The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night

When it was the Nine Hundred and Eighty-seventh Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Abdullah, when Sa’idah warned him and blessed him and went her ways, passed the rest of the night with his brothers and on the morrow, he sent them to the Hammam and clad each of them, on his coming forth, in a suit worth a hoard of money. Then he called for the tray of food and they set it before him and he ate, he and his brothers. When his attendants saw the twain and knew them for his brothers they saluted them and said to him, “O our lord, Allah give thee joy of thy reunion with thy dear brothers! Where have they been this while?” He replied, “It was they whom ye saw in the guise of dogs; praise be to Allah who hath delivered them from prison and grievous torment!” Then he carried them to the Divan of the Caliph and kissing ground before Al–Rashid wished him continuance of honour and fortune and surcease of evil and enmity. Quoth the Caliph, “Welcome, O Emir Abdullah! Tell me what hath befallen thee.” And quoth he, “O Commander of the Faithful (whose power Allah increase!) when I carried my brothers home to my lodging, my heart was at rest concerning them, because thou hadst pledged thyself to their release and I said in myself, ‘Kings fail not to attain aught for which they strain, inasmuch as the divine favour aideth them.’ So I took off the collars from their necks, putting my trust in Allah, and ate with them from the same tray, which when my suite saw, they made light of my wit and said each to other, ‘He is surely mad! How can the governor of Bassorah who is greater than the Wazir, eat with dogs?’ Then they threw away what was in the tray, saying, ‘We will not eat the dogs’ orts.’ And they went on to befool my reason, whilst I heard their words, but returned them no reply because of their unknowing that the dogs were my brothers. When the hour of sleep came, I sent them away and addressed myself to sleep; but, ere I was ware, the earth clave in sunder and out came Sa’idah, the Red King’s daughter, enraged against me, with eyes like fire.” And he went on to relate to the Caliph all what had passed between him and her and her father and how she had transmewed his brothers from canine to human form, adding, “And here they are before thee, O Commander of the Faithful!” The Caliph looked at them and seeing two young men like moons, said, “Allah requite thee for me with good, O Abdullah, for that thou hast acquainted me with an advantage1 I knew not! Henceforth, Inshallah, I will never leave to pray these two-bow orisons before the breaking of the dawn, what while I live.” Then he reproved Abdullah’s brothers for their past transgressions against him and they excused themselves before the Caliph, who said, “Join hands2 and forgive one another and Allah pardon what is past!” Upon which he turned to Abdullah and said to him, “O Abdullah, make thy brothers thine assistants and be careful of them.” Then he charged them to be obedient to their brother and bade them return to Bassorah after he had bestowed on them abundant largesse. So they went down from the Caliph’s Divan whilst he rejoiced in this advantage he had obtained by the action aforesaid, to wit, persistence in praying two inclinations before dawn, and exclaimed, “He spake truth who said, ‘The misfortune of one tribe fortuneth another tribe.’”3 On this wise befel it to them from the Caliph; but as regards Abdullah, he left Baghdad carrying with him his brothers in all honour and dignity and increase of quality, and fared on till they drew near Bassorah, when the notables and chief men of the place came out to meet them and after decorating the city brought them thereinto with a procession which had not its match and all the folk shouted out blessings on Abdullah as he scattered amongst them silver and gold. None, however, took heed to his brothers; wherefore jealousy and envy entered their hearts, for all he entreated them tenderly as one tenders an ophthalmic eye; but the more he cherished them, the more they redoubled in hatred and envy of him: and indeed it is said on the subject,

“I’d win good will of every one, but whoso envies me

Will not be won on any wise and makes mine office hard:

How gain the gree of envious wight who coveteth my good,

When naught will satisfy him save to see my good go marr’d?”

Then he gave each a concubine that had not her like, and eunuchs and servants and slaves white and black, of each kind forty. He also gave each of them fifty steeds all thoroughbreds and they got them guards and followers; and he assigned to them revenues and appointed them solde and stipends and made them his assistants, saying to them, “O my brothers, I and you are equal and there is no distinction between me and you twain,”— And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

1 i.e. the power acquired (as we afterwards learn) by the regular praying of the dawn-prayer. It is not often that The Nights condescend to point a moral or inculcate a lesson as here; and we are truly thankful for the immunity.

2 Arab. “Musáfahah” which, I have said, serves for our shaking hands: and extends over wide regions. They apply the palms of the right hands flat to each other without squeezing the fingers and then raise the latter to the forehead. Pilgrimage ii. 332, has also been quoted.

3 Equivalent to our saying about an ill wind, etc.

When it was the Nine Hundred and Eighty-eighth Night,

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Abdullah assigned stipends to his brothers and made them his assistants, saying, “O my brothers, I and you are equal and there is no distinction between me and you twain, and after Allah and the Caliph, the commandment is mine and yours. So rule you at Bassorah in my absence and in my presence, and your commandments shall be effectual; but look that ye fear Allah in your ordinances and beware of oppression, which if it endure depopulateth; and apply yourselves to justice, for justice, if it be prolonged, peopleth a land. Oppress not the True Believers, or they will curse you and ill report of you will reach the Caliph, wherefore dishonour will betide both me and you. Go not therefore about to violence any, but whatso ye greed for of the goods of the folk, take it from my goods, over and above that whereof ye have need; for ’tis not unknown to you what is handed down in the Koran of prohibition versets on the subject of oppression and Allah-gifted is he who said these couplets,

‘Oppression ambusheth in sprite of man

Whom naught withholdeth save the lack of might:

The sage shall ne’er apply his wits to aught

Until befitting time direct his sight:

The tongue of wisdom woneth in the heart;

And in his mouth the tongue of foolish wight.

Who at occasion’s call lacks power to rise

Is slain by feeblest who would glut his spite.

A man may hide his blood and breed, but aye

His deeds on darkest hiddens cast a light.

Wights of ill strain with ancestry as vile

Have lips which never spake one word aright:

And who committeth case to hands of fool

In folly proveth self as fond and light;

And who his secret tells to folk at large

Shall rouse his foes to work him worst despight.

Suffice the generous what regards his lot

Nor meddles he with aught regards him not’”

And he went on to admonish his brothers and bid them to equity and forbid them from tyranny, doubting not but they would love him the better for his boon of good counsel1 and he relied upon them and honoured them with the utmost honour; but notwithstanding all his generosity to them, they only waxed in envy and hatred of him, till, one day, the two being together alone, quoth Nasir to Mansur, “O my brother, how long shall we be mere subjects of our brother Abdullah, and he in this estate of lordship and worship? After being a merchant, he is become an Emir, and from being little, he is grown great: but we, we grow not great nor is there aught of respect or degree left us; for, behold, he laugheth at us and maketh us his assistants! What is the meaning of this? Is it not that we are his servants and under his subjection? But, long as he abideth in good case, our rank will never be raised nor shall we be aught of repute; wherefore we shall not fulfil our wish, except we slay him and win to his wealth, nor will it be possible to get his gear save after his death. So, when we have slain him, we shall become lords and will take all that is in his treasuries of gems and things of price and divide them between us. Then will we send the Caliph a present and demand of him the government of Cufah, and thou shalt be governor of Cufah and I of Bassorah. Thus each of us shall have formal estate and condition, but we shall never effect this, except we put him out of the world!” Answered Mansur, “Thou sayest sooth, but how shall we do to kill him?” Quoth Nasir, “We will make an entertainment in the house of one of us and invite him thereto and serve him with the uttermost service. Then will we sit through the night with him in talk and tell him tales and jests and rare stories till his heart melteth with sitting up when we will spread him a bed, that he may lie down to sleep. When he is asleep, we will kneel upon him and throttle him and throw him into the river; and on the morrow, we will say, ‘His sister the Jinniyah came to him, as he sat chatting with us, and said to him, ‘O thou scum of mankind, who art thou that thou shouldst complain of me to the Commander of the Faithful? Deemest thou that we dread him? As he is a King, so we too are Kings, and if he mend not his manners in our regard we will do him die by the foulest of deaths. But meantime I will slay thee, that we may see what the hand of the Prince of True Believers availeth to do.’ So saying, she caught him up and clave the earth and disappeared with him which when we saw, we swooned away. Then we revived and we reck not what is become of him.’ And saying this we will send to the Caliph and tell him the case and he will invest us with the government in his room. After awhile, we will send him a sumptuous present and seek of him the government of Cufah, and one of us shall abide in Bassorah and the other in Cufah. So shall the land be pleasant to us and we will be down upon the True Believers and win our wishes.” And quoth Mansur, “Thou counsellest well, O my brother,” and they agreed upon the murther. So Nasir made an entertainment and said to Abdullah, “O my brother, verily I am thy brother, and I would have thee hearten my heart thou and my brother Mansur and eat of my banquet in my house, so I may boast of thee and that it may be said, The Emir Abdullah hath eaten of his brother Nasir’s guest meal; when my heart will be solaced by this best of boons.” Abdullah replied, “So be it, O my brother; there is no distinction between me and thee and thy house is my house; but since thou invitest me, none refuseth hospitality save the churl.” Then he turned to Mansur and said to him, “Wilt thou go with me to thy brother Nasir’s house and we will eat of his feast and heal his heart?” Replied Mansur, “As thy head liveth, O my brother, I will not go with thee, unless thou swear to me that, after thou comest forth of brother Nasir’s house, thou wilt enter my house and eat of my banquet! Is Nasir thy brother and am not I thy brother? So, even as thou heartenest his heart, do thou hearten mine.” Answered Abdullah, “There is no harm in that: with love and gladly gree! When I come out from Nasir’s house, I will enter thine, for thou art my brother even as he.” So he kissed his hand and going forth of the Divan, made ready his feast. On the morrow, Abdullah took horse and repaired, with his brother Mansur and a company of his officers, to Nasir’s house, where they sat down, he and Mansur and his many. Then Nasir set the trays before them and welcomed them; so they ate and drank and sat in mirth and merriment; after which the trays and the platters were removed and they washed their hands. They passed the day in feasting and wine-drinking and diversion and delight till night-fall, when they supped and prayed the sundown prayers, and the night orisons; after which they sat conversing and carousing, and Nasir and Mansur fell to telling stories whilst Abdullah hearkened. Now they three were alone in the pavilion, the rest of the company being in another place, and they ceased not to tell quips and tales and rare adventures and anecdotes, till Abdullah’s heart was dissolved within him for watching and sleep overcame him. — And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

1 A proof of his extreme simplicity and bonhomie.

When it was the Nine Hundred and Eighty-ninth Night,

She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Abdullah was a-wearied with watching and wanted to sleep, they also lay beside him on another couch and waited till he wasdrowned in slumber and when they were certified thereof they arose and knelt upon him: whereupon he awoke and seeing them kneeling on his breast, said to them, “What is this, O my brothers?” Cried they, “We are no brothers of thine, nor do we know thee unmannerly that thou art! Thy death is become better than thy life.” Then they gripped him by the throat and throttled him, till he lost his senses and abode without motion; so that they deemed him dead. Now the pavilion wherein they were overlooked the river; so they cast him into the water; but, when he fell, Allah sent to his aid a dolphin1 who was accustomed to come under that pavilion because the kitchen had a window that gave upon the stream; and, as often as they slaughtered any beast there, it was their wont to throw the refuse into the river and the dolphin came and picked it up from the surface of the water; wherefore he ever resorted to the place. That day they had cast out much offal by reason of the banquet; so the dolphin ate more than of wont and gained strength. Hearing the splash of Abdullah’s fall, he hastened to the spot, where he saw a son of Adam and Allah guided him so that he took the man on his back and crossing the current made with him for the other bank, where he cast his burthen ashore. Now the place where the dolphin cast up Abdullah was a well-beaten highway, and presently up came a caravan and finding him lying on the river bank, said, “Here is a drowned man, whom the river hath cast up;” and the travellers gathered around to gaze at the corpse. The Shaykh of the caravan was a man of worth, skilled in all sciences and versed in the mystery of medicine and, withal, sound of judgment: so he said to them, “O folk, what is the news?” They answered, “Here is a drowned man;” whereupon he went up to Abdullah and examining him, said to them, “O folk, there is life yet in this young man, who is a person of condition and of the sons of the great, bred in honour and fortune, and Inshallah there is still hope of him.” Then he took him and clothing him in dry clothes warmed him before the fire; after which he nursed him and tended him three days’ march till he revived; but he was passing feeble by reason of the shock, and the chief of the caravan proceeded to medicine him with such simples as he knew, what while they ceased not faring on till they had travelled thirty days’ journey from Bassorah and came to a city in the land of the Persians, by name ‘Aúj.2 Here they alighted at a Khan and spread Abdullah a bed, where he lay groaning all night and troubling the folk with his groans. And when morning morrowed the concierge of the Khan came to the chief of the caravan and said to him, “What is this sick man thou hast with thee? Verily, he disturbeth us.” Quoth the chief, “I found him by the way, on the river-bank and well nigh drowned; and I have tended him, but to no effect, for he recovereth not.” Said the porter, “Show him to the Shaykhah3 Rájihah.” “Who is this Religious?” asked the chief of the caravan, and the door-keeper answered, “There is with us a holy woman, a clean maid and a comely, called Rajihah, to whom they present whoso hath any ailment; and he passeth a single night in her house and awaketh on the morrow, whole and ailing nothing.” Quoth the chief, “Direct me to her;” quoth the porter, “Take up thy sick man.” So he and took up Abdullah and the doorkeeper forewent him, till he came to a hermitage, where he saw folk entering with many an ex voto offering and other folk coming forth, rejoicing. The porter went in, till he came to the curtain,4 and said, “Permission, O Shaykhah Rajihah! Take this sick man.” Said she, “Bring him within the curtain;” and the porter said to Abdullah, “Enter.” So he entered and looking upon the holy woman, saw her to be his wife whom he had brought from the City of Stone. And when he knew her she also knew him and saluted him and he returned her salam. Then said he, “Who brought thee hither?”; and she answered, “When I saw that thy brothers had cast thee away and were contending concerning me, I threw myself into the sea; but my Shaykh Al–Khizr Abu al-‘Abbás took me up and brought me to this hermitage, where he gave me leave to heal the sick and bade cry in the city, ‘Whoso hath any ailment, let him repair to the Shaykhah Rajihah;’ and he also said to me, ‘Tarry in this hermitage till the time betide, and thy husband shall come to thee here.’ So all the sick used to flock to me and I rubbed them and shampoo’d them and they awoke on the morrow whole and sound; whereby the report of me became noised abroad among the folk, and they brought me votive gifts, so that I have with me abundant wealth. And now I live here in high honour and worship, and all the people of these parts seek my prayers.” Then she rubbed him and by the ordinance of Allah the Most High, he became whole. Now Al–Khizr used to come to her every Friday night, and it chanced that the day of Abdullah’s coming was a Thursday.5 Accordingly, when the night darkened he and she sat, after a supper of the richest meats, awaiting the coming of Al–Khizr, who made his appearance anon and carrying them forth of the hermitage, set them down in Abdullah’s palace at Bassorah, where he left them and went his way. As soon as it was day, Abdullah examined the palace and knew it for his own; then, hearing the folk clamouring without, he looked forth of the lattice and saw his brothers crucified, each on his own cross. Now the reason of this was as ensueth. When they had thrown him into the Tigris, the twain arose on the morrow, weeping and saying, “Our brother! the Jinniyah hath carried off our brother!” Then they made ready a present and sent it to the Caliph, acquainting him with these tidings and suing from him the government of Bassorah. He sent for them and questioned them and they told him the false tale we have recounted, whereupon he was exceeding wroth.6 So that night he prayed a two-bow prayer before daybreak, as of his wont, and called upon the tribes of the Jinn, who came before him subject-wise, and he questioned them of Abdullah: when they sware to him that none of them had done him aught of hurt and said, “We know not what is become of him.” Then came Sa’idah, daughter of the Red King, and acquainted the Caliph with the truth of Abdullah’s case, and he dismissed the Jinn. On the morrow, he subjected Nasir and Mansur to the bastinado till they confessed, one against other: whereupon the Caliph was enraged with them and cried, “Carry them to Bassorah and crucify them there before Abdullah’s palace.” Such was their case; but as regards Abdullah, when he saw his brothers crucified, he commanded to bury them, then took horse and repairing to Baghdad, acquainted the Caliph with that which his brothers had done with him, from first to last and told him how he had recovered his wife; whereat Al–Rashid marvelled and summoning the Kazi and the witnesses, bade draw up the marriage-contract between Abdullah and the damsel whom he had brought from the City of Stone. So he went in to her and woned with her at Bassorah till there came to them the Destroyer of delights and the Severer of societies; and extolled be the perfection of the Living, who dieth not! Moreover, O auspicious King, I have heard a tale anent

1 Arab. “Dárfíl”=the Gr. {Greek letters} later {Greek letters}, suggesting that the writer had read of Arion in Herodotus i. 23.

2 ‘Aúj; I can only suggest, with due diffidence, that this is intended for Kúch the well-known Baloch city in Persian Carmania (Kirmán) and meant by Richardson’s “Koch ü buloch.” But as the writer borrows so much from Al–Mas’udi it may possibly be Aúk in Sístán where stood the heretical city “Shádrak,” chapt. cxxii.

3 i.e. The excellent (or surpassing) Religious. Shaykhah, the fem. of Shaykh, is a she-chief, even the head of the dancing-girls will be entitled “Shaykhah.”

4 The curtain would screen her from the sight of men-invalids and probably hung across the single room of the “Záwiyah” or hermit’s cell. The curtain is noticed in the tales of two other reverend women; vols. iv. 155 and v. 257.

5 Abdullah met his wife on Thursday, the night of which would amongst Moslems be Friday night.

6 i.e. with Sa’idah.

Ma’aruf the Cobbler and his Wife

There dwelt once upon a time in the God-guarded city of Cairo a cobbler who lived by patching old shoes.1 His name was Ma’aruf2 and he had a wife called Fatimah, whom the folk had nicknamed “The Dung;”3 for that she was a whorish, worthless wretch, scanty of shame and mickle of mischief. She ruled her spouse and abused him; and he feared her malice and dreaded her misdoings; for that he was a sensible man but poor-conditioned. When he earned much, he spent it on her, and when he gained little, she revenged herself on his body that night, leaving him no peace and making his night black as her book;4 for she was even as of one like her saith the poet:—

How manifold nights have I passed with my wife

In the saddest plight with all misery rife:

Would Heaven when first I went in to her

With a cup of cold poison I’d ta’en her life.

One day she said to him, “O Ma’aruf, I wish thee to bring me this night a vermicelli-cake dressed with bees’ honey.”5 He replied, “So Allah Almighty aid me to its price, I will bring it thee. By Allah, I have no dirhams to-day, but our Lord will make things easy.”6 Rejoined she — And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

1 Arab. “Zarábín” (pl. of zarbún), lit. slaves’ shoes or sandals (see vol. iii. p. 336) the chaussure worn by Mamelukes. Here the word is used in its modern sense of stout shoes or walking boots.

2 The popular word means goodness, etc.

3 Dozy translates “‘Urrah”=Une Mégère: Lane terms it a “vulgar word signifying a wicked, mischievous shrew.” But it is the fem. form of ‘Urr=dung; not a bad name for a daughter of Billingsgate.

4 i.e. black like the book of her actions which would be shown to her on Doomsday.

5 The “Kunáfah” (vermicelli-cake) is a favourite dish of wheaten flour, worked somewhat finer than our vermicelli, fried with samn (butter melted and clarified) and sweetened with honey or sugar. See vol. v. 300.

6 i.e. Will send us aid. The Shrew’s rejoinder is highly impious in Moslem opinion.

When it was the Nine Hundred and Ninetieth Night,

She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Ma’aruf the Cobbler said to his spouse, “By Allah, I have no dirhams to-day, but our Lord will make things easy to me!” She rejoined, “I wot naught of these words; look thou come not to me save with the vermicelli and bees’ honey; else will I make thy night black as thy fortune whenas thou fellest into my hand.” Quoth he, “Allah is bountiful!” and going out with grief scattering itself from his body, prayed the dawn-prayer and opened his shop. After which he sat till noon, but no work came to him and his fear of his wife redoubled. Then he arose and went out perplexed as to how he should do in the matter of the vermicelli-cake, seeing he had not even the wherewithal to buy bread. Presently he came to the shop of the Kunafah-seller and stood before it, whilst his eyes brimmed with tears. The pastry-cook glanced at him and said, “O Master Ma’aruf, why dost thou weep? Tell me what hath befallen thee.” So he acquainted him with his case, saying, “My wife would have me bring her a Kunafah; but I have sat in my shop till past mid-day and have not gained even the price of bread; wherefore I am in fear of her.” The cook laughed and said, “No harm shall come to thee. How many pounds wilt thou have?” “Five pounds,” answered Ma’aruf. So the man weighed him out five pounds of vermicelli-cake and said to him, “I have clarified butter, but no bees’ honey. Here is drip-honey,1 however, which is better than bees’ honey; and what harm will there be, if it be with drip-honey?” Ma’aruf was ashamed to object, because the pastry-cook was to have patience with him for the price, and said, “Give it me with drip-honey.” So he fried a vermicelli-cake for him with butter and drenched it with drip-honey, till it was fit to present to Kings. Then he asked him, “Dost thou want bread2 and cheese?”; and Ma’aruf answered, “Yes.” So he gave him four half dirhams worth of bread and one of cheese, and the vermicelli was ten nusfs. Then said he, “Know, O Ma’aruf, that thou owest me fifteen nusfs; so go to thy wife and make merry and take this nusf for the Hammam;3 and thou shalt have credit for a day or two or three till Allah provide thee with thy daily bread. And straiten not thy wife, for I will have patience with thee till such time as thou shalt have dirhams to spare.” So Ma’aruf took the vermicelli-cake and bread and cheese and went away, with a heart at ease, blessing the pastry-cook and saying, “Extolled be Thy perfection, O my Lord! How bountiful art Thou!” When he came home, his wife enquired of him, “Hast thou brought the vermicelli-cake?”; and, replying “Yes,” he set it before her. She looked at it and seeing that it was dressed with cane-honey,4 said to him, “Did I not bid thee bring it with bees’ honey? Wilt thou contrary my wish and have it dressed with cane-honey?” He excused himself to her, saying, “I bought it not save on credit;” but said she, “This talk is idle; I will not eat Kunafah save with bees’ honey.” And she was wroth with it and threw it in his face, saying, “Begone, thou pimp, and bring me other than this!” Then she dealt him a buffet on the cheek and knocked out one of his teeth. The blood ran down upon his breast and for stress of anger he smote her on the head a single blow and a slight; whereupon she clutched his beard and fell to shouting out and saying, “Help, O Moslems!” So the neighbours came in and freed his beard from her grip; then they reproved and reproached her, saying, “We are all content to eat Kunafah with cane-honey. Why, then, wilt thou oppress this poor man thus? Verily, this is disgraceful in thee!” And they went on to soothe her till they made peace between her and him. But, when the folk were gone, she sware that she would not eat of the vermicelli, and Ma’aruf, burning with hunger, said in himself, “She sweareth that she will not eat; so I will e’en eat.” Then he ate, and when she saw him eating, she said, “Inshallah, may the eating of it be poison to destroy the far one’s body.”5 Quoth he, “It shall not be at thy bidding,” and went on eating, laughing and saying, “Thou swarest that thou wouldst not eat of this; but Allah is bountiful, and to-morrow night, an the Lord decree, I will bring thee Kunafah dressed with bees’ honey, and thou shalt eat it alone.” And he applied himself to appeasing her, whilst she called down curses upon him; and she ceased not to rail at him and revile him with gross abuse till the morning, when she bared her forearm to beat him. Quoth he, “Give me time and I will bring thee other vermicelli-cake.” Then he went out to the mosque and prayed, after which he betook himself to his shop and opening it, sat down; but hardly had he done this when up came two runners from the Kazi’s court and said to him, “Up with thee, speak with the Kazi, for thy wife hath complained of thee to him and her favour is thus and thus.” He recognised her by their description; and saying, “May Allah Almighty torment her!” walked with them till he came to the Kazi’s presence, where he found Fatimah standing with her arm bound up and her face-veil besmeared with blood; and she was weeping and wiping away her tears. Quoth the Kazi, “Ho man, hast thou no fear of Allah the Most High? Why hast thou beaten this good woman and broken her forearm and knocked out her tooth and entreated her thus?” And quoth Ma’aruf, “If I beat her or put out her tooth, sentence me to what thou wilt; but in truth the case was thus and thus and the neighbours made peace between me and her.” And he told him the story from first to last. Now this Kazi was a benevolent man; so he brought out to him a quarter dinar, saying, “O man, take this and get her Kunafah with bees’ honey and do ye make peace, thou and she.” Quoth Ma’aruf, “Give it to her.” So she took it and the Kazi made peace between them, saying, “O wife, obey thy husband; and thou, O man, deal kindly with her.6” Then they left the court, reconciled at the Kazi’s hands, and the woman went one way, whilst her husband returned by another way to his shop and sat there, when, behold, the runners came up to him and said, “Give us our fee.” Quoth he, “The Kazi took not of me aught; on the contrary, he gave me a quarter dinar.” But quoth they “’Tis no concern of ours whether the Kazi took of thee or gave to thee, and if thou give us not our fee, we will exact it in despite of thee.” And they fell to dragging him about the market; so he sold his tools and gave them half a dinar, whereupon they let him go and went away, whilst he put his hand to his cheek and sat sorrowful, for that he had no tools wherewith to work. Presently, up came two ill-favoured fellows and said to him, “Come, O man, and speak with the Kazi; for thy wife hath complained of thee to him.” Said he, “He made peace between us just now.” But said they, “We come from another Kazi, and thy wife hath complained of thee to our Kazi.” So he arose and went with them to their Kazi, calling on Allah for aid against her; and when he saw her, he said to her, “Did we not make peace, good woman?” Whereupon she cried, “There abideth no peace between me and thee.” Accordingly he came forward and told the Kazi his story, adding, “And indeed the Kazi Such-an-one made peace between us this very hour.” Whereupon the Kazi said to her, “O strumpet, since ye two have made peace with each other, why comest thou to me complaining?” Quoth she, “He beat me after that;” but quoth the Kazi, “Make peace each with other, and beat her not again, and she will cross thee no more.” So they made peace and the Kazi said to Ma’aruf, “Give the runners their fee.” So he gave them their fee and going back to his shop, opened it and sat down, as he were a drunken man for excess of the chagrin which befel him. Presently, while he was still sitting, behold, a man came up to him and said, “O Ma’aruf, rise and hide thyself, for thy wife hath complained of thee to the High Court7 and Abú Tabak 8 is after thee.” So he shut his shop and fled towards the Gate of Victory.9 He had five nusfs of silver left of the price of the lasts and gear; and therewith he bought four worth of bread and one of cheese, as he fled from her. Now it was the winter season and the hour of mid-afternoon prayer; so, when he came out among the rubbish-mounds the rain descended upon him, like water from the mouths of water-skins, and his clothes were drenched. He therefore entered the ‘Adiliyah,10 where he saw a ruined place and therein a deserted cell without a door; and in it he took refuge and found shelter from the rain. The tears streamed from his eyelids, and he fell to complaining of what had betided him and saying, “Whither shall I flee from this whore? I beseech Thee, O Lord, to vouchsafe me one who shall conduct me to a far country, where she shall not know the way to me!” 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, and said to him, “O man, what aileth thee that thou disturbest me this night? These two hundred years have I dwelt here and have never seen any enter this place and do as thou dost. Tell me what thou wishest and I will accomplish thy need, as ruth for thee hath got hold upon my heart.” Quoth Ma’aruf, “Who and what art thou?”; and quoth he, “I am the Haunter11 of this place.” So Ma’aruf told him all that had befallen him with his wife and he said, “Wilt thou have me convey thee to a country, where thy wife shall know no way to thee?” “Yes,” said Ma’aruf; and the other, “Then mount my back.” So he mounted on his back and he flew with him from after supper-tide till daybreak, when he set him down on the top of a high mountain — And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

1 Arab. Asal Katr; “a fine kind of black honey, treacle” says Lane; but it is afterwards called cane-honey (‘Asal Kasab). I have never heard it applied to “the syrup which exudes from ripe dates, when hung up.”

2 Arab. “‘Aysh,” lit.=that on which man lives: “Khubz” being the more popular term. “Hubz and Joobn” is well known at Malta.

3 Insinuating that he had better make peace with his wife by knowing her carnally. It suggests the story of the Irishman who brought over to the holy Catholic Church three several Protestant wives, but failed with the fourth on account of the decline of his “Convarter.”

4 Arab. “Asal Kasab,” i.e. Sugar, possibly made from sorgho-stalks Holcus sorghum of which I made syrup in Central Africa.

5 For this unpleasant euphemy see vol. iv. 215.

6 This is a true picture of the leniency with which women were treated in the Kazi’s court at Cairo; and the effect was simply deplorable. I have noted that matters have grown even worse since the English occupation, for history repeats herself; and the same was the case in Afghanistan and in Sind. We govern too much in these matters, which should be directed not changed, and too little in other things, especially in exacting respect for the conquerors from the conquered.

7 Arab. “Báb al-’Áli”=the high gate or Sublime Porte; here used of the Chief Kazi’s court: the phrase is a descendant of the Coptic “Per-ao” whence “Pharaoh.”

8 “Abú Tabak,” in Cairene slang, is an officer who arrests by order of the Kazi and means “Father of whipping” (=tabaka, a low word for beating, thrashing, whopping) because he does his duty with all possible violence in terrorem.

9 Bab al-Nasr the Eastern or Desert Gate: see vol. vi. 234.

10 This is a mosque outside the great gate built by Al–Malik al-’Ádil Tuman Bey in A.H. 906 (=1501). The date is not worthy of much remark for these names are often inserted by the scribe — for which see Terminal Essay.

11 Arab. “’Ámir” lit.=one who inhabiteth, a peopler; here used in technical sense. As has been seen, ruins and impure places such as privies and Hammám-baths are the favourite homes of the Jinn. The fire-drake in the text was summoned by the Cobbler’s exclamation and even Marids at times do a kindly action.

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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

When it was the Nine Hundred and Ninety-first Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Marid having taken up Ma’aruf the Cobbler, flew off with him and set him down upon a high mountain and said to him, “O mortal, descend this mountain and thou wilt see the gate of a city. Enter it, for therein thy wife cannot come at thee.” He then left him and went his way, whilst Ma’aruf abode in amazement and perplexity till the sun rose, when he said to himself, “I will up with me and go down into the city: indeed there is no profit in my abiding upon this highland.” So he descended to the mountain-foot and saw a city girt by towering walls, full of lofty palaces and gold-adorned buildings which was a delight to beholders. He entered in at the gate and found it a place such as lightened the grieving heart; but, as he walked through the streets the townsfolk stared at him as a curiosity and gathered about him, marvelling at his dress, for it was unlike theirs. Presently, one of them said to him, “O man, art thou a stranger?” “Yes.” “What countryman art thou?” “I am from the city of Cairo the Auspicious.” “And when didst thou leave Cairo?” “I left it yesterday, at the hour of afternoon-prayer.” Whereupon the man laughed at him and cried out, saying, “Come look, O folk, at this man and hear what he saith!” Quoth they, “What doeth he say?”; and quoth the townsman, “He pretendeth that he cometh from Cairo and left it yesterday at the hour of afternoon-prayer!” At this they all laughed and gathering round Ma’aruf, said to him, “O man, art thou mad to talk thus? How canst thou pretend that thou leftest Cairo at mid-afternoon yesterday and foundedst thyself this morning here, when the truth is that between our city and Cairo lieth a full year’s journey?” Quoth he, “None is mad but you. As for me, I speak sooth, for here is bread which I brought with me from Cairo, and see, ’tis yet new.” Then he showed them the bread and they stared at it, for it was unlike their country bread. So the crowd increased about him and they said to one another, “This is Cairo bread: look at it;” and he became a gazing-stock in the city and some believed him, whilst others gave him the lie and made mock of him. Whilst this was going on, behold, up came a merchant riding on a she-mule and followed by two black slaves, and brake a way through the people, saying, “O folk, are ye not ashamed to mob this stranger and make mock of him and scoff at him?” And he went on to rate them, till he drave them away from Ma’aruf, and none could make him any answer. Then he said to the stranger, “Come, O my brother, no harm shall betide thee from these folk. Verily they have no shame.”1 So he took him and carrying him to a spacious and richly-adorned house, seated him in a speak-room fit for a King, whilst he gave an order to his slaves, who opened a chest and brought out to him a dress such as might be worn by a merchant worth a thousand.2 He clad him therewith and Ma’aruf, being a seemly man, became as he were consul of the merchants. Then his host called for food and they set before them a tray of all manner exquisite viands. The twain ate and drank and the merchant said to Ma’aruf, “O my brother, what is thy name?” “My name is Ma’aruf and I am a cobbler by trade and patch old shoes.” “What countryman art thou?” “I am from Cairo.” “What quarter?” “Dost thou know Cairo?” “I am of its children.3 I come from the Red Street. 4” “And whom dost thou know in the Red Street?” “I know such an one and such an one,” answered Ma’aruf and named several people to him. Quoth the other, “Knowest thou Shaykh Ahmad the druggist?5” “He was my next neighbour, wall to wall.” “Is he well?” “Yes.” “How many sons hath he?” “Three, Mustafà, Mohammed and Ali.” “And what hath Allah done with them?” “As for Mustafà, he is well and he is a learned man, a professor6: Mohammed is a druggist and opened him a shop beside that of his father, after he had married, and his wife hath borne him a son named Hasan.” “Allah gladden thee with good news!” said the merchant; and Ma’aruf continued, “As for Ali, he was my friend, when we were boys, and we always played together, I and he. We used to go in the guise of the children of the Nazarenes and enter the church and steal the books of the Christians and sell them and buy food with the price. It chanced once that the Nazarenes caught us with a book; whereupon they complained of us to our folk and said to Ali’s father:— An thou hinder not thy son from troubling us, we will complain of thee to the King. So he appeased them and gave Ali a thrashing; wherefore he ran away none knew whither and he hath now been absent twenty years and no man hath brought news of him.” Quoth the host, “I am that very Ali, son of Shaykh Ahmad the druggist, and thou art my playmate Ma’aruf.”7 So they saluted each other and after the salam Ali said, “Tell me why, O Ma’aruf, thou camest from Cairo to this city.” Then he told him all that had befallen him of ill-doing with his wife Fatimah the Dung and said, “So, when her annoy waxed on me, I fled from her towards the Gate of Victory and went forth the city. Presently, the rain fell heavy on me; so I entered a ruined cell in the Adiliyah and sat there, weeping; whereupon there came forth to me the Haunter of the place, which was an Ifrit of the Jinn, and questioned me. I acquainted him with my case and he took me on his back and flew with me all night between heaven and earth, till he set me down on yonder mountain and gave me to know of this city. So I came down from the mountain and entered the city, when people crowded about me and questioned me. I told them that I had left Cairo yesterday, but they believed me not, and presently thou camest up and driving the folk away from me, carriedst me this house. Such, then, is the cause of my quitting Cairo; and thou, what object brought thee hither?” Quoth Ali, “The giddiness8 of folly turned my head when I was seven years old, from which time I wandered from land to land and city to city, till I came to this city, the name whereof is Ikhtiyán al-Khatan.9 I found its people an hospitable folk and a kindly, compassionate for the poor man and selling to him on credit and believing all he said. So quoth I to them:— I am a merchant and have preceded my packs and I need a place wherein to bestow my baggage. And they believed me and assigned me a lodging. Then quoth I to them:— Is there any of you will lend me a thousand dinars, till my loads arrive, when I will repay it to him; for I am in want of certain things before my goods come? They gave me what I asked and I went to the merchants’ bazar, where, seeing goods, I bought them and sold them next day at a profit of fifty gold pieces and bought others.10 And I consorted with the folk and entreated them liberally, so that they loved me, and I continued to sell and buy, till I grew rich. Know, O my brother, that the proverb saith, The world is show and trickery: and the land where none wotteth thee, there do whatso liketh thee. Thou too, an thou say to all who ask thee, I’m a cobbler by trade and poor withal, and I fled from my wife and left Cairo yesterday, they will not believe thee and thou wilt be a laughing-stock among them as long as thou abidest in the city; whilst, an thou tell them, An Ifrit brought me hither, they will take fright at thee and none will come near thee; for they will say, This man is possessed of an Ifrit and harm will betide whoso approacheth him. And such public report will be dishonouring both to thee and to me, because they ken I come from Cairo.” Ma’aruf asked:—“How then shall I do?”; and Ali answered, “I will tell thee how thou shalt do, Inshallah! To-morrow I will give thee a thousand dinars and a she-mule to ride and a black slave, who shall walk before thee and guide thee to the gate of the merchants’ bazar; and do thou go into them. I will be there sitting amongst them, and when I see thee, I will rise to thee and salute thee with the salam and kiss thy hand and make a great man of thee. Whenever I ask thee of any kind of stuff, saying, Hast thou brought with thee aught of such a kind? do thou answer, “Plenty.11” And if they question me of thee, I will praise thee and magnify thee in their eyes and say to them, Get him a store-house and a shop. I also will give thee out for a man of great wealth and generosity; and if a beggar come to thee, bestow upon him what thou mayst; so will they put faith in what I say and believe in thy greatness and generosity and love thee. Then will I invite thee to my house and invite all the merchants on thy account and bring together thee and them, so that all may know thee and thou know them,”— And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

1 The style is modern Cairene jargon.

2 Purses or gold pieces see vol. ix. 313.

3 i.e. I am a Cairene.

4 Arab. “Darb al-Ahmar,” a street still existing near to and outside the noble Bab Zuwaylah, for which see vol. i. 269.

5 Arab. “‘Attár,” perfume-seller and druggist; the word is connected with our “Ottar” (‘Atr).

6 Arab. “Mudarris” lit.=one who gives lessons or lectures (dars) and pop. applied to a professor in a collegiate mosque like Al–Azhar of Cairo.

7 This thoroughly dramatic scene is told with a charming naïveté. No wonder that The Nights has been made the basis of a national theatre amongst the Turks.

8 Arab. “Taysh” lit.=vertigo, swimming of head.

9 Here Trébutien (iii. 265) reads “la ville de Khaïtan (so the Mac. Edit. iv. 708) capital du royaume de Sohatan.” Ikhtiyán Lane suggests to be fictitious: Khatan is a district of Tartary east of Káshgar, so called by Sádik al-Isfaháni p. 24.

10 This is a true picture of the tact and savoir faire of the Cairenes. It was a study to see how, under the late Khedive they managed to take precedence of Europeans who found themselves in the background before they knew it. For instance, every Bey, whose degree is that of a Colonel was made an “Excellency” and ranked accordingly at Court whilst his father, some poor Fellah, was ploughing the ground. Tanfík Pasha began his ill-omened rule by always placing natives close to him in the place of honour, addressing them first and otherwise snubbing Europeans who, when English, were often too obtuse to notice the petty insults lavished upon them.

11 Arab. “Kathír” (pron. Katir)=much: here used in its slang sense, “no end.”

When it was the Nine Hundred and Ninety-second Night,

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the merchant Ali said to Ma’aruf, “I will invite thee to my house and invite all the merchants on thy account and bring together thee and them, so that all may know thee and thou know them, whereby thou shalt sell and buy and take and give with them; nor will it be long ere thou become a man of money.” Accordingly, on the morrow he gave him a thousand dinars and a suit of clothes and a black slave and mounting him on a she-mule, said to him, “Allah give thee quittance of responsibility for all this,1 inasmuch as thou art my friend and it behoveth me to deal generously with thee. Have no care; but put away from thee the thought of thy wife’s misways and name her not to any.” “Allah requite thee with good!” replied Ma’aruf and rode on, preceded by his blackamoor till the slave brought him to the gate of the merchants’ bazar, where they were all seated, and amongst them Ali, who when he saw him, rose and threw himself upon him, crying, “A blessed day, O Merchant Ma’aruf, O man of good works and kindness2!” And he kissed his hand before the merchants and said to them, “Our brothers, ye are honoured by knowing3 the merchant Ma’aruf.” So they saluted him, and Ali signed to them to make much of him, wherefore he was magnified in their eyes. Then Ali helped him to dismount from his she-mule and saluted him with the salam; after which he took the merchants apart, one after other, and vaunted Ma’aruf to them. They asked, “Is this man a merchant?;” and he answered, “Yes; and indeed he is the chiefest of merchants, there liveth not a wealthier than he; for his wealth and the riches of his father and forefathers are famous among the merchants of Cairo. He hath partners in Hind and Sind and Al–Yaman and is high in repute for generosity. So know ye his rank and exalt ye his degree and do him service, and wot also that his coming to your city is not for the sake of traffic, and none other save to divert himself with the sight of folk’s countries: indeed, he hath no need of strangerhood for the sake of gain and profit, having wealth that fires cannot consume, and I am one of his servants.” And he ceased not to extol him, till they set him above their heads and began to tell one another of his qualities. Then they gathered round him and offered him junkets4 and sherbets, and even the Consul of the Merchants came to him and saluted him; whilst Ali proceeded to ask him, in the presence of the traders, “O my lord, haply thou hast brought with thee somewhat of such and such a stuff?”; and Ma’aruf answered,“Plenty.” Now Ali had that day shown him various kinds of costly clothes and had taught him the names of the different stuffs, dear and cheap. Then said one of the merchants, “O my lord, hast thou brought with thee yellow broad cloth?”: and Ma’aruf said, “Plenty”! Quoth another, “And gazelles’ blood red5?”; and quoth the Cobbler, “Plenty”; and as often as he asked him of aught, he made him the same answer. So the other said, “O Merchant Ali had thy countryman a mind to transport a thousand loads of costly stuffs, he could do so”; and Ali said, “He would take them from a single one of his store-houses, and miss naught thereof.” Now whilst they were sitting, behold, up came a beggar and went the round of the merchants. One gave him a half dirham and another a copper,6 but most of them gave him nothing, till he came to Ma’aruf who pulled out a handful of gold and gave it to him, whereupon he blessed him and went his ways. The merchants marvelled at this and said, “Verily, this is a King’s bestowal for he gave the beggar gold without count, and were he not a man of vast wealth and money without end, he had not given a beggar a handful of gold.” After a while, there came to him a poor woman and he gave her a handful of gold; whereupon she went away, blessing him, and told the other beggars, who came to him, one after other, and he gave them each a handful of gold, till he disbursed the thousand dinars. Then he struck hand upon hand and said, “Allah is our sufficient aid and excellent is the Agent!” Quoth the Consul, “What aileth thee, O Merchant Ma’aruf?”; and quoth he, “It seemeth that the most part of the people of this city are poor and needy; had I known their misery I would have brought with me a large sum of money in my saddle-bags and given largesse thereof to the poor. I fear me I may be long abroad7 and ’tis not in my nature to baulk a beggar; and I have no gold left: so, if a pauper come to me, what shall I say to him?” Quoth the Consul, “Say, Allah will send thee thy daily bread8!”; but Ma’aruf replied, “That is not my practice and I am care-ridden because of this. Would I had other thousand dinars, wherewith to give alms till my baggage come!” “Have no care for that,” quoth the Consul and sending one of his dependents for a thousand dinars, handed them to Ma’aruf, who went on giving them to every beggar who passed till the call to noon-prayer. 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. This drew the people’s attention to him and they blessed him, whilst the merchants marvelled at the abundance of his generosity and openhandedness. Then he turned to another trader and borrowing of him other thousand ducats, gave these also away, whilst Merchant Ali looked on at what he did, but could not speak. He ceased not to do thus till the call to mid-afternoon prayer, when he entered the mosque and prayed and distributed the rest of the money. On this wise, by the time they locked the doors of the bazar,9 he had borrowed five thousand sequins and given them away, saying to every one of whom he took aught, “Wait till my baggage come when, if thou desire gold I will give thee gold, and if thou desire stuffs, thou shalt have stuffs; for I have no end of them.” At eventide Merchant Ali invited Ma’aruf and the rest of the traders to an entertainment and seated him in the upper end, the place of honour, where he talked of nothing but cloths and jewels, and whenever they made mention to him of aught, he said, “I have plenty of it.” Next day, he again repaired to the market-street where he showed a friendly bias towards the merchants and borrowed of them more money, which he distributed to the poor: nor did he leave doing thus twenty days, till he had borrowed threescore thousand dinars, and still there came no baggage, no, nor a burning plague.10 At last folk began to clamour for their money and say, “The merchant Ma’aruf’s baggage cometh not. How long will he take people’s monies and give them to the poor?” And quoth one of them, “My rede is that we speak to Merchant Ali.” So they went to him and said, “O Merchant Ali, Merchant Ma’aruf’s baggage cometh not.” Said he, “Have patience, it cannot fail to come soon.” Then he took Ma’aruf aside and said to him, “O Ma’aruf, what fashion is this? Did I bid thee brown11 the bread or burn it? The merchants clamour for their coin and tell me that thou owest them sixty thousand dinars, which thou hast borrowed and given away to the poor. How wilt thou satisfy the folk, seeing that thou neither sellest nor buyest?” Said Ma’aruf, “What matters it12; and what are threescore thousand dinars? When my baggage shall come, I will pay them in stuffs or in gold and silver, as they will.” Quoth Merchant Ali, “Allah is Most Great! Hast thou then any baggage?”; and he said, “Plenty.” Cried the other, “Allah and the Hallows13 requite thee thine impudence! Did I teach thee this saying, that thou shouldst repeat it to me? But I will acquaint the folk with thee.” Ma’aruf rejoined, “Begone and prate no more! Am I a poor man? I have endless wealth in my baggage and as soon as it cometh, they shall have their money’s worth two for one. I have no need of them.” At this Merchant Ali waxed wroth and said, “Unmannerly wight that thou art, I will teach thee to lie to me and be not ashamed!” Said Ma’aruf, “E’en work the worst thy hand can do! They must wait till my baggage come, when they shall have their due and more.” So Ali left him and went away, saying in himself, “I praised him whilome and if I blame him now, I make myself out a liar and become of those of whom it is said:— Whoso praiseth and then blameth lieth twice.”14 And he knew not what to do. Presently, the traders came to him and said, “O Merchant Ali, hast thou spoken to him?” Said he, “O folk, I am ashamed and, though he owe me a thousand dinars, I cannot speak to him. When ye lent him your money ye consulted me not; so ye have no claim on me. Dun him yourselves, and if he pay you not, complain of him to the King of the city, saying:— He is an impostor who hath imposed upon us. And he will deliver you from the plague of him.” Accordingly, they repaired to the King and told him what had passed, saying, “O King of the age, we are perplexed anent this merchant, whose generosity is excessive; for he doeth thus and thus, and all he borroweth, he giveth away to the poor by handsful. Were he a man of naught, his sense would not suffer him to lavish gold on this wise; and were he a man of wealth, his good faith had been made manifest to us by the coming of his baggage; but we see none of his luggage, although he avoucheth that he hath baggage-train and hath preceded it. Now some time hath past, but there appeareth no sign of his baggage-train, and he oweth us sixty thousand gold pieces, all of which he hath given away in alms.” And they went on to praise him and extol his generosity. Now this King was a very covetous man, a more covetous than Ash’ab15; and when he heard tell of Ma’aruf’s generosity and openhandedness, greed of gain got the better of him and he said to his Wazir, “Were not this merchant a man of immense wealth, he had not shown all this munificence. His baggage-train will assuredly come, whereupon these merchants will flock to him and he will scatter amongst them riches galore. Now I have more right to this money than they; wherefore I have a mind to make friends with him and profess affection for him, so that, when his baggage cometh whatso the merchants would have had I shall get of him; and I will give him my daughter to wife and join his wealth to my wealth.” Replied the Wazir, “O King of the age, methinks he is naught but an impostor, and ’tis the impostor who ruineth the house of the covetous;”— And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

1 i.e. “May the Lord soon make thee able to repay me; but meanwhile I give it to thee for thy own free use.”

2 Punning upon his name. Much might be written upon the significance of names as ominous of good and evil; but the subject is far too extensive for a footnote.

3 Lane translates “Ánisa-kum” by “he hath delighted you by his arrival”; Mr. Payne “I commend him to you.”

4 Arab. “Fatúrát,”=light food for the early breakfast of which the “Fatírah”-cake was a favourite item. See vol. i. 300.

5 A dark red dye (Lane).

6 Arab. “Jadíd,” see vol. viii. 121.

7 Both the texts read thus, but the reading has little sense. Ma’aruf probably would say, “I fear that my loads will be long coming.”

8 One of the many formulas of polite refusal.

9 Each bazar, in a large city like Damascus, has its tall and heavy wooden doors which are locked every evening and opened in the morning by the Ghafir or guard. The “silver key,” however, always lets one in.

10 Arab. “Wa lá Kabbata hámiyah,” a Cairene vulgarism meaning, “There came nothing to profit him nor to rid the people of him.”

11 Arab. “Kammir,” i.e. brown it before the fire, toast it.

12 It is insinuated that he had lied till he himself believed the lie to be truth — not an uncommon process, I may remark.

13 Arab. “Rijál”=the Men, equivalent to the Walis, Saints or Santons; with perhaps an allusion to the Rijál al-Ghayb, the Invisible Controls concerning whom I have quoted Herklots in vol. ii. 211.

14 A saying attributed to Al–Hariri (Lane). It is good enough to be his: the Persians say, “Cut not down the tree thou plantedst,” and the idea is universal throughout the East.

15 A quotation from Al–Hariri (Ass. of the Badawin). Ash’ab (ob. A.H. 54), a Medinite servant of Caliph Osman, was proverbial for greed and sanguine, Micawber-like expectation of “windfalls.” The Scholiast Al–Sharíshi (of Xeres) describes him in Theophrastic style. He never saw a man put hand to pocket without expecting a present, or a funeral go by without hoping for a legacy, or a bridal procession without preparing his own house,

hoping they might bring the bride to him by mistake.

When asked if he knew aught greedier than himself he said “Yes; a sheep I once kept upon my terrace-roof seeing a rainbow mistook it for a rope of hay and jumping to seize it broke its neck!” Hence “Ash’ab’s sheep” became a by-word (Preston tells the tale in full, p. 288).

When it was the Nine Hundred and Ninety-third Night,

She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the Wazir said to the King, “Methinks he is naught but an impostor, and ’tis the impostor who ruineth the house of the covetous;” the King said, “O Wazir, I will prove him and soon know if he be an impostor or a true man and whether he be a rearling of Fortune or not.” The Wazir asked, “And how wilt thou prove him?”; and the King answered, “I will send for him to the presence and entreat him with honour and give him a jewel which I have. An he know it and wot its price, he is a man of worth and wealth; but an he know it not, he is an impostor and an upstart and I will do him die by the foulest fashion of deaths.” So he sent for Ma’aruf, who came and saluted him. The King returned his salam and seating him beside himself, said to him, “Art thou the merchant Ma’aruf?” and said he, “Yes.” Quoth the King, “The merchants declare that thou owest them sixty thousand ducats. Is this true?” “Yes,” quoth he. Asked the King, “Then why dost thou not give them their money?”; and he answered, “Let them wait till my baggage come and I will repay them twofold. An they wish for gold, they shall have gold; and should they wish for silver, they shall have silver; or an they prefer for merchandise, I will give them merchandise; and to whom I owe a thousand I will give two thousand in requital of that wherewith he hath veiled my face before the poor; for I have plenty.” Then said the King, “O merchant, take this and look what is its kind and value.” And he gave him a jewel the bigness of a hazel-nut, which he had bought for a thousand sequins and not having its fellow, prized it highly. Ma’aruf took it and pressing it between his thumb and forefinger brake it, for it was brittle and would not brook the squeeze. Quoth the King, “Why hast thou broken the jewel?”; and Ma’aruf laughed and said, “O King of the age, this is no jewel. This is but a bittock of mineral worth a thousand dinars; why dost thou style it a jewel? A jewel I call such as is worth threescore and ten thousand gold pieces and this is called but a piece of stone. A jewel that is not of the bigness of a walnut hath no worth in my eyes and I take no account thereof. How cometh it, then, that thou, who art King, stylest this thing a jewel, when ’tis but a bit of mineral worth a thousand dinars? But ye are excusable, for that ye are poor folk and have not in your possession things of price.” The King asked, “O merchant, hast thou jewels such as those whereof thou speakest?”; and he answered, “Plenty.” Whereupon avarice overcame the King and he said, “Wilt thou give me real jewels?” Said Ma’aruf, “When my baggage-train shall come, I will give thee no end of jewels; and all that thou canst desire I have in plenty and will give thee, without price.” At this the King rejoiced and said to the traders, “Wend your ways and have patience with him, till his baggage arrive, when do ye come to me and receive your monies from me.” So they fared forth and the King turned to his to his Wazir and said to him, Pay court to Merchant Ma’aruf and take and give with him in talk and bespeak him of my daughter, Princess Dunyá, that he may wed her and so we gain these riches he hath.” Said the Wazir, “O King of the age, this man’s fashion misliketh me and methinks he is an impostor and a liar: so leave this whereof thou speakest lest thou lose thy daughter for naught.” Now this Minister had sued the King aforetime to give him his daughter to wife and he was willing to do so, but when she heard of it she consented not to marry him. Accordingly, the King said to him, “O traitor, thou desirest no good for me, because in past time thou soughtest my daughter in wedlock, but she would none of thee; so now thou wouldst cut off the way of her marriage and wouldst have the Princess lie fallow, that thou mayst take her; but hear from me one word. Thou hast no concern in this matter. How can he be an impostor and a liar, seeing that he knew the price of the jewel, even that for which I bought it, and brake it because it pleased him not? He hath jewels in plenty, and when he goeth in to my daughter and seeth her to be beautiful she will captivate his reason and he will love her and give her jewels and things of price: but, as for thee, thou wouldst forbid my daughter and myself these good things.” So the Minister was silent, for fear of the King’s anger, and said to himself, “Set the curs on the cattle1!” Then with show of friendly bias he betook himself to Ma’aruf and said to him, “His Highness the King loveth thee and hath a daughter, a winsome lady and a lovesome, to whom he is minded to marry thee. What sayst thou?” Said he, “No harm in that; but let him wait till my baggage come, for marriage-settlements on Kings’ daughters are large and their rank demandeth that they be not endowed save with a dowry befitting their degree. At this present I have no money with me till the coming of my baggage, for I have wealth in plenty and needs must I make her marriage-portion five thousand purses. Then I shall need a thousand purses to distribute amongst the poor and needy on my wedding-night, and other thousand to give to those who walk in the bridal procession and yet other thousand wherewith to provide provaunt for the troops and others2; and I shall want an hundred jewels to give to the Princess on the wedding-morning3 and other hundred gems to distribute among the slavegirls and eunuchs, for I must give each of them a jewel in honour of the bride; and I need wherewithal to clothe a thousand naked paupers, and alms too needs must be given. All this cannot be done till my baggage come; but I have plenty and, once it is here, I shall make no account of all this outlay.” The Wazir returned to the King and told him what Ma’aruf said, whereupon quoth he, “Since this is his wish, how canst thou style him impostor and liar?” Replied the Minister, “And I cease not to say this.” But the King chid him angrily and threatened him, saying, “By the life of my head, an thou cease not this talk, I will slay thee! Go back to him and fetch him to me and I will manage matters with him myself.” So the Wazir returned to Ma’aruf and said to him, “Come and speak with the King.” “I hear and I obey,” said Ma’aruf and went in to the King, who said to him, “Thou shalt not put me off with these excuses, for my treasury is full; so take the keys and spend all thou needest and give what thou wilt and clothe the poor and do thy desire and have no care for the girl and the handmaids. When the baggage shall come, do what thou wilt with thy wife, by way of generosity, and we will have patience with thee anent the marriage-portion till then, for there is no manner of difference betwixt me and thee; none at all.” Then he sent for the Shaykh Al–Islam4 and bade him write out the marriage-contract between his daughter and Merchant Ma’aruf, and he did so; after which the King gave the signal for beginning the wedding festivities and bade decorate the city. The kettle drums beat and the tables were spread with meats of all kinds and there came performers who paraded their tricks. Merchant Ma’aruf sat upon a throne in a parlour and the players and gymnasts and effeminates5 and dancing-men of wondrous movements and posture-makers of marvellous cunning came before him, whilst he called out to the treasurer and said to him, “Bring gold and silver.” So he brought gold and silver and Ma’aruf went round among the spectators and largessed each performer by the handful; and he gave alms to the poor and needy and clothes to the naked and it was a clamorous festival and a right merry. The treasurer could not bring money fast enough from the treasury, and the Wazir’s heart was like to burst for rage; but he dared not say a word, whilst Merchant Ali marvelled at this waste of wealth and said to Merchant Ma’aruf, “Allah and the Hallows visit this upon on thy head-sides6! Doth it not suffice thee to squander the traders’ money, but thou must squander that of the King to boot?” Replied Ma’aruf, “’Tis none of thy concern: whenas my baggage shall come, I will requite the King manifold.” And he went on lavishing money and saying in himself, “A burning plague! What will happen will happen and there is no flying from that which is fore-ordained.” The festivities ceased not for the space of forty days, and on the one-and-fortieth day, they made the bride’s cortège and all the Emirs and troops walked before her. When they brought her in before Ma’aruf, he began scattering gold on the people’s heads, and they made her a mighty fine procession, whilst Ma’aruf expended in her honour vast sums of money. Then they brought him in to Princess Dunya and he sat down on the high divan; after which they let fall the curtains and shut the doors and withdrew, leaving him alone with his bride; whereupon he smote hand upon hand and sat awhile sorrowful and saying, “There is no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great!” Quoth the Princess, “O my lord, Allah preserve thee! What aileth thee that thou art troubled?” Quoth he, “And how should I be other than troubled, seeing that thy father hath embarrassed me and done with me a deed which is like the burning of green corn?” She asked, “And what hath my father done with thee? Tell me!”; and he answered, “He hath brought me in to thee before the coming of my baggage, and I want at very least an hundred jewels to distribute among thy handmaids, to each a jewel, so she might rejoice therein and say, My lord gave me a jewel on the night of his going in to my lady. This good deed would I have done in honour of thy station and for the increase of thy dignity; and I have no need to stint myself in lavishing jewels, for I have of them great plenty.” Rejoined she, “Be not concerned for that. As for me, trouble not thyself about me, for I will have patience with thee till thy baggage shall come, and as for my women have no care for them. Rise, doff thy clothes and take thy pleasure; and when the baggage cometh we shall get the jewels and the rest.” So he arose and putting off his clothes sat down on the bed and sought love-liesse and they fell to toying with each other. He laid his hand on her knee and she sat down in his lap and thrust her lip like a tit-bit of meat into his mouth, and that hour was such as maketh a man to forget his father and his mother. So he clasped her in his arms and strained her fast to his breast and sucked her lip, till the honey-dew ran out into his mouth; and he laid his hand under her left-armpit, whereupon his vitals and her vitals yearned for coition. Then he clapped her between the breasts and his hand slipped down between her thighs and she girded him with her legs, whereupon he made of the two parts proof amain and crying out, “O sire of the chin-veils twain7!” applied the priming and kindled the match and set it to the touch-hole and gave fire and breached the citadel in its four corners; so there befel the mystery8 concerning which there is no enquiry: and she cried the cry that needs must be cried.9And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Nine Hundred and Ninety-fourth Night,

She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that while the Princess Dunyá cried the cry which must be cried, Merchant Ma’aruf abated her maidenhead and that night was one not to be counted among lives for that which it comprised of the enjoyment of the fair, clipping and dallying langue fourrée and futtering till the dawn of day, when he arose and entered the Hammam whence, after donning a suit for sovrans suitable he betook himself to the King’s Divan. All who were there rose to him and received him with honour and worship, giving him joy and invoking blessings upon him; and he sat down by the King’s side and asked, “Where is the treasurer?” They answered, “Here he is, before thee,” and he said to him, “Bring robes of honour for all the Wazirs and Emirs and dignitaries and clothe the therewith.” The treasurer brought him all he sought and he sat giving to all who came to him and lavishing largesse upon every man according to his station. On this wise he abode twenty days, whilst no baggage appeared for him nor aught else, till the treasurer was straitened by him to the uttermost and going in to the King, as he sat alone with the Wazir in Ma’aruf’s absence, kissed ground between his hands and said, “O King of the age, I must tell thee somewhat, lest haply thou blame me for not acquainting thee therewith. Know that the treasury is being exhausted; there is none but a little money left in it and in ten days more we shall shut it upon emptiness.” Quoth the King, “O Wazir, verily my son-in-law’s baggage-train tarrieth long and there appeareth no news thereof.” The Minister laughed and said, Allah be gracious to thee, O King of the age! Thou art none other but heedless with respect to this impostor, this liar. As thy head liveth, there is no baggage for him, no, nor a burning plague to rid us of him! Nay, he hath but imposed on thee without surcease, so that he hath wasted thy treasures and married thy daughter for naught. How long therefore wilt thou be heedless of this liar?” Then quoth the King, “O Wazir, how shall we do to learn the truth of his case?”; and quoth the Wazir, “O King of the age, none may come at a man’s secret but his wife; so send for thy daughter and let her come behind the curtain, that I may question her of the truth of his estate, to the intent that she may make question of him and acquaint us with his case.” Cried the King, “There is no harm in that; and as my head liveth, if it be proved that he is a liar and an impostor, I will verily do him die by the foulest of deaths!” Then he carried the Wazir into the sitting-chamber and sent for his daughter, who came behind the curtain, her husband being absent, and said, “What wouldst thou, O my father?” Said he “Speak with the Wazir.” So she asked, “Ho thou, the Wazir, what is thy will?”; and he answered, “O my lady, thou must know that thy husband hath squandered thy father’s substance and married thee without a dower; and he ceaseth not to promise us and break his promises, nor cometh there any tidings of his baggage; in short we would have thee inform us concerning him.” Quoth she, “Indeed his words be many, and he still cometh and promiseth me jewels and treasures and costly stuffs; but I see nothing.” Quoth the Wazir, “O my lady, canst thou this night take and give with him in talk and whisper to him:— Say me sooth and fear from me naught, for thou art become my husband and I will not transgress against thee. So tell me the truth of the matter and I will devise thee a device whereby thou shalt be set at rest. And do thou play near and far10 with him in words and profess love to him and win him to confess and after tell us the facts of his case.” And she answered, “O my papa, I know how I will make proof of him.” Then she went away and after supper her husband came in to her, according to his wont, whereupon Princess Dunya rose to him and took him under the armpit and wheedled him with winsomest wheedling (and all-sufficient11 are woman’s wiles whenas she would aught of men); and she ceased not to caress him and beguile him with speech sweeter than the honey till she stole his reason; and when she saw that he altogether inclined to her, she said to him, “O my beloved, O coolth of my eyes and fruit of my vitals, Allah never desolate me by less of thee nor Time sunder us twain me and thee! Indeed, the love of thee hath homed in my heart and the fire of passion hath consumed my liver, nor will I ever forsake thee or transgress against thee. But I would have thee tell me the truth, for that the sleights of falsehood profit not, nor do they secure credit at all seasons. How long wilt thou impose upon my father and lie to him? I fear lest thine affair be discovered to him, ere we can devise some device and he lay violent hands upon thee? So acquaint me with the facts of the case for naught shall befal thee save that which shall begladden thee; and, when thou shalt have spoken sooth, fear not harm shall betide thee. How often wilt thou declare that thou art a merchant a man of money and hast a luggage-train? This long while past thou sayest, My baggage! my baggage! but there appeareth no sign of thy baggage, and visible in thy face is anxiety on this account. So an there be no worth in thy words, tell me and I will contrive thee a contrivance whereby by thou shalt come off safe, Inshallah!” He replied, “I will tell thee the truth, and then do thou whatso thou wilt.” Rejoined she, “Speak and look thou speak soothly; for sooth is the ark of safety, and beware of lying, for it dishonoureth the liar and God-gifted is he who said:—

‘Ware that truth thou speak, albe sooth when said

Shall cause thee in threatenèd fire to fall:

And seek Allah’s approof, for most foolish he

Who shall anger his Lord to make friends with thrall.”

He said, “Know, then, O my lady, that I am no merchant and have no baggage, no, nor a burning plague; nay, I was but a cobbler in my own country and had a wife called Fatimah the Dung, with whom there befel me this and that.” And he told her his story from beginning to end; whereat she laughed and said, “Verily, thou art clever in the practice of lying and imposture!” Whereto he answered, “O my lady, may Allah Almighty preserve thee to veil sins and countervail chagrins!” Rejoined she, “Know, that thou imposedst upon my sire and deceivedst him by dint of thy deluding vaunts, so that of his greed for gain he married me to thee. Then thou squanderedst his wealth and the Wazir beareth thee a grudge for this. How many a time hath he spoken against thee to my father, saying, Indeed, he is an impostor, a liar! But my sire hearkened not to his say, for that he had sought me in wedlock and I consented not that he be baron and I femme. However, the time grew longsome upon my sire and he became straitened and said to me, Make him confess. So I have made thee confess and that which was covered is discovered. Now my father purposeth thee a mischief because of this; but thou art become my husband and I will never transgress against thee. An I told my father what I have learnt from thee, he would be certified of thy falsehood and imposture and that thou imposest upon Kings’ daughters and squanderest royal wealth: so would thine offence find with him no pardon and he would slay thee sans a doubt: wherefore it would be bruited among the folk that I married a man who was a liar, an impostor, and this would smirch mine honour. Furthermore an he kill thee, most like he will require me to wed another, and to such thing I will never consent; no, not though I die!12 So rise now and don a Mameluke’s dress and take these fifty thousand dinars of my monies, and mount a swift steed and get thee to a land whither the rule of my father doth not reach. Then make thee a merchant and send me a letter by a courier who shall bring it privily to me, that I may know in what land thou art, so I may send thee all my hand can attain. Thus shall thy wealth wax great and if my father die, I will send for thee, and thou shalt return in respect and honour; and if we die, thou or I and go to the mercy of God the Most Great, the Resurrection shall unite us. This, then, is the rede that is right: and while we both abide alive and well, I will not cease to send thee letters and monies. Arise ere the day wax bright and thou be in perplexed plight and perdition upon thy head alight!” Quoth he, “O my lady, I beseech thee of thy favour to bid me farewell with thine embracement;” and quoth she, “No harm in that.”13 So he embraced her and knew her carnally; after which he made the Ghusl-ablution; then, donning the dress of a white slave, he bade the syces saddle him a thoroughbred steed. Accordingly, they saddled him a courser and he mounted and farewelling his wife, rode forth the city at the last of the night, whilst all who saw him deemed him one of the Mamelukes of the Sultan going abroad on some business. Next morning, the King and his Wazir repaired to the sitting-chamber and sent for Princess Dunya who came behind the curtain; and her father said to her, “O my daughter, what sayst thou?” Said she, “I say, Allah blacken thy Wazir’s face, because he would have blackened my face in my husband’s eyes!” Asked the King, “How so?”; and she answered, “He came in to me yesterday; but, before I could name the matter to him, behold, in walked Faraj the Chief Eunuch, letter in hand, and said:— Ten white slaves stand under the palace window and have this letter, saying:— Kiss for us the hands of our lord, Merchant Ma’aruf, and give him this letter, for we are of his Mamelukes with the baggage, and it hath reached us that he hath wedded the King’s daughter, so we are come to acquaint him with that which befel us by the way. Accordingly I took the letter and read as follows:— From the five hundred Mamelukes to his highness our lord Merchant Ma’aruf. But further. We give thee to know that, after thou quittedst us, the Arabs14 came out upon us and attacked us. They were two thousand horse and we five hundred mounted slaves and there befel a mighty sore fight between us and them. They hindered us from the road thirty days doing battle with them and this is the cause of our tarrying from thee.”— And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

1 i.e. “Show a miser money and hold him back, if you can.”

2 He wants £40,000 to begin with.

3 i.e. Arab. “Sabíhat al-‘urs” the morning after the wedding. See vol. i. 269.

4 Another sign of modern composition as in Kamar al-Zaman II.

5 Arab. “Al–Jink” (from Turk.) are boys and youths mostly Jews, Armenians, Greeks and Turks, who dress in woman’s dress with long hair braided. Lane (M. E. chapts. xix. and xxv.) gives same account of the customs of the “Gink” (as the Egyptians call them) but cannot enter into details concerning these catamites. Respectable Moslems often employ them to dance at festivals in preference to the Ghawázi-women, a freak of Mohammedan decorum. When they grow old they often preserve their costume, and a glance at them makes a European’s blood run cold.

6 Lane translates this, “May Allah and the Rijal retaliate upon thy temple!”

7 Arab. “Yá aba ‘l-lithámayn,” addressed to his member. Lathm the root means kissing or breaking; so he would say, “O thou who canst take her maidenhead whilst my tongue does away with the virginity of her mouth.” “He breached the citadel” (which is usually square) “in its four corners” signifying that he utterly broke it down.

8 A mystery to the Author of Proverbs (xxx. 18–19),

There be three things which are too wondrous for me, The way of an eagle in the air; The way of a snake upon a rock; And the way of a man with a maid.

9 Several women have described the pain to me as much resembling the drawing of a tooth.

10 As we should say, “play fast and loose.”

11 Arab. “Náhí-ka” lit.=thy prohibition but idiomatically used=let it suffice thee!

12 A character-sketch like that of Princess Dunya makes ample amends for a book full of abuse of women. And yet the superficial say that none of the characters have much personal individuality.

13 This is indeed one of the touches of nature which makes all the world kin.

14 As we are in Tartary “Arabs” here means plundering nomades, like the Persian “Iliyát” and other shepherd races.

http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/b/burton/richard/b97b/part103.html

Last updated Wednesday, March 12, 2014 at 13:31