She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Princess Dunya said to her sire, “My husband received a letter from his dependents ending with:— The Arabs hindered us from the road thirty days which is the cause of our being behind time. They also took from us of the luggage two hundred loads of cloth and slew of us fifty Mamelukes. When the news reached my husband, he cried, Allah disappoint them! What ailed them to wage war with the Arabs for the sake of two hundred loads of merchandise? What are two hundred loads? It behoved them not to tarry on that account, for verily the value of the two hundred loads is only some seven thousand dinars. But needs must I go to them and hasten them. As for that which the Arabs have taken, ’twill not be missed from the baggage, nor doth it weigh with me a whit, for I reckon it as if I had given it to them by way of an alms. Then he went down from me, laughing and taking no concern for the wastage of his wealth nor the slaughter of his slaves. As soon as he was gone, I looked out from the lattice and saw the ten Mamelukes who had brought him the letter, as they were moons, each clad in a suit of clothes worth two thousand dinars, there is not with my father a chattel to match one of them. He went forth with them to bring up his baggage and hallowed be Allah who hindered me from saying to him aught of that thou badest me, for he would have made mock of me and thee, and haply he would have eyed me with the eye of disparagement and hated me. But the fault is all with thy Wazir,1 who speaketh against my husband words that besit him not.” Replied the King, “O my daughter, thy husband’s wealth is indeed endless and he recketh not of it; for, from the day he entered our city, he hath done naught but give alms to the poor. Inshallah, he will speedily return with the baggage, and good in plenty shall betide us from him.” And he went on to appease her and menace the Wazir, being duped by her device. So fared it with the King; but as regards Merchant Ma’aruf he rode on into waste lands, perplexed and knowing not to what quarter he should betake him; and for the anguish of parting he lamented and in the pangs of passion and love-longing he recited these couplets:—
Time falsed our Union and divided who were one in tway;
And the sore tyranny of Time doth melt my heart away:
Mine eyes ne’er cease to drop the tear for parting with my dear;
When shall Disunion come to end and dawn the Union-day?
O favour like the full moon’s face of sheen, indeed I’m he
Whom thou didst leave with vitals torn when faring on thy way.
Would I had never seen thy sight, or met thee for an hour;
Since after sweetest taste of thee to bitters I’m a prey.
Ma’aruf will never cease to be enthralled by Dunyá’s2 charms
And long live she albe he die whom love and longing slay,
O brilliance, like resplendent sun of noontide, deign them heal
His heart for kindness3 and the fire of longing love allay!
Would Heaven I wot an e’er the days shall deign conjoin our lots,
Join us in pleasant talk o’ nights, in Union glad and gay:
Shall my love’s palace hold two hearts that savour joy, and I
Strain to my breast the branch I saw upon the sand-hill4 sway?
O favour of full moon in sheen, never may sun o’ thee
Surcease to rise from Eastern rim with all-enlightening ray!
I’m well content with passion-pine and all its bane and bate
For luck in love is evermore the butt of jealous Fate.
And when he ended his verses, he wept with sore weeping, for indeed the ways were walled up before his face and death seemed to him better than dreeing life, and he walked on like a drunken man for stress of distraction, and stayed not till noontide, when he came to a little town and saw a plougher hard by, ploughing with a yoke of bulls. Now hunger was sore upon him; and he went up to the ploughman and said to him, “Peace be with thee!”; and he returned his salam and said to him, “Welcome, O my lord! Art thou one of the Sultan’s Mamelukes?” Quoth Ma’aruf, “Yes;” and the other said “Alight with me for a guest-meal.” Whereupon Ma’aruf knew him to be of the liberal and said to him, “O my brother, I see with thee naught with which thou mayst feed me: how is it, then, that thou invitest me?” Answered the husbandman, “O my lord, weal is well nigh.5 Dismount thee here: the town is near hand and I will go and fetch thee dinner and fodder for thy stallion.” Rejoined Ma’aruf, “Since the town is near at hand, I can go thither as quickly as thou canst and buy me what I have a mind to in the bazar and eat.” The peasant replied, “O my lord, the place is but a little village6 and there is no bazar there, neither selling nor buying. So I conjure thee by Allah, alight here with me and hearten my heart, and I will run thither and return to thee in haste.” Accordingly lie dismounted and the Fellah left him and went off to the village, to fetch dinner for him whilst Ma’aruf sat awaiting him. Presently he said in himself, “I have taken this poor man away from his work; but I will arise and plough in his stead, till he come back, to make up for having hindered him from his work.7” Then he took the plough and starting the bulls, ploughed a little, till the share struck against something and the beasts stopped. He goaded them on, but they could not move the plough; so he looked at the share and finding it caught in a ring of gold, cleared away the soil and saw that it was set centre-most a slab of alabaster, the size of the nether millstone. He strave at the stone till he pulled it from its place, when there appeared beneath it a souterrain with a stair. Presently he descended the flight of steps and came to a place like a Hammam, with four daïses, the first full of gold, from floor to roof, the second full of emeralds and pearls and coral also from ground to ceiling; the third of jacinths and rubies and turquoises and the fourth of diamonds and all manner other preciousest stones. At the upper end of the place stood a coffer of clearest crystal, full of union-gems each the size of a walnut, and upon the coffer lay a casket of gold, the bigness of a lemon. When he saw this, he marvelled and rejoiced with joy exceeding and said to himself, “I wonder what is in this casket?” So he opened it and found therein a seal-ring of gold, whereon were graven names and talismans, as they were the tracks of creeping ants. He rubbed the ring and behold, a voice said, “Adsum! Here am I, at thy service, O my lord! Ask and it shall be given unto thee. Wilt thou raise a city or ruin a capital or kill a king or dig a river-channel or aught of the kind? Whatso thou seekest, it shall come to pass, by leave of the King of All-might, Creator of day and night.” Ma’aruf asked, “O creature of my lord, who and what art thou?”; and the other answered, “I am the slave of this seal-ring standing in the service of him who possesseth it. Whatsoever he seeketh, that I accomplish for him, and I have no excuse in neglecting that he biddeth me do; because I am Sultan over two-and-seventy tribes of the Jinn, each two-and-seventy thousand in number every one of which thousand ruleth over a thousand Marids, each Marid over a thousand Ifrits, each Ifrit over a thousand Satans and each Satan over a thousand Jinn: and they are all under command of me and may not gainsay me. As for me, I am spelled to this seal-ring and may not thwart whoso holdeth it. Lo! thou hast gotten hold of it and I am become thy slave; so ask what thou wilt, for I hearken to thy word and obey thy bidding; and if thou have need of me at any time, by land or by sea rub the signet-ring and thou wilt find me with thee. But beware of rubbing it twice in succession, or thou wilt consume me with the fire of the names graven thereon; and thus wouldst thou lose me and after regret me. Now I have acquainted thee with my case and — the Peace!”— And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
1 The very cruelty of love which hates nothing so much as a rejected lover. The Princess, be it noted, is not supposed to be merely romancing, but speaking with the second sight, the clairvoyance, of perfect affection. Men seem to know very little upon this subject, though every one has at times been more or less startled by the abnormal introvision and divination of things hidden which are the property and prerogative of perfect love.
2 The name of the Princess meaning “The World,” not unusual amongst Moslem women.
3 Another pun upon his name, “Ma’aruf.”
4 Arab. “Naká,” the mound of pure sand which delights the eye of the Badawi leaving a town. See vol. i. 217, for the lines and explanation in Night cmlxiv. vol. ix. p. 250.
5 Euphemistic: “I will soon fetch thee food.” To say this bluntly might have brought misfortune.
6 Arab. “Kafr”=a village in Egypt and Syria e.g. Capernaum (Kafr Nahum).
7 He has all the bonhomie of the Cairene and will do a kindness whenever he can.
She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the Slave of the Signet-ring acquainted Ma’aruf with his case, the Merchant asked him, “What is thy name?” and the Jinni answered, “My name is Abú al-Sa’ádát.1” Quoth Ma’aruf, “O Abú al-Sa’ádát what is this place and who enchanted thee in this casket?”; and quoth he, “O my lord, this is a treasure called the Hoard of Shaddád son of Ad, him who the base of ‘Many-columned Iram laid, the like of which in the lands was never made.2’ I was his slave in his lifetime and this is his seal-ring, which he laid up in his treasure; but it hath fallen to thy lot.” Ma’aruf enquired, “Canst thou transport that which is in this hoard to the surface of the earth?”; and the Jinni replied, “Yes! Nothing were easier.” Said Ma’aruf, “Bring it forth and leave naught.” So the Jinni signed with his hand to the ground, which clave asunder, and he sank and was absent a little while. Presently, there came forth young boys full of grace, and fair of face bearing golden baskets filled with gold which they emptied out and going away, returned with more; nor did they cease to transport the gold and jewels, till ere an hour had sped they said, “Naught is left in the hoard.” Thereupon out came Abú al-Sa’ádát and said to Ma’aruf, “O my lord, thou seest that we have brought forth all that was in the hoard.” Ma’aruf asked, “Who be these beautiful boys?” and the Jinni answered, “They are my sons. This matter merited not that I should muster for it the Marids, wherefore my sons have done thy desire and are honoured by such service. So ask what thou wilt beside this.” Quoth Ma’aruf, “Canst thou bring me he-mules and chests and fill the chests with the treasure and load them on the mules?” Quoth Abú al-Sa’ádát, “Nothing easier,” and cried a great cry; whereupon his sons presented themselves before him, to the number of eight hundred, and he said to them, “Let some of you take the semblance of he-mules and others of muleteers and handsome Mamelukes, the like of the least of whom is not found with any of the Kings; and others of you be transmewed to muleteers, and the rest to menials.” So seven hundred of them changed themselves into bât-mules and other hundred took the shape of slaves. Then Abú al-Sa’ádát called upon his Marids, who presented themselves between his hands and he commanded some of them to assume the aspect of horses saddled with saddles of gold crusted with jewels. And when Ma’aruf saw them do as he bade he cried, “Where be the chests?” They brought them before him and he said, “Pack the gold and the stones, each sort by itself.” So they packed them and loaded three hundred he-mules with them. Then asked Ma’aruf, “O Abú al-Sa’ádát, canst thou bring me some loads of costly stuffs?”; and the Jinni answered, “Wilt thou have Egyptian stuffs or Syrian or Persian or Indian or Greek?” Ma’aruf said, “Bring me an hundred loads of each kind, on five hundred mules;” and Abú al-Sa’ádát, “O my lord accord me delay that I may dispose my Marids for this and send a company of them to each country to fetch an hundred loads of its stuffs and then take the form of he-mules and return, carrying the stuffs.” Ma’aruf enquired, “What time dost thou want?”; and Abú al-Sa’ádát replied, “The time of the blackness of the night, and day shall not dawn ere thou have all thou desirest.” Said Ma’aruf, “I grant thee this time,” and bade them pitch him a pavilion. So they pitched it and he sat down therein and they brought him a table of food. Then said Abú al-Sa’ádát to him, “O my lord, tarry thou in this tent and these my sons shall guard thee: so fear thou nothing; for I go to muster my Marids and despatch them to do thy desire.” So saying, he departed, leaving Ma’aruf seated in the pavilion, with the table before him and the Jinni’s sons attending upon him, in the guise of slaves and servants and suite. And while he sat in this state behold, up came the husband man, with a great porringer of lentils3 and a nose-bag full of barley and seeing the pavilion pitched and the Mamelukes standing, hands upon breasts, thought that the Sultan was come and had halted on that stead. So he stood openmouthed and said in himself, “Would I had killed a couple of chickens and fried them red with clarified cow-butter for the Sultan!” And he would have turned back to kill the chickens as a regale for the Sultan; but Ma’aruf saw him and cried out to him and said to the Mamelukes, “Bring him hither.” So they brought him and his porringer of lentils before Ma’aruf, who said to him, “What is this?” Said the peasant, “This is thy dinner and thy horse’s fodder! Excuse me, for I thought not that the Sultan would come hither; and, had I known that, I would have killed a couple of chickens and entertained him in goodly guise.” Quoth Ma’aruf, “The Sultan is not come. I am his son-in-law and I was vexed with him. However he hath sent his officers to make his peace with me, and now I am minded to return to city. But thou hast made me this guest-meal without knowing me, and I accept it from thee, lentils though it be, and will not eat save of thy cheer.” Accordingly he bade him set the porringer amiddlemost the table and ate of it his sufficiency, whilst the Fellah filled his belly with those rich meats. Then Ma’aruf washed his hands and gave the Mamelukes leave to eat; so they fell upon the remains of the meal and ate; and, when the porringer was empty, he filled it with gold and gave it to the peasant, saying, “Carry this to thy dwelling and come to me in the city, and I will entreat thee with honour.” Thereupon the peasant took the porringer full of gold and returned to the village, driving the bulls before him and deeming himself akin to the King. Meanwhile, they brought Ma’aruf girls of the Brides of the Treasure,4 who smote on instruments of music and danced before him, and he passed that night in joyance and delight, a night not to be reckoned among lives. Hardly had dawned the day when there arose a great cloud of dust which presently lifting, discovered seven hundred mules laden with stuffs and attended by muleteers and baggage-tenders and cresset-bearers. With them came Abú al-Sa’ádát, riding on a she-mule, in the guise of a caravan-leader, and before him was a travelling-litter, with four corner-terminals5 of glittering red gold, set with gems. When Abú al-Sa’ádát came up to the tent, he dismounted and kissing the earth, said to Ma’aruf, “O my lord, thy desire hath been done to the uttermost and in the litter is a treasure-suit which hath not its match among Kings’ raiment: so don it and mount the litter and bid us do what thou wilt.” Quoth Ma’aruf, “O Abú al-Sa’ádát, I wish thee to go to the city of Ikhtiyan al-Khatan and present thyself to my father-in-law the King; and go thou not in to him but in the guise of a mortal courier;” and quoth he, “To hear is to obey.” So Ma’aruf wrote a letter to the Sultan and sealed it and Abú al-Sa’ádát took it and set out with it; and when he arrived, he found the King saying, “O Wazir, indeed my heart is concerned for my son-in-law and I fear lest the Arabs slay him. Would Heaven I wot whither he was bound, that I might have followed him with the troops! Would he had told me his destination!” Said the Wazir, “Allah be merciful to thee for this thy heedlessness! As thy head liveth, the wight saw that we were awake to him and feared dishonour and fled, for he is nothing but an impostor, a liar.” And behold, at this moment in came the courier and kissing ground before the King, wished him permanent glory and prosperity and length of life. Asked the King, “Who art thou and what is thy business?” “I am a courier,” answered the Jinni, “and thy son-in-law who is come with the baggage sendeth me to thee with a letter, and here it is!” So he took the letter and read therein these words, “After salutations galore to our uncle6 the glorious King! Know that I am at hand with the baggage-train: so come thou forth to meet me with the troops.” Cried the King, “Allah blacken thy brow, O Wazir! How often wilt thou defame my son-in-law’s name and call him liar and impostor? Behold, he is come with the baggage-train and thou art naught but a traitor.” The Minister hung his head ground-wards in shame and confusion and replied, “O King of the age, I said not this save because of the long delay of the baggage and because I feared the loss of the wealth he hath wasted.” The King exclaimed, “O traitor, what are my riches! Now that his baggage is come he will give me great plenty in their stead.” Then he bade decorate the city and going in to his daughter, said to her, “Good news for thee! Thy husband will be here anon with his baggage; for he hath sent me a letter to that effect and here am I now going forth to meet him.” The Princess Dunyá marvelled at this and said in herself, “This is a wondrous thing! Was he laughing at me and making mock of me, or had he a mind to try me, when he told me that he was a pauper? But Alhamdolillah, Glory to God, for that I failed not of my duty to him!” On this wise fared it in the palace; but as regards Merchant Ali, the Cairene, when he saw the decoration of the city and asked the cause thereof, they said to him, “The baggage-train of Merchant Ma’aruf, the King’s son-in-law, is come.” Said he, “Allah is Almighty! What a calamity is this man!7 He came to me, fleeing from his wife, and he was a poor man. Whence then should he get a baggage-train? But haply this is a device which the King’s daughter hath contrived for him, fearing his disgrace, and Kings are not unable to do anything. May Allah the Most High veil his fame and not bring him to public shame!”— And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
1 i.e. the Father of Prosperities: pron. Aboosa’ádát; as in the Tale of Hasan of Bassorah.
2 Koran lxxxix. “The Daybreak” which also mentions Thamud and Pharaoh.
3 In Egypt the cheapest and poorest of food, never seen at a hotel table d’hôte.
4 The beautiful girls who guard ensorcelled hoards: See vol. vi. 109.
5 Arab. “Asákir,” the ornaments of litters, which are either plain balls of metal or tapering cones based on crescents or on balls and crescents. See in Lane (M. E. chapt. xxiv.) the sketch of the Mahmal.
6 Arab. “Amm”=father’s brother, courteously used for “father-in-law,” which suggests having slept with his daughter, and which is indecent in writing. Thus by a pleasant fiction the husband represents himself as having married his first cousin.
7 i.e. a calamity to the enemy: see vol. ii. 87 and passim.
She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Merchant Ali asked the cause of the decorations, they told him the truth of the case; so he blessed Merchant Ma’aruf and cried, “May Allah Almighty veil his fame and not bring him to public shame!” And all the merchants rejoiced and were glad for that they would get their monies. Then the King assembled his troops and rode forth, whilst Abú al-Sa’ádát returned to Ma’aruf and acquainted him with the delivering of the letter. Quoth Ma’aruf, “Bind on the loads;” and when they had done so, he donned the treasure-suit and mounting the litter became a thousand times greater and more majestic than the King. Then he set forward; but, when he had gone half-way, behold, the King met him with the troops, and seeing him riding in the Takhtrawan and clad in the dress aforesaid, threw himself upon him and saluted him, and giving him joy of his safety, greeted him with the greeting of peace. Then all the Lords of the land saluted him and it was made manifest that he had spoken the truth and that in him there was no lie. Presently he entered the city in such state procession as would have caused the gall-bladder of the lion to burst1 for envy and the traders pressed up to him and kissed his hands, whilst Merchant Ali said to him, “Thou hast played off this trick and it hath prospered to thy hand, O Shaykh of Impostors! But thou deservest it and may Allah the Most High increase thee of His bounty!”; whereupon Ma’aruf laughed. Then he entered the palace and sitting down on the throne said, “Carry the loads of gold into the treasury of my uncle the King and bring me the bales of cloth.” So they brought them to him and opened them before him, bale after bale, till they had unpacked the seven hundred loads, whereof he chose out the best and said, “Bear these to Princess Dunyá that she may distribute them among her slavegirls; and carry her also this coffer of jewels, that she may divide them among her handmaids and eunuchs.” Then he proceeded to make over to the merchants in whose debt he was stuffs by way of payment for their arrears, giving him whose due was a thousand, stuffs worth two thousand or more; after which he fell to distributing to the poor and needy, whilst the King looked on with greedy eyes and could not hinder him; nor did he cease largesse till he had made an end of the seven hundred loads, when he turned to the troops and proceeded to apportion amongst them emeralds and rubies and pearls and coral and other jewels by handsful, without count, till the King said to him, “Enough of this giving, O my son! There is but little left of the baggage.” But he said, “I have plenty.” Then indeed, his good faith was become manifest and none could give him the lie; and he had come to reck not of giving, for that the Slave of the Seal-ring brought him whatsoever he sought. Presently, the treasurer came in to the King and said, “O King of the age, the treasury is full indeed and will not hold the rest of the loads. Where shall we lay that which is left of the gold and jewels?” And he assigned to him another place. As for the Princess Dunya when she saw this, her joy redoubled and she marvelled and said in herself, “Would I wot how came he by all this wealth!” In like manner the traders rejoiced in that which he had given them and blessed him; whilst Merchant Ali marvelled and said to himself, “I wonder how he hath lied and swindled, that he hath gotten him all these treasures2? Had they come from the King’s daughter, he had not wasted them on this wise! But how excellent is his saying who said:—
When the Kings’ King giveth, in reverence pause
And venture not to enquire the cause:
Allah gives His gifts unto whom He will,
So respect and abide by His Holy Laws!”
So far concerning him; but as regards the King, he also marvelled with passing marvel at that which he saw of Ma’aruf’s generosity and open-handedness in the largesse of wealth. Then the Merchant went in to his wife, who met him, smiling and laughing-lipped and kissed his hand, saying, “Didst thou mock me or hadst thou a mind to prove me with thy saying:— I am a poor man and a fugitive from my wife? Praised be Allah for that I failed not of my duty to thee! For thou art my beloved and there is none dearer to me than thou, whether thou be rich or poor. But I would have thee tell me what didst thou design by these words.” Said Ma’aruf, “I wished to prove thee and see whether thy love were sincere or for the sake of wealth and the greed of worldly good. But now ’tis become manifest to me that thine affection is sincere and as thou art a true woman, so welcome to thee! I know thy worth.” Then he went apart into a place by himself and rubbed the seal-ring, whereupon Abu al-Sa’adat presented himself and said to him, “Adsum, at thy service! Ask what thou wilt.” Quoth Ma’aruf, “I want a treasure-suit and treasure-trinkets for my wife, including a necklace of forty unique jewels.” Quoth the Jinni, “To hear is to obey,” and brought him what he sought, whereupon Ma’aruf dismissed him and carrying the dress and ornaments in to his wife, laid them before her and said, “Take these and put them on and welcome!” When she saw this, her wits fled for joy, and she found among the ornaments a pair of anklets of gold set with jewels of the handiwork of the magicians, and bracelets and earrings and a belt3 such as no money could buy. So she donned the dress and ornaments and said to Ma’aruf, “O my lord, I will treasure these up for holidays and festivals.” But he answered, “Wear them always, for I have others in plenty.” And when she put them on and her women beheld her, they rejoiced and bussed his hands. Then he left them and going apart by himself, rubbed the seal-ring whereupon its slave appeared and he said to him, “Bring me an hundred suits of apparel, with their ornaments of gold.” “Hearing and obeying,” answered Abu al-Sa’adat and brought him the hundred suits, each with its ornaments wrapped up within it. Ma’aruf took them and called aloud to the slave-girls, who came to him and he gave them each a suit: so they donned them and became like the black-eyed girls of Paradise, whilst the Princess Dunya shone amongst them as the moon among the stars. One of the handmaids told the King of this and he came in to his daughter and saw her and her women dazzling all who beheld them; whereat he wondered with passing wonderment. Then he went out and calling his Wazir, said to him, “O Wazir, such and such things have happened; what sayst thou now of this affair?” Said he, “O King of the age, this be no merchant’s fashion; for a merchant keepeth a piece of linen by him for years and selleth it not but at a profit. How should a merchant have generosity such as this generosity, and whence should he get the like of these monies and jewels, of which but a slight matter is found with the Kings? So how should loads thereof be found with merchants? Needs must there be a cause for this; but, an thou wilt hearken to me, I will make the truth of the case manifest to thee.” Answered the King, “O Wazir, I will do thy bidding.” Rejoined the Minister, “Do thou foregather with thy son-in-law and make a show of affect to him and talk with him and say:— O my son-in-law, I have a mind to go, I and thou and the Wazir but no more, to a flower-garden that we may take our pleasure there. When we come to the garden, we will set on the table wine, and I will ply him therewith and compel him to drink; for, when he shall have drunken, he will lose his reason and his judgment will forsake him. Then we will question him of the truth of his case and he will discover to us his secrets, for wine is a traitor and Allah-gifted is he who said:—
When we drank the wine, and it crept its way
To the place of Secrets, I cried, “O stay!”
In my fear lest its influence stint my wits
And my friends spy matters that hidden lay.
When he hath told us the truth we shall ken his case and may deal with him as we will; because I fear for thee the consequences of this his present fashion: haply he will covet the kingship and win over the troops by generosity and lavishing money and so depose thee and take the kingdom from thee.” “True,” answered the King. — And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
1 Both texts read “Asad” (lion) and Lane accepts it: there is no reason to change it for “Hásid” (Envier), the Lion being the Sultan of the Beasts and the most majestic.
2 The Cairene knew his fellow Cairene and was not to be taken in by him.
3 Arab. “Hizám”: Lane reads “Khizám”=a nose-ring for which see appendix to Lane’s M. E. The untrained European eye dislikes these decorations and there is certainly no beauty in the hoops which Hindu women insert through the nostrils, camel-fashion, as if to receive the cord-acting bridle. But a drop-pearl hanging to the septum is at least as pretty as the heavy pendants by which some European women lengthen their ears.
She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the Wazir devised this device the King said to him, “Thou hast spoken sooth!”; and they passed the night on this agreement. And when morning morrowed the King went forth and sat in the guest-chamber, when lo, and behold! the grooms and serving-men came in to him in dismay. Quoth he, “What hath befallen you?”; and quoth they, “O King of the age, the Syces curried the horses and foddered them and the he-mules which brought the baggage; but, when we arose in the morning, we found that thy son-in-law’s Mamelukes had stolen the horses and mules. We searched the stables, but found neither horse nor mule; so we entered the lodging of the Mamelukes and found none there, nor know we how they fled.” The King marvelled at this, unknowing that the horses and Mamelukes were all Ifrits, the subjects of the Slave of the Spell, and asked the grooms, “O accursed how could a thousand beasts and five hundred slaves and servants flee without your knowledge?” Answered they, “We know not how it happened,” and he cried, “Go, and when your lord cometh forth of the Harim, tell him the case.” So they went out from before the King and sat down bewildered, till Ma’aruf came out and, seeing them chagrined enquired of them, “What may be the matter?” They told him all that had happened and he said, “What is their worth that ye should be concerned for them? Wend your ways.” And he sat laughing and was neither angry nor grieved concerning the case; whereupon the King looked in the Wazir’s face and said to him, “What manner of man is this, with whom wealth is of no worth? Needs must there be a reason for this?” Then they talked with him awhile and the King said to him, “O my son-in-law, I have a mind to go, I, thou and the Wazir, to a garden, where we may divert ourselves.” “No harm in that,” said Ma’aruf. So they went forth to a flower-garden, wherein every sort of fruit was of kinds twain and its waters were flowing and its trees towering and its birds carolling. There they entered a pavilion, whose sight did away sorrow from the soul, and sat talking, whilst the Minister entertained them with rare tales and quoted merry quips and mirth-provoking sayings and Ma’aruf attentively listened, till the time of dinner came, when they set on a tray of meats and a flagon of wine. When they had eaten and washed hands, the Wazir filled the cup and gave it to the King, who drank it off; then he filled a second and handed it to Ma’aruf, saying, “Take the cup of the drink to which Reason boweth neck in reverence.” Quoth Ma’aruf, “What is this, O Wazir?”; and quoth he, “This is the grizzled1 virgin and the old maid long kept at home,2 the giver of joy to hearts, whereof saith the poet:—
The feet of sturdy Miscreants3 went trampling heavy tread,
And she hath ta’en a vengeance dire on every Arab’s head.
A Káfir youth like fullest moon in darkness hands her round
Whose eyne are strongest cause of sin by him inspiritèd.
And Allah-gifted is he who said:—
’Tis as if wine and he who bears the bowl,
Rising to show her charms for man to see,4
Were dancing undurn-Sun whose face the moon
Of night adorned with stars of Gemini.
So subtle is her essence it would seem
Through every limb like course of soul runs she.
And how excellent is the saying of the poet:—
Slept in mine arms full Moon of brightest blee
Nor did that sun eclipse in goblet see:
I nighted spying fire whereto bow down
Magians, which bowed from ewer’s lip to me.
And that of another:—
It runs through every joint of them as runs
The surge of health returning to the sick.
And yet another:—
I marvel at its pressers, how they died
And left us aqua vitae — lymph of life!
And yet goodlier is the saying of Abu Nowas:—
Cease then to blame me, for thy blame doth anger bring
And with the draught that maddened me come med’cining:
A yellow girl5 whose court cures every carking care;
Did a stone touch it would with joy and glee upspring:
She riseth in her ewer during darkest night
The house with brightest, sheeniest light illumining:
And going round of youths to whom the world inclines6
Ne’er, save in whatso way they please, their hearts shall wring.
Wencher and Tribe of Lot alike enamouring,
She comes: and say to him who dares claim lore of love
Something hast learnt but still there’s many another thing.
But best of all is the saying of Ibn al-Mu’tazz9:—
On the shady woody island10 His showers Allah deign
Shed on Convent hight Abdún11 drop and drip of railing rain:
Oft the breezes of the morning have awakened me therein
When the Dawn shows her blaze,12 ere the bird of flight was fain;
And the voices of the monks that with chants awoke the walls
Black-frocked shavelings ever wont the cup amorn to drain.13
’Mid the throng how many fair with languour-kohl’d eyes14
And lids enfolding lovely orbs where black on white was lain,
In secret came to see me by shirt of night disguised
In terror and in caution a-hurrying amain!
Then I rose and spread my cheek like a carpet on his path
In homage, and with skirts wiped his trail from off the plain.
But threatening disgrace rose the Crescent in the sky
Like the paring of a nail yet the light would never wane:
Then happened whatso happened: I disdain to kiss and tell
So deem of us thy best and with queries never mell.
And gifted of God is he who saith:—
In the morn I am richest of men
And in joy at good news I start up
For I look on the liquid gold15
And I measure it out by the cup.
And how goodly is the saying of the poet:—
By Allah, this is th’ only alchemy
All said of other science false we see!
Carat of wine on hundredweight of woe
Transmuteth gloomiest grief to joy and glee.
And that of another:—
The glasses are heavy when empty brought
Till we charge them all with unmixèd wine.
Then so light are they that to fly they’re fain
As bodies lightened by soul divine.
And yet another:—
Wine-cup and ruby-wine high worship claim;
Dishonour ’twere to see their honour waste:
Bury me, when I’m dead, by side of vine
Whose veins shall moisten bones in clay misplaced;
Nor bury me in wold and wild, for I
Dread only after death no wine to taste.”16
And he ceased not to egg him on to the drink, naming to him such of the virtues of wine as he thought well and reciting to him what occurred to him of poetry and pleasantries on the subject, till Ma’aruf addressed himself to sucking the cup-lips and cared no longer for aught else. The Wazir ceased not to fill for him and he to drink and enjoy himself and make merry, till his wits wandered and he could not distinguish right from wrong. When the Minister saw that drunkenness had attained in him to utterest and the bounds transgressed, he said to him, “By Allah, O Merchant Ma’aruf, I admire whence thou gottest these jewels whose like the Kings of the Chosroës possess not! In all our lives never saw we a merchant that had heaped up riches like unto thine or more generous than thou, for thy doings are the doings of Kings and not merchants’ doings. Wherefore, Allah upon thee, do thou acquaint me with this, that I may know thy rank and condition.” And he went on to test him with questions and cajole him, till Ma’aruf, being reft of reason, said to him, “I’m neither merchant nor King,” and told him his whole story from first to last. Then said the Wazir, “I conjure thee by Allah, O my lord Ma’aruf, show us the ring, that we may see its make.” So, in his drunkenness, he pulled off the ring and said, “Take it and look upon it.” The Minister took it and turning it over, said, “If I rub it, will its slave appear?” Replied Ma’aruf, “Yes. Rub it and he will appear to thee, and do thou divert thyself with the sight of him.” Thereupon the Wazir rubbed the ring and behold forthright appeared the Jinni and said, “Adsum, at thy service, O my lord! Ask and it shall be given to thee. Wilt thou ruin a city or raise a capital or kill a king? Whatso thou seekest, I will do for thee, sans fail.” The Wazir pointed to Ma’aruf and said, “Take up yonder wretch and cast him down in the most desolate of desert lands, where he shall find nothing to eat nor drink, so he may die of hunger and perish miserably, and none know of him.” Accordingly, the Jinni snatched him up and flew with him betwixt heaven and earth, which when Ma’aruf saw, he made sure of destruction and wept and said, “O Abu al-Sa’adat, whither goest thou with me?” Replied the Jinni, “I go to cast thee down in the Desert Quarter,17 O ill-bred wight of gross wits. Shall one have the like of this talisman and give it to the folk to gaze at? Verily, thou deservest that which hath befallen thee; and but that I fear Allah, I would let thee fall from a height of a thousand fathoms, nor shouldst thou reach the earth, till the winds had torn thee to shreds.” Ma’aruf was silent18 and did not again bespeak him till he reached the Desert Quarter and casting him down there, went away and left him in that horrible place. — And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
1 Arab. “Shamtá,” one of the many names of wine, the “speckled” alluding to the bubbles which dance upon the freshly filled cup.
2 i.e. in the cask. These “merry quips” strongly suggest the dismal toasts of our not remote ancestors.
3 Arab. “A’láj” plur. of “‘Ilj” and rendered by Lane “the stout foreign infidels.” The next line alludes to the cupbearer who was generally a slave and a non-Moslem.
4 As if it were a bride. See vol. vii. 198. The stars of Jauzá (Gemini) are the cupbearer’s eyes.
5 i.e. light-coloured wine.
6 The usual homage to youth and beauty.
7 Alluding to the cup.
8 Here Abu Nowas whose name always ushers in some abomination alluded to the “Ghulámiyah” or girl dressed like boy to act cupbearer. Civilisation has everywhere the same devices and the Bordels of London and Paris do not ignore the “she-boy,” who often opens the door.
9 Abdallah ibn al-Mu’tazz, son of Al–Mu’tazz bi ’llah, the 13th Abbaside, and great-great-grandson of Harun al-Rashid. He was one of the most renowned poets of the third century (A.H.) and died A.D. 908, strangled by the partisans of his nephew Al–Muktadir bi ’llah, 18th Abbaside.
10 Jazírat ibn Omar, an island and town on the Tigris north of Mosul. “Some versions of the poem, from which these verses are quoted, substitute El–Mutireh, a village near Samara (a town on the Tigris, 60 miles north of Baghdad), for El–Jezireh, i.e. Jeziret ibn Omar.” (Payne.)
11 The Convent of Abdun on the east bank of the Tigris opposite the Jezirah was so called from a statesman who caused it to be built. For a variant of these lines see Ibn Khallikan, vol. ii. 42; here we miss “the shady groves of Al–Matírah.”
12 Arab. “Ghurrah” the white blaze on a horse’s brow. In Ibn Khallikan the bird is the lark.
13 Arab. “Táy’i”=thirsty used with Jáy’i=hungry.
14 Lit. “Kohl’d with Ghunj” for which we have no better word than “coquetry.” But see vol. v. 80. It corresponds with the Latin crissare for women and cevere for men.
15 i.e. gold-coloured wine, as the Vino d’Oro.
16 Compare the charming song of Abu Miján translated from the German of Dr. Weil in Bohn’s Edit. of Ockley (p. 149),
When the Death-angel cometh mine eyes to close,
Dig my grave ’mid the vines on the hill’s fair side;
For though deep in earth may my bones repose,
The juice of the grape shall their food provide.
Ah, bury me not in a barren land,
Or Death will appear to me dread and drear!
While fearless I’ll wait what he hath in hand!
An the scent of the vineyard my spirit cheer.
The glorious old drinker!
17 Arab. “Rub’a al-Kharáb” in Ibn al-Wardi Central Africa south of the Nile-sources, one of the richest regions in the world. Here it prob. alludes to the Rub’a al-Kháli or Great Arabian Desert: for which see Night dclxxvi. In rhetoric it is opposed to the “Rub’a Maskún,” or populated fourth of the world, the rest being held to be ocean.
18 This is the noble resignation of the Moslem. What a dialogue there would have been in a European book between man and devil!
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Slave of the Seal-ring took up Ma’aruf and cast him down in the Desert Quarter where he left him and went his ways. So much concerning him; but returning to the Wazir who was now in possession of the talisman, he said to the King, “How deemest thou now? Did I not tell thee that this fellow was a liar, an impostor, but thou wouldst not credit me?” Replied the King, “Thou wast in the right, O my Wazir, Allah grant thee weal! But give me the ring, that I may solace myself with the sight.” The Minister looked at him angrily and spat in his face, saying, “O lack-wits, how shall I give it to thee and abide thy servant, after I am become thy master? But I will spare thee no more on life.” Then he rubbed the seal-ring and said to the Slave, “Take up this ill-mannered churl and cast him down by his son-in-law the swindler-man.” So the Jinni took him up and flew off with him, whereupon quoth the King to him, “O creature of my Lord, what is my crime?” Abu al-Sa’adat replied, “That wot I not, but my master hath commanded me and I cannot cross whoso hath compassed the enchanted ring.” Then he flew on with him, till he came to the Desert Quarter and, casting him down where he had cast Ma’aruf left him and returned. The King hearing Ma’aruf weeping, went up to him and acquainted him with his case; and they sat weeping over that which had befallen them and found neither meat nor drink. Meanwhile the Minister, after driving father-in-law and son-in-law from the country, went forth from the garden and summoning all the troops held a Divan, and told them what he had done with the King and Ma’aruf and acquainted them with the affair of the talisman, adding, “Unless ye make me Sultan over you, I will bid the Slave of the Seal-ring take you up one and all and cast you down in the Desert Quarter where you shall die of hunger and thirst.” They replied, “Do us no damage, for we accept thee as Sultan over us and will not anywise gainsay thy bidding.” So they agreed, in their own despite, to his being Sultan over them, and he bestowed on them robes of honour, seeking all he had a mind to of Abu al-Sa’adat, who brought it to him forthwith. Then he sat down on the throne and the troops did homage to him; and he sent to Princess Dunya, the King’s daughter, saying, “Make thee ready, for I mean to come in unto thee this night, because I long for thee with love.” When she heard this, she wept, for the case of her husband and father was grievous to her, and sent to him saying, “Have patience with me till my period of widowhood1 be ended: then draw up thy contract of marriage with me and go in to me according to law.” But he sent back to say to her, “I know neither period of widowhood nor to delay have I a mood; and I need not a contract nor know I lawful from unlawful; but needs must I go in unto thee this night.” She answered him saying, “So be it, then, and welcome to thee!”; but this was a trick on her part. When the answer reached the Wazir, he rejoiced and his breast was broadened, for that he was passionately in love with her. He bade set food before all the folk, saying, “Eat; this is my bride-feast; for I purpose to go in to the Princess Dunya this night.” Quoth the Shaykh al-Islam, “It is not lawful for thee to go in unto her till her days of widowhood be ended and thou have drawn up thy contract of marriage with her.” But he answered, “I know neither days of widowhood nor other period; so multiply not words on me.” The Shaykh al-Islam was silent,2 fearing his mischief, and said to the troops, “Verily, this man is a Kafir, a Miscreant, and hath neither creed nor religious conduct.” As soon as it was evenfall, he went in to her and found her robed in her richest raiment and decked with her goodliest adornments. When she saw him, she came to meet him, laughing and said, “A blessed night! But hadst thou slain my father and my husband, it had been more to my mind.” And he said, “There is no help but I slay them.” Then she made him sit down and began to jest with him and make show of love caressing him and smiling in his face so that his reason fled; but she cajoled him with her coaxing and cunning only that she might get possession of the ring and change his joy into calamity on the mother of his forehead:3 nor did she deal thus with him but after the rede of him who said4:—
I attained by my wits
What no sword had obtained, And return wi’ the spoils
Whose sweet pluckings I gained.
When he saw her caress him and smile upon him, desire surged up in him and he besought her of carnal knowledge; but, when he approached her, she drew away from him and burst into tears, saying, “O my lord, seest thou not the man looking at us? I conjure thee by Allah, screen me from his eyes! How canst thou know me what while he looketh on us?” When he heard this, he was angry and asked, “Where is the man?”; and answered she, “There he is, in the bezel of the ring! putting out his head and staring at us.” He thought that the Jinni was looking at them and said laughing, “Fear not; this is the Slave of the Seal-ring, and he is subject to me.” Quoth she, “I am afraid of Ifrits; pull it off and throw it afar from me.” So he plucked it off and laying it on the cushion, drew near to her, but she dealt him a kick, her foot striking him full in the stomach5, and he fell over on his back senseless; whereupon she cried out to her attendants, who came to her in haste, and said to them, “Seize him!” So forty slavegirls laid hold on him, whilst she hurriedly snatched up the ring from the cushion and rubbed it; whereupon Abu al-Sa’adat presented himself, saying, “Adsum, at thy service O my mistress.” Cried she, “Take up yonder Infidel and clap him in jail and shackle him heavily.” So he took him and throwing him into the Prison of Wrath6 returned and reported, “I have laid him in limbo.” Quoth she, “Whither wentest thou with my father and my husband?”; and quoth he, “I cast them down in the Desert Quarter.” Then cried she, “I command thee to fetch them to me forthwith.” He replied, “I hear and I obey,” and taking flight at once, stayed not till he reached the Desert Quarter, where he lighted down upon them and found them sitting weeping and complaining each to other. Quoth he, “Fear not, for relief is come to you”; and he told them what the Wazir had done, adding, “Indeed I imprisoned him with my own hands in obedience to her, and she hath bidden me bear you back.” And they rejoiced in his news. Then he took them both up and flew home with them; nor was it more than an hour before he brought them in to Princess Dunya, who rose and saluted sire and spouse. Then she made them sit down and brought them food and sweetmeats, and they passed the rest of the night with her. On the next day she clad them in rich clothing and said to the King, “O my papa, sit thou upon thy throne and be King as before and make my husband thy Wazir of the Right and tell thy troops that which hath happened. Then send for the Minister out of prison and do him die, and after burn him, for that he is a Miscreant, and would have gone in unto me in the way of lewdness, without the rites of wedlock and he hath testified against himself that he is an Infidel and believeth in no religion. And do tenderly by thy son-in-law, whom thou makest thy Wazir of the Right.” He replied, “Hearing and obeying, O my daughter. But do thou give me the ring or give it to thy husband.” Quoth she, “It behoveth not that either thou or he have the ring. I will keep the ring myself, and belike I shall be more careful of it than you. Whatso ye wish seek it of me and I will demand it for you of the Slave of the Seal-ring. So fear no harm so long as I live and after my death, do what ye twain will with the ring.” Quoth the King, “This is the right rede, O my daughter,” and taking his son-in-law went forth to the Divan. Now the troops had passed the night in sore chagrin for Princess Dunya and that which the Wazir had done with her, in going in to her after the way of lewdness, without marriage-rites, and for his ill-usage of the King and Ma’aruf, and they feared lest the law of Al–Islam be dishonoured, because it was manifest to them that he was a Kafir. So they assembled in the Divan and fell to reproaching the Shaykh al-Islam, saying, “Why didst thou not forbid him from going in to the Princess in the way of lewdness?” Said he, “O folk, the man is a Miscreant and hath gotten possession of the ring and I and you may not prevail against him. But Almighty Allah will requite him his deed, and be ye silent, lest he slay you.” And as the host was thus engaged in talk, behold the King and Ma’aruf entered the Divan. — And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
1 Arab. “Al-‘iddah” the period of four months and ten days which must elapse before she could legally marry again. But this was a palpable wile: she was not sure of her husband’s death and he had not divorced her; so that although a “grass widow,” a “Strohwitwe” as the Germans say, she could not wed again either with or without interval.
2 Here the silence is of cowardice and the passage is a fling at the “timeserving” of the Olema, a favourite theme, like “banging the bishops” amongst certain Westerns.
3 Arab. “Umm al-raas,” the poll, crown of the head, here the place where a calamity coming down from heaven would first alight.
4 From Al–Hariri (Lane): the lines are excellent.
5 When the charming Princess is so ready at the voie de faits, the reader will understand how common is such energetic action among women of lower degree. The “fair sex” in Egypt has a horrible way of murdering men, especially husbands, by tying them down and tearing out the testicles. See Lane M. E. chapt. xiii.
6 Arab. “Sijn al-Ghazab,” the dungeons appropriated to the worst of criminals where they suffer penalties far worse than hanging or guillotining.
She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the troops sorely chagrined sat in the Divan talking over the ill-deeds done by the Wazir to their Sovran, his son-in-law and his daughter, behold, the King and Ma’aruf entered. Then the King bade decorate the city and sent to fetch the Wazir from the place of duresse. So they brought him, and as he passed by the troops, they cursed him and abused him and menaced him, till he came to the King, who commanded to do him dead by the vilest of deaths. Accordingly, they slew him and after burned his body, and he went to Hell after the foulest of plights; and right well quoth one of him:—
The Compassionate show no ruth to the tomb where his bones shall lie
And Munkar and eke Nakír1 ne’er cease to abide thereby!
The King made Ma’aruf his Wazir of the Right and the times were pleasant to them and their joys were untroubled. They abode thus five years till, in the sixth year, the King died and Princess Dunya made Ma’aruf Sultan in her father’s stead, but she gave him not the seal-ring. During this time she had conceived by him and borne him a boy of passing loveliness, excelling in beauty and perfection, who ceased not to be reared in the laps of nurses till he reached the age of five, when his mother fell sick of a deadly sickness and calling her husband to her, said to him, “I am ill.” Quoth he, “Allah preserve thee, O dearling of my heart!” But quoth she, “Haply I shall die and thou needest not that I commend to thy care thy son: wherefore I charge thee but be careful of the ring, for thine own sake and for the sake of this thy boy.” And he answered, “No harm shall befal him whom Allah preserveth!” Then she pulled off the ring and gave it to him, and on the morrow she was admitted to the mercy of Allah the Most High,2 whilst Ma’aruf abode in possession of the kingship and applied himself to the business of governing. Now it chanced that one day, as he shook the handkerchief3 and the troops withdrew to their places that he betook himself to the sitting-chamber, where he sat till the day departed and the night advanced with murks bedight. Then came in to him his cup-companions of the notables according to their custom, and sat with him by way of solace and diversion, till midnight, when they craved permission to withdraw. He gave them leave and they retired to their houses; after which there came in to him a slave-girl affected to the service of his bed, who spread him the mattress and doffing his apparel, clad him in his sleeping-gown. Then he lay down and she kneaded his feet, till sleep overpowered him; whereupon she withdrew to her own chamber and slept. But suddenly he felt something beside him in the bed and awaking started up in alarm and cried, “I seek refuge with Allah from Satan the stoned!” Then he opened his eyes and seeing by his side a woman foul of favour, said to her, “Who art thou?” Said she, “Fear not, I am thy wife Fatimah al-Urrah.” Whereupon he looked in her face and knew her by her loathly form and the length of her dog-teeth: so he asked her, “Whence camest thou in to me and who brought thee to this country?” “In what country art thou at this present?” “In the city of Ikhtiyan al-Khatan. But thou, when didst thou leave Cairo?” “But now.” “How can that be?” “Know,” said she, “that, when I fell out with thee and Satan prompted me to do thee a damage, I complained of thee to the magistrates, who sought for thee and the Kazis enquired of thee, but found thee not. When two days were past, repentance gat hold upon me and I knew that the fault was with me; but penitence availed me not, and I abode for some days weeping for thy loss, till what was in my hand failed and I was obliged to beg my bread. So I fell to begging of all, from the courted rich to the contemned poor, and since thou leftest me, I have eaten of the bitterness of beggary and have been in the sorriest of conditions. Every night I sat beweeping our separation and that which I suffered, since thy departure, of humiliation and ignominy, of abjection and misery.” And she went on to tell him what had befallen her, whilst he stared at her in amazement, till she said, “Yesterday, I went about begging all day but none gave me aught; and as often as I accosted any one and craved of him a crust of bread, he reviled me and gave me naught. When night came, I went to bed supperless, and hunger burned me and sore on me was that which I suffered: and I sat weeping when, behold, one appeared to me and said, O woman why weepest thou? Said I, erst I had a husband who used to provide for me and fulfil my wishes; but he is lost to me and I know not whither he went and have been in sore straits since he left me. Asked he, What is thy husband’s name? and I answered, His name is Ma’aruf. Quoth he, I ken him. Know that thy husband is now Sultan in a certain city, and if thou wilt, I will carry thee to him. Cried I, I am under thy protection: of thy bounty bring me to him! So he took me up and flew with me between heaven and earth, till he brought me to this pavilion and said to me:— Enter yonder chamber, and thou shalt see thy husband asleep on the couch. Accordingly I entered and found thee in this state of lordship. Indeed I had not thought thou wouldst forsake me, who am thy mate, and praised be Allah who hath united thee with me!” Quoth Ma’aruf, “Did I forsake thee or thou me? Thou complainedst of me from Kazi to Kazi and endedst by denouncing me to the High Court and bringing down on me Abú Tabak from the Citadel: so I fled in mine own despite.” And he went on to tell her all that had befallen him and how he was become Sultan and had married the King’s daughter and how his beloved Dunya had died, leaving him a son who was then seven years old. She rejoined, “That which happened was fore-ordained of Allah; but I repent me and I place myself under thy protection beseeching thee not to abandon me, but suffer me eat bread, with thee by way of an alms.” And she ceased not to humble herself to him and to supplicate him till his heart relented towards her and he said, “Repent from mischief and abide with me, and naught shall betide thee save what shall pleasure thee: but, an thou work any wickedness, I will slay thee nor fear any one. And fancy not that thou canst complain of me to the High Court and that Abu Tabak will come down on me from the Citadel; for I am become Sultan and the folk dread me: but I fear none save Allah Almighty, because I have a talismanic ring which when I rub, the Slave of the Signet appeareth to me. His name is Abu al-Sa’adat, and whatsoever I demand of him he bringeth to me. So, an thou desire to return to thine own country, I will give thee what shall suffice thee all thy life long and will send thee thither speedily; but, an thou desire to abide with me, I will clear for thee a palace and furnish it with the choicest of silks and appoint thee twenty slave-girls to serve thee and provide thee with dainty dishes and sumptuous suits, and thou shalt be a Queen and live in all delight till thou die or I die. What sayest thou of this?” “I wish to abide with thee,” she answered and kissed his hand and vowed repentance from frowardness. Accordingly he set apart a palace for her sole use and gave her slave-girls and eunuchs, and she became a Queen. The young Prince used to visit her as he visited his sire; but she hated him for that he was not her son; and when the boy saw that she looked on him with the eye of aversion and anger, he shunned her and took a dislike to her. As for Ma’aruf, he occupied himself with the love of fair handmaidens and bethought him not of his wife Fatimah the Dung, for that she was grown a grizzled old fright, foul-favoured to the sight, a bald-headed blight, loathlier than the snake speckled black and white; the more that she had beyond measure evil entreated him aforetime; and as saith the adage, “Ill-usage the root of desire disparts and sows hate in the soil of hearts;” and God-gifted is he who saith:—
Beware of losing hearts of men by thine injurious deed;
For when Aversion takes his place none may dear Love restore:
Hearts, when affection flies from them, are likest unto glass
Which broken, cannot whole be made — ’tis breached for evermore.
And indeed Ma’aruf had not given her shelter by reason of any praiseworthy quality in her, but he dealt with her thus generously only of desire for the approval of Allah Almighty. — Here Dunyazad interrupted her sister Shahrazad, saying, “How winsome are these words of thine which win hold of the heart more forcibly than enchanters’ eyne; and how beautiful are these wondrous books thou hast cited and the marvellous and singular tales thou hast recited!” Quoth Shahrazad, “And where is all this compared with what I shall relate to thee on the coming night, an I live and the King deign spare my days?” So when morning morrowed and the day brake in its sheen and shone, the King arose from his couch with breast broadened and in high expectation for the rest of the tale and saying, “By Allah, I will not slay her till I hear the last of her story;” repaired to his Durbár while the Wazir, as was his wont, presented himself at the Palace, shroud under arm. Shahriyar tarried abroad all that day, bidding and forbidding between man and man; after which he returned to his Harim and, according to his custom went in to his wife Shahrazad.4
1 According to some modern Moslems Munkar and Nakir visit the graves of Infidels (non-Moslems) and Bashshir and Mubashshir (“Givers of glad tidings”) those of Mohammedans. Petis de la Croix (Les Mille et un Jours vol. iii. 258) speaks of the “Zoubanya,” black angels who torture the damned under their chief Dabilah.
2 Very simple and pathetic is this short sketch of the noble-minded Princess’s death.
3 In sign of dismissal (vol. iv. 62) I have noted that “throwing the kerchief” is not an Eastern practice: the idea probably arose from the Oriental practice of sending presents in richly embroidered napkins and kerchiefs.
4 Curious to say both Lane and Payne omit this passage which appears in both texts (Mac. and Bul.). The object is evidently to prepare the reader for the ending by reverting to the beginning of the tale; and its prolixity has its effect as in the old Romances of Chivalry from Amadis of Ghaul to the Seven Champions of Christendom. If it provoke impatience, it also heightens expectation; “it is like the long elm-avenues of our forefathers; we wish ourselves at the end; but we know that at the end there is something great.”
Dunyazad said to her sister, “Do thou finish for us the History of Ma’aruf!” She replied, “With love and goodly gree, an my lord deign permit me recount it.” Quoth the King, “I permit thee; for that I am fain of hearing it.” So she said:— It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Ma’aruf would have naught to do with his wife by way of conjugal duty. Now when she saw that he held aloof from her bed and occupied himself with other women, she hated him and jealousy gat the mastery of her and Iblis prompted her to take the seal-ring from him and slay him and make herself Queen in his stead. So she went forth one night from her pavilion, intending for that in which was her husband King Ma’aruf; and it chanced by decree of the Decreer and His written destiny, that Ma’aruf lay that night with one of his concubines; a damsel endowed with beauty and loveliness, symmetry and a stature all grace. And it was his wont, of the excellence of his piety, that, when he was minded to have to lie with a woman, he would doff the enchanted seal-ring from his finger, in reverence to the Holy Names graven thereon, and lay it on the Pillow, nor would he don it again till he had purified himself by the Ghusl-ablution. Moreover, when he had lain with a woman, he was used to order her go forth from him before daybreak, of his fear for the seal-ring; and when he went to the Hammam he locked the door of the pavilion till his return, when he put on the ring, and after this, all were free to enter according to custom. His wife Fatimah the Dung knew of all this and went not forth from her place till she had certified herself of the case. So she sallied out, when the night was dark, purposing to go in to him, whilst he was drowned in sleep, and steal the ring, unseen of him. Now it chanced at this time that the King’s son had gone out, without light, to the Chapel of Ease for an occasion, and sat down over the marble slab1 of the jakes in the dark, leaving the door open. Presently, he saw Fatimah come forth of her pavilion and make stealthily for that of his father and said in himself, “What aileth this witch to leave her lodging in the dead of the night and make for my father’s pavilion? Needs must there be some reason for this:” so he went out after her and followed in her steps unseen of her. Now he had a short sword of watered steel, which he held so dear that he went not to his father’s Divan, except he were girt therewith; and his father used to laugh at him and exclaim, “Mahallah!2 This is a mighty fine sword of thine, O my son! But thou hast not gone down with it to battle nor cut off a head therewith.” Whereupon the boy would reply, “I will not fail to cut off with it some head which deserveth3 cutting.” And Ma’aruf would laugh at his words. Now when treading in her track, he drew the sword from its sheath and he followed her till she came to his father’s pavilion and entered, whilst he stood and watched her from the door. He saw her searching about and heard her say to herself, “Where hath he laid the seal-ring?”; whereby he knew that she was looking for the ring and he waited till she found it and said, “Here it is.” Then she picked it up and turned to go out; but he hid behind the door. As she came forth, she looked at the ring and turned it about in her grasp. But when she was about to rub it, he raised his hand with the sword and smote her on the neck; and she cried a single cry and fell down dead. With this Ma’aruf awoke and seeing his wife strown on the ground, with her blood flowing, and his son standing with the drawn sword in his hand, said to him, “What is this, O my son?” He replied, “O my father, how often hast thou said to me, Thou hast a mighty fine sword; but thou hast not gone down with it to battle nor cut off a head. And I have answered thee, saying, I will not fail to cut off with it a head which deserveth cutting. And now, behold, I have therewith cut off for thee a head well worth the cutting!” And he told him what had passed. Ma’aruf sought for the seal-ring, but found it not; so he searched the dead woman’s body till he saw her hand closed upon it; whereupon he took it from her grasp and said to the boy, “Thou art indeed my very son, without doubt or dispute; Allah ease thee in this world and the next, even as thou hast eased me of this vile woman! Her attempt led only to her own destruction, and Allah-gifted is he who said:—
When forwards Allah’s aid a man’s intent,
His wish in every case shall find consent:
But an that aid of Allah be refused,
His first attempt shall do him damagement.”
Then King Ma’aruf called aloud to some of his attendants, who came in haste, and he told them what his wife Fatimah the Dung had done and bade them to take her and lay her in a place till the morning. They did his bidding, and next day he gave her in charge to a number of eunuchs, who washed her and shrouded her and made her a tomb4 and buried her. Thus her coming from Cairo was but to her grave, and Allah-gifted is he who said5:—
We trod the steps appointed for us: and he whose steps are appointed must tread them.
He whose death is decreed to take place in our land shall not die in any land but that.
And how excellent is the saying of the poet:—
I wot not, whenas to a land I fare,
Good luck pursuing, what my lot shall be.
Whether the fortune I perforce pursue
Or the misfortune which pursueth me.
After this, King Ma’aruf sent for the husbandman, whose guest he had been, when he was a fugitive, and made him his Wazir of the Right and his Chief Counsellor.6 Then, learning that he had a daughter of passing beauty and loveliness, of qualities nature-ennobled at birth and exalted of worth, he took her to wife; and in due time he married his son. So they abode awhile in all solace of life and its delight and their days were serene and their joys untroubled, till there came to them the Destroyer of delights and the Sunderer of societies, the Depopulator of populous places and the Orphaner of sons and daughters. And glory be to the Living who dieth not and in whose hand are the Keys of the Seen and the Unseen!”
1 Arab. “alà malákay bayti ‘l-ráhah;” on the two slabs at whose union are the round hole and longitudinal slit. See vol. i. 221.
2 Here the exclamation wards off the Evil Eye from the Sword and the wearer: Mr. Payne notes, “The old English exclamation ‘Cock’s ‘ill!’ (i.e., God’s will, thus corrupted for the purpose of evading the statute of 3 Jac. i. against profane swearing) exactly corresponds to the Arabic”— with a difference, I add.
3 Arab. “Mustahakk”=deserving (Lane) or worth (Payne) the cutting.
4 Arab. “Mashhad” the same as “Sháhid”=the upright stones at the head and foot of the grave. Lane mistranslates, “Made for her a funeral procession.”
5 These lines have occurred before. I quote Lane.
6 There is nothing strange in such sudden elevations amongst Moslems and even in Europe we still see them occasionally. The family in the East, however humble, is a model and miniature of the state, and learning is not always necessary to wisdom.
Now, during this time, Shahrazad had borne the King three boy children: so, when she had made an end of the story of Ma’aruf, she rose to her feet and kissing ground before him, said, “O King of the time and unique one1 of the age and the tide, I am thine handmaid and these thousand nights and a night have I entertained thee with stories of folk gone before and admonitory instances of the men of yore. May I then make bold to crave a boon of Thy Highness?” He replied, “Ask, O Shahrazad, and it shall be granted to thee.2” Whereupon she cried out to the nurses and the eunuchs, saying, “Bring me my children.” So they brought them to her in haste, and they were three boy children, one walking, one crawling and one sucking. She took them and setting them before the King, again kissed the ground and said, “O King of the age, these are thy children and I crave that thou release me from the doom of death, as a dole to these infants; for, an thou kill me, they will become motherless and will find none among women to rear them as they should be reared.” When the King heard this, he wept and straining the boys to his bosom, said, “By Allah, O Shahrazad, I pardoned thee before the coming of these children, for that I found thee chaste, pure, ingenuous and pious! Allah bless thee and thy father and thy mother and thy root and thy branch! I take the Almighty to witness against me that I exempt thee from aught that can harm thee.” So she kissed his hands and feet and rejoiced with exceeding joy, saying, The Lord make thy life long and increase thee in dignity and majesty3!”; presently adding, “Thou marvelledst at that which befel thee on the part of women; yet there betided the Kings of the Chosroës before thee greater mishaps and more grievous than that which hath befallen thee, and indeed I have set forth unto thee that which happened to Caliphs and Kings and others with their women, but the relation is longsome and hearkening groweth tedious, and in this is all sufficient warning for the man of wits and admonishment for the wise.” Then she ceased to speak, and when King Shahriyar heard her speech and profited by that which she said, he summoned up his reasoning powers and cleansed his heart and caused his understanding revert and turned to Allah Almighty and said to himself, “Since there befel the Kings of the Chosroës more than that which hath befallen me, never, whilst I live, shall I cease to blame myself for the past. As for this Shahrazad, her like is not found in the lands; so praise be to Him who appointed her a means for delivering His creatures from oppression and slaughter!” Then he arose from his séance and kissed her head, whereat she rejoiced, she and her sister Dunyazad, with exceeding joy. When the morning morrowed, the King went forth and sitting down on the throne of the Kingship, summoned the Lords of his land; whereupon the Chamberlains and Nabobs and Captains of the host went in to him and kissed ground before him. He distinguished the Wazir, Shahrazad’s sire, with special favour and bestowed on him a costly and splendid robe of honour and entreated him with the utmost kindness, and said to him, “Allah protect thee for that thou gavest me to wife thy noble daughter, who hath been the means of my repentance from slaying the daughters of folk. Indeed I have found her pure and pious, chaste and ingenuous, and Allah hath vouchsafed me by her three boy children; wherefore praised be He for his passing favour.” Then he bestowed robes of honour upon his Wazirs, and Emirs and Chief Officers and he set forth to them briefly that which had betided him with Shahrazad and how he had turned from his former ways and repented him of what he had done and purposed to take the Wazir’s daughter, Shahrazad, to wife and let draw up the marriage-contract with her. When those who were present heard this, they kissed the ground before him and blessed him and his betrothed4 Shahrazad, and the Wazir thanked her. Then Shahriyar made an end of his sitting in all weal, whereupon the folk dispersed to their dwelling-places and the news was bruited abroad that the King purposed to marry the Wazir’s daughter, Shahrazad. Then he proceeded to make ready the wedding gear, and presently he sent after his brother, King Shah Zaman, who came, and King Shahriyar went forth to meet him with the troops. Furthermore, they decorated the city after the goodliest fashion and diffused scents from censers and burnt aloes-wood and other perfumes in all the markets and thoroughfares and rubbed themselves with saffron,5 what while the drums beat and the flutes and pipes sounded and mimes and mountebanks played and plied their arts and the King lavished on them gifts and largesse; and in very deed it was a notable day. When they came to the palace, King Shahriyar commanded to spread the tables with beasts roasted whole and sweetmeats and all manner of viands and bade the crier cry to the folk that they should come up to the Divan and eat and drink and that this should be a means of reconciliation between him and them. So, high and low, great and small came up unto him and they abode on that wise, eating and drinking, seven days with their nights. Then the King shut himself up with his brother and related to him that which had betided him with the Wazir’s daughter, Shahrazad, during the past three years and told him what he had heard from her of proverbs and parables, chronicles and pleasantries, quips and jests, stories and anecdotes, dialogues and histories and elegies and other verses; whereat King Shah Zaman marvelled with the uttermost marvel and said, “Fain would I take her younger sister to wife, so we may be two brothers-german to two sisters-german, and they on like wise be sisters to us; for that the calamity which befel me was the cause of our discovering that which befel thee and all this time of three years past I have taken no delight in woman, save that I lie each night with a damsel of my kingdom, and every morning I do her to death; but now I desire to marry thy wife’s sister Dunyazad.” When King Shahriyar heard his brother’s words, he rejoiced with joy exceeding and arising forthright, went in to his wife Shahrazad and acquainted her with that which his brother purposed, namely that he sought her sister Dunyazad in wedlock; whereupon she answered, “O King of the age, we seek of him one condition, to wit, that he take up his abode with us, for that I cannot brook to be parted from my sister an hour, because we were brought up together and may not endure separation each from other.6 If he accept this pact, she is his handmaid.” King Shahriyar returned to his brother and acquainted him with that which Shahrazad had said; and he replied, “Indeed, this is what was in my mind, for that I desire nevermore to be parted from thee one hour. As for the kingdom, Allah the Most High shall send to it whomso He chooseth, for that I have no longer a desire for the kingship.” When King Shahriyar heard his brother’s words, he rejoiced exceedingly and said, “Verily, this is what I wished, O my brother. So Alhamdolillah — Praised be Allah — who hath brought about union between us.” Then he sent after the Kazis and Olema, Captains and Notables, and they married the two brothers to the two sisters. The contracts were written out and the two Kings bestowed robes of honour of silk and satin on those who were present, whilst the city was decorated and the rejoicings were renewed. The King commanded each Emir and Wazir and Chamberlain and Nabob to decorate his palace and the folk of the city were gladdened by the presage of happiness and contentment. King Shahriyar also bade slaughter sheep and set up kitchens and made bride-feasts and fed all comers, high and low; and he gave alms to the poor and needy and extended his bounty to great and small. Then the eunuchs went forth, that they might perfume the Hammam for the brides; so they scented it with rosewater and willow-flower-water and pods of musk and fumigated it with Kákilí7 eagle-wood and ambergris. Then Shahrazad entered, she and her sister Dunyazad, and they cleansed their heads and clipped their hair. When they came forth of the Hammam-bath, they donned raiment and ornaments; such as men were wont prepare for the Kings of the Chosroës; and among Shahrazad’s apparel was a dress purfled with red gold and wrought with counterfeit presentments of birds and beasts. And the two sisters encircled their necks with necklaces of jewels of price, in the like whereof Iskander8 rejoiced not, for therein were great jewels such as amazed the wit and dazzled the eye; and the imagination was bewildered at their charms, for indeed each of them was brighter than the sun and the moon. Before them they lighted brilliant flambeaux of wax in candelabra of gold, but their faces outshone the flambeaux, for that they had eyes sharper than unsheathed swords and the lashes of their eyelids bewitched all hearts. Their cheeks were rosy red and their necks and shapes gracefully swayed and their eyes wantoned like the gazelle’s; and the slave-girls came to meet them with instruments of music. Then the two Kings entered the Hammam-bath, and when they came forth, they sat down on a couch set with pearls and gems, whereupon the two sisters came up to them and stood between their hands, as they were moons, bending and leaning from side to side in their beauty and loveliness. Presently they brought forward Shahrazad and displayed her, for the first dress, in a red suit; whereupon King Shahriyar rose to look upon her and the wits of all present, men and women, were bewitched for that she was even as saith of her one of her describers9:—
A sun on wand in knoll of sand she showed,
Clad in her cramoisy-hued chemisette:
Of her lips’ honey-dew she gave me drink
And with her rosy cheeks quencht fire she set.
Then they attired Dunyazad in a dress of blue brocade and she became as she were the full moon when it shineth forth. So they displayed her in this, for the first dress, before King Shah Zaman, who rejoiced in her and well-nigh swooned away for love-longing and amorous desire; yea, he was distraught with passion for her, whenas he saw her, because she was as saith of her one of her describers in these couplets10:—
She comes apparelled in an azure vest
Ultramarine as skies are deckt and dight:
I view’d th’ unparallel’d sight, which showed my eyes
A Summer-moon upon a Winter-night.
Then they returned to Shahrazad and displayed her in the second dress, a suit of surpassing goodliness, and veiled her face with her hair like a chin-veil.11 Moreover, they let down her side-locks and she was even as saith of her one of her describers in these couplets:—
O hail to him whose locks his cheeks o’ershade,
Who slew my life by cruel hard despight:
Said I, “Hast veiled the Morn in Night?” He said,
“Nay I but veil Moon in hue of Night.”
Then they displayed Dunyazad in a second and a third and a fourth dress and she paced forward like the rising sun, and swayed to and fro in the insolence of beauty; and she was even as saith the poet of her in these couplets12:—
The sun of beauty she to all appears
And, lovely coy she mocks all loveliness:
And when he fronts her favour and her smile
A-morn, the sun of day in clouds must dress.
Then they displayed Shahrazad in the third dress and the fourth and the fifth and she became as she were a Bán-branch snell or a thirsting gazelle, lovely of face and perfect in attributes of grace, even as saith of her one in these couplets13:—
She comes like fullest moon on happy night.
Taper of waist with shape of magic might:
She hath an eye whose glances quell mankind,
And ruby on her cheeks reflects his light:
Enveils her hips the blackness of her hair;
Beware of curls that bite with viper-bite!
Her sides are silken-soft, that while the heart
Mere rock behind that surface ’scapes our sight:
From the fringed curtains of her eyne she shoots
Shafts that at furthest range on mark alight.
Then they returned to Dunyazad and displayed her in the fifth dress and in the sixth, which was green, when she surpassed with her loveliness the fair of the four quarters of the world and outvied, with the brightness of her countenance, the full moon at rising tide; for she was even as saith of her the poet in these couplets14:—
A damsel ’twas the tirer’s art had decked with snare and sleight,
And robed with rays as though the sun from her had borrowed light:
She came before us wondrous clad in chemisette of green,
As veilèd by his leafy screen Pomegranate hides from sight:
And when he said, “How callest thou the fashion of thy dress?”
She answered us in pleasant way with double meaning dight,
We call this garment crève-coeur; and rightly is it hight,
For many a heart wi’ this we brake and harried many a sprite.”
Then they displayed Shahrazad in the sixth and seventh dresses and clad her in youth’s clothing, whereupon she came forward swaying from side to side and coquettishly moving and indeed she ravished wits and hearts and ensorcelled all eyes with her glances. She shook her sides and swayed her haunches, then put her hair on sword-hilt and went up to King Shahriyar, who embraced her as hospitable host embraceth guest, and threatened her in her ear with the taking of the sword; and she was even as saith of her the poet in these words:—
Were not the Murk15 of gender male,
Than feminines surpassing fair,
Tirewomen they had grudged the bride,
Who made her beard and whiskers wear!
Thus also they did with her sister Dunyazad, and when they had made an end of the display the King bestowed robes of honour on all who were present and sent the brides to their own apartments. Then Shahrazad went in to King Shahriyar and Dunyazad to King Shah Zaman and each of them solaced himself with the company of his beloved consort and the hearts of the folk were comforted. When morning morrowed, the Wazir came in to the two Kings and kissed ground before them; wherefore they thanked him and were large of bounty to him. Presently they went forth and sat down upon couches of Kingship, whilst all the Wazirs and Emirs and Grandees and Lords of the land presented themselves and kissed ground. King Shahriyar ordered them dresses of honour and largesse and they prayed for the permanence and prosperity of the King and his brother. Then the two Sovrans appointed their sire-in-law the Wazir to be Viceroy in Samarcand and assigned him five of the Chief Emirs to accompany him, charging them attend him and do him service. The Minister kissed the ground and prayed that they might be vouchsafed length of life: then he went in to his daughters, whilst the Eunuchs and Ushers walked before him, and saluted them and farewelled them. They kissed his hands and gave him joy of the Kingship and bestowed on him immense treasures; after which he took leave of them and setting out, fared days and nights, till he came near Samarcand, where the townspeople met him at a distance of three marches and rejoiced in him with exceeding joy. So he entered the city and they decorated the houses and it was a notable day. He sat down on the throne of his kingship and the Wazirs did him homage and the Grandees and Emirs of Samarcand and all prayed that he might be vouchsafed justice and victory and length of continuance. So he bestowed on them robes of honour and entreated them with distinction and they made him Sultan over them. As soon as his father-in-law had departed for Samarcand, King Shahriyar summoned the Grandees of his realm and made them a stupendous banquet of all manner of delicious meats and exquisite sweetmeats. He also bestowed on them robes of honour and guerdoned them and divided the kingdoms between himself and his brother in their presence, whereat the folk rejoiced. Then the two Kings abode, each ruling a day in turn, and they were ever in harmony each with other while on similar wise their wives continued in the love of Allah Almighty and in thanksgiving to Him; and the peoples and the provinces were at peace and the preachers prayed for them from the pulpits, and their report was bruited abroad and the travellers bore tidings of them to all lands. In due time King Shahriyar summoned chroniclers and copyists and bade them write all that had betided him with his wife, first and last; so they wrote this and named it “The Stories of the Thousand Nights and A Night.” The book came to thirty volumes and these the King laid up in his treasury. And the two brothers abode with their wives in all pleasance and solace of life and its delights, for that indeed Allah the Most High had changed their annoy into joy; and on this wise they continued till there took them the Destroyer of delights and the Severer of societies, the Desolator of dwelling-places and Garnerer of grave-yards, and they were translated to the ruth of Almighty Allah; their houses fell waste and their palaces lay in ruins16 and the Kings inherited their riches. Then there reigned after them a wise ruler, who was just, keen-witted and accomplished and loved tales and legends, especially those which chronicle the doings of Sovrans and Sultans, and he found in the treasury these marvellous stories and wondrous histories, contained in the thirty volumes aforesaid. So he read in them a first book and a second and a third and so on to the last of them, and each book astounded and delighted him more than that which preceded it, till he came to the end of them. Then he admired whatso he had read therein of description and discourse and rare traits and anecdotes and moral instances and reminiscences and bade the folk copy them and dispread them over all lands and climes; wherefore their report was bruited abroad and the people named them “The marvels and wonders of the Thousand Nights and A Night.” This is all that hath come down to us of the origin of this book, and Allah is All-knowing.17 So Glory be to Him whom the shifts of Time waste not away, nor doth aught of chance or change affect His sway: whom one case diverteth not from other case and Who is sole in the attributes of perfect grace. And prayer and peace be upon the Lord’s Pontiff and Chosen One among His creatures, our lord Mohammed the Prince of mankind through whom we supplicate Him for a goodly and a godly.
1 Arab. “Fárid” which may also mean “union-pearl.”
2 Trébutien (iii. 497) cannot deny himself the pleasure of a French touch making the King reply, “C’est assez; qu’on lui coupe la tête, car ces dernières histoires surtout m’ont causé un ennui mortel.” This reading is found in some of the Mss.
3 After this I borrow from the Bresl. Edit. inserting passages from the Mac. Edit.
4 i.e. whom he intended to marry with regal ceremony.
5 The use of coloured powders in sign of holiday-making is not obsolete in India. See Herklots for the use of “Huldee” (Haldí) or turmeric-powder, pp. 64–65.
6 Many Moslem families insist upon this before giving their girls in marriage, and the practice is still popular amongst many Mediterranean peoples.
7 i.e. Sumatran.
8 i.e. Alexander, according to the Arabs; see vol. v. 252.
9 These lines are in vol. i. 217.
10 I repeat the lines from vol. i. 218.
11 All these coquetries require as much inventiveness as a cotillon; the text alludes to fastening the bride’s tresses across her mouth giving her the semblance of beard and mustachios.
12 Repeated from vol. i. 218.
13 Repeated from vol. i. 218.
14 See vol. i. 219.
15 Arab. Sawád=the blackness of the hair.
16 Because Easterns build, but never repair.
17i.e. God only knows if it be true or not.
Last updated Tuesday, August 25, 2015 at 14:06