in” and the person smitten “Ma’ím” or “Ma’ún.”

2 Arab. “Sákiyah,” the well-known Persian wheel with pots and buckets attached to the tire. It is of many kinds, the boxed, etc., etc., and it is possibly alluded to in the “pitcher broken at the fountain” (Eccleslastes xii. 6) an accident often occurring to the modern “Noria.” Travellers mostly abuse its “dismal creaking” and “mournful monotony”: I have defended the music of the water-wheel in Pilgrimage ii. 198.

3 Arab. “Zikr” lit. remembering, mentioning (i. c. the names of Allah), here refers to the meetings of religious for devotional exercises; the “Zikkirs,” as they are called, mostly standing or sitting in a circle while they ejaculate the Holy Name. These “rogations” are much affected by Darwayshes, or begging friars, whom Europe politely divides Unto “dancing” and “howling”; and, on one occasion, greatly to the scandal of certain Engländerinns to whom I was showing the Ezbekiyah I joined the ring of “howlers.” Lane (Mod. Egypt, see index) is profuse upon the subject of “Zikrs” and Zikkíts. It must not be supposed that they are uneducated men: the better class, however, prefers more privacy.

4 As they thought he had been there for prayer or penance.

5 Arab. “Ziyárat,” a visit to a pious person or place.

6 This is a paternal salute in the East where they are particular about the part kissed. A witty and not unusually gross Persian book, called the “Al-Námah” because all questions begin with “Al” (the Arab article) contains one “Al–Wajib al-busidan?” (what best deserves bussing?) and the answer is “Kus-i-nau-pashm,” (a bobadilla with a young bush).

7 A weight of 71–72 English grains in gold; here equivalent to the diner.

8 Compare the tale of The Three Crows in Gammer Grethel, Evening ix.

9 The comparison is peculiarly apposite; the earth seen from above appears hollow with a raised rim.

10 A hundred years old.

11 “Bahr” in Arab. means sea, river, piece of water; hence the adjective is needed.

12 The Captain or Master of the ship (not the owner). In Al–Yaman the word also means a “barber,” in virtue of the root, Rass, a head.

13 The text has “in the character Ruká’í,”,” or Riká’í,, the correspondence-hand.

14 A curved character supposed to be like the basil-leaf (rayhán). Richardson calls it “Rohani.”

15 I need hardly say that Easterns use a reed, a Calamus (Kalam applied only to the cut reed) for our quills and steel pens.

16 Famous for being inscribed on the Kiswah (cover) of Mohammed’s tomb; a large and more formal hand still used for engrossing and for mural inscriptions. Only seventy two varieties of it are known (Pilgrimage, ii., 82).

17 The copying and transcribing hand which is either Arabi or Ajami. A great discovery has been lately made which upsets all our old ideas of Cufic, etc. Mr. Löytved of Bayrut has found, amongst the Hauranic inscriptions, one in pure Naskhi, dating A. D. 568, or fifty years before the Hijrah; and it is accepted as authentic by my learned friend M. Ch. Clermont–Ganneau (p. 193, Pal. Explor. Fund. July 1884). In D’Herbelot and Sale’s day the Koran was supposed to have been written in rude characters, like those subsequently called “Cufic,” invented shortly before Mohammed’s birth by Murámir ibn Murrah of Anbar in Irák, introduced into Meccah by Bashar the Kindian, and perfected by Ibn Muklah (Al–Wazir, ob. A. H. 328=940). We must now change all that. See Catalogue of Oriental Caligraphs, etc., by G. P, Badger, London, Whiteley, 1885.

18 Capital and uncial letters; the hand in which the Ka’abah veil is inscribed (Pilgrimage iii. 299, 300).

19 A “Court hand” says Mr. Payne (i. 112): I know nothing of it. Other hands are: the Ta’alík; hanging or oblique, used for finer Mss. and having, according to Richardson, “the same analogy to the Naskhi as our Italic has to the Roman.” The Nasta’ lík (not Naskh–Ta’alik) much used in India, is, as the name suggests, a mixture of the Naskhi (writing of transactions) and the Ta’alik. The Shikastah (broken hand) everywhere represents our running hand and becomes a hard task to the reader. The Kirmá is another cursive character, mostly confined to the receipts and disbursements of the Turkish treasury. The Diváni, or Court (of Justice) is the official hand, bold and round. a business character, the lines often rising with a sweep or curve towards the (left) end. The Jáli or polished has a variety, the Jali–Ta’alik: the Sulsi (known in many books) is adopted for titles of volumes, royal edicts, diplomas and so forth; “answering much the same purpose as capitals with us, or the flourished letters in illuminated manuscripts” (Richardson) The Tughrái is that of the Tughrá, the Prince’s cypher or flourishing signature in ceremonial writings, and containing some such sentence as: Let this be executed. There are others e. g. Yákuti and Sirenkil known only by name. Finally the Maghribi (Moorish) hand differs in form and diacritical points from the characters used further east almost as much as German running hand does from English. It is curious that Richardson omits the Jali (intricate and convoluted) and the divisions of the Sulusí, Sulsi or Sulus (Thuluth) character, the Sulus al-Khafíf, etc.

20 Arab. “Baghlah”; the male (Bagful) is used only for loads. This is everywhere the rule: nothing is more unmanageable than a restive “Macho”, and he knows that he can always get you off his back when so minded. From “Baghlah” is derived the name of the native craft Anglo–Indicè a “Buggalow.”

21 In Heb. ““Ben — Adam” is any man opp. to “Beni ish” (Psalm iv. 3) =filii viri, not homines.

22 This posture is terribly trying to European legs; and few white men (unless brought up to it) can squat for any time on their heels. The ‘‘tailor-fashion,” with crossed legs, is held to be free and easy.

23 Arab. “Katá”=Pterocles Alchata, the well-known sand-grouse of the desert. It is very poor white flesh.

24 Arab. “Khubz” which I do not translate “cake” or ‘‘bread,’’ as thee would suggest the idea Of our loaf. The staff of life in the East is a thin flat circle of dough baked in the oven or on the griddle, and corresponding with the Scotch “scone,” the Spanish tortilla and the Australian “flap-jack.”

25 Arab. “Harísah,” a favourite dish of wheat (or rice) boiled and reduced to a paste with shredded meat, spices and condiments. The “bangles” is a pretty girl eating with him.

26 These lines are repeated with a difference in Night cccxxx. They affect Rims cars, out of the way, heavy rhymes: e. g. here Sakáríj (plur. of Sakrúj, platters, porringers); Tayáhíj (plur. of Tayhúj, the smaller caccabis-partridge); Tabáhíj (Persian Tabahjah, an me et or a stew of meat, onions, eggs, etc.) Ma’áríj (“in stepped piles” like the pyramids Lane ii 495, renders “on the stairs”); Makáríj (plur. of Makraj, a small pot); Damálíj (plur. of dumlúj, a bracelet, a bangle); Dayábíj (brocades) and Tafáríj (openings, enjoyments). In Night cccxxx. we find also Sikábíj (plur. of Sikbáj, marinated meat elsewhere explained); Faráríj (plur. of farrúj, a chicken, vulg. farkh) and Dakákíj (plur. of Gr. dakújah,, a small Jar). In the first line we have also (though not a rhyme) Gharánik Gr., a crane, preserved in Romaic. The weeping and wailing are caused by the em remembrance that all these delicacies have been demolished like a Badawi camp.

27 This is the vinum coctum, the boiled wine, still a favourite in Southern Italy and Greece.

28 Eastern topers delight in drinking at dawn: upon this subject I shall have more to say in other Nights.

29 Arab. “Adab,” a crux to translators, meaning anything between good education and good manners. In mod. Turk. “Edibiyyet” (Adabiyat) = belles lettres and “Edebi’ or “Edíb” = a littérateur.

30 The Caliph Al–Maamún, who was a bad player, used to say, “I have the administration of the world and am equal to it, whereas I am straitened in the ordering of a space of two spans by two spans.” The “board” was then “a square field of well-dressed leather.”

31 The Rabbis (after Matth. xix. 12) count three kinds of Eunuchs; (1) Seris chammah=of the sun, i.e. natural, (2) Seris Adam=manufactured per homines; and (3) Seris Chammayim — of God (i.e.. religious abstainer). Seris (castrated) or Abd (slave) is the general Hebrew name.

32 The “Lady of Beauty.”

33 “Káf” has been noticed as the mountain which surrounds earth as a ring does the finger:: it is popularly used like our Alp and Alpine. The “circumambient Ocean” (Bahr al-muhit) is the Homeric Ocean-stream.

When it was the Fourteenth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Kalandar continued his tale thus:— O my lady, the King’s daughter hent in hand a knife whereon were inscribed Hebrew characters and described a wide circle in the midst of the palace hall, and therein wrote in Cufic letters mysterious names and talismans; and she uttered words and muttered charms, some of which we under stood and others we understood not. Presently the world waxed dark before our sight till we thought that the sky was falling upon our heads, and lo! the Ifrit presented himself in his own shape and aspect. His hands were like many pronged pitch forks, his legs like the masts of great ships, and his eyes like cressets of gleaming fire. We were in terrible fear of him but the King’s daughter cried at him, “No welcome to thee and no greeting, O dog!” whereupon he changed to the form of a lion and said, “O traitress, how is it thou hast broken the oath we sware that neither should contraire other!” “O accursed one,” answered she, “how could there be a compact between me and the like of thee?” Then said he, “Take what thou has brought on thy self;” and the lion opened his jaws and rushed upon her; but she was too quick for him; and, plucking a hair from her head, waved it in the air muttering over it the while; and the hair straightway became a trenchant sword blade, wherewith she smote the lion and cut him in twain. Then the two halves flew away in air and the head changed to a scorpion and the Princess became a huge serpent and set upon the accursed scorpion, and the two fought, coiling and uncoiling, a stiff fight for an hour at least. Then the scorpion changed to a vulture and the serpent became an eagle which set upon the vulture, and hunted him for an hour’s time, till he became a black tom cat, which miauled and grinned and spat. Thereupon the eagle changed into a piebald wolf and these two battled in the palace for a long time, when the cat, seeing himself overcome, changed into a worm and crept into a huge red pomegranate,1 which lay beside the jetting fountain in the midst of the palace hall. Whereupon the pomegranate swelled to the size of a water melon in air; and, falling upon the marble pavement of the palace, broke to pieces, and all the grains fell out and were scattered about till they covered the whole floor. Then the wolf shook himself and became a snow white cock, which fell to picking up the grains purposing not to leave one; but by doom of destiny one seed rolled to the fountain edge and there lay hid. The cock fell to crowing and clapping his wings and signing to us with his beak as if to ask, ‘ Are any grains left?” But we understood not what he meant, and he cried to us with so loud a cry that we thought the palace would fall upon us. Then he ran over all the floor till he saw the grain which had rolled to the fountain edge, and rushed eagerly to pick it up when behold, it sprang into the midst of the water and became a fish and dived to the bottom of the basin. Thereupon the cock changed to a big fish, and plunged in after the other, and the two disappeared for a while and lo! we heard loud shrieks and cries of pain which made us tremble. After this the Ifrit rose out of the water, and he was as a burning flame; casting fire and smoke from his mouth and eyes and nostrils. And immediately the Princess likewise came forth from the basin and she was one live coal of flaming lowe; and these two, she and he, battled for the space of an hour, until their fires entirely compassed them about and their thick smoke filled the palace. As for us we panted for breath, being well nigh suffocated, and we longed to plunge into the water fearing lest we be burnt up and utterly destroyed; and the King said, There is no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah the Glorious, the Great! Verily we are Allah’s and unto Him are we returning! Would Heaven I had not urged my daughter to attempt the disenchantment of this ape fellow, whereby I have imposed upon her the terrible task of fighting yon accursed Ifrit against whom all the Ifrits in the world could not prevail. And would Heaven we had never seen this ape, Allah never assain nor bless the day of his coming! We thought to do a good deed by him before the face of Allah,2 and to release him from enchantment, and now we have brought this trouble and travail upon our heart.” But I, O my lady, was tongue tied and powerless to say a word to him. Suddenly, ere we were ware of aught, the Ifrit yelled out from under the flames and, coming up to us as we stood on the estrade, blew fire in our faces. The damsel overtook him and breathed blasts of fire at his face and the sparks from her and from him rained down upon us, and her sparks did us no harm, but one of his sparks alighted upon my eye and destroyed it making me a monocular ape; and another fell on the King’s face scorching the lower half, burning off his beard and mustachios and causing his under teeth to fall out; while a third alighted on the Castrato’s breast, killing him on the spot. So we despaired of life and made sure of death when lo! a voice repeated the saying, “Allah is most Highest! Allah is most Highest! Aidance and victory to all who the Truth believe; and disappointment and disgrace to all who the religion of Mohammed, the Moon of Faith, unbelieve.” The speaker was the Princess who had burnt the Ifrit, and he was become a heap of ashes. Then she came up to us and said, “Reach me a cup of water.” They brought it to her and she spoke over it words we understood not, and sprinkling me with it cried, “By virtue of the Truth, and by the Most Great name of Allah, I charge thee return to thy former shape.” And behold, I shook, and became a man as before, save that I had utterly lost an eye. Then she cried out, “The fire! The fire! O my dear papa an arrow from the accursed hath wounded me to the death, for I am not used to fight with the Jann; had he been a man I had slain him in the beginning. I had no trouble till the time when the pomegranate burst and the grains scattered, but I overlooked the seed wherein was the very life of the Jinni. Had I picked it up he had died on the spot, but as Fate and Fortune decreed, I saw it not; so he came upon me all unawares and there befel between him and me a sore struggle under the earth and high in air and in the water; and, as often as I opened on him a gate,3 he opened on me another gate and a stronger, till at last he opened on me the gate of fire, and few are saved upon whom the door of fire openeth. But Destiny willed that my cunning prevail over his cunning; and I burned him to death after I vainly exhorted him to embrace the religion of al-Islam. As for me I am a dead woman; Allah supply my place to you!” Then she called upon Heaven for help and ceased not to implore relief from the fire; when lo! a black spark shot up from her robed feet to her thighs; then it flew to her bosom and thence to her face. When it reached her face she wept and said, “I testify that there is no god but the God and that Mahommed is the Apostle of God!” And we looked at her and saw naught but a heap of ashes by the side of the heap that had been the Ifrit. We mourned for her and I wished I had been in her place, so had I not seen her lovely face who had worked me such weal become ashes; but there is no gainsaying the will of Allah. When the King saw his daughter’s terrible death, he plucked out what was left of his beard and beat his face and rent his raiment; and I did as he did and we both wept over her. Then came in the Chamberlains and Grandees and were amazed to find two heaps of ashes and the Sultan in a fainting fit; so they stood round him till he revived and told them what had befallen his daughter from the If rit; whereat their grief was right grievous and the women and the slave girls shrieked and keened,4 and they continued their lamentations for the space of seven days. Moreover the King bade build over his daughter’s ashes a vast vaulted tomb, and burn therein wax tapers and sepulchral lamps: but as for the Ifrit’s ashes they scattered them on the winds, speeding them to the curse of Allah. Then the Sultan fell sick of a sickness that well nigh brought him to his death for a month’s space; and, when health returned to him and his beard grew again and he had been converted by the mercy of Allah to al-Islam, he sent for me and said, “O youth, Fate had decreed for us the happiest of lives, safe from all the chances and changes of Time, till thou camest to us, when troubles fell upon us. Would to Heaven we had never seen thee and the foul face of thee! For we took pity on thee and thereby we have lost our all. I have on thy account first lost my daughter who to me was well worth an hundred men, secondly I have suffered that which befel me by reason of the fire and the loss of my teeth, and my Eunuch also was slain. I blame thee not, for it was out of thy power to prevent this: the doom of Allah was on thee as well as on us and thanks be to the Almighty for that my daughter delivered thee, albeit thereby she lost her own life! Go forth now, O my son, from this my city, and suffice thee what hath befallen us through thee, even although ’twas decreed for us. Go forth in peace; and if I ever see thee again I will surely slay thee.” And he cried out at me. So I went forth from his presence, O my lady, weeping bitterly and hardly believing in my escape and knowing not whither I should wend. And I recalled all that had befallen me, my meeting the tailor, my love for the damsel in the palace beneath the earth, and my narrow escape from the Ifrit, even after he had determined to do me die; and how I had entered the city as an ape and was now leaving it a man once more. Then I gave thanks to Allah and said, “My eye and not my life!” and before leaving the place I entered the bath and shaved my poll and beard and mustachios and eye brows; and cast ashes on my head and donned the coarse black woollen robe of a Kalandar. Then I fared forth, O my lady, and every day I pondered all the calamities which had betided me, and I wept and repeated these couplets:—

“I am distraught, yet verily His ruth abides with me,

Tho’ round me gather hosts of ills, whence come I cannot see:

Patient I’ll be till Patience self with me impatient wax;

Patient for ever till the Lord fulfil my destiny:

Patient I’ll bide without complaint, a wronged and vanquish” man;

Patient as sunparcht wight that spans the desert’s sandy sea:

Patient I’ll be till Aloe’s5 self unwittingly allow

I’m patient under bitterer things than bitterest aloë:

No bitterer things than aloes or than patience for mankind,

Yet bitterer than the twain to me were Patience’ treachery:

My sere and seamed and seared brow would dragoman my sore

If soul could search my sprite and there unsecret secrecy:

Were hills to bear the load I bear they’d crumble ‘neath the weight,

‘Twould still the roaring wind, ‘twould quench the flame-tongue’s flagrancy,

And whoso saith the world is sweet certès a day he’ll see

With more than aloes’ bitterness and aloes’ pungency.”

Then I journeyed through many regions and saw many a city intending for Baghdad, that I might seek audience, in the House of Peace,6 with the Commander of the Faithful and tell him all that had befallen me. I arrived here this very night and found my brother in Allah, this first Kalandar, standing about as one perplexed; so I saluted him with “Peace be upon thee,” and entered into discourse with him. Presently up came our brother, this third Kalandar, and said to us, “Peace be with you! I am a stranger;” whereto we replied, “And we too be strangers, who have come hither this blessed night.” So we all three walked on together, none of us knowing the other’s history, till Destiny crave us to this door and we came in to you. Such then is my story and my reason for shaving my beard and mustachios, and this is what caused the loss of my eye. Said the house mistress, “Thy tale is indeed a rare; so rub thy head and wend thy ways;” but he replied, “I will not budge till I hear my companions’ stories.” Then came forward the third Kalandar, and said, “O illustrious lady! my history is not like that of these my comrades, but more wondrous and far more marvellous. In their case Fate and Fortune came down on them unawares; but I drew down destiny upon my own head and brought sorrow on mine own soul, and shaved my own beard and lost my own eye. Hear then

1 The pomegranate is probably chosen here because each fruit is supposed to contain one seed from Eden-garden. Hence a host of superstitions (Pilgrimage iii., 104) possibly connected with the Chaldaic–Babylonian god Rimmon or Ramanu. Hence Persephone or Ishtar tasted the “rich pomegranate’s seed.” Lenormant, loc. cit. pp. 166, 182.

2 i.e. for the love of God — a favourite Moslem phrase.

3 Arab. “Báb,” also meaning a chapter (of magic, of war, etc.), corresponding with the Persian “Dar” as in Sad-dar, the Hundred Doors. Here, however, it is figurative “I tried a new mode.” This scene is in the Mabinogion.

4 I use this Irish term = crying for the dead, as English wants the word for the præfica,or myrialogist. The practice is not encouraged in Al–Islam; and Caliph Abu Bakr said,; “Verily a corpse is sprinkled with boiling water by reason of the lamentations of the living, i.e. punished for not having taken measures to prevent their profitless lamentations. But the practice is from Negroland whence it reached Egypt, and the people have there developed a curious system in the “weeping-song” I have noted this in “The Lake Regions of Central Africa.” In Zoroastrianism (Dabistan, chaps. xcvii.) tears shed for the dead form a river in hell, black and frigid.

5 These lines are hardly translatable. Arab. “Sabr” means “patience” as well as “aloes,” hereby lending itself to a host of puns and double entendres more or less vile The aloe, according to Burckhardt, is planted in graveyards as a lesson of patience: it is also slung, like the dried crocodile, over house doors to prevent evil spirits entering: “thus hung without earth and water,” says Lane (M.E., chaps. xi.), “it will live for several years and even blossom. Hence (?) it is called Sabr, which signifies patience. But Sibr as well as Sabr (a root) means “long sufferance.” I hold the practice to be one of the many Inner African superstitions. The wild Gallas to the present day plant aloes on graves, and suppose that when the plant sprouts the deceased has been admitted to the gardens of Wák, the Creator. (Pilgrimage iii. 350.)

6 Every city in the East has its specific title: this was given to Baghdad either on account of its superior police or simply because it was the Capital of the Caliphate. The Tigris was also called the “River of Peace (or Security).”

The Third Kalandar’s Tale.

Know, O my lady, that I also am a King and the son of a King and my name is Ajíb son of Kazíb. When my father died I succeeded him; and I ruled and did justice and dealt fairly by all my lieges. I delighted in sea trips, for my capital stood on the shore, before which the ocean stretched far and wide; and near hand were many great islands with sconces and garrisons in the midst of the main. My fleet numbered fifty merchantmen, and as many yachts for pleasance, and an hundred and fifty sail ready fitted for holy war with the Unbelievers. It fortuned that I had a mind to enjoy myself on the islands aforesaid, so I took ship with my people in ten keel; and, carrying with me a month’s victual, I set out on a twenty days’ voyage. But one night a head wind struck us, and the sea rose against us with huge waves; the billows sorely buffetted us and a dense darkness settled round us. We gave ourselves up for lost and I said, “Whoso endangereth his days, e’en an he ’scape deserveth no praise.” Then we prayed to Allah and besought Him; but the storm blasts ceased not to blow against us nor the surges to strike us till morning broke when the gale fell, the seas sank to mirrory stillness and the sun shone upon us kindly clear. Presently we made an island where we landed and cooked somewhat of food, and ate heartily and took our rest for a couple of days. Then we set out again and sailed other twenty days, the seas broadening and the land shrinking. Presently the current ran counter to us, and we found ourselves in strange waters, where the Captain had lost his reckoning, and was wholly bewildered in this sea; so said we to the look out man,1 “Get thee to the mast head and keep thine eyes open.” He swarmed up the mast and looked out and cried aloud, “O Rais, I espy to starboard something dark, very like a fish floating on the face of the sea, and to larboard there is a loom in the midst of the main, now black and now bright.” When the Captain heard the look out’s words he dashed his turband on the deck and plucked out his beard and beat his face saying, “Good news indeed! we be all dead men; not one of us can be saved.” And he fell to weeping and all of us wept for his weeping and also for our lives; and I said, “O Captain, tell us what it is the look out saw.” “O my Prince,” answered he, “know that we lost our course on the night of the storm, which was followed on the morrow by a two days’ calm during which we made no way; and we have gone astray eleven days reckoning from that night, with ne’er a wind to bring us back to our true course. To morrow by the end of the day we shall come to a mountain of black stone, hight the Magnet Mountain;2 for thither the cu rents carry us willy-nilly. As soon as we are under its lea, the ship’s sides will open and every nail in plank will fly out and cleave fast to the mountain; for that Almighty Allah hath gifted the loadstone with a mysterious virtue and a love for iron, by reason whereof all which is iron travelleth towards it; and on this mountain is much iron, how much none knoweth save the Most High, from the many vessels which have been lost there since the days of yore. The bright spot upon its summit is a dome of yellow laton from Andalusia, vaulted upon ten columns; and on its crown is a horseman who rideth a horse of brass and holdeth in hand a lance of laton; and there hangeth on his bosom a tablet of lead graven with names and talismans.” And he presently added, “And, O King, none destroyeth folk save the rider on that steed, nor will the egromancy be dispelled till he fall from his horse.’’3 Then, O my lady, the Captain wept with exceeding weeping and we all made sure of death doom and each and every one of us farewelled his friend and charged him with his last will and testament in case he might be saved. We slept not that night and in the morning we found ourselves much nearer the Loadstone Mountain, whither the waters crave us with a violent send. When the ships were close under its lea they opened and the nails flew out and all the iron in them sought the Magnet Mountain and clove to it like a network; so that by the end of the day we were all struggling in the waves round about the mountain. Some of us were saved, but more were drowned and even those who had escaped knew not one another, so stupefied were they by the beating of the billows and the raving of the winds. As for me, O my lady, Allah (be His name exalted!) preserved my life that I might suffer whatso He willed to me of hardship, misfortune and~calamity; for I scrambled upon a plank from one of the ships, and the wind and waters threw it at the feet of the Mountain. There I found a practicable path leading by steps carven out of the rock to the summit, and I called on the name of Allah Almighty”4And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

1 This is very characteristic: the passengers finding themselves in difficulties at once take command. See in my Pilgrimage (I. chaps. xi.) how we beat and otherwise maltreated the Captain of the “Golden Wire.”

2 The fable is probably based on the currents which, as in Eastern Africa, will carry a ship fifty miles a day out of her course. We first find it in Ptolemy (vii. 2) whose Maniólai Islands, of India extra Gangem, cause iron nails to fly out of ships, the effect of the Lapis Herculeus (Loadstone). Rabelais (v. c. 37) alludes to it and to the vulgar idea of magnetism being counteracted by Skordon (Scordon or garlic). Hence too the Adamant (Loadstone) Mountains of Mandeville (chaps. xxvii.) and the “Magnetic Rock” in Mr Puttock’s clever “Peter Wilkins.” I presume that the myth also arose from seeing craft built, as on the East African Coast, without iron nails. We shall meet with the legend again. The word Jabal (“Jebel” in Egypt) often occurs in these pages. The Arabs apply it to any rising ground or heap of rocks; so it is not always = our mountain. It has found its way to Europe e. g. Gibraltar and Monte Gibello (or Mongibel in poetry) “Mt. Ethne that men clepen Mounte Gybelle.” Other special senses of Jabal will occur.

3 As we learn from the Nubian Geographer the Arabs in early ages explored the Fortunate Islands (Jazírát al-Khálidát=Eternal Isles), or Canaries, on one of which were reported a horse and horseman in bronze with his spear pointing west. Ibn al-Ward) notes two images of hard stone, each an hundred cubits high, and upon the top of each a figure of copper pointing with its hand backwards, as though it would say:— Return for there is nothing behind me!” But this legend attaches to older doings. The 23rd Tobba (who succeeded Bilkis), Malik bin Sharhabíl, (or Sharabíl or Sharahíl) surnamed Náshir al-Ní‘am=scatterer of blessings, lost an army in attempting the Western sands and set up a statue of copper upon whose breast was inscribed in antique characters:—

There is no access behind me,

Nothing beyond,

(Saith) The Son of Sharabíl.

4 i.e. I exclaimed “Bismillah!”

When it was the Fifteenth Night,

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the third Kalandar said to the lady (the rest of the party sitting fast bound and the slaves standing with swords drawn over their heads):— And after calling on the name of Almighty Allah and passionately beseeching Him, I breasted the ascent, clinging to the steps and notches hewn in the stone, and mounted little by little. And the Lord stilled the wind and aided me in the ascent, so that I succeeded in reaching the summit. There I found no resting place save the dome, which I entered, joying with exceeding joy at my escape; and made the Wuzu-ablution1 and prayed a two bow prayer,2 a thanksgiving to God for my preservation. Then I fell asleep under the dome, and heard in my dream a mysterious Voice3 saying, “O son of Khazib! when thou wakest from thy sleep dig under thy feet and thou shalt find a bow of brass and three leaden arrows, inscribed with talismans and characts. Take the bow and shoot the arrows at the horseman on the dome top and free mankind from this sore calamity. When thou hast shot him he shall fall into the sea, and the horse will also drop at thy feet: then bury it in the place of the bow. This done, the main will swell and rise till it is level with the mountain head, and there will appear on it a skiff carrying a man of laton (other than he thou shalt have shot) holding in his hand a pair of paddles. He will come to thee and do thou embark with him but beware of saying Bismillah or of otherwise naming Allah Almighty. He will row thee for a space of ten days, till he bring thee to certain Islands called the Islands of Safety, and thence thou shalt easily reach a port and find those who will convey thee to thy native land; and all this shall be fulfilled to thee so thou call not on the name of Allah.” Then I started up from my sleep in joy and gladness and, hastening to do the bidding of the mysterious Voice, found the bow and arrows and shot at the horseman and tumbled him into the main, whilst the horse dropped at my feet; so I took it and buried it. Presently the sea surged up and rose till it reached the top of the mountain; nor had I long to wait ere I saw a skiff in the offing coming towards me. I gave thanks to Allah; and, when the skiff came up to me, I saw therein a man of brass with a tablet of lead on his breast inscribed with talismans and characts; and I embarked without uttering a word. The boatman rowed on with me through the first day and the second and the third, in all ten whole days, till I caught sight of the Islands of Safety; whereat I joyed with exceeding joy and for stress of gladness exclaimed, “Allah! Allah! In the name of Allah! There is no god but the God and Allah is Almighty.’’4 Thereupon the skiff forthwith upset and cast me upon the sea; then it righted and sank deep into the depths. Now I am a fair swimmer, so I swam the whole day till nightfall, when my forearms and shoulders were numbed with fatigue and I felt like to die; so I testified to my faith, expecting naught but death. The sea was still surging under the violence of the winds, and presently there came a billow like a hillock; and, bearing me up high in air, threw me with a long cast on dry land, that His will might be fulfilled. I crawled up the beach and doffing my raiment wrung it out to dry and spread it in the sunshine: then I lay me down and slept the whole night. As soon as it was day, I donned my clothes and rose to look whither I should walk. Presently I came to a thicket of low trees; and, making a cast round it, found that the spot whereon I stood was an islet, a mere holm, girt on all sides by the ocean; whereupon I said to myself, “Whatso freeth me from one great calamity casteth me into a greater!” But while I was pondering my case and longing for death behold, I saw afar off a ship making for the island; so I clomb a tree and hid myself among the branches. Presently the ship anchored and landed ten slaves, blackamoors, bearing iron hoes and baskets, who walked on till they reached the middle of the island. Here they dug deep into the ground, until they uncovered a plate of metal which they lifted, thereby opening a trap door. After this they returned to the ship and thence brought bread and flour, honey and fruits, clarified butter,5 leather bottles containing liquors and many household stuffs; also furniture, table service and mirrors rugs, carpets and in fact all needed to furnish a dwelling; and they kept going to and fro, and descending by the trap door, till they had transported into the dwelling all that was in the ship. After this the slaves again went on board and brought back with them garments as rich as may be, and in the midst of them came an old, old man, of whom very little was left, for Time had dealt hardly and harshly with him, and all that remained of him was a bone wrapped in a rag of blue stuff through which the winds whistled west and east. As saith the poet of him:—

Time gars me tremble Ah, how sore the baulk!

While Time in pride of strength cloth ever stalk:

Time was I walked nor ever felt I tired,

Now am I tired albe I never walk!

And the Shaykh held by the hand a youth cast in beauty’s mould, all elegance and perfect grace; so fair that his comeliness deserved to be proverbial; for he was as a green bough or the tender young of the roe, ravishing every heart with his loveliness and subduing every soul with his coquetry and amorous ways.6 It was of him the poet spake when he said:—

Beauty they brought with him to make compare,

But Beauty hung her head in shame and care:

Quoth’ they, “O Beauty, hast thou seen his like?”

And Beauty cried, “His like? not anywhere!”

They stinted not their going, O my lady, till all went down by the trap door and did not reappear for an hour, or rather more; at the end of which time the slaves and the old man came up without the youth and, replacing the iron plate and carefully closing the door slab as it was before, they returned to the ship and made sail and were lost to my sight. When they turned away to depart, I came down from the tree and, going to the place I had seen them fill up, scraped off and removed the earth; and in patience possessed my soul till I had cleared the whole of it away. Then appeared the trap door which was of wood, in shape and size like a millstone; and when I lifted it up it disclosed a winding staircase of stone. At this I marvelled and, descending the steps till I reached the last, found a fair hall, spread with various kinds of carpets and silk stuffs, wherein was a youth sitting upon a raised couch and leaning back on a round cushion with a fan in his hand and nosegays and posies of sweet scented herbs and flowers before him;7 but he was alone and not a soul near him in the great vault. When he saw me he turned pale; but I saluted him courteously and said, “Set thy mind at ease and calm thy fears; no harm shall come near thee; I am a man like thyself and the son of a King to boot; whom the decrees of Destiny have sent to bear thee company and cheer thee in thy loneliness. But now tell me, what is thy story and what causeth thee to dwell thus in solitude under the ground?” When he was assured that I was of his kind and no Jinni, he rejoiced and his fine colour returned; and, making me draw near to him he said, “O my brother, my story is a strange story and ’tis this. My father is a merchant-jeweller possessed of great wealth, who hath white and black slaves travelling and trading on his account in ships and on camels, and trafficking with the most distant cities; but he was not blessed with a child, not even one. Now on a certain night he dreamed a dream that he should be favoured with a son, who would be short lived; so the morning dawned on my father bringing him woe and weeping. On the following night my mother conceived and my father noted down the date of her becoming pregnant.8 Her time being fulfilled she bare me; whereat my father rejoiced and made banquets and called together the neighbors and fed the Fakirs and the poor, for that he had been blessed with issue near the end of his days. Then he assembled the astrologers and astronomers who knew the places of the planets, and the wizards and wise ones of the time, and men learned in horoscopes and nativities,9 and they drew out my birth scheme and said to my father, “Thy son shall live to fifteen years, but in his fifteenth there is a sinister aspect; an he safely tide it over he shall attain a great age. And the cause that threateneth him with death is this. In the Sea of Peril standeth the Mountain Magnet hight; on whose summit is a horseman of yellow laton seated on a horse also of brass and bearing on his breast a tablet of lead. Fifty days after this rider shall fall from his steed thy son will die and his slayer will be he who shoots down the horseman, a Prince named Ajib son of King Khazib.” My father grieved with exceeding grief to hear these words; but reared me in tenderest fashion and educated me excellently well until my fifteenth year was told. Ten days ago news came to him that the horseman had fallen into the sea and he who shot him down was named Ajib son of King Khazib. My father thereupon wept bitter tears at the need of parting with me and became like one possessed of a Jinni. However, being in mortal fear for me, he built me this place under the earth; and, stocking it with all required for the few days still remaining, he brought me hither in a ship and left me here. Ten are already past and, when the forty shall have gone by without danger to me, he will come and take me away; for he hath done all this only in fear of Prince Ajib. Such, then, is my story and the cause of my loneliness.” When I heard his history I marvelled and said in my mind, “I am the Prince Ajib who hath done all this; but as Allah is with me I will surely not slay him!” So said I to him, “O my lord, far from thee be this hurt and harm and then, please Allah, thou shalt not suffer cark nor care nor aught disquietude, for I will tarry with thee and serve thee as a servant, and then wend my ways; and after having borne thee company during the forty days, I will go with thee to thy home where thou shalt give me an escort of some of thy Mamelukes with whom I may journey back to my own city; and the Almighty shall requite thee for me.” He was glad to hear these words, when I rose and lighted a large wax candle and trimmed the ramps end the three lanterns; and I set on meat and drink and sweetmeats. We ate and drank and sat talking over various matters till the greater part of the night was gone; when he lay down to rest and I covered him up and went to sleep myself. Next morning I arose and warmed a little water, then lifted him gently so as to awake him and brought him the warm water wherewith he washed his face10 and said to me, “Heaven requite thee for me with every blessing, O youth! By Allah, if I get quit of this danger and am saved from him whose name is Ajib bin Khazib, I will make my father reward thee and send thee home healthy and wealthy; and, if I die, then my blessing be upon thee.” I answered, “May the day never dawn on which evil shall betide thee; and may Allah make my last day before thy last day!” Then I set before him somewhat of food and we ate; and I got ready perfumes for fumigating the hall, wherewith he was pleased. Moreover I made him a Mankalah-cloth;11 and we played and ate sweetmeats and we played again and took our pleasure till nightfall, when I rose and lighted the lamps, and set before him somewhat to eat, and sat telling him stories till the hours of darkness were far spent. Then he lay down to rest and I covered him up and rested also. And thus I continued to do, O my lady, for days and nights and affection for him took root in my heart and my sorrow was eased, and I said to myself, “The astrologers lied12 when they predicted that he should be slain by Ajib bin Khazib: by Allah, I will not slay him.” I ceased not ministering to him and conversing and carousing with him and telling him all manner tales for thirty nine days. On the fortieth night13 the youth rejoiced and said, “O my brother, Alhamdo, lillah! — praise be to Allah — who hath preserved me from death and this is by thy blessing and the blessing of thy coming to me and I pray God that He restore thee to thy native land. But now, O my brother, I would thou warm me some water for the Ghusl ablution and do thou kindly bathe me and change my clothes.” I replied, “With love and gladness;” and I heated water in plenty and carrying it in to him washed his body all over the washing of health,14 with meal of lupins15 and rubbed him well and changed his clothes and spread him a high bed whereon he lay down to rest, being drowsy after bathing. Then said he, “O my brother, cut me up a water melon, and sweeten it with a little sugar candy.”16 So I went to the store room and bringing out a fine water melon I found there, set it on a platter and laid it before him saying, “O my master hast thou not a knife?” “Here it is,” answered he, “over my head upon the high shelf.” So I got up in haste and taking the knife drew it from its sheath; but my foot slipped in stepping down and I fell heavily upon the youth holding in my hand the knife which hastened to fulfil what had been written on the Day that decided the destinies of man, and buried itself, as if planted, in the youth’s heart. He died on the instant. When I saw that he was slain and knew that I had slain him, maugre myself, I cried out with an exceeding loud and bitter cry and beat my face and rent my raiment and said, “Verily we be Allah’s and unto Him we be returning, O Moslems! O folk fain of Allah! there remained for this youth but one day of the forty dangerous days which the astrologers and the learned had foretold for him; and the predestined death of this beautiful one was to be at my hand. Would Heaven I had not tried to cut the watermelon. What dire misfortune is this I must bear fief or loath? What a disaster! What an affliction! O Allah mine, I implore thy pardon and declare to Thee my innocence of his death. But what God willeth let that come to pass.’’17And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

1 The lesser ablution of hands, face and feet; a kind of “washing the points.” More in Night ccccxl.

2 Arab. “Ruka’tayn”; the number of these bows which are followed by the prostrations distinguishes the five daily prayers.

3 The “Beth Kol” of the Hebrews; also called by the Moslems “Hátif”; for which ask the Spiritualists. It is the Hindu “voice divine” or “voice from heaven.”

4 These formulae are technically called Tasmiyah, Tahlil (before noted) and Takbír: i.e. “testifying” is Tashhíd.

5 Arab. “Samn,” (Pers. “Raughan” Hind. “Ghi”) the “single sauce” of the East; fresh butter set upon the fire, skimmed and kept (for a century if required) in leather bottles and demijohns. Then it becomes a hard black mass, considered a panacea for wounds and diseases. It is very “filling”: you say jocosely to an Eastern threatened with a sudden inroad of guests, “Go, swamp thy rice with Raughan.” I once tried training, like a Hindu Pahlawan or athlete, on Gur (raw sugar), milk and Ghi; and the result was being blinded by bile before the week ended.

6 These handsome youths are always described in the terms we should apply to women.

7 The Bull Edit. (i. 43) reads otherwise:— I found a garden and a second and a third and so on till they numbered thirty and nine; and, in each garden, I saw what praise will not express, of trees and rills and fruits and treasures. At the end of the last I sighted a door and said to myself, “What may be in this place?; needs must I open it and look in!” I did so accordingly and saw a courser ready saddled and bridled and picketed; so I loosed and mounted him, and he flew with me like a bird till he set me down on a terrace-roof; and, having landed me, he struck me a whisk with his tail and put out mine eye and fled from me. Thereupon I descended from the roof and found ten youths all blind of one eye who, when they saw me exclaimed, “No welcome to thee, and no good cheer!” I asked them, “Do ye admit me to your home and society?” and they answered, “No, by Allah’ thou shalt not live amongst us.” So I went forth with weeping eyes and grieving heart, but Allah had written my safety on the Guarded Tablet so I reached Baghdad in safety, etc. This is a fair specimen of how the work has been curtailed in that issue.

8 Arabs date pregnancy from the stopping of the menses, upon which the fœtus is supposed to feed. Kalilah wa Dimnah says, “The child’s navel adheres to that of his mother and thereby he sucks” (i. 263).

9 This is contrary to the commands of Al–Islam, Mohammed expressly said “The Astrologers are liars, by the Lord of the Ka’abah!”; and his saying is known to almost all Moslems, lettered or unlettered. Yet, the further we go East (Indiawards) the more we find these practices held in honour. Turning westwards we have:

Iuridicis, Erebo, Fisco, fas vivere rapto:

Militibus, Medicis, Tortori occidere ludo est;

Mentiri Astronomis, Pictoribus atque Poetis.

10 He does not perform the Wuzu or lesser ablution because he neglects his dawn prayers.

11 For this game see Lane (M. E. Chapt. xvii.) It is usually played on a checked cloth not on a board like our draughts; and Easterns are fond of eating, drinking and smoking between and even during the games. Torrens (p. 142) translates “I made up some dessert,” confounding “Mankalah” with “Nukl” (dried fruit, quatre-mendiants).

12 Quoted from Mohammed whose saying has been given.

13 We should say “the night of the thirty-ninth.”

14 The bath first taken after sickness.

15 Arab. “Dikák” used by way of soap or rather to soften the skin: the meal is usually of lupins, “Adas”=“Revalenta Arabica,” which costs a penny in Egypt and half-a-crown in England.

16 Arab. “Sukkar-nabát.” During my day (1842–49) we had no other sugar in the Bombay Presidency.

17 This is one of the myriad Arab instances that the decrees of “Anagké,” Fate, Destiny, Weird, are inevitable. The situation is highly dramatic; and indeed The Nights, as will appear in the Terminal Essay, have already suggested a national drama.

When it was the Sixteenth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Ajib thus continued his tale to the lady:— When I was certified that I had slain him, I arose and ascending the stairs replaced the trap- door and covered it with earth as before. Then I looked out seawards and saw the ship cleaving the waters and making for the island, wherefore I was afeard and said, “The moment they come and see the youth done to death, they will know ’twas I who slew him and will slay me without respite.” So I climbed up into a high tree and concealed myself among its leaves; and hardly had I done so when the ship anchored and the slaves landed with the ancient man, the youth’s father, and made direct for the place and when they removed the earth they were surprised to see it soft.1 Then they raised the trap door and went down and found the youth lying at full length, clothed in fair new garments, with a face beaming after the bath, and the knife deep in his heart. At the sight they shrieked and wept and beat their faces, loudly cursing the murderer; whilst a swoon came over the Shaykh so that the slaves deemed him dead, unable to survive his son. At last they wrapped the slain youth in his clothes and carried him up and laid him on the ground covering him with a shroud of silk. Whilst they were making for the ship the old man revived; and, gazing on his son who was stretched out, fell on the ground and strewed dust over his head and smote his face and plucked out his beard; and his weeping redoubled as he thought of his murdered son and he swooned away once more. After awhile a slave went and fetched a strip of silk whereupon they lay the old man and sat down at his head. All this took place and I was on the tree above them watching everything that came to pass; and my heart became hoary before my head waxed grey, for the hard lot which was mine, and for the distress and anguish I had undergone, and I fell to reciting:—

“How many a joy by Allah’s will hath fled

With flight escaping sight of wisest head!

How many a sadness shall begin the day,

Yet grow right gladsome ere the day is sped!

How many a weal trips on the heels of ill,

Causing the mourner’s heart with joy to thrill!”2

But the old man, O my lady, ceased not from his swoon till near sunset, when he came to himself and, looking upon his dead son, he recalled what had happened, and how what he had dreaded had come to pass; and he beat his face and head and recited these couplets:—

“Racked is my heart by parting fro’ my friends

And two rills ever fro’ my eyelids flow:

With them3 went forth my hopes, Ah, well away!

What shift remaineth me to say or do?

Would I had never looked upon their sight,

What shift, fair sirs, when paths e’er strainer grow?

What charm shall calm my pangs when this wise burn

Longings of love which in my vitals glow?

Would I had trod with them the road of Death!

Ne’er had befel us twain this parting blow:

Allah: I pray the Truthful show me Roth

And mix our lives nor part them evermo’e!

How blest were we as ‘death one roof we dwelt

Conjoined in joys nor recking aught of woe;

Till Fortune shot us pith the severance shaft;

Ah who shall patient bear such parting throe?

And dart of Death struck down amid the tribe

The age’s pearl that Morn saw brightest show:

I cried the while his case took speech and said:—

Would Heaven, my son, Death mote his doom foreslow!

Which be the readiest road wi’ thee to meet

My Son! for whom I would my soul bestow?

If sun I call him no! the sun cloth set;

If moon I call him, wane the moons; Ah no!

O sad mischance o’ thee, O doom of days,

Thy place none other love shall ever know:

Thy sire distracted sees thee, but despairs

By wit or wisdom Fate to overthrow:

Some evil eye this day hath cast its spell

And foul befal him as it foul betel!”

Then he sobbed a single sob and his soul fled his flesh. The slaves shrieked aloud, “Alas, our lord!” and showered dust on their heads and redoubled their weeping and wailing. Presently they carried their dead master to the ship side by side with his dead son and, having transported all the stuff from the dwelling to the vessel, set sail and disappeared from mine eyes. I descended from the tree and, raising the trap-door, went down into the underground dwelling where everything reminded me of the youth; and I looked upon the poor remains of him and began repeating these verses:—

“Their tracks I see, and pine with pain and pang

And on deserted hearths I weep and yearn:

And Him I pray who doomed them depart

Some day vouchsafe the boon of safe return.’’4

Then, O my lady, I went up again by the trap-door, and every day I used to wander round about the island and every night I returned to the underground hall. Thus I lived for a month, till at last, looking at the western side of the island, I observed that every day the fibs ebbed, leaving shallow water for which the flow did not compensate; and by the end of the month the sea showed dry land in that direction. At this I rejoiced making certain of my safety; so I arose and fording what little was left of the water got me to the mainland, where I fell in with great heaps of loose sand in which even a camel’s hoof would sink up to the knee.5 However I emboldened my soul and wading through the sand behold, a fire shone from afar burning with a brazing light.6 So I made for it hoping haply to find succour, and broke out into these verses:—

“Belike Fortune may her bridle turn

And Time bring weal although he’s jealous hight;

Forward my hopes, and further all my needs,

And passed ills with present weals requite.”

And when I drew near the fire aforesaid lo! it was a palace with gates of copper burnished red which, when the rising sun shone thereon, gleamed and glistened from afar showing what had seemed to me a fire. I rejoiced in the sight, and sat down over against the gate, but I was hardly settled in my seat before there met me ten young men clothed in sumptuous gear and all were blind of the left eye which appeared as plucked out. They were accompanied by a Shaykh, an old, old man, and much I marvelled at their appearance, and their all being blind of the same eye When they saw me, they saluted me with the Salam and asked me of my case and my history; whereupon I related to them all what had befallen me, and what full measure of misfortune was mine. Marvelling at my tale they took me to the mansion, where I saw ranged round the hall ten couches each with its blue bedding and coverlet of blue stuff7 and amiddlemost stood a smaller couch furnished like them with blue and nothing else. As we entered each of the youths took his seat on his own couch and the old man seated himself upon the smaller one in the middle saying to me, “O youth, sit thee down on the floor and ask not of our case nor of the loss of our eyes.” Presently he rose up and set before each young man some meat in a charger and drink in a large mazer, treating me in like manner; and after that they sat questioning me concerning my adventures and what had betided me: and I kept telling them my tale till the night was far spent. Then said the young men, “O our Shaykh, wilt not thou set be fore us our ordinary? The time is come.” He replied, “With love and gladness,” and rose and entering a closet disappeared, but presently returned bearing on his head ten trays each covered with a strip of blue stuff. He set a tray before each youth and, lighting ten wax candles, he stuck one upon each tray, and drew off the covers and lo! under them was naught but ashes and powdered charcoal and kettle soot. Then all the young men tucked up their sleeves to the elbows and fell a weeping and wailing and they blackened their faces and smeared their clothes and buffetted their brows and beat their breasts, continually exclaiming, “We were sitting at our ease but our frowardness brought us unease! “ They ceased not to do this till dawn drew nigh, when the old man rose and heated water for them; and they washed their faces, and donned other and clean clothes. Now when I saw this, O my lady, for very wonderment my senses left me and my wits went wild and heart and head were full of thought, till I forgot what had betided me and I could not keep silence feeling I fain must speak out and question them of these strangenesses; so I said to them, “How come ye to do this after we have been so open hearted and frolicksome? Thanks be to Allah ye be all sound and sane, yet actions such as these befit none but mad men or those possessed of an evil spirit. I conjure you by all that is dearest to you, why stint ye to tell me your history, and the cause of your losing your eyes and your blackening your faces with ashes and soot?” Hereupon they turned to me and said, “O young man, hearken not to thy youthtide’s suggestions and question us no questions.” Then they slept and I with them and when they awoke the old man brought us somewhat of food; and, after we had eaten and the plates and goblets had been removed, they sat conversing till night fall when the old man rose and lit the wax candles and lamps and set meat and drink before us. After we had eaten and drunken we sat conversing and carousing in companionage till the noon of night, when they said to the old man, “Bring us our ordinary, for the hour of sleep is at hand!” So he rose and brought them the trays of soot and ashes; and they did as they had done on the preceding night, nor more, nor less. I abode with them after this fashion for the space of a month during which time they used to blacken their faces with ashes every night, and to wash and change their raiment when the morn was young; and I but marvelled the more and my scruples and curiosity increased to such a point that I had to forego even food and drink. At last, I lost command of myself, for my heart was aflame with fire unquenchable and lowe unconcealable and I said, “O young men, will ye not relieve my trouble and acquaint me with the reason of thus blackening your faces and the meaning of your words:— We were sitting at our ease but our frowardness brought us unease?” Quoth they “’Twere better to keep these things secret.” Still I was bewildered by their doings to the point of abstaining from eating and drinking and, at last wholly losing patience, quoth I to them, There is no help for it: ye must acquaint me with what is the reason of these doings.” They replied, “We kept our secret only for thy good: to gratify thee will bring down evil upon thee and thou wilt become a monocular even as we are.” I repeated “There is no help for it and, if ye will not, let me leave you and return to mine own people and be at rest from seeing these things, for the proverb saith:—

Better ye ’bide and I take my leave:

For what eye sees not heart shall never grieve.”

Thereupon they said to me, “Remember, O youth, that should ill befal thee we will not again harbour thee nor suffer thee to abide amongst us;” and bringing a ram they slaughtered it and skinned it. Lastly they gave me a knife saying, “Take this skin and stretch thyself upon it and we will sew it around thee, presently there shall come to thee a certain bird, hight Rukh,8 that will catch thee up in his pounces and tower high in air and then set thee down on a mountain. When thou feelest he is no longer flying, rip open the pelt with this blade and come out of it; the bird will be scared and will fly away and leave thee free. After this fare for half a day, and the march will place thee at a palace wondrous fair to behold, towering high in air and builded of Khalanj9, lign-aloes and sandal-wood, plated with red gold, and studded with all manner emeralds and costly gems fit for seal rings. Enter it and thou shalt win to thy wish for we have all entered that palace; and such is the cause of our losing our eyes and of our blackening our faces. Were we now to tell thee our stories it would take too long a time; for each and every of us lost his left eye by an adventure of his own.” I rejoiced at their words and they did with me as they said; and the bird Rukh bore me off end set me down on the mountain. Then I came out of the skin and walked on till I reached the palace. The door stood open as I entered and found myself in a spacious and goodly hall, wide exceedingly, even as a horse-course; and around it were an hundred chambers with doors of sandal and aloes woods plated with red gold and furnished with silver rings by way of knockers.10 At the head or upper end11 of the hall I saw forty damsels, sumptuously dressed and ornamented and one and all bright as moons; none could ever tire of gazing upon them and all so lovely that the most ascetic devotee on seeing them would become their slave and obey their will. When they saw me the whole bevy came up to me and said “Welcome and well come and good cheer12 to thee, O our lord! This whole month have we been expecting thee. Praised be Allah who hath sent us one who is worthy of us, even as we are worthy of him!” Then they made me sit down upon a high divan and said to me, “This day thou art our lord and master, and we are thy servants and thy hand-maids, so order us as thou wilt.” And I marvelled at their case. Presently one of them arose and set meat before me and I ate and they ate with me; whilst others warmed water and washed my hands and feet and changed my clothes and others made ready sherbets and gave us to drink; and all gathered around me being full of joy and gladness at my coming. Then they sat down and conversed with me till nightfall, when five of them arose and laid the trays and spread them with flowers and fragrant herbs and fruits, fresh and dried, and confections in profusion. At last they brought out a fine wine service with rich old wine; and we sat down to drink and some sang songs and others played the lute and psaltery and recorders and other instruments, and the bowl went merrily round. Hereupon such gladness possessed me that I forgot the sorrows of the world one and all and said, “This is indeed life; O sad that ’tis fleeting!” I enjoyed their company till the time came for rest; and our heads were all warm with wine, when they said, “O our lord, choose from amongst us her who shall be thy bed-fellow this night and not lie with thee again till forty days be past.” So I chose a girl fair of face and perfect in shape, with eyes Kohl-edged by nature’s hand;13 hair long and jet black with slightly parted teeth14 and joining brows: ‘twas as if she were some limber graceful branchlet or the slender stalk of sweet basil to amaze and to bewilder man’s fancy, even as the poet said of such an one —

To even her with greeny bough were vain

Fool he who finds her beauties in the roe:

When hath the roe those lively lovely limbs

Or honey dews those lips alone bestow?

Those eyne, soul piercing eyne, which slay with love,

Which bind the victim by their shafts laid low?

My heart to second childhood they beguiled

No wonder: love sick-man again is child!

And I repeated to her the maker’s words who said:—

“None other charms but thine shall greet mine eyes,

Nor other image can my heart surprise:

Thy love, my lady, captives all my thoughts

And on that love I’ll die and I’ll arise.

So I lay with her that night; none fairer I ever knew; and, when it was morning, the damsels carried me to the Hammam bath and bathed me and robed me in fairest apparel. Then they served up food, and we ate and drank and the cup went round till nightfall when I chose from among them one fair of form and face, soft-sided and a model of grace, such an one as the poet described when he said. —

On her fair bosom caskets twain I scanned,

Sealed fast with musk seals lovers to withstand

With arrowy glances stand on guard her eyes,

Whose shafts would shoot who dares put forth a hand.

With her I spent a most goodly night; and, to be brief, O my mistress, I remained with them in all solace and delight of life, eating and drinking, conversing and carousing and every night lying with one or other of them. But at the head of the new year they came to me in tears and bade me farewell, weeping and crying out and clinging about me: whereat I wondered and said, “What may be the matter? verily you break my heart!” They exclaimed, “Would Heaven we had never known thee; for, though we have companies with many, yet never saw we a pleasanter than thou or a more courteous.” And they wept again. “But tell me more clearly,” asked I, “what causeth this weeping which maketh my gall-bladder15 like to burst;” and they answered, “O our lord and master, it is severance which maketh us weep; and thou, and thou only, art the cause of our tears. If thou hearken to us we need never be parted and if thou hearken not we part for ever; but our hearts tell us that thou wilt not listen to our words and this is the cause of our tears and cries.” “Tell me how the case standeth?” “Know, O our lord, that we are the daughters of Kings who have met here and have lived together for years; and once in every year we are perforce absent for forty days; and afterwards we return and abide here for the rest of the twelve month eating and drinking and taking our pleasure and enjoying delights: we are about to depart according to our custom; and we fear lest after we be gone thou contraire our charge and disobey our injunctions. Here now we commit to thee the keys of the palace which containeth forty chambers and thou mayest open of these thirty and nine, but beware (and we conjure thee by Allah and by the lives of us!) lest thou open the fortieth door, for therein is that which shall separate us for ever.”16 Quoth I, “Assuredly I will not open it, if it contain the cause of severance from you.” Then one among them came up to me and falling on my neck wept and recited these verses. —

“If Time unite us after absent while,

The world harsh frowning on our lot shall smile

And if thy semblance deign adorn mine eyes,17

I’ll pardon Time past wrongs and by gone guile.”

And I recited the following:—

“When drew she near to bid adieu with heart unstrung,

While care and longing on that day her bosom wrung

Wet pearls she wept and mine like red carnelians rolled

And, joined in sad rivière, around her neck they hung.”

When I saw her weeping I said, “By Allah I will never open that fortieth door, never and no wise!” and I bade her farewell. Thereupon all departed flying away like birds; signalling with their hands farewells as they went and leaving me alone in the palace. When evening drew near I opened the door of the first chamber and entering it found myself in a place like one of the pleasaunces of Paradise. It was a garden with trees of freshest green and ripe fruits of yellow sheen; and its birds were singing clear and keen and nils ran wimpling through the fair terrene. The sight and sounds brought solace to my sprite; and I walked among the trees, and I smelt the breath of the flowers on the breeze; and heard the birdies sing their melodies hymning the One, the Almighty in sweetest litanies; and I looked upon the apple whose hue is parcel red and parcel yellow; as said the poet:—

Apple whose hue combines in union mellow

My fair’s red cheek, her hapless lover’s yellow.

Then I looked upon the quince, and inhaled its fragrance which to shame musk and ambergris, even as the poet hath said:

Quince every taste conjoins; in her are found

Gifts which for queen of fruits the Quince have crowned

Her taste is wine, her scent the waft of musk;

Pure gold her hue, her shape the Moon’s fair round.

Then I looked upon the pear whose taste surpasseth sherbet and sugar; and the apricot18 whose beauty striketh the eye with admiration, as if she were a polished ruby. Then I went out of the place and locked the door as it was before. When it was the morrow I opened the second door; and entering found myself in a spacious plain set with tall date palms and watered by a running stream whose banks were shrubbed with bushes of rose and jasmine, while privet and eglantine, oxe-eye, violet and lily, narcissus, origane and the winter gilliflower carpeted the borders; and the breath of the breeze swept over these sweet smelling growths diffusing their delicious odours right and left, perfuming the world and filling my soul with delight. After taking my pleasure there awhile I went from it and, having closed the door as it was before, opened the third door wherein I saw a high open hall pargetted with parti-coloured marbles and pietra dura of price and other precious stones, and hung with cages of sandal-wood and eagle-wood; full of birds which made sweet music, such as the Thousand voiced,19 and the cushat, the merle, the turtle-dove and the Nubian ring dove. My heart was filled with pleasure thereby; my grief was dispelled and I slept in that aviary till dawn. Then I undocked the door of the fourth chamber and there in found a grand saloon with forty smaller chambers giving upon it. All their doors stood open: so I entered and found them full of pearls and jacinths and beryls and emeralds and corals and car buncles, and all manner precious gems and jewels, such as tongue of man may not describe. My thought was stunned at the sight and I said to myself, “These be things methinks united which could not be found save in the treasuries of a King of Kings, nor could the monarchs of the world have collected the like of these!” And my heart dilated and my sorrows ceased, “For,” quoth I, “now verily am I the monarch of the age, since by Allah’s grace this enormous wealth is mine; and I have forty damsels under my hand nor is there any to claim them save myself.” Then I gave not over opening place after place until nine and thirty days were passed and in that time I had entered every chamber except that one whose door the Princesses had charged me not to open. But my thoughts, O my mistress, ever ran on that forbidden fortieth20 and Satan urged me to open it for my own undoing; nor had I patience to forbear, albeit there wanted of the trysting time but a single day. So I stood before the chamber aforesaid and, after a moment’s hesitation, opened the door which was plated with red gold, and entered. I was met by a perfume whose like I had never before smelt; and so sharp and subtle was the odour that it made my senses drunken as with strong wine, and I fell to the ground in a fainting fit which lasted a full hour. When I came to myself I strengthened my heart and, entering, found myself in a chamber whose floor was bespread with saffron and blazing with light from branched candelabra of gold and lamps fed with costly oils, which diffused the scent of musk and ambergris. I saw there also two great censers each big as a mazer-bowl,21 flaming with lign-aloes, nadd- perfume,22 ambergris and honied scents; and the place was full of their fragrance. Presently, O my lady, I espied a noble steed, black as the murks of night when murkiest, standing, ready saddled and bridled (and his saddle was of red gold) before two mangers, one of clear crystal wherein was husked sesame, and the other also of crystal containing water of the rose scented with musk. When I saw this I marvelled and said to myself, “Doubtless in this animal must be some wondrous mystery;” and Satan cozened me, so I led him without the palace end mounted him, but he would not stir from his place. So I hammered his sides with my heels, but he moved not, and then I took the rein whip,23 and struck him withal. When he felt the blow, he neighed a neigh with a sound like deafening thunder and, opening a pair of wings24 flew up with me in the firmament of heaven far beyond the eyesight of man. After a full hour of flight he descended and alighted on a terrace roof and shaking me off his back lashed me on the face with his tail and gouged out my left eye causing it roll along my cheek. Then he flew away. I went down from the terrace and found myself again amongst the ten one eyed youths sitting upon their ten couches with blue covers; and they cried out when they saw me, “No welcome to thee, nor aught of good cheer! We all lived of lives the happiest and we ate and drank of the best; upon brocades and cloths of gold we took rest and we slept with our heads on beauty’s breast, but we could not await one day to gain the delights of a year!” Quoth I, “Behold I have become one like unto you and now I would have you bring me a tray full of blackness, wherewith to blacken my face, and receive me into your society.” “No, by Allah,” quoth they, “thou shalt not sojourn with us and now get thee hence!” So they drove me away. Finding them reject me thus I foresaw that matters would go hard with me, and I remembered the many miseries which Destiny had written upon my forehead; and I fared forth from among them heavy hearted and tearful eyed, repeating to myself these words, “I was sitting at mine ease but my frowardness brought me to unease.” Then I shaved beard and mustachios and eye brows, renouncing the world, and wan dered in Kalandar garb about Allah’s earth; and the Almighty decreed safety for me till I arrived at Baghdad, which was on the evening of this very night. Here I met these two other Kalandars standing bewildered; so I saluted them saying, “I am a stranger!” and they answered, “And we likewise be strangers!” By the freak of Fortune we were like to like, three Kalandars and three monoculars all blind of the left eye. Such, O my lady, is the cause of the shearing of my beard and the manner of my losing an eye. Said the lady to him, “Rub thy head and wend thy ways;” but he answered, “By Allah, I will not go until I hear the stories of these others.” Then the lady, turning towards the Caliph and Ja’afar and Masrur, said to them, “Do ye also give an account of yourselves, you men!” Whereupon Ja’afar stood forth and told her what he had told the portress as they were entering the house; and when she heard his story of their being merchants and Mosul men who had outrun the watch, she said, “I grant you your lives each for each sake, and now away with you all.” So they all went out and when they were in the street, quoth the Caliph to the Kalandars, “O company, whither go ye now, seeing that the morning hath not yet dawned?” Quoth they, “By Allah, O our lord, we know not where to go.” “Come and pass the rest of the night with us,” said the Caliph and, turning to Ja’afar, “Take them home with thee and to morrow bring them to my presence that we may chronicle their adventures.” Ja’afar did as the Caliph bade him and the Commander of the Faithful returned to his palace; but sleep gave no sign of visiting him that night and he lay awake pondering the mishaps of the three Kalandar princes and impatient to know the history of the ladies and the two black bitches. No sooner had morning dawned than he went forth and sat upon the throne of his sovereignty; and, turning to Ja’afar, after all his Grandees and Officers of state were gathered together, he said, “Bring me the three ladies and the two bitches and the three Kalandars.” So Ja’afar fared forth and brought them all before him (and the ladies were veiled); then the Minister turned to them and said in the Caliph s name, “We pardon you your maltreatment of us and your want of courtesy, in consideration of the kindness which forewent it, and for that ye knew us not: now however I would have you to know that ye stand in presence of the fifth25 of the sons of Abbas, Harun al-Rashid, brother of Caliph Músá al-Hádi, son of Al–Mansúr; son of Mohammed the brother of Al–Saffáh bin Mohammed who was first of the royal house. Speak ye therefore before him the truth and the whole truth!” When the ladies heard Ja afar’s words touching the Commander of the Faithful, the eldest came forward and said, “O Prince of True Believers, my story is one which, were it graven with needle-gravers upon the eye corners were a warner for whoso would be warned and an example for whoso can take profit from example.”— And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

1 Having lately been moved by Ajib.

2 Mr. Payne (i. 131) omits these lines which appear out of place; but this mode of inappropriate quotation is a characteristic of Eastern tales.

3 Anglicè “him.”

4 This march of the tribe is a lieu commun of Arab verse e.g. the poet Labid’s noble elegy on the “Deserted Camp.” We shall find scores of instances in The Nights.

5 I have heard of such sands in the Desert east of Damascus which can be crossed only on boards or camel furniture; and the same is reported of the infamous Region “Al–Ahkláf” (“Unexplored Syria”).

6 Hence the Arab. saying “The bark of a dog and not the gleam of a fire;” the tired traveller knows from the former that the camp is near, whereas the latter shows from great distances.

7 Dark blue is the colour of mourning in Egypt as it was of the Roman Republic. The Persians hold that this tint was introduced by Kay Kawús (B. C. 600) when mourning for his son Siyáwush. It was continued till the death of Husayn on the 10th of Muharram (the first month, then representing the vernal equinox) when it was changed for black. As a rule Moslems do not adopt this symbol of sorrow (called “Hidád”) looking upon the practice as somewhat idolatrous and foreign to Arab manners. In Egypt and especially on the Upper Nile women dye their hands with indigo and stair. their faces black or blacker.

8 The older Roc, of which more in the Tale of Sindbad. Meanwhile the reader curious about the Persian Símurgh (thirty bird) will consult the Dabistan, i., 55,191 and iii., 237, and Richardson’s Diss. p. xlviii. For the Anka (Enka or Unka — long necked bird) see Dab. iii., 249 and for the Humá (bird of Paradise) Richardson lxix. We still lack details concerning the Ben or Bennu (nycticorax) of Egypt which with the Article pi gave rise to the Greek “phœnix.”

9 Probably the Haledj of Forskal (p. xcvi. Flor. Ægypt. Arab.), “lignum tenax, durum, obscuri generic.” The Bres. Edit. has “ákúl”=teak wood, vulg. “Sáj.”

10 The knocker ring is an invention well known to the Romans.

11 Arab. “Sadr”; the place of honour; hence the “Sudder Adawlut” (Supreme Court) in the Anglo–Indian jargon.

12 Arab. “Ahlan wa sahlan wa marhabá,” the words still popularly addressed to a guest.

13 This may mean “liquid black eyes”; but also, as I have noticed, that the lashes were long and thick enough to make the eyelids appear as if Kohl-powder had been applied to the inner rims.

14 A slight parting between the two front incisors, the upper only, is considered a beauty by Arabs; why it as hard to say except for the racial love of variety. “Sugar” (Thug) in the text means, primarily, the opening of the mouth, the gape: hence the front teeth.

15 i.e. makes me taste the bitterness of death, “bursting the gall-bladder” (Marárah) being our “breaking the heart.”

16 Almost needless to say that forbidden doors and rooms form a lieu-commun in Fairie: they are found in the Hindu Katha Sarit Sagara and became familiar to our childhood by “Bluebeard.”

17 Lit. “apply Kohl to my eyes,” even as Jezebel “painted her face,” in Heb. put her eyes in painting (2 Kings ix. 30).

18 Arab. “Al–Barkúk,” whence our older “Apricock.” Classically it is “Burkúk” and Pers. for Arab. “Mishrnish,” and it also denotes a small plum or damson. In Syria the side next the sun” shows a glowing red flush.

19 Arab. “Hazár” (in Persian, a thousand) = a kind of mocking bird.

20 Some Edits. make the doors number a hundred, but the Princesses were forty and these coincidences, which seem to have significance and have none save for Arab symmetromania, are common in Arab stories.

21 Arab. “Májur”: hence possibly our “mazer,” which is popularly derived from Masarn, a maple.

22 A compound scent of ambergris, musk and aloes.

23 The ends of the bridle-reins forming the whip.

24 The flying horse is Pegasus which is a Greek travesty of an Egyptian myth developed in India.

25 The Bres. Edit. wrongly says “the seventh.”

When it was the Seventeenth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that she stood forth before the Commander of the Faithful and began to tell

The Eldest Lady’s Tale.

Verily a strange tale is mine and ’tis this:— Yon two black bitches are my eldest sisters by one mother and father; and these two others, she who beareth upon her the signs of stripes and the third our procuratrix are my sisters by another mother. When my father died, each took her share of the heritage and, after a while my mother also deceased, leaving me and my sisters german three thousand diners; so each daughter received her portion of a thousand diners and I the same, albe the youngest. In due course of time my sisters married with the usual festivities and lived with their husbands, who bought merchandise with their wives monies and set out on their travels together. Thus they threw me off. My brothers in law were absent with their wives five years, during which period they spent all the money they had and, becoming bankrupt, deserted my sisters in foreign parts amid stranger folk. After five years my eldest sister returned to me in beggar’s gear with her clothes in rags and tatters1 and a dirty old mantilla;2 and truly she was in the foulest and sorriest plight. At first sight I did not know my own sister; but presently I recognised her and said “What state is this?” “O our sister,” she replied, “Words cannot undo the done; and the reed of Destiny hath run through what Allah decreed.” Then I sent her to the bath and dressed her in a suit of mine own, and boiled for her a bouillon and brought her some good wine and said to her, “O my sister, thou art the eldest, who still standest to us in the stead of father and mother; and, as for the inheritance which came to me as to you twain, Allah hath blessed it and prospered it to me with increase; and my circumstances are easy, for I have made much money by spinning and cleaning silk; and I and you will share my wealth alike.” I entreated her with all kindliness and she abode with me a whole year, during which our thoughts and fancies were always full of our other sister Shortly after she too came home in yet fouler and sorrier plight than that of my eldest sister; and I dealt by her still more honorably than I had done by the first, and each of them had a share of my substance. After a time they said to me, ‘O our sister, we desire to marry again, for indeed we have not patience to drag on our days without husbands and to lead the lives of widows bewitched;” and I replied, “O eyes of me!3 ye have hitherto seen scanty weal in wedlock, for now-a-days good men and true are become rarities and curiosities; nor do I deem your projects advisable, as ye have already made trial of matrimony and have failed.” But they would not accept my advice and married without my consent: nevertheless I gave them outfit and dowries out of my money; and they fared forth with their mates. In a mighty little time their husbands played them false and, taking whatever they could lay hands upon, levanted and left them in the lurch. Thereupon they came to me ashamed and in abject case and made their excuses to me, saying, Pardon our fault and be not wroth with us;4 for although thou art younger in years yet art thou older in wit; henceforth we will never make mention of marriage; so take us back as thy hand maidens that we may eat our mouthful.” Quoth I, “Welcome to you, O my sisters, there is naught dearer to me than you.” And I took them in and redoubled my kindness to them. We ceased not to live after this loving fashion for a full year, when I resolved to sell my wares abroad and first to fit me a conveyance for Bassorah; so I equipped a large ship, and loaded her with merchandise and valuable goods for traffic, and with provaunt and all needful for a voyage, and said to my sisters, “Will ye abide at home whilst I travel, or would ye prefer to accompany me on the voyage?” “We will travel with thee,” answered they, “for we cannot bear to be parted from thee.” So I divided my monies into two parts, one to accompany me and the other to be left in charge of a trusty person, for, as I said to myself, “Haply some accident may happen to the ship and yet we remain alive; in which case we shall find on our return what may stand us in good stead.” I took my two sisters and we went a voyaging some days and nights; but the master was careless enough to miss his course, and the ship went astray with us and entered a sea other than the sea we sought. For a time we knew naught of this; and the wind blew fair for us ten days, after which the look out man went aloft to see about him and cried, “Good news!” Then he came down rejoicing and said, “I have seen what seemeth to be a city as ’twere a pigeon.” Hereat we rejoiced and, ere an hour of the day had passed, the buildings showed plain in the offing and we asked the Captain, “What is the name of yonder city?” and he answered By Allah I wot not, for I never saw it before and never sailed these seas in my life: but, since our troubles have ended in safety, remains for you only to land there with your merchandise and, if you find selling profitable, sell and make your market of what is there; and if not, we will rest here two days and provision ourselves and fare away.” So we entered the port and the Captain went up town and was absent awhile, after which he returned to us and said, “Arise; go up into the city and marvel at the works of Allah with His creatures and pray to be preserved from His righteous wrath!” So we landed and going up into the city, saw at the gate men hending staves in hand; but when we drew near them, behold, they had been translated5 by the anger of Allah and had become stones. Then we entered the city and found all who therein woned into black stones enstoned: not an inhabited house appeared to the espier, nor was there a blower of fire.6 We were awe struck at the sight and threaded the market streets where we found the goods and gold and silver left lying in their places; and we were glad and said, “Doubtless there is some mystery in all this.” Then we dispersed about the thorough-fares and each busied himself with collecting the wealth and money and rich stuffs, taking scanty heed of friend or comrade. As for myself I went up to the castle which was strongly fortified; and, entering the King’s palace by its gate of red gold, found all the vaiselle of gold and silver, and the King himself seated in the midst of his Chamberlains and Nabobs and Emirs and Wazirs; all clad in raiment which confounded man’s art. I drew nearer and saw him sitting on a throne incrusted and inlaid with pearls and gems; and his robes were of gold-cloth adorned with jewels of every kind, each one flashing like a star. Around him stood fifty Mamelukes, white slaves, clothed in silks of divers sorts holding their drawn swords in their hands; but when I drew near to them lo! all were black stones. My understanding was confounded at the sight, but I walked on and entered the great hall of the Harim,7 whose walls I found hung with tapestries of gold striped silk and spread with silken carpets embroidered with golden cowers. Here I saw the Queen lying at full length arrayed in robes purfled with fresh young8 pearls; on her head was a diadem set with many sorts of gems each fit for a ring9 and around her neck hung collars and necklaces. All her raiment and her ornaments were in natural state but she had been turned into a black stone by Allah’s wrath. Presently I espied an open door for which I made straight and found leading to it a flight of seven steps. So I walked up and came upon a place pargetted with marble and spread and hung with gold-worked carpets and tapestry, amiddlemostof which stood a throne of juniper wood inlaid with pearls and precious stones and set with bosses of emeralds. In the further wall was an alcove whose curtains, bestrung with pearls, were let down and I saw a light issuing therefrom; so I drew near and perceived that the light came from a precious stone as big as an ostrich egg, set at the upper end of the alcove upon a little chryselephantine couch of ivory and gold; and this jewel, blazing like the sun, cast its rays wide and side. The couch also was spread with all manner of silken stuffs amazing the gazer with their richness and beauty. I marvelled much at all this, especially when seeing in that place candles ready lighted; and I said in my mind, “Needs must some one have lighted these candles.” Then I went forth and came to the kitchen and thence to the buttery and the King’s treasure chambers; and continued to explore the palace and to pace from place to place; I forgot myself in my awe and marvel at these matters and I was drowned in thought till the night came on. Then I would have gone forth, but knowing not the gate I lost my way, so I returned to the alcove whither the lighted candles directed me and sat down upon the couch; and wrapping myself in a coverlet, after I had repeated somewhat from the Koran, I would have slept but could not, for restlessness possessed me. When night was at its noon I heard a voice chanting the Koran in sweetest accents; but the tone thereof was weak; so I rose, glad to hear the silence broken, and followed the sound until I reached a closet whose door stood ajar. Then peeping through a chink I considered the place and lo! it was an oratory wherein was a prayer niche10 with two wax candles burning and lamps hanging from the ceiling. In it too was spread a prayer carpet whereupon sat a youth fair to see; and before him on its stand11 was a copy of the Koran, from which he was reading. I marvelled to see him alone alive amongst the people of the city and entering saluted him; whereupon he raised his eyes and returned my salam. Quoth I, “Now by the Truth of what thou readest in Allah’s Holy Book, I conjure thee to answer my question.” He looked upon me with a smile and said, “O handmaid of Allah, first tell me the cause of thy coming hither, and I in turn will tell what hath befallen both me and the people of this city, and what was the reason of my escaping their doom.” So I told him my story whereat he wondered; and I questioned him of the people of the city, when he replied, “Have patience with me for a while, O my sister!” and, reverently closing the Holy Book, he laid it up in a satin bag. Then he seated me by his side; and I looked at him and behold, he was as the moon at its full, fair of face and rare of form, soft sided and slight, of well proportioned height, and cheek smoothly bright and diffusing light; in brief a sweet, a sugar stick,12. even as saith the poet of the like of him in these couplets:—

That night th’ astrologer a scheme of planets drew,

And lo! a graceful shape of youth appeared in view:

Saturn had stained his locks with Saturninest jet,

And spots of nut brown musk on rosy side face blew:13

Mars tinctured either cheek with tinct of martial red;

Sagittal shots from eyelids Sagittarius threw:

Dowered him Mercury with bright mercurial wit;

Bore off the Bear14 what all man’s evil glances grew:

Amazed stood Astrophil to sight the marvel birth

When louted low the Moon at full to buss the Earth.

And of a truth Allah the Most High had robed him in the raiment of perfect grace and had purfled and fringed it with a cheek all beauty and loveliness, even as the poet saith of such an one:—

By his eyelids shedding perfume and his fine slim waist I swear,

By the shooting of his shafts barbed with sorcery passing rare;

By the softness of his sides,15 and glances’ lingering light,

And brow of dazzling day-tide ray and night within his hair;

By his eyebrows which deny to who look upon them rest,

Now bidding now forbidding, ever dealing joy and care;

By the rose that decks his cheek, and the myrtle of its moss,16

By jacinths bedded in his lips and pearl his smile lays bare;

By his graceful bending neck and the curving of his breast,

Whose polished surface beareth those granados, lovely pair;

By his heavy hips that quiver as he passeth in his pride,

Or he resteth with that waist which is slim beyond compare;

By the satin of his skin, by that fine unsullied sprite;

By the beauty that containeth all things bright and debonnair;

By that ever open hand; by the candour of his tongue;

By noble blood and high degree whereof he’s hope and heir;

Musk from him borrows muskiness she loveth to exhale

And all the airs of ambergris through him perfume the air;

The sun, methinks, the broad bright sun, before my love would pale

And sans his splendour would appear a paring of his nail.17

I glanced at him with one glance of eyes which caused me a thousand sighs; and my heart was at once taken captive wise, so I asked him, “O my lord and my love, tell me that whereof I questioned thee;” and he answered, “Hearing is obeying! Know O handmaid of Allah, that this city was the capital of my father who is the King thou sawest on the throne transfigured by Allah’s wrath to a black stone, and the Queen thou foundest in the alcove is my mother. They and all the people of the city were Magians who fire adored in lieu of the Omnipotent Lord18 and were wont to swear by lowe and heat and shade and light and the spheres revolving day and night. My father had ne’er a son till he was blest with me near the last of his days; and he reared me till I grew up and prosperity anticipated me in all things. Now it so fortuned that there was with us an old woman well stricken in years, a Moslemah who, inwardly believing in Allah and His Apostle, conformed outwardly with the religion of my people; and my father placed thorough confidence in her for that he knew her to be trustworthy and virtuous; and he treated her with ever increasing kindness believing her to be of his own belief. So when I was well nigh grown up my father committed me to her charge saying:— Take him and educate him and teach him the rules of our faith; let him have the best in structions and cease not thy fostering care of him. So she took me and taught me the tenets of Al–Islam with the divine ordinances19 of the Wuzu ablution and the five daily prayers and she made me learn the Koran by rote, often repeating:— Serve none save Allah Almighty! When I had mastered this much of knowledge she said to me:— O my son, keep this matter concealed from thy sire and reveal naught to him lest he slay thee. So I hid it from him and I abode on this wise for a term of days when the old woman died, and the people of the city redoubled in their impiety20 and arrogance and the error of their ways. One day, while they were as wont, behold, they heard a loud and terrible sound and a crier crying out with a voice like roaring thunder so every ear could hear, far and near, “O folk of this city, leave ye your fire worshipping and adore Allah the All-compassionate King!” At this, fear and terror fell upon the citizens and they crowded to my father (he being King of the city) and asked him, “What is this awesome voice we have heard, for it hath confounded us with the excess of its terror?” and he answered, “Let not a voice fright you nor shake your steadfast sprite nor turn you back from the faith which is right.” Their hearts inclined to his words and they ceased not to worship the fire and they persisted in rebellion for a full year from the time they heard the first voice; and on the anniversary came a second cry, and a third at the head of the third year, each year once Still they persisted in their malpractises till one day at break of dawn, judgment and the wrath of Heaven descended upon them with all suddenness, and by the visitation of Allah all were metamorphosed into black stones,21 they and their beasts and their cattle; and none was saved save myself who at the time was engaged in my devotions. From that day to this I am in the case thou seest, constant in prayer and fasting and reading and reciting the Koran; but I am indeed grown weary by reason of my loneliness, having none to bear me company.” Then said I to him (for in very sooth he had won my heart and was the lord of my life and soul), “O youth, wilt thou fare with me to Baghdad city and visit the Olema and men learned in the law and doctors of divinity and get thee increase of wisdom and understanding and theology? And know that she who standeth in thy presence will be thy handmaid, albeit she be head of her family and mistress over men and eunuchs and servants and slaves Indeed my life was no life before it fell in with thy youth. I have here a ship laden with merchandise; and in very truth Destiny drove me to this city that I might come to the knowledge of these matters, for it was fated that we should meet.” And I ceased not to persuade him and speak him fair and use every art till he consented. — And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

1 Arab. “Sharmutah” (plur. Sharámít) from the root Sharmat, to shred, a favourite Egyptian word also applied in vulgar speech to a strumpet, a punk, a piece. It is also the popular term for strips of jerked or boucaned meat hung up in the sun to dry, and classically called “Kadíd.”

2 Arab. “Izár,” the man’s waistcloth opposed to the Ridá or shoulder-cloth, is also the sheet of white calico worn by the poorer Egyptian women out of doors and covering head and hands. See Lane (M. E., chaps. i.). The rich prefer a “Habárah” of black silk, and the poor, when they have nothing else, use a bed-sheet.

3 i.e. “My clears.”

4 Arab. “Lá tawákhizná:” lit. “do not chastise (or blame) us;” the pop. expression for, “excuse (or pardon) us.”

5 Arab. “Maskhút,” mostly applied to change of shape as man enchanted to monkey, and in vulgar parlance applied to a statue (of stone, etc.). The list of metamorphoses in Al–Islam is longer than that known to Ovid. Those who have seen Petra, the Greek town of the Haurán and the Roman ruins in Northern Africa will readily detect the bests upon which these stories are built. I shall return to this subject in The City of Iram (Night cclxxvi.) and The City of Brass (dlxvii.).

6 A picturesque phrase enough to express a deserted site, a spectacle familiar to the Nomades and always abounding in pathos to the citizens.

7 The olden “Harem” (or gynæceum, Pers. Zenanah, Serraglio): Harím is also used by synecdoche for the inmates; especially the wife.

8 The pearl is supposed in the East to lose 1% per ann. of its splendour and value.

9 Arab. “Fass,” properly the bezel of a ring; also a gem cut en cabochon and generally the contenant for the contenu.

10 Arab. “Mihráb” = the arch-headed niche in the Mosque-wall facing Meccah-wards. Here, with his back to the people and fronting the Ka’abah or Square House of Meccah (hence called the “Kiblah” = direction of prayer), stations himself the Imám, artistes or fugleman, lit. “one who stands before others;” and his bows and prostrations give the time to the congregation. I have derived the Mihrab from the niche in which the Egyptian God was shrined: the Jews ignored it, but the Christians preserved it for their statues and altars. Maundrell suggests that the empty niche denotes an invisible God. As the niche (symbol of Venus) and the minaret (symbol of Priapus) date only from the days of the tenth Caliph, Al–Walid (A.H. 86–96=105–115), the Hindus charge the Moslems with having borrowed the two from their favourite idols — The Linga–Yoni or Cunnus phallus (Pilgrimage ii. 140), and plainly call the Mihrab a Bhaga= Cunnus (Dabistan ii. 152). The Guebres further term Meccah “Mah-gah,” locus Lunæ, and Al–Medinah, “Mahdinah,” = Moon of religion. See Dabistan i., 49, etc.

11 Arab “Kursi,” a stool of palm-fronds, etc., X-shaped (see Lane’s illustration, Nights i., 197), before which the reader sits. Good Moslems will not hold the Holy Volume below the waist nor open it except when ceremonially pure. Englishmen in the East should remember this, for to neglect the “Adab al-Kúran” (respect due to Holy Writ) gives great scandal.

12 Mr. Payne (i. 148) quotes the German Zuckerpüppchen.

13 The Persian poets have a thousand conceits in praise of the “mole,” (Khál or Shámah) for which Hafiz offered “Samarkand and Bokhara” (they not being his, as his friends remarked). Another “topic” is the flight of arrows shot by eyelashes.

14 Arab. “Suhá” a star in the Great Bear introduced only to balance “wushát” = spies, enviers, enemies, whose “evil eye” it will ward off.

15 In Arab tales beauty is always “soft-sided,” and a smooth skin is valued in proportion to its rarity.

16 The myrtle is the young hair upon the side face

17 In other copies of these verses the fourth couplet swears “by the scorpions of his brow” i.e. the accroche-cæurs, the beau-catchers, bell-ropes or aggravators,” as the B.P. calls them. In couplet eight the poet alludes to his love’s “Unsur,” or element his nature made up of the four classicals, and in the last couplet he makes the nail paring refer to the moon not the sun. I

18 This is regular formula when speaking of Guebres.

19 Arab. “Faráiz”; the orders expressly given in the Koran which the reader will remember, is Uncreate and Eternal. In India “Farz” is applied to injunctions thrice repeated; and “Wájíb” to those given twice over. Elsewhere scanty difference is made between them.

20 Arab. “Kufr” = rejecting the True Religion, i.e. Al–Islam, such rejection being “Tughyán” or rebellion against the Lord. The “terrible sound” is taken from the legend of the prophet Sálih and the proto-historic tribe of Thámúd which for its impiety was struck dead by an earthquake and a noise from heaven. The latter, according to some commentators, was the voice of the Archangel Gabriel crying “Die all of you” (Koran, chapts. vii., xviii., etc.). We shall hear more of it in the “City of many-columned Iram.” According to some, Salih, a mysterious Badawi prophet, is buried in the Wady al-Shaykh of the so-called Sinaitic Peninsula.

21 Yet they kept the semblance of man, showing that the idea arose from the basaltic statues found in Hauranic ruins. Mohammed in his various marches to Syria must have seen remnants of Greek and Roman settlements; and as has been noticed “Sesostris”

When it was the Eighteenth Night,

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the lady ceased not persuading with soft speech the youth to depart with her till he consented and said “Yes.” She slept that night lying at his feet and hardly knowing where she was for excess of joy. As soon as the next morning dawned (she pursued, addressing the Caliph), I arose and we entered the treasuries and took thence whatever was light in weight and great in worth; then we went down side by side from the castle to the city, where we were met by the Captain and my sisters and slaves who had been seeking for me. When they saw me they rejoiced and asked what had stayed me, and I told them all I had seen and related to them the story of the young Prince and the transformation wherewith the citizens had been justly visited. Hereat all marvelled, but when my two sisters (these two bitches, O Commander of the Faithful!) saw me by the side of my young lover they jaloused me on his account and were wroth and plotted mischief against me. We awaited a fair wind and went on board rejoicing and ready to fly for joy by reason of the goods we had gotten, but my own greatest joyance was in the youth; and we waited awhile till the wind blewfair for us and then we set sail and fared forth. Now as we sat talking, my sisters asked me, “And what wilt thou do with this handsome young man?”; and I answered, “I purpose to make him my husband!” Then I turned to him and said, “O my lord, I have that to propose to thee wherein thou must not cross me; and this it is that, when we reach Baghdad, my native city, I offer thee my life as thy handmaiden in holy matrimony, and thou shalt be to me baron and I will be femme to thee.” He answered, “I hear and I obey!; thou art my lady and my mistress and whatso thou doest I will not gainsay.” Then I turned to my sisters and said, “This is my gain; I content me with this youth and those who have gotten aught of my property let them keep it as their gain with my good will.” “Thou sayest and doest well,” answered the twain, but they imagined mischief against me. We ceased not spooning before a fair wind till we had exchanged the sea of peril for the seas of safety and, in a few days, we made Bassorah city, whose buildings loomed clear before us as evening fell. But after we had retired to rest and were sound alseep, my two sisters arose and took me up, bed and all, and threw me into the sea: they did the same with the young Prince who, as he could not swim, sank and was drowned and Allah enrolled him in the noble army of Martyrs.1 As for me would Heaven I had been drowned with him, but Allah deemed that I should be of the saved; so when I awoke and found myself in the sea and saw the ship making off like a dash of lightning, He threw in my way a piece of timber which I bestrided, and the waves tossed me to and fro till they cast me upon an island coast, a high land and an uninhabited. I landed and walked about the island the rest of the night and, when morning dawned, I saw a rough track barely fit for child of Adam to tread, leading to what proved a shallow ford connecting island and mainland. As soon as the sun had risen I spread my garments to dry in its rays; and ate of the fruits of the island and drank of its waters; then I set out along the foot track and ceased not walking till I reached the mainland. Now when there remained between me and the city but a two hours’ journey behold, a great serpent, the bigness of a date palm, came fleeing towards me in all haste, gliding along now to the right then to the left till she was close upon me, whilst her tongue lolled ground wards a span long and swept the dust as she went. She was pursued by a Dragon2 who was not longer than two lances, and of slender build about the bulk of a spear and, although her terror lent her speed, and she kept wriggling from side to side, he overtook her and seized her by the tail, whereat her tears streamed down and her tongue was thrust out in her agony. I took pity on her and, picking up a stone and calling upon Allah for aid, threw it at the Dragon’s head with such force that he died then and there; and the serpent opening a pair of wings Hew into the lift and disappeared from before my eyes. I sat down marvelling over that adventure, but I was weary and, drowsiness overcoming me, I slept where I was for a while. When I awoke I found a jet black damsel sitting at my feet shampooing them; and by her side stood two black bitches (my sisters, O Commander of the Faithful!). I was ashamed before her3 and, sitting up, asked her, “O my sister, who and what art thou?”; and she answered, “How soon hast thou forgotten me! I am she for whom thou wroughtest a good deed and sowedest the seed of gratitude and slowest her foe; for I am the serpent whom by Allah’s aidance thou didst just now deliver from the Dragon. I am a Jinniyah and he was a Jinn who hated me, and none saved my life from him save thou. As soon as thou freedest me from him I Dew on the wind to the ship whence thy sisters threw thee, and removed all that was therein to thy house. Then I ordered my attendant Marids to sink the ship and I transformed thy two sisters into these black bitches; for I know all that hath passed between them and thee; but as for the youth, of a truth he is drowned.” So saying, she dew up with me and the bitches, and presently set us down on the terrace roof of my house, wherein I found ready stored the whole of what property was in my ship, nor was aught of it missing. “Now (continued the serpent that was), I swear by all engraver on the seal-ring of Solomon4 (with whom be peace!) unless thou deal to each of these bitches three hundred stripes every day I will come and imprison thee forever under the earth.” I answered, “Hearkening and obedience!”; and away she Dew. But before going she again charged me saying, “I again swear by Him who made the two seas flow5 (and this be my second oath) if thou gainsay me I will come and transform thee like thy sisters.” Since then I have never failed, O Commander of the Faithful, to beat them with that number of blows till their blood flows with my tears, I pitying them the while, and well they wot that their being scourged is no fault of mine and they accept my excuses. And this is my tale and my history! The Caliph marvelled at her adventures and then signed to Ja’afar who said to the second lady, the Portress, “And thou, how camest thou by the welts and wheels upon thy body?” So she began the

1 Arab. “Shuhadá”; highly respected by Moslems as by other religionists; although their principal if not only merit seems as a rule to have been intense obstinacy and devotion to one idea for which they were ready to sacrifice even life. The Martyrs-category is extensive including those killed by falling walls; victims to the plague, pleurisy and pregnancy, travellers drowned or otherwise lost when journeying honestly, and chaste lovers who die of “broken hearts” i.e. impaired digestion. Their souls are at once stowed away in the crops of green birds where they remain till Resurrection Day, “eating of the fruits and drinking of the streams of Paradise,” a place however, whose topography is wholly uncertain. Thus the young Prince was rewarded with a manner of anti-Purgatory, a preparatory heaven.

2 Arab. “Su’ubán:” the Badawin give the name to a variety of serpents all held to be venomous; but in tales the word, like “Tannín,” expresses our “dragon” or “cockatrice.”

3 She was ashamed to see the lady doing servile duty by rubbing her feet. This massage, which B. de la Brocquière describes in 1452 as “kneading and pinching,” has already been noticed. The French term is apparently derived from the Arab. “Mas-h.”

4 Alluding to the Most High Name, the hundredth name of God, the Heb. Shem hamphorash, unknown save to a favoured few who by using it perform all manner of miracles.

5 i e. the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean.

Tale of the Portress.

Know, O Commander of the Faithful, that I had a father who, after fulfilling his time, deceased and left me great store of wealth. I remained single for a short time and presently married one of the richest of his day. I abode with him a year when he also died, and my share of his property amounted to eighty thousand diners in gold according to the holy law of inheritance.1 Thus I became passing rich an my reputation spread far and wide, for I had made me ten changes of raiment, each worth a thousand diners One day as I was sitting at home, behold, there came in to me an old woman2 with lantern jaws and cheeks sucked in, and eyes rucked up, and eyebrows scant and scald, and head bare and bald; and teeth broken by time and mauled, and back bending and neck nape nodding, and face blotched, and rheum running, and hair like a snake black and white speckled, in complexion a very fright, even as saith the poet of the like of her:—

Ill-omened hag! unshriven be her sins

Nor mercy visit her on dying bed:

Thousand head strongest he mules would her guiles,

Despite their bolting lead with spider thread.

And as saith another:—

A hag to whom th’ unlawful lawfullest

And witchcraft wisdom in her sight are grown:

A mischief making brat, a demon maid,

A whorish woman and a pimping crone.3

When the old woman entered she salamed to me and kissing the ground before me, said, “I have at home an orphan daughter and this night are her wedding and her displaying.4 We be poor folks and strangers in this city knowing none inhabitant and we are broken hearted. So do thou earn for thyself a recompense and a reward in Heaven by being present at her displaying and, when the ladles of this city shall hear that thou art to make act of presence, they also will present themselves; so shalt thou comfort her affliction, for she is sore bruised in spirit and she hath none to look to save Allah the Most High.” Then she wept and kissed my feet reciting these couplets:—

“Thy presence bringeth us a grace

We own before thy winsome face:

And wert thou absent ne’er an one

Could stand in stead or take thy place.”

So pity get hold on me and compassion and I said, “Hearing is consenting and, please Allah, I will do somewhat more for her; nor shall she be shown to her bridegroom save in my raiment and ornaments and jewelry.” At this the old woman rejoiced and bowed her head to my feet and kissed them, saying, “Allah requite thee weal, and comfort thy heart even as thou hast comforted mine! But, O my lady, do not trouble thyself to do me this service at this hour; be thou ready by supper time,5 when I will come and fetch thee.” So saying she kissed my hand and went her ways. I set about stringing my pearls and donning my brocades and making my toilette, Little recking what Fortune had in womb for me, when suddenly the old woman stood before me, simpering and smiling till she showed every tooth stump, and quoth she, “O my mistress, the city madams have arrived and when I apprized them that thou promisedst to be present, they were glad and they are now awaiting thee and looking eagerly for thy coming and for the honour of meeting thee.” So I threw on my mantilla and, making the old crone walk before me and my handmaidens behind me, I fared till we came to a street well watered and swept neat, where the winnowing breeze blew cool and sweet. Here we were stopped by a gate arched over with a dome of marble stone firmly seated on solidest foundation, and leading to a Palace whose walls from earth rose tall and proud, and whose pinnacle was crowned by the clouds,6 and over the doorway were writ these couplets:—

I am the wone where Mirth shall ever smile;

The home of Joyance through my lasting while:

And ’mid my court a fountain jets and flows,

Nor tears nor troubles shall that fount defile:

The merge with royal Nu’uman’s7 bloom is dight,

Myrtle, Narcissus-flower and Chamomile.

Arrived at the gate, before which hung a black curtain, the old woman knocked and it was opened to us; when we entered and found a vestibule spread with carpets and hung around with lamps all alight and wax candles in candelabra adorned with pendants of precious gems and noble ores. We passed on through this passage till we entered a saloon, whose like for grandeur and beauty is not to be found in this world. It was hung and carpeted with silken stuffs, and was illuminated with branches sconces and tapers ranged in double row, an avenue abutting on the upper or noble end of the saloon, where stood a couch of juniper wood encrusted with pearls and gems and surmounted by a baldaquin with mosquito curtains of satin looped up with margaritas. And hardly had we taken note of this when there came forth from the baldaquin a young lady and I looked, O Commander of the Faithful, upon a face and form more perfect than the moon when fullest, with a favour brighter than the dawn gleaming with saffron-hued light, even as the poet sang when he said —

Thou pacest the palace a marvel sight,

A bride for a Kisra’s or Kaisar’s night!

Wantons the rose on thy roseate cheek,

O cheek as the blood of the dragon8 bright!

Slim waisted, languorous, sleepy eyed,

With charms which promise all love

And the tire which attires thy tiara’d brow

Is a night of woe on a morn’s glad light.

The fair young girl came down from the estrade and said to me, “Welcome and well come and good cheer to my sister, the dearly beloved, the illustrious, and a thousand greetings!” Then she recited these couplets:—

“An but the house could know who cometh ‘twould rejoice,

And kiss the very dust whereon thy foot was placed

And with the tongue of circumstance the walls would say,

“Welcome and hail to one with generous gifts engraced!”

Then sat she down and said to me, “O my sister, I have a brother who hath had sight of thee at sundry wedding feasts and festive seasons: he is a youth handsomer than I, and he hath fallen desperately in love with thee, for that bounteous Destiny hath garnered in thee all beauty and perfection; and he hath given silver to this old woman that she might visit thee; and she hath contrived on this wise to foregather us twain. He hath heard that thou art one of the nobles of thy tribe nor is he aught less in his; and, being desirous to ally his lot with thy lot, he hath practiced this device to bring me in company with thee; for he is fain to marry thee after the ordinance of Allah and his Apostle; and in what is lawful and right there is no shame.” When I heard these words and saw myself fairly entrapped in the house, I said, “Hearing is consenting.” She was delighted at this and clapped her hands;9 whereupon a door opened and out of it came a young man blooming in the prime of life, exquisitely dressed, a model of beauty and loveliness and symmetry and perfect grace, with gentle winning manners and eyebrows like a bended bow and shaft on cord, and eyes which bewitched all hearts with sorcery lawful in the sight of the Lord; even as saith some rhymer describing the like of him:—

His face as the face of the young moon shines

And Fortune stamps him with pearls for signs.10

And Allah favour him who said:—

Blest be his beauty; blest the Lord’s decree

Who cast and shaped a thing so bright of blee:

All gifts of beauty he conjoins in one;

Lost in his love is all humanity;

For Beauty’s self inscribed on his brow

“I testify there be no Good but he!”11

When I looked at him my heart inclined to him and I loved him; and he sat by my side and talked with me a while, when the young lady again clapped her hands and behold, a side door opened and out of it came the Kazi with his four assessors as witnesses; and they saluted us and, sitting down, drew up and wrote out the marriage contract between me and the youth and retired. Then he turned to me and said, “Be our night blessed,” presently adding, “O my lady, I have a condition to lay on thee.” Quoth I, “O my lord, what is that?” Whereupon he arose and fetching a copy of the Holy Book presented it to me saying “Swear hereon thou wilt never look at any other than myself nor incline thy body or thy heart to him.” I swore readily enough to this and he joyed with exceeding joy and embraced me round the neck while love for him possessed my whole heart. Then they set the table12 before us and we ate and drank till we were satisfied, but I was dying for the coming of the night. And when night did come he led me to the bride chamber and slept with me on the bed and continued to kiss and embrace me till the morning — such a night I had never seen in my dreams. I lived with him a life of happiness and delight for a full month, at the end of which I asked his leave13 to go on foot to the bazar and buy me certain especial stuffs and he gave me permission. So I donned my mantilla and, taking with me the old woman and a slave-girl,14 I went to the khan of the silk-mercers, where I seated myself in the shop front of a young merchant whom the old woman recommended, saying to me, “This youth’s father died when he was a boy and left him great store of wealth: he hath by him a mighty fine15 stock of goods and thou wilt find what thou seekest with him, for none in the bazar hath better stuffs than he. Then she said to him, “Show this lady the most costly stuffs thou hast by thee;” and he replied, “Hearken ing and obedience!” Then she whispered me, “Say a civil word to him!”; but I replied, “I am pledged to address no man save my lord. And as she began to sound his praise I said sharply to her, We want nought of thy sweet speeches; our wish is to buy of him whatsoever we need, and return home.” So he brought me all I sought and I offered him his money, but he refused to take it saying, “Let it be a gift offered to my guest this day!” Then quoth I to the old woman, “If he will not take the money, give him back his stuff.” “By Allah,” cried he, “not a thing will I take from thee: I sell it not for gold or for silver, but I give it all as a gift for a single kiss; a kiss more precious to me than everything the shop containeth.” Asked the old woman, “What will the kiss profit thee?”; and, turning to me, whispered, “O my daughter, thou hearest what this young fellow saith? What harm will it do thee if he get a kiss from thee and thou gettest what thou seekest at that price?” Replied I, “I take refuge with Allah from such action! Knowest thou not that I am bound by an oath?’’16 But she answered, “Now whist! just let him kiss thee and neither speak to him nor lean over him, so shalt thou keep thine oath and thy silver, and no harm whatever shall befal thee.” And she ceased not to persuade me and importune me and make light of the matter till evil entered into my mind and I put my head in the poke17 and, declaring I would ne’er consent, consented. So I veiled my eyes and held up the edge of my mantilla between me and the people passing and he put his mouth to my cheek under the veil. But while kissing me he bit me so hard a bite that it tore the flesh from my cheek,18 and blood flowed fast and faintness came over me. The old woman caught me in her arms and, when I came to myself, I found the shop shut up and her sorrowing over me and saying, “Thank Allah for averting what might have been worse!” Then she said to me, “Come, take heart and let us go home before the matter become public and thou be dishonoured. And when thou art safe inside the house feign sickness and lie down and cover thyself up; and I will bring thee powders and plasters to cure this bite withal, and thy wound will be healed at the latest in three days.” So after a while I arose and I was in extreme distress and terror came full upon me; but I went on little by little till I reached the house when I pleaded illness and lay me down. When it was night my husband came in to me and said, “What hath befallen thee, O my darling, in this excursion of thine?”; and I replied, “I am not well: my head acheth badly.” Then he lighted a candle and drew near me and looked hard at me and asked, “What is that wound I see on thy cheek and in the tenderest part too?” And I answered, When I went out to day with thy leave to buy stuffs, a camel laden with firewood jostled me and one of the pieces tore my veil and wounded my cheek as thou seest; for indeed the ways of this city are strait.” “To morrow,” cried he, “I will go complain to the Governor, so shall he gibbet every fuel seller in Baghdad.” “Allah upon thee,” said I, “burden not thy soul with such sin against any man. The fact is I was riding on an ass and it stumbled, throwing me to the ground; and my cheek lighted upon a stick or a bit of glass and got this wound.” “Then,” said he, “to morrow I will go up to Ja’afar the Barmaki and tell him the story, so shall he kill every donkey boy in Baghdad.” “Wouldst thou destroy all these men because of my wound,” said I, “when this which befel me was by decree of Allah and His destiny?” But he answered, “There is no help for it;” and, springing to his feet, plied me with words and pressed me till I was perplexed and frightened; and I stuttered and stammered and my speech waxed thick and I said, “This is a mere accident by decree of Allah.” Then, O Commander of the Faithful, he guessed my case and said, “Thou hast been false to thine oath.” He at once cried out with a loud cry, whereupon a door opened and in came seven black slaves whom he commanded to drag me from my bed and throw me down in the middle of the room. Furthermore, he ordered one of them to pinion my elbows and squat upon my head; and a second to sit upon my knees and secure my feet; and drawing his sword he gave it to a third and said, “Strike her, O Sa’ad, and cut her in twain and let each one take half and cast it into the Tigris19 that the fish may eat her; for such is the retribution due to those who violate their vows and are unfaithful to their love.” And he redoubled in wrath and recited these couplets:—

“An there be one who shares with me her love,

I’d strangle Love tho’ life by Love were slain

Saying, O Soul, Death were the nobler choice,

For ill is Love when shared ‘twixt partners twain.”

Then he repeated to the slave, “Smite her, O Sa’ad!” And when the slave who was sitting upon me made sure of the command he bent down to me and said, “O my mistress, repeat the profession of Faith and bethink thee if there be any thing thou wouldst have done; for verily this is the last hour of thy life.” “O good slave,” said I, “wait but a little while and get off my head that I may charge thee with my last injunctions.” Then I raised my head and saw the state I was in, how I had fallen from high degree into lowest disgrace; and into death after life (and such life!) and how I had brought my punishment on myself by my own sin; where upon the tears streamed from mine eyes and I wept with exceed ing weeping. But he looked on me with eyes of wrath, and began repeating:—

“Tell her who turneth from our love to work it injury sore,

And taketh her a fine new love the old love tossing o’er:

We cry enough o’ thee ere thou enough of us shalt cry!

What past between us cloth suffice and haply something more.”20

When I heard this, O Commander of the Faithful, I wept and looked at him and began repeating these couplets:—

“To severance you doom my love and all unmoved remain;

My tear sore lids you sleepless make and sleep while I complain:

You make firm friendship reign between mine eyes and insomny;

Yet can my heart forget you not, nor tears can I restrain:

You made me swear with many an oath my troth to hold for aye;

But when you reigned my bosom’s lord you wrought me traitor bane:

I loved you like a silly child who wots not what is Love;

Then spare the learner, let her not be by the master slain!

By Allah’s name I pray you write, when I am dead and gone,

Upon my tomb, This died of Love whose senses Love had ta’en:

Then haply one shall pass that way who fire of Love hath felt,

And treading on a lover’s heart with ruth and woe shall melt.”

When I ended my verses tears came again; but the poetry and the weeping only added fury to his fury, and he recited:—

“’Twas not satiety bade me leave the dearling of my soul,

But that she sinned a mortal sin which clips me in its clip:

She sought to let another share the love between us twain,

But my True Faith of Unity refuseth partnership.”21

When he ceased reciting I wept again and prayed his pardon and humbled myself before him and spoke him softly, saying to myself, “I will work on him with words; so haply he will refrain from slaying me, even though he take all I have.” So I complained of my sufferings and began to repeat these couplets:—

“Now, by thy life and wert thou just my life thou hadst not ta’en,

But who can break the severance law which parteth lovers twain!

Thou loadest me with heavy weight of longing love, when I

Can hardly bear my chemisette for weakness and for pain:

I marvel not to see my life and soul in ruin lain:

I marvel much to see my frame such severance pangs sustain.”

When I ended my verse I wept again; and he looked at me and reviled me in abusive language,22 repeating these couplets:—

“Thou west all taken up with love of other man, not me;

’Twas thine to show me severance face, ‘’twas only mine to see:

I’ll leave thee for that first thou west of me to take thy leave

And patient bear that parting blow thou borest so patiently:

E’en as thou soughtest other love, so other love I’ll seek,

And make the crime of murdering love thine own atrocity.”

When he had ended his verses he again cried out to the slave, “Cut her in half and free us from her, for we have no profit of her. So the slave drew near me, O Commander of the Faithful and I ceased bandying verses and made sure of death and, despairing of life, committed my affairs to Almighty Allah, when behold, the old woman rushed in and threw herself at my husband’s feet and kissed them and wept and said, “O my son, by the rights of my fosterage and by my long service to thee, I conjure thee pardon this young lady, for indeed she hath done nothing deserving such doom. Thou art a very young man and I fear lest her death be laid at thy door; for it is said:— Whoso slayeth shall be slain. As for this wanton (since thou deemest her such) drive her out from thy doors, from thy love and from thy heart.” And she ceased not to weep and importune him till he relented and said, ‘I pardon her, but needs must I set on her my mark which shall show upon her all my life.” Then he bade the slaves drag me along the ground and lay me out at full length, after stripping me of all my clothes;23 and when the slaves had so sat upon me that I could not move, he fetched in a rod of quince tree and came down with it upon my body, and continued beating me on the back and sides till I lost consciousness from excess of pain, and I despaired of life. Then he commanded the slaves to take me away as soon as it was dark, together with the old woman to show them the way and throw me upon the floor of the house wherein I dwelt before my marriage. They did their lord’s bidding and cast me down in my old home and went their ways. I did not revive from my swoon till dawn appeared, when I applied myself to the dressing of my wounds with ointments and other medicaments; and I medicined myself, but my sides and ribs still showed signs of the rod as thou hast seen. I lay in weakly case and confined to my bed for four months before I was able to rise and health returned to me. At the end of that time I went to the house where all this had happened and found it a ruin; the street had been pulled down endlong and rubbish heaps rose where the building erst was; nor could I learn how this had come about. Then I betook myself to this my sister on my father’s side and found her with these two black bitches. I saluted her and told her what had betided me and the whole of my story and she said, “O my sister, who is safe from the despite of Time and secure? Thanks be to Allah who has brought thee off safely;” and she began to say:—

“Such is the World, so bear a patient heart

When riches leave thee and when friends depart!”

Then she told me her own story, and what had happened to her with her two sisters and how matters had ended; so we abode together and the subject of marriage was never on our tongues for all these years. After a while we were joined by our other sister, the procuratrix, who goeth out every morning and buyeth all we require for the day and night; and we continued in such condition till this last night. In the morning our sister went out, as usual, to make her market and then befel us what befel from bringing the Porter into the house and admitting these three Kalandar men., We entreated them kindly and honourably and a quarter of the night had not passed ere three grave and respectable merchants from Mosul joined us and told us their adventures. We sat talking with them but on one condition which they violated, whereupon we treated them as sorted with their breach of promise, and made them repeat the account they had given of themselves. They did our bidding and we forgave their offence; so they departed from us and this morning we were unexpectedly summoned to thy presence. And such is our story! The Caliph wondered at her words and bade the tale be recorded and chronicled and laid up in his muniment-chambers. — And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

1 i.e. Settled by the Koran.

2 The uglier the old woman the better procuress she is supposed to make. See the Santa Verdiana in Boccaccio v., 10. In Arab. “Ajuz” (old woman) is highly insulting and if addressed to an Egyptian, whatever be her age she will turn fiercely and resent it. The polite term is Shaybah (Pilgrimage hi., 200).

3 The four ages of woman, considered after Demosthenes in her three-fold character, prostitute for pleasure, concubine for service and wife for breeding.

4 Arab. “Jilá” (the Hindostani Julwa) = the displaying of the bride before the bridegroom for the first time, in different dresses, to the number of seven which are often borrowed for the occasion. The happy man must pay a fee called “the tax of face-unveiling” before he can see her features. Amongst Syrian Christians he sometimes tries to lift the veil by a sharp movement of the sword which is parried by the women present, and the blade remains entangled in the cloth. At last he succeeds’ the bride sinks to the ground covering her face with her hands and the robes of her friends: presently she is raised up, her veil is readjusted and her face is left bare.

5 Arab. “Ishá”= the first watch of the night, twilight, supper-time, supper. Moslems have borrowed the four watches of the Romans from 6 (a.m. or p.m.) to 6, and ignore the three original watches of the Jews, even, midnight and cockcrow (Sam. ii. 19, Judges vii. 19, and Exodus xiv. 24).

6 A popular Arab hyperbole.

7 Arab. “Shakáik al-Nu’uman,” lit. the fissures of Nu’uman, the beautiful anemone, which a tyrannical King of Hirah, Nu’uman Al–Munzir, a contemporary of Mohammed, attempted to monopolize.

8 Arab. “Andam”=here the gum called dragon’s blood; in other places the dye-wood known as brazil.

9 I need hardly say that in the East, where bells are unused, clapping the hands summons the servants. In India men cry “Quy hye” (Koi hái?) and in Brazil whistle “Pst!” after the fashion of Spain and Portugal.

10 The moles are here compared with pearls; a simile by no means common or appropriate.

11 A parody on the testification of Allah’s Unity.

12 Arab. “Simát” (prop. “Sumát”); the “dinner-table,” composed of a round wooden stool supporting a large metal tray, the two being called “Sufrah” (or “Simat”): thus “Sufrah házirah!” means dinner is on the table. After the meal they are at once removed.

13 In the text “Dastúr,” the Persian word before noticed; “Izn” would be the proper Arabic equivalent.

14 In the Moslem East a young woman, single or married, is not allowed to appear alone in the streets; and the police have a right to arrest delinquents. As a preventive of intrigues the precaution is excellent. During the Crimean war hundreds of officers, English, French and Italian, became familiar with Constantinople; and not a few flattered themselves on their success with Turkish women. I do not believe that a single bona fide case occurred: the “conquests” were all Greeks, Wallachians, Armenians or Jewesses.

15 Arab. “Azím”: translators do not seem to know that this word in The Nights often bears its Egyptian and slang sense, somewhat equivalent to our “deuced” or “mighty” or “awfully fine.”

16 This is a very serious thing amongst Moslems and scrupulous men often make great sacrifices to avoid taking an oath.

17 We should say “into the noose.”

18 The man had fallen in love with her and determined to mark her so that she might be his.

19 Arab. “Dajlah,” in which we find the Heb. Hid-dekel.

20 Such an execution would be contrary to Moslem law: but people would look leniently upon the peccadillo of beheading or sacking a faithless wife. Moreover the youth was of the blood royal and A quoi bon être prince? as was said by a boy of viceroyal family in Egypt to his tutor who reproached him for unnecessarily shooting down a poor old man.

21 Arab. “Shirk,” partnership, evening or associating gods with God; polytheism: especially levelled at the Hindu triadism, Guebre dualism and Christian Trinitarianism.

22 Arab. “Shatm”— abuse, generally couched in foulest language with especial reference to the privy parts of female relatives.

23 When a woman is bastinadoed in the East they leave her some portion of dress and pour over her sundry buckets of water for a delicate consideration. When the hands are beaten they are passed through holes in the curtain separating the sufferer from mankind, and made fast to a “falakah” or pole.

When it was the Nineteenth Night,

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Caliph commanded this story and those of the sister and the Kalandars to be recorded in the archives and be set in the royal muniment-chambers. Then he asked the eldest lady, the mistress of the house, “Knowest thou the whereabouts of the Ifritah who spelled thy sisters?”; and she answered, “O Commander of the Faithful, she gave me a ringlet of her hair saying:— Whenas thou wouldest see me, burn a couple of these hairs and I will be with thee forthright, even though I were beyond Caucasus-mountain.” Quoth the Caliph, “Bring me hither the hair.” So she brought it and he threw the whole lock upon the fire As soon as the odour of the burning hair dispread itself, the palace shook and trembled, and all present heard a rumbling and rolling of thunder and a noise as of wings and lo! the Jinniyah who had been a serpent stood in the Caliph’s presence. Now she was a Moslemah, so she saluted him and said, “Peace be with thee O Vicar1 of Allah;” whereto he replied, “And with thee also be peace and the mercy of Allah and His blessing.” Then she continued, “Know that this damsel sowed for me the seed of kindness, wherefor I cannot enough requite her, in that she delivered me from death and destroyed mine enemy. Now I had seen how her sisters dealt with her and felt myself bound to avenge her on them. At first I was minded to slay them, but I feared it would be grievous to her, so I transformed them to bitches; but if thou desire their release, O Commander of the Faithful, I will release them to pleasure thee and her for I am of the Moslems.” Quoth the Caliph, “Release them and after we will look into the affair of the beaten lady and consider her case carefully; and if the truth of her story be evidenced I will exact retaliation2 from him who wronged her.” Said the Ifritah, “O Commander of the Faithful, I will forthwith release them and will discover to thee the man who did that deed by this lady and wronged her and took her property, and he is the nearest of all men to thee!” So saying she took a cup of water and muttered a spell over it and uttered words there was no understanding; then she sprinkled some of the water over the faces of the two bitches, saying, “Return to your former human shape!” whereupon they were restored to their natural forms and fell to praising their Creator. Then said the Ifritah, “O Commander of the Faithful, of a truth he who scourged this lady with rods is thy son Al–Amin brother of Al–Maamun;3 for he had heard of her beauty and love liness and he played a lover’s stratagem with her and married her according to the law and committed the crime (such as it is) of scourging her. Yet indeed he is not to be blamed for beating her, for he laid a condition on her and swore her by a solemn oath not to do a certain thing; however, she was false to her vow and he was minded to put her to death, but he feared Almighty Allah and contented himself with scourging her, as thou hast seen, and with sending her back to her own place. Such is the story of the second lady and the Lord knoweth all.” When the Caliph heard these words of the Ifritah, and knew who had beaten the damsel, he marvelled with mighty marvel and said, “Praise be to Allah, the Most High, the Almighty, who hath shown his exceeding mercy towards me, enabling me to deliver these two damsels from sorcery and torture, and vouchsafing to let me know the secret of this lady’s history! And now by Allah, we will do a deed which shall be recorded of us after we are no more.” Then he summoned his son Al–Amin and questioned him of the story of the second lady, the portress; and he told it in the face of truth; whereupon the Caliph bade call into presence the Kazis and their witnesses and the three Kalandars and the first lady with her sisters german who had been ensorcelled; and he married the three to the three Kalandars whom he knew to be princes and sons of Kings and he appointed them chamberlains about his person, assigning to them stipends and allowances and all that they required, and lodging them in his palace at Baghdad. He returned the beaten lady to his son, Al–Amin, renewing the marriage contract between them and gave her great wealth and bade rebuild the house fairer than it was before. As for himself he took to wife the procuratrix and lay with her that night: and next day he set apart for her an apartment in his Serraglio, with handmaidens for her service and a fixed daily allowance And the people marvelled at their Caliph’s generosity and natural beneficence and princely widsom; nor did he forget to send all these histories to be recorded in his annals. When Shahrazad ceased speaking Dunyazad exclaimed, “O my own sister, by Allah in very sooth this is a right pleasant tale and a delectable; never was heard the like of it, but prithee tell me now another story to while away what yet remaineth of the waking hours of this our night.” She replied, “With love and gladness if the King give me leave;” and he said, “Tell thy tale and tell it quickly.” So she began, in these words,

1 Arab. “Khalifah,” Caliph. The word is also used for the successor of a Santon or holy man.

2 Arab. “Sár,” here the Koranic word for carrying out the venerable and undying lex talionis the original basis of all criminal jurisprudence. Its main fault is that justice repeats the offence.

3 Both these sons of Harun became Caliphs, as we shall see in The Nights.

The Tale of the Three Apples

They relate, O King of the age and lord of the time and of these days, that the Caliph Harun al-Rashid summoned his Wazir Ja’afar one night and said to him, ‘I desire to go down into the city and question the common folk concerning the conduct of those charged with its governance; and those of whom they complain we will depose from office and those whom they commend we will promote.” Quoth Ja’afar, “Hearkening and obedience!” So the Caliph went down with Ja’afar and Eunuch Masrur to the town and walked about the streets and markets and, as they were threading a narrow alley, they came upon a very old man with a fishing-net and crate to carry small fish on his head, and in his hand a staff; and, as he walked at a leisurely pace, he repeated these lines:—

“They say me:— Thou shinest a light to mankind

With thy lore as the night which the Moon doth uplight!

I answer, “A truce to your jests and your gibes;

Without luck what is learning? — a poor-devil wight!

If they take me to pawn with my lore in my pouch,

With my volumes to read and my ink-case to write,

For one day’s provision they never could pledge me;

As likely on Doomsday to draw bill at sight:”

How poorly, indeed, doth it fare wi’ the poor,

With his pauper existence and beggarly plight:

In summer he faileth provision to find;

In winter the fire-pot’s his only delight:

The street-dogs with bite and with bark to him rise,

And each losel receives him with bark and with bite:

If he lift up his voice and complain of his wrong,

None pities or heeds him, however he’s right;

And when sorrows and evils like these he must brave

His happiest homestead were down in the grave.”

When the Caliph heard his verses he said to Ja’afar, “See this poor man and note his verses, for surely they point to his necessities.” Then he accosted him and asked, “O Shaykh, what be thine occupation?” and the poor man answered, “O my lord, I am a fisherman with a family to keep and I have been out between mid-day and this time; and not a thing hath Allah made my portion wherewithal to feed my family. I cannot even pawn myself to buy them a supper and I hate and disgust my life and I hanker after death.” Quoth the Caliph, “Say me, wilt thou return with us to Tigris’ bank and cast thy net on my luck, and whatsoever turneth up I will buy of thee for an hundred gold pieces?” The man rejoiced when he heard these words and said, “On my head be it! I will go back with you;” and, returning with them river-wards, made a cast and waited a while; then he hauled in the rope and dragged the net ashore and there appeared in it a chest padlocked and heavy. The Caliph examined it and lifted it finding it weighty; so he gave the fisherman two hundred dinars and sent him about his business; whilst Masrur, aided by the Caliph, carried the chest to the palace and set it down and lighted the candles. Ja’afar and Masrur then broke it open and found therein a basket of palm-leaves corded with red worsted. This they cut open and saw within it a piece of carpet which they lifted out, and under it was a woman’s mantilla folded in four, which they pulled out; and at the bottom of the chest they came upon a young lady, fair as a silver ingot, slain and cut into nineteen pieces. When the Caliph looked upon her he cried, “Alas!” and tears ran down his cheeks and turning to Ja’afar he said, “O dog of Wazirs, 1 shall folk be murdered in our reign and be cast into the river to be a burden and a responsibility for us on the Day of Doom? By Allah, we must avenge this woman on her murderer and he shall be made die the worst of deaths!” And presently he added, “ Now, as surely as we are descended from the Sons of Abbas, 2 if thou bring us not him who slew her, that we do her justice on him, I will hang thee at the gate of my palace, thee and forty of thy kith and kin by thy side.” And the: Caliph was wroth with exceeding rage. Quoth Ja’afar, “Grant me three days’ delay;” and quoth the Caliph, “We grant thee this.” So Ja’afar went out from before him and returned to his own house, full of sorrow and saying to himself, “How shall I find him who murdered this damsel, that I may bring him before the Caliph? If I bring other than the murderer, it will be laid to my charge by the Lord: in very sooth I wot not what to do.” He kept his house three days and on the fourth day the Caliph sent one of the Chamberlains for him and, as he came into the presence, asked him, “Where is the murderer of the damsel?” to which answered Ja’afar, “O Commander of the Faithful, am I inspector of “ murdered folk that I should ken who killed her?” The Caliph was furious at his answer and bade hang him before the palace-gate and commanded that a crier cry through the streets of Baghdad, “Whoso would see the hanging of Ja’afar, the Barmaki, Wazir of the Caliph, with forty of the Barmecides, 3 his cousins and kinsmen, before the palace-gate, let him come and let him look!” The people flocked out from all the quarters of the city to witness the execution of Ja’afar and his kinsmen, not knowing the cause. Then they set up the gallows and made Ja’afar and the others stand underneath in readiness for execution, but whilst every eye was looking for the Caliph’s signal, and the crowd wept for Ja’afar and his cousins of the Barmecides, lo and behold! a young man fair of face and neat of dress and of favour like the moon raining light, with eyes black and bright, and brow flower-white, and cheeks red as rose and young down where the beard grows, and a mole like a grain of ambergris, pushed his way through the people till he stood immediately before the Wazir and said to him, “Safety to thee from this strait, O Prince of the Emirs and Asylum of the poor! I am the man who slew the woman ye found in the chest, so hang me for her and do her justice on me!” When Ja’afar heard the youth’s confession he rejoiced at his own deliverance. but grieved and sorrowed for the fair youth; and whilst they were yet talking behold, another man well stricken in years pressed forwards through the people and thrust his way amid the populace till he came to Ja’afar and the youth, whom he saluted saying, “Ho thou the Wazir and Prince sans-peer! believe not the words of this youth. Of a surety none murdered the damsel but I; take her wreak on me this moment; for, an thou do not thus, I will require it of thee before Almighty Allah.” Then quoth the young man, “O Wazir, this is an old man in his dotage who wotteth not whatso he saith ever, and I am he who murdered her, so do thou avenge her on me!” Quoth the old man, “O my son, thou art young and desirest the joys of the world and I am old and weary and surfeited with the world: I will offer my life as a ransom for thee and for the Wazir and his cousins. No one murdered the damsel but I, so Allah upon thee, make haste to hang me, for no life is left in me now that hers is gone.” The Wazir marvelled much at all this strangeness and, taking the young man and the old man, carried them before the Caliph, where, after kissing the ground seven times between his hands, he said, “O Commander of the Faithful, I bring thee the murderer of the damsel!” “Where is he?” asked the Caliph and Ja’afar answered, “This young man saith, I am the murderer, and this old man giving him the lie saith, I am the murderer, and behold, here are the twain standing before thee.” The Caliph looked at the old man and the young man and asked, “Which of you killed the girl?” The young man replied, “No one slew her save I;” and the old man answered, “Indeed none killed her but myself.” Then said the Caliph to Ja’afar, “Take the twain and hang them both;” but Ja’afar rejoined, “Since one of them was the murderer, to hang the other were mere injustice.”4 “By Him who raised the firmament and dispread the earth like a carpet,” cried the youth, “I am he who slew the damsel;” and he went on to describe the manner of her murder and the basket, the mantilla and the bit of carpet, in fact all that the Caliph had found upon her. So the Caliph was certified that the young man was the murderer; whereat he wondered and asked him, ‘What was the cause of thy wrongfully doing this damsel to die and what made thee confess the murder without the bastinado, and what brought thee here to yield up thy life, and what made thee say Do her wreak upon me?” The youth answered, “Know, O Commander of the Faithful, that this woman was my wife and the mother of my children; also my first cousin and the daughter of my paternal uncle, this old man who is my father’s own brother. When I married her she was a maid 5 and Allah blessed me with three male children by her; she loved me and served me and I saw no evil in her, for I also loved her with fondest love. Now on the first day of this month she fell ill with grievous sickness and I fetched in physicians to her; but recovery came to her little by little. and, when I wished her to go to the Hammam. bath, she said, “There is a something I long for before I go to the bath and I long for it with an exceeding longing.” To hear is to comply,” said I. “And what is it?” Quoth she, “I have a queasy craving for an apple, to smell it and bite a bit of it.” I replied, “Hadst thou a thousand longings I would try to satisfy them!” So I went on the instant into the city and sought for apples but could find none; yet, had they cost a gold piece each, would I have bought them. I was vexed at this and went home and said, “O daughter of my uncle. by Allah I can find none!” She was distressed, being yet very weakly, and her weakness in. creased greatly on her that night and I felt anxious and alarmed on her account. As soon as morning dawned I went out again and made the round of the gardens, one by one, but found no apples anywhere. At last there met me an old gardener. of whom I asked about them and he answered, “O my son, this fruit is a rarity with us and is not now to be found save in the garden of the Commander of the Faithful at Bassorah, where the gardener keepeth it for the Caliph’s eating.” I returned to my house troubled by my ill-success; and my love for my wife and my affection moved me to undertake the journey. So I gat me ready and set out and travelled fifteen days and nights, going and coming, and brought her three apples which I bought from the gardener for three dinars. But when I went in to my wife and set them before her, she took no pleasure in them and let them lie by her side; for her weakness and fever had increased on her and her malady lasted without abating ten days, after which time she began to recover health. So I left my house and be. taking me to my shop sat there buying and selling; and about midday behold, a great ugly black slave, long as a lance and broad as a bench, passed by my shop holding in hand one of the three apples wherewith he was playing. Quoth I, “O my good slave, tell me whence thou tookest that apple, that I may get the like of it?” He laughed and answered, “I got it from my mistress, for I had been absent and on my return I found her lying ill with three apples by her side, and she said to me, ‘My horned wittol of a husband made a journey for them to Bassorah and bought them for three dinars.’ So I ate and drank with her and took this one from her.” 6 When I heard such words from the slave, O Commander of the Faithful, the world grew black before my face, and I arose and locked up my shop and went home beside myself for excess of rage. I looked for the apples and finding only two of the three asked my wife, “O my cousin, where is the third apple?”; and raising her head languidly she answered, “I wet not, O son of my uncle, where ’tis gone!” This convinced me that the slave had spoken the truth, so I took a knife and coming behind her got upon her breast without a word said and cut her throat. Then I hewed off her head and her limbs in pieces and, wrapping her in her mantilla and a rag of carpet, hurriedly sewed up the whole which I set in a chest and, locking it tight, loaded it on my he-mule and threw it into the Tigris with my own hands. So Allah upon thee, O Commander of the Faithful, make haste to hang me, as I fear lest she appeal for vengeance on Resurrection Day. For, when I had thrown her into the river and none knew aught of it, as I went back home I found my eldest son crying and yet he knew naught of what I had done with his mother. I asked him, “What hath made thee weep, my boy?” and he answered, “I took one of the three apples which were by my mammy and went down into the lane to play with my brethren when behold, a big long black slave snatched it from my hand and said. ‘Whence hadst thou this?’ Quoth I, ‘My father travelled far for it, and brought it from Bassorah for my mother who was ill and two other apples for which he paid three ducats.’ He took no heed of my words and I asked for the apple a second and a third time, but he cuffed me and kicked me and went off with it. I was afraid lest my mother should swinge me on account of the apple, so for fear of her I went with my brother outside the city and stayed there till evening closed in upon us; and indeed I am in fear of her; and now by Allah, O my father, say nothing to her of this or it may add to her ailment!” When I heard what-my child said I knew that the slave was he who had foully slandered my wife, the daughter of my uncle, and was certified that I had slain her wrong. fully. So I wept with exceeding weeping and presently this old man, my paternal uncle and her father, came in; and I told him what had happened and he sat down by my side and wept and we ceased not weeping till midnight. We have kept up mourning for her these last five days and we lamented her in the deepest sorrow for that she was unjustly done to die. This came from the gratuitous lying of the slave, the blackamoor, and this was the manner of my killing her; so I conjure thee, by the honour of thine ancestors, make haste to kill me and do her justice upon me, as there is no living for me after her!” The Caliph marvelled at his words and said, “By Allah, the young man is excusable: I will hang none but the accursed slave and I will do a deed which shall comfort the ill-at-ease and suffering, and which shall please the All-glorious King.”— And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say,

1 “Dog” and “hog” are still highly popular terms of abuse. The Rabbis will not defile their lips with “pig;” but say “Dabhar akhir”=“another thing.”

2 The “hero eponymus” of the Abbaside dynasty, Abbas having been the brother of Abdullah the father of Mohammed. He is a famous personage in Al-Islam (D’Herbelot).

3 Europe translates the word “Barmecides. It is Persian from bar (up) and makidan (to suck). The vulgar legend is that Ja’afar, the first of the name, appeared before the Caliph Abd al-Malik with a ring poisoned for his own need; and that the Caliph, warned of it by the clapping of two stones which he wore ad hoc, charged the visitor with intention to murder him. He excused himself and in his speech occurred the Persian word “Barmakam,” which may mean “I shall sup it up,” or “I am a Barmak,” that is, a high priest among the Guebres. See D’Herbelot s.v.

4 Arab.“Zulm,” the deadliest of monarch’s sins. One of the sayings of Mohammed, popularly quoted, is, “Kingdom endureth with Kufr or infidelity (i. e. without accepting Al-Islam) but endureth not with Zulm or injustice.” Hence the good Moslem will not complain of the rule of Kafirs or Unbelievers, like the English, so long as they rule him righteously and according to his own law.]

5 All this aggravates his crime: had she been a widow she would not have had upon him “the claims of maidenhead,” the premio della verginita of Boccaccio, x. 10.

6 It is supposed that slaves cannot help telling these fatal lies. Arab story-books are full of ancient and modern instances and some have become “Joe Millers.” Moreover it is held unworthy of a free-born man to take over-notice of these servile villanies; hence the scoundrel in the story escapes unpunished. I have already noticed the predilection of debauched women for these “skunks of the human race;” and the young man in the text evidently suspected that his wife had passed herself this “little caprice.” The excuse which the Caliph would find for him is the pundonor shown in killing one he loved so fondly.

When it was the Twentieth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Caliph swore he would hang none but the slave, for the youth was excusable. Then he turned to Ja’afar and said to him, “Bring before me this accursed slave who was the sole cause of this calamity; and, if thou bring him not before me within three days, thou shalt be slain in his stead.” So Ja’afar fared forth weeping and saying. “Two deaths have already beset me, nor shall the crock come of safe from every shock.’ 1 In this matter craft and cunning are of no avail; but He who preserved my life the first time can preserve it a second time. By Allah, I will not leave my house during the three days of life which remain to me and let the Truth (whose perfection be praised!) do e’en as He will.” So he kept his house three days, and on the fourth day he summoned the Kazis and legal witnesses and made his last will and testament, and took leave of his children weeping. Presently in came a messenger from the Caliph and said to him, “The Commander of the Faithful is in the most violent rage that can be, and he sendeth to seek thee and he sweareth that the day shall certainly not pass without thy being hanged unless the slave be forth. coming.” When Ja’afar heard this he wept, and his children and slaves and all who were in the house wept with him. After he had bidden adieu to everybody except his youngest daughter, he proceeded to farewell her; for he loved this wee one, who was a beautiful child, more than all his other children; and he pressed her to his breast and kissed her and wept bitterly at parting from her; when he felt something round inside the bosom of her dress and asked her, “O my little maid, what is in thy bosom pocket?”; “O my father,” she replied, “it is an apple with the name of our Lord the Caliph written upon it. Rayhán our slave brought it to me four days ago and would not let me have it till I gave him two dinars for it.” When Ja’afar heard speak of the slave and the apple, he was glad and put his hand into his child’s pocket 2 and drew out the apple and knew it and rejoiced saying, “O ready Dispeller of trouble “ 3 Then he bade them bring the slave and said to him, “Fie upon thee, Rayhan! whence haddest thou this apple?” “By Allah, O my master,” he replied, “though a lie may get a man once off, yet may truth get him off, and well off, again and again. I did not steal this apple from thy palace nor from the gardens of the Commander of the Faithful. The fact is that five days ago, as I was walking along one of the alleys of this city, I saw some little ones at play and this apple in hand of one of them. So I snatched it from him and beat him and he cried and said, ‘O youth this apple is my mother’s and she is ill. She told my father how she longed for an apple, so he travelled to Bassorah and bought her three apples for three gold pieces, and I took one of them to play withal.’ He wept again, but I paid no heed to what he said and carried it off and brought it here, and my little lady bought it of me for two dinars of gold. And this is the whole story.” When Ja’afar heard his words he marvelled that the murder of the damsel and all this misery should have been caused by his slave; he grieved for the relation of the slave to himself, while rejoicing over his own deliverance, and he repeated these lines:—

“If ill betide thee through thy slave,

Make him forthright thy sacrifice:

A many serviles thou shalt find,

But life comes once and never twice.”

Then he took the slave’s hand and, leading him to the Caliph, related the story from first to last and the Caliph marvelled with extreme astonishment, and laughed till he fell on his back and ordered that the story be recorded and be made public amongst the people. But Ja’afar said, “Marvel not, O Commander of the Faithful, at this adventure, for it is not more wondrous than the History of the Wazir Núr al-Dín Ali of Egypt and his brother Shams al-Dín Mohammed. — Quoth the Caliph, “Out with it; but what can be stranger than this story?” And Ja’afar answered, “O Commander of the Faithful, I will not tell it thee, save on condition that thou pardon my slave;” and the Caliph rejoined, “If it be indeed more wondrous than that of the three apples, I grant thee his blood, and if not I will surely slay thy slave.” So Ja’afar began in these words the

1 The Arab equivalent of our pitcher and well.

2 i.e. Where the dress sits loosely about the bust.

3 He had trusted in Allah and his trust was justified.

Tale of Nur Al-Din and his Son.

Know, O Commander of the Faithful, that in times of yore the land of Egypt was ruled by a Sultan endowed with justice and generosity, one who loved the pious poor and companied with the Olema and learned men; and he had a Wazir, a wise and an experienced, well versed in affairs and in the art of government. This Minister, who was a very old man, had two sons, as they were two moons; never man saw the like of them for beauty and grace, the elder called Shams al-Din Mohammed and the younger Nur al-Din Ali; but the younger excelled the elder in seemliness and pleasing semblance, so that folk heard his fame in far countries and men flocked to Egypt for the purpose of seeing him. In course of time their father, the Wazir, died and was deeply regretted and mourned by the Sultan, who sent for his two sons and, investing them with dresses of honour, 1 said to them, “Let not your hearts be troubled, for ye shall stand in your father’s stead and be joint Ministers of Egypt.” At this they rejoiced and kissed the ground before him and performed the ceremonial mourning 2 for their father during a full month; after which time they entered upon the Wazirate, and the power passed into their hands as it had been in the hands of their father, each doing duty for a week at a time. They lived under the same roof and their word was one; and whenever the Sultan desired to travel they took it by turns to be in attendance on him. It fortuned one night that the Sultan purposed setting out on a journey next morning, and the elder, whose turn it was to accompany him, was sitting conversing with his brother and said to him, “O my brother, it is my wish that we both marry, I and thou, two sisters; and go in to our wives on one and the same night.” “Do, O my brother, as thou desirest,” the younger replied, “for right is thy recking and surely I will comply with thee in whatso thou sayest.” So they agreed upon this and quoth Shams al-Din, “If Allah decree that we marry two damsels and go in to them on the same night, and they shall conceive on their bridenights and bear children to us on the same day, and by Allah’s will they wife bear thee a son and my wife bear me a daughter, let us wed them either to other, for they will be cousins.” Quoth Nur al-Din, “O my brother, Shams al-Din, what dower 3 wilt thou require from my son for thy daughter?” Quoth Shams al-Din, “I will take three thousand dinars and three pleasure gardens and three farms; and it would not be seemly that the youth make contract for less than this.” When Nur al-Din heard such demand he said, “What manner of dower is this thou wouldst impose upon my son? Wottest thou not that we are brothers and both by Allah’s grace Wazirs and equal in office? It behoveth thee to offer thy daughter to my son without marriage settlement; or if one need be, it should represent a mere nominal value by way of show to the world: for thou knowest that the masculine is worthier than the feminine, and my son is a male and our memory will be preserved by him, not by thy daughter.” “But what,” said Shams al-Din, “is she to have?”; and Nur al-Din continued, “Through her we shall not be remembered among the Emirs of the earth; but I see thou wouldest do with me according to the saying:— An thou wouldst bluff off a buyer, ask him high price and higher; or as did a man who, they say, went to a friend and asked something of him being in necessity and was answered, ‘Bismallah, 4 in the name of Allah, I will do all what thou requirest but come to-morrow!’ Whereupon the other replied in this verse:—

‘When he who is asked a favour saith “To-morrow,”

The wise man wots ‘tis vain to beg or borrow.’”

Quoth Shams al-Din, “Basta! 5 I see thee fail in respect to me by making thy son of more account than my daughter; and ‘tis plain that thine understanding is of the meanest and that thou lackest manners. Thou remindest me of thy partnership in the Wazirate, when I admitted thee to share with me only in pity for thee, and not wishing to mortify thee; and that thou mightest help me as a manner of assistant. But since thou talkest on this wise, by Allah, I will never marry my daughter to thy son; no, not for her weight in gold!” When Nur al-Din heard his brother’s words he waxed wroth and said, “And I too, I will never, never marry my son to thy daughter; no, not to keep from my lips the cup of death.” Shams al-Din replied, “I would not accept him as a husband for her, and he is not worth a paring of her nail. Were I not about to travel I would make an example of thee; however when I return thou shalt see, and I will show thee, how I can assert my dignity and vindicate my honour. But Allah doeth whatso He willeth.”6 When Nur al-Din heard this speech from his brother, he was filled with fury and lost his wits for rage; but he hid what he felt and held his peace; and each of the brothers passed the night in a place far apart, wild with wrath against the other. As soon as morning dawned the Sultan fared forth in state and crossed over from Cairo 7 to Jizah 8 and made for the pyramids, accompanied by the Wazir Shams al-Din, whose turn of duty it was, whilst his brother Nur al-din, who passed the night in sore rage, rose with the light and prayed the dawn-prayer. Then he betook himself to his treasury and, taking a small pair of saddle-bags, filled them with gold; and he called to mind his brother’s threats and the contempt wherewith he had treated him, and he repeated these couplets:—

“Travel! and thou shalt find new friends for old ones left behind;

Toil! for the sweets of human life by toil and moil are found:

The stay-at-home no honour wins nor aught attains but want;

So leave thy place of birth 9 and wander all the world around!

I’ve seen, and very oft I’ve seen, how standing water stinks,

And only flowing sweetens it and trotting makes it sound:

And were the moon for ever full and ne’er to wax or wane,

Man would not strain his watchful eyes to see its gladsome round:

Except the lion leave his lair he ne’er would fell his game,

Except the arrow leave the bow ne’er had it reached its bound:

Gold-dust is dust the while it lies untravelled in the mine,

And aloes-wood mere fuel is upon its native ground:

And gold shall win his highest worth when from his goal ungoal’d;

And aloes sent to foreign parts grows costlier than gold.”

When he ended his verse he bade one of his pages saddle him his Nubian mare-mule with her padded selle. Now she was a dapple-grey, 10 with ears like reed-pens and legs like columns and a back high and strong as a dome builded on pillars; her saddle was of gold-cloth and her stirrups of Indian steel, and her housing of Ispahan velvet; she had trappings which would serve the Chosroes, and she was like a bride adorned for her wedding night. Moreover he bade lay on her back a piece of silk for a seat, and a prayer-carpet under which were his saddle-bags. When this was done he said to his pages and slaves, “I purpose going forth a-pleasuring outside the city on the road to Kalyub-town, 11 and I shall lie three nights abroad; so let none of you follow me, for there is something straiteneth my breast.” Then he mounted the mule in haste; and, taking with him some provaunt for the way, set out from Cairo and faced the open and uncultivated country lying around it. 12 About noontide he entered Bilbays-city, 13 where he dismounted and stayed awhile to rest himself and his mule and ate some of his victual. He bought at Bilbays all he wanted for himself and forage for his mule and then fared on the way of the waste. Towards night-fall he entered a town called Sa’adiyah 14 where he alighted and took out somewhat of his viaticum and ate; then he spread his strip of silk on the sand and set the saddle-bags under his head and slept in the open air; for he was still overcome with anger. When morning dawned he mounted and rode onward till he reached the Holy City, 15 Jerusalem, and thence he made Aleppo, where he dismounted at one of the caravanserais and abode three days to rest himself and the mule and to smell the air. 16 Then, being determined to travel afar and Allah having written safety in his fate, he set out again, wending without wotting whither he was going; and, having fallen in with certain couriers, he stinted not travelling till he had reached Bassorah-city albeit he knew not what the place was. It was dark night when he alighted at the Khan, so he spread out his prayer-carpet and took down the saddle-bags from the back of his mule and gave her with her furniture in charge of the door-keeper that he might walk her about. The man took her and did as he was bid. Now it so happened that the Wazir of Bassorah, a man shot in years, was sitting at the lattice-window of his palace opposite the Khan and he saw the porter walking the mule up and down. He was struck by her trappings of price and thought her a nice beast fit for the riding of Wazirs or even of royalties; and the more he looked the more was he perplexed till at last he said to one of his pages, “Bring hither yon door-keeper,” The page went and returned to the Wazir with the porter who kissed the ground between his hands, and the Minister asked him, “Who is the owner of yonder mule and what manner of man is he?”; and he answered, “O my lord, the owner of this mule is a comely young man of pleasant manners, withal grave and dignified, and doubtless one of the sons of the merchants.” When the Wazir heard the door-keeper’s words he arose forthright; and, mounting his horse, rode to the Khan 17 and went in to Nur al-Din who, seeing the minister making towards him, rose to his feet and advanced to meet him and saluted him. The Wazir welcomed him to Bassorah and dismounting, embraced him and made him sit down by his side and said, “O my son, whence comest thou and what dost thou seek?” “O my lord,” Nur al-Din replied, “I have come from Cairo-city of which my father was whilome Wazir; but he hath been removed to the grace of Allah;” and he informed him of all that had befallen him from beginning to end, adding, “I am resolved never to return home before I have seen all the cities and countries of the world.” When the Wazir heard this, he said to him, “O my son, hearken not to the voice of passion lest it cast thee into the pit; for indeed many regions be waste places and I fear for thee the turns of Time.” Then he let load the saddle-bags and the silk and prayer-carpets on the mule and carried Nur al-Din to his own house, where he lodged him in a pleasant place and entreated him honourably and made much of him, for he inclined to love him with exceeding love. After a while he said to him, “O my son, here am I left a man in years and have no male children, but Allah hath blessed me with a daughter who eventh thee in beauty; and I have rejected all her many suitors, men of rank and substance. But affection for thee hath entered into my heart; say me, then, wilt thou be to her a husband? If thou accept this, I will go up with thee to the Sultan of Bassorah 18 and will tell him that thou art my nephew, the son of my brother, and bring thee to be appointed Wazir in my place that I may keep the house for, by Allah, O my son, I am stricken in years and aweary.” When Nur al-Din heard the Wazir’s words, he bowed his head in modesty and said, “To hear is to obey!” At this the Wazir rejoiced and bade his servants prepare a feast and decorate the great assembly-hall, wherein they were wont to celebrate the marriages of Emirs and Grandees. Then he assembled his friends and the notables of the reign and the merchants of Bassorah and when all stood before him he said to them, “I had a brother who was Wazir in the land of Egypt, and Allah Almighty blessed him with two sons, whilst to me, as well ye wot, He hath given a daughter. My brother charged me to marry my daughter to one of his sons, whereto I assented; and, when my daughter was of age to marry, he sent me one of his sons, the young man now present, to whom I purpose marrying her, drawing up the contract and celebrating the night of unveiling with due ceremony; for he is nearer and dearer to me than a stranger and, after the wedding, if he please he shall abide with me, or if he desire to travel I will forward him and his wife to his father’s home.” Hereat one and all replied, “Right is thy recking;” and they all looked at the bridegroom and were pleased with him. So the Wazir sent for the Kazi and legal witnesses and they wrote out the marriage-contract, after which the slaves perfumed the guests with incense, 19 and served them with sherbet of sugar and sprinkled rose-water on them and all went their ways. Then the Wazir bade his servants take Nur al-Din to the Hammam-baths and sent him a suit of the best of his own especial raiment, and napkins and towelry and bowls and perfume-burners and all else that was required. After the bath, when he came out and donned the dress, he was even as the full moon on the fourteenth night; and he mounted his mule and stayed not till he reached the Wazir’s palace. There he dismounted and went in to the Minister and kissed his hands, and the Wazir bade him welcome. — And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

1 Arab. “Khila’ah” prop. What a man strips from his person: gen. An honorary gift. It is something more than the “robe of honour” of our chivalrous romances, as it includes a horse, a sword (often gold-hilted), a black turban (amongst the Abbasides) embroidered with gold, a violet-mantle, a waist-shawl and a gold neck-chain and shoe-buckles.

2 Arab. “Izá,” i.e. the visits of condolence and so forth which are long and terribly wearisome in the Moslem East.

3 Arab. “Mahr,” the money settled by the man before marriage on the woman and without which the contract is not valid. Usually half of it is paid down on the marriage-day and the other half when the husband dies or divorces his wife. But if she take a divorce she forfeits her right to it, and obscene fellows, especially Persians, often compel her to demand divorce by unnatural and preposterous use of her person.

4 Bismillah here means “Thou art welcome to it.”

5 Arab. “Bassak,” half Pers. (bas = enough) and — ak = thou; for thee. “Bas” sounds like our “buss” (to kiss) and there are sundry good old Anglo–Indian jokes of feminine mistakes on the subject.

6 This saving clause makes the threat worse. The scene between the two brothers is written with characteristic Arab humour; and it is true to nature. In England we have heard of a man who separated from his wife because he wished to dine at six and she preferred half-past six.

7 Arab. “Misr.” (vulg. Masr). The word, which comes of a very ancient house, was applied to the present capital about the time of its conquest by the Osmanli Turks A.H. 923 = 1517.

8 The Arab. “Jízah,” = skirt, edge; the modern village is the site of an ancient Egyptian city, as the “Ghizah inscription” proves (Brugsch, History of Egypt, ii. 415)

9 Arab. “Watan” literally meaning “birth-place” but also used for “patria, native country”; thus “Hubb al-Watan” = patriotism. The Turks pronounce it “Vatan,” which the French have turned it into Va-t’en!

10 Arab. “Zarzariyah” = the colour of a stare or starling (Zurzúr).

11 Now a Railway Station on the Alexandria–Cairo line.

12 Even as late as 1852, when I first saw Cairo, the city was girt by waste lands and the climate was excellent. Now cultivation comes up to the house walls; while the Mahmudiyah Canal, the planting the streets with avenues and over-watering have seriously injured it; those who want the air of former Cairo must go to Thebes. Gout, rheumatism and hydrophobia (before unknown) have become common of late years.

13 This is the popular pronunciation: Yakút calls it “Bilbís.”

14 An outlying village on the “Long Desert,” between Cairo and Palestine.

15 Arab. “Al–Kuds” = holiness. There are few cities which in our day have less claim to this title than Jerusalem; and, curious to say, the “Holy Land” shows Jews, Christians and Moslems all in their worst form. The only religion (if it can be called one) which produces men in Syria is the Druse. “Heiligen-landes Jüden” are proverbial and nothing can be meaner than the Christians while the Moslems are famed for treachery.

16 Arab. “Shamm al-hawá.” In vulgar parlance to “smell the air” is to take a walk, especially out of town. There is a peculiar Egyptian festival called “Shamm al-Nasím” (smelling the Zephyr) which begins on Easter–Monday (O.S.), thus corresponding with the Persian Nau-roz, vernal equinox and introducing the fifty days of “Khammasín” or “Mirísi” (hot desert winds). On awakening, the people smell and bathe their temples with vinegar in which an onion has been soaked and break their fast with a “fisikh” or dried “búri” = mullet from Lake Menzalah: the late Hekekiyan Bey had the fish-heads counted in one public garden and found 70,000. The rest of the day is spent out of doors “Gypsying,” and families greatly enjoy themselves on these occasions. For a longer description, see a paper by my excellent friend Yacoub Artin Pasha, in the Bulletin de l’Institut Égyptien, 2nd series, No. 4, Cairo, 1884. I have noticed the Mirísi (south-wester) and other winds in the Land of Midian, i., 23.

17 So in the days of the “Mameluke Beys” in Egypt a man of rank would not cross the street on foot.

18 Arab. Basrah. The city is now in decay and not to flourish again till the advent of the Euphrates Valley R.R., is a modern place, founded in A.H. 15, by the Caliph Omar upon the Aylah, a feeder of the Tigris. Here, according to Al–Haríri, the “whales and the lizards meet,” and, as the tide affects the river,

Its stream shows prodigy, ebbing and flowing.

In its far-famed market-place, Al–Marbad, poems used to be recited; and the city was famous for its mosques and Saint- shrines, fair women and school of Grammar which rivalled that of Kúfah. But already in Al–Hariri’s day (nat. A.H. 446 = A.D. 1030) Baghdad had drawn off much of its population.

19 This fumigation (Bukhúr) is still used. A little incense or perfumed wood is burnt upon an open censor (Mibkharah) of earthenware or metal, and passed round, each guest holding it for a few moments under his beard. In the Somali County, the very home of incense, both sexes fumigate the whole person after carnal intercourse. Lane (Mod. Egypt, chapt. viii) gives an illustration of the Mibkharah).

When it was the Twenty-first Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Wazir stood up to him and welcoming him said, “Arise and go in to thy wife this night, and on the morrow I will carry thee to the Sultan, and pray Allah bless thee with all manner of weal.” So Nur al-Din left him and went into his wife the Wazir’s daughter. Thus far concerning him, but as regards his eldest brother, Shams al-Din, he was absent with the Sultan a long time and when he returned from his journey he found not his brother; and he asked of his servants and slaves who answered, “On the day of thy departure with the Sultan, thy brother mounted his mule fully caparisoned as for state procession saying, ‘I am going towards Kalyub-town and I shall be absent one day or at most two days; for my breast is straitened, and let none of you follow me.’ Then he fared forth and from that time to this we have heard no tidings of him.” Shams al-Din was greatly troubled at the sudden disappearance of his brother and grieved with exceeding grief at the loss and said to himself, “This is only because I chided and upbraided him the night before my departure with the Sultan; haply his feelings were hurt and he fared forth a-travelling; but I must send after him.” Then he went in to the Sultan and acquainted him with what had happened and wrote letters and dispatches, which he sent by running footmen to his deputies in every province. But during the twenty days of his brother’s absence Nur al-Din had travelled far and had reached Bassorah; so after diligent search the messengers failed to come at any news of him and returned. Thereupon Shams al-Din despaired of finding his brother and said, “Indeed I went beyond all bounds in what I said to him with reference to the marriage of our children. Would that I had not done so! This all cometh of my lack of wit and want of caution.” Soon after this he sought in marriage the daughter of a Cairene merchant, 1 and drew up the marriage contract and went in to her. And it so chanced that, on the very same night when Shams al-Din went in to his wife, Nur al-Din also went in to his wife the daughter of the Wazir of Bassorah; this being in accordance with the will of Almighty Allah, that He might deal the decrees of Destiny to His creatures. Furthermore, it was as the two brothers had said; for their two wives became pregnant by them on the same night and both were brought to bed on the same day; the wife of Shams al-Din, Wazir of Egypt, of a daughter, never in Cairo was seen a fairer; and the wife of Nur al-Din of a son, none more beautiful was ever seen in his time, as one of the poets said concerning the like of him:—

That jetty hair, that glossy brow,

My slender-waisted youth, of thine,

Can darkness round creation throw,

Or make it brightly shine.

The dusky mole that faintly shows

Upon his cheek, ah! blame it not:

The tulip-flower never blows

Undarkened by its spot 2

And as another also said:—

His scent was musk and his cheek was rose;

His teeth are pearls and his lips drop wine;

His form is a brand and his hips a hill;

His hair is night and his face moon-shine.

They named the boy Badr al-Din Hasan and his grandfather, the Wazir of Bassorah, rejoiced in him and, on the seventh day after his birth, made entertainments and spread banquets which would befit the birth of Kings’ sons and heirs. Then he took Nur al-Din and went up with him to the Sultan, and his son-in-law, when he came before the presence of the King, kissed the ground between his hands and repeated these verses, for he was ready of speech, firm of sprite and good in heart as he was goodly in form:—

“The world’s best joys long be thy lot, my lord!

And last while darkness and the dawn o’erlap:

O thou who makest, when we greet thy gifts,

The world to dance and Time his palms to clap.” 3

Then the Sultan rose up to honour them, and thanking Nur al-Din for his fine compliment, asked the Wazir, “Who may be this young man?”; and the Minister answered, “This is my brother’s son,” and related his tale from first to last. Quoth the Sultan, “And how comes he to be thy nephew and we have never heard speak of him?” Quoth the Minister, “O our lord the Sultan, I had a brother who was Wazir in the land of Egypt and he died, leaving two sons, whereof the elder hath taken his father’s place and the younger, whom thou seest, came to me. I had sworn I would not marry my daughter to any but to him; so when he came I married him to her. 4 Now he is young and I am old; my hearing is dulled and my judgement is easily fooled; wherefore I would solicit our lord the Sultan 5 to set him in my stead, for he is my brother’s son and my daughter’s husband; and he is fit for the Wazirate, being a man of good counsel and ready contrivance.” The Sultan looked at Nur al-Din and liked him, so he stablished him in office as the Wazir had requested and formally appointed him, presenting him with a splendid dress of honour and a she-mule from his private stud; and assigning to him solde, stipends and supplies. Nur al-Din kissed the Sultan’s hand and went home, he and his father-in-law, joying with exceeding joy and saying, “All this followeth on the heels of the boy Hasan’s birth!” Next day he presented himself before the King and, kissing the ground, began repeating:—

“Grow thy weal and thy welfare day by day:

And thy luck prevail o’er the envier’s spite;

And ne’er cease thy days to be white as day,

And thy foeman’s day to be black as night!”

The Sultan bade him be seated on the Wazir’s seat, so he sat down and applied himself to the business of his office and went into the cases of the lieges and their suits, as is the wont of Ministers; while the Sultan watched him and wondered at his wit and good sense, judgement and insight. Wherefor he loved him and took him into intimacy. When the Divan was dismissed Nur al-Din returned to his house and related what had passed to his father-in-law who rejoiced. And thenceforward Nur al-Din ceased not so to administer the Wazirate that the Sultan would not be parted from him night or day; and increased his stipend and supplies until his means were ample and he became the owner of ships that made trading voyages at his command, as well as of Mamelukes and blackamoor slaves; and he laid out many estates and set up Persian wheels and planted gardens. When his son Hasan was four years of age, the old Wazir deceased and he made for his father-in-law a sumptuous funeral ceremony ere he was laid in the dust. Then he occupied himself with the education of this son and, when the boy waxed strong and came to the age of seven, he brought him a Fakih, a doctor of law and religion, to teach him in his own house and charged him to give him a good education and instruct him in politeness and manners. So the tutor made the boy read and retain all varieties of useful knowledge, after he had spent some years in learning the Koran by heart; 6 and he ceased not to grow in beauty and stature and symmetry, even as saith the poet:—

In his face-sky shines the fullest moon;

In his cheeks’ anemone glows the sun:

He so conquered Beauty that he hath won

All charms of humanity one by one.

The professor brought him up in his father’s palace teaching him reading, writing and cyphering, theology and belles lettres. His grandfather the old Wazir had bequeathed to him the whole of his property when he was but four years of age. Now during all the time of his earliest youth he had never left the house, till on a certain day his father, the Wazir Nur al-Din, clad him in his best clothes and, mounting him on a she-mule of the finest, went up with him to the Sultan. The King gazed at Badr al-Din Hasan and marvelled at his comeliness and loved him. As for the city- folk, when he first passed before them with his father, they marvelled at his exceeding beauty and sat down on the road expecting his return, that they might look their fill on his beauty and loveliness and symmetry and perfect grace; even as the poet said in these verses:—

As the sage watched the stars, the semblance clear Of a fair youth on ‘s scroll he saw appear. Those jetty locks Canopus o’er him threw, And tinged his temple curls a musky hue; Mars dyed his ruddy cheek; and from his eyes The Archer-star his glittering arrow flies; His wit from Hermes came; and Soha’s care, (The half-seen star that dimly haunts the Bear) Kept off all evil eyes that threaten and ensnare, The sage stood mazed to see such fortunes meet, And Luna kissed the earth beneath his feet. 7

And they blessed him aloud as he passed and called upon Almighty Allah to bless him. 8 The Sultan entreated the lad with especial favour and said to his father, “O Wazir, thou must needs bring him daily to my presence;” whereupon he replied, “I hear and I obey.” Then the Wazir returned home with his son and ceased not to carry him to court till he reached the age of twenty. At that time the Minister sickened and, sending for Badr al-Din Hasan, said to him, “Know, O my son, that the world of the Present is but a house of mortality, while that of the Future is a house of eternity. I wish, before I die, to bequeath thee certain charges and do thou take heed of what I say and incline thy heart to my words.” Then he gave him last instructions as to the properest way of dealing with his neighbours and the due management of his affairs; after which he called to mind his brother and his home and his native land and wept over his separation from those he had first loved. Then he wiped away his tears and, turning to his son, said to him, “Before I proceed, O my son, to my last charges and injunctions, know that I have a brother, and thou hast an uncle, Shams al-Din hight, the Wazir of Cairo, which whom I parted, leaving him against his will. Now take thee a sheet of paper and write upon it whatso I say to thee.” Badr al-Din took a fair leaf and set about doing his father’s bidding and he wrote thereon a full account of what had happened to his sire first and last; the dates of his arrival at Bassorah and of his foregathering with the Wazir; of his marriage, of his going in to the Minister’s daughter and of the birth of his son; brief, his life of forty years from the date of his dispute with his brother, adding the words, “And this is written at my dictation and may Almighty Allah be with him when I am gone!” Then he folded the paper and sealed it and said, “O Hasan, O my son, keep this paper with all care; for it will enable thee to stablish thine origin and rank and lineage and, if anything contrary befal thee, set out for Cairo and ask for thine uncle and show him this paper and say to him that I died a stranger far from mine own people and full of yearning to see him and them.” So Badr al-Din Hasan took the document and folded it; and, wrapping it up in a piece of waxed cloth of his skull-cap and wound his light turband 9 round it. And he fell to weeping over his father and at parting with him, and he but a boy. Then Nur al-Din lapsed into a swoon, the forerunner of death; but presently recovering himself he said, “O Hasan, O my son, I will now bequeath to thee five last behests. The first behest is, Be over-intimate with none, nor frequent any, nor be familiar with any; so shalt thou be safe from his mischief; 10 for security lieth in seclusion of thought and a certain retirement from the society of thy fellows; and I have heard it said by a poet:—

In this world there is none thou mayst count upon

To befriend thy case in the nick of need:

So live for thyself nursing hope of none

Such counsel I give thee: enow, take heed!

The second behest is, O my son: Deal harshly with none lest fortune with thee deal hardly; for the fortune of this world is one day with thee and another day against thee and all worldly goods are but a loan to be repaid. And I have heard a poet say:-


Take thought nor hast to win the thing thou wilt;

Have ruth on man for ruth thou may’st require:

No hand is there but Allah’s hand is higher;

No tyrant but shall rue worse tyrant’s ire!

The third behest is, Learn to be silent in society and let thine own faults distract thine attention from the faults of other men: for it is said:— In silence dwelleth safety, and thereon I have heard the lines that tell us:—

Reserve’s a jewel, Silence safety is;

Whenas thou speakest many a word withhold;

For an of Silence thou repent thee once,

Of speech thou shalt repent times manifold.

The fourth behest, O my son, is Beware of wine-bibbing, for wine is the head of all frowardness and a fine solvent of human wits. So shun, and again I say, shun mixing strong liquor; for I have heard a poet say 11:—

From wine 12 I turn and whoso wine-cups swill;

Becoming one of those who deem it ill:

Wine driveth man to miss salvation-way, 13

And opes the gateway wide to sins that kill.

The fifth behest, O my son, is Keep thy wealth and it will keep thee; guard thy money and it will guard thee; and waste not thy substance lest haply thou come to want and must fare a-begging from the meanest of mankind. Save thy dirhams and deem them the sovereignest salve for the wounds of the world. And here again I have heard that one of the poets said:—

When fails my wealth no friend will deign befriend:

When wealth abounds all friends their friendship tender:

How many friends lent aid my wealth to spend;

But friends to lack of wealth no friendship render.

On this wise Nur al-Din ceased not to counsel his son Badr al-Din Hasan till his hour came and, sighing one sobbing sigh, his life went forth. Then the voice of mourning and keening rose high in his house and the Sultan and all the grandees grieved for him and buried him; but his son ceased not lamenting his loss for two months, during which he never mounted horse, nor attended the Divan nor presented himself before the Sultan. At last the King, being wroth with him, stablished in his stead one of the Chamberlains and made him Wazir, giving orders to seize and set seals on all Nur al-Din’s houses and goods and domains. So the new Wazir went forth with a mighty posse of Chamberlains and people of the Divan, and watchmen and a host of idlers to do this and to seize Badr al-Din Hasan and carry him before the King, who would deal with him as he deemed fit. Now there was among the crowd of followers a Mameluke of the deceased Wazir who, when he heard this order, urged his horse and rode at full speed to the house of Badr al-Din Hasan; for he cold not endure to see the ruin of his old master’s son. He found him sitting at the gate with head hung down and sorrowing, as was his wont, for the loss of his father; so he dismounted and kissing his hand said to him, “O my lord and son of my lord, haste ere ruin come and lay waste!” When Hasan heard this he trembled and asked, “What may be the matter?; and the man answered, “The Sultan is angered with thee and hath issued a warrant against thee, and evil cometh hard upon my track; so flee with thy life!” At these words Hasan’s heart flamed with the fire of bale, and his rose-red cheek turned pale, and he said to the “Mameluke, “O my brother, is there time for me to go in and get me some worldly gear which may stand me in stead during my strangerhood?” But the slave replied, “O my lord, up at once and save thyself and leave this house, while it is yet time.” And he quoted these lines:—

“Escape with thy life, if oppression betide thee,

And let the house of its builder’s fate!

Country for country thou’lt find, if thou seek it;

Life for life never, early or late.

It is strange men should dwell in the house of abjection,

When the plain of God’s earth is so wide and so great!” 14

At these words of the Mameluke, Badr al-Din covered his head with the skirt of his garment and went forth on foot till he stood outside of the city, where he heard folk saying, “The Sultan hath sent his new Wazir to the house of the old Wazir, now no more, to seal his property and seize his son Badr al-Din Hasan and take him before the presence, that he may put him to death; “ and all cried, “Alas for his beauty and his loveliness!” When he heard this he fled forth at hazard, knowing not whither he was going, and gave not over hurrying onwards till Destiny drove him to his father’s tomb. So he entered the cemetery and, threading his way through the graves, at last he reached the sepulchre where he sat down and let fall from his head the skirt of his long robe 15 which was made of brocade with a gold-embroidered hem whereon were worked these couplets:—

O thou whose forehead, like the radiant East,

Tells of the stars of Heaven and bounteous dews:

Endure thine honour to the latest day,

And Time thy growth of glory ne’er refuse!

While he was sitting by his father’s tomb behold, there came to him a Jew as he were a Shroff, 16 a money-changer, with a pair of saddle-bags containing much gold, who accosted him and kissed his hand, saying, “Whither bound, O my lord; ‘tis late in the day and thou art clad but lightly land I read signs of trouble in thy face?” “I was sleeping within this very hour,” answered Hasan, “when my father appeared to me and chid me for not having visited his tomb; so I awoke trembling and came hither forthright lest the day should go by without my visiting him, which would have been grievous to me.” “O my lord,” rejoined the Jew, 17 “thy father had many merchantmen at sea and, as some of them are now due, it is my wish to buy of thee the cargo of the first ship that cometh into port with this thousand dinars of gold.” “I consent,” quoth Hasan, whereupon the Jew took out a bag of gold and counted out a thousand sequins which he gave to Hasan, the son of the Wazir, saying, “Write me a letter of sale and seal it.” So Hasan took a pen and paper and wrote these words in duplicate, “The writer, Hasan Badr al-Din, son of Wazir Nur al-Din, hath to Isaac the Jew all the cargo of the first of his father’s ships which cometh into port, for a thousand dinars, and he hath received the price in advance.” And after he had taken one copy the Jew put it into his pouch and went away; but Hasan fell a-weeping as he thought of the dignity and prosperity which had erst been his and he began reciting:—

“This house, my lady, since you left is now a home no more

For me, not neighbours, since you left, prove kind and neighbourly:

The friend, whilere I took to heart, alas! no more to me

Is friend; and even Luna’s self displayeth lunacy:

You left and by your going left the world a waste, a wolf,

And lies a gloomy murk upon the face of hill and lea:

O may the raven-bird whose cry our hapless parting croaked

Find ne’er a nesty home and eke shed all his plumery!

At length my patience fails me; and this absence wastes my flesh;

How many a veil by severance rent our eyes are doomed see:

Ah! shall I ever sight again our fair past nights of your;

And shall a single house become a home for me once more?”

Then he wept with exceeding weeping and night came upon him; so he leant his head against his father’s grave and sleep overcame him: Glory to him who sleepeth not! He ceased not slumbering till the moon rose, when his head slipped from off the tomb and he lay on his back, with limbs outstretched, his face shining bright in the moonlight. Now the cemetery was haunted day and night by Jinns who were of the True Believers, and presently came out a Jinniyah who, seeing Hasan asleep, marvelled at his beauty and loveliness and cried, “Glory to God! This youth can be none other than one of the Wuldan of Paradise.18 Then she flew firmament-wards to circle it, as was her custom, and met an Ifrit on the wing who saluted her and she said to him, “Whence comest thou?” “From Cairo,” he replied. “Wilt thou come with me and look upon the beauty of a youth who sleepeth in yonder burial place?” she asked and he answered, “I will.” So they flew till they lighted at the tomb and she showed him the youth and said, “Now diddest thou ever in thy born days see aught like this?” The Ifrit looked upon him and exclaimed, “Praise be to Him that hath no equal! But, O my sister, shall I tell thee what I have seen this day?” Asked she, “What is that?” and he answered, “I have seen the counterpart of this youth in the land of Egypt. She is the daughter of the Wazir Shams al-Din and she is a model of beauty and loveliness, of fairest favour and formous form, and dight with symmetry and perfect grace. When she had reached the age of nineteen, 19 the Sultan of Egypt heard of her and, sending for the Wazir her father, said to him, ‘Hear me, O Wazir: it hath reached mine ear that thou hast a daughter and I wish to demand her of thee in marriage.” The Wazir replied, “O our lord the Sultan, deign accept my excuses and take compassion on my sorrows, for thou knowest that my brother, who was partner with me in the Wazirate, disappeared from amongst us many years ago and we wot not where he is. Now the cause of his departure was that one night, as we were sitting together and talking of wives and children to come, we had words on the matter and he went off in high dudgeon. But I swore that I would marry my daughter to none save to the son of my brother on the day her mother gave her birth, which was nigh upon nineteen years ago. I have lately heard that my brother died at Bassorah, where he married the daughter of the Wazir and that she bare him a son; and I will not marry my daughter but to him in honour of my brother’s memory. I recorded the date of my marriage and the conception of my wife and the birth of my daughter; and from her horoscope I find that her name is conjoined with that of her cousin; 20 and there are damsels in foison for our lord the Sultan.’ The King, hearing his Minister’s answer and refusal, waxed wroth with exceeding wrath and cried, ‘When the like of me asketh a girl in marriage of the like of thee, he conferreth an honour, and thou rejectest me and puttest me off with cold 21 excuses! Now, by the life of my head I will marry her to the meanest of my men in spite of the nose thee! 22 There was in the palace a horse-groom which was a Gobbo with a bunch to his breast and a hunch to his back; and the Sultan sent for him and married him to the daughter of the Wazir, lief or loath, and hath ordered a pompous marriage procession for him and that he go in to his bride this very night. I have now just flown hither from Cairo, where I left the Hunchback at the door of the Hammam-bath amidst the Sultan’s white slaves who were waving lighted flambeaux about him. As for the Minister’s daughter she sitteth among her nurses and tirewomen, weeping and wailing; for they have forbidden her father to come near her. Never have I seen, O my sister, more hideous being than this Hunchback 23 whilest the young lady is the likest of all folk to this young man, albeit even fairer than he,”— And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased her permitted say.

1 The reader of The Nights will remark that the merchant is often a merchant-prince, consorting and mating with the highest dignitaries. Even amongst the Romans, a race of soldiers, statesmen and lawyers, “mercatura” on a large scale was “not to be vituperated.” In Boccacio (x.19) they are netti e delicati uomini. England is perhaps the only country which has made her fortune by trade, and much of it illicit trade, like that in slaves which built Liverpool and Bristol, and which yet disdains or affects to disdain the trader. But the unworthy prejudice is disappearing with the last generation, and men who formerly would have half starved as curates and ensigns, barristers and carabins are now only too glad to become merchants.

2 These lines in the Calc. And Bul. Edits. Have already occurred (Night vii.) but such carelessness is characteristic despite the proverb, “In repetition is no fruition.” I quote Torrens (p. 60) by way of variety. As regards the anemone (here called a tulip) being named “Shakík” = fissure, I would conjecture that it derives from the flower often forming long lines of red like stripes of blood in the landscape. Travellers in Syria always observe this.

3 Such an address to a royalty (Eastern) even in the present day, would be a passport to future favours.

4 In England the man marries and the woman is married: there is no such distinction in Arabia.

5 “Sultan” (and its corruption “Soldan”) etymologically means lord, victorious, ruler, ruling over. In Arabia it is a not uncommon proper name; and as a title it is taken by a host of petty kinglets. The Abbaside Caliphs (as Al-Wásik who has been noticed) formally created these Sultans as their regents. Al-Tá‘i bi’llah (regn. A.H. 363 = 974), invested the famous Sabuktagin with the office; and as Alexander–Sikander was wont to do, fashioned for him two flags, one of silver, after the fashion of nobles, and the other of gold, as Viceroy-designate. Sabuktagin’s son, the famous Mahmúd of the Ghaznavite dynasty in A.H. 393 = 1002, was the first to adopt “Sultan” as an independent title some two hundred years after the death of Harun al-Rashid. In old writers we have the Soldan of Egypt, the Soudan of Persia, and the Sowdan of Babylon; three modifications of one word.

6 i.e. he was a “Háfiz,” one who commits to memory the whole of the Koran. It is a serious task and must be begun early. I learnt by rote the last “Juzw” (or thirtieth part) and found that quite enough. This is the vulgar use of “Hafiz”: technically and theologically it means the third order of Traditionists (the total being five) who know by heart 300,000 traditions of the Prophet with their ascriptions. A curious “spiritualist” book calls itself “Hafed, Prince of Persia,” proving by the very title that the Spirits are equally ignorant of Arabic and Persian.

7 Here again the Cairo Edit. repeats the six couplets already given in Night xvii. I take them from Torrens (p. 163).

8 This naïve admiration of beauty in either sex characterised our chivalrous times. Now it is mostly confined to “professional beauties” or what is conventionally called the “fair sex”; as if there could be any comparison between the beauty of man and the beauty of woman, the Apollo Belvidere with the Venus de Medici.

9 Arab. “Shásh” (in Pers. urine) a light turband generally of muslin.

10 This is a lieu commun of Eastern worldly wisdom. Quite true! Very unadvisable to dive below the surface of one’s acquaintances, but such intimacy is like marriage of which Johnson said, “Without it there is no pleasure in life.”

11 The lines are attributed to the famous Al–Mutanabbi = the claimant to “Prophecy,” of whom I have given a few details in my Pilgrimage iii. 60, 62. He led the life of a true poet, somewhat Chauvinistic withal; and, rather than run away, was killed in A.H. 354 = 965.

12 Arab. “Nabíz” = wine of raisins or dates; any fermented liquor; from a root to “press out” in Syriac, like the word “Talmiz” (or Tilmiz says the Kashf al-Ghurrah) a pupil, student. Date-wine (ferment from the fruit, not the Tádi, or juice of the stem, our “toddy”) is called Fazikh. Hence the Masjid al-Fazikh at Al–Medinah where the Ansar or Auxiliaries of that city were sitting cup in hand when they heard of the revelation forbidding inebriants and poured the liquor upon the ground (Pilgrimage ii. 322).

13 Arab. “Huda” = direction (to the right way), salvation, a word occurring in the Opening Chapter of the Koran. Hence to a Kafir who offers the Salam-salutation many Moslems reply “Allah-yahdík” = Allah direct thee! (i.e. make thee a Moslem), instead of Allah yusallimak = Allah lead thee to salvation. It is the root word of the Mahdi and Mohdi.

14 These lines have already occurred in The First Kalandar’s Story (Night xi.) I quote by way of change and with permission Mr. Payne’s version (i. 93).

15 Arab. “Farajíyah,” a long-sleeved robe worn by the learned (Lane, M.E., chapt. i.).

16 Arab. “Sarráf” (vulg. Sayrafi), whence the Anglo–Indian “Shroff,” a familiar corruption.

17 Arab. “Yahúdi” which is less polite than “Banú Isráil” = Children of Israel. So in Christendom “Israelite” when in favour and “Jew” (with an adjective or a participle) when nothing is wanted of him.

18 Also called “Ghilmán” = the beautiful youths appointed to serve the True Believers in Paradise. The Koran says (chapt. lvi. 9 etc.) “Youths, which shall continue in their bloom for ever, shall go round about to attend them, with goblets, and beakers, and a cup of flowing wine,” etc. Mohammed was an Arab (not a Persian, a born pederast) and he was too fond of women to be charged with love of boys: even Tristam Shandy (vol. vii. chapt. 7; “No, quoth a third; the gentleman has been committing ——”) knew that the two tastes are incompatibles. But this and other passages in the Koran have given the Chevaliers de la Pallie a hint that the use of boys, like that of wine, here forbidden, will be permitted in Paradise.

19 Which, by the by, is the age of an oldish old maid in Egypt. I much doubt puberty being there earlier than in England where our grandmothers married at fourteen. But Orientals are aware that the period of especial feminine devilry is between the first menstruation and twenty when, according to some, every girl is a “possible murderess.” So they wisely marry her and get rid of what is called the “lump of grief,” the “domestic calamity”— a daughter. Amongst them we never hear of the abominable egotism and cruelty of the English mother, who disappoints her daughter’s womanly cravings in order to keep her at home for her own comfort; and an “old maid” in the house, especially a stout, plump old maid, is considered not “respectable.” The ancient virgin is known by being lean and scraggy; and perhaps this diagnosis is correct.

20 This prognostication of destiny by the stars and a host of follies that end in — mancy is an intricate and extensive subject. Those who would study it are referred to chapt. xiv. of the “Qanoon-e-Islam, or the Customs of the Mussulmans of India; etc., etc., by Jaffur Shurreeff and translated by G. A. Herklots, M. D. of Madras.” This excellent work first appeared in 1832 (Allen and Co., London) and thus it showed the way to Lane’s “Modern Egyptians” (1833–35). The name was unfortunate as “Kuzzilbash” (which rhymed to guzzle and hash), and kept the book back till a second edition appeared in 1863 (Madras: J. Higginbotham).

21 Arab. “Bárid,” lit. cold: metaph. vain, foolish, insipid.

22 Not to “spite thee” but “in spite of thee.” The phrase is still used by high and low.

23 Arab. “Ahdab,” the common hunchback; in classical language the Gobbo in the text would be termed “Ak’as” from “Ka’as,” one with protruding back and breast; sometimes used for hollow back and protruding breast.

When it was the Twenty-second Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the Jinni narrated to the Jinniyah how the King had caused the wedding contract to be drawn up between the hunchbacked groom and the lovely young lady who was heart-broken for sorrow; and how she was the fairest of created things and even more beautiful than this youth, the Jinniyah cried at him “Thou liest! this youth is handsomer than any one of his day.” The Ifrit gave her the lie again, adding, “By Allah, O my sister, the damsel I speak of is fairer than this; yet none but he deserveth her, for they resemble each other like brother and sister or at least cousins. And, well-away! how she is wasted upon that Hunchback!” Then said she, “O my brother, let us get under him and lift him up and carry him to Cairo, that we may compare him with the damsel of whom thou speakest and so determine whether of the twain is the fairer.” “To hear is to obey!” replied he, “thou speakest to the point; nor is there a righter recking than this of thine, and I myself will carry him.” So he raised him from the ground and flew with him like a bird soaring in upper air, the Ifritah keeping close by his side at equal speed, till he alighted with him in the city of Cairo and set him down on a stone bench and woke him up. He roused himself and finding that he was no longer at his father’s tomb in Bassorah-city he looked right and left and saw that he was in a strange place; and he would have cried out; but the Ifrit gave him a cuff which persuaded him to keep silence. Then he brought him rich raiment and clothed him therein and, giving him a lighted flambeau, said, “Know that I have brought thee hither, meaning to do thee a good turn for the love of Allah: so take this torch and mingle with the people at the Hammam-door and walk on with them without stopping till thou reach the house of the wedding-festival; then go boldly forward and enter the great saloon; and fear none, but take thy stand at the right hand of the Hunchback bridegroom; and, as often as any of the nurses and tirewomen and singing-girls come up to thee, 1 put thy hand into thy pocket which thou wilt find filled with gold. Take it out and throw it to them and spare not; for as often as thou thrustest fingers in pouch thou shalt find it full of coin. Give largesse by handsful and fear nothing, but set thy trust upon Him who created thee, for this is not by thine own strength but by that of Allah Almighty, that His decrees may take effect upon his creatures.” When Badr al-Din Hasan heard these words from the Ifrit he said to himself, “Would Heaven I knew what all this means and what is the cause of such kindness!” However, he mingled with the people and, lighting his flambeau, moved on with the bridal procession till he came to the bath where he found the Hunchback already on horseback. Then he pushed his way in among the crowd, a veritable beauty of a man in the finest apparel, wearing tarbush 2 and turband and a long-sleeved robe purfled with gold; and, as often as the singing-women stopped for the people to give them largesse, he thrust his hand into his pocket and, finding it full of gold, took out a handful and threw it on the tambourine 3 till he had filled it with gold pieces for the music-girls and the tirewomen. The singers were amazed by his bounty and the people marvelled at his beauty and loveliness and the splendour of his dress. He ceased not to do thus till he reached the mansion of the Wazir (who was his uncle), where the Chamberlains drove back the people and forbade them to go forward; but the singing-girls and the tirewomen said, “By Allah we will not enter unless this young man enter with us, for he hath given us length o’ life with his largesse and we will not display the bride unless he be present.” Therewith they carried him into the bridal hall and made him sit down defying the evil glances of the hunchbacked bridegroom. The wives of the Emirs and Wazirs and Chamberlains and Courtiers all stood in double line, each holding a massy cierge ready lighted; all wore thin face-veils and the two rows right and left extended from the bride’s throne 4 to the head of the hall adjoining the chamber whence she was to come forth. When the ladies saw Badr al-Din Hasan and noted his beauty and loveliness and his face that shone like the new moon, their hearts inclined to him and the singing-girls said to all that were present, “Know that this beauty crossed our hands with naught but red gold; so be not chary to do him womanly service and comply with all he says, no matter what he ask. 5 So all the women crowded around Hasan with their torches and gazed upon his loveliness and envied him his beauty; and one and all would gladly have lain on his bosom an hour or rather a year. Their hearts were so troubled that they let fall their veils from before their faces and said, “Happy she who belongeth to this youth or to whom he belongeth!”; and they called down curses on the crooked groom and on him who was the cause of his marriage to the girl-beauty; and as often as they blessed Badr al-Din Hasan they damned the Hunchback, saying, “Verily this youth and none else deserveth our Bride: al, well-away for such a lovely one with this hideous Quasimodo; Allah’s curse light on his head and on the Sultan who commanded the marriage!” Then the singing-girls beat their tabrets and lulliloo’d with joy, announcing the appearing of the bride; and the Wazir’s daughter came in surrounded by her tirewomen who had made her goodly to look upon; for they had perfumed her and incensed her and adorned her hair; and they had robed her in raiment and ornaments befitting the mighty Chosroes Kings. The most notable part of her dress was a loose robe worn over her other garments; it was diapered in red gold with figures of wild beasts, and birds whose eyes and beaks were of gems, and claws of red rubies and green beryl; and her neck was graced with a necklace of Yamani work, worth thousands of gold pieces, whose bezels were great round jewels of sorts, the like of which was never owned by Kaysar or by Tobba King. 6 And the bride was as the full moon when at fullest on fourteenth night; and as she paced into the hall she was like one of the Houris of Heaven — praise be to Him who created her in such splendour of beauty! The ladies encompassed her as the white contains the black of the eye, they clustering like stars whilst she shone amongst them like the moon when it eats up the clouds. Now Badr al-Din Hasan of Bassorah was sitting in full gaze of the folk, when the bride came forward with her graceful swaying and swimming gait, and her hunchbacked groom stood up to meet 7 and receive her: she, however, turned away from the wight and walked forward till she stood before her cousin Hasan, the son of her uncle. Whereat the people laughed. But when the wedding-guests saw her thus attracted towards Badr al-Din they made a mighty clamour and the singing-women shouted their loudest; whereupon he put his hand into his pocket and, pulling out a handful of gold, cast it into their tambourines and the girls rejoiced and said, “Could we win our wish this bride were thine!” At this he smiled and the folk came round him, flambeaux in hand like the eyeball round the pupil, while the Gobbo bridegroom was left sitting alone much like a tail-less baboon; for every time they lighted a candle for him it went out willy-nilly, so he was left in darkness and silence and looking at naught but himself. 8 When Badr al-Din Hasan saw the bridegroom sitting lonesome in the dark, and all the wedding-guests with their flambeaux and wax candles crowding around himself, he was bewildered and marvelled much; but when he looked at his cousin, the daughter of his uncle, he rejoiced and felt an inward delight: he longed to greet her and gazed intently on her face which was radiant with light and brilliancy. Then the tirewomen took off her veil and displayed her in the first bridal dress which was of scarlet satin; and Hasan had a view of her which dazzled his sight and dazed his wits, as she moved to and fro, swaying with graceful gait; 9 and she turned the heads of all the guests, women as well as men, for she was even as saith the surpassing poet:—

A sun on wand in knoll of sand she showed

Clad in her cramoisy-hued chemisette:

Of her lips honey-dew she gave me drink,

And with her rosy cheeks quencht fire she set.

Then they changed that dress and displayed her in a robe of azure; and she reappeared like the full moon when it riseth over the horizon, with her coal-black hair and cheeks delicately fair; and teeth shown in sweet smiling and breasts firm rising and crowning sides of the softest and waist of the roundest. And in this second suit she was as a certain master of high conceits saith of the like of her:—

She came apparrelled in an azure vest,

Ultramarine, as skies are deckt and dight;

I view’d th’ unparrellel’d sight, which show’d my eyes

A moon of Summer on a Winter-night.

Then they changed that suit for another and, veiling her face in the luxuriance of her hair, loosed her lovelocks, so dark, so long that their darkness and length outvied the darkest nights, and she shot through all hearts with the magical shaft of her eye-babes. They displayed her in the third dress and she was as said of her the sayer:—

Veiling her cheeks with hair a-morn she comes,

And I her mischiefs with the cloud compare:

Saying, “Thou veilest morn with night!” “Ah, no!”

Quoth she, “I shroud full moon with darkling air!”

Then they displayed her in the fourth bridal dress and she came forward shining like the rising sun and swaying to and fro with lovesome grace and supple ease like a gazelle-fawn. And she clave all hearts with the arrows of her eyelashes, even as saith one who described a charmer like her:—

The sun of beauty she to sight appears

And, lovely-coy, she mocks all loveliness;

And when he fronts her favour and her smile

A-morn, the Sun of day in clouds must dress.

Then she came forth in the fifth dress, a very light of loveliness like a wand of waving willow or a gazelle of the thirsty wold. Those locks which stung like scorpions along her cheeks were bent, and her neck was bowed in blandishment, and her hips quivered as she went. As saith one of the poets describing her in verse:—

She comes like fullest moon on happy night;

Taper of waist, with shape of magic might:

She hath an eye whose glances quell mankind,

And Ruby on her cheeks reflects his light:

Enveils her hips the blackness of her hair;

Beware of curls that bite with viper-bite!

Her sides are silken-soft, the while the heart

Mere rock behind that surface lurks from sight:

From the fringed curtains of her eyne she shoots

Shafts which at farthest range on mark alight:

When round her neck or waist I throw my arms

Her breasts repel me with their hardened height.

Ah, how her beauty all excels! ah how

That shape transcends the graceful waving bough!

Then they adorned her with the sixth toilette, a dress which was green. And now she shamed her slender straightness the nut-brown spear; her radiant face dimmed the brightest beams of full moon and she outdid the bending branches in gentle movement and flexible grace. Her loveliness exalted the beauties of earth’s four quarters and she broke men’s hearts by the significance of her semblance; for she was even as saith one of the poets in these lines:—

A damsel ‘twas the tirer’s art had decked with snares and sleight.10

And robed in rays as though the sun from her had borrowed light:

She came before us wondrous clad in chemisette of green,

As veiled by its leafy screen pomegranate hides from sight:

And when he said “How callest thou the manner of thy dress?”

She answered us in pleasant way with double meaning dight;

“We call this garment creve-coeur; and rightly is it hight,

For many a heart wi’ this we broke 11 and conquered many a sprite!”

Then they displayed her in the seventh dress, coloured between safflower 12 and saffron, even as one of the poets saith:—

In vest of saffron pale and safflower red

Musk’d, sandal’d ambergris’d, she came to front:

“Rise!” cried her youth, “go forth and show thyself!”

“Sit!” said her hips, “we cannot bear the brunt!”

And when I craved a bout, her Beauty said

“Do, do!” and said her pretty shame, “Don’t, don’t!”

Thus they displayed the bride in all her seven toilettes before Hasan al-Basri, wholly neglecting the Gobbo who sat moping alone; and, when she opened her eyes 13 she said, “O Allah make this man my goodman and deliver me from the evil of this hunchbacked groom.” As soon as they had made an end of this part of the ceremony they dismissed the wedding guests who went forth, women, children and all, and none remained save Hasan and the Hunchback, whilst the tirewomen led the bride into an inner room to change her garb and gear and get her ready for the bridegroom. Thereupon Quasimodo came up to Badr al-Din Hasan and said, “O my lord, thou hast cheered us this night with thy good company and overwhelmed us with thy kindness and courtesy; but now why not get thee up and go?” “Bismallah,” he answered, “In Allah’s name so be it!” and rising, he went forth by the door, where the Ifrit met him and said, “Stay in thy stead, O Badr al-Din, and when the Hunchback goes out to the closet of ease go in without losing time and seat thyself in the alcove; and when the bride comes say to her, “‘Tis I am thy husband, for the King devised this trick only fearing for thee the evil eye, and he whom thou sawest is but a Syce, a groom, one of our stablemen.’ Then walk boldly up to her and unveil her face; for jealousy hath taken us of this matter.” While Hasan was still talking with the Ifrit behold, the groom fared forth from the hall and entering the closet of ease sat down on the stool. Hardly had he done this when the Ifrit came out of the tank, 14 wherein the water was, in semblance of a mouse and squeaked out “Zeek!” Quoth the Hunchback, “What ails thee?”; and the mouse grew and grew till it became a coal-black cat and caterwauled “Meeao! Meeao!”15 Then it grew still more and more till it became a dog and barked out “Owh! Owh!” When the bridegroom saw this he was frightened and exclaimed “Out with thee, O unlucky one!” 16 But the dog grew and swelled till it became an ass-colt that brayed and snorted in his face “Hauk! Hauk!” 17 Whereupon the Hunchback quaked and cried, “Come to my aid, O people of the house!” But behold, the ass-colt grew and became big as a buffalo and walled the way before him and spake with the voice of the sons of Adam, saying, “Woe to thee, O thou Bunch-back, thou stinkard, O thou filthiest of grooms!” Hearing this the groom was seized with a colic and he sat down on the jakes in his clothes with teeth chattering and knocking together. Quoth the Ifrit, “Is the world so strait to thee thou findest none to marry save my lady-love?” But as he was silent the Ifrit continued, “Answer me or I will do thee dwell in the dust!” “By Allah,” replied the Gobbo, “O King of the Buffaloes, this is no fault of mine, for they forced me to wed her; and verily I wot not that she had a lover among the buffaloes; but now I repent, first before Allah and then before thee.” Said the Ifrit to him, “I swear to thee that if thou fare forth from this place, or thou utter a word before sunrise, I assuredly will wring thy neck. When the sun rises wend thy went and never more return to this house.” So saying, the Ifrit took up the Gobbo bridegroom and set him head downwards and feet upwards in the slit of the privy, 18 and said to him, “I will leave thee here but I shall be on the look-out for thee till sunrise; and, if thou stir before then, I will seize thee by the feet and dash out they brains against the wall: so look out for thy life!” Thus far concerning the Hunchback, but as regards Badr al-Din Hasan of Bassorah he left the Gobbo and the Ifrit jangling and wrangling and, going into the house, sat him down in the very middle of the alcove; and behold, in came the bride attended by an old woman who stood at the door and said, “O Father of Uprightness, 19 arise and take what God giveth thee.” Then the old woman went away and the bride, Sitt al-Husn or the Lady of Beauty hight, entered the inner part of the alcove broken-hearted and saying in herself, “By Allah I will never yield my person to him; no, not even were he to take my life!” But as she came to the further end she saw Badr al-Din Hasan and she said, “Dearling! Art thou still sitting here? By Allah I was wishing that thou wert my bridegroom or, at least, that thou and the hunchbacked horse-groom were partners in me.” He replied, “O beautiful lady, how should the Syce have access to thee, and how should he share in thee with me?” “Then,” quoth she, “who is my husband, thou or he?” “Sitt al-Husn,” rejoined Hasan, “we have not done this for mere fun, 20 but only as a device to ward off the evil eye from thee; for when the tirewomen and singers and wedding guests saw they beauty being displayed to me, they feared fascination and they father hired the horse-groom for ten dinars and a porringer of meat to take the evil eye off us; and now he hath received his hire and gone his gait.” When the Lady of Beauty heard these words she smiled and rejoiced and laughed a pleasant laugh. Then she whispered him, “By the Lord thou hast quenched a fire which tortured me and now, by Allah, O my little dark-haired darling, take me to thee and press me to thy bosom!” Then she began singing:—

“By Allah, set thy foot upon my soul;

Since long, long years for this alone I long:

And whisper tale of love in ear of me;

To me ‘tis sweeter than the sweetest song!

No other youth upon my heart shall lie;

So do it often, dear, and do it long.”

Then she stripped off her outer gear and she threw open her chemise from the neck downwards and showed her parts genital and all the rondure of her hips. When Badr al-Din saw the glorious sight his desires were roused, and he arose and doffed her clothes, and wrapping up in his bag-trousers 21 the purse of gold which he had taken from the Jew and which contained the thousand dinars, he laid it under the edge of the bedding. Then he took off his turband and set it upon the settle 22 atop of his other clothes, remaining in his skull-cap and fine shirt of blue silk laced with gold. Whereupon the Lady of Beauty drew him to her and he did likewise. Then he took her to his embrace and set her legs round his waist and point-blanked that cannon 23 placed where it battereth down the bulwark of maidenhead and layeth it waste. And he found her a pearl unpierced and unthridden and a filly by all men save himself unridden; and he abated her virginity and had joyance of her youth in his virility and presently he withdrew sword from sheath; and then returned to the fray right eath; and when the battle and the siege had finished, some fifteen assaults he had furnished and she conceived by him that very night. Then he laid his hand under her head and she did the same and they embraced and fell asleep in each other’s arms, as a certain poet said of such lovers in these couplets:—

Visit thy lover, spurn what envy told;

No envious churl shall smile on love ensoul’d.

Merciful Allah made no fairer sight

Than coupled lovers single couch doth hold;

Breast pressing breast and robed in joys their own,

With pillowed forearms cast in finest mould:

And when heart speaks to heart with tongue of love,

Folk who would part them hammer steel ice-cold:

If a fair friend24 thou find who cleaves to thee,

Live for that friend, that friend in heart enfold.

O ye who blame for love us lover kind

Say, can ye minister to diseasèd mind?

This much concerning Badr al-Hasan and Sitt al-Husn his cousin; but as regards the Ifrit, as soon as he saw the twain asleep, he said to the Ifritah, “Arise, slip thee under the youth and let us carry him back to his place ere dawn overtake us; for the day is nearhand.” Thereupon she came forward and, getting under him as he lay asleep, took him up clad only in his fine blue shirt, leaving the rest of his garments; and ceased not flying (and the Ifrit vying with her in flight) till the dawn advised them that it had come upon them mid-way, and the Muezzin began his call from the Minaret, “Haste ye to salvation! Haste ye to salvation!” 25 Then Allah suffered his angelic host to shoot down the Ifrit with a shooting star, 26 so he was consumed, but the Ifritah escaped and she descended with Badr al-Din at the place where the Ifrit was burnt, and did not carry him back to Bassorah, fearing lest he come to harm. Now by the order of Him who predestineth all things, they alighted at Damascus of Syria, and the Ifritah set down her burden at one of the city-gates and flew away. When day arose and the doors were opened, the folks who came forth saw a handsome youth, with no other raiment but his blue shirt of gold-embroidered silk and skull-cap,27 lying upon the ground drowned in sleep after the hard labour of the night which had not suffered him to take his rest. So the folk looking at him said, “O her luck with whom this one spent the night! but would he had waited to don his garments.” Quoth another, “A sorry lot are the sons of great families! Haply he but now came forth of the tavern on some occasion of his own and his wine flew to his head,28 whereby he hath missed the place he was making for and strayed till he came to the gate of the city; and finding it shut lay him down and to by-by!” As the people were bandying guesses about him suddenly the morning breeze blew upon Badr al-Din and raising his shirt to his middle showed a stomach and navel with something below it, 29 and legs and thighs clear as crystal and smooth as cream. Cried the people, “By Allah he is a pretty fellow!”; and at the cry Badr al-din awoke and found himself lying at a city-gate with a crowd gathered around him. At this he greatly marvelled and asked, “Where am I, O good folk; and what causeth you thus to gather round me, and what have I had to do with you?”; and they answered, “We found thee lying here asleep during the call to dawn-prayer and this is all we know of the matter, but where diddest thou lie last night?” 30 “By Allah, O good people,” replied he, “I lay last night in Cairo.” Said somebody, “Thou hast surely been eating Hashish,” 31 and another, “He is a fool;” and a third, “He is a citrouille;” and a fourth asked him, “Art thou out of thy mind? thou sleepest in Cairo and thou wakest in the morning at the gate of Damascus-city!” 32 Cried he, “By Allah, my good people, one and all, I lie not to you: indeed I lay yesternight in the land of Egypt and yesternoon I was at Bassorah.” Quoth one, “Well! well!”; and quoth another, “Ho! ho!”; and a third, “So! so!”; and a fourth cried, “This youth is mad, is possessed of the Jinni!” So they clapped hands at him and said to one another, “Alas, the pity of it for his youth: by Allah a madman! and madness is no respecter of persons.” Then they said to him, “Collect thy wits and return to thy reason! How couldest thou be in Bassorah yesterday and Cairo yesternight and withal awake in Damascus this morning?” But he persisted, “Indeed I was a bridegroom in Cairo last night.” “Belike thou hast been dreaming,” rejoined they, “and sawest all this in thy sleep.” So Hasan took thought for a while and said to them, “By Allah, this is no dream; nor vision-like doth it seem! I certainly was in Cairo where they displayed the bride before me, in presence of a third person, the Hunchback groom who was sitting hard by. By Allah, O my brother, this be no dream, and if it were a dream, where is the bag of gold I bore with me and where are my turband and my robe, and my trousers?” Then he rose and entered the city, threading its highways and by-ways and bazar-streets; and the people pressed upon him and jeered at him, crying out “Madman! madman!” till he, beside himself with rage, took refuge in a cook’s shop. Now that Cook had been a trifle too clever, that is, a rogue and thief; but Allah had made him repent and turn from his evil ways and open a cook-shop; and all the people of Damascus stood in fear of his boldness and his mischief. So when the crowd saw the youth enter his shop, they dispersed being afraid of him, and went their ways. The Cook looked at Badr al-Din and, noting his beauty and loveliness, fell in love with him forthright and said, “Whence comest thou, O youth? Tell me at once thy tale, for thou art become dearer to me than my soul.” So Hasan recounted to him all that had befallen him from beginning to end (but in repetition there is no fruition) and the Cook said, “O my lord Badr al-Din, doubtless thou knowest that this case is wondrous and this story marvellous; therefore, O my son, hide what hath betided thee, till Allah dispel what ills be thine; and tarry with me here the meanwhile, for I have no child and I will adopt thee.” Badr al-Din replied, “Be it as thou wilt, O my uncle!” Whereupon the Cook went to the bazar and bought him a fine suit of clothes and made him don it; then fared with him to the Kazi, and formally declared that he was his son. So Badr al-Din Hasan became known in Damascus-city as the Cook’s son and he sat with him in the shop to take the silver, and on this wise he sojourned there for a time. Thus far concerning him; but as regards his cousin, the Lady of Beauty, when morning dawned she awoke and missed Badr al-Din Hasan from her side; but she thought that he had gone to the privy and she sat expecting him for an hour or so; when behold, entered her father Shams al-Din Mohammed, Wazir of Egypt. Now he was disconsolate by reason of what had befallen him through the Sultan, who had entreated him harshly and had married his daughter by force to the lowest of his menials and he too a lump of a groom bunch-backed withal, and he said to himself, “I will slay this daughter of mine if of her own free will she have yielded her person to this acursed carle.” So he came to the door of the bride’s private chamber and said, “Ho! Sitt al-Husn.” She answered him, “Here am I! here am I!” 33 O my lord,” and came out unsteady of gait after the pains and pleasures of the night; and she kissed his hand, her face showing redoubled brightness and beauty for having lain in the arms of that gazelle, her cousin. When her father, the Wazir, saw her in such case, he asked her, “O thou accursed, art thou rejoicing because of this horse-groom?”, and Sitt al-Husn smiled sweetly and answered, “By Allah, don’t ridicule me: enough of what passed yesterday when folk laughed at me, and evened me with that groom-fellow who is not worthy to bring my husband’s shoes or slippers; nay who is not worth the paring of my husband’s nails! By the Lord, never in my life have I nighted a night so sweet as yesternight!, so don’t mock by reminding me of the Gobbo.” When her parent heard her words he was filled with fury, and his eyes glared and stared, so that little of them showed save the whites and he cried, “Fie upon thee! What words are these? ‘Twas the hunchbacked horse-groom who passed the night with thee!” “Allah upon thee,” replied the Lady of Beauty, “do not worry me about the Gobbo, Allah damn his father; 34 and leave jesting with me; for this groom was only hired for ten dinars and a porringer of meat and he took his wage and went his way. As for me I entered the bridal-chamber, where I found my true bridegroom sitting, after the singer-women had displayed me to him; the same who had crossed their hands with red gold, till every pauper that was present waxed wealthy; and I passed the night on the breast of my bonny man, a most lively darling, with his black eyes and joined eyebrows.” 35 When her parent heard these words the light before his face became night, and he cried out at her saying, “O thou whore! What is this thou tellest me? Where be thy wits?” “O my father,” she rejoined, “thou breakest my heart; enough for thee that thou hast been so hard upon me! Indeed my husband who took my virginity is but just now gone to the draught-house and I feel that I have conceived by him.” 36 The Wazir rose in much marvel and entered the privy where he found the hunchbacked groom with his head in the hole, and his heels in the air. At this sight he was confounded and said, “This is none other than he, the rascal Hunchback!” So he called to him, “Ho Hunchback!” The Gobbo grunted out, “Taghum! Taghum!” 37 thinking it was the Ifrit spoke to him; so the Wazir shouted at him and said, “Speak out, or I’ll strike off thy pate with this sword.” Then quoth the Hunchback, “By Allah, O Shaykh of the Ifrits, ever since thou settest me in this place, I have not lifted my head; so Allah upon thee, take pity and entreat me kindly!” When the Wazir heard this he asked, “What is this thou sayest? I’m bride’s father and no Ifrit.” “Enough for thee that thou hast well nigh done me die, “ answered Quasimodo; “now go thy ways before he come upon thee who hath served me thus. Could ye not marry me to any save the lady-love of buffaloes and the beloved of Ifrits? Allah curse her and curse him who married me to her and was the cause of this my case,”— And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day, and ceased to say her permitted say.

1 This is the custom with such gentry, who, when they see a likely man sitting, are allowed by custom to ride astraddle upon his knees with most suggestive movements, till he buys them off. These Ghawázi are mostly Gypsies who pretend to be Moslems; and they have been confused with the Almahs or Moslem dancing-girls proper (Awálim, plur. of Alimah, a learned feminine) by a host of travellers. They call themselves Barámikah or Barmecides only to affect Persian origin. Under native rule they were perpetually being banished from and returning to Cairo (Pilgrimage i., 202). Lane (M.E., chapts. xviii. and xix.) discusses the subject, and would derive Al’mah, often so pronounced, from Heb. Almah, girl, virgin, singing-girl, hence he would translate Al–Alamoth shir (Psalm xlvi.) and Nebalim al-alamoth (I. Chron., xv.20) by a “song for singing-girls” and “harps for singing-girls.” He quotes also St. Jerome as authority that Alma in Punic (Phœnician) signified a virgin, not a common article, I may observe, amongst singing-girls. I shall notice in a future page Burckhardt’s description of the Ghawazi, p.173, “Arabic Proverbs;” etc., etc. Second Edition. London: Quaritch, 1875.

2 I need hardly describe the tarbúsh, a corruption of the Per. “Sar-púsh” (headcover) also called “Fez” from its old home; and “tarbrush” by the travelling Briton. In old days it was a calotte worn under the turban; and it was protected by scalp-perspiration by an “Arakiyah” (Pers. Arak-chin) a white skull-cap. Now it is worn without either and as a head-dress nothing can be worse (Pilgrimage ii. 275).

3 Arab. “Tár.”: the custom still prevails. Lane (M.E., chapt. xviii.) describes and figures this hoop-drum.

4 The couch on which she sits while being displayed. It is her throne, for she is the Queen of the occasion, with all the Majesty of Virginity.

5 This is a solemn “chaff;” such liberties being permitted at weddings and festive occasions.

6 The pre-Islamític dynasty of Al–Yaman in Arabia Felix, a region formerly famed for wealth and luxury. Hence the mention of Yamani work. The caravans from Sana’á, the capital, used to carry patterns of vases to be made in China and bring back the porcelains at the end of the third year: these are the Arabic inscriptions which have puzzled so many collectors. The Tobba, or Successors, were the old Himyarite Kings, a dynastic name like Pharaoh, Kisra (Persia), Negush (Abyssinia), Khakan or Khan (Tartary), etc., who claimed to have extended their conquests to Samarcand and made war on China. Any history of Arabia (as Crichton I., chapt. iv.) may be consulted for their names and annals. I have been told by Arabs that “Tobba” (or Tubba) is still used in the old Himvarland = the Great or the Chief.

7 Lane and Payne (as well as the Bres. Edit.) both render the word “to kiss her,” but this would be clean contrary to Moslem usage.

8 i.e. he was full of rage which he concealed.

9 The Hindus (as the Katha shows) compare this swimming gait with an elephant’s roll.

10 Arab. “Fitnah,” a word almost as troublesome as “Adab.” Primarily, revolt, seduction, mischief: then a beautiful girl (or boy), and lastly a certain aphrodisiac perfume extracted from mimosa-flowers (Pilgrimage i., 118).

11 Lit. burst the “gall-bladder:” In this and in the “liver” allusions I dare not be baldly literal.

12 Arab. “Usfur” the seeds of Carthamus tinctorius = Safflower (Forskal, Flora, etc. lv.). The seeds are crushed for oil and the flowers, which must be gathered by virgins or the colour will fail, are extensively used for dying in Southern Arabia and Eastern Africa.

13 On such occasions Miss Modesty shuts her eye and looks as if about to faint.

14 After either evacuation the Moslem is bound to wash or sand the part; first however he should apply three pebbles, or potsherds or clods of earth. Hence the allusion in the Koran (chapt. ix), “men who love to be purified.” When the Prophet was questioning the men of Kuba, where he founded a mosque (Pilgrimage ii., 215), he asked them about their legal ablutions, especially after evacuation; and they told him that they used three stones before washing. Moslems and Hindus (who prefer water mixed with earth) abhor the unclean and unhealthy use of paper without ablution; and the people of India call European draught-houses, by way of opprobrium, “Kághaz-khánah” = paper closets. Most old Anglo–Indians, however, learn to use water.

15 “Miao” or “Mau” is the generic name of the cat in the Egyptian of the hieroglyphs.

16 Arab. “Ya Mah’úm” addressed to an evil spirit.

17 “Heehaw!” as we should say. The Bresl. Edit. makes the cat cry “Nauh! Nauh!” and the ass-colt “Manu! Manu!” I leave these onomatopœics as they are in Arabic; they are curious, showing the unity in variety of hearing inarticulate sounds. The bird which is called “Whip poor Will” in the U.S. is known to the Brazilians as “Joam corta páo” (John cut wood); so differently do they hear the same notes.

18 It is usually a slab of marble with a long slit in front and a round hole behind. The text speaks of a Kursi (= stool); but this is now unknown to native houses which have not adopted European fashions.

19 This again is chaff as she addresses the Hunchback. The Bul. Edit. has “O Abu Shiháb” (Father of the shooting-star = evil spirit); the Bresl. Edit. “O son of a heap! O son of a Something!” (al-afsh, a vulgarism).

20 As the reader will see, Arab ideas of “fun” and practical jokes are of the largest, putting the Hibernian to utter rout, and comparing favourably with those recorded in Don Quixote.

21 Arab. “Saráwil” a corruption of the Pers. “Sharwál”; popularly called “libás” which, however, may also mean clothing in general and especially outer-clothing. I translate “bag-trousers” and “petticoat-trousers,” the latter being the divided skirt of our future. In the East, where Common Sense, not Fashion, rules dress, men, who have a protuberance to be concealed, wear petticoats and women wear trousers. The feminine article is mostly baggy but sometimes, as in India, collant-tight. A quasi-sacred part of it is the inkle, tape or string, often a most magnificent affair, with tassels of pearl and precious stones; and “laxity in the trouser-string” is equivalent to the loosest conduct. Upon the subject of “libás,” “sarwál” and its variants the curious reader will consult Dr. Dozy’s “Dictionnaire Détaillé des Noms des Vêtements chez les Arabes,” a most valuable work.

22 The turban out of respect is not put upon the ground (Lane, M. E., chapt. i.).

23 Arab. “Madfa” showing the modern date or the modernization of the tale. In Lebid “Madáfi” (plur. of Madfa’) means water-courses or leats.

24 In Arab. the “he” is a “she;” and Habíb (“friend”) is the Attic {Greek Letters}, a euphemism for lover. This will occur throughout The Nights. So the Arabs use a phrase corresponding with the Stoic {Greek Letters}, i.e. is wont, is fain.

25 Part of the Azán, or call to prayer.

26 Arab. “Shiháb,” these mentors being the flying shafts shot at evil spirits who approach too near heaven. The idea doubtless arose from the showers of August and November meteors (The Perseides and Taurides) which suggest a battle raging in upper air. Christendom also has its superstition concerning these and called those of August the “fiery tears of Saint Lawrence,” whose festival was on August 10.

27 Arab. “Tákiyah” = Pers. Arak-chin; the calotte worn under the Fez. It is, I have said, now obsolete and the red woollen cap (mostly made in Europe) is worn over the hair; an unclean practice.

28 Often the effect of cold air after a heated room.

29 i.e. He was not a Eunuch, as the people guessed.

30 In Arab. “this night” for the reason before given.

31 Meaning especially the drink prepared of the young leaves and florets of Cannabis Sativa. The word literally means “day grass” or “herbage.” This intoxicant was much used by magicians to produce ecstasy and thus to “deify themselves and receive the homage of the genii and spirits of nature.”

32 Torrens, being an Irishman, translates “and woke in the morning sleeping at Damascus.”

33 Arab. “Labbayka,” the cry technically called “Talbiyah” and used by those entering Meccah (Pilgrimage iii. 125–232). I shall also translate it by “Adsum.” The full cry is:—

Here am I, O Allah, here am I!

No partner hast Thou, here am I:

Verily the praise and the grace and the kingdom are thine:

No partner hast Thou: here am I!

A single Talbiyah is a “Shart” or positive condition: and its repetition is a Sunnat or Custom of the Prophet. See Night xci.

34 The staple abuse of the vulgar is curing parents and relatives, especially feminine, with specific allusions to their “shame.” And when dames of high degree are angry, Nature, in the East as in the West, sometimes speaks out clearly enough, despite Mistress Chapone and all artificial restrictions.

35 A great beauty in Arabia and the reverse in Denmark, Germany and Slav-land, where it is a sign of being a were-wolf or a vampire. In Greece also it denotes a “Brukolak” or vampire.

36 This is not physiologically true: a bride rarely conceives the first night, and certainly would not know that she had conceived. Moreover the number of courses furnished by the bridegroom would be against conception. It is popularly said that a young couple often undoes in the morning what it has done during the night.

37 Torrens (Notes, xxiv.) quotes “Fleisher” upon the word “Ghamghama” (Diss. Crit. De Glossis Habichtionis), which he compares with “Dumbuma” and Humbuma,” determining them to be onomatopœics, “an incomplete and an obscure murmur of a sentence as it were lingering between the teeth and lips and therefore difficult to be understood.” Of this family is “Taghúm”; not used in modern days. In my Pilgrimage (i.313) I have noticed another, “Khyas’, Khyas’!” occurring in a Hizb al-Bahr (Spell of the Sea). Herklots gives a host of them; and their sole characteristics are harshness and strangeness of sound, uniting consonants which are not joined in Arabic. The old Egyptians and Chaldeans had many such words composed at will for theurgic operations.

When it was the Twenty-third Night,

Said she, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the hunchbacked groom spake to the bride’s father saying, “Allah curse him who was the cause of this my case!” Then said the Wazir to him, “Up and out of this place!” “Am I mad,” cried the groom, “that I should go with thee without leave of the Ifrit whose last words to me were:—“When the sun rises, arise and go they gait.” So hath the sun risen or no?; for I dare not budge from this place till then.” Asked the Wazir, “Who brought thee hither?”; and he answered “I came here yesternight for a call of nature and to do what none can do for me, when lo! a mouse came out of the water, and squeaked at me and swelled and waxed gross till it was big as a buffalo, and spoke to me words that entered my ears. Then he left me here and went away, Allah curse the bride and him who married me to her!” The Wazir walked up to him and lifted his head out of the cesspool hole; and he fared forth running for dear life and hardly crediting that the sun had risen; and repaired to the Sultan to whom he told all that had befallen him with the Ifrit. But the Wazir returned to the bride’s private chamber, sore troubled in spirit about her, and said to her, “O my daughter, explain this strange matter to me!” Quoth she, “Tis simply this. The bridegroom to whom they displayed me yestereve lay with me all night, and took my virginity and I am with child by him. He is my husband and if thou believe me not, there are his turband, twisted as it was, lying on the settle and his dagger and his trousers beneath the bed with a something, I wot not what, wrapped up in them.” When her father heard this he entered the private chamber and found the turband which had been left there by Badr al-Din Hasan, his brother’s son, and he took it in hand and turned it over, saying, “This is the turband worn by Wazirs, save that it is of Mosul stuff.” 1 So he opened it and, finding what seemed to be an amulet sewn up in the Fez, he unsewed the lining and took it out; then he lifted up the trousers wherein was the purse of the thousand gold pieces and, opening that also, found in it a written paper. This he read and it was the sale-receipt of the Jew in the name of Badr al-Din Hasan, son of Nur al-Din Ali, the Egyptian; and the thousand dinars were also there. No sooner had Shams al-Din read this than he cried out with a loud cry and fell to the ground fainting; and as soon as he revived and understood the gist of the matter he marvelled and said, “There is no God, but the God, who All-might is over all things! Knowest thou, O my daughter, who it was that became the husband of thy virginity?” “No,” answered she, and he said, “Verily he is the son of my brother, thy cousin, and this thousand dinars is thy dowry. Praise be to Allah! and would I wot how this matter came about!” then opened he the amulet which was sewn up and found therein a paper in the handwriting of his deceased brother, Nur al-Din the Egyptian, father of Badr al-Din Hasan; and, when he saw the hand-writing, he kissed it again and again; and he wept and wailed over his dead brother and improvised this lines:—

“I see their traces and with pain I melt,

And on their whilome homes I weep and yearn:

And Him I pray who dealt this parting-blow

Some day he deign vouchsafe a safe return.” 2

When he ceased versifying, he read the scroll and found in it recorded the dates of his brother’s marriage with the daughter of the Wazir of Bassorah, and of his going in to her, and her conception, and the birth of Badr al-Din Hasan and all his brother’s history and doings up to his dying day. So he marvelled much and shook with joy and, comparing the dates with his own marriage and going in to his wife and the birth of their daughter, Sitt al-Husn, he found that they perfectly agreed. So he took the document and, repairing with it to the Sultan, acquainted him with what had passed, from first to last; whereat the King marvelled and commanded the case to be at once recorded. 3 The Wazir abode that day expecting to see his brother’s son but he came not; and he waited a second day, a third day and so on to the seventh day, without any tidings of him. So he said, “By Allah, I will do a deed such as none hath ever done before me!”; and he took reed-pen and ink and drew upon a sheet of paper the plan of the whole house, showing whereabouts was the private chamber with the curtain in such a place and the furniture in such another and so on with all that was in the room. Then he folded up the sketch and, causing all the furniture to be collected, he took Badr al-Din’s garments and the turband and Fez and robe and purse, and carried the whole to his house and locked them up, against the coming of his nephew, Badr al-Din Hasan, the son of his lost brother, with an iron padlock on which he set his seal. As for the Wazir’s daughter, when her tale of months was fulfilled, she bare a son like the full moon, the image of his father in beauty and loveliness and fair proportions and perfect grace. They cut his navel-string 4 and Kohl’d his eyelids to strengthen his eyes, and gave him over to the nurses and nursery governesses, 5 naming him Ajib, the Wonderful. His day was as a month and his month was as a year; 6 and, when seven years had passed over him, his grandfather sent him to school, enjoining the master to teach him Koran-reading, and to educate him well. he remained at the school four years, till he began to bully his schoolfellows and abuse them and bash them and thrash them and say, “Who among you is like me? I am the son of Wazir of Egypt!” At last the boys came in a body to the Monitor 7 of what hard usage they were wont to have from Ajib, and he said to them, “I will tell you somewhat you may do to him so that he shall leave off coming to the school, and it is this. When he enters to-morrow, sit ye down about him and say some one of you to some other, ‘By Allah none shall play with us at this game except he tell us the names of his mamma and his papa; for he who knows not the names of his mother and his father is a bastard, a son of adultery, 8 and he shall not play with us.’” When morning dawned the boys came to school, Ajib being one of them, and all flocked around him saying, “We will play a game wherein none can join save he can tell the name of his mamma and his papa.” And they all cried, “By Allah, good!” Then quoth one of them, “My name is Majid and my mammy’s name is Alawiyah and my daddy’s Izz al-Din.” Another spoke in like guise and yet a third, till Ajid’s turn came, and he said, “my name is Ajib, and my mother’s is Sitt al-Husn, and my father’s Shams al-Din, the Wazir of Cairo.” “By Allah,” cried they, “the Wazir is not thy true father.” Ajib answered, “The Wazir is my father in very deed.” Then the boys all laughed and clapped their hands at him, saying “He does not know who is his papa: get out from among us, for none shall play with us except he know his father’s name.” Thereupon they dispersed from around him and laughed him to scorn; so his breast was straitened and he well nigh choked with tears and hurt feelings. Then said the Monitor to him, “We know that the Wazir is thy grandfather, the father of thy mother, Sitt al-Husn, and not thy father. As for thy father, neither dost thou know him nor yet do we; for the Sultan married thy mother to the hunchbacked horse-groom; but the Jinni came and slept with her and thou hast no known father. Leave, then, comparing thyself too advantageously with the little ones of the school, till thou know that thou hast a lawful father; for until then thou wilt pass for a child of adultery amongst them. Seest thou that not even a huckster’s son knoweth his own sire? Thy grandfather is the Wazir of Egypt; but as for thy father we wot him not and we way indeed that thou hast none. So return to thy sound senses!” When Ajib heard these insulting words from the Monitor and the school boys and understood the reproach they put upon him, he went out at once and ran to his mother, Sitt al-Husn, to complain; but he was crying so bitterly that his tears prevented his speech for a while. When she heard his sobs and saw his tears her heart burned as though with fire for him, and she said, “O my son, why dost thou weep? Allah keep the tears from thine eyes! Tell me what hath betided thee?” So he told her all that he heard from the boys and from the Monitor and ended with asking, “And who, O my mother, is my father?” She answered, “Thy father is the Wazir of Egypt;” but he said, “Do not lie to me. The Wazir is thy father, not mine! who then is my father? Except thou tell me the very truth I will kill myself with this hanger.” 9 When his mother heard him speak of his father she wept, remembering her cousin and her bridal night with him and all that occurred thereon and then, and she repeated these couplets:—

“Love in they heart they lit and went their ways,

And all I love to furthest lands withdrew;

And when they left me sufferance also left,

And when we parted Patience bade adieu:

They fled and flying with my joys they fled,

In very consistency my spirit flew:

They made my eyelids flow with severance tears

And to the parting-pang these drops are due:

And when I long to see reunion-day,

My groans prolonging sore for ruth I sue:

Then in my heart of hearts their shapes I trace,

And love and longing care and cark renew:

O ye, whose names cling round me like a cloak,

Whose love yet closer than a shirt I drew,

Beloved ones! how long this hard despite?

How long this severance and this coy shy flight?”

Then she wailed and shrieked aloud and her son did the like; and behold, in came the Wazir whose heart burnt within him at the sight of their lamentations, and he said, “What makes you weep?” So the Lady of Beauty acquainted him with what had happened between her son and the school boys; and he also wept, calling to mind his brother and what had past between them and what had betided his daughter and how he had failed to find out what mystery there was in the matter. Then he rose at once and, repairing to the audience-hall, went straight to the King and told his tale and craved his permission 10 to travel eastward to the city of Bassorah and ask after his brother’s son. Furthermore, he besought the Sultan to write for him letters patent, authorising him to seize upon Badr al-Din, his nephew and son-in-law, wheresoever he might find him. And he wept before the King, who had pity on him and wrote royal autographs to his deputies in all climes 11 and countries and cities; whereat the Wazir rejoiced and prayed for blessings on him. Then, taking leave of his Sovereign, he returned to his house, where he equipped himself and his daughter and his adopted child Ajib, with all things meet for a long march; and set out and travelled the first day and the second and the third and so forth till he arrived at Damascus-city. He found it a fair place abounding in trees and streams, even as the poet said of it:—

When I nighted and dayed in Damascus town,

Time sware such another he ne’er should view:

And careless we slept under wing of night,

Till dappled Morn ‘gan her smiles renew:

And dew-drops on branch in their beauty hung,

Like pearls to be dropt when the Zephyr blew:

And the Lake 12 was the page where birds read and note,

And the clouds set points to what breezes wrote.

The Wazir encamped on the open space called Al–Hasa; 13 and, after pitching tents, said to his servants, “A halt here for two days!” So they went into the city upon their several occasions, this to sell and this to buy; this to go to the Hammam and that to visit the Cathedral-mosque of the Banu Umayyah, the Ommiades, whose like is not in this world. 14 Ajib also went, with his attendant eunuch, for solace and diversion to the city and the servant followed with a quarter-staff 15 of almond-wood so heavy that if he struck a camel therewith the beast would never rise again. 16 When the people of Damascus saw Ajib’s beauty and brilliancy and perfect grace and symmetry (for he was a marvel of comeliness and winning loveliness, softer than the cool breeze of the North, sweeter than limpid waters to a man in drowth, and pleasanter than the health for which sick man sueth), a mighty many followed him, whilest others ran on before, and sat down on the road until he should come up, that they might gaze on him, till, as Destiny had decreed, the Eunuch stopped opposite the shop of Ajib’s father, Badr al-Din Hasan. Now his beard had grown long and thick and his wits had ripened during the twelve years which had passed over him, and the Cook and ex-rogue having died, the so-called Hasan of Bassorah had succeeded to his goods and shop, for that he had been formally adopted before the Kazi and witnesses. When his son and the Eunuch stepped before him he gazed on Ajib and, seeing how very beautiful he was, his heart fluttered and throbbed, and blood drew to blood and natural affection spake out and his bowels yearned over him. He had just dressed a conserve of pomegranate-grains with sugar, and Heaven-implanted love wrought within him; so he called to his son Ajib and said, “O my lord, O thou who hast gotten the mastery of my heart and my very vitals and to whom my bowels yearn; say me, wilt thou enter my house and solace my soul by eating of my meat?” Then his eyes streamed with tears which he could not stay, for he bethought him of what he had been and what he had become. When Ajib heard his father’s words his heart also yearned himwards and he looked at the Eunuch and said to him, “Of a truth, O my good guard, my heart yearns to this cook; he is as one that hath a son far away from him: so let us enter and gladden his heart by tasting of his hospitality. Perchance for our so doing Allah may reunite me with my father.” When the Eunuch heard these words he cried, “A fine thing this, by Allah! Shall the sons of Wazirs be seen eating in a common cook-shop? Indeed I keep off the folk from thee with this quarter-staff lest they even look upon thee; and I dare not suffer thee to enter this shop at all.” When Hasan of Bassorah heard his speech he marvelled and turned to the Eunuch with the tears pouring down his cheeks; and Ajib said, “Verily my heart loves him!” But he answered, “Leave this talk, thou shalt not go in.” Thereupon the father turned to the Eunuch and said, “O worthy sir, why wilt thou not gladden my soul by entering my shop? O thou who art like a chestnut, dark without but white of heart within! O thou of the like of whom a certain poet said ” The Eunuch burst out a-laughing and asked —“Said what? Speak out by Allah and be quick about it.” So Hasan the Bassorite began reciting these couplets:—

“If not master of manners or aught but discreet

In the household of Kings no trust could he take:

And then for the Harem! what Eunuch 17 is he

Whom angels would serve for his service sake.”

The Eunuch marvelled and was pleased at these words, so he took Ajib by the hand and went into the cook’s shop: whereupon Hasan the Bassorite ladled into a saucer some conserve of pomegranate-grains wonderfully good, dressed with almonds and sugar, saying, “You have honoured me with your company: eat then and health and happiness to you!” Thereupon Ajib said to his father, “Sit thee down and eat with us; so perchance Allah may unite us with him we long for.” Quoth Hasan, “O my son, hast thou then been afflicted in thy tender years with parting from those thou lovest?” Quoth Ajib, “Even so, O nuncle mine; my heart burns for the loss of a beloved one who is non other than my father; and indeed I come forth, I and my grandfather, 18 to circle and search the world for him. Oh, the pity of it, and how I long to meet him!” Then he wept with exceeding for his own bereavement, which recalled to him his long separation from dear friends and from his mother; and the Eunuch was moved to pity for him. Then they ate together till they were satisfied; and Ajib and the slave rose and left the shop. Hereat Hasan the Bassorite felt as though his soul had departed his body and had gone with them; for he could not lose sight of the boy during the twinkling of an eye, albeit he knew not that Ajib was his son. So he locked up his shop and hastened after them; and he walked so fast that he came up with them before they had gone out of the western gate. The Eunuch turned and asked him, “What ails the?”; and Badr al-Din answered, “When ye went from me, meseemed my soul had gone with you; and, as I had business without the city-gate, I purposed to bear you company till my matter was ordered and so return.” The Eunuch was angered and said to Ajib, “This is just what I feared! we ate that unlucky mouthful (which we are bound to respect), and here is the fellow following us from place to place; for the vulgar are ever the vulgar.” Ajib, turning and seeing the Cook just behind him, was wroth and his face reddened with rage and he said to the servant; “Let him walk the highway of the Moslems; but, when we turn off it to our tents, and find that he still follows us, we will send him about his business with a flea in his ear.” Then he bowed his head and walked on, the Eunuch walking behind him. But Hasan of Bassorah followed them to the plain Al–Hasa; and, as they drew near to the tents, they turned round and saw him close on their heels; so Ajib was very angry, fearing that the Eunuch might tell his grandfather what had happened. His indignation was the hotter for apprehension lest any say that after he had entered a cook-shop the cook had followed him. So he turned and looked at Hasan of Bassorah and found his eyes fixed on his own, for the father had become a body without a soul; and it seemed to Ajib that his eye was a treacherous eye or that he was some lewd fellow. So his rage redoubled and, stooping down, he took up a stone weighing half a pound and threw it at his father. It struck him on the forehead, cutting it open from eye-brow to eye-brow and causing the blood to stream down: and Hasan fell to the ground in a swoon whilst Ajib and the Eunuch made for the tents. When the father came to himself he wiped away the blood and tore off a strip from his turband and bound up his head, blaming himself the while, and saying, “I wronged the lad by shutting up my shop and following, so that he thought I was some evil-minded fellow.” Then he returned to his place where he busied himself with the sale of his sweetmeats; and he yearned after his mother at Bassorah, and wept over her and broke out repeating:—

“Unjust it were to bid the World 19 be just

And blame her not: She ne’er was made for justice:

Take what she gives thee, leave all grief aside,

For now to fair and then to foul her lust is.”

So Hasan of Bassorah set himself steadily to sell his sweetmeats; but the Wazir, his uncle, halted in Damascus three days and then marched upon Emesa, and passing through that town he made enquiry there and at every place where he rested. Thence he fared on by way of Hamah and Aleppo and thence to Diyar Bakr and Maridin and Mosul, still enquiring, till he arrived at Bassorah-city. Here, as soon as he had secured a lodging, he presented himself before the Sultan, who entreated him with high honour and the respect due to his rank, and asked the cause of his coming. The Wazir acquainted him with his history and told him that the Minister Nur al-Din was his brother; whereupon the Sultan exclaimed, “Allah have mercy upon him!” and added, “My good Sahib!” 20; he was my Wazir for fifteen years and I loved him exceedingly. Then he died leaving a son who abode only a single month after his father’s death; since which time he has disappeared and we could gain no tidings of him. But his mother, who is the daughter of my former Minister, is still among us.” When the Wazir Shams al-Din heard that his nephew’s mother was alive and well, he rejoiced and said, “O King I much desire to meet her.” The King on the instant gave him leave to visit her; so he betook himself to the mansion of his brother, Nur al-Din, and cast sorrowful glances on all things in and around it and kissed the threshold. Then he bethought him of his brother, Nur al-Din Ali, and how he had died in a strange land far from kith and kin and friends; and he wept and repeated these lines:—

“I wander ’mid these walls, my Layla’s walls,

And kissing this and other wall I roam:

‘Tis not the walls or roof my heart so loves,

But those who in this house had made their home.”

Then he passed through the gate into a courtyard and found a vaulted doorway builded of hardest syenite 21 inlaid with sundry kinds of multi-coloured marble. Into this he walked and wandered about the house and, throwing many a glance around, saw the name of his brother, Nur al-Din, written in gold wash upon the walls. So he went up to the inscription and kissed it and wept and thought of how he had been separated from his brother and had now lost him for ever, and he recited these couplets:—

“I ask of you from every rising sun,

And eke I ask when flasheth levenlight:

When I pass my nights in passion-pain,

Yet ne’er I ‘plain me of my painful plight;

My love! if longer last this parting throe

Little by little shall it waste my sprite.

An thou wouldst bless these eyne with sight of thee

One day on earth, I crave none other sight:

Think not another could possess my mind

Nor length nor breadth for other love I find.”

Then he walked on till he came to the apartment of his brother’s widow, the mother of Badr al-Din Hasan, the Egyptian. Now from the time of her son’s disappearance she had never ceased weeping and wailing through the light hours and the dark; and, when the years grew longsome with her, she built for him a tomb of marble in the midst of the saloon and there used to weep for him day and night, never sleeping save thereby. When the Wazir drew near her apartment, he heard her voice and stood behind the door while she addressed the sepulchre in verse and said:—

“Answer, by Allah! Sepulchre, are all his beauties gone?

Hath change the power to blight his charms, that Beauty’s paragon?

Thou art not earth, O Sepulchre! nor art thou sky to me;

How comes it, then, in thee I see conjoint the branch and moon?”

While she was bemoaning herself after this fashion, behold, the Wazir went in to her and saluted her and informed her that he was her husband’s brother; and, telling her all that had passed between them, laid open before her the whole story, how her son Badr al-Din Hasan had spent a whole night with his daughter full ten years ago but had disappeared in the morning. And he ended with saying, “My daughter conceived by thy son and bare a male child who is now with me, and he is thy son and thy son’s son by my daughter.” When she heard the tidings that her boy, Badr al-Din, was still alive and saw her brother-in-law, she rose up to him and threw herself at his feet and kissed them, reciting these lines:—

“Allah be good to him that gives glad tidings of thy steps;

In very sooth for better news mine ears would never sue:

Were he content with worn-out robe, upon his back I’d throw

A heart to pieces rent and torn when heard the word Adieu.”

Then the Wazir sent for Ajib and his grandmother stood up and fell on his neck and wept; but Shams al-Din said to her, “This is no time for weeping; this is the time to get thee ready for travelling with us to the land of Egypt; haply Allah will reunite me and thee with thy son and my nephew.” Replied she, “Hearkening and obedience;” and, rising at once, collected her baggage and treasures and her jewels, and equipped herself and her slave-girls for the march, whilst the Wazir went to take his leave of the Sultan of Bassorah, who sent by him presents and rarities for the Soldan of Egypt. Then he set out at once upon his homeward march and journeyed till he came to Damascus-city where he alighted in the usual place and pitched tents, and said to his suite, “We will halt a se’nnight here to buy presents and rare things for the Soldan.” Now Ajib bethought him of the past so he said to the Eunuch, “O Laik, I want a little diversion; come, let us go down to the great bazar of Damascus, 22 and see what hath become of the cook whose sweetmeats we ate and whose head we broke, for indeed he was kind to us and we entreated him scurvily.” The Eunuch answered, “Hearing is obeying!” So they went forth from the tents; and the tie of blood drew Ajib towards his father, and forthwith they passed through the gateway, Bab al-Faradis 23 hight, and entered the city and ceased not walking through the streets till they reached the cookshop, where they found Hasan of Bassorah standing at the door. It was near the time of mid-afternoon prayer 24 and it so fortuned that he had just dressed a confection of pomegranate-grains. When the twain drew near to him and Ajib saw him, his heart yearned towards him, and noticing the scar of the blow, which time had darkened on his brow, he said to him, “Peace be on thee, O man!” 25 know that my heart is with thee.” But when Badr al-Din looked upon his son his vitals yearned and his heart fluttered, and he hung his head earthwards and sought to make his tongue give utterance to his words, but he could not. Then he raised his head humbly and suppliant-wise towards his boy and repeated these couplets:—

“I longed for my beloved but when I saw his face,

Abashed I held my tongue and stood with downcast eye;

And hung my head in dread and would have hid my love,

But do whatso I would hidden it would not lie;

Volumes of plaints I had prepared, reproach and blame,

But when we met, no single word remembered I.”

And then said he to them, “Heal my broken heart and eat of my sweetmeats; for, by Allah, I cannot look at thee but my heart flutters. Indeed I should not have followed thee the other day, but that I was beside myself.” “By Allah,” answered Ajib, “thou dost indeed love us! We ate in thy house a mouthful when we were here before and thou madest us repent of it, for that thou followedst us and wouldst have disgraced us; so now we will not eat aught with thee save on condition that thou make oath not to go out after us nor dog us. Otherwise we will not visit thee again during our present stay; for we shall halt a week here, whilst my grandfather buys certain presents for the King.” Quoth Hasan of Bassorah, “I promise you this.” So Ajib and the Eunuch entered the shop, and his father set before them a saucer-full of conserve of pomegranate-grains. Said Ajib, “Sit thee down and eat with us, so haply shall Allah dispel our sorrows.” Hasan the Bassorite was joyful and sat down and ate with them; but his eyes kept gazing fixedly on Ajib’s face, for his very heart and vitals clove to him; and at last the boy said to him, “Did I not tell thee thou art a most noyous dotard?; so do stint thy staring in my face!” But when Hasan of Bassorah heard his son’s words he repeated these lines:—

“Thou hast some art the hearts of men to clip;

Close-veiled, far-hidden mystery dark and deep:

O thou whose beauties sham the lustrous moon,

Wherewith the saffron Morn fears rivalship!

Thy beauty is a shrine shall ne’er decay;

Whose signs shall grow until they all outstrip; 26

Must I be thirst-burnt by that Eden-brow

And die of pine to taste that Kausar-lip?” 27

Hasan kept putting morsels into Ajib’s mouth at one time and at another time did the same by the Eunuch and they ate till they were satisfied and could no more. Then all rose up and the cook poured water on their hands; 28 and, loosing a silken waist-shawl, dried them and sprinkled them with rose-water from a casting-bottle he had by him. Then he went out and presently returned with a gugglet of sherbet flavoured with rose-water, scented with musk and cooled with snow; and he set this before them saying, “Complete your kindness to me!” So Ajib took the gugglet and drank and passed it to the Eunuch; and it went round till their stomachs were full and they were surfeited with a meal larger than their wont. Then they went away and made haste in walking till they reached the tents, and Ajib went in to his grandmother, who kissed him and, thinking of her son, Badr al-Din Hasan, groaned aloud and wept and recited these lines:—

“I still had hoped to see thee and enjoy thy sight,

For in thine absence life has lost its kindly light:

I swear my vitals wot none other love but thine

By Allah, who can read the secrets of the sprite!”

Then she asked Ajib, “O my son! where hast thou been?”; and he answered, “In Damascus-city;” Whereupon she rose and set before him a bit of scone and a saucer of conserve of pomegranate-grains (which was too little sweetened), and she said to the Eunuch, “Sit down with thy master!” Said the servant to himself, “By Allah, we have no mind to eat: I cannot bear the smell of bread;” but he sat down and so did Ajib, though his stomach was full of what he had eaten already and drunken. Nevertheless he took a bit of the bread and dipped it in the pomegranate-conserve and made shift to eat it, but he found it too little sweetened, for he was cloyed and surfeited, so he said, “Faugh; what be this wild-beast 29 stuff?” “O my son,” cried his grandmother, “dost thou find fault with my cookery? I cooked this myself and none can cook it as nicely as I can save thy father, Badr al-Din Hasan.” “By Allah, O my lady, Ajib answered, “this dish is nasty stuff; for we saw but now in the city of Bassorah a cook who so dresseth pomegranate-grains that the very smell openeth a way to the heart and the taste would make a full man long to eat; and, as for this mess compared with his, ‘tis not worth either much or little.” When his grandmother heard his words she waxed wroth with exceeding wrath and looked at the servant — And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

1 This may mean either “it is of Mosul fashion” or, it is of muslin.

2 To the English reader these lines would appear the reverse of apposite; but Orientals have their own ways of application, and all allusions to Badawi partings are effective and affecting. The civilised poets of Arab cities throw the charm of the Desert over their verse by images borrowed from its scenery, the dromedary, the mirage and the well as naturally as certain of our bards who hated the country, babbled of purling rills, etc. thoroughly to feel Arabic poetry one must know the Desert (Pilgrimage iii., 63).

3 In those days the Arabs and the Portuguese recorded everything which struck them, as the Chinese and Japanese in our times. And yet we complain of the amount of our modern writing!

4 This is mentioned because it is the act preliminary to naming the babe.

5 Arab. “Kahramánát” from Kahramán, an old Persian hero who conversed with the Simurgh–Griffon. Usually the word is applied to women-at-arms who defend the Harem, like the Urdu-begani of India, whose services were lately offered to England (1885), or the “Amazons” of Dahome.

6 Meaning he grew as fast in one day as other children in a month.

7 Arab. Al–Aríf; the tutor, the assistant-master.

8 Arab. “Ibn harám,” a common term of abuse; and not a factual reflection on the parent. I have heard a mother apply the term to her own son.

9 Arab. “Khanjar” from the Persian, a syn. with the Arab. “Jambiyah.” It is noted in my Pilgrimage iii., pp. 72,75. To “silver the dagger” means to become a rich man. From “Khanjar,” not from its fringed loop or strap, I derive our silly word “hanger.” Dr. Steingass would connect it with Germ. Fänger, e.g. Hirschfänger.

10 Again we have “Dastur” for Izn.”

11 Arab. “Iklím”; the seven climates of Ptolemy.

12 Arab. “Al–Ghadir,” lit. a place where water sinks, a lowland: here the drainage-lakes east of Damascus into which the Baradah (Abana?) discharges. The higher eastern plain is “Al- Ghutah” before noticed.

13 The “Plain of Pebbles” still so termed at Damascus; an open space west of the city.

14 Every Guide-book, even the Reverend Porter’s “Murray,” gives a long account of this Christian Church ‘verted to a Mosque.

15 Arab. “Nabút”; Pilgrimage i. 336.

16 The Bres. Edit. says, “would have knocked him into Al-Yaman,” (Southern Arabia), something like our slang phrase “into the middle of next week.”

17 Arab. “Khádim”: lit. a servant, politely applied (like Aghá = master) to a castrato. These gentry wax furious if baldly called “Tawáshi” = Eunuch. A mauvais plaisant in Egypt used to call me The Agha because a friend had placed his wife under my charge.

18 This sounds absurd enough in English, but Easterns always put themselves first for respect.

19 In Arabic the World is feminine.

20 Arab. “Sáhib” = lit. a companion; also a friend and especially applied to the Companions of Mohammed. Hence the Sunnis claim for them the honour of “friendship” with the Apostle; but the Shia’hs reply that the Arab says “Sahaba-hu’l-himár” (the Ass was his Sahib or companion). In the text it is a Wazirial title, in modern India it is = gentleman, e.g. “Sahib log” (the Sahib people) means their white conquerors, who, by the by, mostly mispronounce the word “Sáb.”

21 Arab. “Suwán,” prop. Syenite, from Syene (Al–Suwan) but applied to flint and any hard stone.

22 It was famous in the middle ages, and even now it is, perhaps, the most interesting to travellers after that “Sentina Gentium,” the “Bhendi Bazar” of unromantic Bombay.

23 “The Gate of the Gardens,” in the northern wall, a Roman archway of the usual solid construction shaming not only our modern shams, but our finest masonry.

24 Arab. “Al–Asr,” which may mean either the hour or the prayer. It is also the moment at which the Guardian Angels relieve each other (Sale’s Koran, chapt. v.).

25 Arab. “Ya házá” = O this (one)! a somewhat slighting address equivalent to “Heus tu! O thou, whoever thou art.” Another form is “Yá hú” = O he! Can this have originated Swift’s “Yahoo”?

26 Alluding to the {Greek Letters} (“minor miracles which cause surprise”) performed by Saints’ tombs, the mildest form of thaumaturgy. One of them gravely recorded in the Dabistan (ii. 226) is that of the holy Jamen, who opened the Sámran or bead-bracelet from the arm of the beautiful Chistápá with member erect, “thus evincing his manly strength and his command over himself”(!)

27 The River of Paradise, a lieu commun of poets (Koran, chapt. cviii.): the water is whiter than milk or silver, sweeter than honey, smoother than cream, more odorous than musk; its banks are of chrysolite and it is drunk out of silver cups set around it thick as stars. Two pipes conduct it to the Prophet’s Pond which is an exact square, one month’s journey in compass. Kausar is spirituous like wine; Salsabil sweet like clarified honey; the Fount of Mildness is like milk and the Fount of Mercy like liquid crystal.

28 The Moslem does not use the European basin because water which has touched an impure skin becomes impure. Hence it is poured out from a ewer (“ibrík” Pers. Abríz) upon the hands and falls into a basin (“tisht”) with an open-worked cover.

29 Arab. “Wahsh,” a word of many meanings; nasty, insipid, savage, etc. The offside of a horse is called Wahshi opposed to Insi, the near side. The Amir Taymur (“Lord Iron”) whom Europeans unwittingly call after his Persian enemies’ nickname, “Tamerlane,” i.e. Taymur-I-lang, or limping Taymur, is still known as “Al–Wahsh” (the wild beast) at Damascus, where his Tartars used to bury men up to their necks and play at bowls with their heads for ninepins.

When it was the Twenty-fourth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Ajib’s grandmother heard his words, she waxed wroth and looked at the servant and said, “Woe to thee! dost thou spoil my son, 1 and dost take him into common cookshops?” The Eunuch was frightened and denied, saying, “We did not go into the shop; we only passed by it.” “By Allah,” cried Ajib, “but we did go in and we ate till it came out of our nostrils, and the dish was better than thy dish!” Then his grandmother rose and went and told her brother-in-law, who was incensed against the Eunuch, and sending for him asked him, “Why didst thou take my son into a cookshop?”; and the Eunuch being frightened answered, “We did not go in.” But Ajib said, “We did go inside and ate conserve of pomegranate-grains till we were full; and the cook gave us to drink of iced and sugared sherbet.” At this the Wazir’s indignation redoubled and he questioned the Castrato but, as he still denied, the Wazir said to him, “If thou speak sooth, sit down and eat before us.” So he came forward and tried to eat, but could not eat and threw away the mouthful crying “O my lord! I am surfeited since yesterday.” By this the Wazir was certified that he had eaten at the cook’s and bade the slaves throw him 2 which they did. Then they came down on him with a rib-basting which burned him till he cried for mercy and help from Allah, saying, “O my master, beat me no more and I will tell thee the truth;” whereupon the Wazir stopped the bastinado and said, “Now speak thou sooth.” Quoth the Eunuch, “Know then that we did enter the shop of a cook while he was dressing conserve of pomegranate-grains and he set some of it before us: by Allah! I never ate in my life its like, nor tasted aught nastier than this stuff which is now before us.”3 Badr al-Din Hasan’s mother was angry at this and said, “Needs thou must go back to the cook and bring me a saucer of conserved pomegranate-grains from that which is in his shop and who it to thy master, that he may say which be the better and the nicer, mine or his.” Said the unsexed, “I will.” So on the instant she gave him a saucer and a half dinar and he returned to the shop and said to the cook, “O Shaykh of all Cooks, 4 we have laid a wager concerning thy cookery in my lord’s house, for they have conserve of pomegranate-grains there also; so give me this half-dinar’s worth and look to it; for I have eaten a full meal of stick on account of thy cookery, and so do not let me eat aught more thereof.” Hasan of Bassorah laughed and answered, “By Allah, none can dress this dish as it should be dressed save myself and my mother, and she at this time is in a far country.” Then he ladled out a saucer-full; and, finishing it off with musk and rose-water, put it in a cloth which he sealed 5 and gave it to the Eunuch, who hastened back with it. No sooner had Badr al-Din Hasan’s mother tasted it and perceived its fine flavour and the excellence of the cookery, than she knew who had dressed it, and she screamed and fell down fainting. The Wazir, sorely started, sprinkled rose-water upon her and after a time she recovered and said, “If my son be yet of this world, none dressed this conserve of pomegranate-grains but he; and this Cook is my very son Badr al-Din Hasan; there is no doubt of it nor can there be any mistake, for only I and he knew how to prepare it and I taught him.” When the Wazir heard her words he joyed with exceeding joy and said, “O the longing of me for a sight of my brother’s son! I wonder if the days will ever unite us with him! Yet it is to Almighty Allah alone that we look for bringing about this meeting.” Then he rose without stay or delay and, going to his suite said to them, “Be off, some fifty of you with sticks and staves to the Cook’s shop and demolish it; then pinion his arms behind him with his own turband, saying, ‘It was thou madest that foul mess of pomegranate-grains!’ and drag him here perforce but without doing him a harm.” And they replied, “It is well.” Then the Wazir rode off without losing an instant to the Palace and, foregathering with the Viceroy of Damascus, showed him the Sultan’s orders. After careful perusal he kissed the letter, and placing it upon his head said to his visitor, “Who is this offender of thine?” Quoth the Wazir, “A man who is a cook.” So the Viceroy at once sent his apparitors to the shop; which they found demolished and everything in it broken to pieces; for whilst the Wazir was riding to the palace his men had done his bidding. Then they awaited his return from the audience, and Hasan of Bassorah who was their prisoner kept saying, “I wonder what they have found in the conserve of pomegranate-grains to bring things to this pass!” 6 When the Wazir returned to them, after his visit to the Viceroy who had given him formal permission to take up his debtor and depart with him, on entering the tents he called for the Cook. They brought him forward pinioned with his turband; and, when Badr al-Din Hasan saw his uncle, he wept with excessive weeping and said, “O my lord, what is my offence against thee?” “Art thou the man who dressed that conserve of pomegranate-grains?”; asked the Wazir, and he answered “Yes! didst thou find in it aught to call for the cutting off of my head?” Quoth the Wazir, “That were the least of thy deserts!” Quoth the cook, “O my lord, wilt thou not tell me my crime and what aileth the conserve of pomegranate-grains?” “Presently,” replied the Wazir and called aloud to his men, “Bring hither the camels.” So they struck the tents and by the Wazir’s orders the servants took Badr al-Din Hasan, and set him in a chest which they padlocked and put on a camel. Then they departed and stinted not journeying till nightfall, when they halted and ate some victual, and took Badr al-Din Hasan out of his chest and gave him a meal and locked him up again. They set out once more and travelled till they reached Kimrah, where they took him out of the box and brought him before the Wazir who asked him, “Art thou he who dressed that conserve of pomegranate-grains?” He answered “Yes, O my lord!”; and the Wazir said “Fetter him!” So they fettered him and returned him to the chest and fared on again till they reached Cairo and lighted at the quarter called Al–Raydaniyah.7 Then the Wazir gave order to take Badr al-Din Hasan out of the chest and sent for a carpenter and said to him, “Make me a cross of wood 8 for his fellow!” Cried Badr al-Din Hasan “And what wilt thou do with it?”; and the Wazir replied, “I mean to crucify thee thereon, and nail thee thereto and parade thee all about the city.” “And why wilt thou use me after this fashion?” “Because of thy villanous cookery of conserved pomegranate-grains; how durst thou dress it and sell it lacking pepper?” “And for that it lacked pepper wilt thou do all this to me? Is it not enough that thou hast broken my shop and smashed my gear and boxed me up in a chest and fed me only once a day?” “Too little pepper! too little pepper! this is a crime which can be expiated only upon the cross!” Then Badr al-Din Hasan marvelled and fell a-mourning for his life; whereupon the Wazir asked him, “Of what thinkest thou?”; and he answered him, “Of maggoty heads like thine; 9 for an thou had one ounce of sense thou hadst not treated me thus.” Quoth the Wazir, “It is our duty to punish thee lest thou do the like again.” Quoth Badr al-Din Hasan, “Of a truth my offense were over-punished by the least of what thou hast already done to me; and Allah damn all conserve of pomegranate-grains and curse the hour when I cooked it and would I had died ere this!” But the Wazir rejoined, “There is no help for it; I must crucify a man who sells conserve of pomegranate-grains lacking pepper.” All this time the carpenter was shaping the wood and Badr al-Din looked on; and thus they did till night, when his uncle took him and clapped him into the chest, saying, “The thing shall be done to-morrow!” Then he waited until he knew Badr al-Din “Hasan to be asleep, when he mounted; and taking the chest up before him, entered the city and rode on to his own house, where he alighted and said to his daughter, Sitt al-Husn, “Praised be Allah who hath reunited thee with thy husband, the son of thine uncle! Up now, and order the house as it was on thy bridal night.” So the servants arose and lit the candles; and the Wazir took out his plan of the nuptial chamber, and directed them what to do till they had set everything in its stead, so that whoever saw it would have no doubt but it was the very night of the marriage. Then he bade them put down Badr al-Din Hasan’s turband on the settle, as he had deposited it with his own hand, and in like manner his bag-trousers and the purse which were under the mattress: and told daughter to undress herself and go to bed in the private chamber as on her wedding-night, adding, “When the son of thine uncle comes in to thee, say to him:— Thou hast loitered while going to the privy; and call him to lie by thy side and keep him in converse till daybreak, when we will explain the whole matter to him.” Then he bade take Badr al-Din Hasan out of the chest, after loosing the fetters from his feet and stripping off all that was on him save the fine shirt of blue silk in which he had slept on his wedding-night; so that he was well-nigh naked and trouserless. All this was done whilst he was sleeping on utterly unconscious. Then, by doom of Destiny, Badr al-Din Hasan turned over and awoke; and, finding himself in a lighted vestibule, said to himself, “Surely I am in the mazes of some dream.” So he rose and went on to a little to an inner door and looked in and lo! he was in the very chamber wherein the bride had been displayed to him; and there he saw the bridal alcove and the settle and his turband and all his clothes. When he saw this he as confounded and kept advancing with one foot, and retiring with the other, saying, “Am I sleeping or waking?” And he began rubbing his forehead and saying (for indeed he was thoroughly astounded), “By Allah, verily this is the chamber of the bride who was displayed before me! Where am I then? I was surely but now in a box!” Whilst he was talking with himself, Sitt al-Husn suddenly lifted the corner of the chamber-curtain and said, “O my lord, wilt thou not come in? Indeed thou hast loitered long in the water-closet.” When he heard her words and saw her face he burst out laughing and said, “Of a truth this is a very nightmare among dreams!” Then he went in sighing, and pondered what had come to pass with him and was perplexed about his case, and his affair became yet more obscure to him when he saw his turband and bag-trousers and when, feeling the pocket, he found the purse containing the thousand gold pieces. So he stood still and muttered, “Allah is all knowing! Assuredly I am dreaming a wild waking dream!” Then said the Lady of Beauty to him, “What ails thee to look puzzled and perplexed?”; adding, “Thou wast a very different man during the first of the night!” He laughed and asked her, “How long have I been away from thee?”; and she answered him, “Allah preserve thee and His Holy Name be about thee! Thou didst but go out an hour ago for an occasion and return. Are thy wits clean gone?” When Badr al-Din Hasan heard this, he laughed, 10 and said, “Thou hast spoken truth; but, when I went out from thee, I forgot myself awhile in the draught-house and dreamed that I was a cook at Damascus and abode there ten years; and there came to me a boy who was of the sons of the great, and with him an Eunuch.” Here he passed his hand over his forehead and, feeling the scar, cried, “By Allah, O my lady, it must have been true, for he struck my forehead with a stone and cut it open from eye-brow to eye-brow; and here is the mark: so it must have been on wake.” Then he added, “But perhaps I dreamt it when we fell asleep, I and thou, in each other’s arms, for meseems it was as though I travelled to Damascus without tarbush and trousers and set up as a cook there.” Then he was perplexed and considered for awhile, and said, “By Allah, I also fancied that I dressed a conserve of pomegranate-grains and put too little pepper in it. By Allah, I must have slept in the numerocent and have seen the whole thing in a dream; but how long was that dream!” “Allah upon thee,” said Sitt al-Husn, “and what more sawest thou?” So he related all to her; and presently said, “By Allah had I not woke up they would have nailed me to a cross of wood!” “Wherefore?” asked she; and he answered, “For putting too little pepper in the conserve of pomegranate-grains, and meseemed they demolished my shop and dashed to pieces my pots and pans, destroyed all my stuff and put me in a box; they then sent for the carpenter to fashion a cross for me and would have crucified me thereon. Now Alhamdolillah! thanks be to Allah, for that all this happened to me in sleep, and not on wake.” Sitt al-Husn laughed and clasped him to her bosom and he her to his: then he thought again and said, “By Allah, it could not be save while I was awake: truly I know not what to think of it.” Then he lay him down and all the night he was bewildered about his case, now saying, “I was dreaming!” and then saying, “I was awake!”, till morning, when his uncle Shams al-Din, the Wazir, came to him and saluted him. When Badr al-Din Hasan saw him he said, “By Allah, art thou not he who bade bind my hands behind me and smash my shop and nail me to a cross on a matter of conserved pomegranate-grains because the dish lacked a sufficiency of pepper?” Whereupon the Wazir said to him, “Know, O my son, that truth hath shown it soothfast and the concealed hath been revealed! 11 Thou art the son of my brother, and I did all this with thee to certify myself that thou wast indeed he who went in unto my daughter that night. I could not be sure of this, till I saw that thou knewest the chamber and thy turband and thy trousers and thy gold and the papers in thy writing and in that of thy father, my brother; for I had never seen thee afore that and knew thee not; and as to thy mother I have prevailed upon her to come with me from Bassorah.” So saying, he threw himself on his nephew’s breast and wept for joy; and Badr al-Din Hasan, hearing these words from his uncle, marvelled with exceeding marvel and fell on his neck and also shed tears for excess of delight. Then said the Wazir to him, “O my son, the sole cause of all this is what passed between me and thy sire;” and all that had occurred to part them. Lastly the Wazir sent for Ajib; and when his father saw him he cried, “And this is he who struck me with the stone!” Quoth the Wazir, “This is thy son!” And Badr al-Din Hasan threw himself upon his boy and began repeating:—

“Long have I wept o’er severance ban and bane,

Long from mine eyelids tear-rills rail and rain:

And vowed I if Time re-union bring

My tongue from name of “Severance” I’ll restrain:

Joy hath o’ercome me to this stress that I

From joy’s revulsion to shed tears am fain:

Ye are so trained to tears, O eyne of me!

You weep with pleasure as you weep with pain.” 12

When he had ended his verse his mother came in and threw herself upon him and began reciting:—

“When we met we complained,

Our hearts were sore wrung:

But plaint is not pleasant

Fro’ messenger’s tongue.”

Then she wept and related to him what had befallen her since his departure, and he told her what he had suffered, and they thanked Allah Almighty for their reunion. Two days after his arrival the Wazir Shams al-din went in to the Sultan and, kissing the ground between his hands, greeted him with the greeting due to Kings. The Sultan rejoiced at his return and his face brightened and, placing him hard by his side, 13 asked him to relate all he had seen in his wayfaring and whatso had betided him in his going and coming. So the Wazir told him all that had passed from first to last and the Sultan said, “Thanks be to Allah for thy victory 14 and the winning of thy wish and thy safe return to thy children and thy people! And now I needs must see the son of thy brother, Hasan of Bassorah, so bring him to the audience-hall to-morrow.” Shams al-Din replied, “Thy slave shall stand in thy presence to-morrow, Inshallah, if it be God’s will.” Then he saluted him and, returning to his own house, informed his nephew of the Sultan’s desire to see him, whereto replied Hasan, whilome the Bassorite, “The slave is obedient to the orders of his lord.” And the result was that next day he accompanied his uncle, Shams al-Din, to the Divan; and, after saluting the Sultan and doing him reverence in most ceremonious obeisance and with most courtly obsequiousness, he began improvising these verses:—

“The first in rank to kiss the ground shall deign

Before you, and all ends and aims attain:

You are Honour’s fount; and all that hope of you,

Shall gain more honour than Hope hoped to gain.”

The Sultan smiled and signed to him to sit down. So he took a seat close to his uncle, Shams al-Din, and the King asked him his name. Quoth Badr al-Din Hasan, “The meanest of thy slaves is known as Hasan the Bassorite, who is instant in prayer for thee day and night.” The Sultan was pleased at his words and, being minded to test his learning and prove his good breeding, asked him, “Dost thou remember any verses in praise of the mole on the cheek?” He answered, “I do,” and began reciting:—

“When I think of my love and our parting-smart,

My groans go forth and my tears upstart:

He’s a mole that reminds me in colour and charms

O’ the black o’ the eye and the grain 15 of the heart.”

The King admired and praised the two couplets and said to him, “Quote something else; Allah bless thy sire and may thy tongue never tire!” So he began:—

“That cheek-mole’s spot they evened with a grain

Of musk, nor did they here the simile strain:

Nay, marvel at the face comprising all

Beauty, nor falling short by single grain.”

The King shook with pleasure 16 and said to him, “Say more: Allah bless thy days!” So he began:—

“O you whose mole on cheek enthroned recalls

A dot of musk upon a stone of ruby,

Grant me your favours! Be not stone at heart!

Core of my heart whose only sustenance you be!”

Quoth the King, “Fair comparison, O Hasan! 17 thou hast spoken excellently well and hast proved thyself accomplished in every accomplishment! Now explain to me how many meanings be there in the Arabic language 18 for the word Khal or mole.” He replied, “Allah keep the King! Seven and fifty and some by tradition say fifty.” Said the Sultan, “Thou sayest sooth,” presently adding, “Hast thou knowledge as to the points of excellence in beauty?” “Yes,” answered Badr al-Din Hasan, “Beauty consisteth in brightness of face, clearness of complexion, shapeliness of nose, gentleness of eyes, sweetness of mouth, cleverness of speech, slenderness of shape and seemliness of all attributes. But the acme of beauty is in the hair and, indeed, al-Shihab the Hijazi hath brought together all these items in his doggrel verse of the metre Rajaz, 19 and it is this:

Say thou to skin “Be soft,” to face “Be fair,”

And gaze, nor shall they blame howso thou stare:

Fine nose in Beauty’s list is high esteemed;

Nor less an eye full, bright and debonnair:

Eke did they well to laud the lovely lips

(Which e’en the sleep of me will never spare);

A winning tongue, a stature tall and straight; 20

A seemly union of gifts rarest rare:

But Beauty’s acme in the hair one views it;

So hear my strain and with some few excuse it!”

The Sultan was captivated by his converse and, regarding him as a friend, asked, “What meaning is there in the saw ‘Shurayh is foxier than the fox’?” And he answered, “Know, O King (whom Almighty Allah keep!) that the legist Shurayh 21 was wont, during the days of the plague, to make a visitation to Al–Najaf; and, whenever he stood up to pray, there came a fox which would plant himself facing him and which, by mimicking his movements, distracted him from his devotions. Now when this became longsome to him, one day he doffed his shirt and set it upon a cane and shook out the sleeves; then placing his turband on the top and girding its middle with a shawl, he stuck it up in the place where he used to pray. Presently up trotted the fox according to his custom and stood over against the figure, whereupon Shurayh came behind him, and took him. Hence the sayer saith, ‘Shurayh foxier than the fox.’” When the Sultan heard Badr al-Din Hasan’s explanation he said to his uncle, Shams al-Din, “Truly this the son of thy brother is perfect in courtly breeding and I do not think that his like can be found in Cairo.” At this Hasan arose and kissed the ground before him and sat down again as a Mameluke should sit before his master. When the Sultan had thus assured himself of his courtly breeding and bearing and his knowledge of the liberal arts and belles-lettres, he joyed with exceeding joy and invested him with a splendid robe of honour and promoted him to an office whereby he might better his condition. 22 Then Badr al-Din Hasan arose and, kissing the ground before the King, wished him continuance of glory and asked leave to retire with his uncle, the Wazir Shams al-Din. The Sultan gave him leave and he issued forth and the two returned home, where food was set before them and they ate what Allah had given them. After finishing his meal Hasan repaired to the sitting-chamber of his wife, the Lady of Beauty, and told her what had past between him and the Sultan; whereupon quoth she, “He cannot fail to make thee a cup-companion and give thee largess in excess and load thee with favours and bounties; so shalt thou, by Allah’s blessing, dispread, like the greater light, the rays of thy perfection wherever thou be, on shore or on sea.” Said he to her, “I purpose to recite a Kasidah, an ode, in his praise, that he may redouble in affection for me.” “Thou art right in thine intent,” she answered, “so gather thy wits together and weigh thy words, and I shall surely see my husband favoured with his highest favour.” Thereupon Hasan shut himself up and composed these couplets on a solid base and abounding in inner grace and copies them out in a hand-writing of the nicest taste. They are as follows:—

Mine is a Chief who reached most haught estate,

Treading the pathways of the good and great:

His justice makes all regions safe and sure,

And against froward foes bars every gate:

Bold lion, hero, saint, e’en if you call

Seraph or Sovran 23 he with all may rate!

The poorest supplicant rich from him returns,

All words to praise him were inadequate.

He to the day of peace is saffron Morn,

And murky Night in furious warfare’s bate.

Bow ‘neath his gifts our necks, and by his deeds

As King of freeborn 24 souls he ‘joys his state:

Allah increase for us his term of years,

And from his lot avert all risks and fears!

When he had finished transcribing the lines, he despatched them, in charge of one of his uncle’s slaves, to the Sultan, who perused them and his fancy was pleased; so he read them to those present and all praised them with the highest praise. Thereupon he sent for the writer to his sitting-chamber and said to him, “Thou art from this day forth my boon-companion and I appoint to thee a monthly solde of a thousand dirhams, over and above that I bestowed on thee aforetime.” So Hasan rose and, kissing the ground before the King several times, prayed for the continuance of his greatness and glory and length of life and strength. Thus Badr al-Din Hasan the Bassorite waxed high in honour and his fame flew forth to many regions and he abode in all comfort and solace and delight of life with his uncle and his own folk till Death overtook him. When the Caliph Harun al-Rashid heard this story from the mouth of his Wazir, Ja’afar the Barmecide, he marvelled much and said, “It behoves that these stories be written in letters of liquid gold.” Then he set the slave at liberty and assigned to the youth who had slain his wife such a monthly stipend as sufficed to make his life easy; he also gave him a concubine from amongst his own slave-girls and the young man became one of his cup-companions. “Yet this story,” (continued Shahrazad) “is in no wise stranger than the tale of the Tailor and the Hunchback and the Jew and the Reeve and the Nazarene, and what betided them.” Quoth the King, “And what may that be?” So Shahrazad began, in these words,25

1 For “grandson” as being more affectionate. Easterns have not yet learned that clever Western saying:— The enemies of our enemies are our friends.

2 This was a simple bastinado on the back, not the more ceremonious affair of beating the feet-soles. But it is surprising what the Egyptians can bear; some of the rods used in the time of the Mameluke Beys are nearly as thick as a man’s wrist.

3 The woman-like spite of the eunuch intended to hurt the grandmother’s feelings.

4 The usual Cairene “chaff.”

5 A necessary precaution against poison (Pilgrimage i. 84, and iii. 43).

6 The Bresl. Edit. (ii. 108) describes the scene at greater length.

7 The Bul. Edit. gives by mistake of diacritical points, “Zabdaniyah:” Raydaniyah is or rather was a camping ground to the North of Cairo.

8 Arab. “La’abat” = a plaything, a puppet, a lay figure. Lane (i. 326) conjectures that the cross is so called because it resembles a man with arms extended. But Moslems never heard of the fanciful ideas of mediæval Christian divines who saw the cross everywhere and in everything. The former hold that Pharaoh invented the painful and ignominious punishment. (Koran, chapt. vii.).

9 Here good blood, driven to bay, speaks out boldly. But, as a rule, the humblest and mildest Eastern when in despair turns round upon his oppressors like a wild cat. Some of the criminals whom Fath Ali Shah of Persia put to death by chopping down the fork, beginning at the scrotum, abused his mother till the knife reached their vitals and they could no longer speak.

10 These repeated “laughs” prove the trouble of his spirit. Noble Arabs “show their back-teeth” so rarely that their laughter is held worthy of being recorded by their biographers.

11 A popular phrase, derived from the Koranic “Truth is come, and falsehood is vanished: for falsehood is of short continuance” (chapt. xvii.). It is an equivalent of our adaptation from 1 Esdras iv. 41, “Magna est veritas et prævalebit.” But the great question still remains, What is Truth?

12 In Night lxxv. these lines will occur with variants.

13 This is always mentioned: the nearer seat the higher the honour.

14 Alluding to the phrase “Al-safar zafar” = voyaging is victory (Pilgrimage i., 127).

15 Arab. “Habb;” alluding to the black drop in the human heart which the Archangel Gabriel removed from Mohammed by opening his breast.

16 This phrase, I have said, often occurs: it alludes to the horripilation (Arab. Kush’arírah), horror or gooseflesh which, in Arab as in Hindu fables, is a symptom of great joy. So Boccaccio’s “pelo arriciato” v., 8: Germ. Gänsehaut.

17 Arab. “Hasanta ya Hasan” = Bene detto, Benedetto! the usual word-play vulgarly called “pun”: Hasan (not Hassan, as we will write it) meaning “beautiful.”

18 Arab. “Loghah” also = a vocabulary, a dictionary; the Arabs had them by camel-loads.

19 The seventh of the sixteen “Bahr” (metres) in Arabic prosody; the easiest because allowing the most license and, consequently, a favourite for didactic, homiletic and gnomic themes. It means literally “agitated” and was originally applied to the rude song of the Cameleer. De Sacy calls this doggrel “the poet’s ass” (Torrens, Notes xxvi.). It was the only metre in which Mohammed the Apostle ever spoke: he was no poet (Koran xxxvi., 69) but he occasionally recited a verse and recited it wrongly (Dabistan iii., 212). In Persian prosody Rajaz is the seventh of nineteen and has six distinct varieties (pp. 79–81), “Gladwin’s Dissertations on Rhetoric,” etc. Calcutta, 1801). I shall have more to say about it in the Terminal Essay.

20 “Her stature tall — I hate a dumpy woman” (Don Juan).

21 A worthy who was Kazi of Kufah (Cufa) in the seventh century. Al–Najaf, generally entitled “Najaf al-Ashraf” (the Venerand) is the place where Ali, the son-in-law of Mohammed, lies or is supposed to lie buried, and has ever been a holy place to the Shi’ahs. I am not certain whether to translate “Sa’alab” by fox or jackal; the Arabs make scant distinction between them. “Abu Hosayn” (Father of the Fortlet) is certainly the fox, and as certainly “Sha’arhar” is the jackal from the Pehlevi Shagál or Shaghál.

22 Usually by all manner of extortions and robbery, corruption and bribery, the ruler’s motto being

Fiat injustitia ruat Cœlum.

There is no more honest man than the Turkish peasant or the private soldier; but the process of deterioration begins when he is made a corporal and culminates in the Pasha. Moreover official dishonesty is permitted by public opinion, because it belongs to the condition of society. A man buys a place (as in England two centuries ago) and retains it by presents to the heads of offices. Consequently he must recoup himself in some way, and he mostly does so by grinding the faces of the poor and by spoiling the widow and the orphan. The radical cure is high pay; but that phase of society refuses to afford it.

23 Arab. “Malik” (King) and “Malak” (angel) the words being written the same when lacking vowels and justifying the jingle.

24 Arab. “Hurr”; the Latin “ingenuus,” lit. freeborn; metaph. noble as opp. to a slave who is not expected to do great or good deeds. In pop. use it corresponds, like “Fatá,” with our “gentleman.”

25 This is one of the best tales for humour and movement, and Douce and Madden show what a rich crop of fabliaux, whose leading incident was the disposal of a dead body, it produced.

The Hunchback’s Tale.

It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that there dwelt during times of yore, and years and ages long gone before, in a certain city of China,1 a Tailor who was an open handed man that loved pleasuring and merry making; and who was wont, he and his wife, to solace themselves from time to time with public diversions and amusements. One day they went out with the first of the light and were returning in the evening when they fell in with a Hunchback, whose semblance would draw a laugh from care and dispel the horrors of despair. So they went up to enjoy looking at him and invited him to go home with them and converse and carouse with them that night. He consented and accompanied them afoot to their home; whereupon the Tailor fared forth to the bazaar (night having just set in) and bought a fried fish and bread and lemons and dry sweetmeats for dessert; and set the victuals before the Hunchback and they ate. Presently the Tailor’s wife took a great fid of fish and gave it in a gobbet to the Gobbo, stopping his mouth with her hand and saying, “By Allah, thou must down with it at a single gulp; and I will not give thee time to chew it.” So he bolted it; but therein was a stiff bone which stuck in his gullet and, his hour being come, he died. — And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

1 Other editions read, “at Bassorah” and the Bresl. (ii. 123) “at Bassorah and Kájkár” (Káshghár): somewhat like in Dover and Sebastopol. I prefer China because further off and making the improbabilities more notable.

When it was the Twenty-fifth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the Tailor’s wife gave the Hunchback that mouthful of fish which ended his term of days he died on the instant. Seeing this the Tailor cried aloud, “There is no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah! Alas, that this poor wretch should have died in so foolish fashion at our hands!” and the woman rejoined, “Why this idle talk? Hast thou not heard his saying who said:—

Why then waste I my time in grief, until

I find no friend to bear my weight of woe

How sleep upon a fire that flames unquenched?

Upon the flames to rest were hard enow!”

Asked her husband, “And what shall I do with him?”; and she answered, “Rise and take him in thine arms and spread a silken kerchief over him; then I will fare forth, with thee following me this very night and if thou meet any one say, ‘This is my son, and his mother and I are carrying him to the doctor that he may look at him.’” So he rose and taking the Hunchback in his arms bore him along the streets, preceded by his wife who kept crying, “O my son, Allah keep thee! what part paineth thee and where hath this small-pox1 attacked thee?” So all who saw them said “’Tis a child sick of small-pox.” 2 They went along asking for the physician’s house till folk directed them to that of a leach which was a Jew. They knocked at the door, and there came down to them a black slave girl who opened and, seeing a man bearing a babe, and a woman with him, said to them, “What is the matter?” “We have a little one with us,” answered the Tailor’s wife, “and we wish to show him to the physician: so take this quarter dinar and give it to thy master and let him come down and see my son who is sore sick.” The girl went up to tell her master, whereupon the Tailor’s wife walked into the vestibule and said to her husband, “Leave the Hunchback here and let us fly for our lives.” So the Tailor carried the dead man to the top of the stairs and propped him upright against the wall and ran away, he and his wife. Meanwhile the girl went in to the Jew and said to him, “At the door are a man and a woman with a sick child and they have given me a quarter dinar for thee, that thou mayest go down and look at the little one and prescribe for it.” As soon as the Jew saw the quarter dinar he rejoiced and rose quickly in his greed of gain and went forth hurriedly in the dark; but hardly had he made a step when he stumbled on the corpse and threw it over, when it rolled to the bottom of the staircase. So he cried out to the girl to hurry up with the light, and she brought it, whereupon he went down and examining the Hunchback found that he was stone dead. So he cried out, “O for Esdras!3 O for Moses! O for Aaron! O for Joshua, son of Nun! O the Ten Commandments! I have stumbled against the sick one and he hath fallen downstairs and he is dead! How shall I get this man I have killed out of my house? O by the hoofs of the ass of Esdras!” Then he took up the body and, carrying it into the house, told his wife what had happened and she said to him, “Why dost thou sit still? If thou keep him here till day break we shall both lose our lives. Let us two carry him to the terrace roof and throw him over into the house of our neighbour, the Moslem, for if he abide there a night the dogs will come down on him from the adjoining terraces and eat him up.” Now his neighbour was a Reeve, the controller of the Sultan’s kitchen, and was wont to bring back great store of oil and fat and broken meats; but the cats and rats used to eat it, or, if the dogs scented a fat sheep’s tail they would come down from the nearest roofs and tear at it; and on this wise the beasts had already damaged much of what he brought home. So the Jew and his wife carried the Hunchback up to the roof; and, letting him down by his hands and feet through the wind-shaft4 into the Reeve’s house, propped him up against the wall and went their ways. Hardly had they done this when the Reeve, who had been passing an evening with his friends hearing a recitation of the Koran, came home and opened the door and, going up with a lighted candle, found a son of Adam standing in the corner under the ventilator. When he saw this, he said, “Wah! by Allah, very good forsooth! He who robbeth my stuff is none other than a man.” Then he turned to the Hunchback and said, “So ’tis thou that stealest the meat and the fat! I thought it was the cats and dogs, and I kill the dogs and cats of the quarter and sin against them by killing them. And all the while ’tis thou comest down from the house terrace through the wind shaft. But I will avenge myself upon thee with my own hand!” So he snatched up a heavy hammer and set upon him and smote him full on the breast and he fell down. Then he examined him and, finding that he was dead, cried out in horror, thinking that he had killed him, and said, “There is no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great!” And he feared for his life, and added “Allah curse the oil and the meat and the grease and the sheep’s tails to boot! How hath fate given this man his quietus at my hand!” Then he looked at the body and seeing it was that of a Gobbo, said, “Was it not enough for thee to be a hunchback,5 but thou must likewise be a thief and prig flesh and fat! O thou Veiler,6 deign to veil me with Thy curtain of concealment!” So he took him up on his shoulders and, going forth with him from his house about the latter end of the night, carried him to the nearest end of the bazaar, where he set him up on his feet against the wall of a shop at the head of a dark lane, and left him and went away. After a while up came a Nazarene,7 the Sultan’s broker who, much bemused with liquor, was purposing for the Hammam bath as his drunkenness whispered in his ear, “Verily the call to matins8 is nigh.” He came plodding along and staggering about till he drew near the Hunchback and squatted down to make water9 over against him; when he happened to glance around and saw a man standing against the wall. Now some person had snatched off the Christian’s turband10 in the first of the night; so when he saw the Hunchback hard by he fancied that he also meant to steal his headdress. Thereupon he clenched his fist and struck him on the neck, felling him to the ground, and called aloud to the watchman of the bazaar, and came down on the body in his drunken fury and kept on belabouring and throttling the corpse. Presently the Charley came up and, finding a Nazarene kneeling on a Moslem and frapping him, asked, “What harm hath this one done?”; and the Broker answered, “The fellow meant to snatch off my turband.” “Get up from him,” quoth the watch man. So he arose and the Charley went up to the Hunchback and finding him dead, exclaimed, “By Allah, good indeed! A Christian killing a Mahometan!” Then he seized the Broker and, tying his hands behind his back, carried him to the Governor’s house,11 and all the while the Nazarene kept saying to himself, “O Messiah! O Virgin! how came I to kill this fellow? And in what a hurry he must have been to depart this life when he died of a single blow!” Presently, as his drunkenness fled, came dolour in its stead. So the Broker and the body were kept in the Governor’s place till morning morrowed, when the Wali came out and gave order to hang the supposed murderer and commanded the executioner12 make proclamation of the sentence. Forthwith they set up a gallows under which they made the Nazarene stand and the torch bearer, who was hangman, threw the rope round his neck and passed one end through the pulley, and was about to hoist him up13 when lo! the Reeve, who was passing by, saw the Broker about to be hanged; and, making his way through the people, cried out to the executioner, “Hold! Hold! I am he who killed the Hunchback!” Asked the Governor, “What made thee kill him?”; and he answered, “I went home last night and there found this man who had come down the ventilator to steal my property; so I smote him with a hammer on the breast and he died forthright. Then I took him up and carried him to the bazaar and set him up against the wall in such a place near such a lane;” adding, “Is it not enough for me to have killed a Moslem without also killing a Christian? So hang none other but me.” When the Governor heard these words he released the Broker and said to the torch bearer, “Hang up this man on his own confession.” So he loosed the cord from the Nazarene’s neck and threw it round that of the Reeve and, making him stand under the gallows tree, was about to string him up when behold, the Jewish physician pushed through the people and shouted to the executioner, “Hold! Hold! It was I and none else killed the Hunchback! Last night I was sitting at home when a man and a woman knocked at the door carrying this Gobbo who was sick, and gave my handmaid a quarter dinar, bidding her hand me the fee and tell me to come down and see him. Whilst she was gone the man and the woman brought him into the house and, setting him on the stairs, went away; and presently I came down and not seeing him, for I was in the dark, stumbled over him and he fell to the foot of the staircase and died on the moment. Then we took him up, I and my wife, and carried him on to the top terrace; and, the house of this Reeve being next door to mine, we let the body down through the ventilator. When he came home and found the Hunchback in his house, he fancied he was a thief and struck him with a hammer, so that he fell to the ground, and our neighbour made certain that he had slain him. Now is it not enough for me to have killed one Moslem unwittingly, without burdening myself with taking the life of another Moslem wittingly?” When the Governor heard this he said to the hangman, “Set free the Reeve and hang the Jew.” Thereupon the torch bearer took him and slung the cord round his neck when behold, the Tailor pushed through the people, and shouted to the executioner, “Hold! Hold! It was I and none else killed the Hunchback; and this was the fashion thereof. I had been out a pleasuring yesterday and, coming back to supper, fell in with this Gobbo, who was drunk and drumming away and singing lustily to his tambourine. So I accosted him and carried him to my house and bought a fish, and we sat down to eat. Presently my wife took a fid of fish and, making a gobbet of it,14 crammed it into his mouth; but some of it went down the wrong way or stuck in his gullet and he died on the instant. So we lifted him up, I and my wife, and carried him to the Jew’s house where the slave girl came down and opened the door to us and I said to her, ‘Tell thy master that there are a man and a woman and a sick person for thee to see!’ I gave her a quarter dinar and she went up to tell her master; and, whilst she was gone, I carried the Hunchback to the head of the staircase and propped him up against the wall, and went off with my wife. When the Jew came down he stumbled over him and thought that he had killed him.” Then he asked the Jew, “Is this the truth?”; and the Jew answered, “Yes.” Thereupon the Tailor turned to the Governor, and said, “Leave go the Jew and hang me.” When the Governor heard the Tailor’s tale he marvelled at the matter of this Hunchback and exclaimed. “Verily this is an adventure which should be recorded in books!” Then he said to the hangman, “Let the Jew go and hang the Tailor on his own confession.” The executioner took the Tailor and put the rope around his neck and said, “I am tired of such slow work: we bring out this one and change him for that other, and no one is hanged after all!” Now the Hunchback in question was, they relate, jester to the Sultan of China who could not bear him out of his sight; so when the fellow got drunk and did not make his appearance that night or the next day till noon, the Sultan asked some of his courtiers about him and they answered, “O our lord, the Governor hath come upon him dead and hath ordered his murderer to be hanged; but, as the hangman was about to hoist him up there came a second and a third and a fourth and each one said, ‘It is I, and none else killed the Hunchback!’ and each gave a full and circumstantial account of the manner of the jester being killed.” When the King heard this he cried aloud to the Chamberlain in waiting, “Go down to the Governor and bring me all four of them.” So the Chamberlain went down at once to the place of execution, where he found the torch bearer on the point of hanging the Tailor and shouted to him, “Hold! Hold!” Then he gave the King’s command to the Governor who took the Tailor, the Jew, the Nazarene and the Reeve (the Hunchback’s body being borne on men’s shoulders) and went up with one and all of them to the King. When he came into the presence, he kissed the ground and acquainted the ruler with the whole story which it is needless to relate for, as they say, There is no avail in a thrice told tale. The Sultan hearing it marvelled and was moved to mirth and commanded the story to be written in letters of liquid gold, saying to those present, “Did ye ever hear a more wondrous tale than that of my Hunchback?” Thereupon the Nazarene broker came forward and said, “O King of the age, with thy leave I will tell thee a thing which happened to myself and which is still more wondrous and marvellous and pleasurable and delectable than the tale of the Hunchback.” Quoth the King “Tell us what thou hast to say!” So he began in these words

1 Arab. “Judri,” lit. “small stones” from the hard gravelly feeling of the pustules (Rodwell, p. 20). The disease is generally supposed to be the growth of Central Africa where it is still a plague and passed over to Arabia about the birth-time of Mohammed. Thus is usually explained the “war of the elephant” (Koran, chaps. cv.) when the Abyssinian army of Abrahah, the Christian, was destroyed by swallows (Abábíl which Major Price makes the plural of Abilah = a vesicle) which dropped upon them “stones of baked clay,” like vetches (Pilgrimage ii. 175). See for details Sale (in loco) who seems to accept the miraculous defence of the Ka’abah. For the horrors of small-pox in Central Intertropical Africa the inoculation, known also to the Badawin of Al–Hijáz and other details, readers will consult “The Lake Regions of Central Africa” (ii. 318). The Hindus “take the bull by the horns” and boldly make “Sítlá” (small-pox) a goddess, an incarnation of Bhawáni, deëss of destruction-reproduction. In China small-pox is believed to date from B.C. 1200; but the chronology of the Middle Kingdom still awaits the sceptic.

2 In Europe we should add “and all fled, especially the women.” But the fatalism inherent in the Eastern mind makes the great difference.

3 Arab. “Uzayr.” Esdras was a manner of Ripp van Winkle. He was riding over the ruins of Jerusalem when it had been destroyed by the Chaldeans and he doubted by what means Allah would restore it; whereupon he died and at the end of a hundred years he revived. He found his basket of figs and cruse of wine as they were; but of his ass only the bones remained. These were raised to life as Ezra looked on and the ass began at once to bray. Which was a lesson to Esdras. (Koran, chaps. ii.) The oath by the ass’s hoofs is to ridicule the Jew. Mohammed seems to have had an idée fixe that “the Jews say, Ezra is the son of God” (Koran ix.); it may have arisen from the heterodox Jewish belief that Ezra, when the Law was utterly lost, dictated the whole anew to the scribes of his own memory. His tomb with the huge green dome is still visited by the Jews of Baghdad.

4 Arab. “Bádhanj,” the Pers. Bád. (wind) — gír (catcher): a wooden pent-house on the terrace-roof universal in the nearer East.

5 The hunchback, in Arabia as in Southern Europe, is looked upon by the vulgar with fear and aversion. The reason is that he is usually sharper-witted than his neighbours.

6Arab. “Yá Sattár” = Thou who veilest the discreditable secrets of Thy creatures.

7 Arab. “Nasráni,” a follower of Him of Nazareth and an older name than “Christian” which (Acts xi., 26) was first given at Antioch about A.D. 43. The cry in Alexandria used to be “Ya Nasráni, Kalb awáni!”=O Nazarene! O dog obscene! (Pilgrimage i., 160).). “Christian” in Arabic can be expressed only by “Masíhi” = follower of the Messiah.

8 Arab. “Tasbíh,” = Saluting in the Subh (morning).

9 In the East women stand on minor occasions while men squat on their hunkers in a way hardly possible to an untrained European. The custom is old. Herodotus (ii., 35) says, “The women stand up when they make water, but the men sit down.” Will it be believed that Canon Rawlinson was too modest to leave this passage in his translation? The custom was perpetuated by Al–Islam because the position prevents the ejection touching the clothes and making them ceremonially impure; possibly they borrowed it from the Guebres. Dabistan, Gate xvi. says, “It is improper, whilst in an erect posture, to make water, it is therefore necessary to sit at squat and force it to some distance, repeating the Avesta mentally.”

10 This is still a popular form of the “Kinchin lay,” and as the turbands are often of fine stuff, the petite industrie pays well.

11Arab. “Wali” =Governor; the term still in use for the Governor General of a Province as opposed to the “Muháfiz,” or district-governor. In Eastern Arabia the Wali is the Civil Governor opposed to the Amir or Military Commandant. Under the Caliphate the Wali acted also as Prefect of Police (the Indian Fanjdár), who is now called “Zábit.” The older name for the latter was “Sáhib al-Shartah” (=chief of the watch) or “Mutawalli”; and it was his duty to go the rounds in person. The old “Charley,” with his lantern and cudgel, still guards the bazaars in Damascus.

12 Arab. “Al–Mashá ilí” = the bearer of a cresses (Mash’al) who was also Jack Ketch. In Anglo–India the name is given to a lower body-servant. The “Mash’al” which Lane (M. E., chaps. vi.) calls “Mesh’al” and illustrates, must not be confounded with its congener the “Sha’ilah” or link (also lamp, wick, etc.).

13 I need hardly say that the civilised “drop” is unknown to the East where men are strung up as to a yardarm. This greatly prolongs the suffering.

14 Arab. “Lukmah”; = a mouthful. It is still the fashion amongst Easterns of primitive manners to take up a handful of rice, etc., ball it and put it into a friend’s mouth honoris causâ. When the friend is a European the expression of his face is generally a study.

The Nazarene Broker’s Story.

O King of the age, I came to this thy country with merchandise and Destiny stayed me here with you: but my place of birth was Cairo, in Egypt, where I also was brought up, for I am one of the Copts and my father was a broker before me. When I came to man’s estate he departed this life and I succeeded to his business. One day, as I was sitting in my shop, behold, there came up to me a youth as handsome as could be, wearing sumptuous raiment and riding a fine ass.1 When he saw me he saluted me, and I stood up to do him honour: then he took out a kerchief containing a sample of sesame and asked, “How much is this worth per Ardabb?”;2 whereto I answered, “An hundred dirhams.” Quoth he, “Take porters and gaugers and metesmen and come to morrow to the Khan al-Jawáli,3 by the Gate of Victory quarter where thou wilt find me.” Then he fared forth leaving with me the sample of sesame in his kerchief; and I went the round of my customers and ascertained that every Ardabb would fetch an hundred and twenty dirhams. Next day I took four metesmen and walked with them to the Khan, where I found him awaiting me. As soon as he saw me he rose and opened his magazine, when we measured the grain till the store was empty; and we found the contents fifty Ardabbs, making five thousand pieces of silver. Then said he, “Let ten dirhams on every Ardabb be thy brokerage; so take the price and keep in deposit four thousand and five hundred dirhams for me; and, when I have made an end of selling the other wares in my warehouses, I will come to thee and receive the amount.” “I will well,” replied I and kissing his hand went away, having made that day a profit of a thousand dirhams. He was absent a month, at the end of which he came to me and asked, “Where be the dirhams?” I rose and saluted him and answered to him, “Wilt thou not eat somewhat in my house?” But he refused with the remark, “Get the monies ready and I will presently return and take them.” Then he rode away. So I brought out the dirhams and sat down to await him, but he stayed away for another month, when he came back and said to me, “Where be the dirhams?” I rose and saluting him asked, “Wilt thou not eat some thing in my house?” But he again refused adding, “Get me the monies ready and I will presently return and take them.” Then he rode off. So I brought out the dirhams and sat down to await his return; but he stayed away from me a third month, and I said, “Verily this young man is liberality in incarnate form.” At the end of the month he came up, riding a mare mule and wearing a suit of sumptuous raiment; he was as the moon on the night of fullness, and he seemed as if fresh from the baths, with his cheeks rosy bright, and his brow flower white, and a mole spot like a grain of ambergris delighting the sight; even as was said of such an one by the poet:—

Full moon with sun in single mansion

In brightest sheen and fortune rose and shone,

With happy splendour changing every sprite:

Hail to what guerdons prayer with blissful! boon!

Their charms and grace have gained perfection’s height,

All hearts have conquered and all wits have won.

Laud to the Lord for works so wonder strange,

And what th’ Almighty wills His hand hath done!

When I saw him I rose to him and invoking blessings on him asked, O my lord, wilt thou not take thy monies?” “Whence the hurry?”4 quoth he, “Wait till I have made an end of my business and then I will come and take them.” Again he rode away and I said to myself, “By Allah, when he comes next time needs must I make him my guest; for I have traded with his dirhams and have gotten large gains thereby.” At the end of the year he came again, habited in a suit of clothes more sumptuous than the former; and, when I conjured him by the Evangel to alight at my house and eat of my guest food, he said, “I consent, on condition that what thou expendest on me shall be of my monies still in thy hands. I answered, “So be it,” and made him sit down whilst I got ready what was needful of meat and drink and else besides; and set the tray before him, with the invitation “Bismillah”!5 Then he drew near the tray and put out his left hand6 and ate with me; and I marvelled at his not using the right hand. When we had done eating, I poured water on his hand and gave him wherewith to wipe it. Upon this we sat down to converse after I had set before him some sweetmeats; and I said to him, “O my master, prithee relieve me by telling me why thou eatest with thy left hand? Perchance something aileth thy other hand?” When he heard my words, he repeated these verses:—

“Dear friend, ask not what burneth in my breast,

Lest thou see fiery pangs eye never saw:

Wills not my heart to harbour Salma in stead

Of Layla’s7 love, but need hath ne’er a law!”

And he put out his right arm from his sleeve and behold, the hand was cut off, a wrist without a fist. I was astounded at this but he said, “Marvel not, and think not that I ate with my left hand for conceit and insolence, but from necessity; and the cutting off my right hand was caused by an adventure of the strangest.” Asked I, “And what caused it?”; and he answered:—“Know that I am of the sons of Baghdad and my father was of notables of that city. When I came to man’s estate I heard the pilgrims and wayfarers, travellers and merchants talk of the land of Egypt and their words sank deep into my mind till my parent died, when I took a large sum of money and furnished myself for trade with stuffs of Baghdad and Mosul and, packing them up in bales, set out on my wanderings; and Allah decreed me safety till I entered this your city. Then he wept and began repeating:—

The blear eyed ’scapes the pits

Wherein the lynx eyed fall:

A word the wise man slays

And saves the natural:

The Moslem fails of food

The Kafir feasts in hall:

What art or act is man’s?

God’s will obligeth all!

Now when he had ended his verse he said, So I entered Cairo and took off my loads and stored my stuffs in the Khan “Al-Masrúr.”8 Then I gave the servant a few silvers wherewith to buy me some food and lay down to sleep awhile. When I awoke I went to the street called “Bayn al-Kasrayn”— Between the two Palaces — and presently returned and rested my night in the Khan. When it was morning I opened a bale and took out some stuff saying to myself, “I will be off and go through some of the bazaars and see the state of the market.” So I loaded the stuff on some of my slaves and fared forth till I reached the Kaysariyah or Exchange of Jaharkas;9 where the brokers who knew of my coming came to meet me. They took the stuffs and cried them for sale, but could not get the prime cost of them. I was vexed at this, however the Shaykh of the brokers said to me, “O my lord, I will tell thee how thou mayest make a profit of thy goods. Thou shouldest do as the merchants do and sell thy merchandise at credit for a fixed period, on a contract drawn up by a notary and duly witnessed; and employ a Shroff to take thy dues every Monday and Thursday. So shalt thou gain two dirhams and more, for every one; and thou shalt solace and divert thyself by seeing Cairo and the Nile.” Quoth I, “This is sound advice,” and carried the brokers to the Khan. They took my stuffs and went with them on ‘Change where I sold them well taking bonds for the value. These bonds I deposited with a Shroff, a banker, who gave me a receipt with which I returned to the Khan. Here I stayed a whole month, every morning breaking my fast with a cup of wine and making my meals on pigeon’s meat, mutton and sweetmeats, till the time came when my receipts began to fall due. So, every Monday and Thursday I used to go on ‘Change and sit in the shop of one or other of the merchants, whilst the notary and money changer went round to recover the monies from the traders, till after the time of mid afternoon prayer, when they brought me the amount, and I counted it and, sealing the bags, returned with them to the Khan. On a certain day which happened to be a Monday,10 I went to the Hammam and thence back to my Khan, and sitting in my own room11 broke my fast with a cup of wine, after which I slept a little. When I awoke I ate a chicken and, perfuming my person, repaired to the shop of a merchant hight Badr al-Din al-Bostáni, or the Gardener,12 who welcomed me; and we sat talking awhile till the bazaar should open. Presently, behold, up came a lady of stately figure wearing a head-dress of the most magnificent, perfumed with the sweetest of scents and walking with graceful swaying gait; and seeing me she raised her mantilla allowing me a glimpse of her beautiful black eyes. She saluted Badr al-Din who returned her salutation and stood up, and talked with her; and the moment I heard her speak, the love of her got hold of my heart. Presently she said to Badr al-Din, “Hast thou by thee a cut piece of stuff woven with thread of pure gold?” So he brought out to her a piece from those he had bought of me and sold it to her for one thousand two hundred dirhams; when she said, “I will take the piece home with me and send thee its price.” “That is impossible, O my lady,” the merchant replied, “for here is the owner of the stuff and I owe him a share of profit.” “Fie upon thee!” she cried, “Do I not use to take from thee entire rolls of costly stuff, and give thee a greater profit than thou expectest, and send thee the money?” “Yes,” rejoined he; “but I stand in pressing need of the price this very day.” Hereupon she took up the piece and threw it back upon his lap, saying “Out on thee! Allah confound the tribe of you which estimates none at the right value;” and she turned to go. I felt my very soul going with her; so I stood up and stayed her, saying, “I conjure thee by the Lord, O my lady, favour me by retracing thy gracious steps.” She turned back with a smile and said, “For thy sake I return,” and took a seat opposite me in the shop. Then quoth I to Badr al-Din, “What is the price they asked thee for this piece?”; and quoth he, “Eleven hundred dirhams.” I rejoined, “The odd hundred shall be thy profit: bring me a sheet of paper and I will write thee a discharge for it.” Then I wrote him a receipt in my own handwriting and gave the piece to the lady, saying, “Take it away with thee and, if thou wilt, bring me its price next bazaar day; or better still, accept it as my guest gift to thee.” “Allah requite thee with good,” answered she, “and make thee my husband and lord and master of all I have!”13 And Allah favoured her prayer. I saw the Gates of Paradise swing open before me and said, “O my lady, let this piece of stuff be now thine and another like it is ready for thee, only let me have one look at thy face.” So she raised her veil and I saw a face the sight of which bequeathed to me a thousand sighs, and my heart was so captivated by her love that I was no longer ruler of my reason. Then she let fall her face veil and taking up the piece of stuff said, “O my lord make me not desolate by thine absence!” and turned away and disappeared from my sight. I remained sitting on ‘Change till past the hour of after noon prayer, lost to the world by the love which had mastered me, and the violence of my passion compelled me to make enquiries concerning her of the merchant, who answered me, “This is a lady and a rich: she is the daughter of a certain Emir who lately died and left her a large fortune.” Then I took leave of him and returned home to the Khan where they set supper before me; but I could not eat for thinking of her and when I lay down to sleep, sleep came not near me. So I watched till morning, when I arose and donned a change of raiment and drank a cup of wine and, after breaking my fast on some slight matter, I went to the merchant’s shop where I saluted him and sat down by him. Presently up came the lady as usual, followed by a slave girl and wearing a dress more sumptuous than before; and she saluted me without noticing Badr al-Din and said in fluent graceful speech (never heard I voice softer or sweeter), “Send one with me to take the thousand and two hundred dirhams, the price of the piece.” “Why this hurry?” asked I and she answered, “May we never lose thee!”14 and handed me the money. Then I sat talking with her and presently I signed to her in dumb show, whereby she understood that I longed to enjoy her person,15 and she rose up in haste with a show of displeasure. My heart clung to her and I went forth from the bazaar and followed on her track. As I was walking suddenly a black slave girl stopped me and said, “O my master, come speak with my mistress.”16 At this I was surprised and replied, “There is none who knows me here;” but she rejoined, “0 my lord, how soon hast thou forgotten her! My lady is the same who was this day at the shop of such a merchant.” Then I went with her to the Shroff’s, where I found the lady who drew me to her side and said, “O my beloved, thine image is firmly stamped upon my fancy, and love of thee hath gotten hold of my heart: from the hour I first saw thee nor sleep nor food nor drink hath given me aught of pleasure.” I replied, “The double of that suffering is mine and my state dispenseth me from complaint.” Then said she, “O my beloved, at thy house, or at mine?” “I am a stranger here and have no place of reception save the Khan, so by thy favour it shall be at thy house.” “So be it; but this is Friday17 night and nothing can be done till tomorrow after public prayers; go to the Mosque and pray; then mount thine ass, and ask for the Habbániyah18 quarter; and, when there, look out for the mansion of Al–Nakib19 Barakát, popularly known as Abu Shámah the Syndic; for I live there: so do not delay as I shall be expecting thee.” I rejoiced with still greater joy at this; and took leave of her and returned to my Khan, where I passed a sleepless night. Hardly was I assured that morning had dawned when I rose, changed my dress, perfumed myself with essences and sweet scents and, taking fifty dinars in a kerchief, went from the Khan Masrúr to the Zuwaylah20 gate, where I mounted an ass and said to its owner, “Take me to the Habbaniyah.” So he set off with me and brought up in the twinkling of an eye at a street known as Darb al-Munkari, where I said to him, “Go in and ask for the Syndic’s mansion.” He was absent a while and then returned and said, “Alight.” “Go thou before me to the house,” quoth I, adding, “Come back with the earliest light and bring me home;” and he answered, “In Allah’s name;” whereupon I gave him a quarter dinar of gold, and he took it and went his ways. Then I knocked at the door and out came two white slave girls, both young; high-bosomed virgins, as they were moons, and said to me, “Enter, for our mistress is expecting thee and she hath not slept the night long for her delight in thee.” I passed through the vestibule into a saloon with seven doors, floored with parti-coloured marbles and furnished with curtains and hangings of coloured silks: the ceiling was cloisonné with gold and corniced with inscriptions21 emblazoned in lapis lazuli; and the walls were stuccoed with Sultání gypsum22 which mirrored the beholder’s face. Around the saloon were latticed windows overlooking a garden full of all manner of fruits; whose streams were railing and riffling and whose birds were trilling and shrilling; and in the heart of the hall was a jetting fountain at whose corners stood birds fashioned in red gold crusted with pearls and gems and spouting water crystal clear. When I entered and took a seat. — And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

1 I need hardly note that this is an old Biblical practice. The ass is used for city-work as the horse for fighting and travelling, the mule for burdens and the dromedary for the desert. But the Badawi, like the Indian, despises the monture and sings:—

The back of the steed is a noble place

But the mule’s dishonour, the ass disgrace!

The fine white asses, often thirteen hands high, sold by the Banu Salíb and other Badawi tribes, will fetch £100, and more. I rode a little brute from Meccah to Jedda (42 miles) in one night and it came in with me cantering.

2 A dry measure of about five bushels (Cairo). The classical pronunciation is Irdabb and it measured 24 sa’a (gallons) each filling four outstretched hands.

3 “Al–Jawáli” should be Al-Jáwali (Al–Makrizi) and the Bab al-Nasr (Gate of Victory) is that leading to Suez. I lived in that quarter as shown by my Pilgrimage (i. 62).

4 Arab. “Al-‘ajalah,” referring to a saying in every Moslem mouth, “Patience is from the Protector (Allah): Hurry is from Hell.” That and “Inshallah bukra!” (Please God tomorrow.) are the traveller’s bêtes noires.

5 Here it is a polite equivalent for “fall to!”

6 The left hand is used throughout the East for purposes of ablution and is considered unclean. To offer the left hand would be most insulting and no man ever strokes his beard with it or eats with it: hence, probably, one never sees a left handed man throughout the Moslem east. In the Brazil for the same reason old-fashioned people will not take snuff with the right hand. And it is related of the Khataians that they prefer the left hand, “Because the heart, which is the Sultan of the city of the Body, hath his mansion on that side” (Rauzat al-Safá).

7 Two feminine names as we might say Mary and Martha.

8 It was near the Caliph’s two Palaces (Al Kasrayn); and was famous in the 15th century A. D. The Kazi’s Mahkamah (Court house) now occupies the place of the Two Palaces

9 A Kaysariah is a superior kind of bazaar, a “bezestein.” That in the text stood to the east of the principal street in Cairo and was built in A. H. 502 (=1108–9) by a Circassian Emir, known as Fakhr al-Din Jahárkas, a corruption of the Persian “Chehárkas” = four persons (Lane, i. 422, from Al–Makrizi and Ibn Khallikan). For Jahárkas the Mac. Edit. has Jirjís (George) a common Christian name. I once lodged in a ‘Wakálah (the modern Khan) Jirjis.” Pilgrimage, i. 255.

10Arab. “Second Day,” i.e. after Saturday, the true Sabbath, so marvellously ignored by Christendom.

11 Readers who wish to know how a traveller is lodged in a Wakálah, Khan, or Caravanserai, will consult my Pilgrimage, i. 60.

12 The original occupation of the family had given it a name, as amongst us.

13 The usual “chaff” or banter allowed even to modest women when shopping, and — many a true word is spoken in jest.

14 “La adamnák” = Heaven deprive us not of thee, i.e. grant I see thee often!

15 This is a somewhat cavalier style of advance; but Easterns under such circumstances go straight to the point, hating to filer the parfait amour.

16 The peremptory formula of a slave delivering such a message.

17 This would be our Thursday night, preceding the day of public prayers which can be performed only when in a state of ceremonial purity. Hence many Moslems go to the Hammam on Thursday and have no connection with their wives.

18 Lane (i. 423) gives ample details concerning the Habbániyah, or grain-sellers’ quarter in the southern part of Cairo; and shows that when this tale was written (or transcribed?) the city was almost as extensive as it is now.

19 Nakíb is a caravan-leader, a chief, a syndic; and “Abú Shámah”= Father of a cheek mole, while “Abú Shámmah” = Father of a smeller, a nose, a snout. The “Kuniyah,” bye-name, patronymic or matronymic, is necessary amongst Moslems whose list of names, all connected more or less with religion, is so scanty. Hence Buckingham the traveller was known as Abu Kidr, the Father of a Cooking-pot and Haj Abdullah as Abu Shawárib, Father of Mustachios (Pilgrimage, iii., 263).

20 More correctly Bab Zawilah from the name of a tribe in Northern Africa. This gate dates from the same age as the Eastern or Desert gate, Bab al-Nasr (A.D. 1087) and is still much admired. M. Jomard describes it (Description, etc., ii. 670) and lately my good friend Yacoub Artin Pasha has drawn attention to it in the Bulletin de l’Inst. Egypt., Deuxième Série, No. 4, 1883.

21 This ornament is still seen in the older saloons of Damascus: the inscriptions are usually religious sentences, extracts from the Koran, etc., in uncial characters. They take the place of our frescos; and, as a work of art, are generally far superior.

22 Arab. “Bayáz al-Sultání,” the best kind of gypsum which shines like polished marble. The stucco on the walls of Alexandria, built by Alexander of the two Horns, was so exquisitely tempered and beautifully polished that men had to wear masks for fear of blindness.

When it was the Twenty-sixth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the young merchant continued, When I entered and took a seat, the lady at once came in crowned with a diadem1 of pearls and jewels; her face dotted with artificial moles in indigo,2 her eyebrows pencilled with Kohl and her hands and feet reddened with Henna. When she saw me she smiled in my face and took me to her embrace and clasped me to her breast; then she put her mouth to my mouth and sucked my tongue3 (and I did likewise) and said, “Can it be true, O my little darkling, thou art come to me?” adding, “Welcome and good cheer to thee! By Allah, from the day I saw thee sleep hath not been sweet to me nor hath food been pleasant.” Quoth I, “Such hath also been my case: and I am thy slave, thy negro slave.” Then we sat down to converse and I hung my head earthwards in bashfulness, but she delayed not long ere she set before me a tray of the most exquisite viands, marinated meats, fritters soaked in bee’s4 honeys and chickens stuffed with sugar and pistachio nuts, whereof we ate till we were satisfied. Then they brought basin and ewer and I washed my hands and we scented ourselves with rose water musk’d and sat down again to converse. So she began repeating these couplets5:

“Had we wist of thy coming, thy way had been strewn

With the blood of our heart and the balls of our sight:

Our cheek as a foot cloth to greet thee been thrown,

That thy step on our eyelids should softly alight.”

And she kept plaining of what had befallen her and I of what had betided me; and love of her got so firm hold of my heart that all my wealth seemed a thing of naught in comparison with her. Then we fell to toying and groping and kissing till night fall, when the handmaidens set before us meats and a complete wine service, and we sat carousing till the noon of night, when we lay down and I lay with her; never in my life saw I a night like that night. When morning morrowed I arose and took leave of her, throwing under the carpet bed the kerchief wherein were the dinars6 and as I went out she wept and said, “O my lord, when shall I look upon that lovely face again?” “I will be with thee at sunset,” answered I, and going out found the donkey boy, who had brought me the day before, awaiting at the door. So I mounted ass and rode to the Khan of Masrur where I alighted and gave the man a half dinar, saying, “Return at sunset;” and he said “I will.” Then I breakfasted and went out to seek the price of my stuffs; after which I returned, and taking a roast lamb and some sweetmeats, called a porter and put the provision in his crate, and sent it to the lady paying the man his hire.7 I went back to my business till sunset, when the ass driver came to me and I took fifty dinars in a kerchief and rode to her house where I found the marble floor swept, the brasses burnisht, the branch lights burning, the wax candles ready lighted, the meat served up and the wine strained.8 When my lady saw me she threw her arms about my neck, and cried, “Thou hast desolated me by thine absence.” Then she set the tables before me and we ate till we were satisfied, when the slave girls carried off the trays and served up wine. We gave not over drinking till half the night was past; and, being well warmed with drink, we went to the sleeping chamber and lay there till morning. I then arose and fared forth from her leaving the fifty dinars with her as before; and, finding the donkey boy at the door, rode to the Khan and slept awhile. After that I went out to make ready the evening meal and took a brace of geese with gravy on two platters of dressed and peppered rice, and got ready colocasia9-roots fried and soaked in honey, and wax candles and fruits and conserves and nuts and almonds and sweet scented cowers; and I sent them all to her. As soon as it was night I again tied up fifty dinars in a kerchief and, mounting the ass as usual, rode to the mansion where we ate and drank and lay together till morning when I threw the kerchief and dinars to her10 and rode back to the Khan. I ceased not doing after that fashion till, after a sweet night, I woke one fine morning and found myself beggared, dinar-less and dirhamless. So said I to myself “All this be Satan’s work;” and began to recite these couplets:—

“Poverty dims the sheen of man whate’er his wealth has been,

E’en as the sun about to set shines with a yellowing light

Absent he falls from memory, forgotten by his friends;

Present he shareth not their joys for none in him delight

He walks the market shunned of all, too glad to hide his head,

In desert places tears he sheds and moans his bitter plight

By Allah, ’mid his kith and kin a man, however good,

Waylaid by want and penury is but a stranger wight!”

I fared forth from the Khan and walked down “Between the Palaces” street till I came to the Zuwaylah Porte, where I found the people crowding and the gateway blocked for the much folk. And by the decree of Destiny I saw there a trooper against whom I pressed unintentionally, so that my hand came upon his bosom pocket and I felt a purse inside it. I looked and seeing a string of green silk hanging from the pocket knew it for a purse; and the crush grew greater every minute and just then, a camel laden with a load of fuel happened to jostle the trooper on the opposite side, and he turned round to fend it off from him, lest it tear his clothes; and Satan tempted me, so I pulled the string and drew out a little bag of blue silk, containing something which chinked like coin. But the soldier, feeling his pocket suddenly lightened, put his hand to it and found it empty; whereupon he turned to me and, snatching up his mace from his saddle bow, struck me with it on the head. I fell to the ground, whilst the people came round us and seizing the trooper’s mare by the bridle said to him, “Strikest thou this youth such a blow as this for a mere push!” But the trooper cried out at them, “This fellow is an accursed thief!” Whereupon I came to myself and stood up, and the people looked at me and said, “Nay, he is a comely youth: he would not steal anything;” and some of them took my part and others were against me and question and answer waxed loud and warm. The people pulled at me and would have rescued me from his clutches; but as fate decreed behold, the Governor, the Chief of Police, and the watch11 entered the Zuwaylah Gate at this moment and, seeing the people gathered together around me and the soldier, the Governor asked, “What is the matter?” “By Allah! O Emir,” answered the trooper, “this is a thief! I had in my pocket a purse of blue silk lined with twenty good gold pieces and he took it, whilst I was in the crush.” Quoth the Governor, “Was any one by thee at the time?”; and quoth the soldier, “No.” Thereupon the Governor cried out to the Chief of Police who seized me, and on this wise the curtain of the Lord’s. protection was withdrawn from me. Then he said “Strip him;” and, when they stripped me, they found the purse in my clothes. The Wali took it, opened it and counted it; and, finding in it twenty dinars as the soldier had said, waxed exceeding wroth and bade his guard bring me before him. Then said he to me, “Now, O youth, speak truly: didst thou steal this purse?”12 At this I hung my head to the ground and said to myself, “If I deny having stolen it, I shall get myself into terrible trouble.” So I raised my head and said, “Yes, I took it.” When the Governor heard these words he wondered and summoned witnesses who came forward and attested my confession. All this happened at the Zuwaylah Gate. Then the Governor ordered the link bearer to cut off my right hand, and he did so; after which he would have struck off my left foot also; but the heart of the soldier softened and he took pity on me and interceded for me with the Governor that I should not be slain.13 Thereupon the Wali left me, and went away and the folk remained round me and gave me a cup of wine to drink. As for the trooper he pressed the purse upon me, and said, “Thou art a comely youth and it befitteth not thou be a thief.” So I repeated these verses:—

“I swear by Allah’s name, fair sir! no thief was I,

Nor, O thou best of men! was I a bandit bred:

But Fortune’s change and chance o’erthrew me suddenly,

And cark and care and penury my course misled:

I shot it not, indeed, ’twas Allah shot the shaft

That rolled in dust the Kingly diadem from my head.”14

The soldier turned away after giving me the purse; and I also went my ways having wrapped my hand in a piece of rag and thrust it into my bosom. My whole semblance had changed, and my colour had waxed yellow from the shame and pain which had befallen me. Yet I went on to my mistress’s house where, in extreme perturbation of spirit I threw myself down on the carpet bed. She saw me in this state and asked me, “What aileth thee and why do I see thee so changed in looks?”; and I answered, “My head paineth me and I am far from well.” Whereupon she was vexed and was concerned on my account and said, “Burn not my heart, O my lord, but sit up and raise thy head and recount to me what hath happened to thee today, for thy face tells me a tale.” “Leave this talk,” replied I. But she wept and said, “Me seems thou art tired of me, for I see thee contrary to thy wont.” But I was silent; and she kept on talking to me albeit I gave her no answer, till night came on. Then she set food before me, but I refused it fearing lest she see me eating with my left hand and said to her, “I have no stomach to eat at present.” Quoth she, “Tell me what hath befallen thee to day, and why art thou so sorrowful and broken in spirit and heart?” Quoth I, “Wait awhile; I will tell thee all at my leisure.” Then she brought me wine, saying, “Down with it, this will dispel thy grief: thou must indeed drink and tell me of thy tidings.” I asked her, “Perforce must I tell thee?”; and she answered, “Yes.” Then said I, “If it needs must be so, then give me to drink with thine own hand.” She filled and drank,15 and filled again and gave me the cup which I took from her with my left hand and wiped the tears from my eyelids and began repeating:

“When Allah willeth aught befall a man

Who hath of ears and eyes and wits full share:

His ears He deafens and his eyes He blinds

And draws his wits e’en as we draw a hair16

Till, having wrought His purpose, He restores

Man’s wits, that warned more circumspect he fare.”

When I ended my verses I wept, and she cried out with an exceeding loud cry, “What is the cause of thy tears? Thou burnest my heart! What makes thee take the cup with thy left hand?” Quoth I, “Truly I have on my right hand a boil;” and quoth she, “Put it out and I will open it for thee.”17 “It is not yet time to open it,” I replied, “so worry me not with thy words, for I will not take it out of the bandage at this hour.” Then I drank off the cup, and she gave not over plying me with drink until drunkenness overcame me and I fell asleep in the place where I was sitting; whereupon she looked at my right hand and saw a wrist without a fist. So she searched me closely and found with me the purse of gold and my severed hand wrapped up in the bit of rag.18 With this such sorrow came upon her as never overcame any and she ceased not lamenting on my account till the morning. When I awoke I found that she had dressed me a dish of broth of four boiled chickens, which she brought to me together with a cup of wine. I ate and drank and laying down the purse, would have gone out; but she said to me, “Whither away?”; and I answered, “Where my business calleth me;” and said she, “Thou shalt not go: sit thee down.” So I sat down and she resumed, “Hath thy love for me so overpowered thee that thou hast wasted all thy wealth and hast lost thine hand on my account? I take thee to witness against me and also Allah be my witness that I will never part with thee, but will die under thy feet; and soon thou shalt see that my words are true.” Then she sent for the Kazi and witnesses and said to them, “Write my contract of marriage with this young man, and bear ye witness that I have received the marriage settlement.”19 When they had drawn up the document she said, “Be witness that all my monies which are in this chest and all I have in slaves and handmaidens and other property is given in free gift to this young man.” So they took act of this statement enabling me to assume possession in right of marriage; and then withdrew, after receiving their fees. Thereupon she took me by the hand and, leading me to a closet, opened a large chest and said to me, “See what is herein;” and I looked and behold, it was full of kerchiefs. Quoth she, “This is the money I had from thee and every kerchief thou gavest me, containing fifty dinars, I wrapped up and cast into this chest; so now take thine own, for it returns to thee, and this day thou art become of high estate. Fortune and Fate afflicted thee so that thou didst lose thy right hand for my sake; and I can never requite thee; nay, although I gave my life ’twere but little and I should still remain thy debtor.” Then she added, “Take charge of thy property.”; so I transferred the contents of her chest to my chest, and added my wealth to her wealth which I had given her, and my heart was eased and my sorrow ceased. I stood up and kissed her and thanked her; and she said, “Thou hast given thy hand for love of me and how am I able to give thee an equivalent? By Allah, if I offered my life for thy love, it were indeed but little and would not do justice to thy claim upon me.” Then she made over to me by deed all that she possessed in clothes and ornaments of gold and pearls, and goods and farms and chattels, and lay not down to sleep that night, being sorely grieved for my grief, till I told her the whole of what had befallen me. I passed the night with her. But before we had lived together a month’s time she fell sorely sick and illness increased upon her, by reason of her grief for the loss of my hand, and she endured but fifty days before she was numbered among the folk of futurity and heirs of immortality. So I laid her out and buried her body in mother earth and let make a pious perfection of the Koran20 for the health of her soul, and gave much money in alms for her; after which I turned me from the grave and returned to the house. There I found that she had left much substance in ready money and slaves, mansions, lands and domains, and among her store houses was a granary of sesame seed, whereof I sold part to thee; and I had neither time nor inclination to take count with thee till I had sold the rest of the stock in store; nor, indeed, even now have I made an end of receiving the price. So I desire thou baulk me not in what I am about to say to thee: twice have I eaten of thy food and I wish to give thee as a present the monies for the sesame which are by thee. Such is the cause of the cutting off my right hand and my eating with my left.” “Indeed,” said I, “thou hast shown me the utmost kindness and liberality.” Then he asked me, “Why shouldst thou not travel with me to my native country whither I am about to return with Cairene and Alexandrian stuffs? Say me, wilt thou accompany me?”; and I answered “I will.” So I agreed to go with him at the head of the month, and I sold all I had and bought other merchandise; then we set out and travelled, I and the young man, to this country of yours, where he sold his venture and bought other investment of country stuffs and continued his journey to Egypt But it was my lot to abide here, so that these things befell me in my strangerhood which befell last night, and is not this tale, O King of the age, more wondrous and marvellous than the story of the Hunchback? “Not so,” quoth the King, “I cannot accept it: there is no help for it but that you be hanged, every one of you.”— And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day, and ceased saying her permitted say.

1 This Iklíl, a complicated affair, is now obsolete, its place having been taken by the “Kurs,” a gold plate, some five inches in diameter, set with jewels, etc. Lane (M. E. Appendix A) figures it.

2 The woman-artist who applies the dye is called “Munakkishah.”

3 “Kissing with th’ inner lip,” as Shakespeare calls it; the French langue fourrée: and Sanskrit “Samputa.” The subject of kissing is extensive in the East. Ten different varieties are duly enumerated in the “Ananga–Ranga;” or, The Hindu Art of Love (Ars Amoris Indica) translated from the Sanskrit, and annotated by A. F. F. and B. F. R It is also connected with unguiculation, or impressing the nails, of which there are seven kinds; morsication (seven kinds); handling the hair and lappings or pattings with the fingers and palm (eight kinds).

4 Arab. “asal-nahl,” to distinguish it from “honey” i.e. syrup of sugar-cane and fruits

5 The lines have occurred in Night xii. By way of variety I give Torrens’ version p. 273.

6 The way of carrying money in the corner of a pocket-handkerchief is still common.

7 He sent the provisions not to be under an obligation to her in this matter. And she received them to judge thereby of his liberality

8 Those who have seen the process of wine-making in the Libanus will readily understand why it is always strained.

9 Arab. “Kulkasá,” a kind of arum or yam, eaten boiled like our potatoes.

10At first he slipped the money into the bed-clothes: now he gives it openly and she accepts it for a reason.

11 Arab. Al–Zalamah lit. = tyrants, oppressors, applied to the police and generally to employés of Government. It is a word which tells a history.

12 Moslem law is never completely satisfied till the criminal confess. It also utterly ignores circumstantial evidence and for the best of reasons: amongst so sharp-witted a people the admission would lead to endless abuses. I greatly surprised a certain Governor–General of India by giving him this simple information

13 Cutting off the right hand is the Koranic punishment (chaps. v.) for one who robs an article worth four dinars, about forty francs to shillings. The left foot is to be cut off at the ankle for a second offence and so on; but death is reserved for a hardened criminal. The practice is now obsolete and theft is punished by the bastinado, fine or imprisonment. The old Guebres were as severe. For stealing one dirham’s worth they took a fine of two, cut off the ear-lobes, gave ten stick-blows and dismissed the criminal who had been subjected to an hour’s imprisonment. A second theft caused the penalties to be doubled; and after that the right hand was cut off or death was inflicted according to the proportion stolen.

14 Koran viii. 17.

15 A universal custom in the East, the object being originally to show that the draught was not poisoned.

16 Out of paste or pudding.

17 Boils and pimples are supposed to be caused by broken hair-roots and in Hindostani are called Bál-tor.

18 He intended to bury it decently, a respect which Moslems always show even to the exuviæ of the body, as hair and nail parings. Amongst Guebres the latter were collected and carried to some mountain. The practice was intensified by fear of demons or wizards getting possession of the spoils.

19 Without which the marriage was not valid. The minimum is ten dirhams (drachmas) now valued at about five francs to shillings; and if a man marry without naming the sum, the woman, after consummation, can compel him to pay this minimum.

20 Arab. “Khatmah” = reading or reciting the whole Koran, by one or more persons, usually in the house, not over the tomb. Like the “Zikr,” Litany or Rogation, it is a pious act confined to certain occasions.

When it was the Twenty-seventh Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the King of China declared “There is no help for it but that you be hanged,” the Reeve of the Sultan’s Kitchen came forward and said, “If thou permit me I will tell thee a tale of what befell me just before I found this Gobbo, and, if it be more wondrous than his story, do thou grant us our lives.” And when the King answered “Yes” he began to recount

The Reeve’s Tale.

Know, O King, that last night I was at a party where they made a perfection of the Koran and got together doctors of law and religion skilled in recitation and intoning; and, when the readers ended, the table was spread and amongst other things they set before us was a marinated ragout1 flavoured with cumin seed. So we sat down, but one of our number held back and refused to touch it. We conjured him to eat of it but he swore he would not; and, when we again pressed him, he said, “Be not instant with me; sufficeth me that which hath already befallen me through eating it”, and he began reciting:

“Shoulder thy tray and go straight to thy goal;

And, if suit thee this Kohl why,-use this Kohl!”2

When he ended his verse we said to him, “Allah upon thee, tell us thy reason for refusing to eat of the cumin ragout?” ‘‘If so it be,” he replied, “and needs must I eat of it, I will not do so except I wash my hand forty times with soap, forty times with potash and forty times with galangale,3 the total being one hundred and twenty washings.” Thereupon the hospitable host bade his slaves bring water and whatso he required; and the young man washed his hand as afore mentioned. Then he sat down, as if disgusted and frightened withal, and dipping his hand in the ragout, began eating and at the same time showing signs of anger. And we wondered at him with extreme wonderment, for his hand trembled and the morsel in it shook and we saw that his thumb had been cut off and he ate with his four fingers only. So we said to him, “Allah upon thee, what happened to thy thumb? Is thy hand thus by the creation of God or hath some accident befallen it?” “O my brothers,” he answered, “it is not only thus with this thumb, but also with my other thumb and with both my great toes, as you shall see.” So saying he uncovered his left hand and his feet, and we saw that the left hand was even as the right and in like manner that each of his feet lacked its great toe. When we saw him after this fashion, our amazement waxed still greater and we said to him, “We have hardly patience enough to await thy history and to hear the manner of the cutting off of thy thumbs, and the reason of thy washing both hands one hundred and twenty times.” Know then, said he, that my father was chief of the merchants and the wealthiest of them all in Baghdad city during the reign of the Caliph Harun al Rashid; and he was much given to wine drinking and listening to the lute and the other instruments of pleasaunce; so that when he died he left nothing. I buried him and had perlections of the Koran made for him, and mourned for him days and nights: then I opened his shop and found that he had left in it few goods, while his debts were many. However I compounded with his creditors for time to settle their demands and betook myself to buying and selling, paying them something from week to week on account; and I gave not over doing this till I had cleared off his obligations in full and began adding to my principal. One day, as I sat in my shop, suddenly and unexpectedly there appeared before me a young lady, than whom I never saw a fairer, wearing the richest raiment and ornaments and riding a she mule, with one negro slave walking before her and another behind her. She drew rein at the head of the exchange bazaar and entered followed by an eunuch who said to her, “O my lady come out and away without telling anyone, lest thou light a fire which will burn us all up.” Moreover he stood before her guarding her from view whilst she looked at the merchants’ shops. She found none open but mine; so she came up with the eunuch behind her and sitting down in my shop saluted me; never heard I aught fairer than her speech or sweeter than her voice. Then she unveiled her face, and I saw that she was like the moon and I stole a glance at her whose sight caused me a thousand sighs, and my heart was captivated with love of her, and I kept looking again and again upon her face repeating these verses:—

“Say to the charmer in the dove hued veil,

Death would be welcome to abate thy bale!

Favour me with thy favours that I live:

See, I stretch forth my palm to take thy vail!

When she heard my verse she answered me saying:—

“I’ve lost all patience by despite of you;

My heart knows nothing save love plight to you!

If aught I sight save charms so bright of you;

My parting end not in the sight of you!

I swear I’ll ne’er forget the right of you;

And fain this breast would soar to height of you:

You made me drain the love cup, and I lief

A love cup tender for delight of you:

Take this my form where’er you go, and when

You die, entomb me in the site of you:

Call on me in my grave, and hear my bones

Sigh their responses to the shright of you:

And were I asked ‘Of God what wouldst thou see?’

I answer, ‘first His will then Thy decree!’

When she ended her verse she asked me, “O youth, hast thou any fair stuffs by thee?”; and I answered, “O my lady, thy slave is poor; but have patience till the merchants open their shops, and I will suit thee with what thou wilt.” Then we sat talking, I and she (and I was drowned in the sea of her love, dazed in the desert4 of my passion for her), till the merchants opened their shops; when I rose and fetched her all she sought to the tune of five thousand dirhams. She gave the stuff to the eunuch and, going forth by the door of the Exchange, she mounted mule and went away, without telling me whence she came, and I was ashamed to speak of such trifle. When the merchants dunned me for the price, I made myself answerable for five thousand dirhams and went home, drunken with the love of her. They set supper before me and I ate a mouthful, thinking only of her beauty and loveliness, and sought to sleep, but sleep came not to me. And such was my condition for a whole week, when the merchants required their monies of me, but I persuaded them to have patience for another week, at the end of which time she again appeared mounted on a she mule and attended by her eunuch and two slaves. She saluted me and said, “O my master, we have been long in bringing thee the price of the stuffs; but now fetch the Shroff and take thy monies.” So I sent for the money changer and the eunuch counted out the coin before him and made it over to me. Then we sat talking, I and she, till the market opened, when she said to me, “Get me this and that.” So I got her from the merchants whatso she wanted, and she took it and went away without saying a word to me about the price. As soon as she was out of sight, I repented me of what I had done; for the worth of the stuffs bought for her amounted to a thousand dinars, and I said in my soul, “What manner of love is this? She hath brought me five thousand dirhams, and hath taken goods for a thousand dinars.”5 I feared lest I should be beggared through having to pay the merchants their money, and I said, “They know none other but me; this lovely lady is naught but a cheat and a swindler, who hath diddled me with her beauty and grace; for she saw that I was a mere youth and laughed at me for not asking her address.” I ceased not to be troubled by these doubts and fears, as she was absent more than a month, till the merchants pestered me for their money and were so hard upon me that I put up my property for sale and stood on the very brink of ruin. However, as I was sitting in my shop one day, drowned in melancholy musings, she suddenly rode up and, dismounting at the bazaar gate, came straight towards me. When I saw her all my cares fell from me and I forgot every trouble. She came close up to me and greeted me with her sweet voice and pleasant speech and presently said, “Fetch me the Shroff and weigh thy money.”6 So she gave me the price of what goods I had gotten for her and more, and fell to talking freely with me, till I was like to die of joy and delight Presently she asked me, “Hast thou a wife?”; and I answered “No, indeed: I have never known woman”; and began to shed tears. Quoth she “Why weepest thou?” Quoth I “It is nothing!” Then giving the eunuch some of the gold pieces, I begged him to be go between7 in the matter; but he laughed and said, “She is more in love with thee than thou with her: she hath no occasion for the stuffs she hath bought of thee and did all this only for the love of thee; so ask of her what thou wilt and she will deny thee nothing.” When she saw me giving the dinars to the eunuch, she returned and sat down again; and I said to her, “Be charitable to thy slave and pardon him what he is about to say.” Then I told her what was in my mind and she assented and said to the eunuch, “Thou shalt carry my message to him,” adding to me, “And do thou whatso the eunuch biddeth thee.” Then she got up and went away, and I paid the merchants their monies and they all profited; but as for me, regret at the breaking off of our intercourse was all my gain; and I slept not the whole of that night. However, before many days passed her eunuch came to me, and I entreated him honourably and asked him after his mistress. “Truly she is sick with love of thee,” he replied and I rejoined, “Tell me who and what she is.” Quoth he, “The Lady Zubaydah, queen consort of Harun al-Rashid, brought her up as a rearling8 and hath advanced her to be stewardess of the Harim, and gave her the right of going in and out of her own sweet will. She spoke to her lady of thee and begged her to marry her to thee; but she said, ‘I will not do this, till I see the young man; and, if he be worthy of thee, I will marry thee to him.’ So now we look for the moment to smuggle thee into the Palace and if thou succeed in entering privily thou wilt win thy wish to wed her; but if the affair get wind, the Lady Zubaydah will strike off thy head.9 What sayest thou to this?” I answered, “I will go with thee and abide the risk whereof thou speakest.” Then said he, “As soon as it is night, go to the Mosque built by the Lady Zubaydah on the Tigris and pray the night prayers and sleep there.” “With love and gladness,” cried I. So at nightfall I repaired to the Mosque, where I prayed and passed the night. With earliest dawn, behold, came sundry eunuchs in a skiff with a number of empty chests which they deposited in the Mosque; then all of them went their ways but one, and looking curiously at him, I saw he was our go between. Presently in came the handmaiden, my mistress, walking straight up to us; and I rose to her and embraced her while she kissed me and shed tears.10 We talked awhile; after which she made me get into one of the chests which she locked upon me. Presently the other eunuchs came back with a quantity of packages and she fell to stowing them in the chests, which she locked down, one by one, till all were shut. When all was done the eunuchs embarked the chests in the boat and made for the Lady Zubaydah’s palace. With this, thought began to beset me and I said to myself, “Verily thy lust and wantonness will be the death of thee; and the question is after all shalt thou win to thy wish or not?” And I began to weep, boxed up as I was in the box and suffering from cramp; and I prayed Allah that He deliver me from the dangerous strait I was in, whilst the boat gave not over going on till it reached the Palace gate where they lifted out the chests and amongst them that in which I was. Then they carried them in, passing through a troop of eunuchs, guardians of the Harim and of the ladies behind the curtain, till they came to the post of the Eunuch in Chief11 who started up from his slumbers and shouted to the damsel “What is in those chests?” “They are full of wares for the Lady Zubaydah!” “Open them, one by one, that I may see what is in them.” “And wherefore wouldst thou open them?” “Give me no words and exceed not in talk! These chests must and shall be opened.” So saying, he sprang to his feet, and the first which they brought to him to open was that wherein I was; and, when I felt his hands upon it, my senses failed me and I bepissed myself in my funk, the water running out of the box. Then said she to the Eunuch in Chief, “O steward! thou wilt cause me to be killed and thyself too, for thou hast damaged goods worth ten thousand dinars. This chest contains coloured dresses, and four gallon flasks of Zemzem water;12 and now one of them hath got unstoppered and the water is running out over the clothes and it will spoil their colours.” The eunuch answered, “Take up thy boxes and get thee gone to the curse of God!” So the slaves carried off all the chests, including mine; and hastened on with them till suddenly I heard the voice of one saying, “Alack, and alack! the Caliph! the Caliph!” When that cry struck mine ears I died in my skin and said a saying which never yet shamed the sayer, “There is no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great! I and only I have brought this calamity upon myself.” Presently I heard the Caliph say to my mistress, “A plague on thee, what is in those boxes?”; and she answered, “Dresses for the Lady Zubaydah”;13 whereupon he, “Open them before me!” When I heard this I died my death outright and said to myself, “By Allah, today is the very last of my days in this world: if I come safe out of this I am to marry her and no more words, but detection stares me in the face and my head is as good as stricken off.” Then I repeated the profession of Faith, saying, “There is no god but the God, and Mohammed is the Apostle of God!”— And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

1 Arab. “Zirbájah” = meat dressed with vinegar, cumin-seed (Pers. Zír) and hot spices. More of it in the sequel of the tale.

2 A saying not uncommon meaning, let each man do as he seems fit; also = “age quad agis”: and at times corresponding with our saw about the cap fitting.

3 Arab. “Su’úd,” an Alpinia with pungent rhizome like ginger; here used as a counter-odour.

4 Arab. “Tá‘ih” = lost in the “Tíh,” a desert wherein man may lose himself, translated in our maps ‘The Desert of the Wanderings,” scil. of the children of Israel. “Credat Judæus.”

5 i e. £125 and £500.

6 A large sum was weighed by a professional instead of being counted, the reason being that the coin is mostly old and worn: hence our words “pound” and “pension” (or what is weighed out).

7 The eunuch is the best possible go-between on account of his almost unlimited power over the Harem.

8 i.e., a slave-girl brought up in the house and never sold except for some especial reason, as habitual drunkenness, etc.

9 Smuggling men into the Harem is a stock “topic” of eastern tales. “By means of their female attendants, the ladies of the royal harem generally get men into their apartments in the disguise of women,” says Vatsyayana in The Kama Sutra, Part V. London: Printed for the Hindoo Kamashastra Society. 1883. For private circulation.

10 These tears are shed over past separation. So the “Indians” of the New World never meet after long parting without beweeping mutual friends they have lost.

11 A most important Jack in office whom one can see with his smooth chin and blubber lips, starting up from his lazy snooze in the shade and delivering his orders more peremptorily than any Dogberry. These epicenes are as curious and exceptional in character as in external conformation. Disconnected, after a fashion, with humanity, they are brave, fierce and capable of any villainy or barbarity (as Agha Mohammed Khan in Persia 1795–98). The frame is unnaturally long and lean, especially the arms and legs; with high, flat, thin shoulders, big protruding joints and a face by contrast extraordinarily large, a veritable mask; the Castrato is expert in the use of weapons and sits his horse admirably, riding well “home” in the saddle for the best of reasons; and his hoarse, thick voice, which apparently does not break, as in the European “Cáppone,” invests him with all the circumstance of command.

12 From the Meccan well used by Moslems much like Eau de Lourdes by Christians: the water is saltish, hence the touch of Arab humour (Pilgrimage iii., 201–202).

13 Such articles would be sacred from Moslem eyes.

When it was the Twenty-eighth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the young merchant continued as follows: Now when I testified, “I bear witness that there is no god save the God,” I heard my mistress the handmaid declare to the Caliph, “These chests, O Commander of the Faithful, have been committed to my charge by the Lady Zubaydah, and she doth not wish their contents to be seen by any one.” “No matter!” quoth the Caliph, “needs must they be opened, I will see what is in them”; and he cried aloud to the eunuchs, “Bring the chests here before me.” At this I made sure of death (without benefit of a doubt) and swooned away. Then the eunuchs brought the chests up to him one after another and he fell to inspecting the contents, but he saw in them only otters and stuffs and fine dresses; and they ceased not opening the chests and he ceased not looking to see what was in them, finding only clothes and such matters, till none remained unopened but the box in which I was boxed. They put forth their hands to open it, but my mistress the handmaid made haste and said to the Caliph, “This one thou shalt see only in the presence of the Lady Zubaydah, for that which is in it is her secret.” When he heard this he gave orders to carry in the chests; so they took up that wherein I was and bore it with the rest into the Harim and set it down in the midst of the saloon; and indeed my spittle was dried up for very fear.1 Then my mistress opened the box and took me out, saying, “Fear not: no harm shall betide thee now nor dread; but broaden thy breast and strengthen thy heart and sit thee down till the Lady Zubaydah come, and surely thou shalt win thy wish of me.” So I sat down and, after a while, in came ten hand maidens, virgins like moons, and ranged themselves in two rows, five facing five; and after them twenty other damsels, high bosomed virginity, surrounding the Lady Zubaydah who could hardly walk for the weight of her raiment and ornaments. As she drew near, the slave girls dispersed from around her, and I advanced and kissed the ground between her hands. She signed to me to sit and, when I sat down before her chair, she began questioning me of my forbears and family and condition, to which I made such answers that pleased her, and she said to my mistress, “Our nurturing of thee, O damsel, hath not disappointed us.” Then she said to me, “Know that this handmaiden is to us even as our own child and she is a trust committed to thee by Allah.” I again kissed the ground before her, well pleased that I should marry my mistress, and she bade me abide ten days in the palace. So I abode there ten days, during which time I saw not my mistress nor anybody save one of the concubines, who brought me the morning and evening meals. After this the Lady Zubaydah took counsel with the Caliph on the marriage of her favourite handmaid, and he gave leave and assigned to her a wedding portion of ten thousand gold pieces. So the Lady Zubaydah sent for the Kazi and witnesses who wrote our marriage contract, after which the women made ready sweetmeats and rich viands and distributed them among all the Odahs2 of the Harim. Thus they did other ten days, at the end of which time my mistress went to the baths.3 Meanwhile, they set before me a tray of food where on were various meats and among those dishes, which were enough to daze the wits, was a bowl of cumin ragout containing chickens breasts, fricandoed4 and flavoured with sugar, pistachios, musk and rose water. Then, by Allah, fair sirs, I did not long hesitate; but took my seat before the ragout and fell to and ate of it till I could no more. After this I wiped my hands, but forgot to wash them; and sat till it grew dark, when the wax candles were lighted and the singing women came in with their tambourines and proceeded to display the bride in various dresses and to carry her in procession from room to room all round the palace, getting their palms crossed with gold. Then they brought her to me and disrobed her. When I found myself alone with her on the bed I embraced her, hardly believing in our union; but she smelt the strong odours of the ragout upon my hands and forth with cried out with an exceeding loud cry, at which the slave girls came running to her from all sides. I trembled with alarm, unknowing what was the matter, and the girls asked her, “What aileth thee, O our sister?” She answered them, “Take this mad man away from me: I had thought he was a man of sense!” Quoth I to her, “What makes thee think me mad?” Quoth she, “Thou madman’ what made thee eat of cumin ragout and forget to wash thy hand? By Allah, I will requite thee for thy misconduct. Shall the like of thee come to bed with the like of me with unclean hands?”5 Then she took from her side a plaited scourge and came down with it on my back and the place where I sit till her forearms were benumbed and I fainted away from the much beating; when she said to the handmaids, “Take him and carry him to the Chief of Police, that he may strike off the hand wherewith he ate of the cumin ragout, and which he did not wash.” When I heard this I said, “There is no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah! Wilt thou cut off my hand, because I ate of a cumin ragout and did not wash?” The handmaidens also interceded with her and kissed her hand saying, “O our sister, this man is a simpleton, punish him not for what he hath done this nonce;” but she answered, “By Allah, there is no help but that I dock him of somewhat, especially the offending member.” Then she went away and I saw no more of her for ten days, during which time she sent me meat and drink by a slave girl who told me that she had fallen sick from the smell of the cumin ragout. After that time she came to me and said, “O black of face!6 I will teach thee how to eat cumin ragout without washing thy hands!” Then she cried out to the handmaids, who pinioned me; and she took a sharp razor and cut off my thumbs and great toes; even as you see, O fair assembly! Thereupon I swooned away, and she sprinkled some powder of healing herbs upon the stumps and when the blood was stanched, I said, “Never again will I eat of cumin ragout without washing my hands forty times with potash and forty times with galangale and forty times with soap!” And she took of me an oath and bound me by a covenant to that effect. When, therefore, you brought me the cumin ragout my colour changed and I said to myself, “It was this very dish that caused the cutting off of my thumbs and great toes;” and, when you forced me, I said, “Needs must I fulfil the oath I have sworn.” “And what befell thee after this?” asked those present; and he answered, “When I swore to her, her anger was appeased and I slept with her that night. We abode thus awhile till she said to me one day, “Verily the Palace of the Caliph is not a pleasant place for us to live in, and none ever entered it save thyself; and thou only by grace of the Lady Zubaydah. Now she hath given me fifty thousand dinars,” adding, “Take this money and go out and buy us a fair dwelling house.” So I fared forth and bought a fine and spacious mansion, whither she removed all the wealth she owned and what riches I had gained in stuffs and costly rarities. Such is the cause of the cutting off of my thumbs and great toes. We ate (continued the Reeve), and were returning to our homes when there befell me with the Hunchback that thou wottest of. This then is my story, and peace be with thee! Quoth the King; “This story is on no wise more delectable than the story of the Hunchback; nay, it is even less so, and there is no help for the hanging of the whole of you.” Then came forward the Jewish physician and kissing the ground said, “O King of the age, I will tell thee an history more wonderful than that of the Hunchback.” “Tell on,” said the King of China; so he began the

1 Physiologically true, but not generally mentioned in describing the emotions.

2 Properly “Uta,” the different rooms, each “Odalisque,” or concubine, having her own.

3 Showing that her monthly ailment was over.

4 Arab “Muhammarah” = either browned before the fire or artificially reddened.

5 The insolence and licence of these palace-girls was (and is) unlimited, especially when, as in the present case, they have to deal with a “lofty.” On this subject numberless stories are current throughout the East.

6 i.e., blackened by the fires of Jehannam.

Tale of the Jewish Doctor.

Right marvellous was a matter which came to pass to me in my youth. I lived in Damascus of Syria studying my art and, one day, as I was sitting at home behold, there came to me a Mameluke from the household of the Sahib and said to me, “Speak with my lord!” So I followed him to the Viceroy’s house and, entering the great hall, saw at its head a couch of cedar plated with gold whereon lay a sickly youth beautiful withal; fairer than he one could not see. I sat down by his head and prayed to Heaven for a cure; and he made me a sign with his eyes, so I said to him, “O my lord! favour me with thy hand, and safety be with thee!”1 Then he put forth his left hand and I marvelled thereat and said, “By Allah, strange that this handsome youth, the son of a great house, should so lack good manners. This can be nothing but pride and conceit!” However I felt his pulse and wrote him a prescription and continued to visit him for ten days, at the end of which time he recovered and went to the Hammam,2 whereupon the Viceroy gave me a handsome dress of honour and appointed me superintendent of the hospital which is in Damascus.3 I accompanied him to the baths, the whole of which they had kept private for his accommodation; and the servants came in with him and took off his clothes within the bath, and when he was stripped I saw that his right hand had been newly cut off, and this was the cause of his weakliness At this I was amazed and grieved for him: then, looking at his body, I saw on it the scars of scourge stripes whereto he had applied unguents. I was troubled at the sight and my concern appeared in my face. The young man looked at me and, comprehending the matter, said, “O Physician of the age, marvel not at my case; I will tell thee my story as soon as we quit the baths.” Then we washed and, returning to his house, ate somewhat of food and took rest awhile; after which he asked me, “What sayest thou to solacing thee by inspecting the supper hall?”; and I answered “So let it be.” Thereupon he ordered the slaves to carry out the carpets and cushions required and roast a lamb and bring us some fruit. They did his bidding and we ate together, he using the left hand for the purpose. After a while I said to him, “Now tell me thy tale.” “O Physician of the age,” replied he, “hear what befell me. Know that I am of the sons of Mosul, where my grandfather died leaving nine children of whom my father was the eldest. All grew up and took to them wives, but none of them was blessed with offspring except my father, to whom Providence vouchsafed me. So I grew up amongst my uncles who rejoiced in me with exceeding joy, till I came to man’s estate. One day which happened to be a Friday, I went to the Cathedral mosque of Mosul with my father and my uncles, and we prayed the congregational prayers, after which the folk went forth, except my father and uncles, who sat talking of wondrous things in foreign parts and the marvellous sights of strange cities. At last they mentioned Egypt, and one of my uncles said, “Travellers tell us that there is not on earth’s face aught fairer than Cairo and her Nile;” and these words made me long to see Cairo. Quoth my father, “Whoso hath not seen Cairo hath not seen the world. Her dust is golden and her Nile a miracle holden; and her women are as Houris fair; puppets, beautiful pictures; her houses are palaces rare; her water is sweet and light4 and her mud a commodity and a medicine beyond compare, even as said the poet in this his poetry:—

The Nile5 flood this day is the gain you own;

You alone in such gain and bounties wone:

The Nile is my tear flood of severance,

And here none is forlorn but I alone.

Moreover temperate is her air, and with fragrance blent, Which surpasseth aloes wood in scent; and how should it be otherwise, she being the Mother of the World? And Allah favour him who wrote these lines:—

An I quit Cairo and her pleasaunces,

Where can I wend to find so gladsome ways?

Shall I desert that site, whose grateful scents

Joy every soul and call for loudest praise?

Where every palace, as another Eden,

Carpets and cushions richly wrought displays;

A city wooing sight and sprite to glee,

Where Saint meets Sinner and each ‘joys his craze;

Where friend meets friend, by Providence united

In greeny garden and in palmy maze:

People of Cairo, and by Allah’s doom

I fare, with you in thoughts I wone always!

Whisper not Cairo in the ear of Zephyr,

Lest for her like of garden scents he reave her,6

And if your eyes saw her earth, and the adornment thereof with bloom, and the purfling of it with all manner blossoms, and the islands of the Nile and how much is therein of wide spread and goodly prospect, and if you bent your sight upon the Abyssinian Pond,7 your glance would not revert from the scene quit of wonder; for nowhere would you behold the fellow of that lovely view; and, indeed, the two arms of the Nile embrace most luxuriant verdure,8 as the white of the eye encompasseth its black or like filigreed silver surrounding chrysolites. And divinely gifted was the poet who there anent said these couplets:—

By th’ Abyssinian Pond, O day divine!

In morning twilight and in sunny shine:

The water prisoned in its verdurous walls,

Like sabre flashes before shrinking eyne:

And in The Garden sat we while it drains

Slow draught, with purfled sides dyed finest fine:

The stream is rippled by the hands of clouds;

We too, a-rippling, on our rugs recline,

Passing pure wine, and whoso leaves us there

Shall ne’er arise from fall his woes design:

Draining long draughts from large and brimming bowls,

Administ’ring thirst’s only medicine — wine.

And what is there to compare with the Rasad, the Observatory, and its charms whereof every viewer as he approacheth saith, ‘Verily this spot is specialised with all manner of excellence!’ And if thou speak of the Night of Nile full,9 give the rainbow and distribute it! 10 And if thou behold The Garden at eventide, with the cool shades sloping far and wide, a marvel thou wouldst see and wouldst incline to Egypt in ecstasy. And wert thou by Cairo’s river side,11 when the sun is sinking and the stream dons mail coat and habergeon12 over its other vestments, thou wouldst be quickened to new life by its gentle zephyrs and by its all sufficient shade.” So spake he and the rest fell to describing Egypt and her Nile. As I heard their accounts, my thoughts dwelt upon the subject and when, after talking their fill, all arose and went their ways, I lay down to sleep that night, but sleep came not because of my violent longing for Egypt; and neither meat pleased me nor drink. After a few days my uncles equipped themselves for a trade journey to Egypt; and I wept before my father till he made ready for me fitting merchandise, and he consented to my going with them, saying however, “Let him not enter Cairo, but leave him to sell his wares at Damascus.” So I took leave of my father and we fared forth from Mosul and gave not over travelling till we reached Aleppo13 where we halted certain days. Then we marched onwards till we made Damascus and we found her a city as though she were a Paradise, abounding in trees and streams and birds and fruits of all kinds. We alighted at one of the Khans, where my uncles tarried awhile selling and buying; and they bought and sold also on my account, each dirham turning a profit of five on prime cost, which pleased me mightily. After this they left me alone and set their faces Egyptwards; whilst I abode at Damascus, where I had hired from a jeweller, for two dinars a month, a mansion14 whose beauties would beggar the tongue. Here I remained, eating and drinking and spending what monies I had in hand till, one day, as I was sitting at the door of my house be hold, there came up a young lady clad in costliest raiment never saw my eyes richer. I winked 15 at her and she stepped inside without hesitation and stood within. I entered with her and shut the door upon myself and her; whereupon she raised her face veil and threw off her mantilla, when I found her like a pictured moon of rare and marvellous loveliness; and love of her gat hold of my heart. So I rose and brought a tray of the most delicate eatables and fruits and whatso befitted the occasion, and we ate and played and after that we drank till the wine turned our heads. Then I lay with her the sweetest of nights and in the morning I offered her ten gold pieces; when her face lowered and her eye brows wrinkled and shaking with wrath she cried, “Fie upon thee, O my sweet companion! dost thou deem that I covet thy money?” Then she took out from the bosom of her shift16 fifteen dinars and, laying them before me, said, “By Allah! unless thou take them I will never come back to thee.” So I accepted them and she said to me, “O my beloved! expect me again in three days’ time, when I will be with thee between sunset and supper tide; and do thou prepare for us with these dinars the same entertainment as yesternight.” So saying, she took leave of me and went away and all my senses went with her. On the third day she came again, clad in stuff weft with gold wire, and wearing raiment and ornaments finer than before. I had prepared the place for her ere she arrived and the repast was ready; so we ate and drank and lay together, as we had done, till the morning, when she gave me other fifteen gold pieces and promised to come again after three days. Accordingly, I made ready for her and, at the appointed time, she presented herself more richly dressed than on the first and second occasions, and said to me, “O my lord, am I not beautiful?” “Yea, by Allah thou art!” answered I, and she went on, “Wilt thou allow me to bring with me a young lady fairer than I, and younger in years, that she may play with us and thou and she may laugh and make merry and rejoice her heart, for she hath been very sad this long time past, and hath asked me to take her out and let her spend the night abroad with me?” “Yea, by Allah!” I replied; and we drank till the wine turned our heads and slept till the morning, when she gave me other fifteen dinars, saying, “Add something to thy usual provision on account of the young lady who will come with me.” Then she went away, and on the fourth day I made ready the house as usual, and soon after sunset behold, she came, accompanied by another damsel carefully wrapped in her mantilla. They entered and sat down; and when I saw them I repeated these verses:—

“How dear is our day and how lucky our lot,

When the cynic’s away with his tongue malign!

When love and delight and the swimming of head

Send cleverness trotting, the best boon of wine.

When the full moon shines from the cloudy veil,

And the branchlet sways in her greens that shine:

When the red rose mantles in freshest cheek,

And Narcissus17 opeth his love sick eyne:

When pleasure with those I love is so sweet,

When friendship with those I love is complete!”

I rejoiced to see them, and lighted the candles after receiving them with gladness and delight. They doffed their heavy outer dresses and the new damsel uncovered her face when I saw that she was like the moon at its full never beheld I aught more beautiful. Then I rose and set meat and drink before them, and we ate and drank; and I kept giving mouthfuls to the new comer, crowning her cup and drinking with her till the first damsel, waxing inwardly jealous, asked me, “By Allah, is she not more delicious than I?”; whereto I answered, “Ay, by the Lord!” “It is my wish that thou lie with her this night; for I am thy mistress but she is our visitor. Upon my head be it, and my eyes.” Then she rose and spread the carpets for our bed18 and I took the young lady and lay with her that night till morning, when I awoke and found myself wet, as I thought, with sweat. I sat up and tried to arouse the damsel; but when I shook her by the shoulders my hand became crimson with blood and her head rolled off the pillow. Thereupon my senses fled and I cried aloud, saying, “O All powerful Protector, grant me Thy protection!” Then finding her neck had been severed, I sprung up and the world waxed black before my eyes, and I looked for the lady, my former love, but could not find her. So I knew that it was she who had murdered the damsel in her jealousy,19 and said, “There is no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great! What is to be done now?” I considered awhile then, doffing my clothes, dug a hole in the middle of the court yard, wherein I laid the murdered girl with her jewellery and golden ornaments; and, throwing back the earth on her, replaced the slabs of the marble20 pavement. After this I made the Ghusl or total ablution,21 and put on pure clothes; then, taking what money I had left, locked up the house and summoned courage and went to its owner to whom I paid a year’s rent, saying, “I am about to join my uncles in Cairo.” Presently I set out and, journeying to Egypt, foregathered with my uncles who rejoiced in me, and I found that they had made an end of selling their merchandise. They asked me, “What is the cause of thy coming?”; and I answered “I longed for a sight of you;” but did not let them know that I had any money with me. I abode with them a year, enjoying the pleasures of Cairo and her Nile,22 and squandering the rest of my money in feasting and carousing till the time drew near for the departure of my uncles, when I fled from them and hid myself. They made enquiries and sought for me, but hearing no tidings they said, “He will have gone back to Damascus.” When they departed I came forth from my hiding place and abode in Cairo three years, until naught remained of my money. Now every year I used to send the rent of the Damascus house to its owner, until at last I had nothing left but enough to pay him for one year’s rent and my breast was straitened. So I travelled to Damascus and alighted at the house whose owner, the jeweller, was glad to see me and I found everything locked up as I had left it. I opened the closets and took out my clothes and necessaries and came upon, beneath the carpet bed whereon I had lain that night with the girl who had been beheaded, a golden necklace set with ten gems of passing beauty. I took it up and, cleansing it of the blood, sat gazing upon it and wept awhile. Then I abode in the house two days and on the third I entered the Hammam and changed my clothes. I had no money by me now; so Satan whispered temptation to me that the Decree of Destiny be carried out. Next day I took the jewelled necklace to the bazaar and handed it to a broker who made me sit down in the shop of the jeweller, my landlord, and bade me have patience till the market was full,23 when he carried off the ornament and proclaimed it for sale, privily and without my knowledge. The necklet was priced as worth two thousand dinars, but the broker returned to me and said, “This collar is of copper, a mere counterfeit after the fashion of the Franks24 and a thousand dirhams have been bidden for it.” “Yes,” I answered, “I knew it to be copper, as we had it made for a certain person that we might mock her: now my wife hath inherited it and we wish to sell it; so go and take over the thousand dirhams.”— And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

1 Arab. “Bi’l-Salámah” = in safety (to avert the evil eye). When visiting the sick it is usual to say something civil; “The Lord heal thee! No evil befall thee!” etc.

2 Washing during sickness is held dangerous by Arabs; and “going to the Hammam” is, I have said, equivalent to convalescence.

3 Arab. “Máristán” (pronounced Múristan) a corruption of the Pers. “Bímáristán” = place of sickness, a hospital much affected by the old Guebres (Dabistan, i., 165, 166). That of Damascus was the first Moslem hospital, founded by Al–Walid Son of Abd al-Malik the Ommiade in A. H. 88 = 706–7. Benjamin of Tudela (A. D. 1164) calls it “Dar-al Maraphtan” which his latest Editor explains by “Dar-al-Morabittan” (abode of those who require being chained). Al–Makrizi (Khitat) ascribes the invention of “Spitals” to Hippocrates; another historian to an early Pharaoh “Manákiyush;” thus ignoring the Persian Kings, Saint Ephrem (or Ephraim), Syru, etc. In modern parlance “Maristan” is a madhouse where the maniacs are treated with all the horrors which were universal in Europe till within a few years and of which occasional traces occur to this day. In A.D. 1399 Katherine de la Court held a “hospital in the Court called Robert de Paris,” but the first madhouse in Christendom was built by the legate Ortiz in Toledo A. D. 1483, and was therefore called Casa del Nuncio. The Damascus “Maristan” was described by every traveller of the last century: and it showed a curious contrast between the treatment of the maniac and the idiot or omadhaun, who is humanely allowed to wander about unharmed, if not held a Saint. When I saw it last (1870) it was all but empty and mostly in ruins. As far as my experience goes, the United States is the only country where the insane are rationally treated by the sane.

4 Hence the trite saying “Whoso drinks the water of the Nile will ever long to drink it again.” “Light” means easily digested water; and the great test is being able to drink it at night between the sleeps, without indigestion

5 “Níl” in popular parlance is the Nile in flood; although also used for the River as a proper name. Egyptians (modern as well as ancient) have three seasons, Al–Shitá (winter), Al–Sayf (summer) and Al-Níl (the Nile i.e. flood season’ our mid-summer); corresponding with the Growth months; Housing (or granary)-months and Flood-months of the older race.

6 These lines are in the Mac. Edit.

7 Arab. “Birkat al-Habash,” a tank formerly existing in Southern Cairo: Galland (Night 128) says “en remontant vers l’Ethiopie.”

8 The Bres. Edit. (ii., 190), from which I borrow this description, here alludes to the well-known Island, Al–Rauzah (Rodah) = The Garden.

9 Arab. “Laylat al-Wafá,” the night of the completion or abundance of the Nile (-flood), usually between August 6th and 16th, when the government proclaims that the Nilometer shows a rise of 16 cubits. Of course it is a great festival and a high ceremony, for Egypt is still the gift of the Nile (Lane M. E. chaps. xxvi — a work which would be much improved by a better index).

10 i.e., admiration will be complete.

11 Arab. “Sáhil Masr” (Misr): hence I suppose Galland’s villes maritimes.

12 A favourite simile, suggested by the broken glitter and shimmer of the stream under the level rays and the breeze of eventide.

13 Arab. “Halab,” derived by Moslems from “He (Abraham) milked (halaba) the white and dun cow.” But the name of the city occurs in the Cuneiforms as Halbun or Khalbun, and the classics knew it as {Greek Letters}, Beroca, written with variants.

14 Arab. “Ká‘ah,” usually a saloon; but also applied to a fine house here and elsewhere in The Nights.

15 Arab. “Ghamz” = winking, signing with the eye which, amongst Moslems, is not held “vulgar.”

16 Arab. “Kamís” from low Lat. “Camicia,” first found in St. Jerome:— “Solent militantes habere lineas, quas Camicias vocant.” Our shirt, chemise, chemisette, etc., was unknown to the Ancients of Europe.

17 Arab. “Narjís.” The Arabs borrowed nothing, but the Persians much, from Greek Mythology. Hence the eye of Narcissus, an idea hardly suggested by the look of the daffodil (or asphodel)-flower, is at times the glance of a spy and at times the die-away look of a mistress. Some scholars explain it by the form of the flower, the internal calyx resembling the iris, and the stalk being bent just below the petals suggesting drooping eyelids and languid eyes. Hence a poet addresses the Narcissus:—

O Narjis, look away! Before those eyes

I may not kiss her as a-breast she lies.

What! Shall the lover close his eyes in sleep

While thine watch all things between earth and skies?

The fashionable lover in the East must affect a frantic jealousy if he does not feel it.

18 In Egypt there are neither bedsteads nor bedrooms: the carpets and mattresses, pillows and cushions (sheets being unknown), are spread out when wanted, and during the day are put into chests or cupboards, or only rolled up in a corner of the room (Pilgrimage i. 53).

19 The women of Damascus have always been famed for the sanguinary jealousy with which European story-books and novels credit the “Spanish lady.” The men were as celebrated for intolerance and fanaticism, which we first read of in the days of Bertrandon de la Brocquière and which culminated in the massacre of 1860. Yet they are a notoriously timid race and make, physically and morally, the worst of soldiers: we proved that under my late friend Fred. Walpole in the Bashi–Buzuks during the old Crimean war. The men looked very fine fellows and after a month in camp fell off to the condition of old women.

20 Arab. “Rukhám,” properly = alabaster and “Marmar” = marble; but the two are often confounded.

21 He was ceremonially impure after touching a corpse.

22 The phrase is perfectly appropriate: Cairo without “her Nile” would be nothing.

23 “The market was hot” say the Hindustanis. This would begin between 7 and 8 a.m.

24 Arab. Al–Faranj, Europeans generally. It is derived from “Gens Francorum,” and dates from Crusading days when the French played the leading part. Hence the Lingua Franca, the Levantine jargon, of which Molière has left such a witty specimen.

When it was the Twenty-ninth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the beautiful youth said to the broker, “Take over the thousand dirhams;” and when the broker heard this, he knew that the case was suspicious. So he carried the collar to the Syndic of the bazaar, and the Syndic took it to the Governor who was also prefect of police, and said to him falsely enough, “This necklet was stolen from my house, and we have found the thief in traders’ dress.” So before I was aware of it the watch got round me and, making me their prisoner, carried me before the Governor who questioned me of the collar. I told him the tale I had told to the broker; but he laughed and said, “These words are not true.” Then, before I knew what was doing, the guard stripped off my clothes and came down with palm rods upon my ribs, till for the smart of the stick I confessed, “It was I who stole it;” saying to myself, “’Tis better for thee to say, I stole it, than to let them know that its owner was murdered in thy house, for then would they slay thee to avenge her.” So they wrote down that I had stolen it and they cut off my hand and scalded the stump in oil,1 when I swooned away for pain; but they gave me wine to drink and I recovered and, taking up my hand, was going to my fine house, when my landlord said to me, “Inasmuch, O my son, as this hath befallen thee, thou must leave my house and look out for another lodging for thee, since thou art convicted of theft. Thou art a handsome youth, but who will pity thee after this?” “O my master” said I, “bear with me but two days or three, till I find me another place.” He answered, “So be it.” and went away and left me. I returned to the house where I sat weeping and saying, How shall I go back to my own people with my hand lopped off and they know not that I am innocent? Perchance even after this Allah may order some matter for me.” And I wept with exceeding weeping, grief beset me and I remained in sore trouble for two days; but on the third day my landlord came suddenly in to me, and with him some of the guard and the Syndic of the bazaar, who had falsely charged me with stealing the necklet. I went up to them and asked, “What is the matter?” however, they pinioned me with out further parley and threw a chain about my neck, saying, “The necklet which was with thee hath proved to be the property of the Wazir of Damascus who is also her Viceroy;” and they added, “It was missing from his house three years ago at the same time as his younger daughter.” When I heard these words, my heart sank within me and I said to myself, “Thy life is gone beyond a doubt! By Allah, needs must I tell the Chief my story; and, if he will, let him kill me, and if he please, let him pardon me.” So they carried me to the Wazir’s house and made me stand between his hands. When he saw me, he glanced at me out of the corner of his eye and said to those present, “Why did ye lop off his hand? This man is unfortunate, and there is no fault in him; indeed ye have wronged him in cutting off his hand.” When I heard this, I took heart and, my soul presaging good, I said to him, “By Allah, O my lord, I am no thief; but they calumniated me with a vile calumny, and they scourged me midmost the market, bidding me confess till, for the pain of the rods, I lied against myself and confessed the theft, albeit I am altogether innocent of it.” “Fear not,” quoth the Viceroy, “no harm shall come to thee.” Then he ordered the Syndic of the bazaar to be imprisoned and said to him, “Give this man the blood money for his hand; and, if thou delay I will hang thee and seize all thy property.” Moreover he called to his guards who took him and dragged him away, leaving me with the Chief. Then they loosed by his command the chain from my neck and unbound my arms; and he looked at me, and said, “O my son, be true with me, and tell me how this necklace came to thee.” And he repeated these verses:—

“Truth best befits thee, albeit truth

Shall bring thee to burn on the threatened fire.”

“By Allah, O my lord,” answered I, “I will tell thee nothing but the truth.” Then I related to him all that had passed between me and the first lady, and how she had brought me the second and had slain her out of jealousy, and I detailed for him the tale to its full. When he heard my story, he shook his head and struck his right hand upon the left,2 and putting his kerchief over his face wept awhile and then repeated:—

“I see the woes of the world abound,

And worldings sick with spleen and teen;

There’s One who the meeting of two shall part,

And who part not are few and far between!”

Then he turned to me and said, “Know, O my son, that the elder damsel who first came to thee was my daughter whom I used to keep closely guarded. When she grew up, I sent her to Cairo and married her to her cousin, my brother’s son. After a while he died and she came back: but she had learnt wantonness and ungraciousness from the people of Cairo;3 so she visited thee four times and at last brought her younger sister. Now they were sisters-german and much attached to each other; and, when that adventure happened to the elder, she disclosed her secret to her sister who desired to go out with her. So she asked thy leave and carried her to thee; after which she returned alone and, finding her weeping, I questioned her of her sister, but she said, ‘I know nothing of her.’ However, she presently told her mother privily of what had happened and how she had cut off her sister’s head and her mother told me. Then she ceased not to weep and say, ‘By Allah! I shall cry for her till I die.’ Nor did she give over mourning till her heart broke and she died; and things fell out after that fashion. See then, O my son, what hath come to pass; and now I desire thee not to thwart me in what I am about to offer thee, and it is that I purpose to marry thee to my youngest daughter; for she is a virgin and born of another mother;4 and I will take no dower of thee but, on the contrary, will appoint thee an allowance, and thou shalt abide with me in my house in the stead of my son.” “So be it,” I answered, “and how could I hope for such good fortune?” Then he sent at once for the Kazi and witnesses, and let write my marriage contract with his daughter and I went in to her. Moreover, he got me from the Syndic of the bazaar a large sum of money and I became in high favour with him. During this year news came to me that my father was dead and the Wazir despatched a courier, with letters bearing the royal sign manual, to fetch me the money which my father had left behind him, and now I am living in all the solace of life. Such was the manner of the cutting off my right hand.” I marvelled at his story (continued the Jew), and I abode with him three days after which he gave me much wealth, and I set out and travelled Eastward till I reached this your city and the sojourn suited me right well; so I took up my abode here and there befell me what thou knowest with the Hunchback. There upon the King of China shook his head5 and said, “This story of thine is not stranger and more wondrous and marvellous and delectable than the tale of the Hunchback; and so needs must I hang the whole number of you. However there yet remains the Tailor who is the head of all the offence;” and he added, “O Tailor, if thou canst tell me any thing more wonderful than the story of the Hunchback, I will pardon you all your offences.” Thereupon the man came forward and began to tell the

1 A process familiar to European surgery of the same date.

2 In sign of disappointment, regret, vexation; a gesture still common amongst Moslems and corresponding in significance to a certain extent with our stamping, wringing the hands and so forth. It is not mentioned in the Koran where, however, we find “biting fingers’ ends out of wrath” against a man (chaps. iii.).

3 This is no unmerited scandal. The Cairenes, especially the feminine half (for reasons elsewhere given), have always been held exceedingly debauched. Even the modest Lane gives a “shocking” story of a woman enjoying her lover under the nose of her husband and confining the latter in a madhouse (chaps. xiii.). With civilisation, which objects to the good old remedy, the sword, they become worse: and the Kazi’s court is crowded with would-be divorcees. Under English rule the evil has reached its acme because it goes unpunished: in the avenues of the new Isma’iliyah Quarter, inhabited by Europeans, women, even young women, will threaten to expose their persons unless they receive “bakhshísh.” It was the same in Sind when husbands were assured that they would be hanged for cutting down adulterous wives: at once after its conquest the women broke loose; and in 1843–50, if a young officer sent to the bazaar for a girl, half-a-dozen would troop to his quarters. Indeed more than once the professional prostitutes threatened to memorialise Sir Charles Napier because the “modest women,” the “ladies” were taking the bread out of their mouths. The same was the case at Kabul (Caboul) of Afghanistan in the old war of 1840; and here the women had more excuse, the husbands being notable sodomites as the song has it.

The worth of slit the Afghan knows;

The worth of hole the Kábul-man.

4 So that he might not have to do with three sisters-german. Moreover amongst Moslems a girl’s conduct is presaged by that of her mother; and if one sister go wrong, the other is expected to follow suit. Practically the rule applies everywhere, “like mother like daughter.”

5 In sign of dissent; as opposed to nodding the head which signifies assent. These are two items, apparently instinctive and universal, of man’s gesture-language which has been so highly cultivated by sundry North American tribes and by the surdo-mute establishments of Europe.

Tale of the Tailor.

Know, O King of the age, that most marvellous was that which befell me but yesterday, before I foregathered with the Hunch back. It so chanced that in the early day I was at the marriage feast of one of my companions, who had gotten together in his house some twenty of the handicraftsmen of this city, amongst them tailors and silk spinners and carpenters and others of the same kidney. As soon as the sun had risen, they set food1 before us that we might eat when behold, the master of the house entered, and with him a foreign youth and a well favoured of the people of Baghdad, wearing clothes as handsome as handsome could be; and he was of right comely presence save that he was lame of one leg. He came and saluted us and we stood up to receive him; but when he was about to sit down he espied amongst us a certain man which was a Barber; whereupon he refused to be seated and would have gone away. But we stopped him and our host also stayed him, making oath that he should not leave us and asked him, “What is the reason of thy coming in and going out again at once?”; whereto he answered, “By Allah, O my lord, do not hinder me; for the cause of my turning back is yon Barber of bad omen,2 yon black o’face, yon ne’er do well!” When the housemaster heard these words he marvelled with extreme marvel and said, “How cometh this young man, who haileth from Baghdad, to be so troubled and perplexed about this Barber?” Then we looked at the stranger and said, “Explain the cause of thine anger against the Barber.” “O fair company,” quoth the youth, “there befell me a strange adventure with this Barber in Baghdad (which is my native city); he was the cause of the breaking of my leg and of my lameness, and I have sworn never to sit in the same place with him, nor even tarry in any town where he happens to abide; and I have bidden adieu to Baghdad and travelled far from it and came to stay in this your city; yet I have hardly passed one night before I meet him again. But not another day shall go by ere I fare forth from here.” Said we to him, “Allah upon thee, tell us the tale;” and the youth replied (the Barber changing colour from brown to yellow as he spoke): Know, O fair company, that my father was one of the chief merchants of Baghdad, and Almighty Allah had blessed him with no son but myself. When I grew up and reached man’s estate, my father was received into the mercy of Allah (whose Name be exalted!) and left me money and eunuchs, servants and slaves; and I used to dress well and diet well. Now Allah had made me a hater of women kind and one day, as I was walking along a street in Baghdad, a party of females met me face to face in the footway; so I fled from them and, entering an alley which was no thoroughfare, sat down upon a stone bench at its other end. I had not sat there long before the latticed window of one of the houses opposite was thrown open, and there appeared at it a young lady, as she were the full moon at its fullest; never in my life saw I her like; and she began to water some flowers on the window sill.3 She turned right and left and, seeing me watching her, shut the window and went away. Thereupon fire was suddenly enkindled in my heart; my mind was possessed with her and my woman hate turned to woman love. I continued sitting there, lost to the world, till sunset when lo! the Kazi of the city came riding by with his slaves before him and his eunuchs behind him, and dismounting entered the house in which the damsel had appeared. By this I knew that he was her father; so I went home sorrowful and cast myself upon my carpet bed in grief. Then my handmaids flocked in and sat about me, unknowing what ailed me; but I addressed no speech to them, and they wept and wailed over me. Presently in came an old woman who looked at me and saw with a glance what was the matter with me: so she by my head spoke me fair, saying, “O my son, tell me all about it and I will be the means of thy union with her.”4 So I related to her what had happened and she answered, “O my son, this one is the daughter of the Kazi of Baghdad who keepeth her in the closest seclusion; and the window where thou sawest her is her floor, whilst her father occupies the large saloon in the lower story. She is often there alone and I am wont to visit at the house; so thou shalt not win to her save through me. Now set thy wits to work and be of good cheer.” With these words she went away and I took heart at what she said and my people rejoiced that day, seeing me rise in the morning safe and sound. By and by the old woman returned looking chopfallen,5 and said, “O my son, do not ask me how I fared with her! When I told her that, she cried at me, ‘If thou hold not thy peace, O hag of ill omen, and leave not such talk, I will entreat thee as thou deservest and do thee die by the foulest of deaths.’ But needs must I have at her a second time.”6 When I heard this it added ailment to my ailment and the neighbours visited me and judged that I was not long for this world; but after some days, the old woman came to me and, putting her mouth close to my ear, whispered, “O my son; I claim from thee the gift of good news.” With this my soul returned to me and I said, “Whatever thou wilt shall be thine.” Thereupon she began, “Yesterday I went to the young lady who, seeing me broken in spirit and shedding tears from reddened eyes, asked me, ‘O naunty7 mine, what ails thee, that I see thy breast so straitened?’; and I answered her, weeping bitterly, ‘O my lady, I am just come from the house of a youth who loves thee and who is about to die for sake of thee!’ Quoth she (and her heart was softened), ‘And who is this youth of whom thou speakest?’; and quoth I, ‘He is to me as a son and the fruit of my vitals. He saw thee, some days ago, at the window watering thy flowers and espying thy face and wrists he fell in love at first sight. I let him know what happened to me the last time I was with thee, whereupon his ailment increased, he took to the pillow and he is naught now but a dead man, and no doubt what ever of it.’ At this she turned pale and asked, ‘All this for my sake?’; and I answered, ‘Ay, by Allah!8 what wouldst thou have me do?’ Said she, ‘Go back to him and greet him for me and tell him that I am twice more heartsick than he is. And on Friday, before the hour of public prayer, bid him here to the house, and I will come down and open the door for him. Then I will carry him up to my chamber and foregather with him for a while, and let him depart before my father return from the Mosque.’” When I heard the old woman’s words, all my sickness suddenly fell from me, my anguish ceased and my heart was comforted; I took off what clothes were on me and gave them to her and, as she turned to go, she said, “Keep a good heart!” “I have not a jot of sorrow left.” I replied. My household and intimates rejoiced in my recovery and I abode thus till Friday, when behold, the old woman came in and asked me how I did, to which I answered that I was well and in good case. Then I donned my clothes and perfumed myself and sat down to await the congregation going in to prayers, that I might betake myself to her. But the old woman said to me, “Thou hast time and to spare: so thou wouldst do well to go to the Hammam and have thy hair shaven off (especially after thy ailment), so as not to show traces of sickness.” “This were the best way,” answered I, “I have just now bathed in hot water, but I will have my head shaved.” Then I said to my page, “Go to the bazaar and bring me a barber, a discreet fellow and one not inclined to meddling or impertinent curiosity or likely to split my head with his excessive talk.”9 The boy went out at once and brought back with him this wretched old man, this Shaykh of ill omen. When he came in he saluted me and I returned his salutation; then quoth he, “Of a truth I see thee thin of body;” and quoth I, “I have been ailing.” He continued, “Allah drive far away from thee thy woe and thy sorrow and thy trouble and thy distress.” “Allah grant thy prayer!” said I. He pursued, “All gladness to thee, O my master, for indeed recovery is come to thee. Dost thou wish to be polled or to be blooded? Indeed it was a tradition of Ibn Abbas10 (Allah accept of him!) that the Apostle said, ‘Whoso cutteth his hair on a Friday, the Lord shall avert from him threescore and ten calamities;’ and again is related of him also that he said, ‘Cupping on a Friday keepeth from loss of sight and a host of diseases.’” “Leave this talk,” I cried; “come, shave me my head at once for I can’t stand it.” So he rose and put forth his hand in most leisurely way and took out a kerchief and unfolded it, and lo! it contained an astrolabe11 with seven parallel plates mounted in silver. Then he went to the middle of the court and raised head and instrument towards the sun’s rays and looked for a long while. When this was over, he came back and said to me, “Know that there have elapsed of this our day, which be Friday, and this Friday be the tenth of the month Safar in the six hundred and fifty — third year since the Hegira or Flight of the Apostle (on whom be the bestest of blessings and peace!) and the seven thousand three hundred and twentieth year of the era of Alexander, eight degrees and six minutes. Furthermore the ascendant of this our day is, according to the exactest science of computation, the planet Mars; and it so happeneth that Mercury is in conjunction with him, denoting an auspicious moment for hair cutting; and this also maketh manifest to me that thou desires union with a certain person and that your intercourse will not be propitious. But after this there occurreth a sign respecting a matter which will befall thee and whereof I will not speak.” “O thou,” cried I, “by Allah, thou weariest me and scatterest my wits and thy forecast is other than good; I sent for thee to poll my head and naught else: so up and shave me and prolong not thy speech.” “By Allah,” replied he, “if thou but knew what is about to befall thee, thou wouldst do nothing this day, and I counsel thee to act as I tell thee by computation of the constellations.” “By Allah,” said I, “never did I see a barber who excelled in judicial astrology save thyself: but I think and I know that thou art most prodigal of frivolous talk. I sent for thee only to shave my head, but thou comest and pesterest me with this sorry prattle.” “What more wouldst thou have?” replied he. “Allah hath bounteously bestowed on thee a Barber who is an astrologer, one learned in alchemy and white magic;12 syntax, grammar, and lexicology; the arts of logic, rhetoric and elocution; mathematics, arithmetic and algebra; astronomy, astromancy and geometry; theology, the Traditions of the Apostle and the Commentaries on the Koran. Furthermore, I have read books galore and digested them and have had experience of affairs and comprehended them. In short I have learned the theorick and the practick of all the arts and sciences; I know everything of them by rote and I am a past master in tota re scibili. Thy father loved me for my lack of officiousness, argal, to serve thee is a religious duty incumbent on me. I am no busy body as thou seemest to suppose, and on this account I am known as The Silent Man, also, The Modest Man. Wherefore it behoveth thee to render thanks to Allah Almighty and not cross me, for I am a true counsellor to thee and benevolently minded towards thee. Would that I were in thy service a whole year that thou mightest do me justice; and I would ask thee no wage for all this.” When I heard his flow of words, I said to him, “Doubtless thou wilt be my death this day!”— And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

1 This “Futur” is the real “breakfast” of the East, the “Chhoti házri” (petit déjeûner) of India, a bit of bread, a cup of coffee or tea and a pipe on rising, In the text, however, it is a ceremonious affair.

2 Arab. “Nahs,” a word of many meanings; a sinister aspect of the stars (as in Hebr. end Aram.) or, adjectivally, sinister, of ill-omen. Vulgarly it is used as the reverse of nice and corresponds, after a fashion, with our “nasty.”

3 “Window-gardening,” new in England, is an old practice in the East.

4 Her pimping instinct at once revealed the case to her.

5 The usual “pander-dodge” to get more money.

6 The writer means that the old woman’s account was all false, to increase apparent difficulties and pour se faire valoir.

7 Arab. “Yá Khálati” =mother’s sister; a familiar address to the old, as uncle or nuncle (father’s brother) to a man. The Arabs also hold that as a girl resembles her mother so a boy follows his uncle (mother’s brother): hence the address “Ya tayyib al-Khál!” = 0 thou nephew of a good uncle. I have noted that physically this is often fact.

8 “Ay w’ Alláhi,” contracted popularly to Aywa, a word in every Moslem mouth and shunned by Christians because against orders Hebrew and Christian. The better educated Turks now eschew that eternal reference to Allah which appears in The Nights and which is still the custom of the vulgar throughout the world of Al–Islam.

9 The “Muzayyin” or barber in the East brings his basin and budget under his arm: he is not content only to shave, he must scrape the forehead, trim the eyebrows, pass the blade lightly over the nose and correct the upper and lower lines of the mustachios, opening the central parting and so forth. He is not a whit less a tattler and a scandal monger than the old Roman tonsor or Figaro, his confrère in Southern Europe. The whole scene of the Barber is admirable, an excellent specimen of Arab humour and not over-caricatured. We all have met him.

10 Abdullah ibn Abbas was a cousin and a companion of the Apostle, also a well known Commentator on the Koran and conserver of the traditions of Mohammed.

11 I have noticed the antiquity of this father of our sextant, a fragment of which was found in the Palace of Sennacherib. More concerning the “Arstable” (as Chaucer calls it) is given in my “Camoens: his Life and his Lusiads,” p. 381.

12 Arab. “Simiyá” to rhyme with Kímiyá (alchemy proper). It is a subordinate branch of the Ilm al-Ruháni which I would translate “Spiritualism,” and which is divided into two great branches, “Ilwí or Rahmáni” (the high or related to the Deity) and Siflí or Shaytáni (low, Satanic). To the latter belongs Al–Sahr, magic or the black art proper, gramarye, egromancy, while Al — Simiyá is white magic, electro-biology, a kind of natural and deceptive magic, in which drugs and perfumes exercise an important action. One of its principal branches is the Darb al-Mandal or magic mirror, of which more in a future page. See Boccaccio’s Day x. Novel 5.

When it was the Thirtieth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the young man said to the Barber, “Thou certainly will be the death of me this very day!” “O master mine,” replied he, “I am he, The Silent Man hight, by reason of the fewness of my words, to distinguish me from my six brothers. For the eldest is called Al–Bakbúk, the prattler; the second Al–Haddár, the babbler; the third Al–Fakík, the gabbler; the fourth, his name is Al–Kuz al-aswáni, the long necked Gugglet, from his eternal chattering; the fifth is Al-Nashshár, the tattler and tale teller; the sixth Shakáshik, or many clamours; and the seventh is famous as Al-Sámit, The Silent Man, and this is my noble self!” Whilst he redoubled his talk, I thought my gall bladder would have burst; so I said to the servant, “Give him a quarter dinar and dismiss him and let him go from me in the name of God who made him. I won’t have my head shaved to day.” “What words be these, O my lord?” cried he. “By Allah! I will accept no hire of thee till I have served thee and have ministered to thy wants; and I care not if I never take money of thee. If thou know not my quality, I know thine; and I owe thy father, an honest man, on whom Allah Almighty have mercy! many a kindness, for he was a liberal soul and a generous. By Allah, he sent for me one day, as it were this blessed day, and I went in to him and found a party of his intimates about him. Quoth he to me, ‘Let me blood;’ so I pulled out my astrolabe and, taking the sun’s altitude for him, I ascertained that the ascendant was inauspicious and the hour unfavourable for brooding. I told him of this, and he did according to my bidding and awaited a better opportunity. So I made these lines in honour of him:—

I went to my patron some blood to let him,

But found that the moment was far from good:

So I sat and I talked of all strangenesses,

And with jests and jokes his good will I wooed:

They pleased him and cried he, ‘O man of wit,

Thou hast proved thee perfect in merry mood!’

Quoth I, ‘O thou Lord of men, save thou

Lend me art and wisdom I’m fou and wood

In thee gather grace, boon, bounty, suavity,

And I guerdon the world with lore, science and gravity.’

Thy father was delighted and cried out to the servant, ‘Give him an hundred and three gold pieces with a robe of honour!’ The man obeyed his orders, and I awaited an auspicious moment, when I blooded him; and he did not baulk me; nay he thanked me and I was also thanked and praised by all present. When the blood-letting was over I had no power to keep silence and asked him, ‘By Allah, O my lord, what made thee say to the servant, Give him an hundred and three dinars?’; and he answered, ‘One dinar was for the astrological observation, another for thy pleasant conversation, the third for the phlebotomisation, and the remaining hundred and the dress were for thy verses in my commendation.’” “May Allah show small mercy to my father,” exclaimed I, “for knowing the like of thee.” He laughed and ejaculated, “There is no god but the God and Mohammed is the Apostle of God! Glory to Him that changeth and is changed not! I took thee for a man of sense, but I see thou babblest and dotest for illness. Allah hath said in the Blessed Book,1 ‘Paradise is prepared for the goodly who bridle their anger and forgive men.’ and so forth; and in any case thou art excused. Yet I cannot conceive the cause of thy hurry and flurry; and thou must know that thy father and thy grandfather did nothing without consulting me, and indeed it hath been said truly enough, ‘Let the adviser be prized’; and, ‘There is no vice in advice’; and it is also said in certain saws, ‘Whoso hath no counsellor elder than he, will never himself an elder be’;2 and the poet says:—

Whatever needful thing thou undertake,

Consult th’ experienced and contraire him not!

And indeed thou shalt never find a man better versed in affairs than I, and I am here standing on my feet to serve thee. I am not vexed with thee: why shouldest thou be vexed with me? But whatever happen I will bear patiently with thee in memory of the much kindness thy father shewed me.” “By Allah,” cried I, “O thou with tongue long as the tail of a jackass, thou persistest in pestering me with thy prate and thou becomest more longsome in thy long speeches, when all I want of thee is to shave my head and wend thy way!” Then he lathered my head saying, “I perceive thou art vexed with me, but I will not take it ill of thee, for thy wit is weak and thou art but a laddy: it was only yesterday I used to take thee on my shoulder3 and carry thee to school.’ “O my brother,” said I, “for Allah’s sake do what I want and go thy gait!” And I rent my garments.4 When he saw me do this he took the razor and fell to sharpening it and gave not over stropping it until my senses were well nigh leaving me. Then he came up to me and shaved part of my head; then he held his hand and then he said, “O my lord, haste is Satan’s gait whilst patience is of Allah the Compassionate. But thou, O my master, I ken thou knowest not my rank; for verily this hand alighteth upon the heads of Kings and Emirs and Wazirs, and sages and doctors learned in the law, and the poet said of one like me:—

All crafts are like necklaces strung on a string,

But this Barber’s the union pear of the band:

High over all craftsmen he ranketh, and why?

The heads of the Kings are under his hand!”5

Then said I, “Do leave off talking about what concerneth thee not: indeed thou hast straitened my breast and distracted my mind.” Quoth he, “Meseems thou art a hasty man;” and quoth I, “Yes! yes! yes!” and he, “I rede thee practice restraint of self, for haste is Satan’s pelf which bequeatheth only repentance and ban and bane, and He (upon whom be blessings and peace!) hath said, ‘The best of works is that wherein deliberation lurks;’ but I, by Allah! have some doubt about thine affair; and so I should like thee to let me know what it is thou art in such haste to do, for I fear me it is other than good.” Then he continued, “It wanteth three hours yet to prayer time; but I do not wish to be in doubt upon this matter; nay, I must know the moment exactly, for truly, ‘A guess shot in times of doubt, oft brings harm about;’ especially in the like of me, a superior person whose merits are famous amongst mankind at large; and it doth not befit me to talk at random, as do the common sort of astrologers.” So saying, he threw down the razor and taking up the astrolabe, went forth under the sun and stood there a long time; after which he returned and counting on his fingers said to me, “There remain still to prayer time three full hours and complete, neither more nor yet less, according to the most learned astronomicals and the wisest makers of almanacks.” “Allah upon thee,” cried I, “hold thy tongue with me, for thou breakest my liver in pieces.” So he took the razor and, after sharpening it as before and shaving other two hairs of my head, he again held his hand and said, “I am concerned about thy hastiness and indeed thou wouldst do well to let me into the cause of it; ‘t were the better for thee, as thou knowest that neither thy father nor thy grandfather ever did a single thing save by my advice.” When I saw that there was no escape from him I said to myself, “The time for prayer draws near and I wish to go to her before the folk come out of the mosque. If I am delayed much longer, I know not how to come at her.” Then said I aloud, “Be quick and stint this talk and impertinence, for I have to go to a party at the house of some of my intimates.” When he heard me speak of the party, he said, “This thy day is a blessed day for me! In very sooth it was but yesterday I invited a company of my friends and I have forgotten to provide anything for them to eat. This very moment I was thinking of it: Alas, how I shall be disgraced in their eyes!” “Be not distressed about this matter,” answered I; “have I not told thee that I am bidden to an entertainment this day? So every thing in my house, eatable and drinkable, shall be thine, if thou wilt only get through thy work and make haste to shave my head.” He replied, “Allah requite thee with good! Specify to me what is in thy house for my guests that I may be ware of it.” Quoth I, “Five dishes of meat and ten chickens with reddened breasts6 and a roasted lamb.” “Set them before me,” quoth he “that I may see them.” So I told my people to buy, borrow or steal them and bring them in anywise, And had all this set before him. When he saw it he cried, “The wine is wanting,” and I replied, “I have a flagon or two of good old grape — juice in the house,” and he said, “Have it brought out!” So I sent for it and he exclaimed, “Allah bless thee for a generous disposition! But there are still the essences and perfumes.” So I bade them set before him a box containing Nadd,7 the best of compound perfumes, together with fine lign-aloes, ambergris and musk unmixed, the whole worth fifty dinars. Now the time waxed strait and my heart straitened with it; so I said to him, “Take it all and finish shaving my head by the life of Mohammed (whom Allah bless and keep!).” “By Allah,” said he, “I will not take it till I see all that is in it.” So I bade the page open the box and the Barber laid down the astrolabe, leaving the greater part of my head unpolled; and, sitting on the ground, turned over the scents and incense and aloes wood and essences till I was well nigh distraught. Then he took the razor and coming up to me shaved off some few hairs and repeated these lines:—

“The boy like his father shall surely show,

As the tree from its parent root shall grow.”8

Then said he, “By Allah, O my son, I know not whether to thank thee or thy father; for my entertainment this day is all due to thy bounty and beneficence; and, although none of my company be worthy of it, yet I have a set of honourable men, to wit Zantut the bath-keeper and Sali’a the corn-chandler; and Silat the bean-seller; and Akrashah the greengrocer; and Humayd the scavenger; and Sa’id the camel-man; and Suwayd the porter; and Abu Makarish the bathman;9 and Kasim the watchman; and Karim the groom. There is not among the whole of them a bore or a bully in his cups; nor a meddler nor a miser of his money, and each and every hath some dance which he danceth and some of his own couplets which he caroleth; and the best of them is that, like thy servant, thy slave here, they know not what much talking is nor what forwardness means. The bath keeper sings to the tom-tom10 a song which enchants; and he stands up and dances and chants,

‘I am going, O mammy, to fill up my pot.’

As for the corn-chandler he brings more skill to it than any; he dances and sings,

‘O Keener,11 0 sweetheart, thou fallest not short’

and he leaves no one’s vitals sound for laughing at him. But the scavenger sings so that the birds stop to listen to him and dances and sings,

‘News my wife wots is not locked in a box!’12

And he hath privilege, for ’tis a shrewd rogue13 and a witty; and speaking of his excellence I am wont to say,

My life for the scavenger! right well I love him,

Like a waving bough he is sweet to my sight:

Fate joined us one night, when to him quoth I

(The while I grew weak and love gained more might)

‘Thy love burns my heart!’ ‘And no wonder,’ quoth he

‘When the drawer of dung turns a stoker wight.’14

And indeed each is perfect in whatso can charm the wit with joy and jollity;” adding presently, “But hearing is not seeing; and indeed if thou make up thy mind to join us and put off going to thy friends, ’twill be better for us and for thee. The traces of illness are yet upon thee and haply thou art going among folk who be mighty talkers, men who commune together of what concerneth them not; or there may be amongst them some forward fellow who will split thy head, and thou half thy size from sickness.” “This shall be for some other day,” answered I, and laughed with heart angered: “finish thy work and go, in Allah Almighty’s guard, to thy friends, for they will be expecting thy coming.” “O my lord,” replied he, “I seek only to introduce thee to these fellows of infinite mirth, the sons of men of worth, amongst whom there is neither procacity nor dicacity nor loquacity; for never, since I grew to years of discretion, could I endure to consort with one who asketh questions concerning what concerneth him not, nor have I ever frequented any save those who are, like myself, men of few words. In sooth if thou were to company with them or even to see them once, thou wouldst forsake all thy intimates.” “Allah fulfil thy joyance with them,” said I, “needs must I come amongst them some day or other.” But he said, “Would it were this very day, for I had set my heart upon thy making one of us; yet if thou must go to thy friends to day, I will take these good things, wherewith thou hast honoured and favoured me, to my guests and leave them to eat and drink and not wait for me; whilst I will return to thee in haste and accompany thee to thy little party; for there is no ceremony between me and my intimates to prevent my leaving them. Fear not, I will soon be back with thee and wend with thee whithersoever thou wendest. There is no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great!” I shouted, “Go thou to thy friends and make merry with them; and do let me go to mine and be with them this day, for they expect me.” But the Barber cried, “I will not let thee go alone;” and I replied, “The truth is none can enter where I am going save myself.” He rejoined, “I suspect that to day thou art for an assignation with some woman, else thou hadst taken me with thee; yet am I the right man to take, one who could aid thee to the end thou wishest. But I fear me thou art running after strange women and thou wilt lose thy life; for in this our city of Baghdad one cannot do any thing in this line, especially on a day like Friday: our Governor is an angry man and a mighty sharp blade.” “Shame on thee, thou wicked, bad, old man!” cried I, “Be off! what words are these thou givest me?” “O cold of wit,”15 cried he, “thou sayest to me what is not true and thou hidest thy mind from me, but I know the whole business for certain and I seek only to help thee this day with my best endeavour.” I was fearful lest my people or my neighbours should hear the Barber’s talk, so I kept silence for a long time whilst he finished shaving my head; by which time the hour of prayer was come and the Khutbah, or sermon, was about to follow. When he had done, I said to him, “Go to thy friends with their meat and drink, and I will await thy return. Then we will fare together.” In this way I hoped to pour oil on troubled waters and to trick the accursed loon, so haply I might get quit of him; but he said, “Thou art cozening me and thou wouldst go alone to thy appointment and cast thyself into jeopardy, whence there will be no escape for thee. Now by Allah! and again by Allah! do not go till I return, that I may accompany thee and watch the issue of thine affair.” “So be it,” I replied, “do not be long absent.” Then he took all the meat and drink I had given him and the rest of it and went out of my house; but the accursed carle gave it in charge of a porter to carry to his home but hid himself in one of the alleys. As for me I rose on the instant, for the Muezzins had already called the Salam of Friday, the salute to the Apostle;16 and I dressed in haste and went out alone and, hurrying to the street, took my stand by the house wherein I had seen the young lady. I found the old woman on guard at the door awaiting me, and went up with her to the upper story, the damsel’s apartment. Hardly had I reached it when behold, the master of the house returned from prayers and entering the great saloon, closed the door. I looked down from the window and saw this Barber (Allah’s curse upon him!) sitting over against the door and said, “How did this devil find me out?” At this very moment, as Allah had decreed it for rending my veil of secrecy, it so happened that a handmaid of the house master committed some offence for which he beat her. She shrieked out and his slave ran in to intercede for her, whereupon the Kazi beat him to boot, and he also roared out. The damned Barber fancied that it was I who was being beaten; so he also fell to shouting and tore his garments and scattered dust on his head and kept on shrieking and crying “Help! Help!” So the people came round about him and he went on yelling, “My master is being murdered in the Kazi’s house!” Then he ran clamouring to my place with the folk after him, and told my people and servants and slaves; and, before I knew what was doing, up they came tearing their clothes and letting loose their hair17 and shouting, “Alas, our master!”; and this Barber leading the rout with his clothes rent and in sorriest plight; and he also shouting like a madman and saying, “Alas for our murdered master!” And they all made an assault upon the house in which I was. The Kazi, hearing the yells and the uproar at his door, said to one of his servants, “See what is the matter”; and the man went forth and returned and said, “O my master, at the gate there are more than ten thousand souls what with men and women, and all crying out, ‘Alas for our murdered master!’; and they keep pointing to our house.” When the Kazi heard this, the matter seemed serious and he waxed wroth; so he rose and opening the door saw a great crowd of people; whereat he was astounded and said, “O folk! what is there to do?” “O accursed! O dog! O hog!” my servants replied; “’Tis thou who hast killed our master!” Quoth he, “O good folk, and what hath your master done to me that I should kill him?”— And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

1 Chap. iii., 128. See Sale (in loco) for the noble application of this text by the Imam Hasan, son of the Caliph Ali.

2 These proverbs at once remind us of our old friend Sancho Panza and are equally true to nature in the mouth of the Arab and of the Spaniard.

3 Our nurses always carry in the arms: Arabs place the children astraddle upon the hip and when older on the shoulder.

4 Eastern clothes allow this biblical display of sorrow and vexation, which with our European garb would look absurd: we must satisfy ourselves with maltreating our hats

5 Koran xlviii., 8. It may be observed that according to the Ahádis (sayings of the Prophet) and the Sunnat (sayings and doings of Mahommed), all the hair should be allowed to grow or the whole head be clean shaven. Hence the “Shúshah,” or topknot, supposed to be left as a handle for drawing the wearer into Paradise, and the Zulf, or side-locks, somewhat like the ringlets of the Polish Jews, are both vain “Bida’at,” or innovations, and therefore technically termed “Makrúh,” a practice not laudable, neither “Halál” (perfectly lawful) nor “Harám” (forbidden by the law). When boys are first shaved generally in the second or third year, a tuft is left on the crown and another over the forehead; but this is not the fashion amongst adults. Abu Hanifah, if I am rightly informed, wrote a treatise on the Shushah or long lock growing from the Násiyah (head-poll) which is also a precaution lest the decapitated Moslem’s mouth be defiled by an impure hand; and thus it would resemble the chivalry lock by which the Redskin brave (and even the “cowboy” of better times) facilitated the removal of his own scalp. Possibly the Turks had learned the practice from the Chinese and introduced it into Baghdad (Pilgrimage i., 240). The Badawi plait their locks in Kurún (horns) or Jadáil (ringlets) which are undone only to be washed with the water of the she-camel. The wild Sherifs wear Haffah, long elf-locks hanging down both sides of the throat, and shaved away about a finger’s breadth round the forehead and behind the neck (Pilgrimage iii., 35–36). I have elsewhere noted the accroche-cœurs, the “idiot fringe,” etc.

6 Meats are rarely coloured in modern days; but Persian cooks are great adepts in staining rice for the “Puláo (which we call after its Turkish corruption “pilaff”): it sometimes appears in rainbow-colours, red, yellow and blue; and in India is covered with gold and silver leaf. Europe retains the practice in tinting Pasch (Easter) eggs, the survival of the mundane ovum which was hatched at Easter-tide; and they are dyed red in allusion to the Blood of Redemption.

7 As I have noticed, this is a mixture.

8 We say:—

Tis rare the father in the son we see:

He sometimes rises in the third degree.

9 Arab. “Ballán” i.e. the body-servant: “Ballánah” is a tire-woman.

10 Arab. “Darabukkah” a drum made of wood or earthen-ware (Lane, M. E., xviii.), and used by all in Egypt.

11 Arab. “Naihah” more generally “Naddábah” Lat. præfica or carina, a hired mourner, the Irish “Keener” at the conclamatio or coronach, where the Hullabaloo, Hulululu or Ululoo showed the survivors’ sorrow.

12 These doggerels, which are like our street melodies, are now forgotten and others have taken their place. A few years ago one often heard, “Dus ya lalli” (Tread, O my joy) and “Názil il’al-Ganínah” (Down into the garden) and these in due turn became obsolete. Lane (M. E. chaps. xviii.) gives the former e.g.

Tread, O my joy! Tread, O my joy!

Love of my love brings sore annoy,

A chorus to such stanzas as:—

Alexandrian damsels rare!

Daintily o’er the floor ye fare:

Your lips are sweet, are sugar-sweet,

And purfled Cashmere shawls ye wear