The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night

Story of the Youth who Would Futter His Father’s Wives.579

It is related that there was a man who had a grown-up son, but the youth was a ne’er-do-well,580 and whatever wife his sire wedded, the son would devise him a device to lie with her and have his wicked will of her, and he so managed the matter that his father was forced to divorce her. Now the man once married a bride beautiful exceedingly and, charging her beware of his son, jealously guarded her from him. — 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 King suffer me to survive?” Now when it was the next night, and that was

579 Vol. iii. 247-261. This violation of the Harem is very common in Egypt.

580 Arab. “Fadáwi,” here again = a blackguard, see Suppl. vol. iv. 220.

The Eight Hundred and Thirty-second Night,

Dunyazad said to her, “Allah upon thee, O my sister, an thou be not sleeping, 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 father applied himself to safe-guarding his wife and gave her a charge warning her with threats against his son and saying, “Whenas I wed ever a woman, yonder youth by his cunning manageth to have his wicked will of her.” Quoth she, “O Man, what be these words thou speakest? This thy son is a dog, nor hath he power to do with me aught, and I am a lady amongst women.” Quoth he, “Indeed I but charge thee to have a care of thyself.581 Haply I may hie me forth to wayfare and he will lay some deep plot for thee and work with thee as he wrought with others.” She replied, “O Man, hold thyself secure therefrom for an he bespeak me with a single word I will slipper him with my papoosh;582 and her rejoined, “May safety be thine!” He cohabited with her for a month till one day of the days when he was compelled to travel; so he went in to his wife and cautioned her and was earnest with her saying, “Have a guard of thyself from my son the debauchee for ’tis a froward fellow, a thief, a miserable, lest he come over thee with some wile and have his will of thee.” Said she, “What words are these? Thy son is a dog nor hath he any power over me in aught whereof thou talkest, and if he bespeak me with one injurious word, I will slipper him soundly with my foot-gear.”583 He rejoined, “If thou happen to need aught584 never even mention it to him;” and she, “Hearkening and obedience.” So he farewelled her and fared forth wholly intent upon his wayfare. Now when he was far enough from the town the youth came to the grass-widow but would not address a single word to her, albeit fire was lighted in his heart by reason of her being so beautiful. Accordingly he contrived a wile. It happened to be summer-tide so he went585 to the house and repaired to the terrace-roof, and there he raised his clothes from his sitting-place and exposed his backside stark naked to the cooling breeze; then he leant forwards propped on either elbow and, spreading his hands upon the ground, perked up586 his bottom. His stepmother looked at him and marvelling much said in her mind, “Would Heaven I knew of this froward youth what may be his object!”587 However he never looked at her nor ever turned towards her but he abode quiet in the posture he had chosen. She stared hard at him and at last could no longer refrain from asking him, “Wherefore dost thou on this wise?” He answered, “And why not? I am doing that shall benefit me in the future, but what that is I will never tell thee; no, never.” She repeated her question again and again, and at last he replied, “I do thus when ’tis summer-tide and a something of caloric entereth my belly through my backside and when ’tis winter the same cometh forth and warmeth my body; and in the dog-days and keepeth me in heats like these, fresh and comfortable.”588 She asked, “An I do what thou doest, shall it be the same to me?” And he answered, “Aye.” Herewith she came forward beside him and raised her raiment from her behind till the half of her below the waist was stark naked; — 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 how enjoyable and delectable!” Quoth she, “And where is this compared with that I would relate to you on the coming night as the Sovran suffer me to survive?” Now when it was the next night and that was

581 The Irishman says, Sleep with both feet in one stocking.

582 Arab. or rather Egypt. “Bábúj,” from “Bábúg,” from the Pers. “Pay-púsh” = foot-clothing, vulg. “Pápúsh.” To beat with shoe, slipper, or pipe-stick is most insulting; the idea, I believe, being that these articles are not made, like the rod and the whip, for coporal chastisement, and are therefore used by way of slight. We find the phrase “he slippered the merchant” in old diaries, e.g. Sir William Ridges, 1683, Hakluyts, mdccclxxvii.

583 Arab. “Sarmújah” = sandals, slippers, shoes, esp. those worn by slaves.

584 Suggesting carnal need.

585 The young man being grown up did not live in his father’s house.

586 Arab. “Tartara.” The lexicons give only the sigs. “chattering” and so forth. Prob. it is an emphatic reduplication of “Tarra” = sprouting, pushing forward.

587 The youth plays upon the bride’s curiosity, a favourite topic in Arab. and all Eastern folk-lore.

588 There is a confusion in the text easily rectified by the sequel. The facetia suggests the tale of the Schildburgers, who on a fine summer’s day carried the darkness out of the house in their caps and emptied it into the sunshine which they bore to the dark room.

The Eight Hundred and Thirty-third 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 grass-widow came forward beside her stepson and raised her raiment from her behind until the half of her below the waist was stark naked; and she did even as her husband’s son had done, and perked up her buttocks, leaning heavily upon her knees and elbows. Now when she acted on this wise the youth addressed her saying, “Thou canst not do it aright.” “How so?” “Because the wind passing in through the postern passeth out through thy portal, thy solution of continuity.” “Then how shall I do?” “Stopper thy slit wherethrough the air passeth.” “How shall I stopper it?” “An thou stopper it not thy toil will be in vain.” “Dost thou know how to stopper it?” “Indeed I do!” “Then, rise up and stopper it.” Hearing these words he arose, because indeed he greeded for her, and came up behind her as she rested upon her elbows and knees and hending in hand his prickle nailed it into her coynte and did manly devoir. And after having his will of her he said, “Thou hast now done thy best for me and thy belly is filled full of the warm breeze.” On this wise he continued every day, enjoying the wife of his father for some time during his wayfare, till the traveller returned home, and on his entering the house the bride rose and greeted him and said, “Thou hast been absent overlong!”589 The man sat with her awhile and presently asked of her case for that he was fearful of his son; so she answered, “I am hale and hearty!” “Did my son ask thee of aught?” “Nay, he asked me not, nor did he ever address me: withal, O Man, he hath admirable and excellent expedients and indeed he is deeply versed in natural philosophy.” “What expedients and what natural philosophy?” “He tucketh up his dress and exposeth his backside to the breeze which now passeth into his belly and benefiteth him throughout the cold season, and in winter he doeth exactly what he did in summer with effect as beneficial. And I also have done as he did.” Now when the husband heard these her words he knew that the youth had practised upon her and had enjoyed his desire of her; so he asked her, “And what was it thou diddest?” She answered, “I did even as he did. However the breeze would not at first enter into my belly for whatever passed through the back postern passed out of the front portal, and the youth said to me, ‘Stopper up thy solution of continuity.’ I asked him, ‘Dost thou know how to stopper it?’ and he answered, ‘Indeed I do!’ Then he arose and blocked it with his prickle; and every day I continued to do likewise and he to stopper up the peccant part with the wherewithal he hath.” All this was said to the husband who listened with his head bowed groundwards; but presently he raised it and cried, “There is no Majesty and there is no might save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great;” and suddenly as they were speaking on that subject the youth came in to them — And Sharazad 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 King suffer me to survive?” Now when it was the next night and that was

589 A kindly phrase popularly addressed to the returning traveller whether long absent or not.

The Eight Hundred and Thirty-fourth Night,

Dunyazad said to her, “Allah upon thee, O my sister, an thou be not sleeping, 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 worth celebrating, that the youth came in to his father and found his step-mother relating to him all they had done whilst he was away and the man said to him, “Wherefore, O youth, hast thou acted on such wise?” Said the son, “What harm have I done? I only dammed the waterway that the warm air might abide in her belly and comfort her in the cold season.” So the father knew that his son had played this trick in order to have his will of her. Hereat he flew into a fury590 and forthright divorced her, giving her the contingent dowry; and she went her ways. Then the man said in his mind, “I shall never get the better of this boy until I marry two wives and ever keep them with each other, so that he may not cozen the twain.” Now after a couple of weeks he espoused a fair woman fairer than his former and during the next month he wived with a second and cohabited with the two brides. Then quoth the youth in his mind, “My papa hath wedded two perfect beauties and here am I abiding in single blessedness. By Allah, there is no help but that I play a prank upon both of them!” Then he fell to seeking a contrivance but he could not hit upon aught for that whenever he entered the house he found his two step-mothers sitting together and thus he could not avail to address either. But his father never fared forth from home or returned to it without warning his wives and saying, “Have a care of yourselves against that son of mine. He is a whoremonger and he hath made my life distraught, for whenever I take to myself a wife he serveth some sleight upon her; then he laugheth at her and so manageth that I must divorce her.” At such times the two wives would cry, “Walláhi, an he come near us and ask us of amorous mercy, we will slap him with our slippers.” Still the man would insist, saying, “Be ye on your guard against him,” and they would reply, “We are ever on our guard.” Now one day the women said to him, “O man, our wheat is finished,” and said he, “Be ye watchful while I fare to the Bazar in our market-town which lieth hard by and fetch you the corn.” So he left them and made for the town — 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 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

590 In the text “Hamákah.”

The Eight Hundred and Thirty-fifth 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 worth celebrating, that when the father had gone forth and was making for the market-town, his son happened to meet him, and the two wives went up to the terrace wishing to see if their husband be gone or not. Now by the decree of the Decreer the man had in some carelessness forgotten his papooshes so he turned to the youth who was following him and said, “O my son, go back and bring me my shoes.” The women still looking, and the youth returned in mighty haste and hurry till he stood under the terrace, when he looked up and said, “My father hath just now charged me with a charge saying, ‘Do thou go sleep with my wives, the twain of them, and have each one of them once.’ They replied, “What, O dog, O accursed, thy father bespake thee on this wise? By Allah, indeed thou liest, O hog, O ill-omened wight.” “Wallahi,” he rejoined, “I lie not!” So he walked back till he was near his father when he shouted his loudest so as to be heard by both parties, “O my papa, O my papa, one of them or the two of them? One of them or the two of them?” The father shouted in reply, “The two, the two! Allah disappoint thee: did I say one of them or the two of them?” So the youth returned to his father’s wives and cried, “Ye have heard what my papa said. I asked him within your hearing, ‘One of them or the two of them?’ and ye heard him say, ‘Both, both.’” Now the man was speaking of his slippers, to wit, the pair; but the women understood that his saying, “the two of them” referred to his wives. So one turned to her sister spouse and said, “So it is,591 our ears heard it and the youth hath in no wise lied: let him lie with me once and once with thee even as his father bade him.” Both were satisfied herewith; but meanwhile the son stole quietly into the house and found his father’s papooshes: then he caught him up on the road and gave them to him and the man went his ways. Presently the youth returned to the house and taking one of his father’s wives lay with her and enjoyed her and she also had her joy of him; and when he had done all he wanted with her he fared forth from her to the second wife in her chamber and stretched himself beside her and toyed with her and futtered her. She saw in the son a something she had not seen in the sire, so she joyed in him and he joyed in her. Now when he had won his will of the twain and had left the house the women foregathered and began talking and saying, “By Allah, this youth hath given us both much amorous pleasure, far more than his father ever did; but when our husband shall return let us keep our secret even though he spake the words we heard: haply he may not brook too much of this thing.” So as soon as the man came back with the wheat he asked the women saying, “What befel you?” and they answered, “O Man, art thou not ashamed to say to thy son, ‘Go sleep with both thy father’s wives?’ ’Tis lucky that thou hast escaped.” Quoth he, “Never said I aught of this”; and quoth they, “But we heard thee cry, ‘The two of them.’” He rejoined, “Allah disappoint you: I forgot my papooshes and said to him, ‘Go fetch them.’ He cried out ‘One of them or the two of them?’ and I replied, ‘The two of them,’ meaning my shoes, not you.” “And we,” said they, “when he spake to us such words slippered him and turned him out and now he never cometh near us.” “Right well have ye done,” he rejoined, “’tis a fulsome fellow.” This was their case; but as regards the youth, he fell to watching and dogging his father’s path, and whenever the man left the house and went afar from it he would go in to the women who rejoiced in his coming. Then he would lie with one, and when he had won his will of her he would go to the sister-wife and tumble her. This lasted for some time, until the women said each to other, “What need when he cometh to us for each to receive him separately in her room? Let us both be in one chamber and when he visiteth us let us all three, we two and he, have mutual joyance and let him pass from one to the other.” And they agreed to this condition, unknowing the decree of Allah which was preparing to punish the twain for their abandoned wantonness. — 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

591 Arab. “Adi” which has occurred before.

The Eight Hundred and Thirty-sixth Night,

Dunyazad said to her, “Allah upon thee, O my sister, an thou be not sleeping, 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 two women agreed to partnership in iniquity with the youth their stepson. Now on the next day the man went forth and left his house for some pressing occasion and his son followed him till he saw him far distant: then the youth repaired to the two wives and found them both in one chamber. So he asked them, “Why doth not each of you go to her own apartment?” and they answered, “What use is there in that? Let us all be together and take our joy, we and thou.” So he lay between them and began to toy with them and tumble them; and roll over them and mount upon the bubbies of one and thence change seat to the other’s breasts and while so doing all were plunged in the sea of enjoyment.592 But they knew not what lurked for them in the hidden World of the Future. Presently, lo and behold! the father returned and entered the house when none of them expected him or was ware of him; and he heard their play even before he went into the chamber. Here he leant against a side-wall and privily viewed their proceedings and the lewd state they were in; and he allowed time to drag on and espied them at his ease, seeing his son mount the breasts of one woman and then shift seat to the bubbies of his other wife. After noting all this he fared quietly forth the house and sought the Wali complaining of the case; so the Chief of Police took horse and repaired with him to his home where, when the two went in, they found the three at the foulest play. The Wali arrested them one and all and carried them with elbows pinioned to his office. Here he made the youth over to the Linkman who struck his neck, and as for the two women he bade the executioner delay till nightfall and then take them and strangle them and hide their corpses underground. And lastly he commanded the public Crier go about all the city and cry; — “This be the award of high treason.” And men also relate (continued Shahrazad) the

592 This “little orgie,” as moderns would call it, strongly suggests the Egyptian origin of the tale.

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