The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night

When it was the Tenth Night,

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

“Ye are the wish, the aim of me

And when, O Love, thy sight I see14

The heavenly mansion openeth;15

But Hell I see when lost thy sight.

From thee comes madness; nor the less

Comes highest joy, comes ecstasy:

Nor in my love for thee I fear

Or shame and blame, or hate and spite.

When Love was throned within my heart

I rent the veil of modesty;

And stints not Love to rend that veil

Garring disgrace on grace to alight;

The robe of sickness then I donned

But rent to rags was secrecy:

Wherefore my love and longing heart

Proclaim your high supremest might;

The tear drop railing adown my cheek

Telleth my tale of ignomy:

And all the hid was seen by all

And all my riddle ree’d aright.

Heal then my malady, for thou

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

Shall ne’er be free of bane and blight;

Burn me those eyne that radiance rain

Slay me the swords of phantasy;

How many hath the sword of Love

Laid low, their high degree despite?

Yet will I never cease to pine

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

Public and private, wrong or right.

O happy eyes that sight thy charms

That gaze upon thee at their gree!

Yea, of my purest wish and will

The slave of Love I’ll aye be hight.”

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

“Give back mine eyes their sleep long ravished

And say me whither be my reason fled:

I learnt that lending to thy love a place

Sleep to mine eyelids mortal foe was made.

They said, “We held thee righteous, who waylaid

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

I pardon all my blood he pleased to spill

Owning his troubles drove him blood to shed.

On my mind’s mirror sun like sheen he cast

Whose keen reflection fire in vitals bred

Waters of Life let Allah waste at will

Suffice my wage those lips of dewy red:

An thou address my love thou’lt find a cause

For plaint and tears or ruth or lustihed.

In water pure his form shall greet your eyne

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

Then she quoted from the same ode:—

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

And his swaying gait swayed to sleep these eyne:

’Twas not grape juice grips me but grasp of Past

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

His coiling curl-lets my soul ennetted

And his cruel will all my wits outwitted.18

After a pause she resumed:—

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

Or if pain afflict us where wend our way?

An I hire a truchman19 to tell my tale

The lover’s plaint is not told for pay:

If I put on patience, a lover’s life

After loss of love will not last a day:

Naught is left me now but regret, repine

And tears flooding cheeks for ever and aye:

O thou who the babes of these eyes20 hast deaf

Thou art homed in heart that shall never stray

Would heaven I wot hast thou kept our pact

Long as stream shall cow, to have firmest fey?

Or hast forgotten the weeping slave

Whom groans afflict and whom griefs waylay?

Ah, when severance ends and we side by side

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

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

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

May not suffice thee all these tears thou seest flow?

Our parting thus with purpose fell thou cost prolong

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

Were but this Iying world once true to lover heart

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

Oh pity me whom overwhelmed thy cruel will

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

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

Sad, who of broken troth the pangs must undergo!

Increase wild love for thee and phrenzy hour by hour

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

O Moslems, claim vendetta21 for this slave of Love

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And fairest fair when shown to weakest brother:

By Love’s own holy tie between us twain,

Let one not suffer for the sin of other.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

But how sorely I feel for the poor broken thorn!

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

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

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

7 A religious mendicant generally.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

When it was the Eleventh Night,

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

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

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

The First Kalandar’s Tale.

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

We tread the path where Fate hath led

The path Fate writ we fain must tread:

And man in one land doomed to die

Death no where else shall do him dead.

And on like wise saith another:—

Let Fortune have her wanton way

Take heart and all her words obey:

Nor joy nor mourn at anything

For all things pass and no things stay.

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

“I deemed you coat o’ mail that should withstand

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

I hoped your aidance in mine every chance

Though fail my left to aid my dexter hand:

Aloof you stand and hear the railer’s gibe

While rain their shafts on me the giber-band:

But an ye will not guard me from my foes

Stand clear, and succour neither these nor those!”

And I also quoted:—

“I deemed my brethren mail of strongest steel

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

I deemed their arrows surest of their aim;

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

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

Take thy life and fly whenas evils threat;

Let the ruined house tell its owner’s fate:

New land for the old thou shalt seek and find

But to find new life thou must not await.

Strange that men should sit in the stead of shame,

When Allah’s world is so wide and great!

And trust not other, in matters grave

Life itself must act for a life beset:

Ne’er would prowl the lion with maned neck,

Did he reckon on aid or of others reck.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

When it was the Twelfth Night,

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Second Kalandar’s Tale.

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

A place secure from every thought of fear

Safety and peace for ever lord it here:

Its beauties seem to beautify its sons

And as in Heaven its happy folk appear.

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

Slim waisted loveling jetty hair encrowned

A wand of willow on a sandy mound:

And as saith another. —

Four things that meet not, save they here unite

To shed my heart blood and to rape my sprite:

Brilliantest forehead; tresses jetty bright;

Cheeks rosy red and stature beauty dight.

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

“Had we known of thy coming we fain had dispread

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

Our cheeks as a carpet to greet thee had thrown

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

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

“This is a thing wherein destruction lies

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

And these also:—

“O thou who seekest severance, draw the rein

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

Ah stay! for treachery is the rule of life,

And sweets of meeting end in severance.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

7 “Jarjarís” in the Bul. Edit.

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

When it was the Thirteenth Night,

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

What time Fate’s tyranny shall most oppress thee

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

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

Mine eyes were dragomans for my tongue betted

And told full clear the love I fain would hide:

When last we met and tears in torrents railed

For tongue struck dumb my glances testified:

She signed with eye glance while her lips were mute

I signed with fingers and she kenned th’ implied:

Our eyebrows did all duty ‘twixt us twain;

And we being speechless Love spake loud and plain.

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

How many a lover with his eyebrows speaketh

To his beloved, as his passion pleadeth:

With flashing eyne his passion he inspireth

And well she seeth what kits pleading needeth.

How sweet the look when each on other gazeth;

And with what swiftness and how sure it speedeth:

And this with eyebrows all his passion writeth;

And that with eyeballs all his passion readeth.

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

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

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

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

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

5 i.e. Axe and sandals.

6 Lit. “Strike his neck.”

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

http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/b/burton/richard/b97b/part4.html

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