The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night

The Story of the Kazi who Bare a Babe.204

It hath been related that in Tarabulus-town205 of Syria was a Kazi appointed under orders of the Caliph Hárún al-Rashíd to adjudge law-suits and dissolve contracts and cross-examine witnesses; and after taking seat in his Mahkamah206 his rigour and severity became well known to all men. Now this judge kept a black hand-maiden likest unto a buffalo-bull and she cohabited with him for a lengthened while; for his nature was ever niggardly nor could anyone wrest from him half a Faddah or any alms-gift or aught else; and his diet was of biscuit207 and onions. Moreover, he was ostentatious as he was miserly: he had an eating-cloth bordered with a fine bell fringe,208 and when any person entered about dinner-time or supper-tide he would cry out, “O handmaid, fetch the fringed table-cloth;” and all who heard his words would say to themselves, “By Allah, this must needs be a costly thing.” Presently one day of the days his assessors and officers said to him, “O our lord the Kazi, take to thyself a wife, for yon negress becometh not a dignitary of thy degree.” Said he, “An this need be, let any who hath a daughter give her to me in wedlock and I will espouse her.” Herewith quoth one present, “I have a fair daughter and a marriageable,” whereto quoth the Kazi, “An thou wouldst do me a favour this is the time.” So the bride was fitted out and the espousals took place forthright and that same night the Kazi’s father-in-law came to him and led him in to his bride saying in his heart, “I am now connected with the Kazi.” And he took pleasure in the thought for he knew naught of the judge’s stinginess and he could not suppose but that his daughter would be comfortable with her mate and well-to-do in the matter of diet and dress and furniture. Such were the fancies which occurred to him; but as for the Kazi, he lay with the maid and abated her maidenhead; and she in the morning awaited somewhat where-with to break her fast and waited in vain. Presently the Kazi left her and repaired to his court-house whither the city folk came and gave him joy of his marriage and wished him good morning, saying in themselves, “Needs must he make a mighty fine bride feast.” But they sat there to no purpose until past noon when each went his own way privily damning the judge’s penuriousness. As soon as they were gone he returned to his Harem and cried out to his black wench, “O handmaiden, fetch the fringed table-cloth;” and his bride hearing this rejoiced, saying to herself, “By Allah, his calling for this cloth requireth a banquet which befitteth it, food suitable for the Kings.” The negress arose and faring forth for a short time returned with the cloth richly fringed and set upon it a Kursi-stool,209 and a tray of brass whereon were served three biscuits and three onions. When the bride saw this, she prayed in her heart saying, “Now may my Lord wreak my revenge upon my father!” but her husband cried to her, “Come hither, my girl,” and the three sat down to the tray wherefrom each took a biscuit and an onion. The Kazi and the negress ate all their portions, but the bride could not swallow even a third of the hard bread apportioned to her; so she rose up, heartily cursing her father’s ambition in her heart. At supper-tide it was the same till the state of things became longsome to her and this endured continuously for three days, when she was ready to sink with hunger. So she sent for her sire and cried aloud in his face. The Kazi hearing the outcries of his bride asked, “What is to do?” whereupon they informed him that the young woman was not in love with this style of living. — And Shahrazad was surprised by the dawn of day and fell silent and ceased to say her permitted say. Then quoth her sister Dunyazad, “How sweet is thy story, O sister mine, and how enjoyable and delectable!” Quoth she, “And where is this compared with that I would relate to you on the coming night an the Sovran suffer me to survive?” Now when it was the next night and that was

The Three Hundred and Eighty-seventh Night,

Dunyazad said to her, “Allah upon thee, O my sister, an thou be other than sleepy, finish for us thy tale that we may cut short the watching of this our latter night!” She replied, “With love and good will!” It hath reached me, O auspicious King, the director, the right guiding, lord of the rede which is benefiting and of deeds fair-seeming and worthy celebrating, that the bride was not in love with the Kazi’s mode of living; so he took her and cut off her nose and divorced her, falsely declaring that she had behaved frowardly. On the next day he proposed for another wife and married her and entreated her in like fashion as the first; and when she demanded a divorce, he shredded off her nostrils and put her away; and whatever woman he espoused he starved by his stinginess and tortured with hunger, and when any demanded a divorce he would chop off her nose on false presences and put her away without paying aught either of her marriage settlement or of the contingent dowry. At last the report of that Kazi’s avarice came to the ears of a damsel of Mosul-city, a model of beauty and loveliness who had insight into things hidden and just judgment and skilful contrivance. Thereupon, resolved to avenge her sex, she left her native place and journeyed till she made Tarabulus; and by the decree of the Decreer at that very time the judge, after a day spent in his garden, purposed to return home so he mounted his mule and met her half-way between the pleasance and the town. He chanced to glance at her and saw that she was wondrous beautiful and lovely, symmetrical and graceful and the spittle ran from his mouth wetting his mustachios; and he advanced and accosting her said, “O thou noble one, whence comest thou hither?” “From behind me!” ”Connu. I knew that; but from what city?” “From Mosul.” “Art thou single and secluded or femme couverte with a husband alive?” “Single I am still!” “Can it be that thou wilt take me and thou become to me mate and I become to thee man?” “If such be our fate ’twill take place and I will give thee an answer to-morrow;” and so saying the damsel went on to Tarabulus. Now the Kazi after hearing her speech felt his love for her increase; so next morning he sent to ask after her, and when they told him that she had alighted at a Khan, he despatched to her the negress his concubine with a party of friends to ask her in marriage, notifying that he was Kazi of the city. Thereupon she demanded a dower of fifty dinars and naming a deputy caused the knot be knotted and she came to him about evening time and he went in to her. But when it was the supper hour he called as was his wont to his black handmaiden saying “Fetch the fringed table-cloth,” and she fared forth and fetched it bringing also three biscuits and three onions, and as soon as the meal was served up all three sat down to it, the Kazi, the slave-girl, and the new bride. Each took a biscuit and an onion and ate them up and the bride exclaimed “Allah requite thee with wealth. By Allah, this be a wholesome supper.” When the judge heard this he was delighted with her and cried out, “Extolled be the Almighty for that at last He hath vouchsafed to me a wife who thanketh the Lord for muchel or for little!” But he knew not what the Almighty had decreed to him through the wile and guile, the malice and mischief of women. Next morning the Kazi repaired to the Mahkamah and the bride arose and solaced herself with looking at the apartments, of which some lay open whilst others were closed. Presently she came to one which was made fast by a door with a wooden bolt and a padlock of iron: she considered it and found it strong but at the threshold was a fissure about the breadth of a finger; so she peeped through and espied gold and silver coins heaped up in trays of brass which stood upon Kursi-stools and the nearest about ten cubits from the door. She then arose and fetched a long wand, the mid-rib of a date-palm,210 and arming the end with a lump of leaven she pushed it through the chink under the door and turned it round and round upon the money-trays as if sewing or writing. At last two dinars stuck to the dough and she drew them through the fissure and returned to her own chamber; then, calling the negress, she gave her the ducats saying, “Go thou to the Bazar and buy us some mutton and rice and clarified butter; and do thou also bring us some fresh bread and spices and return with them without delay.” The negress took the gold and went to the market, where she bought all that her lady bade her buy and speedily came back, when the Kazi’s wife arose and cooked a notable meal, after which she and the black chattel ate whatso they wanted. Presently the slave brought basin and ewer to her lady and washed her hands and then fell to kissing her feet, saying, “Allah feed thee, O my lady, even as thou hast fed me, for ever since I belonged to this Kazi I have lacked the necessaries of life.” Replied the other, “Rejoice, O handmaiden, for henceforth thou shalt have every day naught but the bestest food of manifold kinds;” and the negress prayed Allah to preserve her and thanked her. At noon the Kazi entered and cried, “O handmaid fetch the fringed cloth,” and when she brought it he sat down and his wife arose and served up somewhat of the food she had cooked and he ate and rejoiced and was filled and at last he asked, “Whence this provision?” She answered, “I have in this city many kinsfolk who hearing of my coming sent me these meats and quoth I to myself, When my lord the Kazi shall return home he shall make his dinner thereof.” On the next day she did as before and drawing out three ducats called the slave-girl and gave her two of them bidding her go to the Bazar and buy a lamb ready skinned and a quantity of rice and clarified butter and greens and spices and whatso was required for dressing the dishes. So the handmaid went forth rejoicing, and bought all her lady had ordered and forthwith returned when her mistress fell to cooking meats of various kinds and lastly sent to invite all her neighbours, women and maidens. When they came she had got ready the trays garnished with dainty food211 and served up to them all that was suitable and they ate and enjoyed themselves and made merry. Now this was about mid-forenoon, but as mid-day drew near they went home carrying with them dishes full of dainties which they cleared and washed and sent back till everything was returned to its place. — And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and fell silent and ceased saying her permitted say. Then quoth her sister Dunyazad, “How sweet and tasteful is thy tale, O sister mine, and enjoyable and delectable!” Quoth she, “And where is this compared with that I would relate to you on the coming night an the Sovran suffer me to survive?” Now when it was the next night and that was

The Three Hundred and Eighty-eighth Night,

Dunyazad said to her, “Allah upon thee, O my sister, an thou be other than sleepy, finish for us thy tale that we may cut short the watching of this our latter night!” She replied, “With love and good will!” It hath reached me, O auspicious King, the director, the right-guiding, lord of the rede which is benefiting and of deeds fair-seeming and worthy celebrating, that the guests of the Kazi’s wife fared from her before turn of sun; and, when it was noon, behold, the Kazi entered his Harem and said, “O hand-maiden, fetch the fringed tablecloth,” when the wife arose and set before him viands of various sorts. He asked whence they came and she answered saying, “This is from my maternal aunt who sent it as a present to me.” The judge ate and was delighted and abode in the Harem till set of sun. But his wife ceased not daily to draw money from his hoard and to expend it upon entertaining her friends and gossips, and this endured for a whole year. Now beside her mansion dwelt a poor woman in a mean dwelling and every day the wife would feed her and her husband and babes; moreover she would give them all that sufficed them. The woman was far gone with child and the other charged her saying, “As soon as ’tis thy time to be delivered, do thou come to me for I have a mind to play a prank upon this Kazi who feareth not Allah and who, whenever he taketh to himself a wife, first depriveth her of food till she is well nigh famished, then shreddeth off her nose under false pretences and putteth her away taking all her belongings and giving naught of dower either the precedent or the contingent.” And the poor woman replied, “To hear is to obey.” Then the wife persisted in her lavish expenditure till her neighbour came to her already overtaken by birth-pains, and these lasted but a little while when she was brought to bed of a boy. Hereupon the Kazi’s wife arose and prepared a savoury dish called a Baysárah,212 the base of which is composed of beans and gravied mallows213 seasoned with onions and garlic. It was noon when her husband came in and she served up the dish; and he being anhungered ate of it and ate greedily and at supper time he did likewise. But he was not accustomed to a Baysarah, so as soon as night came on his paunch began to swell; the wind bellowed in his bowels; his stress was such that he could not be more distressed and he roared out in his agony. Herewith his wife ran in and cried to him, “No harm shall befal thee, O my lord!” and so saying she passed her hand over his stomach and presently exclaimed “Extolled be He, O my lord; verily thou art pregnant and a babe is in thy belly."— And Shahrazad was surprised by the dawn of day and fell silent and ceased to say her permitted say. Then quoth her sister Dunyazad, “How sweet is thy story, O sister mine, and how enjoyable and delectable!” Quoth she, “And where is this compared with that I would relate to you on the coming night an the Sovran suffer me to survive?” Now when it was the next night and that was

The Three Hundred and Eighty-ninth Night,

Dunyazad said to her, “Allah upon thee, O my sister, an thou be other than sleepy, finish for us thy tale that we may cut short the watching of this our latter night!” She replied, “With love and good will!” It hath reached me, O auspicious King, the director, the right-guiding, lord of the rede which is benefiting and of deeds fair-seeming and worthy celebrating, that the Kazi’s wife came up to him and passing her palm over his paunch presently cried, “Extolled be He, O my lord: verily thou art pregnant and a babe is in thy belly.” Quoth the Kazi, “How shall a man bear a child?” and quoth she, “Allah createth whatso He willeth.” And as they two sat at talk the flatulence and belly-ache increased and violent colic214 set in and the torments waxed still more torturing. Then the wife rose up and disappeared but presently she returned with her pauper neighbour’s newly-born babe in her sleeve, its mother accompanying it: she also brought a large basin of copper and she found her husband rolling from right to left and crying aloud in his agony. At last the qualms215 in his stomach were ready to burst forth and the rich food to issue from his body, and when this delivery was near hand the wife privily set the basin under him like a close stool and fell to calling upon the Holy Names and to shampooing and rubbing down his skin while she ejaculated, “The name of Allah be upon thee!”216 But all this was of her malice. At last the prima via opened and the Kazi let fly, whereat his wife came quickly behind and setting the babe upon its back gently pinched it so that it began to wail, and said, “O man, Alhamdolillah — laud to the Lord, who hath so utterly relieved thee of thy burthen,” and she fell to muttering Names over the newborn. Then quoth he, “Have a care of the little one and keep it from cold draughts;” for the trick had taken completely with the Kazi and he said in his mind, “Allah createth whatso He willeth: even men if so predestined can bring forth.” And presently he added, “O woman, look out for a wet nurse to suckle him;” and she replied, “O my lord, the nurse is with me in the women’s apartments.” Then having sent away the babe and its mother she came up to the Kazi and washed him and removed the basin from under him and made him lie at full length. Presently after taking thought he said, “O woman, be careful to keep this matter private for fear of the folk who otherwise might say, ‘Our Kazi hath borne a babe.’ “ She replied, “O my lord, as the affair is known to other than our two selves how can we manage to conceal it?” and after she resumed, “O my husband, this business can on no wise be hidden from the people for more than a week or at most till next month.” Herewith he cried out, “O my calamity; if it reach the ears of folk and they say, ‘Our Kazi hath borne a babe,’ then what shall we do?” He pondered the matter until morning when he rose before daylight and, taking some provaunt secretly, made ready to depart the city, saying, “O Allah, suffer none to see me!” Then, after giving his wife charge of the house and bidding her take care of his effects and farewelling her, he went forth secretly from her and journeyed that day and a second and a third until the seventh, when he entered Damascus of Syria where none knew him. But he had no spending money for he could not persuade himself to take even a single dinar from his hoard and he had provided himself with naught save the meagrest provision. So his condition was straitened and he was compelled to sell somewhat of his clothes and lay out the price upon his urgent needs; and when the coin was finished he was forced to part with other portions of his dress till little or nothing of it remained to him. Then, in his sorest strait, he went to the Shaykh of the Masons and said to him, “O master, my wish is to serve in this industry;”217 and said he, “Welcome to thee.” So the Kazi worked through every day for a wage of five Faddahs. Such was his case; but as regards his wife — And Shahrazad was surprised by the dawn of day and fell silent and ceased saying her permitted say. Then quoth her sister Dunyazad, “How sweet and tasteful is thy tale, O sister mine, and enjoyable and delectable!” Quoth she, “And where is this compared with that I would relate to you on this coming night an the Sovran suffer me to survive?” Now when it was the next night and that was

The Three Hundred and Ninetieth Night,

Dunyazad said to her, “Allah upon thee, O my sister, an thou be other than sleepy, finish for us thy tale that we may cut short the watching of this our latter night!” She replied, “With love and good will!” It hath reached me, O auspicious King, the director, the right-guiding, lord of the rede which is benefiting and of deeds fair-seeming and worthy celebrating, that when the Kazi went forth from his wife she threw a sherd218 behind him and muttered, “Allah never bring thee back from thy journey.” Then she arose and threw open the rooms and noted all that was in them of moneys and moveables and vaiselle and rarities, and she fell to feeding the hungry and clothing the naked and doling alms to Fakirs saying, “This be the reward of him who mortifieth the daughters of folk and devoureth their substance and shreddeth off their nostrils.” She also sent to the women he had married and divorced, and gave them of his good the equivalent of their dowers and a solatium for losing their noses. And every day she assembled the goodwives of the quarter and cooked for them manifold kinds of food because her spouse the Kazi was possessed of property approaching two Khaznahs219 of money, he being ever loath to expend what his hand could hend and unprepared to part with aught on any wise, for the excess of his niggardness and his greed of gain. Nor did she cease from so doing for a length of time until suddenly she overheard folk saying, “Our Kazi hath borne a babe.” And such bruit spread abroad and was reported in sundry cities, nor ceased the rumour ere it reached the ears of the Caliph Harun al-Rashid in Baghdad city. Now hearing it he marvelled and cried, “Extolled be Allah! this hap, by the Lord, never can have happened save at the hand of some woman, a wise and a clever at contrivance; nor would she have wrought after such fashion save to make public somewhat erst proceeding from the Kazi, either his covetous intent or his high-handedness in commandment. But needs must this good wife be summoned before me and recount the cunning practice she hath practiced; — Allah grant her success in the prank she hath played upon the Judge.” Such was her case; but as concerns the Kazi, he abode working at builders’ craft till his bodily force was enfeebled and his frame became frail; so presently quoth he to himself, “Do thou return to thy native land, for a long time hath now passed and this affair is clean forgotten.” Thereupon he returned to Tarabulus, but as he drew near thereto he was met outside the city by a bevy of small boys who were playing at forfeits, and lo and behold! cried one to his comrades, “O lads, do ye remember such and such a year when our Kazi was brought to bed?”220 But the Judge hearing these words returned forthright to Damascus by the way he came, saying to himself, “Hie thee not save to Baghdad city for ’tis further away than Damascus!” and set out at once for the House of Peace. However he entered it privily, because he was still in the employ of the Prince of True Believers, Harun al-Rashid; and, changing semblance and superficials, he donned the dress of a Persian Darwaysh and fell to walking about the streets of the capital. Here met he sundry men of high degree who showed him favour, but he could not venture himself before the Caliph albe sundry of the subjects said to him, “O Darwaysh, why dost thou not appear in the presence of the Commander of the Faithful? Assuredly he would bestow upon thee many a boon, for he is a true Sultan; and, specially, an thou panegyrise him in poetry, he will largely add to his largesse.” Now by the decree of Destiny the viceregent of Allah upon His Earth had commended the Kazi’s wife be brought from Tarabulus: so they led her into the presence and when she had kissed ground before him and salam’d to him and prayed for the perpetuity of his glory and his existence, he asked her anent her husband and how he had borne a child and what was the prank she had played him and in what manner she had gotten the better of him. She hung her head groundwards awhile for shame nor could she return aught of reply for a time, when the Commander of the Faithful said to her, “Thou hast my promise of safety and again safety, the safety of one who betrayeth not his word.” So she raised her head and cried, “By Allah, O King of the Age, the story of this Kazi is a strange”— And Shahrazad was surprised by the dawn of day and fell silent and ceased to say her permitted say. Then quoth her sister Dunyazad, “How sweet is thy story, O sister mine, and how enjoyable and delectable!” Quoth she, “And where is this compared with that I would relate to you on the coming night an the Sovran suffer me to survive?” Now when it was the next night and that was

The Three Hundred and Ninety-first Night,

Dunyazad said to her, “Allah upon thee, O my sister, an thou be other than sleepy, finish for us thy tale that we may cut short the watching of this our latter night!” She replied, “With love and good will!” It hath reached me, O auspicious King, the director, the right-guiding, lord of the rede which is benefiting and of deeds fair-seeming and worthy celebrating, that quoth the Kazi’s wife, “By Allah, O King of the Age, the story of this Kazi is a strange and of the wonders of the world and ’tis as follows. My spouse is so niggardly of nature and greedy of gain that whatso wife he weddeth he starveth her with hunger and, whenas she loseth patience, he shreddeth her nostrils and putteth her away, taking all her good and what not. Now this case continued for a while of time. Also he had a black slave-wench and a fine eating-cloth and when dinner-time came he would cry, O handmaid, fetch the fringed table-cloth! whereupon she would bring it and garnish it with three biscuits and three onions, one to each mouth. Presently accounts of this conduct came to me at Mosul, whereupon I removed me to Tarábulus, and there played him many a prank amongst which was the dish of Baysar by me seasoned with an over quantity of onions and garlic and such spices as gather wind in the maw and distend it like a tom-tom and breed borborygms.221 This I gave him to eat and then befel that which befel. So I said to him, Thou art in the family way and tricked him, privily bringing into the house a new-born babe. When his belly began to drain off I set under him a large metal basin and after pinching the little one I placed it in the utensil and recited Names over it. Presently quoth he, Guard my little stranger from the draught and bring hither a wet-nurse; and I did accordingly. But he waxed ashamed of the birth and in the morning he fared forth the city nor knew we what Allah had done with him. But as he went I bespake him with the words which the poet sang when the Ass of Umm Amr222 went off:—

Ass and Umm Amr bewent their way;

Nor Ass nor Umm Amr returned for aye,

and then I cited the saying of another:—

When I forced him to fare I bade him hie,

Where Umm Kash’am223 caused her selle to fly.”

Now as the Caliph Harun al-Rashid heard these words he laughed so hearty a laugh that he fell backwards and bade the goodwife repeat her history till he waxed distraught for excess of merriment, when lo and behold! a Darwaysh suddenly entered the presence. The wife looked at her husband and recognised him; but the Caliph knew not his Kazi, so much had time and trouble changed the Judge’s cheer. However, she signalled to the Commander of the Faithful that the beggar was her mate and he taking the hint cried out, “Welcome to thee, O Darwaysh, and where be the babe thou bearest at Tarabulus?” The unfortunate replied, “O King of the Age, do men go with child?” and the Prince of True Believers rejoined, “We heard that the Kazi bare a babe and thou art that same Kazi now habited in Fakir’s habit. But who may be this woman thou seest?” He made answer “I wot not;” but the dame exclaimed, “Why this denial, O thou who fearest Allah so little? I conjure thee by the life of the King to recount in his presence all that betided thee.” He could deny it no longer so he told his tale before the Caliph, who laughed at him aloud; and at each adventure the King cried out, “Allah spare thee and thy child, O Kazi!” Thereupon the Judge explained saying, “Pardon, O King of the Age, I merit even more than what hath betided me."— And Shahrazad was surprised by the dawn of day and fell silent and ceased saying her permitted say. Then quoth her sister Dunyazad, “How sweet and tasteful is thy tale, O sister mine, and enjoyable and delectable!” Quoth she, “And where is this compared with that I would relate to you on the coming night an the Sovran suffer me to survive?” Now when it was the next night and that was

The Three Hundred and Ninety-second Night,

Dunyazad said to her, “Allah upon thee, O my sister, an thou be other than sleepy, finish for us thy tale that we may cut short the watching of this our latter night!” She replied, “With love and good will!” It hath reached me, O auspicious King, the director, the right-guiding, lord of the rede which is benefiting and of deeds fair-seeming and worthy celebrating, that quoth the Kazi to the King, “I deserve even more than what hath betided me for my deeds were unrighteous, O Ruler of the Time. But now the twain of us be present between thy hands; so do thou, of thy generous grace and the perfection of thy beneficence, deign reconcile me unto my wife and from this moment forwards I repent before the face of Allah nor will I ever return to the condition I was in of niggardise and greed of gain. But ’tis for her to decide and on whatever wise she direct me to act, therein will I not gainsay her; and do thou vouchsafe to me the further favour of restoring me to the office I whilome held.” When the Prince of True Believers, Harun al-Rashid, heard the Kazi’s words he turned to the Judge’s wife and said, “Thou also hast heard what thy mate hath averred: so do thou become to him what thou wast before and thou hast command over all which thy husband requireth.” She replied, “O King of the Age, even as thou hast the advantage of knowing, verily the Heavens and the son of Adam change not; for that man’s nature is never altered except with his existence nor doth it depart from him save when his life departeth. However, an he speak the truth let him bind himself by a deed documented under thy personal inspection and thine own seal; so that if he break his covenant the case may be committed to thee.” The Caliph rejoined,” Sooth thou sayest that the nature of Adam’s son is allied to his existence;” but the Kazi exclaimed, “O our lord the Sultan, bid write for me the writ even as thou hast heard from her mouth and do thou deign witness it between us twain.” Thereupon the King reconciled their differences and allotted to them a livelihood which would suffice and sent them both back to Tarabulus-town. This is all that hath come down to us concerning the Kazi who bare a babe: yet ’tis as naught compared with the tale of the Bhang-eaters, for their story is wondrous and their adventures delectable and marvellous. “What may it be?” asked Shahryar; so Shahrazad began to recount

204 Vol. iii. pp. 386-97, where it follows immediately the last story. Scott (Story of the Avaricious Cauzee and his Wife, vi. 112) has translated it after his own fashion, excising half and supplying it out of his own invention; and Gauttier has followed suit in the Histoire du Cadi avare et de sa Femme, vi. 254.

205 Tarábulus and Atrábulus are Arabisations of Tripolis (hod. Tripoli) the well-known port-town north of Bayrút; founded by the Phoenicians, rose to fame under the Seleucidæ, and was made splendid by the Romans. See Socin’s “Bædeker,” p. 509.

206 i.e. the Kazi’s court-house

207 Arab. “Buksumah” = “hard bread” (Americanicè).

208 Arab. “Sufrah umm jalájil.” Lit. an eating-cloth with little bells, like those hung to a camel, or metal plates as on the rim of a tambourine.

209 The Kursi here = the stool upon which the “Síníyah” or tray of tinned copper is placed, the former serving as a table. These stools, some 15 inches high and of wood inlaid with bone, tortoise-shell or mother-of-pearl, are now common in England, where one often sees children using them as seats. The two (Kursi and Síníyah) compose the Sufrah, when the word is used in the sense of our “dinner-table.” Lane (M.E. chapt. v.) gives an illustration of both articles.

210 Arab. “Jarídah,” a palm-frond stripped of its leaves (Supplemental vol. i. 203), hence the “Jaríd” used as a javelin; see vol. vi. 263.

211 An Egyptian or a Syrian housewife will make twenty dishes out of roast lamb, wholly unlike the “good plain cook” of Great or Greater Britain, who leaves the stomach to do all the work of digestion in which she ought to but does not assist.

212 A plate of “Baysár” or “Faysár,” a dish peculiar to Egypt; beans seasoned with milk and honey and generally eaten with meat. See Mr. Guy Lestrange’s “Al-Mukaddasi,” Description of Syria, p. 80; an author who wrote cir. A.H. 986. Scott (vi. 119) has “A savoury dish called byssarut, which is composed of parched beans and pounded salt meat, mixed up with various seeds, onions and garlic.” Gauttier (vi. 261) carefully avoids giving the Arabic name, which occurs in a subsequent tale (Nights cdxliv.) when a laxative is required.

213 Arab. “Mulúkhíyah náshiyah,” lit. = flowing; i.e. soft like épinards au jus. Mulúkhíya that favourite vegetable, the malva esculenta is derived from the Gr. {Greek letters} (also written {Greek letters} = to soften, because somewhat relaxing. In ancient Athens it was the food of the poorer classes and in Egypt it is eaten by all, taking the place of our spinach and sorrel.

214 Arab. “Kalak” = lit. “agitation,” “disquietude” and here used as syn. with “Kúlanj,” a true colic.

215 Arab. “Mazarát,” from “Mazr,” = being addled (an egg).

216 Here is an allusion to the “Massage,” which in these days has assumed throughout Europe all the pretensions of scientific medical treatment. The word has been needlessly derived from the Arab. “Mas’h” = rubbing, kneading; but we have the Gr. synonym ìÜóóù and the Lat. Massare. The text describes child-bed customs amongst Moslem women, and the delivery of the Kazi has all the realism of M. Zola’s accouchement in La Joie de Vivre.

217 Arab. “Fa’álah” = the building craft, builders’ trade.

218 In text “Kawwárah,” which is not found in the dictionaries. “Kuwáray”= that which is cut off from the side of a thing, etc. My translation is wholly tentative: perhaps Kawwára may be a copyist’s error for “Kazázah” = vulg. a (flask of) glass.

219 The “Khaznah,” = treasury, is a thousand “Kís” = 500 piastres, or £5 at par; and thus represents £5,000, a large sum for Tripoli in those days.

220 The same incident occurs in that pathetic tale with an ill name = “How Abu al-Hasan brake Wind.” vol. v. 135.

221 Arab. “Karkabah,” clerical error (?) for “Karkarah” = driving (as wind the clouds); rumbling of wind in bowels. Dr. Steingass holds that it is formed by addition of a second “K,” from the root “Karb,” one of whose meanings is: “to inflate the stomach.”

222 For Ummu ‘Amrin = mother of ‘Amru, so written and pronounced ” ‘Amr,” a fancy name, see vol. v. 118, for the Tale of the Schoolmaster, a well-known “Joe Miller.” [Ummu ‘Amrin, like Ummu ‘Ámirin, is a slang term for “hyena.” Hence, if Ass and Umm Amr went off together, it is more than likely that neither came back. — St.]

223 A slang name for Death. “Kash’am” has various sigs. esp. the lion, hence Rabí‘at al-Faras (of the horses), one of the four sons of Nizár was surnamed Al-Kash’am from his cœur de lion (Al-Mas’udi iii. 238). Another pleasant term for departing life is Abú Yáhyá = Father of John, which also means “The Living” from Hayy — Death being the lord of all: hence “Yamút” lit.= he dies, is an ill-omened name amongst Arabs. Kash’am is also a hyena, and Umm Kash’am is syn. with Umm ‘Ámir (vol. i. 43). It was considered a point of good breeding to use these “Kunyah” for the purpose of varying speech (see al-Hariri Ass. xix.). The phrase in the text = meaning went to hell, as a proverb was first used by Zuhayr, one of the “Suspended Poets.” Umm Kash’am was the P.N. of a runaway camel which, passing by a large fire, shied and flung its riding saddle into the flames. So in Al-Siyúti’s “History of the Caliphs” (p. 447), the text has “And Malak Shah went to where her saddle was thrown by Umm Kash’am,” which Major Jarrett renders “departed to hell-fire.”

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