The Perfumed Garden, by Richard Burton

Chapter i

Concerning Praiseworthy men

Learn, O Vizir (God’s blessing be upon you), that there are different sorts of men and women; that amongst these are those who are worthy of praise and those who deserve reproach.

When a meritorious man finds himself near to women, his member grows, gets strong, vigorous and hard; he is not quick to discharge, and after the trembling caused by the emission of the sperm, he is soon stiff again.

Such a man is liked and appreciated by women; this is because the woman loves the man only for the sake of coition. His member should, therefore, be of ample dimensions and length. Such a man ought to be broad in the chest, and heavy in the crupper; he should know how to regulate his emission, and be ready as to erection; his member should reach to the end of the canal of the female, and completely fill the same in all its parts. Such an one will be well loved by women, for, as the poet says:—

“I have seen women trying to find in young men

The durable qualities which grace the man of full power,

The beauty, the enjoyment, the reserve, the strength,

The full-formed member providing a lengthened coition,

A heavy crupper, a slowly coming emission,

A lightsome chest, as it were floating upon them;

The spermal ejaculation slow to arrive, so as

To furnish forth a long drawn-out enjoyment.

His member soon to be prone again for erection,

To ply the plane15 again and again and again on their vulvas,

Such is the man whose cult gives pleasure to women,

And who will ever stand high in their esteem.

Qualities which Women are Looking for in men

The tale goes, that on a certain day, Abd-el-Melik ben Merouane16, went to see Leilla, his mistress17, and put various questions to her. Amongst other things, he asked her what were the qualities which women looked for in men.

Leilla answered him: “Oh, my master, they must have cheeks like ours.” “And what besides?” said Ben Merouane. She continued: “And hairs like ours; finally they should be like to you, O prince of believers, for, surely, if a man is not strong and rich he will obtain nothing from women.”

Various Lengths of the Virile member

The virile member, to please women, must have at most a length of the breadth of twelve fingers, or three hand-breadths, and at least six fingers, or a hand and a half breadth.

There are men with members of twelve fingers, or three hand-breadths; others of ten fingers, or two and a half hands. And others measure eight fingers, or two hands. A man whose member is of less dimensions cannot please women.

Use of Perfumes for the Coition. the History of Mocailama

The use of perfumes by men as well as by women, excites to the act of copulation. The woman inhaling the perfumes employed by the man gets like into a swoon; and the use of scents has often proved a strong help to man, and assisted him in getting possession of a woman.

On this subject it is told of Mocailama,18 the imposter, the son of Kaiss (whom God may curse!), that he pretended to have the gift of prophecy, and imitated the Prophet of God (blessings and salutations to him). For which reasons he and a great number of Arabs have incurred the ire of the Almighty.

Mocailama, the son of Kaiss, the imposter, misconstrued likewise the Koran by his lies and impostures; and on the subject of a chapter of the Koran, which the angel Gabriel (Hail be to him) and brought to the Prophet (the mercy of God and hail to him), people of bad faith had gone to see Mocailama, who had told them, “To me also has the angel Gabriel19 brought a similar chapter.

He derided the chapter headed “the Elephant,”20 saying, “In this chapter of the Elephant I see the elephant. What is the elephant? What does it mean? What is this quadruped? It has a tail and a long trunk. Surely it is a creation of our God, the magnificent.”

The chapter of the Koran named the Kouter21 is also an object of his controversy. He said, “We have given you precious stones for yourself, and in preference to any other man, but take care not to be proud of them.”

Mocailama had thus perverted sundry chapters in the Koran by his lies and impostures.

He had been at this work when he heard the Prophet (the salutation and mercy of God be with him) spoken of. He heard that after he had placed his venerable hands upon a bald head, the hair had forthwith sprung up again; that when he spat into a pit, the water came in abundantly, and that the dirty water turned at once clean and good for drinking; that when he spat into an eye that was blind or obscure, the sight was at once restored to it, and when he placed his hands upon the head of a child, saying, “Live for a century,” the child lived to be a hundred years old.

When the disciples of Mocailama saw these things or heard speak of them, they came to him and said, “Have you no knowledge of Mohammed and his doings?” He replied, “I shall do better than that.”

Now, Mocailama was an enemy of God, and when he put his luckless hand on the head of someone who had not much hair, the man was at once quite bald; when he spat into a well with a scanty supply of water, sweet as it was, it was turned dirty by the will of God; if he spat into a suffering eye, that eye lost its sight at once, and when he laid his hand upon the head of an infant, saying, “Live a hundred years,” the infant died within an hour.

Observe, my brethren, what happens to those whose eyes remain closed to the light, and who are deprived of the assistance of the Almighty!

And thus acted that woman of the Beni–Temin, called Chedja et Temimia, who pretended to be a prophetess. She had heard of Mocailama, and he likewise of her.

This woman was powerful, for the Beni–Temim form a numerous tribe. She said, “Prophecy cannot belong to two persons. Either he is a prophet, and then I and my disciples will follow his laws, or I am a prophetess, and then he and his disciples will follow my laws.”

This happened after the death of the Prophet (the salutation and mercy of God be with him).

Chedja then wrote to Mocailama a letter, in which she told him, “It is not proper that two persons should at one and the same time profess prophecy; it is for one only to be a prophet. We and our disciples will meet and examine each other. We shall discuss about that which has come to us from God (the Koran), and we will follow the laws of him who shall be acknowledged as the true prophet,”

She then closed her letter and gave it to a messenger, saying to him: “Betake yourself, with this missive, to Yamama, and give it to Mocailama ben Kaiss. As for myself, I follow you, with the army.”

Next day the prophetess mounted horse with her goum22 and followed the spoor of her envoy. When the latter arrived at Mocailama’s place, he greeted him and gave him the letter.

Mocailama opened and read it, and understood its contents. He was dismayed, and began to advise with the people of his goum, one after another, but he did not see anything in their advice or in their views that could rid him of his embarrassment.

While he was in this perplexity, one of the superior men of his goum came forward and said to him. “Oh, Mocailama, calm your soul and cool your eye.23 I will give you the advice of a father to his son.”

Mocailama said to him: “Speak, and may thy words be true.”

And the other one said: “To-morrow morning erect outside the city a tent of coloured brocades, provided with silk furniture of all sorts.24 Fill the tent afterwards with a variety of different perfumes, amber, musk, and all sorts of scents, as rose, orange flowers, jonquils, jessamine, hyacinth, carnation and other plants. This done, have then placed there several gold censers filled with green aloes, ambergris, neddle25 and so on. Then fix the hangings so that nothing of these perfumes can escape out of the tent. Then, when you find the vapor strong enough to impregnate water,26 sit down on your throne, and send for the prophetess to come and see you in the tent, where she will be alone with you. When you are thus together there, and she inhales the perfumes, she will delight in the same, all her bones will be relaxed in a soft repose, and finally she will be swooning. When you see her thus far gone, ask her to grant you her favours; she will not hesitate to accord them. Having once possessed her, you will be freed of the embarrassment caused to you by her and her goum.”

Mocailama exclaimed: “You have spoken well. As God lives, your advice is good and well thought out.” And he had everything arranged accordingly.

When he saw that the perfumed vapour was dense enough to impregnate the water in the tent he sat down upon his throne and sent for the prophetess. On her arrival he gave orders to admit her into the tent; she entered and remained alone with him. He engaged her in conversation.

While Mocailama spoke to her she lost all her presence of mind, and became embarrassed and confused.

When he saw her in that state he knew that she desired cohabitation, and he said: “Come, rise and let me have possession of you; this place has been prepared for that purpose. If you like you may lie on your back, or you can place yourself on all fours, or kneel as in prayer, with your brow touching the ground, and your crupper in the air, forming a tripod.27 Whichever position you prefer, speak, and you shall be satisfied.”

The prophetess answered, “I want it done in all ways. Let the revelation of God descend upon me, O Prophet of the Almighty.”

He at once precipitated himself upon her, and enjoyed her as he liked. She then said to him, “When I am gone from here, ask my goum to give me to you in marriage.”

When she left the tent and met her disciples, they said to her “What is the result of the conference, O prophetess of God?” and she replied, “Mocailama has shown me what has been revealed to him, and I found it to be the truth, so obey him.”

Then Mocailama asked her in marriage from the goum, which was accorded to him. When the goum asked about the marriage dowry of his future wife, he told them, “I dispense you from saying that prayer ‘aceur’” (which is said at three or four o’clock). Ever from that time the Beni’Temin do not pray at that hour; and when they are asked the reason, they answer, “It is on account of our prophetess; she only knows the way to the truth.” And, in fact, they recognize no other prophet.

On this subject a poet has said —

For us a female prophet has arisen;

Her laws we follow; for the rest of mankind

The prophets that appeared were always men.28

The death of Mocailama was foretold by the prophecy of Abou Beker29 (to whom God be good). He was, in fact, killed by Zeid ben Khettab. Other people say it was done by Ouhcha, one of his disciples. God only knows whether it was Ouhcha. He himself says on this point, “I have killed in my ignorance the best of men, Haman ben Abd el Mosaleb,30 and then I killed the worst of men, Mocailama. I hope that God will pardon one of these actions in consideration of the other.”

The meaning of these words, “I have killed the best of men” is, that Ouhcha, before having yet known the prophet, had killed Hamza (to whom God be good), and having afterwards embraced Islamism, he killed Mocailama.

As regards Chedja et Temimia, she repented by God’s grace, and took to the Islamitic faith; she married one of the Prophet’s followers (God be good to her husband).

Thus finishes the story.

The man who deserves favours is in the eyes of women, the one who is anxious to please them. He must be of good presence, excel in beauty those around him, be of good shape and well-formed proportions; true and sincere in his speech with women; he must likewise be generous and brave, not vainglorious, and pleasant in conversation. A slave to his promise, he must always keep his word, ever speak the truth, and do what he has said.

The man who boasts of his relations to women, of their acquaintance and good will to him, is a dastard. He will be spoken of in the next chapter.

There is a story that once there lived a king named Mamoum,31 who had a court fool of the name of Bahloul,32 who amused the princes and Vizirs.

One day this buffoon appeared before the King, who was amusing himself. The King bade him sit down, and then asked him, turning away, “Why hast thou come, O son of a bad woman?”

Bahloul answered, “I have come to see what has come to our Lord, whom may God make victorious.”

“And what has come to thee?” replied the King, “and how art thou getting on with thy new and with thy old wife?” For Bahloul, not content with one wife, had married a second one.

“I am not happy,” he answered, “neither with the old one, nor with the new one; and moreover poverty overpowers me.”

The King said, “Can you recite any verses on this subject?” The buffoon having answered in the affirmative, Mamoum commanded him to recite those he knew, and Bahloul began as follows:—

“Poverty holds me in chains; misery torments me.

I am being scourged with all misfortunes;

HI luck has cast me in trouble and peril,

And has drawn upon me the contempt of man.

God does not favour a poverty like mine;

That is approbrious in every one’s eyes.

Misfortune and misery for a long time

Have held me tightly; and no doubt of it

My dwelling house will soon not know me more.”

Mamoum said to him, Where are you going to?”

He replied, “To God and his Prophet, O prince of the believers.”

“That is well!” said the King; “those who take refuge in God and his Prophet, and then in us, will be made welcome. But can you now tell me some more verses about your two wives, and about what comes to pass with them?”

“Certainly,” said Bahloul.

“Then let us hear what you have to say!”

Bahloul then began thus with poetical words:

“By reason of my ignorance, I have married two wives —

And why do you complain, O husband of two wives?

I said to myself, I shall be like a lamb between them;

I shall take my pleasure upon the bosoms of ray two sheep.

And I have become like a ram between two female jackals,

Days follow upon days, and nights upon nights,

And their yoke bears me down both during days and nights.

If I am kind to one, the other gets vexed.

And so I cannot escape from these two furies.

If you want to live well and with a free heart,

And with your hands unclenched, then do not marry.

If you must wed, then marry one wife only.

One alone is enough to satisfy two armies.”

When Mamoum heard these words he began to laugh, till he nearly tumbled over. Then as a proof of his kindness, he gave to Bahloul his golden robe, a most beautiful vestment.

Bahloul went in high spirits towards the dwelling of the Grand Vizir. Just then Hamdonna33 looked from the height of her palace in that direction, and saw him. She said to her negress, “By the God of the temple of Mecca! There is Bahloul dressed in a fine gold-worked robe! How can I manage to get possession of the same?”

The negress said, “Oh, my mistress, you would not know how to get hold of that robe.”

Hamdonna answered, “I have thought of a trick to do it, and I shall get the robe from him.”

“Bahloul is a sly man,” replied the negress. “People think generally that they can make fun of him; but, for God, it is he who makes fun of them. Give the idea up, mistress mine, and take care that you do not fall into the snare which you intend setting for him.”

But Hamdonna said again, “It must be done!” She then sent her negress to Bahloul, to tell him that he should come to her. He said, “By the blessing of God, to him who calls you, you shall make answer,” and went to Hamdonna.34

Hamdonna welcomed him and said: “Oh, Bahloul, I believe you come to hear me sing.” He replied. “Most certainly, oh, my mistress! She has a marvelous gift for singing,” he continued. “I also think that after having listened to my songs, you will be pleased to take some refreshments.”

“Yes,” said he. Then she began to sing admirably, so as to make people who listened die with love.

After Bahloul had heard her sing, refreshments were served; he ate and he drank. Then she said to him. “I do not know why but I fancy you would gladly take off your robe, to make me a present of it.” And Bahloul answered: “Oh, my mistress! I have sworn to give it to her to whom I have done as a man does to a woman.”

“What! you know what that is, Bahloul?” said she.

“Whether I know it?” replied he. “I, who am instructing God’s creatures in that science? It is I who make them copulate in love, who initiate them in the delights a female can give, show them how you must caress a woman, and what will excite and satisfy her. Oh, my mistress, who should know the art of coition if it is not I?”

Hamdonna was the daughter of Mamoum, and the wife of the Grand Vizir. She was endowed with the most perfect beauty; of superb figure and harmonious form. No one in her time surpassed her in grace and perfection. Heroes on seeing her became humble and submissive and looked down to the ground for fear of temptation, so many charms and perfections had God lavished on her. Those who looked steadily at her were troubled in their mind, and oh! how many heroes imperilled themselves for her sake. For this very reason Bahloul had always avoided meeting her for fear of succumbing to the temptation, and, apprehensive of his peace of mind, he had never, until then, been in her presence.

Bahloul began to converse with her. Now he looked at her and anon bent his eyes to the ground, fearful of not being able to command his passion. Hamdonna burnt with desire to have the robe, and he would not give it up without being paid for it.

“What price do you demand,” she asked. To which he replied, “Coition, O apple of my eye.”

“You know what that is, O Bahloul?” said she.

“By God,” he cried; “no man knows women better than I; they are the occupation of my life. No one has studied all their concerns more than I. I know what they are fond of; for learn, oh, lady mine, that men choose different occupations according to their genius and their bent. The one takes, the other gives; this one sells, the other buys. My only thought is of love and of the possession of beautiful women. I heal those that are lovesick, and carry a solace to their thirsting vaginas.”

Hamdonna was surprised at his words and the sweetness of his language. “Could you recite me some verses on this subject?” she asked.

“Certainly,” he answered. “Very well, O Bahloul, let me hear what you have to say.”

Bahloul recited as follows:—

“Men are divided according to their affairs and doings;

Some are always in spirits and joyful, others in tears.

There are those whose life is restless and full of misery,

While, on the contrary, others are steeped in good fortune.

Always in luck’s happy way, and favoured in all things.

I alone am indifferent to all such matters.

What care I for Turkomans, Persians, and Arabs?

My whole ambition is in love and coition with women,

No doubt nor mistake about that!

If my member is without vulva, my state becomes frightful,

My heart then burns with a fire which cannot be quenched.

Look at my member erect! There it is — admire its beauty!

It calms the heat of love and quenches the hottest fires

By its movement in and out between your thighs.

Oh, my hope and my apple, oh, noble and generous lady.

If one time will not suffice to appease thy fire,

I shall do it again, so as to give satisfaction;

No one may reproach thee, for all the world does the same.

But if you choose to deny me, then send me away!

Chase me away from thy presence without fear or remorse!

Yet bethink thee, and speak and augment not my trouble,

But, in the name of God, forgive me and do not reproach me.

While I am here let thy words be kind and forgiving.

Let them not fall upon me like sword-blades, keen and cutting!

Let me come to you and do not repel me.

Let me come to you like one that brings drink to the thirsty;

Hasten and let my hungry eyes look at thy bosom.

Do not withhold from me love’s joys, and do not be bashful,

Give yourself up to me — I shall never cause you a trouble.

Even were you to fill me with sickness from head to foot.

I shall always remain as I am, and you as you are.

Knowing, that we are the servants, and you are the mistress.

Then shall our love be veiled? It shall be hidden for all time.

For I keep it a secret and I shall be mute and muzzled.

It’s by the will of God, that everything is to happen.

He has filled me With love, and today I am in ill-luck.”

While Hamdonna was listening she nearly swooned, and set herself to examine the member of Bahloul, which stood erect like a column between his thighs. Now she said to herself: “I shall give myself up to him,” and now “No I will not.” During this uncertainty she felt a yearning for pleasure between her thighs, and Eblis made flow from her natural parts a moisture, the fore-runner of pleasure.35 She then no longer combated her desire to cohabit with him, and reassured herself by the thought: “If this Bahloul, after having had his pleasure with me, should divulge it no one will believe his words.”

She requested him to divest himself of his robe and to come into her room, but Bahloul replied. “I shall not undress till I have stated my desire, O apple of my eye.”

Then Hamdonna rose, trembling with excitement for what was to follow; she undid her girdle and left the room, Bahloul following her and thinking: “Am I really awake or is this a dream?” He walked after her till she had entered her boudoir. Then she threw herself on a couch of silk, which was rounded on the top like a vault, lifted her clothes up over her thighs, trembling all over, and all the beauty which God had given her was in Bahloul’s arms.

Bahloul examined the belly of Hamdonna, round like an elegant cupola, his eyes dwelt upon a navel which was like a pearl in a golden cup; and descending lower down there was a beautiful piece of nature’s workmanship, and the whiteness and shape of her thighs surprised him.

Then he pressed Hamdonna in a passionate embrace, and soon saw the animation leave her face; she seemed to be almost unconscious. She had lost her head; and holding Bahloul’s member in her hands excited and fired him more and more.

Bahloul said to her: “Why do I see you so troubled and beside yourself?” And she answered: “Leave me, O son of the debauched woman! By God, I am like a mare in heat, and you continue to excite me still more with your words, and what words! They would set any woman on fire, if she was the purest creature in the world. You will insist in making me succumb by your talk and your verses.”

Bahloul answered: “Am I then not like your husband?” “Yes,” she said, “but a woman gets in heat on account of the man, as a mare on account of the horse, whether the man be the husband or not; with this difference, however, that the mare gets lusty only at certain periods of the year, and only then receives the stallion, while a woman can always be made rampant by words of love.36 Both these dispositions have met within me, and, as my husband is absent, make haste, for he will soon be back.”

Bahloul replied: “Oh, my mistress, my loins hurt me and prevent me mounting upon you. You take the man’s position, and then take my robe and let me depart.

Then he laid himself down in the position the woman takes in receiving a man; and his verge was standing up like a column.

Hamdonna threw herself upon Bahloul, took his member between her hands and began to look at it. She was astonished at its size, strength and firmness, and cried: “Here we have the ruin of all women and the cause of many troubles. O Bahloul! I never saw a more beautiful dart than yours!” Still she continued keeping hold of it, and rubbed its head against the lips of her vulva till the latter part seemed to say: “O member, come into me.”

Then Bahloul inserted his member into the vagina of the Sultan’s daughter, and she, settling down upon his engine, allowed it to penetrate entirely into her furnace till nothing more could be seen of it, not the slightest trace, and she said. “How lascivious has God made woman, and how indefatigable after her pleasures.” She then gave herself up to an up-and-down dance, moving her bottom like a riddle; to the right and left, and forward and backward; never was there such a dance as this.

The Sultan’s daughter continued her ride upon Bahloul’s member till the moment of enjoyment arrived, and the attraction37 of the vulva seemed to pump the member as though by suction: just as an infant sucks the teat of the mother. The acme of the enjoyment came to both simultaneously, and each took the pleasure with avidity.

Then Hamdonna seized the member in order to withdraw it, and slowly, slowly she made it come out, saying: “This is the deed of a vigorous man.” Then she dried it and her own private parts with a silken kerchief and arose.

Bahloul also got up and prepared to depart, but she said, “And the robe?”

He answered, “Why, O mistress! You have been riding me, and still want a present?”

“But,” said she, “did you not tell me that you could not mount me on account of the pains in your loins?”

“It matters but little,” said Bahloul. “The first time it was your turn, the second will be mine, and the price for it will be the robe, and then I will go.”

Hamdonna thought to herself, “As he began he may now go on; afterwards he will go away.”

So she laid herself down, but Bahloul, “I shall not lie with you unless you undress entirely.”

Then she undressed until she was quite naked, and Bahloul fell into an ecstasy in seeing the beauty and perfection of her form. He looked at her magnificent thighs and rebounding navel, at her belly vaulted like an arch, her plump breasts standing out like hyacinths. Her neck was like a gazelle’s, the opening of her mouth like a ring, her lips fresh and red like a gory sabre. Her teeth might have been taken for pearls and her cheeks for roses. Her eyes were black and well slit, and her eyebrows of ebony resembled the rounded flourish of the noun38 traced by the hand of a skilful writer. Her forehead was like the full moon in the night.

Bahloul began to embrace her, to suck her lips and to kiss her bosom; he drew her fresh saliva and bit her thighs. So he went on till she was ready to swoon, and could scarcely stammer, and her eyes got veiled. Then he kissed her vulva, and she moved neither hand nor foot. He looked lovingly upon the secret parts of Hamdonna, beautiful enough to attract all eyes with their purple centre.39

Bahloul cried, “Oh, the temptation of man!” and still he bit her and kissed her till the desire was roused to its full pitch. Her sighs came quicker, and grasping his member with her hand she made it disappear in her vagina.

Then it was he who moved hard, and she responded hotly; the overwhelming pleasure simultaneously calmed their fervour.

Then Bahloul got off her, dried his pestle and her mortar, and prepared to retire. But Hamdonna said, “Where is the robe? You mock me, O Bahloul.” He answered, “O my mistress, I shall only part with it for a consideration. You have had your dues and I mine. The first time was for you, the second time for me, now the third time shall be for the robe.”

This said, he took it off, folded it, and put it in Hamdonna’s hands, who, having risen, laid down again on the couch and said, “Do what you like!”

Forthwith Bahloul threw himself upon her, and with one push completely buried his member in her vagina; then he began to work as with a pestle, and she to move her bottom, until both again did flow over at the same time.

Then he rose from her side, left his robe, and went. The negress said to Hamdonna, “O my mistress, is it not as I have told you? Bahloul is a bad man, and you could not get the better of him. They consider him as a subject for mockery, but, before God, he is making fun of them. Why would you not believe me?”

Hamdonna turned to her and said, “Do not tire me with your remarks. It came to pass what had to come to pass, and on the opening of each vulva is inscribed the name of the man who is to enter40 it, right or wrong, for love or for hatred. If Bahloul’s name had not been inscribed on my vulva he would never have got into it, had he offered me the universe with all it contains.”

As they were thus talking there came a knock at the door. The negress asked who was there, and in answer the voice of Bahloul said, “It is I.” Hamdonna, in doubt as to what the buffoon wanted to do, got frightened. The negress asked Bahloul what he wanted, and received the reply, “Bring me a little water.” She went out of the house with a cup full of water. Bahloul drank, and then let the cup slip out of his hands, and it was broken. The negress shut the door upon Bahloul, who sat himself down on the threshold.

The buffoon being thus close to the door, the Vizir, Hamdonna’s husband, arrived, who said to him, “Why do I see you here, O Bahloul?” And he answered, “O my lord, I was passing through this street, when I was overcome by a great thirst. A negress came and brought me a cup of water. The cup slipped from my hands and got broken. Then our Lady Hamdonna took my robe, which the Sultan our Master had given me as indemnification.”

Then said the Vizir, “Let him have his robe.” Hamdonna at this moment came out, and her husband asked her whether it was true that she had taken the robe in payment for the cup. Hamdonna then cried, beating her hands together, “What have you done, O Bahloul?” He answered, “I have talked to your husband the language of my folly; talk to him, you, the language of thy wisdom.” And she, enraptured with the cunning he had displayed, gave him his robe back, and he departed.

15 Note of the edition of 1876. The Arab word signifies, “He flies, he works all around, he planes roundly through space.” This is a poetical image, difficult to render in translation.

16 Abd-el-Melik ben Merouane was Kalif of Damascus; he reigned over Arabia, Syria, and part of the Orient. He lived about the year 76, for history reports that in that year he caused money to be coined with the legend, “God is unique, God is alone.” His name is besides found on some coins older than from the year 75.

17 Leilla is a poetess, who lived at the time of the Kalif, Abd-el-Melik, the son of Merouane. She was called Akhegalia, as belonging to an Arab family named “the children of Akhegal.” She is celebrated for the love she inspired Medjenoun with, and which was the subject of many romances.

18 This Mocailama was one of the strongest competitors of Mohammed. He sprang from the tribe of Honcifa, in the province of Yamama. He was the head of a deputation sent by his tribe to the prophet Mohammed, and embraced Islamism in the year 9 of the Hegira.

19 This angel plays a great part in the Koran, and consequently in the Oriental books. He conveyed to Mohammed the heavenly revelations. He forms part of that order of spirits which the Mussulmans call “Mokarrabine,” which means approaching nearest to God.

20 There is in fact a chapter of the Koran with the heading “The Elephant.” This chapter, the 105th, originated with a victory of the Prophet over an Ethiopian prince; the white Elephant, on which the prince was mounted, having knelt down as a sign of adoration at the sight of Mecca. Hence the name of the chapter, which perpetuates the name of this victory. It was this name that Mocailama tries to turn into ridicule, by pretending to see only the name of an animal, and not to understand its real sense.

21 The title of Chapter 108 of the Koran, “el Kouter,” signifies “generosity,” “liberality.” Mocailama pretended in his controversy that all the articles which the first verse of the chapter declares to have been given to Mohammed had been previously placed at his disposition, so that he might reserve for himself the best.

22 Goum. — Meeting of cavaliers, who form an escort, some times representing the war-forces of great Arab chiefs. Perhaps in the sense used by the author the word may be rendered as disciples.

23 One hears frequently, “May God refresh his eyes,” which means: “May God by contentment refresh his eyes, which is hot with tears.”

24 It will, perhaps, not be useless to observe here that among the nomadical Arabs the custom obtains that the man who wants to cohabit with his wife erects a tent oyer her. Hence a man who is going to be married is called “bani,” building; and of a man who has just been married it is said, “Bena ala Ahlihi,” which means: “He has built over his wife.”

25 The “nedde” is a mixture of various perfumes, amongst which benzoin and amber predominate. This mixture, which is black, is formed into a small cylinder. It is burnt upon coals, or like the pastils of the serail by lighting one end. According to some authors, “neddle” is only a preparation of amber.

26 That is to say that the vapours of the perfumes have been long enough in the place and thick enough to communicate their odour to water placed in the tent. The text says only “when the water shall be mixed with the fumes.”

27 To understand this passage properly it must be known that the Arabs, when praying, kneel on the ground with the face bent low down and the hands on the knees. The tripod is then formed by the two knees and the head touching the ground. It is easy to see that this position causes the posterior part of the body to project very much backwards. The way how to practice cohabitation thus is stated in the 69th manner, chapter vi. “Hoc mihi tradidit Deus: foemines Deus condidit rimosas, virosque iis dedit maritos, qui mentulas in psas immittunt; eas que deinde simul ac volunt retrahunt: quo (acto illae catulos nobis pariunt.”

28 This history of the encounter between Mocailama and Chedja, whose proper name was Fedja bent el Harents ben Souard, is reproduced in the work of Abou Djaferi Mohammed ben Djerir el Teberi, where it is told with the minutest particulars, and bears the signs of a veritable religious truth.

29 Abou Beker is the father of Aicha, the wife of Mohammed. He followed the latter in the year 11 of the Hegira. By his and Omar’s authority, a great many Mussulmans were turned from their design to apostasize. He was the first Kalif, and remained in power, in spite of the pretensions of the partisans of All Mohammed’s son-inlaw, who maintained that the Prophet had long before his death assigned Ali as his successor.

30 These facts concur with the historical ones. Hamza, the uncle of the Prophet, was certainly killed in the battle of Ohod, in the year 4 of the Hegira, by a negro, Ouhcha, who afterwards killed Mocailama.

31 Abdallah ben Namoum, one of the sons of Haroun er Kachid. Having for a long time made war upon his brother el Amine for the empire, and the latter having been vanquished and killed in a battle near Bagdad, el Mamoum was unanimously proclaimed Kalif in the year 178 of the Hegira. He was one of the most distinguished Abyssidian rulers with respect to science, wisdom, and goodness.

32 The word Bahloul, of Persian origin, signifies a man that laughs, derides; a knave, a sort of fool in the Orient.

33 Hamdona from the Arabic root hamd, which means to praise; hence Ahmed, the most praiseworthy. From the same root comes the name of Mohammed, corrupted into Mahomet.

34 “To him who calls you make answer.” This sentence is taken from the Hadits, or Traditions of Mohammed. Sometimes it is used in conversation in the same sense as above, but its true meaning is obscure. The words “By the blessing of God” in the same sentence is a form of acceptance or consent.

35 The words “Eblis made flow a moisture” (djera Eblis menha madjera el dem) is an Arabian idiom, expressing that a woman is getting lusty; the sexual parts get moist. Eblis is a rebellious angel who refused to bow down before Adam when God ordered him to do so. Sometimes Eblis is also used as a gen» eral name for the devil, Satan, demon.

36 Rabelais says on the subject of women who, against the laws of nature, go on receiving the embraces of men after having conceived: “And if anybody should blame them for allowing men to explore them when full, considering that beasts in the like case never endure the male to enter, they will say that those are beasts; but they are women, making use of their right of superfetation.”

37 The word djadeba (attraction) comes from an Arab root, djedeb, which means “attract, drain, pump.” It appears several times in this work, and I believe it corresponds with a peculiarity found in some favoured woman called “nut-cracker.”

38 Noun is a letter of the Arabian alphabet corresponding to our N. Its half-circular form explains the comparison made by the author with reference to arched eyebrows.

39 The word, which really means “biting,” is used for all sorts of caresses in which the lips, the teeth, and even the tongue take part. It is, therefore, wrong to conclude from this passage that Bahloul indulged in the exercise of cunnilinge.

40 These words, “each vulva, etc.” (Koul ferdj mektoub ali esm nakahon) allude to the phrase taken from the traditions left by Mohammed and often repeated by Mussulmans, “Each man has his destiny written on his forehead, and no one can take it off.”

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