The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night

When it was the Eight Hundred and Forty-third Night,

She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Khalifah the Fisherman lay down upon the chest and thus tarried awhile, behold, something stirred beneath him; whereat he was affrighted and his reason fled. So he arose and cried, “Meseems there be Jinns in the chest. Praise to Allah who suffered me not to open it! For, had I done so, they had risen against me in the dark and slain me, and from them would have befallen me naught of good.” Then he lay down again when, lo! The chest moved a second time, more than before; whereupon he sprang to his feet and said, “There it goes again: but this is terrible!” And he hastened to look for the lamp, but could not find it and had not the wherewithal to buy another. So he went forth and cried out, “Ho, people of the quarter!” Now the most part of the folk were asleep; but they awoke at his crying and asked, “What aileth thee, O Khalifah?” He answered, “Bring me a lamp, for the Jinn are upon me.” They laughed at him and gave him a lamp, wherewith he returned to his closet. Then he smote the lock of the chest with a stone and broke it and opening it, saw a damsel like a Houri lying asleep within. Now she had been drugged with Bhang, but at that moment she threw up the stuff and awoke; then she opened her eyes and feeling herself confined and cramped, moved. At this sight quoth Khalifah, “By Allah, O my lady, whence art thou?”; and quoth she, “Bring me Jessamine, and Narcissus.” 1 and Khalifah answered, “There is naught here but Henna-flowers.” 2 thereupon she came to herself and considering Khalifah, said to him, “What art thou?” presently adding, “And where am I?” He said, “Thou art in my lodging.” Asked she, “Am I not in the Palace of the Caliph Harun al-Rashid?” And quoth he, “What manner of thing is Al–Rashid? 3 O madwoman, Thou art naught but my slave-girl: I bought thee this very day for an hundred dinars and one dinar, and brought thee home, and thou wast asleep in this here chest.” When she had heard these words she said to him, “What is thy name?” Said he, “My name is Khalifah. How comes my star to have grown propitious, when I know my ascendant to have been otherwise?” She laughed and cried, “Spare me this talk! Hast thou anything to eat?” Replied he, “No, by Allah, nor yet to drink! I have not eaten these two days, and am now in want of a morsel.” She asked, “Hast thou no money?”; and he said, “Allah keep this chest which hath beggared me: I gave all I had for it and am become bankrupt.” The damsel laughed at him and said, “Up with thee and seek of thy neighbours somewhat for me to eat, for I am hungry.” So he went forth and cried out, “Ho, people of the quarter!” Now the folk were asleep; but they awoke and asked, “What aileth thee, O Khalifah?” Answered he, O my neighbours, I am hungry and have nothing to eat.” So one came down to him with a bannock and another with broken meats and third with a bittock of cheese and a fourth with a cucumber; and so on till he lap was full and he returned to his closet and laid the whole between her hands, saying, “Eat.” But she laughed at him, saying, “How can I eat of this, when I have not a mug of water whereof to drink? I fear to choke with a mouthful and die.” Quoth he, “I will fill thee this pitcher.”4 so he took the pitcher and going forth, stood in the midst of the street and cried out, saying, “Ho, people of the quarter!” Quoth they, “What calamity is upon thee to-night, 5 O Khalifah!” And he said, “Ye gave me food and I ate; but now I am a-thirst; so give me to drink.” Thereupon one came down to him with a mug and another with an ewer and a third with a gugglet; and he filled his pitcher and, bearing it back, said to the damsel, “O my lady, thou lackest nothing now.” Answered she, “True, I want nothing more at this present.” Quoth he, “Speak to me and say me thy story.” And quoth she, “Fie upon thee! An thou knowest me not, I will tell thee who I am. I am Kut al-Kulub, the Caliph’s handmaiden, and the Lady Zubaydah was jealous of me; so she drugged me with Bhang and set me in this chest,” presently adding, “Alham-dolillah — praised be God — for that the matter hath come to easy issue and no worse! But this befel me not save for thy good luck, for thou wilt certainly get of the Caliph Al–Rashid money galore, that will be the means of thine enrichment.” Quoth Khalifah, “I not Al–Rashid he in whose Palace I was imprisoned?” “Yes,” answered she; and he said, “By Allah, never saw I more niggardly wight than he, that piper little of good and wit! He gave me an hundred blows with a stick yesterday and but one dinar, for all I taught him to fish and made him my partner; but he played me false.” Replied she, “Leave this unseemly talk, and open thine eyes and look thou bear thyself respectfully, whenas thou seest him after this, and thou shalt win thy wish.” When he heard her words, it was if he had been asleep and awoke; and Allah removed the veil from his judgment, because of his good luck, 6 and he answered, “On my head and eyes!” Then said he to her, “Sleep, in the name of Allah.” 7 so she lay down and fell asleep (and he afar from her) till the morning, when she sought of him inkcase 8 and paper and, when they were brought wrote to Ibn al-Kirnas, the Caliph’s friend, acquainting him with her case and how at the end of all that had befallen her she was with Khalifah the Fisherman, who had bought her. Then she gave him the scroll, saying, “Take this and hie thee to the jewel-market and ask for the shop of Ibn al-Kirnas the Jeweller and give him this paper and speak not.” “I hear and I obey,” answered Khalifah and going with the scroll to the market, enquired for the shop of Ibn al-Kirnas. They directed him to thither and on entering it he saluted the merchant, who returned his salim with contempt and said to him, “What dost thou want?” Thereupon he gave him the letter and he took it, but read it not, thinking the Fisherman a beggar, who sought an alms of him, and said to one of his lads, “Give him half a dirham.” Quoth Khalifah, “I want to alms; read the paper.” So Ibn al-Kirnas took the letter and read it; and no sooner knew its import than he kissed it and laying it on his head — And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

1 Yásamín and Narjis, names of slave-girls or eunuchs.

2 Arab. Tamar-hanná, the cheapest of dyes used ever by the poorest classes. Its smell, I have said, is that of newly mown hay, and is prized like that of the tea-rose.

3 The formula (meaning, “What has he to do here?”) is by no means complimentary.

4 Arab. “Jarrah” (pron. “Garrah”) a “jar.” See Lane (M.E. chapt. v.) who was deservedly reproached by Baron von Hammer for his superficial notices. The “Jarrah” is of pottery, whereas the “Dist” is a large copper chauldron and the Khalkinah one of lesser size.

5 i.e. What a bother thou art, etc.

6 This sudden transformation, which to us seems exaggerated and unnatural, appears in many Eastern stories and in the biographies of their distinguished men, especially students. A youth cannot master his lessons; he sees a spider climbing a slippery wall and after repeated falls succeeding. Allah opens the eyes of his mind, his studies become easy to him, and he ends with being an Allámah (doctissimus).

7 Arab. “Bismillah, Námí!” here it is not a blessing, but a simple invitation, “Now please go to sleep.”

8 The modern inkcase of the Universal East is a lineal descendant of the wooden palette with writing reeds. See an illustration of that of “Amásis, the good god and lord of the two lands” (circ. B.C. 1350) in British Museum (p. 41, “The Dwellers on the Nile,” by E. A. Wallis Bridge, London, 56, Paternoster Row, 1885).

When it was the Eight Hundred and Forty-fourth Night,

She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Ibn al-Kirnas read the letter and knew its import, he kissed it and laid it on his head; then he arose and said to Khalifah, “O my brother, where is thy house?” Asked Khalifah, “What wantest thou with my house? Wilt thou go thither and steal my slave-girl?” Then Ibn al-Kirnas answered, “No so: on the contrary, I will buy thee somewhat whereof you may eat, thou and she.” So he said, “My house is in such a quarter;” and the merchant rejoined, “Thou hast done well. May Allah not give thee health, O unlucky one!” 1 Then he called out to two of his slaves and said to them, “Carry this man to the shop of Mohsin the Shroff and say to him, ‘O Mohsin, give this man a thousand dinars of gold;’ then bring him back to me in haste.” So they carried him to the money-changer, who paid him the money, and returned with him to their master, whom they found mounted on a dapple she-mule worth a thousand dinars, with Mamelukes and pages about him, and by his side another mule like his own, saddled and bridled. Quoth the jeweller to Khalifah, “Bismillah, mount this mule.” Replied he, “I won’t; for by Allah, I fear she throw me;” and quoth Ibn al-Kirnas, “By God, needs must thou mount.” So he came up and mounting her, face to crupper, caught hold of her tail and cried out; whereupon she threw him on the ground and they laughed at him; but he rose and said, “Did I not tell thee I would not mount this great jenny-ass?” Thereupon Ibn al-Kirnas left him in the market and repairing to the Caliph, told him of the damsel; after which he returned and removed her to his own house. Meanwhile, Khalifah went home to look after the handmaid and found the people of the quarter foregathering and saying, “Verily, Khalifah is to-day in a terrible pickle! 2 Would we knew whence he can have gotten this damsel?” Quoth one of them, “He is a mad pimp; haply he found her lying on the road drunken, and carried her to his own house, and his absence showeth his offence.” As they were talking, behold, up came Khalifah, and they said to him, “What a plight is thine, O unhappy! Knowest thou not what is come for thee?” He replied, “No, by Allah!” and they said, “But just now there came Mamelukes and took away thy slave-girl whom thou stolest, and sought for thee, but found thee not.” Asked Khalifah, “And how came they to take my slave-girl?”; and quoth one, “Had he falled in their way, they had slain him.” But he, so far from heeding them, returned running to the shop of Ibn al-Kirnas, whom he met riding, and said to him, “By Allah, ’twas not right of thee to wheedle me and meanwhile send thy Mamelukes to take my slave-girl!” Replied the jeweller, “O idiot, come with me and hold thy tongue.” So he took him and carried him into a house handsomely builded, where he found the damsel seated on a couch of gold, with ten slave-girls like moons round her. Sighting her Ibn al-Kirnas kissed ground before her and she said, “What hast thou done with my new master, who bought me with all he owned?” He replied, “O my lady, I gave him a thousand gold dinars;” and related to her Khalifah’s history from first to last, whereat she laughed and said, “Blame him not; for he is but a common wight. These other thousand dinars are a gift from me to him and Almighty Allah willing, he shall win of the Caliph what shall enrich him.” As they were talking, there came an eunuch from the Commander of the Faithful, in quest of Kut al-Kulub, for, when he knew that she was in the house of Ibn al-Kirnas, he could not endure the severance, but bade bring her forthwith. So she repaired to the Palace, taking Khalifah with her, and going into the presence, kissed ground before the Caliph, who rose to her, saluting and welcoming her, and asked her how she had fared with him who had bought her. She replied, “He is a man, Khalifah the Fisherman hight, and there he standeth at the door. He telleth me that he hath an account to settle with the Commander of the Faithful, by reason of a partnership between him and the Caliph in fishing.” Asked al-Rashid, “Is he at the door?” and she answered, “Yes.” So the Caliph sent for him and he kissed ground before him and wished him endurance of glory and prosperity. The Caliph marvelled at him and laughed at him and said to him, “O Fisherman, wast thou in very deed my partner 3 yesterday?” Khalifah took his meaning and heartening his heart and summoning spirit replied, “By Him who bestowed upon thee the succession to thy cousin, 4 I know her not in anywise and have had no commerce with her save by way of sight and speech!” Then he repeated to him all that had befallen him, since he last saw him, 5 whereat the Caliph laughed and his breast broadened and he said to Khalifah, “Ask of us what thou wilt, O thou to bringest to owners their own!” But he was silent; so the Caliph ordered him fifty thousand dinars of gold and a costly dress of honour such as great Sovrans don, and a she-mule, and gave him black slaves of the Súdán to serve him, so that he became as he were one of the Kings of that time. The Caliph was rejoiced at the recovery of his favourite and knew that all this was the doing of his cousin-wife, the Lady Zubaydah — And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

1 This is not ironical, as Lane and Payne suppose, but a specimen of inverted speech — Thou art in luck this time!

2 Arab. “Marhúb” = terrible: Lane reads “Mar’úb” = terrified. But the former may also mean, threatened with something terrible.

3 i.e. in Kut al-Kulúb.

4 Lit. to the son of thy paternal uncle, i.e. Mohammed.

5 In the text he tells of the whole story beginning with the eunuch and the hundred dinars, the chest, etc.: but — “of no avail is a twice-told tale.”

When it was the Eight Hundred and Forty-fifth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Caliph rejoiced at the recovery of Kut al-Kulub and knew that all this was the doing of the Lady Zubaydah, his cousin-wife; wherefore he was sore enraged against her and held aloof from her a great while, visiting her not neither inclining to pardon her. When she was certified of this, she was sore concerned for his wrath and her face, that was wont to be rosy, waxed pale and wan till, when her patience was exhausted, she sent a letter to her cousin, the Commander of the Faithful making her excuses to him and confessing her offences, and ending with these verses

“I long once more the love that was between us to regain,

That I may quench the fire of grief and bate the force of bane.

O lords of me, have ruth upon the stress my passion deals

Enough to me is what you doled of sorrow and of pain.

‘Tis life to me an deign you keep the troth you deigned to plight

‘Tis death to me an troth you break and fondest vows profane:

Given I’ve sinned a sorry sin, ye grant me ruth, for naught

By

Allah, sweeter is than friend who is of pardon fain.”

When the Lady Zubaydah’s letter reached the Caliph, and reading it he saw that she confessed her offence and sent her excuses to him therefor, he said to himself, “Verily, all sins doth Allah forgive; aye, Gracious, Merciful is He!” 1 And he returned her an answer, expressing satisfaction and pardon and forgiveness for what was past, whereat she rejoiced greatly. As for Khalifah, the Fisherman, the Caliph assigned him a monthly solde of fifty dinars and took him into especial favour, which would lead to rank and dignity, honour and worship. Then he kissed ground before the Commander of the Faithful and went forth with stately gait. When he came to the door, the Eunuch Sandal, who had given him the hundred dinars, saw him and knowing him, said to him, “O Fisherman, whence all this?” So he told him all that had befallen him, first and last, whereat Sandal rejoiced, because he had been the cause of his enrichment, and said to him, “Wilt thou not give me largess of this wealth which is now become thine?” So Khalifah put hand to pouch and taking out a purse containing a thousand dinars, gave it to the Eunuch, who said, “Keep thy coins and Allah bless thee therein!” and marvelled at his manliness and at the liberality of his soul, for all his late poverty. 2 Then leaving the eunuch, Khalifah mounted his she-mule and rode, with the slaves’ hands on her crupper, till he came to his lodging at the Khan, whilst the folk stared at him in surprise for that which had betided him of advancement. When he alighted from his beast they accosted him and enquired the cause of his change from poverty to prosperity, and he told them all that had happened to him from incept to conclusion. Then he bought a fine mansion and laid out thereon much money, till it was perfect in all points. And he took up his abode therein and was wont to recite thereon these two couplets,

“Behold a house that’s like the Dwelling of Delight; 3

Its aspect heals the sick and banishes despite.

Its sojourn for the great and wise appointed it,

And Fortune fair therein abideth day and night.”

Then, as soon as he was settled in his house, he sought him in marriage the daughter of one of the chief men of the city, a handsome girl, and went in unto her and led a life of solace and satisfaction, joyaunce and enjoyment; and he rose to passing affluence and exceeding prosperity. So, when he found himself in this fortunate condition, he offered up thanks to Allah (extolled and excelled be He!) for what He had bestowed on him of wealth exceeding and of favours ever succeeding, praising his Lord with the praise of the grateful and chanting the words of the poet,

“To Thee be praise, O Thou who showest unremitting grace;

O Thou whose universal bounties high and low embrace!

To Thee be praise from me! Then deign accept my praise for I

Accept Thy boons and gifts with grateful soul in every case.

Thou hast with favours overwhelmed me, benefits and largesse

And gracious doles my memory ne’er ceaseth to retrace.

All men from mighty main, Thy grace and goodness, drain and drink;

And in their need Thou, only Thou, to them art refuge-place!

So for the sake of him who came to teach mankind in ruth

Prophet, pure, truthful-worded scion of the noblest race;

Ever be Allah’s blessing and His peace on him and all

His aids

4 and kin while pilgrims fare his noble tomb to face!

And on his helpmeets 5 one and all, Companions great and good,

Though time Eternal while the bird shall sing in shady wood!”

And thereafter Khalifah continued to pay frequent visits to the Caliph Harun al-Rashid, with whom he found acceptance and who ceased not to overwhelm him with boons and bounty: and he abode in the enjoyment of the utmost honour and happiness and joy and gladness and in riches more than sufficing and in rank ever rising; brief, a sweet life and a savoury, pure as pleasurable, till there came to him the Destroyer of delights and the Sunderer of societies; and extolled be the perfection of Him to whom belong glory and permanence and He is the Living, the Eternal, who shall never die!

1 Koran xxxix. 54. I have quoted Mr. Rodwell who affects the Arabic formula, omitting the normal copulatives.

2 Easterns find it far easier to “get the chill of poverty out of their bones” than Westerns.

3 Arab. “Dar al-Na’ím.” Name of one of the seven stages of the Moslem heaven. This style of inscription dates from the days of the hieroglyphs. A papyrus describing the happy town of Raamses ends with these lines. —

Daily is there a supply of food:

Within it gladness doth ever brood

Prolonged, increased; abides there Joy, etc., etc.

4 Arab. “Ansár” = auxiliaries, the men of Al–Medinah (Pilgrimage ii. 130, etc.).

5 Arab. “Asháb” = the companions of the Prophet who may number 500 (Pilgrimage ii. 81, etc.).

Khalifah The Fisherman of Baghdad.

Note. I have followed the example of Mr. Payne and have translated in its entirety the Tale of Khalifah the Fisherman from the Breslau Edit. (Vol. iv. Pp. 315–365, Night ccxxi- ccxxxii.) in preference to the unsatisfactory process of amalgamating it with that of the Mac. Edit. given above.

There was once, in days of yore and in ages and times long gone before, in the city of Baghdad, a fisherman, by name Khalíf, a man of muckle talk and little luck. One day, as he sat in his cell,1 he bethought himself and said, “There is no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great! Would Heaven I knew what is my offence in the sight of my Lord and what caused the blackness of my fortune and my littleness of luck among the fishermen, albeit (and I say it who should not) in the city of Baghdad there is never a fisherman like myself.” Now he lodged in a ruined place called a Khan, to wit, an inn,2 without a door, and when he went forth to fish, he would shoulder the net, without basket or fish-slicers,3 and when the folk would stare at him and say to him, “O Khalif, why not take with thee a basket, to hold the fish thou catchest?”; he would reply, “Even as I carry it forth empty, so would it come back, for I never manage to catch aught.” One night he arose, in the darkness before dawn, and taking his net on his shoulder, raised his eyes to heaven and said, “Allah mine, O Thou who subjectedst the sea to Moses son of Imrán, give me this day my daily bread, for Thou art the best of bread-givers!” Then he went down to the Tigris and spreading his net, cast it into the river and waited till it had settled down, when he haled it in and drew it ashore, but behold, it held naught save a dead dog. So he cast away the carcase, saying, “O morning of ill doom! What a handsel is this dead hound, after I had rejoiced in its weight4!” Then he mended the rents in the net, saying, “Needs must there after this carrion be fish in plenty, attracted by the smell,” and made a second cast. After awhile, he drew up and found in the net the hough5 of a camel, that had caught in the meshes and rent them right and left. When Khalif saw his net in this state, he wept and said, “There is no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great! I wonder what is my offence and the cause of the blackness of my fortune and the littleness of my luck, of all folk, so that I catch neither cat-fish nor sprat,6 that I may broil on the embers and eat, for all I dare say there is not in the city of Baghdad a fisherman like me.” Then with a Bismillah he cast his net a third time, and presently drawing it ashore found therein an ape scurvy and one-eyed, mangy, and limping, hending an ivory rod in forehand. When Khalif saw this, he said, “This is indeed a blessed opening! What art thou, O ape?” “Dost thou not know me?” “No, by Allah, I have no knowledge of thee!” “I am thine ape!” “What use is there in thee, O my ape?” “Every day I give thee good-morrow, so Allah may not open to thee the door of daily bread.” “Thou failest not of this, O one-eye7 of ill-omen! May Allah never bless thee! Needs must I pluck out thy sound eye and cut off thy whole leg, so thou mayst become a blind cripple and I be quit of thee. But what is the use of that rod thou hendest in hand?” “O Khalif, I scare the fish therewith, so they may not enter thy net.” “Is it so?: then this very day will I punish thee with a grievous punishment and devise thee all manner torments and strip thy flesh from thy bones and be at rest from thee, sorry bit of goods that thou art!” So saying, Khalif the Fisherman unwound from his middle a strand of rope and binding him to a tree by his side, said, “Lookee, O dog of an ape! I mean to cast the net again and if aught come up therein, well and good; but, if it come up empty, I will verily and assuredly make an end of thee, with the cruellest tortures and be quit of thee, thou stinking lot.” So he cast the net and drawing it ashore, found in it another ape and said, “Glory be to God the Great! I was wont to pull naught but fish out of this Tigris, but now it yieldeth nothing but apes.” Then he looked at the second ape and saw him fair of form and round of face with pendants of gold in his ears and a blue waistcloth about his middle, and he was like unto a lighted taper. So he asked him, “What art thou, thou also, O ape?”; and he answered, saying, “O Khalif, I am the ape of Abú al-Sa’ádát the Jew, the Caliph’s Shroff. Every day, I give him good-morrow, and he maketh a profit of ten gold pieces.” Cried the Fisherman, “By Allah, thou art a fine ape, not like this ill-omened monkey o’ mine!” So saying, he took a stick8 and came down upon the sides of the ape, till he broke his ribs and he jumped up and down. And the other ape, the handsome one, answered him, saying, “O Khalif, what will it profit thee to beat him, though thou belabour him till he die?” Khalif replied, “How shall I do? Shall I let him wend his ways that he may scare me the fish with his hang-dog face and give me good-even and good-morrow every day, so Allah may not open to me the door of daily bread? Nay, I will kill him and be quit of him and I will take thee in his stead; so shalt thou give me good-morrow and I shall gain ten golden dinars a day.” Thereupon the comely ape made answer, “I will tell thee a better way than that, and if thou hearken to me, thou shalt be at rest and I will become thine ape in lieu of him.” Asked the Fisherman, “And what dost thou counsel me?”; and the ape answered, saying, “Cast thy net and thou shalt bring up a noble fish, never saw any its like, and I will tell thee how thou shalt do with it.” Replied Khalif, “Lookee, thou too! An I throw my net and there come up therein a third ape, be assured that I will cut the three of you into six bits.” And the second ape rejoined, “So be it, O Khalif. I agree to this thy condition.” Then Khalif spread the net and cast it and drew it up, when behold, in it was a fine young barbel9 with a round head, as it were a milking-pail, which when he saw, his wits fled for joy and he said, “Glory be to God! What is this noble creature? Were yonder apes in the river, I had not brought up this fish.” Quoth the seemly ape, “O Khalif, an thou give ear to my rede, ’twill bring thee good fortune”; and quoth the Fisherman, “May God damn him who would gainsay thee henceforth!” Thereupon the ape said, “O Khalif, take some grass and lay the fish thereon in the basket10 and cover it with more grass and take also somewhat of basil11 from the green grocer’s and set it in the fish’s mouth. Cover it with a kerchief and push thee through the bazar of Baghdad. Whoever bespeaketh thee of selling it, sell it not but fare on, till thou come to the market street of the jewellers and money-changers. Then count five shops on the right-hand side and the sixth shop is that of Abu al-Sa’adat the Jew, the Caliph’s Shroff. When thou standest before him, he will say to thee, ‘What seekest thou?’; and do thou make answer, ‘I am a fisherwight, I threw my net in thy name and took this noble barbel, which I have brought thee as a present.’ If he give thee aught of silver, take it not, be it little or mickle, for it will spoil that which thou wouldst do, but say to him, ‘I want of thee naught save one word, that thou say to me, ‘I sell thee my ape for thine ape and my luck for thy luck.’ An the Jew say this, give him the fish and I shall become thine ape and this crippled, mangy and one-eyed ape will be his ape.” Khalif replied, “Well said, O ape,” nor did he cease faring Baghdad-wards and observing that which the ape had said to him, till he came to the Jew’s shop and saw the Shroff seated, with eunuchs and pages about him, bidding and forbidding and giving and taking. So he set down his basket, saying, “O Sultan of the Jews, I am a fisher-wight and went forth to-day to the Tigris and casting my net in thy name, cried, ‘This is for the luck of Abu al-Sa’adat;’ and there came up to me this Banni which I have brought thee by way of present.” Then he lifted the grass and discovered the fish to the Jew, who marvelled at its make and said, “Extolled be the perfection of the Most Excellent Creator!” Then he gave the fisherman a dinar, but he refused it and he gave him two. This also he refused and the Jew stayed not adding to his offer, till he made it ten dinars; but he still refused and Abu al-Sa’adat said to him, “By Allah, thou art a greedy one. Tell me what thou wouldst have, O Moslem!” Quoth Khalif, “I would have of thee but a single word. 12” When the Jew heard this, he changed colour and said, “Wouldst thou oust me from my faith? Wend thy ways;” and Khalif said to him, “By Allah, O Jew, naught mattereth an thou become a Moslem or a Nazarene!” Asked the Jew, “Then what wouldst thou have me say?”; and the fisherman answered, “Say, I sell thee my ape for thy ape and my luck for thy luck.” The Jew laughed, deeming him little of wit, and said by way of jest, “I sell thee my ape for thy ape and my luck for thy luck. Bear witness against him, O merchants! By Allah, O unhappy, thou art debarred from further claim on me!” So Khalif turned back, blaming himself and saying, “There is no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great! Alas that I did not take the gold!” and fared on blaming himself in the matter of the money till he came to the Tigris, but found not the two apes, whereupon he wept and slapped his face and strewed dust on his head, saying, “But that the second ape wheedled me and put a cheat on me, the one-eyed ape had not escaped.” And he gave not over wailing and weeping, till heat and hunger grew sore on him: so he took the net, saying, “Come, let us make a cast, trusting in Allah’s blessing; belike I may catch a cat-fish or a barbel which I may boil and eat.” So he threw the net and waiting till it had settled, drew it ashore and found it full of fish, whereat he was consoled and rejoiced and busied himself with unmeshing the fish and casting them on the earth. Presently, up came a woman seeking fish and crying out, “Fish is not to be found in the town.” She caught sight of Khalif, and said to him, “Wilt thou sell this fish, O Master?” Answered Khalif, “I am going to turn it into clothes, ’tis all for sale, even to my beard.13 Take what thou wilt.” So she gave him a dinar and he filled her basket. Then she went away and behold, up came another servant, seeking a dinar’s worth of fish; nor did the folk cease till it was the hour of mid-afternoon prayer and Khalif had sold ten golden dinars’ worth of fish. Then, being faint and famisht, he folded and shouldered his net and, repairing to the market, bought himself a woollen gown, a calotte with a plaited border and a honey-coloured turband for a dinar receiving two dirhams by way of change, wherewith he purchased fried cheese and a fat sheep’s tail and honey and setting them in the oilman’s platter, ate till he was full and his ribs felt cold14 from the mighty stuffing. Then he marched off to his lodgings in the magazine, clad in the gown and the honey-coloured turband and with the nine golden dinars in his mouth, rejoicing in what he had never in his life seen. He entered and lay down, but could not sleep for anxious thoughts and abode playing with the money half the night. Then said he in himself, “Haply the Caliph may hear that I have gold and say to Ja’afar, ‘Go to Khalif the Fisherman and borrow us some money of him.’ If I give it him, it will be no light matter to me, and if I give it not, he will torment me; but torture is easier to me than the giving up of the cash.15 However, I will arise and make trial of myself if I have a skin proof against stick or not.” So he put off his clothes and taking a sailor’s plaited whip, of an hundred and sixty strands, ceased not beating himself, till his sides and body were all bloody, crying out at every stroke he dealt himself and saying “O Moslems! I am a poor man! O Moslems, I am a poor man! O Moslems, whence should I have gold, whence should I have coin?” till the neighbours, who dwelt with him in that place, hearing him crying and saying, “Go to men of wealth and take of them,” thought that thieves were torturing him, to get money from him, and that he was praying for aidance. Accordingly they flocked to him each armed with some weapon and finding the door of his lodging locked and hearing him roaring out for help, deemed that the thieves had come down upon him from the terrace-roof; so they fell upon the door and burst it open. Then they entered and found him mother-naked and bareheaded with body dripping blood, and altogether in a sad pickle; so they asked him, “What is this case in which we find thee? Hast thou lost thy wits and hath Jinn-madness betided thee this night?” And he answered them, “Nay; but I have gold with me and I feared lest the Caliph send to borrow of me and it were no light matter to give him aught; yet, an I gave not to him ’tis only too sure that he would put me to the torture; wherefore I arose to see if my skin were stick-proof or not.” When they heard these words they said to him, “May Allah not assain thy body, unlucky madman that thou art! Of a surety thou art fallen mad to-night! Lie down to sleep, may Allah never bless thee! How many thousand dinars hast thou, that the Caliph should come and borrow of thee?” He replied, “By Allah, I have naught but nine dinars.” And they all said, “By Allah, he is not otherwise than passing rich!” Then they left him wondering at his want of wit, and Khalif took his cash and wrapped it in a rag, saying to himself, “Where shall I hide all this gold? An I bury it, they will take it, and if I put it out on deposit, they will deny that I did so, and if I carry it on my head,16 they will snatch it, and if I tie it to my sleeve, they will cut it away.” Presently, he espied a little breast-pocket in the gown and said, “By Allah, this is fine! ’Tis under my throat and hard by my mouth: if any put out his hand to hend it, I can come down on it with my mouth and hide it in my throttle.” So he set the rag containing the gold in the pocket and lay down, but slept not that night for suspicion and trouble and anxious thought. On the morrow, he fared forth of his lodging on fishing intent and, betaking himself to the river, went down into the water, up to his knees. Then he threw the net and shook it with might and main; whereupon the purse fell down into the stream. So he tore off gown and turband and plunged in after it, saying, “There is no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great!” Nor did he give over diving and searching the stream-bed, till the day was half spent, but found not the purse. Now one saw him from afar diving and plunging and his gown and turband lying in the sun at a distance from him, with no one by them; so he watched him, till he dived again when he dashed at the clothes and made off with them. Presently, Khalif came ashore and, missing his gown and turband, was chagrined for their loss with passing cark and care and ascended a mound, to look for some passer-by, of whom he might enquire concerning them, but found none. Now the Caliph Harun al-Rashid had gone a-hunting and chasing that day; and, returning at the time of the noon heat, was oppressed thereby and thirsted; so he looked for water from afar and seeing a naked man standing on the mound said to Ja’afar, “Seest thou what I see?” Replied the Wazir, “Yes, O Commander of the Faithful; I see a man standing on a hillock.” Al–Rashid asked, “What is he?”; and Ja’afar answered, “Haply he is the guardian of a cucumber-plot.” Quoth the Caliph, “Perhaps he is a pious man17; I would fain go to him, alone, and desire of him his prayers; and abide ye where you are.” So he went up to Khalif and saluting him with the salam said to him, “What art thou, O man?” Replied the fisherman, “Dost thou not know me? I am Khalif the Fisherman;” and the Caliph rejoined, “What? The Fisherman with the woollen gown and the honey-coloured turband18?” When Khalif heard him name the clothes he had lost, he said in himself, “This is he who took my duds: belike he did but jest with me.” So he came down from the knoll and said, “Can I not take a noontide nap19 but thou must trick me this trick? I saw thee take my gear and knew that thou wast joking with me.” At this, laughter got the better of the Caliph and he said; “What clothes hast thou lost? I know nothing of that whereof thou speakest, O Khalif.” Cried the Fisherman, “By God the Great, except thou bring me back the gear, I will smash thy ribs with this staff!” (For he always carried a quarterstaff.) Quoth the Caliph, “By Allah, I have not seen the things whereof thou speakest!”; and quoth Khalif “I will go with thee and take note of thy dwelling-place and complain of thee to the Chief of Police, so thou mayst not trick me this trick again. By Allah, none took my gown and turband but thou, and except thou give them back to me at once, I will throw thee off the back of that she-ass thou ridest and come down on thy pate with this quarterstaff, till thou canst not stir!” Thereupon he tugged at the bridle of the mule so that she reared up on her hind legs and the Caliph said to himself, “What calamity is this I have fallen into with this madman?” Then he pulled off a gown he had on, worth an hundred dinars, and said to Khalif, “Take this gown in lieu of thine own.” He took it and donning it saw it was too long; so he cut it short at the knees and turbanded his head with the cut-off piece; then said to the Caliph, “What art thou and what is thy craft? But why ask? Thou art none other than a trumpeter.” Al–Rashid asked, “What showed thee that I was a trumpeter by trade?”; and Khalif answered, “Thy big nostrils and little mouth.” Cried the Caliph, “Well guessed! Yes, I am of that craft.” Then said Khalif, “An thou wilt hearken to me, I will teach thee the art of fishing: ’twill be better for thee than trumpeting and thou wilt eat lawfully20.” Replied the Caliph, “Teach it me so that I may see whether I am capable of learning it.” And Khalif said, “Come with me, O trumpeter.” So the Caliph followed him down to the river and took the net from him, whilst he taught him how to throw it. Then he cast it and drew it up, when, behold, it was heavy, and the fisherman said, “O trumpeter, an the net be caught on one of the rocks, drag it not too hard, or I twill break and by Allah, I will take thy she-ass in payment thereof!” The Caliph laughed at his words and drew up the net, little by little, till he brought it ashore and found it full of fish; which when Khalif saw, his reason fled for joy and presently he cried, “By Allah, O trumpeter, thy luck is good in fishing! Never in my life will I part with thee! But now I mean to send thee to the fish-bazar, where do thou enquire for the shop of Humayd the fisherman and say to him, ‘My master Khalif saluteth thee and biddeth thee send him a pair of frails and a knife, so he may bring thee more fish than yesterday.’ Run and return to me forthright!” The Caliph replied (and indeed he was laughing), “On my head, O master!” and, mounting his mule, rode back to Ja’afar, who said to. him, “Tell me what hath betided thee.” So the Caliph told him all that had passed between Khalif the Fisherman and himself, from first to last, adding, “I left him awaiting my return to him with the baskets and I am resolved that he shall teach me how to scale fish and clean them.” Quoth Ja’afar, “And I will go with thee to sweep up the scales and clean out the shop.” And the affair abode thus, till presently the Caliph cried, “O Ja’afar, I desire of thee that thou despatch the young Mamelukes, saying to them, ‘Whoso bringeth me a fish from before yonder fisherman, I will give him a dinar;’ for I love to eat of my own fishing.” Accordingly Ja’afar repeated to the young white slaves what the Caliph had said and directed them where to find the man. They came down upon Khalif and snatched the fish from him; and when he saw them and noted their goodliness, he doubted not but that they were of the black-eyed Houris of Paradise: so he caught up a couple of fish and ran into the river, saying, “O Allah mine, by the secret virtue of these fish, forgive me!” Suddenly, up came the chief eunuch, questing fish, but he found none; so seeing Khalif ducking and rising in the water, with the two fish in his hands, called out to him, saying, “O Khalif, what hast thou there?” Replied the fisherman, “Two fish,” and the eunuch said, “Give them to me and take an hundred dinars for them.” Now when Khalif heard speak of an hundred dinars, he came up out of the water and cried, “Hand over the hundred dinars.” Said the eunuch, “Follow me to the house of Al–Rashid and receive thy gold, O Khalif; and, taking the fish, made off to the Palace of the Caliphate. Meanwhile Khalif betook himself to Baghdad, clad as he was in the Caliph’s gown, which reached only to above his knees,21 turbanded with the piece he had cut off therefrom and girt about his middle with a rope, and he pushed through the centre of the city. The folk fell a-laughing and marvelling at him and saying, “Whence hadst thou that robe of honour?” But he went on, asking, “Where is the house of Al–Rashád22?;” and they answered, “Say, ‘The house of Al–Rashíd’;” and he rejoined, “’Tis all the same,” and fared on, till he came to the Palace of the Caliphate. Now he was seen by the tailor, who had made the gown and who was standing at the door, and when he noticed it upon the Fisherman, he said to him, “For how many years hast thou had admission to the palace?” Khalif replied “Ever since I was a little one;” and the tailor asked, “Whence hadest thou that gown thou hast spoilt on this wise?” Khalif answered, “I had it of my apprentice the trumpeter.” Then he went up to the door, where he found the Chief Eunuch sitting with the two fishes by his side: and seeing him sable-black of hue, said to him, “Wilt thou not bring the hundred dinars, O uncle Tulip?” Quoth he, “On my head, O Khalif,” when, behold, out came Ja’afar from the presence of the Caliph and seeing the fisherman talking with the Eunuch and saying to him, “This is the reward of goodness, O nuncle Tulip,” went in to Al–Rashid and said to him, “O Commander of the Faithful, thy master the Fisherman is with the Chief Eunuch, dunning him for an hundred dinars.” Cried the Caliph, “Bring him to me, O Ja’afar;” and the Minister answered, “Hearing and obeying.” So he went out to the Fisherman and said to him, “O Khalif, thine apprentice the trumpeter biddeth thee to him;” then he walked on, followed by the other till they reached the presence-chamber, where he saw the Caliph seated, with a canopy over his head. When he entered, Al–Rashid wrote three scrolls and set them before him, and the Fisherman said to him, “So thou hast given up trumpeting and turned astrologer!” Quoth the Caliph to him, “Take thee a scroll.” Now in the first he had written, “Let him be given a gold piece,” in the second, “An hundred dinars,” and in the third, “Let him be given an hundred blows with a whip.” So Khalif put out his hand and by the decree of the Predestinator, it lighted on the scroll wherein was written, “Let him receive an hundred lashes,” and Kings, whenas they ordain aught, go not back therefrom. So they threw him prone on the ground and beat him an hundred blows, whilst he wept and roared for succour, but none succoured him, and said, “By Allah, this is a good joke O trumpeter! I teach thee fishing and thou turnest astrologer and drawest me an unlucky lot. Fie upon thee,23 in thee is naught of good!” When the Caliph heard his speech, he fell fainting in a fit of laughter and said, “O Khalif, no harm shall betide thee: fear not. Give him an hundred gold pieces.” So they gave him an hundred dinars, and he went out, and ceased not faring forth till he came to the trunk-market, where he found the folk assembled in a ring about a broker, who was crying out and saying, “At an hundred dinars, less one dinar! A locked chest!” So he pressed on and pushed through the crowd and said to the broker, “Mine for an hundred dinars!” The broker closed with him and took his money, whereupon there was left him nor little nor much. The porters disputed awhile about who should carry the chest and presently all said, “By Allah, none shall carry this chest but Zurayk!”24 And the folk said, “Blue-eyes hath the best right to it.” So Zurayk shouldered the chest, after the goodliest fashion, and walked a-rear of Khalif. As they went along, the Fisherman said in himself, “I have nothing left to give the porter; how shall I rid myself of him? Now I will traverse the main streets with him and lead him about, till he be weary and set it down and leave it, when I will take it up and carry it to my lodging.” Accordingly, he went round about the city with the porter from noontide to sundown, till the man began to grumble and said, “O my lord, where is thy house?” Quoth Khalif, “Yesterday I knew it, but to-day I have forgotten it.” And the porter said, “Give me my hire and take thy chest.” But Khalif said, “Go on at thy leisure, till I bethink me where my house is,” presently adding, “O Zurayk, I have no money with me. ’Tis all in my house and I have forgotten where it is.” As they were talking, there passed by them one who knew the Fisherman and said to him, “O Khalif, what bringeth thee hither?” Quoth the porter, “O uncle, where is Khalif’s house?” and quoth he, “’Tis in the ruined Khan in the Rawásín Quarter.”25 Then said Zurayk to Khalif, “Go to; would Heaven thou hadst never lived nor been!” And the Fisherman trudged on, followed by the porter, till they came to the place when the Hammal said, “O thou whose daily bread Allah cut off in this world, have we not passed this place a score of times? Hadst thou said to me, ’Tis in such a stead, thou hadst spared me this great toil; but now give me my wage and let me wend my way.” Khalif replied “Thou shalt have silver, if not gold. Stay here, till I bring thee the same.” So he entered his lodging and taking a mallet he had there, studded with forty nails (wherewith an he smote a camel, he had made an end of it), rushed upon the porter and raised his forearm to strike him therewith; but Zurayk cried out at him, saying, “Hold thy hand! I have no claim on thee,” and fled. Now having got rid of the Hammal, Khalif carried the chest into the Khan, whereupon the neighbours came down and flocked about him, saying, “O Khalif, whence hadst thou this robe and this chest?” Quoth he, “From my apprentice Al–Rashid who gave them to me,” and they said, “The pimp is mad! Al–Rashid will assuredly hear of his talk and hang him over the door of his lodging and hang all in the Khan on account of the droll. This is a fine farce!” Then they helped him to carry the chest into his lodging and it filled the whole closet.26 Thus far concerning Khalif; but as for the history of the chest, it was as follows: The Caliph had a Turkish slave-girl, by name Kut al-Kulúb, whom he loved with love exceeding and the Lady Zubaydah came to know of this from himself and was passing jealous of her and secretly plotted mischief against her. So, whilst the Commander of the Faithful was absent a-sporting and a-hunting, she sent for Kut al-Kulub and, inviting her to a banquet, set before her meat and wine, and she ate and drank. Now the wine was drugged with Bhang; so she slept and Zubaydah sent for her Chief Eunuch and putting her in a great chest, locked it and gave it to him, saying, “Take this chest and cast it into the river.” Thereupon he took it up before him on a he-mule and set out with it for the sea, but found it unfit to carry; so, as he passed by the trunk-market, he saw the Shaykh of the brokers and salesmen and said to him, “Wilt thou sell me this chest, O uncle?” The broker replied, “Yes, we will do this much.” “But,” said the Eunuch, “look thou sell it not except locked;” and the other, “’Tis well; we will do that also.”27 So he set down the chest, and they cried it for sale, saying, “Who will buy this chest for an hundred dinars?”; and behold, up came Khalif the Fisherman and bought the chest after turning it over right and left; and there passed between him and the porter that which hath been before set out. Now as regards Khalif the Fisherman; he lay down on the chest to sleep, and presently Kut al-Kulub awoke from her Bhang and finding herself in the chest, cried out and said, “Alas!” Whereupon Khalif sprang off the chest-lid and cried out and said, “Ho, Moslems! Come to my help! There are Ifrits in the chest.” So the neighbours awoke from sleep and said to him, “What mattereth thee, O madman?” Quoth he, “The chest is full of Ifrits;” and quoth they, “Go to sleep; thou hast troubled our rest this night may Allah not bless thee! Go in and sleep, without madness.” He ejaculated, “I cannot sleep;” but they abused him and he went in and lay down once more. And behold, Kut al-Kulub spoke and said, “Where am I?” Upon which Khalif fled forth the closet and said, “O neighbours of the hostelry, come to my aid!” Quoth they, “What hath befallen thee? Thou troublest the neighbours’ rest.” “O folk, there be Ifrits in the chest, moving and speaking.” “Thou liest: what do they say?” “They say, ‘Where am I?’” “Would Heaven thou wert in Hell! Thou disturbest the neighbours and hinderest them of sleep. Go to sleep, would thou hadst never lived nor been!” So Khalif went in fearful because he had no place wherein to sleep save upon the chest-lid when lo! as he stood, with ears listening for speech, Kut al-Kulub spake again and said, “I’m hungry.” So in sore affright he fled forth and cried out, “Ho neighbours! ho dwellers in the Khan, come aid me!” Said they, “What is thy calamity now?”28 And he answered, “The Ifrits in the chest say, ‘We are hungry.’” Quoth the neighbours one to other, “‘Twould seem Khalif is hungry; let us feed him and give him the supper-orts; else he will not let us sleep to-night.” So they brought him bread and meat and broken victuals and radishes and gave him a basket full of all kinds of things, saying, “Eat till thou be full and go to sleep and talk not, else will we break thy ribs and beat thee to death this very night.” So he took the basket with the provaunt and entered his lodging. Now it was a moonlight night and the moon shone in full sheen upon the chest and lit up the closet with its light, seeing this he sat down on his purchase and fell to eating of the food with both hands. Presently Kut al-Kulub spake again and said, “Open to me and have mercy upon me, O Moslems!” So Khalif arose and taking a stone he had by him, broke the chest open and behold, therein lay a young lady as she were the sun’s shining light with brow flower-white, face moonbright, cheeks of rose-hue exquisite and speech sweeter than sugar-bite, and in dress worth a thousand dinars and more bedight. Seeing this his wits flew from his head for joy and he said, “By Allah, thou art of the fair!” She asked him, “What art thou, O fellow?” and he answered, “O my lady, I am Khalif the Fisherman.” Quoth she, “Who brought me hither?”; and quoth he, “I bought thee, and thou art my slave-girl.” Thereupon said she, “I see on thee a robe of the raiment of the Caliph.” So he told her all that had betided him, from first to last, and how he had bought the chest; wherefore she knew that the Lady Zubaydah had played her false; and she ceased not talking with him till the morning, when she said to him, “O Khalif, seek me from some one inkcase and reed-pen and paper and bring them to me.” So he found with one of the neighbours what she sought and brought it to her, whereupon she wrote a letter and folded it and gave it to him, saying, “O Khalif, take this paper and carry it to the jewel-market, where do thou enquire for the shop of Abu al-Hasan the jeweller and give it to him.” Answered the Fisherman, “O my lady, this name is difficult to me; I cannot remember it.” And she rejoined, “Then ask for the shop of Ibn al-‘Ukáb.”29 Quoth he, “O my lady, what is an ‘Ukab?”; and quoth she, “’Tis a bird which folk carry on fist with eyes hooded.” And he exclaimed, “O my lady, I know it.” Then he went forth from her and fared on, repeating the name, lest it fade from his memory; but, by the time he reached the jewel-market, he had forgotten it. So he accosted one of the merchants and said to him, “Is there any here named after a bird?” Replied the merchant, “Yes, thou meanest Ibn al-Ukab.” Khalif cried, “That’s the man I want,” and making his way to him, gave him the letter, which when he read and knew the purport thereof, he fell to kissing it and laying it on his head; for it is said that Abu al-Hasan was the agent of the Lady Kut al-Kulub and her intendant over all her property in lands and houses. Now she had written to him, saying, “From Her Highness the Lady Kut al-Kulub to Sir Abu al-Hasan the jeweller. The instant this letter reacheth thee, set apart for us a saloon completely equipped with furniture and vessels and negro-slaves and slave-girls and what not else is needful for our residence and seemly, and take the bearer of the missive and carry him to the bath. Then clothe him in costly apparel and do with him thus and thus.” So he said “Hearing and obeying,” and locking up his shop, took the Fisherman and bore him to the bath, where he committed him to one of the bathmen, that he might serve him, according to custom. Then he went forth to carry out the Lady Kut al-Kulub’s orders. As for Khalif, he concluded, of his lack of wit and stupidity, that the bath was a prison and said to the bathman, “What crime have I committed that ye should lay me in limbo?” They laughed at him and made him sit on the side of the tank, whilst the bathman took hold of his legs, that he might shampoo them. Khalif thought he meant to wrestle with him and said to himself, “This is a wrestling-place30 and I knew naught of it.” Then he arose and seizing the bathman’s legs, lifted him up and threw him on the ground and broke his ribs. The man cried out for help, whereupon the other bathmen came in a crowd and fell upon Khalif and overcoming him by dint of numbers, delivered their comrade from his clutches and tunded him till he came to himself. Then they knew that the Fisherman was a simpleton and served him till Abu al-Hasan came back with a dress of rich stuff and clad him therein; after which he brought him a handsome she-mule, ready saddled, and taking him by the hand, carried him forth of the bath and said to him, “Mount.” Quoth he, “How shall I mount? I fear lest she throw me and break my ribs into my belly.” Nor would he back the mule, save after much travail and trouble, and they stinted not faring on, till they came to the place which Abu al-Hasan had set apart for the Lady Kut al-Kulub. Thereupon Khalif entered and found her sitting, with slaves and eunuchs about her and the porter at the door, staff in hand, who when he saw the Fisherman sprang up and kissing his hand, went before him, till he brought him within the saloon. Here the Fisherman saw what amazed his wit, and his eye was dazzled by that which he beheld of riches past count and slaves and servants, who kissed his hand and said, “May the bath be a blessing to thee!”31 When he entered the saloon and drew near unto Kut al-Kulub, she sprang up to him and taking him by the hand, seated him on a high-mattrassed divan. Then she brought him a vase of sherbet of sugar, mingled with rosewater and willow-water, and he took it and drank it off and left not a single drop. Moreover, he ran his finger round the inside of the vessel32 and would have licked it, but she forbade him, saying, “That is foul.” Quoth he, “Silence; this is naught but good honey;” and she laughed at him and set before him a tray of meats, whereof he ate his sufficiency. Then they brought an ewer and basin of gold, and he washed his right hand and abode in the gladdest of life and the most honourable. Now hear what befel the Commander of the Faithful. When he came back from his journey and found not Kut al-Kulub, he questioned the Lady Zubaydah of her and she said, “She is verily dead, may thy head live, O Prince of True Believers!” But she had bidden dig a grave amiddlemost the Palace and had built over it a mock tomb, for her knowledge of the love the Caliph bore to Kut al-Kulub: so she said to him, “O Commander of the Faithful, I made her a tomb amiddlemost the Palace and buried her there.” Then she donned black,33 a mere sham and pure pretence; and feigned mourning a great while. Now Kut al-Kulub knew that the Caliph was come back from his hunting excursion; so she turned to Khalif and said to him, “Arise; hie thee to the bath and come back.” So he rose and went to the Hammam-bath, and when he returned, she clad him in a dress worth a thousand dinars and taught him manners and respectful bearing to superiors. Then said she to him, “Go hence to the Caliph and say to him, ‘O Commander of the Faithful, ’tis my desire that this night thou deign be my guest.’” So Khalif arose and mounting his she-mule, rode, with pages and black slaves before him, till he came to the Palace of the Caliphate. Quoth the wise, “Dress up a stick and ’twill look chique.”34 And indeed his comeliness was manifest and his goodliness and the folk marvelled at this. Presently, the Chief Eunuch saw him, the same who had given him the hundred dinars that had been the cause of his good fortune; so he went in to the Caliph and said to him, “O Commander of the Faithful, Khalif the Fisherman is become a King, and on him is a robe of honour worth a thousand dinars.” The Prince of True Believers bade admit him; so he entered and said, “Peace be with thee, O Commander of the Faithful and Vice-regent of the Lord of the three Worlds and Defender of the folk of the Faith! Allah Almighty prolong thy days and honour thy dominion and exalt thy degree to the highmost height!” The Caliph looked at him and marvelled at him and how fortune had come to him at unawares; then he said to him, “O Khalif, whence hadst thou that robe which is upon thee?” He replied, “O Commander of the Faithful, it cometh from my house.” Quoth the Caliph, “Hast thou then a house?”; and quoth Khalif, “Yea, verily! and thou, O Commander of the Faithful, art my guest this day.” Al–Rashid said, “I alone, O Khalif, or I and those who are with me?”; and he replied, “Thou and whom thou wilt.” So Ja’afar turned to him and said, “We will be thy guests this night;” whereupon he kissed ground again and withdrawing, mounted his mule and rode off, attended by his servants and suite of Mamelukes leaving the Caliph marvelling at this and saying to Ja’afar, “Sawest thou Khalif, with his mule and dress, his white slaves and his dignity? But yesterday I knew him for a buffoon and a jester.” And they marvelled at this much. Then they mounted and rode, till they drew near Khalif’s house, when the Fisherman alighted and, taking a bundle from one of his attendants, opened it and pulled out therefrom a piece of tabby silk35 and spread it under the hoofs of the Caliph’s she-mule; then he brought out a piece of velvet-Kimcob36 and a third of fine satin and did with them likewise; and thus he spread well nigh twenty pieces of rich stuffs, till Al–Rashid and his suite had reached the house; when he came forward and said, “Bismillah,37 O Commander of the Faithful!” Quoth Al–Rashid to Ja’afar, “I wonder to whom this house may belong,” and quoth he, “It belongeth to a man hight Ibn al-Ukab, Syndic of the jewellers.” So the Caliph dismounted and entering, with his courtiers, saw a high-builded saloon, spacious and boon, with couches on daïs and carpets and divans strown in place. So he went up to the couch that was set for himself on four legs of ivory, plated with glittering gold and covered with seven carpets. This pleased him and behold, up came Khalif, with eunuchs and little white slaves, bearing all manner sherbets, compounded with sugar and lemon and perfumed with rose and willow-water and the purest musk. The Fisherman advanced and drank and gave the Caliph to drink, and the cup-bearers came forward and served the rest of the company with the sherbets. Then Khalif brought a table spread with meats of various colours and geese and fowls and other birds, saying, “In the name of Allah!” So they ate their fill; after which he bade remove the tables and kissing the ground three times before the Caliph craved his royal leave to bring wine and music.38 He granted him permission for this and turning to Ja’afar, said to him, “As my head liveth, the house and that which is therein is Khalif’s; for that he is ruler over it and I am in admiration at him, whence there came to him this passing prosperity and exceeding felicity! However, this is no great matter to Him who saith to a thing, ‘Be!’ and it becometh; what I most wonder at is his understanding, how it hath increased, and whence he hath gotten this loftiness and this lordliness; but, when Allah willeth weal unto a man, He amendeth his intelligence before bringing him to worldly affluence.” As they were talking, behold, up came Khalif, followed by cup-bearer lads like moons, belted with zones of gold, who spread a cloth of siglaton39 and set thereon flagons of chinaware and tall flasks of glass and cups of crystal and bottles and hanaps40 of all colours; and those flagons they filled with pure clear and old wine, whose scent was as the fragrance of virgin musk and it was even as saith the poet,

“Ply me and also my mate be plied

With pure wine prest in the olden tide.41

Daughter of nobles42 they lead her forth 43

In raiment of goblets beautified.

They belt her round with the brightest gems,

And pearls and unions, the Ocean’s pride;

So I by these signs and signets know

Wherefore the Wine is entitled ‘Bride.’44

And round about these vessels were confections and flowers, such as may not be surpassed. When Al–Rashid saw this from Khalif, he inclined to him and smiled upon him and invested him with an office; so Khalif wished him continuance of honour and endurance of days and said, “Will the Commander of the Faithful deign give me leave to bring him a singer, a lute-player her like was never heard among mortals ever?” Quoth the Caliph, “Thou art permitted!” So he kissed ground before him and going to a secret closet, called Kut al-Kulub, who came after she had disguised and falsed and veiled herself, tripping in her robes and trinkets; and she kissed ground before the Commander of the Faithful. Then she sat down and tuning the lute, touched its strings and played upon it, till all present were like to faint for excess of delight; after which she improvised these verses,

“Would Heaven I wot, will ever Time bring our beloveds back again?

And, ah! will Union and its bliss to bless two lovers deign?

Will Time assure to us united days and joinèd joy,

While from the storms and stowres of life in safety we remain?

Then O Who bade this pleasure be, our parting past and gone,

And made one house our meeting-stead throughout the Nights contain;

By him, draw near me, love, and closest cling to side of me

Else were my wearied wasted life, a vanity, a bane.”

When the Caliph heard this, he could not master himself, but rent his raiment and fell down a-swoon; whereupon all who were present hastened to doff their dress and throw it over him, whilst Kut al-Kulub signed to Khalif and said to him, “Hie to yonder chest and bring us what is therein;” for she had made ready therein a suit of the Caliph’s wear against the like of such hour as this. So Khalif brought it to her and she threw it over the Commander of the Faithful, who came to himself and knowing her for Kut al-Kulub, said, “Is this the Day of Resurrection and hath Allah quickened those who are in the tombs; or am I asleep and is this an imbroglio of dreams?” Quoth Kut al-Kulub, “We are on wake, not on sleep, and I am alive, nor have I drained the cup of death.” Then she told him all that had befallen her, and indeed, since he lost her, life had not been light to him nor had sleep been sweet, and he abode now wondering, then weeping and anon afire for longing. When she had made an end of her story, the Caliph rose and took her by the hand, intending for her palace, after he had kissed her inner lips, and had strained her to his bosom; whereupon Khalif rose and said, “By Allah, O Commander of the Faithful! Thou hast already wronged me once, and now thou wrongest me again.” Quoth Al–Rashid, “Indeed thou speakest sooth, O Khalif,” and bade the Wazir Ja’afar give him what should satisfy him. So he straightway gifted him with all for which he wished and assigned him a village, the yearly revenues whereof were twenty thousand dinars. Moreover Kut al-Kulub generously presented him the house and all that was therein of furniture and hangings and white slaves and slave-girls and eunuchs great and small. So Khalif became possessed of this passing affluence and exceeding wealth and took him a wife, and prosperity taught him gravity and dignity, and good fortune overwhelmed him. The Caliph enrolled him among his equerries and he abode in all solace of life and its delights till he deceased and was admitted to the mercy of Allah. Furthermore they relate a tale anent45

1 Arab. “Hásilah” prob. a corner of a “Godown” in some Khan or Caravanserai.

2 Arab. “Funduk” from the Gr., whence the Italian Fondaco e.g. at Venice the Fondaco de’ Turchi.

3 Arab. “Astár” plur. of Satr: in the Mac. Edit. Sátúr, both (says Dozy) meaning “Couperet” (a hatchet). Habicht translates it “a measure for small fish,” which seems to be a shot and a bad shot as the text talks only of means of carrying fish. Nor can we accept Dozy’s emendation Astál (plur. of Satl) pails, situlæ. In Petermann’s Reisen (i. 89) Satr=assiette.

4 Which made him expect a heavy haul.

5 Arab. “Urkúb” = tendon Achilles in man hough or pastern in beast, etc. It is held to be an incrementative form of ‘Akab (heel); as Kur’úb of Ka’b (heel) and Khurtúm of Khatm (snout).

6 Arab. “Karmút” and “Zakzúk.” The former (pronounced Garmút) is one of the many Siluri (S. Carmoth Niloticus) very common and resembling the Shál. It is smooth and scaleless with fleshy lips and soft meat and as it haunts muddy bottoms it was forbidden to the Ancient Egyptians. The Zakzúk is the young of the Shál (Synodontis Schal: Seetzen); its plural form Zakázik (pronounced Zigázig) gave a name to the flourishing town which has succeeded to old Bubastis and of which I have treated in “Midian” and “Midian Revisited.”

7 “Yá A’awar”=O one-eye! i.e.. the virile member. So the vulgar insult “Ya ibn al-aur” (as the vulgar pronounce it) “O son of a yard!” When AlMas’údi writes (Fr. Trans. vii. 106), “Udkhul usbu’ak fí aynih,” it must not be rendered “Il faut lui faire violence”: thrust thy finger into his eye (‘Ayn) means “put thy penis up his fundament!” (‘Ayn being=Dubur). The French remarks, “On en trouverait l’équivalent dans les bas-fonds de notre langue,” So in English “pig’s eye,” “blind eye,” etc.

8 Arab. “Nabbút”=a quarterstaff: see vol. i. 234.

9 Arab. “Banní,” vulg. Benni and in Lane (Lex. Bunni) the Cyprinus Bynni (Forsk.), a fish somewhat larger than a barbel with lustrous silvery scales and delicate flesh, which Sonnini believes may be the “Lepidotes” (smooth-scaled) mentioned by Athenæus. I may note that the Bresl. Edit. (iv. 332) also affects the Egyptian vulgarism “Farkh–Banni” of the Mac. Edit. (Night dcccxxxii.).

10 The story-teller forgets that Khalif had neither basket nor knife.

11 Arab. “Rayhán” which may here mean any scented herb.

12 In the text “Fard Kalmah,” a vulgarism. The Mac. Edit. (Night dcccxxxv.) more aptly says, “Two words” (Kalmatáni, vulg. Kalmatayn) the Twofold Testimonies to the Unity of Allah and the Mission of His Messenger.

13 The lowest Cairene chaff which has no respect for itself or others.

14 Arab. “Karrat azlá hú”: alluding to the cool skin of healthy men when digesting a very hearty meal.

15 This is the true Fellah idea. A peasant will go up to his proprietor with the “rint” in gold pieces behind his teeth and undergo an immense amount of flogging before he spits them out. Then he will return to his wife and boast of the number of sticks he has eaten instead of paying at once and his spouse will say, “Verily thou art a man.” Europeans know nothing of the Fellah. Napoleon Buonaparte, for political reasons, affected great pity for him and horror of his oppressors, the Beys and Pashas; and this affectation gradually became public opinion. The Fellah must either tyrannise or be tyrannised over; he is never happier than under a strong-handed despotism and he has never been more miserable than under British rule, or rather, misrule. Our attempts to constitutionalise him have made us the laughing-stock of Europe.

16 The turban is a common substitute for a purse with the lower classes of Egyptians; and an allusion to the still popular practice of turban-snatching will be found in vol. i. p. 259.

17 Arab. “Sálih,” a devotee; here, a naked Dervish.

18 Here Khalif is made a conspicuous figure in Baghdad like Boccaccio’s Calandrino and Co. He approaches in type the old Irishman now extinct, destroyed by the reflux action Of Anglo–America (U.S.) upon the miscalled “Emerald Isle.” He blunders into doing and saying funny things whose models are the Hibernian “bulls” and acts purely upon the impulse of the moment, never reflecting till (possibly) after all is over.

19 Arab. “Kaylúlah,” explained in vol. i. 51.

20 i.e. thy bread lawfully gained. The “Bawwák” (trumpeter) like the “Zammár” (piper of the Mac. Edit.) are discreditable craftsmen, associating with Almahs and loose women and often serving as their panders.

21 i.e. he was indecently clad. Man’s “shame” extends from navel to knees. See vol vi. 30.

22 Rashid would be=garden-cresses or stones: Rashíd the heaven-directed.

23 Arab. “Uff ‘alayka”=fie upon thee! Uff=lit. Sordes Aurium and Tuff (a similar term of disgust)=Sordes unguinum. To the English reader the blows administered to Khalif appear rather hard measure. But a Fellah’s back is thoroughly broken to the treatment and he would take ten times as much punishment for a few piastres.

24 Arab. “Zurayk” dim. of Azrak=blue-eyed. See vol. iii. 104.

25 Of Baghdad.

26 Arab. “Hásil,” i.e. cell in a Khan for storing goods: elsewhere it is called a Makhzan (magazine) with the same sense.

27 The Bresl. text (iv. 347) abbreviates, or rather omits; so that in translation details must be supplied to make sense.

28 Arab. “Kamán,” vulgar Egyptian, a contraction from Kama’ (as) + anna (since, because). So “ Kamán shuwayh”=wait a bit; “ Kamán marrah”=once more and “Wa Karmána-ka”=that is why.

29 i.e. Son of the Eagle: See vol. iv. 177. Here, however, as the text shows it is hawk or falcon. The name is purely fanciful and made mnemonically singular.

30 The Egyptian Fellah knows nothing of boxing like the Hausá man; but he is fond of wrestling after a rude and uncultivated fashion, which would cause shouts of laughter in Cumberland and Cornwall. And there are champions in this line, See vol. iii. 93.

31 The usual formula. See vol. ii. 5.

32 As the Fellah still does after drinking a cuplet (“fingán” he calls it) of sugared coffee.

33 He should have said “white,” the mourning colour under the Abbasides.

34 Anglicè, “Fine feathers make fine birds”; and in Eastern parlance, “Clothe the reed and it will become a bride.” (Labbis al-Búsah tabkí ‘Arúsah, Spitta Bey, No. 275.) I must allow myself a few words of regret for the loss of this Savant, one of the most singleminded men known to me. He was vilely treated by the Egyptian Government, under the rule of the Jew–Moslem Riyáz; and, his health not allowing him to live in Austria, he died shortly after return home.

35 Arab. “ Saub (Tobe) ‘Atábi”: see vol. iii. 149.

36 In text “Kimkhá,” which Dozy also gives Kumkh=chenille, tissu de soie veloutee: Damasquète de soie or et argent de Venise, du Levant, à fleurs, etc. It comes from Kamkháb or Kimkháb, a cloth of gold, the well-known Indian “Kimcob.”

37 Here meaning=Enter in Allah’s name!

38 The Arabs have a saying, “Wine breeds gladness, music merriment and their offspring is joy.”

39 Arab. “Jokh al-Saklát,” rich kind of brocade on broadcloth.

40 Arab. “Hanabát,” which Dozy derives from O. German Hnapf, Hnap now Napf: thence too the Lat. Hanapus and Hanaperium: Ital. Anappo, Nappo; Provenc. Enap and French and English “Hanap”= rich bowl, basket, bag. But this is known even to the dictionaries.

41 Arab. “ Kirám,” nobles, and “ Kurúm,” vines, a word which appears in Carmel=Karam–El (God’s vineyard).

42 Arab. “Suláf al-Khandarísí,” a contradiction. Suláf=the ptisane of wine. Khandarísí, from Greek {Greek text}, lit. gruel, applies to old wine.

43 i.e. in bridal procession.

44 Arab. “Al-‘Arús, one of the innumerable tropical names given to wine by the Arabs. Mr. Payne refers to Grangeret de la Grange, Anthologie Arabe, p, 190.

45 Here the text of the Mac. Edition is resumed.

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