The Perfumed Garden, by Richard Burton

Chapter xi

On the Deceits and Treacheries of Women

Know, O Vizir (to whom God be good!) that the stratagems of women are numerous and ingenious. Their tricks will deceive Satan himself, for God, the Highest, has said (Koran, chap, xii., verse 28), that the deceptive faculties of women are great, and he has likewise said (Koran chap, vi., verse 38), that the stratagems of Satan are weak. Comparing the word of God as to the ruses of Satan and woman, contained in those two verse, it is easy to see how great these latter ones are.164

Story of a Deceived Husband being Convicted himself of Infidelity

It is related that a man fell in love with a woman of great beauty, and possessing all perfections imaginable. He had made many advances to her, which were repulsed; then he had endeavoured to seduce her by rich presents, which were likewise declined. He lamented, complained, and was prodigal with his money in order to conquer her, but to no purpose, and he grew lean as a spectre. This lasted for some time when he made the acquaintance of an old woman, whom he took into his confidence, complaining bitterly about it. She said to him, “I shall help you, please God.” Forthwith she made her way to the house of the woman, in order to get an interview with her; but on arriving there the neighbors told her that she could not get in, because the house was guarded by a ferocious bitch, which did not allow anyone to come in or depart, and in her malignity always flew at the face of people.

Hearing this, the old woman rejoiced, and said to herself, “I shall succeed, please God.” She then went home, and filled a basket with bits of meat. Thus provided she returned to the woman’s house, and went in.

The bitch, on seeing her, rose to spring at her; but she produced the basket with its contents, and showed it her. As soon as the brute saw the viands, it showed its satisfaction by the movements of its tail and nostrils. The old woman putting down the basket before it, spoke to it as follows, “Eat, O my sister. Your absence has been painful to me; I did not know what had become of you, and I have looked for you a long time. Appease your hunger!”

While the animal was eating, and she stroked its back, the mistress of the house came to see who was there, and was not a little surprised to see the bitch, which would never suffer anybody to come near her, so friendly with a strange person. She said, “O old woman, how is it that you know our dog?” The old woman gave no reply, but continued to caress the animal, and utter lamentations.

Then said the mistress of the house to her, “My heart aches to see you thus. Tell me the cause of your sorrow.”

“This bitch,” said the woman, “was formerly a woman, and my best friend. One fine day she was invited with me to a wedding; she put on her best clothes, and adorned herself with her finest ornaments. We then went together. On our way we were accosted by a man, who at her sight was seized with the most violent love; but she would not listen to him. Then he offered brilliant presents, which she also declined. This man, meeting her some days later, said to her, ‘Surrender yourself to my passion, or else I shall conjure God to change you into a bitch.’ She answered, ‘Conjure as much as you like.’ The man then called the maledictions of heaven upon that woman, and she was changed into a bitch, as you see here.”

At these words the mistress of the house began to cry and lament, saying, “O, my mother! I am afraid that I shall meet the same fate as this bitch.” “Why, what have you done,” said the old woman. The other answered, “There is a man who has loved me since a long time, and I have refused to accede to his desires, nor did I listen to him, though the saliva was dried up in his mouth by his supplications; and in spite of the large expenses he had gone to in order to gain my favour I have always answered him that I should not consent, and now, O my mother, I am afraid he might call to God to curse me.”

“Tell me how to know this man,” said the old woman, “for fear that you might become like this animal.”

“But how will you be able to find him, and whom could I send to him?” The old woman answered,

“Me, daughter of mine! I shall render you this service, and find him.” “Make haste, O my mother, and see him before he conjures God against me.” “I shall find him still this day,” answered the old woman, and, please God, you shall meet him tomorrow.”

With this, the old woman took her leave, went on the same day to the man who had made her his confidant, and told him of the meeting arranged for the next day.

So the next day the mistress of the house went to the old woman, for they had agreed that the rendezvous should take place there. When she arrived at the house she waited for some time, but the lover did not come. No doubt he had been prevented from making his appearance by some matter of importance.

The old woman reflecting upon this mischance, thought to herself, “There is no might nor power but in God, the Great.” But she could not imagine what might have kept him away. Looking at the woman, she saw that she was agitated, and it was apparent that she wanted coition hotly. She got more and more restless, and presently asked, “Why does he not come?” The old woman made answer, “O my daughter, some serious affair must have interfered, probably necessitating a journey. But I shall help you under these circumstances.” She then put on her melahfa,165 and went to look for the young man. But it was to no purpose, as she could not get to hear anything about him.

Still continuing her search, the old woman was thinking, “This woman is at this moment eagerly coveting a man. Why not try today another young man, who might calm her ardour? To-morrow I shall find the right one.”

As she was thus walking and thinking she met a young man of very pleasing exterior. She saw at once, that he was a fit lover, and likely to help her out of her perplexity, and she spoke to him, “O my son, if I were to set you in connection with a lady, beautiful, graceful and perfect, would you make love to her?” “If your words are truth, I would give to you this golden dinar!” said he. The old woman, quite enchanted, took the money, and conducted him to the house.

Now, it so happened that this young man was the husband of the lady, which the old woman did not know till she had brought him, and the way she found it out was this: She went first into the house and said to the lady, “I have not been able to find the slightest trace of your lover; but failing him, I have brought you somebody to quench your fire for today. We will save the other for tomorrow. God has inspired to do so.”

The lady then went to the window to take a look at him whom the old woman wanted to bring to her, and, getting sight of him, she recognised her husband, just on the point of entering the house.166 She did not hesitate, but hastily donning her melahfa, she went straight to meet him, and striking him in the face, she exclaimed, “O! enemy of God and of yourself, what are you doing here? You surely came with the intention to commit adultery. I have been suspecting you for a long time, and waited here every day, while I was sending out the old woman to enveigle you to come in. This day I have found you out, and denial is of no use. And you always told me that you were not a rake! I shall demand a divorce this very very day, now I know your conduct!” The husband, believing that his wife spoke the truth, remained silent and abashed. Learn from this the deceitfulness of woman, and what she is capable of.

Story of the Lover against his will

A story is told of a certain woman who was desperately in love with one of her neighbours, whose virtue and piety were well known. She declared to him her passion; but, finding all her advances constantly repulsed, in spite of all her wiles, she resolved to have her satisfaction nevertheless, and this is the way she went to work her purpose:

One evening she apprised her negress that she intended to set a snare for that man, and the negress, by her order, left the street door open; then in the middle of the night, she called the negress and gave her the following instructions: “Go and knock with this stone at our street door as hard as you can, without taking any notice of the cries which I shall utter, or the noise I make; as soon as you hear the neighbor opening his door, come back and knock the same way at the inner door.167 Take care that he does not see you, and come in at once if you observe somebody coming.”

The negress executed this order punctually. Now, the neighbour was by nature a compassionate man, always disposed to assist people in distress, and his help was never asked in vain. On hearing the noise of the blows struck at the door and the cries of his neighbour, he asked his wife what this might mean, and she replied, “It is our neighbour so and so, who is attacked in her house by thieves.” He went in great haste to her aid; but scarcely had he entered the house when the negress closed the door upon him. The woman seized him, and uttered loud screams. He protested, but the mistress of the house put, without any more ado, this condition before him. “If you do not consent to do with me so and so, I shall tell that you have come in here to violate me, and hence all this noise.” “The will of God be done!” said the man, “nobody can go against Him, nor escape from His might.” He then tried sundry subterfuges in order to escape, but in vain, for the mistress of the house recommended to scream and make a row, which brought a good many people to the spot. He saw that his reputation would be compromised if he continued his resistance, and surrendered, saying, “Save me, and I am ready to satisfy you!” “Go into this chamber and close the door behind you,” said the lady of the house, “if you want to leave this house with honour, and do not attempt to escape unless you wish those people to know that you are the author of all this commotion.” When he saw how determined she was to have her way, he did as she had told him. She, on her part, went out to the neighbors that had come to help her, and giving them some kind of explanation, dismissed them. They went away condoling with her.

Left alone, she shut the doors and returned to her unwilling lover. She kept him in sequestration for a whole week, and only set him free after she had completely drained him.

Learn from this the deceitfulness of women, and what they are capable of.

Story of a man who was made a Cuckold by his Ass

The story goes that a man, a street porter who was married, had an ass which he employed in his business. His wife was very fat and corpulent, and had a very plump, deep, and excessively large vulva. Her husband, on the contrary, was furnished with a verge which was both little and soft. She simply held him in contempt, in the first place on account of his weak member, and then because he but rarely fulfilled his conjugal duty. He was, in fact not vigorous enough for that work; whilst she, burning for the coitus, would never have had enough of it, not even if she could have revelled in it day and night; in fact, no man could have satisfied her, and she would have coped with the whole race of males. If she had contrived to lay her hand upon a man of metal she would not have allowed him to draw his member out of her vulva, no, not for a moment.

This woman brought every night the ass its fodder. As she often kept her husband waiting, he would say when she returned: “What made you stay so long?” And she answered: “I have sat myself down by the side of the ass, and saw it take its meal; it appeared to be so tired that I was sorry for it.” This went on for some time, and the husband had no suspicion of anything being wrong. Moreover, he returned home every evening tired with his day’s work, and went to lie down directly, leaving it to his wife to look after the ass. She, however, had become very intimate with the animal in the following manner (how abominable God had made her!). When the time came for feeding him she took off his pack-saddle and placed it on her own back, buckling the girths round her body. Then she took a little of his dung and of his urine, mixed them together, and rubbed the entrance of her vulva with it. This done, she placed herself on her hands and feet within range of the ass, and took position, her vulva facing him. He would approach, smell at her vulva, and thinking to have a beast of burden before him, spring upon her. As soon as he was thus placed, she seized his member with one of her hands and introduced its head into her vulva. The vulva got more and more enlarged, so that the member, penetrating little by little, finished with being lodged in its full length, and brought on the crisis of the pleasure.

So the woman took her pleasure with the ass for a long time. But one night when her husband had been asleep for some time he awoke suddenly, and felt a desire to caress his wife. Not finding her by his side, he rose very softly and went to the stable. What was his astonishment when he saw her under the ass, the latter working up and down her croup. “What does this mean, O you so-and-so?” he cried. But she quickly disengaged herself from under the ass, and said, “May God curse you for not pitying your ass!” But, come, what does all this mean?” the husband repeated. “That,” said the woman, “when I came and brought his fodder he refused to eat; I saw by that how tired he was. I passed my hand over his back and his back nearly gave way under him. I then thought his pack-saddle was too heavy and in order to make sure of it, I tried it on my back and found it very heavy. Now I know the reason of his excessive fatigue. Believe me, if you want to preserve your ass, do not work him so hard.”

Learn from this the deceitfulness of women, and what they are capable of.

A Larceny of Love

The following story is told of two women who inhabited the same house. The husband of one of them had a member long, thick and hard; while the husband of the other had, on the contrary, that organ little, insignificant and soft. The first one rose always pleasant and smiling; the other one got up in the morning in tears and vexation.

One day the two women were together, and spoke of their husbands.

The first one said, “I live in the greatest happiness. My bed is a couch of bliss. When my husband and I are together in it it is the witness of our supreme pleasure; of our kisses and embraces, of our joys and amorous sighs. When my husband’s member is in my vulva it stops it up completely; it stretches itself out until it touches the bottom of my vagina, and it does not take its leave until it has visited every corner — threshold, vestibule, ceiling and centre. When the crisis arrived it takes its position in the very centre of the vagina, which it floods with tears. It is in this way we quench our fire and appease our passion.”

The second answered, “I live in the greatest grief; our bed is a bed of misery, and our coition is a union of fatigue and trouble, of hate and malediction. When my husband’s member enters my vulva there is a space left open, and it is so short it cannot touch the bottom. When it is in erection it is twisted all ways, and cannot procure any pleasure. Feeble and meagre, it can scarcely ejaculate a drop, and its service gives no pleasure to any woman.”

Such was the almost daily conversation which the two women had together.

It happened, however, that the woman who had so much cause for complaint thought in her heart how delightful it would be to commit adultery with the other one’s husband. She thought to herself, “It must be brought about, if it be only for once.” Then she watched her opportunity until her husband had to be absent for a night from home.

In the evening she made preparation to get her project carried out, and perfumed herself with sweet scents and essences. When the night was advanced to about a third of its duration, she entered noiselessly the chamber in which the other woman and her husband were sleeping, and groped her way to their couch. Finding that there was a free space between them, she slipped in. There was scant room, but each of the spouses thought it was the pressure of the other, and gave way a little; and so she contrived to glide between them. She then quietly waited until the other woman was in a profound sleep, and then, approaching the husband, she brought her flesh in contact with his. He awoke, and smelling the perfumed odours which she exhaled, he was in erection at once. He drew her towards him, but she said in a low voice, “Let me go to sleep!” He answered, “Be quiet, and let me do! The children will not hear any thing!” She then pressed close up to him, so as to get him farther away from his wife, and said, “Do as you like, but do not waken the children, who are close by.” She took these precautions for fear that his wife should wake up.

The man, however, roused by the odour of the perfumes, drew her ardently towards himself. She was plump and mellow, and her vulva projecting. He mounted upon her and said, “Take it (the member) in your hand, as usual!” Se took it, and was astonished at its size and magnificence, then introduced it into her vulva.

The man, however, observed that his member had been taken in entirely, which he had never been able to do with his wife. The woman, on her part, found that she had never received such a benefit from her husband.

The man quite surprised. He worked his will upon her a second and third time, but his astonishment only increased. At last he got off her, and stretched himself along side her.

As soon as the woman found that he was asleep, she slipped out, left the chamber, and returned to her own. In the morning, the husband, on rising, said to his wife, “Your embraces have never seemed so sweet to me as last night, and I never breathed such sweet perfumes as those you exhaled.” “What embraces and what perfumes are you speaking of? asked the wife. “I have not a particle of perfume in the house.” She called him storyteller, and assured him that he must have been dreaming. He then began to consider whether he might not have deceived himself, and agreed with his wife that he must actually have dreamed it all.

Appreciate, after this, the deceitfulness of women, and what they are capable of.

Story of the Woman with two Husbands

It is related that a man, after having lived for some time in a country to which he had gone, became desirous of getting married. He addressed himself to an old woman who had experience in such matters, asking her whether she could find him a wife, and who replied, “I can find you a girl gifted with great beauty and perfect in shape and comeliness. She will surely suit you, for, besides having these qualities, she is virtuous and pure. Only mark, her business occupies her all the day, but during the night she will be yours completely. It is for this reason she keeps herself reserved, as she apprehends that a husband might not agree to this.”

The man replied, “This girl need not be afraid. I, too am not at liberty during the day, and I only want her for the night.”

He then asked her in marriage. The old woman brought her to him, and he liked her. From that time they lived together, observing the conditions under which they had come together.

This man had an intimate friend whom he introduced to the old woman who had arranged his marriage according to the conditions mentioned, and which friend had requested the man to ask her to do him the same service. They went to the old woman and solicited her assistance in the matter. “This is a very easy matter,” she said. “I know a girl of great beauty, who will dissipate your heaviest troubles. Only the business she is carrying on keeps her at work all night, but she will be your friend all day long.” “This shall be no hindrance,” replied the friend. She then brought the young girl to him. He was well pleased with her, and married her on the conditions agreed upon.

But before long the two friends found out that the two wives which the old harridan had procured for them were only one woman.

Appreciate, after this, the deceitfulness of women, and what they are capable of.

Story of Bahia

It is related that a married woman of the name of Bahia (splendid beauty) had a lover whose relations to her were soon a mystery to no one, for which reason she had to leave him. Her absence affected him to that degree that he fell ill, because he could not see her.

One day he went to see one of his friends, and said to him, “Oh, my brother! an ungovernable desire has seized me, and I can wait no more. Could you accompany me on a visit I am going to pay to Bahia, the well-beloved of my heart?” The friend declared himself willing.

The next day they mounted their horses; and after a journey of two days, they arrived near the place where Bahia dwelt. There they stopped. The lover said to his friend, “Go and see the people that live about here, and ask for their hospitality, but take good care not to divulge our intentions, and try in particular to find the servant-girl of Bahia, to whom you can say that I am here, and whom you will charge with the message to her mistress that I would like to see her.” He then described the servant-maid to him.

The friend went, met the servant, and told her all that was necessary. She went at once to Bahia, and repeated to her what she had been told.

Bahia sent to the friend the message, “Inform him who sent you that the meeting will take place to-night, near such and such a tree, at such and such an hour.”

Returning to the lover, the friend communicated to him the decision of Bahia about the rendezvous. At that hour that had been fixed, the two friends were near to the tree. They had not to wait long for Bahia. As soon as her lover saw her coming, he rushed to meet her, kissed her, pressed her to his heart, and they began to embrace and caress each other.

The lover said to her, “O Bahia, is there no way to enable us to pass the night together without rousing the suspicions of your husband?” She answered, “Oh, before God! if it will give you pleasure, the means to contrive this are not wanting.” “Hasten,” said her lover, “to let me know how it may be done.” She then asked him, “Your friend here, is he devoted to you, and intelligent?” He answered, “Yes.” She then rose, took off her garments, and handed them to the friend, who gave her his, in which she then dressed herself; then she made the friend put on her clothes. The lover said, surprised “What are you going to do?” “Be silent,” she answered, and, addressing herself to the friend, she gave him the following explanations: “Go to my house and lie down in my bed. After a third part of the night is passed, my husband will come to you and ask you for the pot into which they milk the camels. You will then take up the vase, but you must keep it in your hands until he takes it from you. This is our usual way. Then he will go and return with the pot filled with milk, and say to you, ‘Here is the pot!’ But you must not take it from him until he has repeated the words. Then take it out of his hands, or let him put it on the ground himself. After that, you will not see anything more of him till the morning. After the pot has been put on the ground, and my husband is gone, drink the third part of the milk, and replace the pot on the ground.”

The friend went, observed all these recommendations, and when the husband returned with the pot full of milk he did not take it out of his hands until he had said twice, “Here is the pot!” Unfortunately he withdrew his hands when the husband was going to set it down, the latter thinking the pot was being held, let it go, and the vase fell upon the ground and was broken. The husband, in the belief that he was speaking to his wife,, “What have you been thinking of?” and beat him with it till it broke; then took another, and continued to batter him stroke on stroke enough to break his back. The mother and sister of Bahia came running to the spot to tear her from his hands. He had fainted. Luckily they succeeded in getting the husband away.

The mother of Bahia soon came back, and talked to him so long that he was fairly sick of her talk; but he could do nothing but be silent and weep. At last she finished, saying, “Have confidence in God, and obey your husband. As for your lover, he cannot come now to see and console you, but I will send in your sister to keep you company.” And so she went away.

She did send, indeed, the sister of Bahia, who began to console her and curse him who had beaten her. He felt his heart warming towards her, for he had seen that she was of resplendant beauty, endowed with all perfections, and like the full moon in the night. He placed his hand over her mouth, so as to prevent her from speaking and said to her, O lady! I am not what you think. Your sister Bahia is at present with her lover, and I have run into danger to do her a service. Will you not take me under your protection? If you denounce me, your sister will be covered with shame; as for me, I have done my part, but may the evil fall back upon you!”

The young girl then began to tremble like a sheaf, in thinking of the consequences of her sister’s doings, and then beginning to laugh, surrendered herself to the friend who proved himself so true. They passed the remainder of the night in bliss, kisses, embraces, and mutual enjoyment. He found her the best of the best. In her arms he forgot the beating he had received, and they did not cease to play, toy, and make love till daybreak.

He then returned to his companion. Bahia asked him how he had fared, and he said to her, “Ask your sister. By my faith! she knows it all! Only know, that we have passed the night in mutual pleasures, kissing and enjoy ing ourselves until now.”

Then they changed clothes again, each one taking his own, and the friend told Bahia all the particulars of what had happened to him.

Appreciate, after this, the deceitfulness of women, and what they are capable of.

The Story of the man who was an Expert in Stratagems, and was Duped by a Woman

A story is told of a man who had studied all the ruses and all the stratagems invented by women for the deception of men, and pretended that no woman could dupe him.

A woman of great beauty, and full of charms, got to heart of her conceit. She, therefore, prepared for him in the medjeles168 a collation, in which several kinds of wine figured, and nothing was wanting in the way of rare and choice viands. Then she sent for him, and invited him to come and see her. As she was famed for her great beauty and the rare perfection of her person, she had roused his desires, and he hastened to avail himself of her invitation.

She was dressed in her finest garments, and exhaled the choicest perfumes, and assuredly whoever had thus seen her would have been troubled in his mind. And thus, when he was admitted into her presence, he was fascinated by her charms, and plunged into admiration by her marvellous beauty.

This woman, however, appeared to be preoccupied on account of her husband, and allowed it not to be seen that she was afraid of his coming back from one minute to another. It must be mentioned that this husband was very proud, very jealous, and very violent, and would not have hesitated to shed the blood of anyone whom he would have found prowling about his house. What would he have done, and, with much more reason, to the man whom he might have found inside?

While the lady and he, who flattered himself that he should possess her, were amusing themselves in the medjeles, a knock at the house-door filled the lover with fear and trouble, particularly when the lady cried, “This is my husband, who is returning.” All in a tremble, she hid him in a closet, which was in the room, shut the door upon him, and left the key in the medjeles; then she opened the house-door.

Her husband, for it was he, saw, on entering, the wine and all the preparations that had been made. Surprised, he asked what it meant. “It means what you see,” she answered. “But for whom is all this?” he asked. ‘It is for my lover whom I have here.” “And where is he?” “In this closet,” she said, pointing with her finger to the place where the suffered was confined.

At these words the husband started. He rose and went to the closet, but found it locked. “Where is the kay?” he siad. She answered, “Here!” throwing it to him. But as he was putting it into the lock she burst out laughing uproariously. He turned towards her, and said, “What are you laughing at?” “I laugh,” she answered, “at the weakness of your judgment, and your want of reason and reflection. Oh, you man without sense, do you think that if I had in reallty a lover, and had admitted him into this room I should have told you that he was here and where he was hidden? This is certainly not likely. I had no other thought than to offer you a collation on your return, and wanted only to have a joke with you in doing as I did. If I had a lover I should certainly not have made you my confidant.”

The husband left the key in the lock of the closet without having turned it and returned to the table, and said, ‘True! I rose; but I had not the slightest doubt about the sincerity of your words.” Then they ate and drank together, and then made love.

The man in the closet had to stop there until the husband went out. Then the lady went to set him free, and found him quite undone and in a bad state. When he came out after having escaped an imminent peril, she said to him, “Well, you wiseacre, who know so well the stratagems of women, of all those you know is there one to equal this?” He made answer, “I am now convinced that your stratagems are countless.”

Appreciate after this the deceits of woment and what they are capable of.

Story of the Lover who was Surprised by the Unexpected Arrival of the Husband

It is related that a woman who was married to a violent and brutal man, having her lover with her on the unexpected arrival of her husband, who was returning from a journey, had only just time to hide him under the bed. She was compelled to let him remain in this dangerous and unpleasant position, knowing of no expedient which might enable him to leave the house. In her restlessness she went to and fro, and having gone to the street-door, one of her neighbours, a woman, saw that she was in trouble, and asked her the reason of it. She told her what had happened. The other one then said, “Return into the house. I will charge myself with the safety of your lover, and I promise you that he shall come out unharmed.” Then the woman reentered her house.

Her neighbour was not long in joining her, and they together prepared the meal, and then they all sat down to eat and drink. The woman sat facing her husband, and the neighbour opposite the bed. The latter began to tell stories and anecdotes about the tricks of women; and the lover under the bed heard all that was going on.

Pursuing her tales, the neighbour told the following one: “A married woman had a lover, whom she loved tenderly, and by whom she was loved the same. One day the lover came to see her in the absence of her husband. But the latter happened to return home unexpectedly just as they were together. The woman, knowing of no better place, hid her lover under the bed, then sat down by her husband, who was taking some refreshment, and joked and played with him. Amongst other playful games, she covered her husband’s eyes with a napkin, and her lover took this opportunity to come out from under the bed and escape unobserved.”

The wife understood at once how to profit by this tale; taking a napkin and covering the eyes of her husband with it, she said, “Then it was by means of this ruse that the lover was helped out of his dilemma.” And the lover, taking the opportunity, succeeded in making good his escape unobserved by the husband. of what had happened this latter laughed at the story, and his merriment was still increased by the last words of his wife and by her action.

Appreciate after this the deceitfulness of women, and what they are capable of.

The Story of the Useless Precautions169

It is related that a man had a wife who was endowed with all beauties and perfections; she was like the full moon. He was very jealous for he knew all the deceits and ways of women. He therefore never left the house without carefully locking the street door and the door of the terrace.

One day his wife asked him “Why do you do this?” “Because I know your ruses and fashions,” said he. “It is not by acting in this way that you will be safe,” she said, “for certainly, if a woman has set her heart upon a thing, all precautions are useless.” “Well, well!” replied he; “it is always wise to keep the doors locked.” She said, “Not at all; the fastenings of the doors are of no avail, if a woman once thinks of doing what you mean.” “Well, then,” said he, “if you can do it, you may!”

As soon as her husband had gone out, the woman mounted to the top of the house, and, through a small hole, which she made into the wall, she looked to see what was going on outside. At that moment a young man was passing by, who, looking up, saw her, and desired to possess her. He said to her, “How can I come to you?” She told him that it could not be done, and that the doors were locked. “How could we get together”; he asked. She answered him, “I shall make a hole in the house door. Be on the watch for my band when he returns to-night, and after he shall have passed in, put your member through the hole, and it shall meet my vulva, and you can then do my business; any other way it is impossible.”

The young man watched until he had seen the husband return from evening prayer; and after he had entered the house and locked the door, he went to find the hole made in it, and passed his member through it. The wife also was on the look out. Her husband had barely got into the house, and was still in the courtyard, when she went to the door, and appearing to satisfy herself that the door was fast, she placed her vulva to the member, which appeared through the hole, and introduced it into her vagina.

This done, she extinguished the lamp, and called to her husband, asking him to bring a light. He asked, “Why?” “I have dropped a trinket and cannot find it,” she answered. He then came with a lamp. The member of the young man was still in her vulva, and at that moment ejaculating. “Where did you drop your trinket?” asked the husband. “Here!” she cried, drawing back and leaving the verge of her lover naked and covered with sperm.

At this sight the husband fell to the ground with rage. When he was up again, the wife said to him: “Well! and those precautions?” “God grant me repentance!” he said.

After this appreciate the deceits of women, and what they are capable of.

Women have such a number of ruses at their disposal, that they cannot be counted. They would succeed to make an elephant mount upon the back of an ant, and do work there. How detestable in their doings God has made them!

164 “The nature of woman is such.” (Rabelais, Book iii., chap. 33.)

165 The melahfa is a large veil, generally of white cotton web, used by women to wrap themselves in, both body and head, when they walk out.

166 Note in the autograph edition. — An analogous situation is found in the “Tales of Boccacio,” Tale Six of the Third Day, done into verse by La Fontaine, in the story of Richard Minutolo (First Book of the Tales). It must be added that the groundwork of the Arabian tale is different from Boccaccio’s. Observe, however, that the means employed by the old woman to gain tor the young man the lady’s favours is not without analogy to those described in Tale Eight of the Fifth Day of the same book.

167 Note in the autograph edition. — The Arabian houses are generally situated in an inner court, which communicates by a door with the street, while a second door leads to the rooms.

168 The medjeles, from djeleuss, to sit down, is the name of a saloon in Arab houses, generally situated on the ground floor. It is the vestibule, the saloon for visitors.

169 Note in the autograph edition. — Compare this with the tale of La Fontaine (Book ii.): “One does not Think of Everything,” reproduced from the “Cent Nouvelles Nouvelles.”

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