The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night

When it was the Two Hundred and Forty-sixth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Caliph’s sister said, “And Ni’amah ceased not absenting himself from his kith and kin and patrial-stead, that he might gain access to his handmaid, and he incurred every peril and lavished his life till he gained access to her, and her name was Naomi, like this slave-girl. But the interview was short; they had not been long in company when in came the King, who had bought her of her kidnapper, and hastily ordered them to be slain, without doing justice by his own soul and delaying to enquire into the matter before the command was carried out. Now what sayest thou, O Commander of the Faithful, of this King’s wrongous conduct?” Answered the Caliph; “This was indeed a strange thing: it behoved that King to pardon when he had the power to punish; and he ought to have regarded three things in their favour. The first was that they loved each other; the second that they were in his house and in his grasp; and the third that it befitteth a King to be deliberate in judging and ordering between folk, and how much more so in cases where he himself is concerned! Wherefore this King thus did an unkingly deed.” Then said his sister, “O my brother, by the King of the heavens and the earth, I conjure thee, bid Naomi sing and hearken to that she shall sing!” So he said “O Naomi, sing to me;” whereupon she played a lively measure and sang these couplets,

“Beguiled us Fortune who her guile displays,

Smiting the heart, bequeathing thoughts that craze

And parting lovers whom she made to meet,

Till tears in torrent either cheek displays:

They were and I was and my life was glad,

While Fortune often joyed to join our ways;

I will pour tear flood, will rain gouts of blood,

Thy loss bemoaning through the nights and days!”

Now when the Commander of the Faithful heard this verse, he was moved to great delight and his sister said to him, “O my brother, whoso decideth in aught against himself, him it behoveth to abide by it and do according to his word; and thou hast judged against thyself by this judgement.” Then said she, “O Ni’amah, stand up and do thou likewise up stand, O Naomi!” So they stood up and she continued, “O Prince of True Believers, she who standeth before thee is Naomi the stolen, whom Al–Hajjaj bin Yusuf al-Sakafi kidnapped and sent to thee, falsely pretending in his letter to thee that he had bought her for ten thousand gold pieces. And this other who standeth before thee is her lord, Ni’amah, son of Al–Rabi’a; and I beseech thee, by the honour of thy pious forebears and by Hamzah and Ukayl and Abbas,1 to pardon them both and overlook their offence and bestow them one on the other, that thou mayst win rich reward in the next world of thy just dealing with them; for they are under thy hand and verily they have eaten of thy meat and drunken of thy drink; and behold, I make intercession for them and beg of thee the boon of their blood.” Thereupon quoth the Caliph, “Thou speakest sooth: I did indeed give judgement as thou sayst, and I am not one to pass sentence and to revoke it.” Then said he, “O Naomi, say, be this thy lord?” And she answered “Even so, O Commander of the Faithful.” Then quoth he, “No harm shall befall you, I give you each to other;” adding to the young man, “O Ni’amah, who told thee where she was and taught thee how to get at this place?” He replied, “O Commander of the Faithful, hearken to my tale and give ear to my history; for, by the virtue of thy pious forefathers, I will hide nothing from thee!” And he told him all that had passed between himself and the Persian physician and the old nurse, and how she had brought him into the palace and he had mistaken the doors; whereat the Caliph wondered with exceeding wonder and said, “Fetch me the Persian.” So they brought him into the presence and he was made one of his chief officers. Moreover the King bestowed on him robes of honour and ordered him a handsome present, saying, “When a man hath shown like this man such artful management, it behoveth us to make him one of our chief officers.” The Caliph also loaded Ni’amah and Naomi with gifts and honours and rewarded the old nurse; and they abode with him seven days in joy and content and all delight of life, when Ni’amah craved leave to return to Cufa with his slave-girl. The Caliph gave them permission and they departed and arrived in due course at Cufa, where Ni’amah was restored to his father and mother, and they abode in all the joys and jollities of life, till there came to them the Destroyer of delights and the Sunderer of societies. Now when Amjad and As’ad heard from Bahram this story, they marvelled with extreme marvel and said, “By Allah, this is indeed a rare tale!”— And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

1 Hamzah and Abbás were the famous uncles of Mohammed often noticed: Ukayl is not known; possibly it may be Akíl, a son of the fourth Caliph, Ali.

When it was the Two Hundred and Forty-seventh Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Amjad and As’ad heard this story from Bahram the Magian who had become a Moslem, they marvelled with extreme marvel and thus passed that night; and when the next morning dawned, they mounted and riding to the palace, sought an audience of the King who granted it and received them with high honour. Now as they were sitting together talking, of a sudden they heard the towns folk crying aloud and shouting to one another and calling for help; and the Chamberlain came in to the King and said to him, “Some King hath encamped before the city, he and his host, with arms and weapons displayed, and we know not their object and aim.” The King took counsel with his Wazir Amjad and his brother As’ad; and Amjad said, “I will go out to him and learn the cause of his coming.” So he took horse and, riding forth from the city, repaired to the stranger’s camp, where he found the King and with him a mighty many and mounted Mamelukes. When the guards saw him, they knew him for an envoy from the King of the city; so they took him and brought him before their Sultan. Then Amjad kissed the ground before him; but lo! the King was a Queen, who was veiled with a mouth-veil, and she said to Amjad, “Know that I have no design on this your city and that I am come hither only in quest of a beardless slave of mine, whom if I find with you, I will do you no harm, but if I find him not, then shall there befall sore onslaught between me and you.” Asked Amjad, “O Queen, what like is thy slave and what is his story and what may be his name?” Said she, “His name is As’ad and my name is Marjanah, and this slave came to my town in company of Bahram, a Magian, who refused to sell him to me; so I took him by force, but his master fell upon him by night and bore him away by stealth and he is of such and such a favour.” When Amjad heard that, he knew it was indeed his brother As’ad whom she sought and said to her, “O Queen of the age, Alhamdolillah, praised be Allah, who hath brought us relief! Verily this slave whom thou seekest is my brother.” Then he told her their story and all that had befallen them in the land of exile, and acquainted her with the cause of their departure from the Islands of Ebony, whereat she marvelled and rejoiced to have found As’ad. So she bestowed a dress of honour upon Amjad and he returned forthright to the King and told him what had passed, at which they all rejoiced and the King went forth with Amjad and As’ad to meet Queen Marjanah. When they were admitted to her presence and sat down to converse with her and were thus pleasantly engaged, behold, a dust cloud rose and flew and grew, till it walled the view. And after a while it lifted and showed beneath it an army dight for victory, in numbers like the swelling sea, armed and armoured cap-à-pie who, making for the city, encompassed it around as the ring encompasseth the little finger;1 and a bared brand was in every hand. When Amjad and As’ad saw this, they exclaimed, “Verily to Allah we belong and to Him we shall return! What is this mighty host? Doubtless, these are enemies, and except we agree with this Queen Marjanah to fight them, they will take the town from us and slay us. There is no resource for us but to go out to them and see who they are.” So Amjad arose and took horse and passed through the city gate to Queen Marjanah’s camp; but when he reached the approaching army he found it to be that of his grand sire, King Ghayur, father of his mother Queen Budur. — And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

1 The Eastern ring is rarely plain; and, its use being that of a signet, it is always in intaglio: the Egyptians invented engraving hieroglyphics on wooden stamps for marking bricks and applied the process to the ring. Moses B. C. 1491 (Exod. xxviii. 9) took two onyx-stones, and graved on them the names of the children of Israel. From this the signet ring was but a step. Herodotus mentions an emerald seal-set in gold, that of Polycrates, the work of Theodorus, son of Telecles the Samian (iii. 141). The Egyptians also were perfectly acquainted with working in cameo (anaglyph) and rilievo, as may be seen in the cavo rilievo of the finest of their hieroglyphs. The Greeks borrowed from them the cameo and applied it to gems (e.g. Tryphon’s in the Marlborough collection), and they bequeathed the art to the Romans. We read in a modern book “Cameo means an onyx, and the most famous cameo in the world is the onyx containing the Apotheosis of Augustus.” The ring is given in marriage because it was a seal — by which orders were signed (Gen. xxxviii. 18 and Esther iii. 10–12). I may note that the seal-ring of Cheops (Khufu), found in the Greatest Pyramid, was in the possession of my old friend, Doctor Abbott, of Auburn (U.S.), and was sold with his collection. It is the oldest ring in the world, and settles the Cheops-question.

When it was the Two Hundred and Forty-eighth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Amjad reached the approaching host, he found it to be that of his grandsire, Lord of the Isles and the Seas and the Seven Castles; and when he went into the presence, he kissed the ground between his hands and delivered to him the message. Quoth the King, “My name is King Ghayur and I come wayfaring in quest of my daughter Budur whom fortune hath taken from me, for she left me and returned not to me, nor have I heard any tidings of her or of her husband Kamar al-Zaman. Have ye any news of them?” When Amjad heard this, he hung his head towards the ground for a while in thought till he felt assured that this King was none other than his grandfather, his mother’s father; where upon he raised his head and, kissing ground before him, told him that he was the son of his daughter Budur; on hearing which Ghayur threw himself upon him and they both fell a weeping.1 Then said Ghayur, “Praised be Allah, O my son, for safety, since I have foregathered with thee,” and Amjad told him that his daughter Budur was safe and sound, and her husband Kamar al-Zaman likewise, and acquainted him that both abode in a city called the City of Ebony. Moreover, he related to him how his father, being wroth with him and his brother, had commended that both be put to death, but that his treasurer had taken pity on them and let them go with their lives. Quoth King Ghayur, “I will go back with thee and thy brother to your father and make your peace with him.” So Amjad kissed the ground before him in huge delight and the King bestowed a dress of honour upon him, after which he returned, smiling, to the King of the City of the Magians and told him what he had learnt from King Ghayur, whereat he wondered with exceeding wonder. Then he despatched guest-gifts of sheep and horses and camels and forage and so forth to King Ghayur, and did the like by Queen Marjanah; and both of them told her what chanced; whereupon quoth she, “I too will accompany you with my troops and will do my endeavour to make this peace.” Meanwhile behold, there arose another dust cloud and flew and grew till it walled the view and blackened the day’s bright hue; and under it they heard shouts and cries and neighing of steeds and beheld sword glance and the glint of levelled lance. When this new host drew near the city and saw the two other armies, they beat their drums and the King of the Magians exclaimed, “This is indeed naught but a blessed day. Praised be Allah who hath made us of accord with these two armies; and if it be His will, He shall give us peace with yon other as well.” Then said he to Amjad and As’ad, “Fare forth and fetch us news of these troops, for they are a mighty host, never saw I a mightier.” So they opened the city gates, which the King had shut for fear of the beleaguering armies, and Amjad and As’ad went forth and, coming to the new host, found that it was indeed a mighty many. But as soon as they came to it behold, they knew that it was the army of the King of the Ebony Islands, wherein was their father, King Kamar al-Zaman in person. Now when they looked upon him, they kissed ground and wept; but, when he beheld them, he threw himself upon them weeping, with sore weeping, and strained them to his breast for a full hour. Then he excused himself to them and told them what desolation he had suffered for their loss and exile; and they acquainted him with King Ghayur’s arrival, whereupon he mounted with his chief officers and taking with him his two sons, proceeded to that King’s camp. As they drew near, one of the Princes rode forward and informed King Ghayur of Kamar al-Zaman’s coming, whereupon he came out to meet him and they joined company, marvelling at these things and how they had chanced to foregather in that place. Then the townsfolk made them banquets of all manner of meats and sweetmeats and presented to them horses and camels and fodder and other guest-gifts and all that the troops needed. And while this was doing, behold, yet another cloud of dust arose and flew till it walled the view, whilst earth trembled with the tramp of steed and tabors sounded like stormy winds. After a while, the dust lifted and discovered an army clad in coats of mail and armed cap-à-pie; but all were in black garb, and in their midst rode a very old man whose beard flowed down over his breast and he also was clad in black. When the King of the city and the city folk saw this great host, he said to the other Kings, “Praised be Allah by whose omnipotent command ye are met here, all in one day, and have proved all known one to the other! But what vast and victorious army is this which hemmeth in the whole land like a wall?” They answered, “Have no fear of them; we are three Kings, each with a great army, and if they be enemies, we will join thee in doing battle with them, were they three times as many as they now are.” Meanwhile, up came an envoy from the approaching host, making for the city. So they brought him before Kamar al-Zaman, King Ghayur, Queen Marjanah and the King of the city; and he kissed the ground and said, “My liege lord cometh from Persia-land; for many years ago he lost his son and he is seeking him in all countries. If he find him with you, well and good; but if he find him not, there will be war between him and you and he will waste your city.” Rejoined Kamar al-Zaman, “It shall not come to that; but how is thy master called in Ajam land?” Answered the envoy, “He is called King Shahriman, lord of the Khálidan Islands; and he hath levied these troops in the lands traversed by him, whilst seeking his son.” No-vv when Kamar al-Zaman heard these words, he cried out with a great cry and fell down in a fainting fit which lasted a long while; and anon coming to himself he wept bitter tears and said to Amjad and As’ad, “Go ye, O my sons, with the herald, salute your grandfather and my father, King Shahriman and give him glad tidings of me, for he mourneth my loss and even to the present time he weareth black raiment for my sake.” Then he told the other Kings all that had befallen him in the days of his youth, at which they wondered and, going down with him from the city, repaired to his father, whom he saluted, and they embraced and fell to the ground senseless for excess of joy. And when they revived after a while, Kamar al-Zaman acquainted his father with all his adventures and the other Kings saluted Shahriman. Then, after having married Marjanah to As’ad, they sent her back to her kingdom, charging her not to cease correspondence with them; so she took leave and went her way. Moreover they married Amjad to Bostan, Bahram’s daughter, and they all set out for the City of Ebony. And when they arrived there, Kamar al-Zaman went in to his father-in-law, King Armanus, and told him all that had befallen him and how he had found his sons; whereat Armanus rejoiced and gave him joy of his safe return. Then King Ghayur went in to his daughter, Queen Budur,2 and saluted her and quenched his longing for her company, and they all abode a full month’s space in the City of Ebony; after which the King and his daughter returned to their own country. — And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say,

1 This habit of weeping when friends meet after long parting is customary, I have noted, amongst the American “Indians,” the Badawin of the New World; they shed tears thinking of the friends they have lost. Like most primitive people they are ever ready to weep as was Æneas or Shakespeare’s saline personage,

“This would make a man, a man of salt

To use his eyes for garden waterpots.”

(King Lear, iv. 6.)

2 Here poetical-justice is not done; in most Arab tales the two adulterous Queens would have been put to death.

When it was the Two Hundred and Forty-ninth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that King Ghayur set out with his daughter and his host for his own land, and they took with them Amjad and returned home by easy marches. And when Ghayur was settled again in his kingdom, he made his grandson King in his stead; and as to Kamar al-Zaman he also made As’ad king in his room over the capital of the Ebony Islands, with the consent of his grandfather, King Armanus and set out himself, with his father, King Shahriman, till the two made the Islands of Khálidan. Then the lieges decorated the city in their honour and they ceased not to beat the drums for glad tidings a whole month; nor did Kamar al-Zaman leave to govern in his father’s place, till there overtook them the Destroyer of delights and the Sunderer of societies; and Allah knoweth all things! Quoth King Shahryar, “O Shahrazad, this is indeed a most wonderful tale!” And she answered, “O King, it is not more wonderful than that of

Ala Al-Din Abu Al-Shamat.1

“What is that?” asked he, and she said, It hath reached me that there lived, in times of yore and years and ages long gone before, a merchant of Cairo2 named Shams al-Din, who was of the best and truest spoken of the traders of the city; and he had eunuchs and servants and negro-slaves and handmaids and Mame lukes and great store of money. Moreover, he was Consul3 of the Merchants of Cairo and owned a wife, whom he loved and who loved him; except that he had lived with her forty years, yet had not been blessed with a son or even a daughter. One day, as he sat in his shop, he noted that the merchants, each and every, had a son or two sons or more sitting in their shops like their sires. Now the day being Friday, he entered the Hammam-bath and made the total-ablution: after which he came out and took the barber’s glass and looked in it, saying, “I testify that there is no god but the God and I testify that Mohammed is the Messenger of God!” Then he considered his beard and, seeing that the white hairs in it covered the black, bethought himself that hoariness is the harbinger of death. Now his wife knew the time of his coming home and had washed and made herself ready for him, so when he came in to her, she said, “Good evening,” but he replied “I see no good.” Then she called to the handmaid, “Spread the supper-tray;” and when this was done quoth she to her husband “Sup, O my lord.” Quoth he, “I will eat nothing,” and pushing the tray away with his foot, turned his back upon her. She asked, “Why dost thou thus? and what hath vexed thee?”; and he answered, “Thou art the cause of my vexation.”— And Shahrazed perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say,

1 Pronounce Aladdin Abush–Shámát.

2 Arab. “Misr,” vulg. Masr: a close connection of Misraim the “two Misrs,” Egypt, upper and lower.

3 The Persians still call their Consuls “Shah-bander,” lit. king of the Bandar or port.

When it was the Two Hundred and Fiftieth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Shams al-Din said to his wife, “Thou art the cause of my vexation.” She asked, “Wherefore?” and he answered, “When I opened my shop this morning, I saw that each and every of the merchants had with him a son or two sons or more, sitting in their shops like their fathers; and I said to myself:— He who took thy sire will not spare thee. Now the night I first visited thee,1 thou madest me swear that I would never take a second wife over thee nor a concubine, Abyssinian or Greek or handmaid of other race; nor would lie a single night away from thee: and behold, thou art barren, and having thee is like boring into the rock.” Rejoined she, “Allah is my witness that the fault lies with thee, for that thy seed is thin.” He asked, “And what showeth the man whose semen is thin?” And she answered, “He cannot get women with child, nor beget children.” Quoth he, “What thickeneth the seed? tell me and I will buy it: haply, it will thicken mine.” Quoth she, “Enquire for it of the druggists.” So he slept with her that night and arose on the morrow, repenting of having spoken angrily to her; and she also regretted her cross words. Then he went to the market and, finding a druggist, saluted him; and when his salutation was returned said to him, “Say, hast thou with thee a seed-thickener?” He replied, “I had it, but am out of it: enquire thou of my neighbour.” Then Shams al-Din made the round till he had asked every one, but they all laughed at him, and presently he returned to his shop and sat down, sore troubled. Now there was in the bazar a man who was Deputy Syndic of the brokers and was given to the use of opium and electuary and green hashish.2 He was called Shaykh Mohammed Samsam and being poor he used to wish Shams al-Din good morrow every day. So he came to him according to his custom and saluted him. The merchant returned his salute, but in ill-temper, and the other, seeing him vexed, said, “O my lord, what hath crossed thee?” Thereupon Shams al-Din told him all that occurred between himself and his wife, adding, “These forty years have I been married to her yet hath she borne me neither son nor daughter; and they say:— The cause of thy failure to get her with child is the thinness of thy seed; so I have been seeking a some thing wherewith to thicken my semen but found it not.” Quoth Shaykh Mohammed, “O my lord, I have a seed-thickener, but what wilt thou say to him who causeth thy wife to conceive by thee after these forty years have passed?” Answered the merchant, “If thou do this, I will work thy weal — and reward thee.” “Then give me a dinar,” rejoined the broker, and Shams al-Din said, “Take these two dinars.” He took them and said, “Give me also yonder big bowl of porcelain.” So he gave it to him and the broker betook himself to a hashish-seller, of whom he bought two ounces of concentrated Roumi opium and equal-parts of Chinese cubebs, cinnamon, cloves, cardamoms, ginger, white pepper and mountain skink3; and, pounding them all together, boiled them in sweet olive-oil; after which he added three ounces of male frankincense in fragments and a cupful of coriander-seed; and, macerating the whole, made it into an electuary with Roumi bee honey. Then he put the confection in the bowl and carried it to the merchant, to whom he delivered it, saying, “Here is the seed-thickener, and the manner of using it is this. Take of my electuary with a spoon after supping, and wash it down with a sherbet made of rose conserve; but first sup off mutton and house pigeon plentifully seasoned and hotly spiced.” So the merchant bought all this and sent the meat and pigeons to his wife, saying, “Dress them deftly and lay up the seed-thickener until I want it and call for it.” She did his bidding and, when she served up the meats, he ate the evening meal, after which he called for the bowl and ate of the electuary. It pleased him well, so he ate the rest and knew his wife. That very night she conceived by him and, after three months, her courses ceased, no blood came from her and she knew that she was with child. When the days of her pregnancy were accomplished, the pangs of labour took her and they raised loud lullilooings and cries of joy. The midwife delivered her with difficulty, by pronouncing over the boy at his birth the names of Mohammed and Ali, and said, “Allah is Most Great!”; and she called in his ear the call to prayer. Then she wrapped him up and passed him to his mother, who took him and gave him the breast; and he sucked and was full and slept. The midwife abode with them three days, till they had made the mothering-cakes of sugared bread and sweetmeats; and they distributed them on the seventh day. Then they sprinkled salt against the evil eye and the merchant, going in to his wife, gave her joy of her safe delivery, and said, “Where is Allah’s deposit?” So they brought him a babe of surpassing beauty, the handiwork of the Orderer who is ever present and, though he was but seven days old, those who saw him would have deemed him a yearling child. So the merchant looked on his face and, seeing it like a shining full moon, with moles on either cheek, said he to his wife, “What hast thou named him?” Answered she, “If it were a girl I had named her; but this is a boy, so none shall name him but thou.” Now the people of that time used to name their children by omens; and, whilst the merchant and his wife were taking counsel of the name, behold, one said to his friend, “Ho my lord, Ala al-Din!” So the merchant said, “We will call him Ala al-Din Abú al-Shámát.”4 Then he committed the child to the nurse, and he drank milk two years, after which they weaned him and he grew up and throve and walked upon the floor. When he came to seven years old, they put him in a chamber under a trap-door, for fear of the evil eye, and his father said, “He shall not come out, till his beard grow.” So he gave him in charge to a handmaid and a blackamoor; the girl dressed him his meals and the slave carried them to him. Then his father circumcised him and made him a great feast; after which he brought him a doctor of the law, who taught him to write and read and repeat the Koran, and other arts and sciences, till he became a good scholar and an accomplished. One day it so came to pass that the slave, after bringing him the tray of food went away and left the trap door open: so Ala al-Din came forth from the vault and went in to his mother, with whom was a company of women of rank. As they sat talking, behold, in came upon them the youth as he were a white slave drunken5 for the excess of his beauty; and when they saw him, they veiled their faces and said to his mother, “Allah requite thee, O such an one! How canst thou let this strange Mameluke in upon us? Knowest thou not that modesty is a point of the Faith?” She replied, “Pronounce Allah’s name6 and cry Bismillah! this is my son, the fruit of my vitals and the heir of Consul Shams al-Din, the child of the nurse and the collar and the crust and the crumb.”7 Quoth they, “Never in our days knew we that thou hadst a son”; and quoth she, “Verily his father feared for him the evil eye and reared him in an under-ground chamber;”— And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

1 Arab. “Dukhúl,” the night of going in, of seeing the bride unveiled for the first time, etcaetera.

2 Arab. “Barsh” or “Bars,” the commonest kind. In India it is called Ma’jún (=electuary, generally): it is made of Ganja or young leaves, buds, capsules and florets of hemp (C. saliva), poppy-seed and flowers of the thorn-apple (daiura) with milk and auger-candy, nutmegs, cloves, mace and saffron, all boiled to the consistency of treacle which hardens when cold. Several-recipes are given by Herklots (Glossary s.v. Majoon). These electuaries are usually prepared with “Charas,” or gum of hemp, collected by hand or by passing a blanket over the plant in early morning, and it is highly intoxicating. Another intoxicant is “Sabzi,” dried hemp-leaves, poppy-seed, cucumber heed, black pepper and cardamoms rubbed down in a mortar with a wooden pestle, and made drinkable by adding milk, ice-cream, etc. The Hashish of Arabia is the Hindustani Bhang, usually drunk and made as follows. Take of hemp-leaves, well washed, 3 drams black pepper 45 grains and of cloves, nutmeg and mace (which add to the intoxication) each 12 grains. Triturate in 8 ounces of water or the juice of watermelon or cucumber, strain and drink. The Egyptian Zabíbah is a preparation of hemp florets, opium and honey, much affected by the lower orders, whence the proverb: “Temper thy sorrow with Zabibah. In Al–Hijaz it is mixed with raisins (Zabíb) and smoked in the water-pipe. (Burck hardt No. 73.) Besides these there is (1) “Post” poppy-seed prepared in various ways but especially in sugared sherbets; (2) Datura (stramonium) seed, the produce of the thorn-apple breached and put into sweetmeats by dishonest confectioners; it is a dangerous intoxicant, producing spectral-visions, delirium tremens, etc., and (3) various preparations of opium especially the “Madad,” pills made up with toasted betel-leaf and smoked. Opium, however, is usually drunk in the shape of “Kusumba,” a pill placed in wet cotton and squeezed in order to strain and clean it of the cowdung and other filth with which it is adulterated.

3 Arab. “Sikankúr” (Gr. {Greek letters}, Lat. Scincus) a lizard (S. officinalis) which, held in the hand, still acts as an aphrodisiac in the East, and which in the Middle Ages was considered a universal-medicine. In the “Adja’ib al-Hind” (Les Merveilles de l’Inde) we find a notice of a bald-headed old man who was compelled to know his wife twice a day and twice a night in consequence of having eaten a certain fish. (Chaps. Ixxviii. of the translation by M. L. Marcel Devic, from a manuscript of the tenth century, Paris Lemaire, 1878.) Europeans deride these prescriptions, but Easterns know better: they affect the fancy, that is the brain, and often succeed in temporarily relieving impotence. The recipes for this evil, which is incurable only when it comes from heart-affections, are innumerable in the East; and about half of every medical-work is devoted to them. Many a quack has made his fortune with a few bottles of tincture of cantharides, and a man who could discover a specific would become a millionaire in India only. The curious reader will consult for specimens the Ananga–Ranga Shastra by Koka Pandit; or the “Rujú ‘al-Shaykh ila ‘l-Sabáh fi Kuwwati ‘l-Báh” (the Return of the Old Man to Youth in power of Procreation) by Ahmad bin Sulaymán known as Ibn Kamál-Báshá, in 139 chapters lithographed at Cairo. Of these aphrodisiacs I shall have more to say.

4 Alá al-Din (our old friend Aladdin) = Glory of the Faith, a name of which Mohammed who preferred the simplest, like his own, would have highly disapproved. The most grateful names to Allah are Abdallah (Allah’s Slave) and Abd al-Rahman (Slave of the Compassionate); the truest are Al-Hárith (the gainer, “bread winner”) and Al–Hammám (the griever); and the hatefullest are Al–Harb (witch) and Al–Murrah (bitterness, Abu Murrah being a kunyat or by-name of the Devil). Abu al-Shámát (pronounced Abushshámát)=Father of Moles, concerning which I have already given details. These names ending in — Din (faith) began with the Caliph Al–Muktadi bi-Amri ’llah (regn. A.H. 467= 1075), who entitled his Wazir “Zahír al-Din (Backer or Defender of the Faith) and this gave rise to the practice. It may be observed that the superstition of naming by omens is in no way obsolete.

5 Meaning that he appeared intoxicated by the pride of his beauty as though it had been strong wine.

6 i.e. against the evil eye.

7 Meaning that he had been delicately reared.

When it was the Two Hundred and Fifty-first Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Ala al-Din’s mother said to her lady-friends, “Verily his father feared for him the evil eye and reared him in an underground chamber; and haply the slave forgot to shut the door and he fared forth; but we did not mean that he should come out, before his beard was grown.” The women gave her joy of him, and the youth went out from them into the court yard where he seated himself in the open sitting room; and behold, in came the slaves with his father’s she mule, and he said to them, “Whence cometh this mule?” Quoth they, “We escorted thy father when riding her to the shop, and we have brought her back.” He asked, “What may be my father’s trade?”; and they answered, “Thy father is Consul of the merchants in the land of Egypt and Sultan of the Sons of the Arabs.” Then he went in to his mother and said to her, “O my mother, what is my father’s trade?” Said she, “O my son, thy sire is a merchant and Consul of the merchants in the land of Egypt and Sultan of the Sons of the Arabs. His slaves consult him not in selling aught whose price is less than one thousand gold pieces, but merchandise worth him an hundred and less they sell at their own discretion; nor cloth any merchandise whatever, little or much, leave the country without passing through his hands and he disposeth of it as he pleaseth; nor is a bale packed and sent abroad amongst folk but what is under his disposal. And “Almighty Allah, O my son, hath given thy father monies past compt.” He rejoined, “O my mother, praised be Allah, that I am son of the Sultan of the Sons of the Arabs and that my father is Consul of the merchants! But why, O my mother, do ye put me in the underground chamber and leave me prisoner there?” Quoth she, “O my son, we imprisoned thee not save for fear of folks’ eyes: ‘the evil eye is a truth,’1 and most of those in their long homes are its victims.” Quoth he, “O my mother, and where is a refuge-place against Fate? Verily care never made Destiny forbear; nor is there flight from what is written for every wight. He who took my grandfather will not spare myself nor my father; for, though he live to day he shall not live tomorrow. And when my father dieth and I come forth and say, ‘I am Ala al-Din, son of Shams al-Din the merchant’, none of the people will believe me, but men of years and standing will say, ‘In our lives never saw we a son or a daughter of Shams al-Din.’ Then the public Treasury will come down and take my father’s estate, and Allah have mercy on him who said, ‘The noble dieth and his wealth passeth away, and the meanest of men take his women.’ Therefore, O my mother, speak thou to my father, that he carry me with him to the bazar and open for me a shop; so may I sit there with my merchandise, and teach me to buy and sell and take and give.” Answered his mother, “O my son, as soon as thy sire returneth I will tell him this.” So when the merchant came home, he found his son Ala al-Din Abu al-Shamat sitting with his mother and said to her, “Why hast thou brought him forth of the underground chamber?” She replied, “O son of my uncle, it was not I that brought him out; but the servants forgot to shut the door and left it open; so, as I sat with a company of women of rank, behold, he came forth and walked in to me.” Then she went on to repeat to him his son’s words; so he said, “O my son, to-morrow, Inshallah! I will take thee with me to the bazar; but, my boy, sitting in markets and shops demandeth good manners and courteous carriage in all conditions.” Ala al-Din passed the night rejoicing in his father’s promise and, when the morrow came, the merchant carried him to the Hammam and clad him in a suit worth a mint of money. As soon as they had broken their fast and drunk their sherbets, Shams al-Din mounted his she mule and putting his son upon another, rode to the market, followed by his boy. But when the market folk saw their Consul making towards them, foregoing a youth as he were a slice of the full moon on the fourteenth night, they said, one to other, “See thou yonder boy behind the Consul of the merchants; verily, we thought well of him, but he is, like the leek, gray of head and green at heart.”2 And Shaykh Mohammed Samsam, Deputy Syndic of the market, the man before mentioned, said to the dealers, “O merchants, we will not keep the like of him for our Shaykh; no, never!” Now it was the custom anent the Consul when he came from his house of a morning and sat down in his shop, for the Deputy Syndic of the market to go and recite to him and to all the merchants assembled around him the Fátihah or opening chapter of the Koran,3 after which they accosted him one by one and wished him good morrow and went away, each to his business place. But when Shams al-Din seated himself in his shop that day as usual, the traders came not to him as accustomed; so he called the Deputy and said to him, “Why come not the merchants together as usual?” Answered Mohammed Samsam, “I know not how to tell thee these troubles, for they have agreed to depose thee from the Shaykh ship of the market and to recite the Fatihah to thee no more.” Asked Shams al-Din, “What may be their reason?”; and asked the Deputy, “What boy is this that sitteth by thy side and thou a man of years and chief of the merchants? Is this lad a Mameluke or akin to thy wife? Verily, I think thou lovest him and inclines lewdly to the boy.” Thereupon the Consul cried out at him, saying, “Silence, Allah curse thee, genus and species! This is my son.” Rejoined the Deputy, “Never in our born days have we seen thee with a son,” and Shams al-Din answered, “When thou gavest me the seed-thickener, my wife conceived and bare this youth; but I reared him in a souterrain for fear of the evil eye, nor was it my purpose that he should come forth, till he could take his beard in his hand.4 However, his mother would not agree to this, and he on his part begged I would stock him a shop and teach him to sell and buy.” So the Deputy Syndic returned to the other traders and acquainted them with the truth of the case, whereupon they all arose to accompany him; and, going in a body to Shams al-Din’s shop, stood before him and recited the “Opener” of the Koran; after which they gave him joy of his son and said to him, “The Lord prosper root and branch! But even the poorest of us, when son or daughter is born to him, needs must cook a pan-full of custard5 and bid his friends and kith and kin; yet hast thou not done this.” Quoth he, “This I owe you; be our meeting in the garden.”— And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

1 A traditional-saying of Mohammed.

2 So Boccaccio’s “Capo bianco” and “Coda verde.” (Day iv., Introduct.)

3 The opening chapter is known as the “Mother of the Book” (as opposed to Yá Sín, the “heart of the Koran”), the “Surat (chapter) of Praise,” and the “Surat of repetition” (because twice revealed?) or thanksgiving, or laudation (Ai–Masáni) and by a host of other names for which see Mr. Rodwell who, however, should not write “Fatthah” (p. xxv.) nor “Fathah” (xxvii.). The Fátihah, which is to Al–Islam much what the “Paternoster” is to Christendom, consists of seven verses, in the usual-Saj’a or rhymed prose, and I have rendered it as follows:

In the name of the Compassionating, the Compassionate!

Praise be to Allah who all the Worlds made

The Compassionating, the Compassionate

King of the Day of Faith!

Thee only do we adore and of Thee only do we crave aid

Guide us to the path which is straight

The path of those for whom Thy love is great, not those on whom is hate, nor they that deviate

Amen! O Lord of the World’s trine.

My Pilgrimage (i. 285; ii. 78 and passim) will supply instances of its application; how it is recited with open hands to catch the blessing from Heaven and the palms are drawn down the face (Ibid. i. 286), and other details,

4 i.e. when the evil eye has less effect than upon children. Strangers in Cairo often wonder to see a woman richly dressed leading by the hand a filthy little boy (rarely a girl) in rags, which at home will be changed to cloth of gold.

5 Arab. “Asídah” flour made consistent by boiling in water with the addition of “Same” clarified butter) and honey: more like pap than custard.

When it was the Two Hundred and Fifty-second Night,

Her sister Dunyazad said to her, “Pray continue thy story for us, as thou be awake and not inclined to sleep.” Quoth she:— With pleasure and goodwill: it hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Consul of the merchants promised them a banquet and said “Be our meeting in the garden.” So when morning dawned he despatched the carpet layer to the saloon of the garden-pavilion and bade him furnish the two. Moreover, he sent thither all that was needful for cooking, such as sheep and clarified butter and so forth, according to the requirements of the case; and spread two tables, one in the pavilion and another in the saloon. Then Shams al-Din and his boy girded themselves, and he said to Ala al-Din “O my son, whenas a greybeard entereth, I will meet him and seat him at the table in the pavilion; and do thou, in like manner, receive the beardless youths and seat them at the table in the saloon.” He asked, “O my father, why dost thou spread two tables, one for men and another for youths?”; and he answered, “O my son, the beardless is ashamed to eat with the bearded.” And his son thought this his answer full and sufficient. So when the merchants arrived, Shams al-Din received the men and seated them in the pavilion, whilst Ala al-Din received the youths and seated them in the saloon. Then the food was set on and the guests ate and drank and made merry and sat over their wine, whilst the attendants perfumed them with the smoke of scented woods, and the elders fell to conversing of matters of science and traditions of the Prophet. Now there was amongst them a merchant called Mahmúd of Balkh, a professing Moslem but at heart a Magian, a man of lewd and mischievous life who loved boys. And when he saw Ala al-Din from whose father he used to buy stuffs and merchandise, one sight of his face sent him a thousand sighs and Satan dangled the jewel before his eyes, so that he was taken with love-longing and desire and affection and his heart was filled with mad passion for him. Presently he arose and made for the youths, who stood up to receive him; and at this moment Ala Al–Din being taken with an urgent call of Nature, withdrew to make water; whereupon Mahmud turned to the other youths and said to them, “If ye will incline Ala al-Din’s mind to journeying with me, I will give each of you a dress worth a power of money.” Then he returned from them to the men’s party; and, as the youths were sitting, Ala al-Din suddenly came back, when all rose to receive him and seated him in the place of highest honour. Presently, one of them said to his neighbour, “O my lord Hasan, tell me whence came to thee the capital — whereon thou trades”.” He replied, “When I grew up and came to man’s estate, I said to my sire, ‘O my father, give me merchandise.’ Quoth he, ‘O my son, I have none by me; but go thou to some merchant and take of him money and traffic with it; and so learn to buy and sell, give and take.’ So I went to one of the traders and borrowed of him a thousand dinars, wherewith I bought stuffs and carrying them to Damascus, sold them there at a profit of two for one. Then I bought Syrian stuffs and carrying them to Aleppo, made a similar gain of them; after which I bought stuffs of Aleppo and repaired with them to Baghdad, where I sold them with like result, two for one; nor did I cease trading upon my capital till I was worth nigh ten thousand ducats.” Then each of the others told his friend some such tale, till it came to Ala al-Din’s turn to speak, when they said to him, “And thou, O my lord Ala al-Din?” Quoth he, “I was brought up in a chamber underground and came forth from it only this week; and I do but go to the shop and return home from the shop.” They remarked, “Thou art used to wone at home and wottest not the joys of travel, for travel is for men only.” He replied, “I reck not of voyaging and wayfaring cloth not tempt me.” Whereupon quoth one to the other, “This one is like the fish: when he leaveth the water he dieth.” Then they said to him, “O Ala al Din, the glory of the sons of the merchants is not but in travel for the sake of gain.” Their talk angered him; so he left them weeping-eyed and heavy-hearted and mounting his mule returned home. Now his mother saw him in tears and in bad temper and asked him, “What hath made thee weep, O my son?”; and he answered, “Of a truth, all the sons of the merchants put me to shame and said, ‘Naught is more glorious for a merchant’s son than travel for gain and to get him gold.’”— And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Two Hundred and Fifty-third Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Ala al-Din said to his mother, “Of a truth all the sons of the merchants put me to shame and said, ‘Naught is more honourable for a merchant’s son than travel for gain.’” “O my son, hast thou a mind to travel?” “Even so!” “And whither wilt thou go?” “To the city of Baghdad; for there folk make double the cost price on their goods.” “O my son, thy father is a very rich man and, if he provide thee not with merchandise, I will supply it out of my own monies.” “The best favour is that which is soonest bestowed; if this kindness is to be, now is the time.” So she called the slaves and sent them for cloth packers, then, opening a store house, brought out ten loads of stuffs, which they made up into bales for him. Such was his case; but as regards his father, Shams al-Din, he looked about and failed to find Ala al-Din in the garden and enquiring after him, was told that he had mounted mule and gone home; so he too mounted and followed him. Now when he entered the house, he saw the bales ready bound and asked what they were; whereupon his wife told him what had chanced between Ala al-Din and the sons of the merchants; and he cried, “O my son, Allah’s malison on travel and stranger-hood! Verily Allah’s Apostle (whom the Lord bless and preserve!) hath said, ‘It is of a man’s happy fortune that he eat his daily bread in his own land’, and it was said of the ancients, ‘Leave travel, though but for a mile.’” Then quoth he to his son, “Say, art thou indeed resolved to travel and wilt thou not turn back from it?” Quoth the other, “There is no help for it but that I journey to Baghdad with merchandise, else will I doff clothes and don dervish gear and fare a-wandering over the world.” Shams al-Din rejoined, “I am no penniless pauper but have great plenty of wealth;” then he showed him all he owned of monies and stuffs and stock-in-trade and observed, “With me are stuffs and merchandise befitting every country in the world.” Then he showed him among the rest, forty bales ready bound, with the price, a thousand dinars, written on each, and said, “O my son take these forty loads, together with the ten which thy mother gave thee, and set out under the safeguard of Almighty Allah. But, O my child, I fear for thee a certain wood in thy way, called the Lion’s Copse,1 and a valley hight the Vale of Dogs, for there lives are lost without mercy.” He said, “How so, O my father?”; and he replied, “Because of a Badawi bandit named Ajlan.” Quoth Ala al-Din, “Such is Allah’s luck; if any share of it be mine, no harm shall hap to me.” Then they rode to the cattle bazar, where behold, a cameleer2 alighted from his she mule and kissing the Consul’s hand, said to him, “O my lord, it is long, by Allah, since thou hast employed us in the way of business.” He replied, “Every time hath its fortune and its men,3 and Allah have truth on him who said,

‘And the old man crept o’er the worldly ways

So bowed, his beard o’er his knees down flow’th:

Quoth I, ‘What gars thee so doubled go?’

Quoth he (as to me his hands he show’th)

‘My youth is lost, in the dust it lieth;

And see, I bend me to find my youth.’”4

Now when he had ended his verses, he said, “O chief of the caravan, it is not I who am minded to travel, but this my son.” Quoth the cameleer, “Allah save him for thee.” Then the Consul made a contract between Ala al-Din and the man, appointing that the youth should be to him as a son, and gave him into his charge, saying, “Take these hundred gold pieces for thy people.” More-over he bought his son threescore mules and a lamp and a tomb-covering for the Sayyid Abd al-Kadir of Gílán5 and said to him, “O my son, while I am absent, this is thy sire in my stead: whatsoever he biddeth thee, do thou obey him.” So saying, he returned home with the mules and servants and that night they made a Khitmah or perfection of the Koran and held a festival — in honour of the Shaykh Abd al-Kadir al-Jiláni. And when the morrow dawned, the Consul gave his son ten thousand dinars, saying, “O my son, when thou comest to Baghdad, if thou find stuffs easy of sale, sell them; but if they be dull, spend of these dinars.” Then they loaded the mules and, taking leave of one another, all the wayfarers setting out on their journey, marched forth from the city. Now Mahmud of Balkh had made ready his own venture for Baghdad and had moved his bales and set up his tents without the walls, saying to himself, “Thou shalt not enjoy this youth but in the desert, where there is neither spy nor marplot to trouble thee.” It chanced that he had in hand a thousand dinars which he owed to the youth’s father, the balance of a business-transaction between them; so he went and bade farewell to the Consul, who charged him, “Give the thousand dinars to my son Ala al-Din;” and commended the lad to his care, saying, “He is as it were thy son.” Accordingly, Ala al-Din joined company with Mahmud of Balkh. — And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

1 Arab. “Ghábah” = I have explained as a low-lying place where the growth is thickest and consequently animals haunt it during the noon-heats

2 Arab. “Akkám,” one who loads camels and has charge of the luggage. He also corresponds with the modern Mukharrij or camel-hirer (Pilgrimage i. 339), and hence the word Moucre (Moucres) which, first used by La Brocquière (A.D. 1432), is still the only term known to the French.

3 i.e. I am old and can no longer travel.

4 Taken from Al–Asma’i, the “Romance of Antar,” and the episode of the Asafir Camels.

5 A Mystic of the twelfth century A.D. who founded the Kádirí order (the oldest and chiefest of the four universally recognised), to which I have the honour to belong, teste my diploma (Pilgrimage, Appendix i.). Visitation is still made to his tomb at Baghdad. The Arabs (who have no hard g-letter) alter to “Jílán” the name of his birth-place “Gilan,” a tract between the Caspian and the Black Seas.

When it was the Two Hundred and Fifty-fourth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Ala al-Din joined company with Mahmud of Balkh who, before beginning the march, charged the youth’s cook to dress nothing for him, but himself provided him and his company with meat and drink. Now he had four houses, one in Cairo, another in Damascus, a third in Aleppo and a fourth in Baghdad. So they set out and ceased not journeying over waste and wold till they drew near Damascus when Mahmud sent his slave to Ala al-Din, whom he found sitting and reading. He went up to him and kissed his hands, and Ala al-Din having asked him what he wanted, he answered, “My master saluteth thee and craveth thy company to a banquet at his place.” Quoth the youth, “Not till I consult my father Kamal al-Din, the captain of the caravan.” So he asked advice of the Makaddam,1 who said, “Do not go.” Then they left Damascus and journeyed on till they came to Aleppo, where Mahmud made a second entertainment and sent to invite Ala al-Din; but he consulted the Chief Cameleer who again forbade him. Then they marched from Aleppo and fared on, till there remained between them and Baghdad only a single stage. Here Mahmud prepared a third feast and sent to bid Ala al-Din to it: Kamal-al-Din once more forbade his accepting it, but he said, “I must needs go.” So he rose and, slinging a sword over his shoulder, under his clothes, repaired to the tent of Mahmud of Balkh, who came to meet him and saluted him. Then he set before him a sumptuous repast and they ate and drank and washed hands. At last Mahmud bent towards Ala al-Din to snatch a kiss from him, but the youth received the kiss on the palm of his hand and said to him, “What wouldest thou be at?” Quoth Mahmud, “In very sooth I brought thee hither that I might take my pleasure with thee in this jousting ground, and we will comment upon the words of him who saith,

‘Say, canst not come to us one momentling,

Like milk of ewekin or aught glistening

And eat what liketh thee of dainty cake,

And take thy due of fee in silverling,

And bear whatso thou wilt, without mislike,

Of spanling, fistling or a span long thing?’”

Then Mahmud of Balkh would have laid hands on Ala al-Din to ravish him; but he rose and baring his brand, said to him, “Shame on thy gray hairs! Hast thou no fear of Allah, and He of exceeding awe?2 May He have mercy on him who saith,

‘Preserve thy hoary hairs from soil and stain,

For whitest colours are the easiest stained!’”

And when he ended his verses he said to Mahmud of Balkh, “Verily this merchandise3 is a trust from Allah and may not be sold. If I sold this property to other than thee for gold, I would sell it to thee for silver; but by Allah, O filthy villain, I will never again company with thee; no, never!” Then he returned to Kamal–Al-Din the guide and said to him, “Yonder man is a lewd fellow, and I will no longer consort with him nor suffer his company by the way.” He replied, “O my son, did I not say to thee, ‘Go not near him’? But if we part company with him, I fear destruction for ourselves; so let us still make one caravan.” But Ala al-Din cried, “It may not be that I ever again travel with him.” So he loaded his beasts and journeyed onwards, he and his company, till they came to a valley, where Ala al-Din would have halted, but the Cameleer said to him, “Do not halt here; rather let us fare forwards and press our pace, so haply we make Baghdad before the gates are closed, for they open and shut them with the sun, in fear lest the Rejectors4 should take the city and throw the books of religious learning into the Tigris.” But Ala al Din replied to him, “O my father, I came not forth from home with this merchandise, or travelled hither for the sake of traffic, but to divert myself with the sight of foreign lands and folks;” and he rejoined, “O my son, we fear for thee and for thy goods from the wild Arabs.” Whereupon the youth answered “Harkye, fellow, art thou master or man? I will not enter Baghdad till the morning, that the sons of the city may see my merchandise and know me.” “Do as thou wilt,” said the other “I have given thee the wisest advice, but thou art the best judge of thine own case.” Then Ala al-Din bade them unload the mule; and pitch the tent; so they did his bidding and abode there till the middle of the night, when he went out to obey a call of nature and suddenly saw something gleaming afar off. So he said to Kamal-al-Din, “O captain, what is yonder glittering?” The Cameleer sat up and, considering it straitly, knew it for the glint of spear heads and the steel of Badawi weapons and swords. And lo and behold! this was a troop of wild Arabs under a chief called Ajlán Abú Náib, Shaykh of the Arabs, and when they neared the camp and saw the bales and baggage, they said one to another, “O night of loot!” Now when Kamal-al-Din heard these their words he cried, “Avaunt, O vilest of Arabs!” But Abu Naib so smote him with his throw spear in the breast, that the point came out gleaming from his back, and he fell down dead at the tent door. Then cried the water carrier,5 “Avaunt, O foulest of Arabs!” and one of them smote him with a sword upon the shoulder, that it issued shining from the tendons of the throat, and he also fell down dead. (And all this while Ala Al–Din stood looking on.) Then the Badawin surrounded and charged the caravan from every side and slew all Ala al-Din’s company without sparing a man: after which they loaded the mules with the spoil and made off. Quoth Ala al-Din to himself, “Nothing will slay thee save thy mule and thy dress!”; so he arose and put off his gown and threw it over the back of a mule, remaining in his shirt and bag trousers only; after which he looked towards the tent door and, seeing there a pool of gore flowing from the slaughtered, wallowed in it with his remaining clothes till he was as a slain man drowned in his own blood. Thus it fared with him; but as regards the Shaykh of the wild Arabs, Ajlan, he said to his banditti, “O Arabs, was this caravan bound from Egypt for Baghdad or from Baghdad for Egypt?”— And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

1 The well-known Anglo–Indian “Mucuddum;” lit. “one placed before (or over) others”

2 Koran xiii. 14.

3 i.e.. his chastity: this fashion of objecting to infamous proposals is very characteristic: ruder races would use their fists.

4 Arab. “Ráfizí”=the Shi’ah (tribe, sect) or Persian schismatics who curse the first three Caliphs: the name is taken from their own saying “Inná rafizná-hum”=verily we have rejected them. The feeling between Sunni (the so-called orthodox) and Shi’ah is much like the Christian love between a Catholic of Cork and a Protestant from the Black North. As Al–Siyuti or any historian will show, this sect became exceedingly powerful under the later Abbaside Caliphs, many of whom conformed to it and adopted its tractices and innovations (as in the Azan or prayer-call), greatly to the scandal-of their co-religionists. Even in the present day the hatred between these representatives of Arab monotheism and Persian Guebrism continues unabated. I have given sundry instances m my Pilgrimage, e.g. how the Persians attempt to pollute the tombs of the Caliphs they abhor.

5 Arab. “Sakká,” the Indian “Bihishtí” (man from Heaven): Each party in a caravan has one or more.

When it was the Two Hundred and Fifty-fifth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the Badawi asked his banditti, “O Arabs, was this caravan bound from Egypt for Baghdad or from Baghdad for Egypt?”; they answered, “’Twas bound from Egypt for Baghdad;” and he said, “Return ye to the slain, for methinks the owner of this caravan is not dead.” So they turned back to the slain and fell to prodding and slashing them with lance and sword till they came to Ala al-Din, who had thrown himself down among the corpses. And when they came to him, quoth they, “Thou dost but feign thyself dead, but we will make an end of thee,” and one of the Badawin levelled his javelin and would have plunged it into his breast when he cried out, “Save me, O my lord Abd al-Kadir, O Saint of Gilan!” and behold, he saw a hand turn the lance away from his breast to that of Kamal-al-Din the cameleer, so that it pierced him and spared himself.1 Then the Arabs made off; and, when Ala al-Din saw that the birds were flown with their god send, he sat up and finding no one, rose and set off running; but, behold! Abu Náib the Badawi looked back and said to his troop, “I see somewhat moving afar off, O Arabs!” So one of the bandits turned back and, spying Ala al-Din running, called out to him, saying, “Flight shall not forward thee and we after thee;” and he smote his mare with his heel and she hastened after him. Then Ala al-Din seeing before him a watering tank and a cistern beside it, climbed up into a niche in the cistern and, stretching himself at full length, feigned to be asleep and said, “O gracious Protector, cover me with the veil of Thy protection which may not be torn away!” And lo! the Badawi came up to the cistern and, standing in his stirrup irons put out his hand to lay hold of Ala al-Din; but he said, “O my lady Nafísah2! Now is thy time!” And behold, a scorpion stung the Badawi in the palm and he cried out, saying, “Help, O Arabs! I am stung;” and he alighted from his mare’s back. So his comrades came up to him and mounted him again, asking, “What hath befallen thee?” whereto he answered, “A young scorpion3 stung me.” So they departed, with the caravan. Such was their case; but as regards Ala al-Din, he tarried in the niche, and Mahmud of Balkh bade load his beasts and fared forwards till he came to the Lion’s Copse where he found Ala al-Din’s attendants all lying slain. At this he rejoiced and went on till he reached the cistern and the reservoir. Now his mule was athirst and turned aside to drink, but she saw Ala al-Din’s shadow in the water and shied and started; whereupon Mahmud raised his eyes and, seeing Ala al-Din lying in the niche, stripped to his shirt and bag trousers, said to him, “What man this deed to thee hath dight and left thee in this evil plight?” Answered Ala alDin, “The Arabs,” and Mahmud said, “O my son, the mules and the baggage were thy ransom; so do thou comfort thyself with his saying who said,

‘If thereby man can save his head from death,

His good is worth him but a slice of nail!’

But now, O my son, come down and fear no hurt.” Thereupon he descended from the cistern-niche and Mahmud mounted him on a mule, and they fared on till they reached Baghdad, where he brought him to his own house and carried him to the bath, saying to him, “The goods and money were the ransom of thy life, O my son; but, if thou wilt hearken to me, I will give thee the worth of that thou hast lost, twice told.” When he came out of the bath, Mahmud carried him into a saloon decorated with gold with four raised floors, and bade them bring a tray with all manner of meats. So they ate and drank and Mahmud bent towards Ala al-Din to snatch a kiss from him; but he received it upon the palm of his hand and said, “What, dost thou persist in thy evil designs upon me? Did I not tell thee that, were I wont to sell this merchandise to other than thee for gold, I would sell it thee for silver?” Quoth Mahmud, “I will give thee neither merchandise nor mule nor clothes save at this price; for I am gone mad for love of thee, and bless him who said,

‘Told us, ascribing to his Shaykhs, our Shaykh

Abú Bilál, these words they wont to utter:4

Unhealed the lover wones of love desire,

By kiss and clip, his only cure’s to futter!’”

Ala al-Din replied, “Of a truth this may never be, take back thy dress and thy mule and open the door that I may go out.” So he opened the door, and Ala al-Din fared forth and walked on, with the dogs barking at his heels, and he went forwards through the dark when behold, he saw the door of a mosque standing open and, entering the vestibule, there took shelter and concealment; and suddenly a light approached him and on examining it he saw that it came from a pair of lanthorns borne by two slaves before two merchants. Now one was an old man of comely face and the other a youth; and he heard the younger say to the elder, “O my uncle,, I conjure thee by Allah, give me back my cousin!” The old man replied, “Did I not forbid thee, many a time, when the oath of divorce was always in thy mouth, as it were Holy Writ?” Then he turned to his right and, seeing Ala al-Din as he were a slice of the full moon, said to him, “Peace be with thee! who art thou, O my son?” Quoth he, returning the salutation of peace, “I am Ala al-Din, son of Shams al-Din, Consul of the merchants for Egypt. I besought my father for merchandise; so he packed me fifty loads of stuffs and goods.”— And Shahrazed perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

1 These “Kirámát” or Saints’ miracles, which Spiritualists will readily accept, are recorded in vast numbers. Most men have half a dozen to tell, each of his “Pír” or patron, including the Istidráj or prodigy of chastisement. (Dabistan, iii. 274.)

2 Great granddaughter of the Imam Hasan buried in Cairo and famed for “Kirámát.” Her father, governor of Al–Medinah, was imprisoned by Al–Mansur and restored to power by Al–Mahdi. She was married to a son of the Imam Ja’afar al-Sadik and lived a life of devotion in Cairo, dying in A.H. 218=824. The corpse of the Imam al-Shafi’i was carried to her house, now her mosque and mausoleum: it stood in the Darb al-Sabúa which formerly divided Old from New Cairo and is now one of the latter’s suburbs. Lane (M. E. chaps. x.) gives her name but little more. The mention of her shows that the writer of the tale or the copyist was a Cairene: Abd al-Kadir is world-known: not so the “Sitt.”

3 Arab. “Farkh akrab” for Ukayrib, a vulgarism.

4 The usual Egyptian irreverence: he relates his abomination as if it were a Hadis or Tradition of the Prophet with due ascription.

When it was the Two Hundred and Fifty-sixth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Ala al-Din continued, “So he packed me fifty loads of goods and gave me ten thousand dinars, wherewith I set out for Baghdad; but when I reached the Lion’s Copse, the wild Arabs came out against me and took all my goods and monies. So I entered the city knowing not where to pass the night and, seeing this place, I took shelter here.” Quoth the old man, “O my son, what sayest thou to my giving thee a thousand dinars and a suit of clothes and a mule worth other two thousand?” Ala al-Din asked, “To what end wilt thou give me these things, O my uncle?” and the other answered, ‘This young man who accompanieth me is the son of my brother and an only son; and I have a daughter called Zubaydah1 the lutist, an only child who is a model of beauty and loveliness, so I married her to him. Now he loveth her, but she loatheth him; and when he chanced to take an oath of triple divorcement and broke it, forthright she left him. Whereupon he egged on all the folk to intercede with me to restore her to him; but I told him that this could not lawfully be save by an intermediate marriage, and we have agreed to make some stranger the intermediary2 in order that none may taunt and shame him with this affair. So, as thou art a stranger, come with us and we will marry thee to her; thou shalt lie with her to-night and on the morrow divorce her and we will give thee what I said.” Quoth Ala al-Din to himself, “By Allah, to bide the night with a bride on a bed in a house is far better than sleeping in the streets and vestibules!” So he went with them to the Kazi whose heart, as soon as he saw Ala al-Din, was moved to love him, and who said to the old man, “What is your will?” He replied, “We wish to make this young man an intermediary husband for my daughter; but we will write a bond against him binding him to pay down by way of marriage-settlement ten thousand gold pieces. Now if after passing the night with her he divorce her in the morning, we will give him a mule and dress each worth a thousand dinars, and a third thousand of ready money; but if he divorce her not, he shall pay down the ten thousand dinars according to contract.” So they agreed to the agreement and the father of the bride-to-be received his bond for the marriage-settlement. Then he took Ala al-Din and, clothing him anew, carried him to his daughter’s house and there he left him standing at the door, whilst he himself went in to the young lady and said, “Take the bond of thy marriage-settlement, for I have wedded thee to a handsome youth by name Ala al-Din Abu al-Shamat: so do thou use him with the best of usage.” Then he put the bond into her hands and left her and went to his own lodging. Now the lady’s cousin had an old duenna who used to visit Zubaydah, and he had done many a kindness to this woman, so he said to her, “O my mother, if my cousin Zubaydah see this handsome young man, she will never after accept my offer; so I would fain have thee contrive some trick to keep her and him apart.” She answered, “By the life of thy youth,3 I will not suffer him to approach her!” Then she went to Ala al-Din and said to him, “O my son, I have a word of advice to give thee, for the love of Almighty Allah and do thou accept my counsel, as I fear for thee from this young woman: better thou let her lie alone and feel not her person nor draw thee near to her.” He asked, “Why so?”; and she answered, “Because her body is full of leprosy and I dread lest she infect thy fair and seemly youth.” Quoth he, “I have no need of her.” Thereupon she went to the lady and said the like to her of Ala al-Din, and she replied, “I have no need of him, but will let him lie alone, and on the morrow he shall gang his gait.” Then she called a slave-girl and said to her, “Take the tray of food and set it before him that he may sup.” So the handmaid carried him the tray of food and set it before him and he ate his fill: after which he sat down and raised his charming voice and fell to reciting the chapter called Y. S.4 The lady listened to him and found his voice as melodious as the psalms of David sung by David himself,5 which when she heard, she exclaimed, “Allah disappoint the old hag who told me that he was affected with leprosy! Surely this is not the voice of one who hath such a disease; and all was a lie against him.”6 Then she took a lute of India-land workmanship and, tuning the strings, sang to it in a voice so sweet its music would stay the birds in the heart of heaven; and began these two couplets,

“I love a fawn with gentle white black eyes,

Whose walk the willow-wand with envy kills:

Forbidding me he bids for rival-mine,

’Tis Allah’s grace who grants to whom He wills!”

And when he heard her chant these lines he ended his recitation of the chapter, and began also to sing and repeated the following couplet,

“My Salám to the Fawn in the garments concealed,

And to roses in gardens of cheek revealed.”

The lady rose up when she heard this, her inclination for him redoubled and she lifted the curtain; and Ala al-Din, seeing her, recited these two couplets,

“She shineth forth, a moon, and bends, a willow wand,

And breathes out ambergris, and gazes, a gazelle.

Meseems as if grief loved my heart and when from her

Estrangement I abide possession to it fell.”7

Thereupon she came forward, swinging her haunches and gracefully swaying a shape the handiwork of Him whose boons are hidden; and each of them stole one glance of the eyes that cost them a thousand sighs. And when the shafts of the two regards which met rankled in his heart, he repeated these two couplets,

“She ‘spied the moon of Heaven, reminding me

Of nights when met we in the meadows li’en:

True, both saw moons, but sooth to say, it was

Her very eyes I saw, and she my eyne.”

And when she drew near him, and there remained but two paces between them, he recited these two couplets,

“She spread three tresses of unplaited hair

One night, and showed me nights not one but four;

And faced the moon of Heaven with her brow,

And showed me two-fold moons in single hour.”

And as she was hard by him he said to her, “Keep away from me, lest thou infect me.” Whereupon she uncovered her wrist8 to him, and he saw that it was cleft, as it were in two halves, by its veins and sinews and its whiteness was as the whiteness of virgin silver. Then said she, “Keep away from me, thou! for thou art stricken with leprosy, and maybe thou wilt infect me.” He asked, “Who told thee I was a leper?” and she answered, “The old woman so told me.” Quoth he, “’Twas she told me also that thou wast afflicted with white scurvy;” and so saying, he bared his forearms and showed her that his skin was also like virgin silver. Thereupon she pressed him to her bosom and he pressed her to his bosom and the twain embraced with closest embrace, then she took him and, lying down on her back, let down her petticoat trousers, and in an instant that which his father had left him rose up in rebellion against him and he said, “Go it, O Shayth Zachary9 of shaggery, O father of veins!”; and putting both hands to her flanks, he set the sugar-stick10 to the mouth of the cleft and thrust on till he came to the wicket called “Pecten.” His passage was by the Gate of Victories11 and therefrom he entered the Monday market, and those of Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday,12 and, finding the carpet after the measure of the dais floor,13 he plied the box within its cover till he came to the end of it. And when morning dawned he cried to her, “Alas for delight which is not fulfilled! The raven14 taketh it and flieth away!” She asked, “What meaneth this saying?”; and he answered, “O my lady, I have but this hour to abide with thee.” Quoth she “Who saith so?” and quoth he, “Thy father made me give him a written bond to pay ten thousand dinars to thy wedding-settlement; and, except I pay it this very day, they will imprison me for debt in the Kazi’s house; and now my hand lacketh one-half dirham of the sum.” She asked, “O my lord, is the marriage-bond in thy hand or in theirs?”; and he answered, “O my lady, in mine, but I have nothing.” She rejoined, “The matter is easy; fear thou nothing. Take these hundred dinars: an I had more, I would give thee what thou lackest; but of a truth my father, of his love for my cousin, hath transported all his goods, even to my jewellery from my lodging to his. But when they send thee a serjeant of the Ecclesiastical Court,”— And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

1 A popular name, dim. of Zubdah cream, fresh butter, “creamkin.”

2 Arab. “Mustahall,” “Mustahill’ and vulg. “Muhallil” (=one who renders lawful). It means a man hired for the purpose who marries pro forma and after wedding, and bedding with actual-consummation, at once divorces the woman. He is held the reverse of respectable and no wonder. Hence, probably, Mandeville’s story of the Islanders who, on the marriage-night, “make another man to lie by their wives, to have their maidenhead, for which they give great hire and much thanks. And there are certain men in every town that serve for no other thing; and they call them cadeberiz, that is to say, the fools of despair, because they believe their occupation is a dangerous one.” Burckhardt gives the proverb (No. 79), “A thousand lovers rather than one Mustahall,” the latter being generally some ugly fellow picked up in the streets and disgusting to the wife who must permit his embraces.

3 This is a woman’s oath. not used by men.

4 Pronounced “Yá Sín” (chaps. xxxvi.) the “heart of the Koran” much used for edifying recitation. Some pious Moslems in Egypt repeat it as a Wazifah, or religious task, or as masses for the dead, and all educated men know its 83 versets by rote.

5 Arab. “Ál-Dáúd”=the family of David, i.e. David himself, a popular idiom. The prophet’s recitation of the “Mazámir” (Psalter) worked miracles.

6 There is a peculiar thickening of the voice in leprosy which at once betrays the hideous disease.

7 These lines have occurred in Night clxxxiii. I quote Mr. Payne (in loco) by way of variety.

8 Where the “Juzám” (leprosy, elephantiasis, morbus sacrum, etc. etc.) is supposed first to show: the swelling would alter the shape. Lane (ii. 267) translates “her wrist which was bipartite.”

9 Arab. “Zakariyá” (Zacharias): a play upon the term “Zakar”=the sign of “masculinity.” Zacharias, mentioned in the Koran as the educator of the Virgin Mary (chaps. iii.) and repeatedly referred to (chaps. xix. etc.), is a well-known personage amongst Moslems and his church is now the great Cathedral–Mosque of Aleppo.

10 Arab. “ Ark al-Haláwat “ = vein of sweetness.

11 Arab. “Futúh,” which may also mean openings, has before occurred.

12 i.e. four times without withdrawing.

13 i.e. a correspondence of size, concerning which many rules are given in the Ananga–Rangha Shastra which justly declares that discrepancy breeds matrimonial-troubles.

14 Arab. “Ghuráb al-Bayn”= raven of the waste or the parting: hence the bird of Odin symbolises separation (which is also called Al-bayn). The Raven (Ghurab = Heb. Oreb and Lat. Corvus, one of the prehistoric words) is supposed to be seen abroad earlier than any other bird; and it is entitled “Abu Zajir,” father of omens, because lucky when flying towards the right and v.v. It is opposed in poetry to the (white) pigeon, the emblem of union, peace and happiness. The vulgar declare that when Mohammed hid in the cave the crow kept calling to his pursuers, “Ghár! Ghár!” (cavern, cavern): hence the Prophet condemned him to wear eternal-mourning and ever to repeat the traitorous words. This is the old tale of Coronis and Apollo (Ovid, lib. ii.).

—————” who blacked the raven o’er

And bid him prate in his white plumes no more.”

http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/b/burton/richard/b97b/part36.html

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