The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night

The Tale of Zayn Al-Asnam.8

It hath reached me, O King of the Age, that in Bassorah-city9 reigned a puissant Sultan, who was opulent exceedingly and who owned all the goods of life; but he lacked a child which might inherit his wealth and dominion. So, being sorely sorrowful on this account, he arose and fell to doing abundant alms-deeds to Fakírs and the common poor, to the Hallows and other holy men and prayed their recourse to Allah Almighty, in order that the Lord (to whom belong Might and Majesty!) might of His grace bless him with issue. And the Compassionate accepted his prayer for his alms to the Religious and deigned grant his petition; and one night of the nights after he lay with the Queen she went away from him with child. Now as soon as the Sultan heard of the conception he rejoiced with exceeding great joyance, and when the days of delivery drew near he gathered together all the astrologers and sages who strike the sand-board,10and said to them, “’Tis our desire that ye disclose and acquaint us anent the birth which is to be born during the present month whether it shall be male or female, and what shall befal it from the shifts of Time, and what shall proceed from it.” Thereupon the geomantists struck their sand-boards and the astrophils ascertained their ascendants and they drew the horoscope of the babe unborn, and said to the sovran, “O King of the Age and Lord of the Time and the Tide, verily the child to which the Queen shall presently give birth will be a boy and ‘t will be right for thee to name him Zayn al-Asnám — Zayn of the Images.” Then spake the geomantists, saying, “Know then, Ho though the King, that this little one shall approve him when grown to man’s estate valiant and intelligent; but his days shall happen upon sundry troubles and travails, and yet if he doughtily fight against all occurrence he shall become the most opulent of the Kings of the World.” Exclaimed the Sultan, “An the child approve himself valorous, as ye have announced, then the toil and moil which shall be his lot may be held for naught, inasmuch as calamities but train and strengthen the songs of the Kings.”11 Shortly after this the Queen gave birth to a man-child, and Glory be to Him who fashioned the babe with such peerless beauty and loveliness! The King named his son Zayn al-Asnam, and presently he became even as the poets sang of one of his fellows in semblance,

“He showed; and they cried, ‘Be Allah blest!’

And who made him and formed him His might attest!

This be surely the lord of all loveliness;

And all others his lieges and thralls be confest.”

Then Zayn al-Asnam grew up and increased until his age attained its fifteenth year, when his sire the Sultan appointed for him an experienced governor, one versed in all the sciences and philosophies;12 who fell to instructing him till such times as he waxed familiar with every branch of knowledge, and in due season he became an adult. Thereupon the Sultan bade summon his son and heir to the presence together with the Lords of his land and the Notables of his lieges and addressed him before them with excellent counsel saying, “O my son, O Zayn al-Asnam, seeing that I be shotten in years and at the present time sick of a sickness which haply shall end my days in this world and which anon shall seat thee in my stead, therefore, I bequeath unto thee the following charge. Beware, O my son, lest thou wrong any man, and incline not to cause the poor complain; but do justice to the injured after the measure of thy might. Furthermore, have a care lest thou trust to every word spoken to thee by the Great; but rather lend thou ever an ear unto the voice of the general; for that thy Grandees will betray thee as they seek only whatso suiteth them, not that which suiteth thy subjects.” A few days after this time the old Sultan’s distemper increased and his lifeterm was fulfilled and he died; whereupon his son, Zayn al-Asnam, arose and donned mourning-dress for his father during six days; and on the seventh he went forth to the Divan and took seat upon the throne of his Sultanate. He also held a levee wherein were assembled all the defenders of the realm, and the Ministers and the Lords of the land came forward and condoled with him for the loss of his parent and wished him all good fortune and gave him joy of his kingship and dominion and prayed for his endurance in honour and his permanence in prosperity. — And Shahrazad was surprised by the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Four Hundred and Ninety-eighth Night,

Quoth Dunyazad, “O sister mine, an thou be other than sleepy, tell us one of thy fair tales, so therewith we may cut short the waking hours of this our night;” and quoth Shahrazad:— It hath reached me, O King of the Age, that Zayn al-Asnam seeing himself in this high honour and opulence13 and he young in years and void of experience, straightway inclined unto lavish expenditure and commerce with the younglings, who were like him and fell to wasting immense wealth upon his pleasures; and neglected his government, nor paid aught of regard to his subjects.14 Thereupon the Queen-mother began to counsel him, and forbid him from such ill courses, advising him to abandon his perverse inclinations and apply his mind to rule and commandment, and to further the policy of his kingdom, lest the lieges repudiate him and rise up against him and depose him. But he would on no wise hearken to a single of her words and persisted in his ignorant folly; whereat the folk murmured, inasmuch as the Lords of the land had put forth their hands to tyranny and oppression when they saw the King lacking in regard for his Ryots. And presently the commons rose up against Zayn al-Asnam and would have dealth harshly with him had not his mother been a woman of wits and wisdom and contrivance, dearly loved of the general. So she directed the malcontents aright and promised them every good: then she summoned her son Zayn al-Asnam and said to him, “Behold, O my child, that which I foretold for thee, to wit that thou wastest thy realm and lavishest thy life to boot by persevering in what ignorance thou art; for that thou hast placed the governance of thy Kingdom in the hands of inexperienced youth and hast neglected the elders and hast dissipated thy moneys and the moneys of the monarchy, and thou hast lavished all thy treasure upon wilfulness and carnal pleasuring.” Zayn al-Asnam, awaking from the slumber of negligence, forthright accepted his mother’s counsel and, faring forth at once to the Diwan,15 he entrusted the management of the monarchy to certain old officers, men of intelligence and experience. But he acted on this wise only after Bassorah-town was ruined, inasmuch as he had not turned away from his ignorant folly before he had wasted and spoiled all the wealth of the Sultanate, and he had become utterly impoverished. Thereupon the Prince fell to repenting and regretting that which had been done by him, until the repose of sleep was destroyed for him and he shunned meat and drink; nor did this cease until one night of the nights which had sped in such grief and thoughtfulness and vain regret until dawn drew nigh and his eyelids closed for a little while. Then an old and venerable Shaykh appeared to him in a vision16 and said to him, “O Zayn al-Asnam, sorrow not; for after sorrow however sore cometh naught but joyance; and, would’st thou win free of this woe, up and hie thee to Egypt where thou shalt find hoards of wealth which shall replace whatso thou hast wasted and will double it more than twofold.” Now when the Prince was aroused from his sleep he recounted to his mother all he had seen in his dream; but his parent began to laugh at him, and he said to her, “Mock me not: there is no help but that I wend Egypt-wards.” Rejoined she, “O my son, believe not in swevens which be mere imbroglios of sleep and lying phantasies;” and retorted saying, “In very sooth my vision is true and the man whom I saw therein is of the Saints of Allah and his words are veridical.” Then on a night of the nights mounting horse alone and privily, he abandoned his Kingdom; and took the highway to Egypt; and he rode day and night until he reached Cairo-city. He entered it and saw it to be a mighty fine capital; then, tethering his steed he found shelter in one of its Cathedral-mosques, and he worn out by weariness; however, when he had rested a little he fared forth and bought himself somewhat of food. After eating, his excessive fatigue caused him fall asleep in the mosque; nor had he slept long ere the Shaykh17 appeared to him a second time in vision and said to him, “O Zayn al-Asnam,"— And Shahrazad was surprised by the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Four Hundred and Ninety-ninth Night,

Quoth Dunyazad, “O sister mine, an thou be other than sleepy, tell us one of thy fair tales, so therewith we may cut short the waking hours of this our night,” and quoth Shahrazad:— It hath reached me, O King of the Age, that the Shaykh again appeared to the Prince in a vision and said to him, “O Zayn al-Asnam, though hast obeyed me in whatso I bade thee and I only made trial of thee to test an thou be valiant or a craven. But now I wot thy worth, inasmuch as thou hast accepted my words and thou hast acted upon my advice: so do thou return straightway to thy capital and I will make thee a wealthy ruler, such an one that neither before thee was any king like unto thee nor shall any like unto thee come after thee.” Hereat Zayn al-Asnam awoke and cried “Bismillah — in the name of Allah, the Compassionating, the Compassionate — what be this Shaykh who verily persecuted me until I travelled to Cairo; and I having faith in him and holding that he was either the Apostle (whom Allah save and assain!) or one of the righteous Hallows of God; and there is no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great! By the Lord, but I did right well in not relating my dream to any save to my mother, and in warning none of my departure. I had full faith in this oldster; but now, meseemeth, the man is not of those who know the Truth (be He extolled and exalted!); so by Allah I will cast off all confidence in this Shaykh and his doings.” With this resolve the Prince slept that night in the Mosque and on the morrow took horse and after a few days of strenuous travel arrived at his capital Bassorah. Herein he entered by night, and forthright went in to his mother who asked him, “Say me, hast thou won aught of whatso the Shaykh promised thee?” and he answered her by acquainting her with all his adventure. Then she applied her to consoling and comforting him, saying, “Grieve not, O my son; if Almighty Allah have apportioned unto thee aught thou shalt obtain it without toil and travail.18 But I would see thee wax sensible and wise, abandoning all these courses which have landed thee in poverty, O my son; and shunning songstresses and commune with the inexperienced and the society of loose livers, male and female. All such pleasures as these are for the sons of the ne’er-do-well, not for the scions of the Kings thy peers.” Herewith Zayn al-Asnam sware an oath to bear in mind all she might say to him, never to gainsay her commandments, nor deviate from them a single hair’s breadth; to abandon all she should forbid him, and to fix his thoughts upon rule and goverance. Then he addrest himself to sleep, and as he slumbered, the Shaykh appeared to him a third time in vision, and said, “O Zayn al-Asnam, O thou valorous Prince; this very day, as soon as thou shalt have shaken off thy drowsiness, I will fulfil my covenant with thee. So take with thee a pickaxe, and hie to such a palace of thy sire, and turn up the ground, searching it well in such a place where thou wilt find that which shall enrich thee.” As soon as the Prince awoke, he hastened to his mother in huge joy and told her his tale; but she fell again to laughing at him, and saying, “O my child, indeed this old man maketh mock of thee and naught else; so get thyself clear of him.” But Zayn al-Asnam replied, “O mother mine, verily this Shaykh is soothfast and no liar: for the first time he but tried me and now he proposeth to perform his promise.” Whereto his mother, “At all events, the work is not wearisome; so do thou whatso thou willest even as he bade thee. Make the trial and Inshallah — God willing — return to me rejoicing; yet sore I fear lest thou come back to me and say, ‘Sooth thou hast spoken in thy speech, O my mother!” However Zayn al-Asnam took up a pickaxe and, descending to that part of the palace where his sire lay entombed, began to dig and to delve; nor had he worked a long while19 ere, lo and behold! there appeared to him a ring bedded in a marble slab. He removed the stone and saw a ladder-like flight of steps whereby he descended until he found a huge souterrain all pillar’d and propped with columns of marble and alabaster. And when he entered the inner recesses he saw within the cave-like souterrain a pavilion which bewildered his wits, and inside the same stood eight jars20 of green jasper. So he said in his mind, “What may be these jars and what may be stored therein?"— And Shahrazad was surprised by the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the full Five Hundredth Night,

Quoth Dunyazad, “O sister mine, an thou be other than sleepy, tell us one of thy fair tales, so therewith we may cut short the waking hours of this our night,” and quoth Shahrazad:— It hath reached me, O King of the Age, that when Zayn al-Asnam saw the jars, he came forwards and unlidding them found each and every full of antique21 golden pieces; so he hent a few in hand seen and going to his mother gave of them to her saying, “Hast thou seen, O my mother?” She marvelled at the matter and made answer, “Beware, O my son, of wasting this wealth as thou dissipatedst otheraforetime;” whereupon her son sware to her an oath saying, “Have no care, O my mother, nor be thy heart other than good before me; and I desire that thou also find satisfaction in mine actions.” Presently she arose and went forth with him, and the twain descended into the cavern-like souterrain and entered the pavilion, where the Queen saw that which wildereth the wits; and she made sure with her own eyes that the jars were full of gold. But while they enjoyed the spectacle of the treasure behold, they caught sight of a smaller jar wondrously wrought in green jasper; so Zayn al-Asnam opened it and found therein a golden key; whereupon quoth the Queen-mother, “O my son, needs must this key have some door which it unlocketh.” Accordingly they sought all about the souterrain and the pavilion to find if there be a door or aught like thereto, and presently, seeing a wooden lock fast barred, they knew wherefor the key was intended. Presently the Prince applied it and opened the lock, whereupon the door of a palace gave admittance, and when the twain entered they found it more spacious than the first pavilion and all illumined with a light which dazed the sight; yet not a wax-candle lit it up nor indeed was there a recess for lamps. Hereat they marvelled and meditated and presently they discovered eight images22 of precious stones, all seated upon as many golden thrones, and each and every was cut of one solid piece; and all the stones were pure and of the finest water and most precious of price. Zayn al-Asnam was confounded hereat and said to his mother, “Whence could my sire have obtained all these rare things?” And the twain took their pleasure in gazing at them and considering them and both wondered to see a ninth throne unoccupied, when the Queen espied a silken hanging whereon was inscribed, “O my son, marvel not at this mighty wealth which I have acquired by sore stress and striving travail. But learn also that there existeth a Ninth Statue whose value is twenty-fold greater than these thou seest and, if thou would win it, hie thee again to Cairo-city. There thou shalt find a whilome slave of mine Mubárak23 hight and he will take thee and guide thee to the Statue; and ’twill be easy to find him on entering Cairo: the first person thou shalt accost will point out the house to thee, for that Mubarak is known throughout the place.” When Zayn al-Asnam had read this writ he cried: “O my mother, ’tis again my desire to wend my way Cairo-wards and seek out this image; so do thou say how seest thou my vision, fact or fiction, after thou assuredst me saying, ‘This be an imbroglio of sleep?’ However, at all events, O my mother, now there is no help for it but that I travel once more to Cairo.” Replied she, “O my child, seeing that thou be under the protection of the Apostle of Allah (whom may He save and assain!) so do thou fare in safety, while I and thy Wazir will order thy reign in thine absence till such time as thou shalt return.” Accordingly the Prince went forth and gat him ready and rode on till he reached Cairo where he asked for Mubarak’s house. The folk answered him saying, “O my lord, this be a man than whom none is wealthier or greater in boon deeds and bounties, and his home is ever open to the stranger.” Then they showed him the way and he followed it till he came to Mubarak’s mansion where he knocked at the door and a slave of the black slaves opened to him. — And Shahrazad was surprised by the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Five Hundred and First Night,

Quoth Dunyazad, “O sister mine, an thou be other than sleepy, tell us one of thy fair tales, so therewith we may cut short the waking hours of this our night;” and quoth Shahrazad:— It hath reached me, O King of the Age, that Zayn al-Asnam knocked at the door when a slave of Mubarak’s black slaves came out to him and opening asked him, “Who24 art thou and what is it thou wantest?” The Prince answered, “I am a foreigner from a far country, and I have heard of Mubarak thy lord that he is famed for liberality and generosity; so that I come hither purposing to become his guest.” Thereupon the chattel went in to his lord and, after reporting the matter to him, came out and said to Zayn al-Asnam, “O my lord, a blessing hath descended upon us by thy footsteps. Do thou enter, for my master Mubarak awaiteth thee.” Therewith the Prince passed into a court spacious exceedingly and all beautified with trees and waters, and the slave led him to the pavilion wherein Mubarak was sitting. As the guest came in the host straightway rose up and met him with cordial greeting and cried, “A benediction hath alighted upon us and this night is the most benedight of the nights by reason of thy coming to us! So who are thou, O youth, and whence is thine arrival and whither is thine intent?” He replied, “I am Zayn al-Asnam and I seek one Mubarak, a slave of the Sultan of Bassorah who deceased a year ago, and I am his son.” Mubarak rejoined, “What sayest thou? Thou the son of the King of Bassorah?” and the other retorted, “Yea, verily I am his son.”25 Quoth Mubarak, “In good sooth my late lord the King of Bassorah left no son known to me! But what may be thine age, O youth?” “Twenty years or so,” quoth the Prince, presently adding, “But thou, how long is it since thou leftest my sire?” “I left him eighteen years ago,” said the other; “but, O my shild Zayn al-Asnam, by what sign canst thou assure me of thy being the son of my old master, the Sovran of Bassorah?” Said the Prince, “Thou alone knowest that my father laid out beneath his palace a souterrain,26 and in this he placed forty jars of the finest green jasper, which he filled with pieces of antique gold, also that within a pavilion he builded a second palace and set therein eight images of precious stones, each one of a single gem, and all seated upon royal seats of placer-gold.27 He also wrote upon a silken hanging a writ which I read and which bade me repair to thee and thou wouldst inform me concerning the Ninth Statue whereabouts it may be, assuring me that it is worth all the eight.” Now when Mubarak heard these words, he fell at the feet of Zayn al-Asnam and kissed them exclaiming, “Pardon me, O my lord, in very truth thou art the son of my old master;” adding, presently, “I have spread, O my lord, a feast28 for all the Grandess of Cairo and I would that thy Highness honour it by thy presence.” The Prince replied, “With love and the best will.” Thereupon Mubarak arose and forewent Zayn al-Asnam to the saloon which was full of the Lords of the land there gathered together, and here he seated himself after stablishing Zayn al-Asnam in the place of honour. Then he bade the tables be spread and the feast be served and he waited upon the Prince with arms crossed behind his back29 and at times falling upon his knees. So the Grandees of Cairo marvelled to see Mubarak, one of the great men of the city, serving the youth and wondered with extreme wonderment, unknowing whence the stranger was. — And Shahrazad was surprised by the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Five Hundred and Second Night,

Quoth Dunyazad, “O sister mine, an thou be other than sleepy, tell us one of thy fair tales, so therewith we may cut short the waking hours of this our night,” and quoth Shahrazad:— It hath reached me, O King of the Age, that Mubarak fell to waiting upon Zayn al-Asnam the son of his old lord, and the Grandees of Cairo there sitting marvelled to see Mubarak, one of the great men of the city, serving the youth and wondered with extreme wonderment, unknowing whence the stranger was. After this they ate and drank and supped well and were cheered till at last Mubarak turned towards them and said, “O folk, admire not that I wait upon this young man with all worship and honour, for that he is the son of my old lord, the Sultan of Bassorah, who bought me with his money and who died without manumitting me. I am, therefore, bound to do service to his son, this my young lord, and all that my hand possesseth of money and munition belongeth to him nor own I aught thereof at all, at all.” When the Grandees of Cairo heard these words, they stood up before Zayn al-Asnam and salamed to him with mighty great respect and entreated him with high regard and blessed him. Then said the Prince, “O assembly, I am in the presence of your worships, and be ye my witnesses. O Mubarak, thou art now freed and all thou hast of goods, gold and gear erst belonging to us becometh henceforth thine own and thou art endowed with them for good each and every. Eke do thou ask whatso of importance thou wouldst have from me, for I will on no wise let or stay thee in thy requiring it.” With this Mubarak arose and kissed the hand of Zayn al-Asnam and thanked him for his boons, saying, “O my lord, I wish for thee naught save thy weal, but the wealth that is with me is altogether overmuch for my wants.” Then the Prince abode with the Freedman four days, during which all the Grandees of Cairo made act of presence day by day to offer their salams as soon as they heard men say, “This is the master of Mubarak and the monarch of Bassorah.” And whenas the guest had taken his rest he said to his host, “O Mubarak, my tarrying with thee hath been long; whereto said the other, “Thou wottest, O my lord, that the matter whereinto thou comest to enquire is singular-rare, but that it also involveth risk of death, and I know not if thy valour can make the attainment thereto possible to thee.” Rejoined Zayn al-Asnam, “Know, O Mubarak, that opulence is gained only by blood; nor cometh aught upon mankind save by determination and predestination of the Creator (be He glorified and magnified!); so look to thine own stoutness of heart and take thou no thought of me.” Thereupon Mubarak forthright bade his slaves get them ready for wayfare; so they obeyed his bidding in all things and mounted horse and travelled by light and dark over the wildest of wolds, every day seeing matters and marvels which bewildered their wits, sights they had never seen in all their years, until they drew near unto a certain place. There the party dismounted and Mubarak bade the negro slaves and eunuchs abide on the spot saying to them, “Do ye keep watch and ward over the beasts of burthen and the horses until what time we return to you.” After this the twain set out together afoot and quoth the Freedman to the Prince, “O my lord, here valiancy besitteth, for that now thou art in the land of the Image30 thou camest to seek.” And they ceased not walking till they reached a lake, a long water and a wide, where quoth Mubarak to his companion, “Know, O my lord, that anon will come to us a little craft bearing a banner of azure tinct and all its planks are of chaunders and lign-aloes of Comorin, the most precious of woods. And now I would charge thee with a charge the which must thou most diligently observe.” Asked the other, “Thou wilt see in that boat a boatman31 whose fashion is the reverse of man’s; but beware, and again I say beware, lest thou utter a word, otherwise he will at once drown us.32 Learn also that this stead belongeth to the King of the Jinns and that everything thou beholdest is the work of the Jann."— And Shahrazad was surprised by the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Five Hundred and Third Night,

Quoth Dunyazad, “O sister mine, an thou be other than sleepy, tell us one of thy fair tales, so therewith we may cut short the waking hours of this our night,” and quoth Shahrazad:— It hath reached me, O King of the Age, that Mubarak and Zayn al-Asnam came upon a lake where, behold, they found a little craft whose planks were of chaunders and lign-aloes of Comorin and therein stood a ferryman with the head of an elephant while the rest of his body wore the semblance of a lion.33 Presently he approached them and winding his trunk around them34 lifted them both into the boat and seated them beside himself: then he fell to paddling till he passed through the middle of the lake and he ceased not so doing until he had landed them on the further bank. Here the twain took ground and began to pace forwards, gazing around them the while and regarding the trees which bore for burthen ambergris and lign-aloes, sandal, cloves, and gelsamine,35 all with flowers and fruits bedrest whose odours broadened the breast and excited the sprite. There also the birds warbled, with various voices, notes ravishing and rapturing the heart by the melodies of their musick. So Mubarak turned to the Prince and asked him saying, “How seest thou this place, O my lord?” and the other answered, “I deem, O Mubarak, that in very truth this be the Paradise promised to us by the Prophet (whom Allah save and assain!).” Thence they fared forwards till they came upon a mighty fine palace all builded of emeralds and rubies with gates and doors of gold refined: it was fronted by a bridge one hundred and fifty cubits long to a breadth of fifty, and the whole was one rib of a fish.36 At the further end thereof stood innumerous hosts of the Jann, all frightful of favour and fear-inspiring of figure and each and every hent in hand javelins of steel which flashed to the sun like December leven. Thereat quoth the Prince to his companion, “This be a spectacle which ravisheth the wits;” and quoth Mubarak, “It now behoveth that we abide in our places nor advance further lest there happen to us some mishap; and may Allah vouchsafe to us safety!” Herewith he brought forth his pouch four strips of a yellow silken stuff and zoning himself with one threw the other over his shoulders;37 and he gave the two remaining pieces to the Prince that he might do with them on like wise. Next he dispread before either of them a waist shawl38 of white sendal and then he pulled out of his poke sundry precious stones and scents and ambergris and eagle-wood;39 and, lastly, each took his seat upon his sahs, and when both were ready Mubarak repeated the following words to the Prince and taught him to pronounce them before the King of the Jann, “O my lord, Sovran of the Spirits, we stand within thy precincts and we throw ourselves on thy protection;” whereto Zayn al-Asnam added, “And I adjure him earnestly that he accept of us.” But Mubarak rejoined, “O my lord, by Allah I am in sore fear. Hear me! An he determine to accept us without hurt or harm he will approach us in the semblance of a man rare of beauty and comeliness but, if not, he will assume a form frightful and terrifying. Now an thou see him in his favourable shape do thou arise forthright and salam to him and above all things beware lest thou step beyond this thy coth.” The Prince replied, “To hear is to obey,” and the other continued, “And let thy salam to him be thy saying, O King of the Sprites and Sovran of the Jann and Lord of Earth, my sire, the whilome Sultan of Bassorah, whom the Angel of Death hath removed (as is not hidden from thy Highness) was ever taken under thy protection and I, like him, come to thee sueing the same safeguard."— And Shahrazad was surprised by the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Five Hundred and Fourth Night,

Quoth Dunyazad, “O sister mine, an thou be other than sleepy, tell us one of thy fair tales, so therewith we may cut short the waking hours of this our night,” and quoth Shahrazad:— It hath reached me, O King of the Age, that Mubarak fell to lessoning Zayn al-Asnam how he should salute the King of the Jinns, and pursued, “Likewise, O my lord, if he hail us with gladsome face of welcome he will doubtless say thee, ‘Ask whatso thou wantest of me!’ and the moment he giveth thee his word do thou at once prefer thy petition saying, O my lord, I require of thy Highness the Ninth Statue than which is naught more precious in the world, and thou didst promise my father to vouchsafe me that same.” And after this Mubarak instructed his master how to address the King and crave of him the boon and how to bespeak him with pleasant speech. Then he began his conjurations and fumigations and adjurations and recitations of words not understanded of any and but little time elapsed before cold rain down railed and lightning flashed and thunder roared and thick darkness veiled earth’s face. Presently came forth a mighty rushing wind and a voice like an earthquake, the quake of earth on Judgment Day.40 The Prince, seeing these horrors and sighting that which he had never before seen or heard, trembled for terror in every limb; but Mubarak fell to laughing at him and saying, “Fear not, O my lord: for that which thou dreadest is what we seek, for to us it is an earnest of glad tidings and success; so be thou satisfied and hold thyself safe.”41 After this the skies waxed clear and serene exceedingly while perfumed winds and the purest scents breathed upon them; nor did a long time elapse ere the King of the Jann presented himself under the semblance of a beautiful man who had no peer in comeliness save and excepting Him who lacketh likeness and to Whom be honour and glory! He gazed at Zayn al-Asnam with a gladsome aspect and a riant, whereat the Prince arose forthright and recited the string of benedictions taught to him by his companion and the King said to him with a smiling favour, “O Zayn al-Asnam, verily I was wont to love thy sire, the Sultan of Bassorah and, when he visited me ever, I used to give him an image of those thou sawest, each cut of a single gem; and thou also shalt presently become to me honoured as thy father and yet more. Ere he died I charged him to write upon the silken curtain the writ thou readest and eke I gave promise and made covenant with him to take thee like thy parent under my safeguard and to gift thee as I gifted him with an image, to wit, the ninth, which is of greater worth than all those viewed by thee. So now ’tis my desire to stand by my word and to afford thee my promised aid."— And Shahrazad was surprised by the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Five Hundred and Fifth Night,

Quoth Dunyazad, “O sister mine, an thou be other than sleepy, tell us one of thy fair tales, so therewith we may cut short the waking hours of this our night,” and quoth Shahrazad:— It hath reached me, O King of the Age, that the Lord of the Jann said to the Prince, “I will take thee under my safeguard and the Shaykh thou sawest in thy swevens was myself and I also ’twas who bade thee dig under thy palace down to the souterrain wherein thou sawest the crocks of gold and the figures of fine gems. I also well know wherefore thou art come hither and I am he who caused thee to come and I will give thee what thou seekest, for all that I would not give it to thy sire. But ’tis on condition that thou return unto me bringing a damsel whose age is fifteen, a maiden without rival or likeness in loveliness; furthermore she must be a pure virgin and a clean maid who hath never lusted for male nor hath ever been solicited of man;42 and lastly, thou must keep faith with me in safeguarding the girl whenas thou returnest hither and beware lest thou play the traitor with her whilst thou bringest her to me.” To this purport the Prince sware a mighty strong oath adding, “O my lord, thou hast indeed honoured me by requiring of me such service, but truly ’twill be right hard for me to find a fair one like unto this; and, grant that I find one perfectly beautiful and young in years after the requirement of thy Highness, how shall I weet if she ever longed for mating with man or that male ever lusted for her?” Replied the King, “Right thou art, O Zayn al-Asnam, and verily this be a knowledge whereunto the sons of men may on no wise attain. However, I will give thee a mirror43 of my own whose virtue is this. When thou shalt sight a young lady whose beauty and loveliness please thee, do thou open the glass,44 and, if thou see therein her image clear and undimmed, do thou learn forthright that she is a clean maid without aught of defect or default and endowed with every praiseworthy quality. But if, contrariwise, the figure be found darkened or clothed in uncleanness, do thou straightway know that damsel is sullied by soil of sex. Shouldst thou find her pure and gifted with all manner good gifts, bring her to me but beware not to offend with her and do villainy, and if thou keep not faith and promise with me bear in mind that thou shalt lose thy life.” Hereupon the Prince made a stable and solemn pact with the King, a covenant of the sons of the Sultans which may never be violated. — And Shahrazad was surprised by the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Five Hundred and Sixth Night,

Quoth Dunyazad, O sister mine, an thou be other than sleepy, tell us one of thy fair tales, so therewith we may cut short the waking hours of this our night,” and quoth Shahrazad:— It hath reached me, O King of the Age, that the Prince Zayn al-Asnam made a stable and trustworthy compact to keep faith with the King of the Jann and never to play traitor thereto, but to bring the maid en tout bien et tout honneur to that potentate who made over to him the mirror saying, “O my son, take this looking-glass whereof I bespake thee and depart straightway.” Thereupon the Prince and Mubarak arose and, after blessing him, fared forth and journeyed back until they made the lakelet, where they sat but a little ere appeared the boat which had brought them bearing the Jinni with elephantine head and leonine body, and he was standing up ready for paddling.45 The twain took passage with him (and this by command of the King of the Jann) until they reached Cairo and returned to their quarters, where they abode whilst they rested from the travails of travel. Then the Prince turned to his companion and said, “Arise with us and wend we to Baghdad46-city that we may look for some damsel such as the King describeth!” and Mubarak replied, “O my lord, we be in Cairo, a city of the cities, a wonder of the world, and here no doubt there is but that I shall find such a maiden, nor is there need that we fare therefor to a far country.” Zayn al-Asnam rejoined, “True for thee, O Mubarak, but what be the will and the way whereby to hit upon such a girl, and who shall go about to find her for us?” Quoth the other, “Be not beaten and broken down, O my lord, by such difficulty: I have by me here an ancient dame (and cursed be the same!) who maketh marriages, and she is past mistress in wiles and guiles; nor will she be hindered by the greatest of obstacles.”47 So saying, he sent to summon the old trot, and informed her that he wanted a damsel perfect of beauty and not past her fifteenth year, whom he would marry to the son of his lord; and he promised her sumptuous Bakhshish and largesse if she would do her very best endeavour. Answered she, “O my lord, be at rest: I will presently contrive to satisfy thy requirement even beyond thy desire; for under my hand are damsels unsurpassable in beauty and loveliness, and all be the daughters of honourable men.” But the old woman, O Lord of the Age, knew naught anent the mirror. So she went forth to wander about the city and work on her well-known ways. — And Shahrazad was surprised by the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Five Hundred and Seventh Night,

Quoth Dunyazad, “O sister mine, an thou be other than sleepy, tell us one of thy fair tales, so therewith we may cut short the waking hours of this our night,” and quoth Shahrazad:— It hath reached me, O King of the Age, that the old woman went forth to work on her well-known ways, and she wandered about town to find a maiden for the Prince Zayn al-Asnam. Whatever notable beauty she saw she would set before Mubarak; but each semblance as it was considered in the mirror showed exceedingly dark and dull, and the inspector would dismiss the girl. This endured until the crone had brought to him all the damsels in Cairo, and not one was found whose reflection in the mirror showed clear-bright and whose honour was pure and clean, in fact such an one as described by the King of the Jann. Herewith Mubarak, seeing that he had not found one in Cairo to please him, or who proved pure and unsullied as the King of the Jann had required, determined to visit Baghdad: so they rose up and equipped them and set out and in due time they made the City of Peace where they hired them a mighty fine mansion amiddlemost the capital. Here they settled themselves in such comfort and luxury that the Lords of the land would come daily to eat at their table, even the thirsty and those who went forth betimes,48 and what remained of the meat was distributed to the mesquin and the miserable; also every poor stranger lodging in the Mosques would come to the house and find a meal. Therefore the bruit of them for generosity and liberality went abroad throughout the city and won for them notable name and the fairest of fame; nor did any ever speak of aught save the beneficence of Zayn al-Asnam and his generosity and his opulence. Now there chanced to be in one of the cathedral-mosques and Imám,49 Abu Bakr hight, a ghostly man passing jealous and fulsome, who dwelt hard by the manion wherein the Prince and Mubarak abode; and he, when he heard of their lavish gifts and alms deeds, and honourable report, smitten by envy and malice and hatred, fell to devising how he might draw them into some calamity that might despoil the goods they enjoyed and destroy their lives, for it is the wont of envy to fall not save upon the fortunate. So one day of the days, as he lingered in the Mosque after mid-afternoon prayer, he came forwards amidst the folk and cried, “O ye, my brethren of the Faith which is true and who bear testimony to the unity of the Deity, I would have you to weet that housed in this our quarter are two men which be strangers, and haply ye have heard of them how they lavish and waste immense sums of money, in fact moneys beyond measure, and for my part I cannot but suspect that they are cutpurses and brigands who commit robberies in their own country and who came hither to expend their spoils."— And Shahrazad was surprised by the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Five Hundred and Eighth Night,

Quoth Dunyazad, “O sister mine, an thou be other than sleepy, tell us one of thy fair tales, so therewith we may cut short the waking hours of this our night,” and quoth Shahrazad:— It hath reached me, O King of the Age, that the Imam in his jealousy of Zayn al-Asnam and Mubarak said to the congregation, “Verily they be brigands and cutpurses;” adding, “O believers of Mohammed, I counsel you in Allah’s name that ye guard yourselves against such accurseds; for haply the Caliph shall in coming times hear of these twain and ye also shall fall with them into calamity.50 I have hastened to caution you, and having warned you I wash my hands of your business, and after this do ye as ye judge fit.” All those present replied with one voice, “Indeed we will do whatso thou wishest us to do, O Abu Bakr!” But when the Imam heard this from them he arose and, bringing forth ink-case and reed-pen and a sheet of paper, began inditing an address to the Commander of the Faithful, recounting all that was against the two strangers. However, by decree of Destiny, Mubarak chanced to be in the Mosque amongst the crowd when he heard the address of the blameworthy Imam and how he purposed applying by letter to the Caliph. So he delayed not at all but returned home forthright and, taking an hundred dinars and packing up a parcel of costly clothes, silverwrought all, repaired in haste to the reverend’s quarters and knocked at the door. The preacher came and opened to him, but sighting Mubarak he asked him in anger, “What is’t thou wantest and who art thou?” Whereto the other answered, “I am Mubarak and at thy service, O my master the Imam Abu Bakr; and I come to thee from my lord the Emir Zayn al-Asnam who, hearing of and learning thy religious knowledge and right fair repute in this city, would fain make acquaintance with thy Worship and do by thee whatso behoveth him. Also he hath sent me to thee with these garments and this spending-money, hoping excuse of thee for that this be a minor matter compared with your Honour’s deserts; but, Inshallah, after this he will not fail in whatever to thee is due.” As soon as Abu Bakr saw the coin and gold51 and the bundle of clothes, he answered Mubarak saying, “I crave pardon, O my lord, of thy master the Emir for that I have been ashamed of waiting upon him and repentance is right hard upon me for that I have failed to do my devoir by him; wherefore I hope that thou wilt be my deputy in imploring him to pardon my default and, the Creator willing, to-morrow I will do what is incumbent upon me and fare to offer my services and proffer the honour which beseemeth me.” Rejoined Mubarak, “The end of my master’s wishes is to see thy worship, O my lord Abu Bakr, and be exalted by thy presence and therethrough to win a blessing.” So saying he bussed the reverend’s hand and returned to his own place. On the next day, as Abu Bakr was leading the dawn-prayer of Friday, he took his station amongst the folk amiddlemost the Mosque and cried, “O, our brethren the Moslems great and small and folk of Mohammed one and all, know ye that envy falleth not save upon the wealthy and praiseworthy and never descendeth upon the mean and miserable. I would have you wot, as regards the two strangers whom yesterday I misspake, that one of them is an Emir high in honour and son of most reputable parents, in lieu of being (as I was informed by one of his enviers) a cutpurse and a brigand. Of this matter I have made certain that ’tis a lying report, so beware lest any of you say aught against him or speak evil in regard to the Emir even as I heard yesterday; otherwise you will cast me and cast yourselves into the sorest of calamities with the Prince of True Believers. For a man like this of exalted degree may not possibly take up his abode in our city of Baghdad unbeknown to the Caliph."— And Shahrazad was surprised by the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Five Hundred and Ninth Night,

Quoth Dunyazad, “O sister mine, an thou be other than sleepy, tell us one of thy fair tales, so therewith we may cut short the waking hours of this our night,” and quoth Shahrazad:— It hath reached me, O King of the Age, that Abu Bakr the Imam uprooted on such wise from the minds of men the evil which he had implanted by his own words thrown out against the Emir Zayn al-Asnam. But when he had ended congregational prayers and returned to his home, he donned his long gaberdine52 and made weighty his skirts and lengthened his sleeves, after which he took the road to the mansion of the Prince; and, when he went in, he stood up before the stranger and did him honour with the highmost distinction. Now Zayn al-Asnam was by nature conscientious albeit young in years; so he returned the Imam Abu Bakr’s civilities with all courtesy and, seating himself beside him upon his high-raised divan, bade bring for him ambergris’d53 coffee. Then the tables were spread for breakfast and the twain ate and drank their sufficiency, whereafter they fell to chatting like boon companions. Presently the Imam asked the Prince, saying, “O my lord Zayn al-Asnam, doth thy Highness design residing long in this our city of Baghdad?” and the other answered, “Yes indeed,54 O our lord the Imam; ’tis my intention to tarry here for a while until such time as my requirement shall be fulfilled.” The Imam enquired, “And what may be the requirement of my lord the Emir? Haply when I hear it I may devote my life thereto until I can fulfil it.” Quoth the Prince, “My object is to marry a maiden who must be comely exceedingly, aged fifteen years; pure, chaste, virginal, whom man hath never soiled and who during all her days never lusted for male kind: moreover, she must be unique for beauty and loveliness.” The Imam rejoined, “O my lord, this be a thing hard of finding indeed, hard exceedingly; but I know a damsel of that age who answereth to thy description. Her father, a Wazir who resigned succession and office of his own freewill, now dwelleth in his mansion jealously overwatching his daughter and her education; and I opine that this maiden will suit the fancy of thy Highness, whilst she will rejoice in an Emir such as thyself and eke her parents will be equally well pleased.” The Prince replied, “Inshallah, this damsel whereof thou speakest will suit me and supply my want, and the furtherance of my desire shall be at thy hands. But, O our lord the Imam, ’tis my wish first of all things to look upon her and see if she be pure or otherwise; and, as regarding her singular comeliness, my convicion is that thy word sufficeth and thine avouchment is veridical. Of her purity, however, even thou canst not bear sure and certain testimony in respect to that condition.” Asked the Imam, “How is it possible for you, O my lord the Emir, to learn from her face aught of her and her honour; also whether she be pure or not: indeed, if this be known to your Highness you must be an adept in physiognomy.55 However, if your Highness be willing to accompany me, I will bear you to the mansion of her sire and make you acquainted with him, so shal he set her before you."— And Shahrazad was surprised by the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Five Hundred and Tenth Night,

Quoth Dunyazad, “O sister mine, an thou be other than sleepy, tell us one of thy fair tales, so therewith me may cut short the waking hours of this our night,” and quoth Shahrazad:— It hath reached me, O King of the Age, that the Imam Abu Bakr took the Prince and passed with him into the mansion of the Wazir; and, when they entered, both salam’d to the housemaster and he rose and received them with greetings especially when he learned that an Emir had visited him and he understood from the Imam that Zayn al-Asnam inclined to wed his daughter. So he summoned her to his presence and she came, whereupon he bade her raise her face-veil; and, when she did his bidding, the Prince considered her and was amazed and perplexed at her beauty and loveliness, he never having seen aught that rivalled her in brightness and brilliancy. So quoth he in his mind, “Would to Heaven I could win a damsel like this, albeit this one be to me unlawful.” Thinking thus he drew forth the mirror from his pouch and considered her image carefully when, lo and behold! the crystal was bright and clean as virgin silver and when he eyed her semblance in the glass he saw it pure as a white dove’s. THen sent he forthright for the Kazi and witnesses and they knotted the knot and wrote the writ and the bride was duly throned. Presently the Prince took the Wazir his father-in-law into his own mansion, and to the young lady he sent a present of costly jewels and it was a notable marriage-festival, none like it was ever seen; no, never. Zayn al-Asnam applied himself to inviting the folk right royally and did honour due to Abu Bakr the Imam, giving him abundant gifts, and forwarded to the bride’s father offerings of notable rarities. As soon as the wedding ended, Mubarak said to the Prince, “O my lord, let us arise and wend our ways lest we lose our time in leisure, for that we sought is now found.” Said the Prince, “Right thou art;” and, arising with his companion, the twain fell to equipping them for travel and gat ready for the bride a covered litter56 to be carried by camels and they set out. Withal Mubarak well knew that the Prince was deep in love to the young lady. So he took him aside and said to him, “O my lord Zayn al-Asnam, I would warn thee and enjoin thee to keep watch and ward upon thy senses and passions and to observe and preserve the pledge by thee plighted to the King of the Jann.” “O Mubarak,” replied the Prince, “an thou knew the love-longing and ecstasy which have befallen me of my love to this young lady, thou wouldst feel ruth for me! indeed I never think of aught else save of taking her to Bassorah and of going in unto her.” Mubarak rejoined. “O my lord, keep thy faith and be not false to thy pact, lest a sore harm betide thee and the loss of thy life as well as that of the young lady.57 Remember the oath thou swarest nor suffer lust58 to lay thy reason low and despoil thee of all thy gains and thine honour and thy life.” “Do thou, O Mubarak,” retorted the Prince, “become warden over her nor allow me ever to look upon her."— And Shahrazad was surprised by the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Five Hundred and Eleventh Night,

Quoth Dunyazad, “O sister mine, an thou be other than sleepy, tell us one of thy fair tales, so therewith we may cut short the waking hours of this our night,” and quoth Shahrazad:— It hath reached me, O King of the Age, that Mubarak, after warning Zayn al-Asnam to protect the virgin-bride against himself, fell also to defending her as his deputy: also he prevented the Prince from even looking upon her. They then travelled along the road unto the Island of the Jann, after59 they had passed by the line leading unto Misr.60 But when the bride saw that the wayfare had waxed longsome nor had beheld her bridegroom for all that time since the wedding-night, she turned to Mubarak and said, “Allah upon thee; inform me, O Mubarak, by the life of thy lord the Emir, have we fared this far distance by commandment of my bridegroom Prince Zayn al-Asnam?” Said he, “Ah, O my lady, sore indeed is thy case to me, yet must I disclose to thee the secret thereof which be this. Thou imaginest that Zayn al-Asnam, the King of Bassorah, is thy bridegroom; but, alas! ’tis not so. He is no husband of thine; nay, the deed he drew up was a mere pretext in the presence of thy parents and thy people; and now thou art going as a bride to the King of the Jann who required thee of the Prince.” When the young lady heard these words, she fell to shedding tears and Zayn al-Asnam wept for her, weeping bitter tears from the excess of his love and affection. Then quoth the young lady, “Ye have nor pity in you nor feeling for me; neither fear ye aught of Allah that, seeing in me a stranger maiden ye cast me into a calamity like this. What reply shall ye return to the Lord on the Day of Reckoning for such treason ye work upon me?” However her words and her weeping availed her naught, for that they stinted not wayfaring with her until they reached the King of the Jann, to whom they forthright on arrival made offer of her. When he considered the damsel she pleased him, so he turned to Zayn al-Asnam and said to him, “Verily the bride thou broughtest me is exceeding beautiful and passing of loveliness; yet lovelier and more beautiful to me appear thy true faith and the mastery of thine own passions, thy marvellous purity and valiance of heart. So hie thee to thy home and the Ninth Statue, wherefor thou askedst me, by thee shall be found beside the other images, for I will send it by one of my slaves of the Jann.” Hereupon Zayn al-Asnam kissed his hand and marched back with Mubarak to Cairo, where he would not abide long with his companion, but, as soon as he was rested, of his extreme longing and anxious yearning to see the Ninth Statue, he hastened his travel homewards. Withal he ceased not to be thoughtful and sorrowful concerning his maiden-wife and on account of her beauty and loveliness, and he would fall to groaning and crying, “O for my lost joys whose cause wast thou, O singular in every charm and attraction, thou whom I bore away from thy parents and carried to the King of the Jann. Alas, and woe worth the day!"— And Shahrazad was surprised by the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Five Hundred and Twelfth Night,

Quoth Dunyazad, “O sister mine, an thou be other than sleepy, tell us one of thy fair tales, so therewith we may cut short the waking hours of this our night,” and quoth Shahrazad:— It hath reached me, O King of the Age, that Zayn al-Asnam fell to chiding himself for the deceit and treason which he had practised upon the young lady’s parents and for bringing and offering her to the King of the Jann. Then he set out nor ceased travelling till such time as he reached Bassorah, when he entered his palace; and, after saluting his mother, he apprised her of all things that had befallen him. She replied, “Arise, O my son, that we may look upon the Ninth Statue, for I rejoice with extreme joy at its being in our possession.” So both descended into the pavilion where stood the eight images of precious gems and here they found a mighty marvel. ’Twas this. In lieu of seeing the Ninth Statue upon the golden throne, they found seated thereon the young lady whose beauty suggested the sun. Zayn al-Asnam knew her at first sight and presently she addressed him saying, “Marvel not for that here thou findest me in place of that wherefor thou askedst; and I deem that thou shalt not regret nor repent when thou acceptest me instead of that thou soughtest.” Said he, “No, by Allah, O life-blood of my heart, verily thou art the end of every wish of me nor would I exchange thee for all the gems of the universe. Would thou knew what was the sorrow which surcharged me on account of our separation and of my reflecting that I took thee from thy parents by fraud and I bore thee as a present to the King of the Jann. Indeed I had well nigh determined to forfeit all my profit of the Ninth Statue and to bear thee away to Bassorah as my own bride, when my comrade and councillor dissuaded me from so doing lest I bring about my death and thy death.” Nor had Zayn al-Asnam ended his words ere they heard the roar of thunderings that would rend a mount and shake the earth, whereat the Queen-mother was seized with mighty fear and affright. But presently appeared the King of the Jinns who said to her, “O my lady, fear not! ’Tis I, the protector of thy son whom I fondly affect for the affection borne to me by his sire. I also am he who manifested myself to him in his sleep; and my object therein was to make trial of his valiance and to learn an he could do violence to his passions for the sake of his promise, or whether the beauty of this lady would so tempt and allure him that he could not keep his promise to me with due regard."— And Shahrazad was surprised by the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Five Hundred and Thirteenth Night,

Quoth Dunyazad, “O sister mine, an thou be other than sleepy, tell us one of thy fair tales, so therewith we may cut short the waking hours of this our night,” and quoth Shahrazad:— It hath reached me, O King of the Age, that the King of the Jann said to the Queen-mother, “Indeed Zayn al-Asnam hath not kept faith and covenant with all nicety as regards the young lady, in that he longed for her to become his wife. However, I am assured that this lapse befel him from man’s natural and inherent frailty albeit I repeatedly enjoined him to defend and protect her until he concealed from her his face. I now accept61 this man’s valour and bestow her upon him to wife, for she is the Ninth Statue by me promised to him and she is fairer than all these jewelled images, the like of her not being found in the whole world of men save by the rarest of chances.” Then the King of the Jann turned to the Prince and said to him, “O Emir Zayn al-Asnam, this is thy bride: take her and enjoy her upon the one condition that thou love her only nor choose for thyself another one in addition to her; and I pledge myself that her faith theewards will be of the fairest.” Hereupon the King of the Jann disappeared and the Prince, gladdened and rejoicing, went forth with the maiden and for his love and affection to her he paid to her the first cermonious visit that same night62 and he made bride-feasts and banquets throughout his realm and in due time he formally wedded her and went in unto her. Then he stablished himself upon the throne of his kingship and ruled it, bidding and forbidding, and his consort became Queen of Bassorah. His mother left this life a short while afterwards and they both mourned and lamented their loss. Lastly he lived with his wife in all joyance of life till there came to them the Destroyer of delights and the Separator of societies. — And Shahrazad ceased to say her pleasant63 say. Quoth Dunyazad, “O sister mine, how rare is thy tale and delectable!” whereto quoth Shahrazad, “And what is this compared with that I would relate to you on the coming night concerning Alaeddin64 and the Enchanted Lamp, an this my lord the King leave me on life?” The King said to himself, “By Allah, I will not slay her until she tell me the whole tale.”

When it was the Five Hundred and Fourteenth Night,

Quoth Dunyazad,65 to Shahrazad, “O sister mine, an thou be other than sleepy, do tell us some of thy pleasant tales;” and Shahrazad began to relate the story of

8 THe old versions read “Ornament (Adornment?) of the Statues,” Zierde der Pildsäulen (Weil). I hold the name to be elliptical, Zayn (al-Din = Adornment of The Faith and owner of) al-Asnám = the Images. The omission of Al-Din in proper names is very common; e.g., Fakhr (Al-Din) Al-Iftakhári (Iftikhár-al-Din) and many others given by De Sacy (Chrest.i. 30, and in the Treatise on Coffee by Abdal-Kádir). So Al-Kamál, Al-Imád, Al-Baha are = Kamal al-Dín, etc. in Jbn Khallikan, iii 493. Sanam properly = an idol is popularly applied to all artificial figures of man and beast. I may note that we must not call the hero, after Galland’s fashion, unhappily adopted by Weil, tout bonnement “Zayn.”

9 Galland persistently writes “Balsorah,” a European corruption common in his day, the childhood of Orientalism in Europe. The Hindostani versions have “Bansrá,” which is worse.

10 For notes on Geomancy (Zarb Raml) see vol. iii. 269.

11 THe Hindostani Version enlarges upon this:—“Besides this, kings cannot escape perils and mishaps which serve as warnings and examples to them when dealing their decrees.”

12 In the XIXth century we should say “All the — ologies.”

13 In the Hindostani Version he begins by “breaking the seal which had been set upon the royal treasury.”

14 “Three things” (says Sa’di in the Gulistan) “lack permanency, Wealth without trading, Learning without disputation, Government without justice.” (chap. viii. max. 8). The Bakhtiyár-námeh adds that “Government is a tree whose root is legal punishment (Siyásat); its root-end is justice; its bough, mercy; its flower, wisdom; its leaf, liberality; and its fruit, kindness and benevolence. The foliage of every tree whose root waxeth dry (lacketh sap) taketh a yellow tint and beareth no fruit.”

15 For this word, see vol. ix. 108. It is the origin of the Fr. “Douane” and the Italian “Dogana” through the Spanish Aduana (Ad-Díwán) and the Provencal “Doana.” Ménage derives it from the Gr. {Greek text} = a place where goods are received, and others from “Doge” (Dux) for whom a tax on merchandise was levied at Venice. Littré (s.v.) will not decide, but rightly inclines to the Oriental origin.

16 A Hadis says, “The dream is the inspiration of the True Believer;” but also here, as the sequel shows, the Prince believed the Shaykh to be the Prophet, concerning whom a second Hadis declares, “Whoso seeth me in his sleep seeth me truly, for Satan may not assume my semblance.” See vol. iv. 287. The dream as an inspiration shows early in literature, e.g.

{Greek text}— (Il. i. 63). and {Greek text}— (Il. ii 55). in which the Dream is {Greek text}.

17 In the Hindostani Version he becomes a Pír = saint, spiritual guide.

18 A favourite sentiment. In Sir Charles Murray’s excellent novel, “Hassan: or, the Child of the Pyramid,” it takes the form, “what’s past is past and what is written is written and shall come to pass.”

19 In the H. V. the Prince digs a vat or cistern-shaped hole a yard deep. Under the ringed slab he also finds a door whose lock he breaks with his pickaxe and seeing a staircase of white marble lights a candle and reaches a room whose walls are of porcelain and its floor and ceiling are of crystal.

20 Arab. Khawábi (plur. of Khábiyah) large jars usually of pottery. In the H. V. four shelves of mother o’ pearl support ten jars of porphyry rangeed in rows and the Prince supposes (with Galland) that the contents are good old wine.

21 Arab. “‘Atík”: the superficial similiarity of the words have produced a new noun in Arabic, e.g. Abú Antíká = father of antiquities, a vendor of such articles mostly modern, “brand-new and intensely old.”

22 In the text “Ashkhás” (plural of Shakhs) vulgarly used, throughout India, Persia and other Moslem realms, in the sense of persons or individuals. For its lit. sig. see vols. iii. 26; and viii. 159. The H. V. follows Galland in changing to pedestals the Arab thrones, and makes the silken hanging a “piece of white satin” which covers the unoccupied base.

23 The blessed or well-omened: in these days it is mostly a servile name, e.g. Sidi Mubárak Bombay. See vol. ix. 58,330.

24 In the test “Mín” for “Man,” a Syro-Egyptian form common throughout this MS.

25 “Ay Ni’am,” an emphatic and now vulgar expression.

26 The MS. here has “‘Imárah” = a building, probably a clerical error for Maghárah,” a cave, a souterrain.

27 Arab, “Zahab-ramlí,” explained in “Alaeddin.” So Al-Mutanabbi sang:—

“I become not of them because homed in their ground:

Sandy earth is the gangue wherein gold is found.”

28 Walímah prop. = a marriage-feast. For the different kinds of entertainments see vols. vi. 74; viii. 231.

29 Arab. Mukattaí al-Yadayn, a servile posture: see vols. iii. 218; ix. 320.

30 Here the Arabic has the advantage of the English; “Shakhs” meaning either a person or an image. See supra, p. 11.

31 Arab. “Kawárijí = one who uses the paddle, a paddler, a rower.

32 In the Third Kalandar’s Tale (vol. i. 143) Prince ‘Ajíb is forbidden to call upon the name of Allah, under pain of upsetting the skiff paddled by the man of brass. Here the detail is omitted.

33 Arab. “Wahsh,” which Galland translates “Tiger,” and is followed by his Hind. translator.

34 Arab. “Laffa ‘l-isnayn bi-zulúmati-h,” the latter word = Khurtúm, the trunk of an elephant, from Zalm = the dewlap of sheep or goat.

35 In the text “Yámin,” a copyist’s error, which can mean nothing else but “Yasimín.”

36 The H. V. rejects this detail for “a single piece of mother-o’-pearl twelve yards long,” etc. Galland has une seule ecaille de poisson. In my friend M. Zotenberg’s admirable translation of Tabara (i. 52) we read of a bridge at Baghdad made of the ribs of Og bin ‘Unk (= Og of the Neck), the fabled King of Bashan.

37 I have noted that this is the primitive attire of Eastern man in all hot climates, and that it still holds its ground in that grand survival of heathenry, the Meccan Pilgrimage. In Galland the four strips are of taffetas jaune, the Hind. “Taftí.”

38 The word is Hizám = girdle, sash, waist-belt, which Galland turns into nappes. The object of the cloths edged with gems and gums was to form a barrier excluding hostile Jinns: the European magician usually drew a magic circle.

39 This is our corruption of the Malay Aigla = sandal wood. See vol. ix. 150.

40 Lit. = the Day of Assembly, “Yaum al-Mahshar.” These lines were translated at Cannes on Feb. 22n, 1886, the day before the earthquake which brought desolation upon the Riviera. It was a second curious coincidence. On Thursday, July 10th, 1863 — the morning when the great earthquake at Accra laid in ruins the town and the stout old fort built in the days of James II— I had been reading the Koranic chapter entitled “Earthquakes” (No. XCIX.) to some Moslem friends who had visited my quarters. Upwards of a decade afterwards I described teh accident in “Ocean Highways” (New Series, No. II., Vol. I, pp. 448-461), owned by Trubner & Co., and edited by my friend Clements Markham, and I only regret that this able Magazine has been extinguished by that dullest of Journals, “Porceedings of the R. S. S. and monthly record of Geography.”

41 Galland has un tremblement pareil à celui qu’Israfyel (Isráfíl) doit causer le jour du jugement.

42 The idea is Lady M. W. Montague’s (“The Lady’s Resolve.")

In part she is to blame that has been tried:

He comes too near that comes to be denied.

As an unknown correspondent warns me the sentiment was probably suggested by Sir Thomas Overbury (“A Wife.” St. xxxvi):—

— In part to blame is she

Which hath without consent bin only tride:

He comes too near that comes to be denide.

43 These highly compromising magical articles are of many kinds. The ballad of The Boy and the Mantle is familiar to all, how in the case of Sir Kay’s lady:—

When she had tane the mantle

With purpose for to wear;

It shrunk up to her shoulder

And left her backside bare.

Percy, Vol. I., i and Book III.

Percy derives the ballad from “Le Court Mantel,” an old French piece and Mr. Evans (Specimens of Welsh Poetry) from an ancient MS, of Tegan Earfron, one of Arthur’s mistresses, who possessed a mantle which would not fit immodest women. See also in Spenser, Queen Florimel’s Girdle (F.Q. iv. 5,3), and the detective is a horn in the Morte d’Arthur, translated from the French, temp. Edward IV., and first printed in A. D. 1484. The Spectator (No. 579) tells us “There was a Temple upon Mount Etna which was guarded by dogs of so exquisite a smell, that they could discover whether the Persons who came thither were chaste or not;” and that they caused, as might be expected, immense trouble. The test-article becomes in the Tuti-námeh the Tank of Trial at Agra; also a nosegay which remains fresh or withers; in the Kathá Sarit Ságara, the red lotus of Shiva; a shirt in Story lxix. Gesta Romanorum; a cup in Ariosto; a rose-garland in “The Wright’s Chaste WIfe,” edited by Mr. Furnival for the Early English Text Society; a magic picture in Bandello, Part I., No. 21; a ring in the Pentamerone, of Basile; and a distaff in “L’Adroite Princesse,” a French imitation of the latter.

44 Looking glasses in the East are mostly made, like our travelling mirrors, to open and shut.

45 In Eastern countries the oarsman stands to his work and lessens his labour by applying his weight which cannot be done so forcibly when sitting even upon the sliding-seat. In rowing as in swimming we have forsaken the old custom and have lost instead of gaining.

46 I have explained this word in vol. iii. 100; viii. 51, etc., and may add the interpretation of Mr. L. C. Casartelli (p. 17) “La Philosophie Religieuse du Mazdéisme, etc., Paris Maisonneuve, 1884.” “A divine name, which has succeeded little (?) is the ancient title Bagh, the O. P. Baga of the Cuneiforms (Baga vazraka Auramazda, etc.) and the Bagha of the Avesta, whose memory is preserved in Baghdad — the city created by the Gods (?). The Pahlevi books show the word in the compound Baghôbakht, lit. = what is granted by the Gods, popularly, Providence.”

47 The H. V. makes the old woman a “finished procuress whose skill was unrivalled in that profession.”

48 In the text “Al-Sádí w’al-Ghádí:” the latter may mean those who came for the morning meal.

49 An antistes, a leader in prayer (vols. ii. 203, and iv. 227); a reverend, against whom the normal skit is directed. The H. V. makes him a Muezzin, also a Mosque-man; and changes his name to Murad. Imám is a word with a host of meanings, e.g., model (and master), a Sir-Oracle, the Caliph, etc., etc.

50 i.e. being neighbours they would become to a certain extent answerable for the crimes committed within the quarter.

51 Arab. “Nakshat” and “Sifrat.”

52 Arab. “Farajíyah,” for which see vol. i. 210, 321.

53 For this aphrodisiac see vol. vi. 60.

54 In the text “Ay ni’am,” still a popular expression.

55 Arab. “‘Ilm al-Híah,” gen. translated Astrology, but here meaning scientific Physiognomy. All these branches of science, including Palmistry, are nearly connected; the features and the fingers, mounts, lines, etc. being referred to the sun, moon and planets.

56 Arab. “Mihaffah bi-takhtrawán”: see vols. ii. 180; v. 175.

57 The H. V. is more explicit: “do not so, or the King of the Jann will slay thee even before thou canst enjoy her and will carry her away.”

58 Arab. “Shahwah” the rawest and most direct term. The Moslem religious has no absurd shame of this natural passion. I have heard of a Persian Imam, who, suddenly excited as he was sleeping in a friend’s house, awoke the master with, “Shahwah dáram” = “I am lustful” and was at once gratified by a “Mut’ah,” temporary and extempore marriage to one of the slave-girls. These morganatic marriages are not, I may note, allowed to the Sunnis.

59 Arab. “Min ba’di an” for “Min ba’di má” = after that, still popular in the latter broad form.

60 The word has been used in this tale with a threefold sense Egypt, old Cairo (Fostat) and new Cairo, in fact to the land and to its capital for the time being.

61 Arab. “Kabbaltu” = I have accepted, i.e., I accept emphatically. Arabs use this form in sundry social transactions, such as marriages, sales, contracts, bargains, and so forth, to denote that the engagement is irrevocable and that no change can be made. De Sacy neglected to note this in his Grammar, but explains it in his Chrestomathy (i. 44, 53), and rightly adds that the use of this energetic form peut-être serait susceptible d’applications plus étendues.

162 La nuit de l’entrée, say the French: see Lane “Leylet ed-dukhlah” (M.E. chapt. vi.).

63 This MS. uses “Miláh” (pleasant) for “Mubáh” (permitted). I must remark, before parting with Zayn al-Asnam, that its object is to inculcate that the price of a good wife is “far above rubies” (Prov. xxxi. 10: see the rest of this fine chapter), a virtuous woman being “a crown to her husband” (ibid. xxii. 4); and “a prudent wife is from the Lord” (Prov. xix. 4). The whole tale is told with extreme delicacy and the want of roughness and energy suggests a European origin.

64 i.e. the “Height or Glory (‘Alá) of the Faith (al-Dín)” pron. Aláaddeen; which is fairly represented by the old form “Aladdin;” and better by De Sacy’s “Ala-eddin.” The name has occurred in The Nights, vol. iv. 29-33; it is a household word in England and who has not heard of THomas Hood’s “A-lad-in?” Easterns write it in five different ways and in the Paris MS. it is invariably “‘Alí al-dín,” which is a palpable mistake. The others are (1) ‘Alá al-Dín, (2) ‘Alá yadín, (3) ‘Alah Dín in the H. V. and (4) ‘Aláa al-Dín (with the Hamzah), the last only being grammatical. In Galland the Histoire de la Lampe merveilleuse is preceded by the Histoire du Dormeur Eveillé which, being “The Story of Abú al-Hasan the Wag, or the Sleeper awakened,” of the Bresl. Edit. (Nights cclxxi.-ccxc.), is here omitted. The Alaeddin Story exists in germ in Tale ii. of the “Dravidian Nights Entertainments,” (Madana Kamara-Sankádáj), by Pandit S. M. Natisa Shastri (Madras, 1868, and London, Trübner). We are told by Mr. Coote that it is well represented in Italy. The Messina version is by Pittè, “La Lanterna Magica,” also the Palermitan “Lanterne;” it is “Il Matrimonio di Cajussi” of Rome (R. H. Busk’s Folk-lore); “Il Gallo e il Mago,” of Visentini’s “Fiabe Mantovane,” and the “Pesciolino,” and “Il Contadino che aveva tre Fígli,” of Imbriana. In “La Fanciulla c il Mago,” of De Gubernatis (“Novelline di Sante Stefano de Calcenaja,” p. 47), occurs the popular incident of the original. “The Magician was not a magician for nothing. He feigned to be a hawker and fared through the streets, crying out, ‘Donne, donne, chi baratta anelli di ferro contra anelli di argento?’”

Alaeddin has ever been a favourite with the stage. Early in the present century it was introduced to the Parisian opera by M. Etienne, to the Feydeau by Théaulon’s La Clochette: to the Gymnase by La Petite-Lampe of M. Scribe and Melesville, and to teh Panorama Dramatique by MM. Merle, Cartouche and Saintine (Gauttier, vii. 380).

65 This MS. always uses Dínárzád like Galland.

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