She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the wounded rider spake thus to Kanmakan, “Then came out the same Kahrdash, and fell on the old woman and her men and bore down upon them bashing them, nor was it long before they bound her and the ten slaves and bore off their captives and the horse, rejoicing. When I saw this, I said to myself, ‘My pains were in vain nor did I attain my gain.’ However, I waited to see how the affair would fare, and when the old woman found herself in bonds, she wept and said to the captain, Kahrdash, ‘O thou doughty Champion and furious Knight, what wilt thou do with an old woman and slaves, now that thou hast thy will of the horse?’ And she beguiled him with soft words and she sware that she would send him horses and cattle, till he released her and her slaves. Then he went his way, he and his comrades, and I followed them till they reached this country; and I watched them, till at last I found an opportunity of stealing the horse, whereupon I mounted him and, drawing a whip from my wallet, struck him with it. When the robbers heard this, they came out on me and surrounded me on all sides and shot arrows and cast spears at me, whilst I stuck fast on his back and he fended me with hoofs and forehand,1 till at last he bolted out with me from amongst them like unerring shaft or shooting star. But in the stress and stowre I got sundry grievous wounds and sore; and, since that time, I have passed on his back three days without tasting food or sleeping aught, so that my strength is down brought and the world is become to me as naught. But thou hast dealt kindly with me and hast shown ruth on me; and I see thee naked stark and sorrow hath set on thee its mark, yet are signs of wealth and gentle breeding manifest on thee. So tell me, what and whence art thou and whither art thou bound?” Answered the Prince, “My name is Kanmakan, son of Zau al-Makan, son of King Omar bin al-Nu’uman. When my father died and an orphan lot was my fate, a base man seized the throne and became King over small and great.” Then he told him all his past from first to last; and the horse thief said to him for he pitied him, “By Allah, thou art one of high degree and exceeding nobility, and thou shalt surely attain estate sublime and become the first cavalier of thy time. If thou can lift me on horseback and mount thee behind me and bring me to my own land, thou shalt have honour in this world and a reward on the day of band calling to band,2 for I have no strength left to steady myself; and if this be my last day, the steed is thine alway, for thou art worthier of him than any other.” Quoth Kanmakan, By Allah, if I could carry thee on my shoulders or share my days with thee, I would do this deed without the steed! For I am of a breed that loveth to do good and to succour those in need; and one kindly action in Almighty Allah’s honour averteth seventy calamities from its doer. So make ready to set out and put thy trust in the Subtle, the All-Wise.” And he would have lifted him on to the horse and fared forward trusting in Allah Aider of those who seek aid, but the horse thief said, “Wait for me awhile. Then he closed his eyes and opening his hands, said I testify that there is no god but the God, and I testify that Mohammed is the Apostle of God!” And he added, “O glorious One, pardon me my mortal sin, for none can pardon mortal sins save the Immortal!” And he made ready for death and recited these couplets,
“I have wronged mankind, and have ranged like wind
O’er the world, and in wine-cups my life has past:
I’ve swum torrent course to bear off the horse;
And my guiles high places on plain have cast.
Much I’ve tried to win and o’er much my sin,
And Katul of my winnings is most and last:
I had hoped of this steed to gain wish and need,
But vain was the end of this journey vast.
I have stolen through life, and my death in strife
Was doomed by the Lord who doth all forecast
And I’ve toiled these toils to their fatal end
For an orphan, a pauper sans kith or friend!”
And when he had finished his verses he closed his eyes and opened his mouth; then with a single death-rattling he left this world. Thereupon Kanmakan rose and dug a grave and laid him in the dust; after which he went up to the steed and kissed him and wiped his face and joyed with exceeding joy, saying, “None hath the fellow of this stallion; no, not even King Sasan.” Such was the case with Kanmakan; but as regards King Sasan, presently news came to him that the Wazir Dandan had thrown off his allegiance, and with him half the army who swore that they would have no King but Kanmakan: and the Minister had bound the troops by a solemn covenant and had gone with them to the Islands of India and to Berber-land and to Black-land;3 where he had levied armies from far and near, like unto the swollen sea for fear and none could tell the host’s van from its rear. And the Minister was resolved to make for Baghdad and take the kingdom in ward and slay every soul who dare retard, having sworn not to return the sword of war to its sheath, till he had made Kanmakan King. When this news came to Sasan, he was drowned in the sea of appal, knowing that the whole state had turned against him, great and small; and his trouble redoubled and his care became despair. So he opened his treasuries and distributed his monies among his officers; and he prayed for Kanmakan’s return, that he might draw his heart to him with fair usage and bounty; and make him commander of those troops which ceased not being faithful to him, so might he quench the sparks ere they became a flame. Now when the news of this reached Kanmakan by the merchants, he returned in haste to Baghdad on the back of the aforesaid stallion, and as King Sasan sat perplexed upon his throne he heard of the coming of Kanmakan; whereupon he despatched all the troops and head-men of the city to meet him. So all who were in Baghdad fared forth and met the Prince and escorted him to the palace and kissed the thresholds, whilst the damsels and the eunuchs went in to his mother and gave her the fair tidings of his return. She came to him and kissed him between the eyes, but he said to her, “O mother mine, let me go to my uncle King Sasan who hath overwhelmed me with weal and boon.” And while he so did, all the palace-people and head-men marvelled at the beauty of the stallion and said, “No King is like unto this man.” So Kanmakan went in to King Sasan and saluted him as he rose to receive him; and, kissing his hands and feet, offered him the horse as a present. The King greeted him, saying, “Well come and welcome to my son Kanmakan! By Allah, the world hath been straitened on me by reason of thine absence, but praised be Allah for thy safety!” And Kanmakan called down blessings on him. Then the King looked at the stallion, Al–Katul hight, and knew him for the very horse he had seen in such and such a year whilst beleaguering the Cross-worshippers of Constantinople with Kanmakan’s sire, Zau al-Makan, that time they slew his uncle Sharrkan. So he said to the Prince, “If thy father could have come by this courser, he would have bought it with a thousand blood horses: but now let the honour return to the honourable. We accept the steed and we give him back to thee as a gift, for to him thou hast more right than any wight, being knightliest of knights.” Then King Sasan bade bring forth for him dresses of honour and led horses and appointed to him the chief lodging in the palace, and showed him the utmost affection and honour, because he feared the issue of the Wazir Dandan’s doings. At this Kanmakan rejoiced and shame and humiliation ceased from him. Then he went to his house and, going to his mother, asked, “O my mother, how is it with the daughter of my uncle?” Answered she, “By Allah, O my son, my concern for thine absence hath distracted me from any other, even from thy beloved; especially as she was the cause of thy strangerhood and thy separation from me.” Then he complained to her of his case, saying, “O my mother, go to her and speak with her; haply she will vouchsafe me her sight to see and dispel from me this despondency.” Replied his mother, “Idle desires abase men’s necks; so put away from thee this thought that can only vex; for I will not wend to her nor go in to her with such message.’ Now when he heard his mother’s words he told her what said the horse-thief concerning Zat al-Dawahi, how the old woman was then in their land purposing to make Baghdad, and added, “It was she who slew my uncle and my grandfather, and needs must I avenge them with man-bote, that our reproach be wiped out.” Then he left her and repaired to an old woman, a wicked, whorish, pernicious beldam by name Sa’adánah and complained to her of his case and of what he suffered for love of his cousin Kuzia Fakan and begged her to go to her and win her favour for him. “I hear and I obey,” answered the old hag and leaving him betook herself to Kuzia Fakan’s palace, that she might intercede with her in his behalf. Then she returned to him and said, “Of a truth Kuzia Fakan saluteth thee and promiseth to visit thee this night about midnight.”— And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
1 This is a true and life-like description of horse-stealing in the Desert: Antar and Burckhardt will confirm every word. A noble Arab stallion is supposed to fight for his rider and to wake him at night if he see any sign of danger. The owner generally sleeps under the belly of the beast which keeps eyes and ears alert till dawn.
2 Arab. “Yaum al tanádi,” i.e. Resurrection-day.
3 Arab. “Bilád al-Súdan”=the Land of the Blacks, negro-land, whence the slaves came, a word now fatally familiar to English ears. There are, however, two regions of the same name, the Eastern upon the Upper Nile and the Western which contains the Niger Valley, and each considers itself the Sudan. And the reader must not confound the Berber of the Upper Nile, the Berderino who acts servant in Lower Egypt, with the Berber of Barbary: the former speaks an African language; the latter a “Semitic” (Arabic) tongue.
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the old woman came to Kanmakan and said, “Of a truth the daughter of thine uncle saluteth thee and she will visit thee this night about midnight;” he rejoiced and sat down to await the fulfilment of his cousin’s promise. But before the hour of night she came to him, wrapped in a veil of black silk, and she went in to him and aroused him from sleep, saying, “How canst thou pretend to love me, when thou art sleeping heart-free and in complete content?” So he awoke and said, “By Allah, O desire of my heart, I slept not but in the hope that thine image might visit my dreams!” Then she chid him with soft words and began versifying in these couplets,
“Hadst thou been leaf in love’s loyalty,
Ne’er haddest suffered sleep to seal those eyne:
O thou who claimest lover-loyalty,
Treading the lover’s path of pain and pine!
By Allah, O my cousin, never yet
Did eyes of lover sleep such sleep indign.”
Now when he heard his cousin’s words, he was abashed before her and rose and excused himself. Then they embraced and complained to each other of the anguish of separation; and they ceased not thus till dawn broke and day dispersed itself over the horizon; when she rose preparing to depart. Upon this Kanmakan wept and sighed and began improvising these couplets,
“O thou who deignest come at sorest sync,
Whose lips those teeth like necklaced pearls enshrine’
I kissed him1 thousand times and clips his waist,
And spent the night with cheek to cheek close li’en
Till to depart us twain came dawning day,
Like sword edge drawn from sheath in radiant line.”
And when he ended his poetry, Kuzia Fakan took leave of him and returned to her palace. Now certain of her damsels became aware of her secret, and one of these slave girls disclosed it to King Sasan, who went into Kuzia Fakan and, drawing his sabre upon her, would have slain her: but her mother Nuzhat al-Zaman entered and said to him, “By Allah, do her no harm, for if thou hurt her, the report will be noised among the folk and thou shalt become a reproach amongst the Kings of the age! Know thou that Kanmakan is no son of adultery, but a man of honour and nobility, who would not do aught that could shame him, and she was reared with him. So be not hasty; for verily the report is spread abroad, among all the palace-people and all the folk of Baghdad, how the Wazir Dandan hath levied armies from all countries and is on his way hither to make Kanmakan King.” Quoth Sasan, “By Allah, needs must I cast him into such calamity that neither earth shall support him nor sky shall shadow him! I did but speak him fair and show him favour because of my lieges and my lords, lest they incline to him; but right soon shalt thou see what shall betide.” Then he left her and went out to order the affairs of the realm. Such, then, was the case with King Sasan; but as regards Kanmakan, on the next day he came in to his mother and said, “O my mother! I am resolved to ride forth a raiding and a looting: and I will cut the road of caravans and lift horses and flocks, negroes and white slaves and, as soon as I have collected great store and my case is bettered galore, I will demand my cousin Kuzia Fakan in marriage of my uncle Sasan.” Replied she, “O my son, of a truth the goods of men are not ready to hand like a scape-camel;2 for on this side of them are sword-strokes and lance-lungings and men that eat the wild beast and lay countries waste and chase lynxes and hunt lions.” Quoth he, Heaven forefend that I turn back from my resolve, till I have won to my will! Then he despatched the old woman to Kuzia Fakan, to tell her that he was about to set out in quest of a marriage settle ment befitting her, saying to the beldam, “Thou needs must pray her to send me an answer.” “I hear and I obey,” replied the old woman and going forth, presently returned with Kuzia Fakan’s reply, which was, “She will come to thee at midnight.” So he abode awake till one half of the night was passed, when restlessness get hold on him, and before he was aware she came in to him, saying, “My life be thy ransom from wakefulness!” and he sprang up to receive her, exclaiming, “O desire of my heart, my life be thy redemption from all ills and evils!” Then he acquainted her, with his intent, and she wept: but he said, “Weep not, O daughter of my uncle; for I beseech Him who decreed our separation to vouchsafe us reunion and fair understanding.” Then Kanmakan, having fixed a day for departure, went in to his mother and took leave of her, after which came he down from his palace and threw the baldrick of his sword over his shoulder and donned turband and face-veil; and mounting his horse, Al–Katul, and looking like the moon at its full, he threaded the streets of Baghdad, till he reached the city gate. And behold, here he found Sabbah bin Rammah coming out of town; and his comrade seeing him, ran to his stirrup and saluted him. He returned his salutation, and Sabbah asked him, “O my brother, how camest thou by this good steed and this sword and clothes, whilst I up to present time have gotten nothing but my sword and target?” Answered Kanmakan, “The hunter returneth not but with quarry after the measure of his intention. A little after thy departure, fortune came to me: so now say, wilt thou go with me and work thine intent in my company and journey with me in this desert?” Replied Sabbah, “By the Lord of the Ka’abah, from this time forth I will call thee naught but ‘my lord’!” Then he ran on before the horse, with his sword hanging from his neck and his budget between his shoulder blades, and Kanmakan rode a little behind him; and they plunged into the desert, for a space of four days, eating of the gazelles and drinking water of the springs. On the fifth day they drew near a high hill, at whose foot was a spring-encampment3 and a deep running stream; and the knolls and hollows were filled with camels and cattle and sheep and horses, and little children played about the pens and folds. When Kanmakan saw this, he rejoiced at the sight and his breast was filled with delight; so he addressed himself to fight, that he might take the camels and the cattle, and said to Sabbah, “Come, fall with us upon this loot, whose owners have left it unguarded here, and do we battle for it with near and far, so haply may fall to our lot of goods some share.” Replied Sabbah, “O my lord, verily they to whom these herds belong be many in number; and among them are doughty horsemen and fighting footmen; and if we venture lives in this derring do we shall fall into danger great and neither of us will return safe from this bate; but we shall both be cut off by fate and leave our cousins desolate.” Then Kanmakan laughed and knew that he was a coward; so he left him and rode down the rise, intent on rapine, with loud cries and chanting these couplets,
“Oh a valiant race are the sons of Nu’umán,
Braves whose blades shred heads of the foeman-clan!4
A tribe who, when tried in the tussle of war,
Taketh prowess stand in the battle-van:
In their tents safe close gaberlunzie’s eyne,
Nor his poverty’s ugly features scan:
And I for their aidance sue of Him
Who is King of Kings and made soul of man.”
Then he rushed upon the she-camels like a he-camel in rut and drove all before him, sheep and cattle, horses and dromedaries. Therewith the slaves ran at him with their blades so bright and their lances so long; and at their head rode a Turkish horseman who was indeed a stout champion, doughty in fray and in battle chance and skilled to wield the nut-brown lance and the blade with bright glance. He drove at Kanmakan, saying, “Woe to thee! Knewest thou to whom these herds belong thou hadst not done this deed. Know that they are the goods of the band Grecian, the champions of the ocean and the troop Circassian; and this troop containeth none but valiant wights numbering an hundred knights, who have cast off the allegiance of every Sultan. But there hath been stolen from them a noble stallion, and they have vowed not to return hence without him.” Now when Kanmakan heard these words, he cried out, saying, “O villain, this I bestride is the steed whereof ye speak and after which ye seek, and ye would do battle with me for his sake’ So come out against me, all of you at once, and do you dourest for the nonce!” Then he shouted between the ears of Al–Katul who ran at them like a Ghul; whereupon Kanmakan let drive at the Turk5 and ran him through the body and threw him from his horse and let out his life; after which he turned upon a second and a third and a fourth, and also of life bereft them. When the slaves saw this, they were afraid of him, and he cried out and said to them, “Ho, sons of whores, drive out the cattle and the stud or I will dye my spear in your blood.” So they untethered the beasts and began to drive them out; and Sabbah came down to Kanmakan with loud voicing and hugely rejoicing; when lo! there arose a cloud of dust and grew till it walled the view, and there appeared under of it riders an hundred, like lions an-hungered. Upon this Sabbah took flight, and fled to the hill’s topmost height, leaving the assailable site, and enjoyed sight of the fight, saying, “I am no warrior; but in sport and jest I delight.”6 Then the hundred cavaliers made towards Kanmakan and surrounded him on all sides, and one of them accosted him, saying, “Whither goest thou with this loot?” Quoth he, “I have made it my prize and am carrying it away; and I forbid you from it, or come on to the combat, for know ye that he who is before you is a terrible lion and an honourable champion, and a sword that cutteth wherever it turneth!” When the horseman heard these words, he looked at Kanmakan and saw that he was a knight like a mane-clad lion in might, whilst his face was as the full moon rising on its fourteenth night, and velour shone from between his eyes. Now that horseman was the captain of the hundred horse, and his name was Kahrdash; and when he saw in Kanmakan the perfection of cavalarice with surpassing gifts of comeliness, his beauty reminded him of a beautiful mistress of his whose name was Fátin.7 Now she was one of the fairest of women in face, for Allah had given her charms and grace and noble qualities of all kinds, such as tongue faileth to explain and which ravish the hearts of men. Moreover, the cavaliers of the tribe feared her prowess and all the champions of that land stood in awe of her high spirit; and she had sworn that she would not marry nor let any possess her, except he should conquer her in combat (Kahrdash being one of her suitors); and she said to her father, “None shall approach me, save he be able to deal me over throw in the field and stead of war thrust and blow. Now when this news reached Kahrdash, he scorned to fight with a girl, fearing reproach; and one of his intimates said to him, “Thou art complete in all conditions of beauty and goodliness; so if thou contend with her, even though she be stronger than thou, thou must needs overcome her; for when she seeth thy beauty and grace, she will be discomfited before thee and yield thee the victory; for verily women have a need of men e’en as thou heedest full plain.” Nevertheless Kahrdash refused and would not contend with her, and he ceased not to abstain from her thus, till he met from Kanmakan that which hath been set down. Now he took the Prince for his beloved Fatin and was afraid; albeit indeed she loved him for what she had heard of his beauty and velour; so he went up to him and said, “Woe to thee,8 O Fatin! Thou comest here to show me thy prowess; but now alight from thy steed, that I may talk with thee, for I have lifted these cattle and have foiled my friends and waylaid many a brave and man of knightly race, all for the sake of thy beauty of form and face, which are without peer. So marry me now, that Kings’ daughters may serve thee and thou shalt become Queen of these countries.” When Kanmakan heard these words, the fires of wrath flamed up in him and he cried out, “Woe to thee, O Persian dog! Leave Fatin and thy trust and mistrust, and come to cut and thrust, for eftsoon thou shalt lie in the dust;” and so saying, he began to wheel about him and assail him and feel the way to prevail. But when Kahrdash observed him closely he knew him for a doughty knight and a stalwart in fight; and the error of his thought became manifest to him, whenas he saw the green down on his cheeks dispread like myrtles springing from the heart of a rose bright-red. And he feared his onslaught and quoth he to those with him, “Woe to you! Let one of you charge down upon him and show him the keen sword and the quivering spear; for know that when many do battle with one man it is foul shame, even though he be a kemperly wight and an invincible knight.” Upon this, there ran at Kanmakan a horseman like a lion in fight, mounted on a black horse with hoofs snow-white and a star on his forehead, the bigness of a dirham, astounding wit and sight, as he were Abjar, which was Antar’s destrier, even as saith of him the poet,
“The courser chargeth on battling foe,
Mixing heaven on high with the earth down low:9
As though the Morning had blazed his brow,
And he rends her vitals as quid pro quo.”
He rushed upon Kanmakan, and they wheeled about awhile, giving blows and taking blows such as confound the sprite and dim the sight; but Kanmakan was the first to smite the foe a swashing blow, that rove through turband and iron skull cap and reached his head, and he fell from his steed with the fall of a camel when he rolleth over. Then a second came out to him and offered battle, and in like guise a third, a fourth and a fifth, and he did with them all as he had done with the first. Thereupon the rest at once rushed upon him, for indeed they were roused by rage and wild with wrath; but it was not long before he had pierced them all with the point of his spear. When Kahrdash saw these feats of arms, he feared death; for he knew that the youth was stoutest of heart and concluded that he was unique among knights and braves; and he said to Kanmakan, “I waive my claim to thy blood and I pardon thee the blood of my comrades: so take what thou wilt of the cattle and wend thy ways, for thy firmness in fight moveth my ruth and life is better for thee than death.” Replied Kanmakan, “Thou lackest not of the generosity of the noble! but leave this talk and run for thy life and reck not of blame nor think to get back the booty; but take the straight path for thine own safety.” Thereupon Kahrdash waxed exceeding wroth, and rage moved him to the cause of his death; so he said to Kanmakan, “Woe to thee, an thou knew who I be, thou wouldst not wield these words in the open field. I am the lion to bash known as Kahrdash, he who spoileth great Kings and waylayeth all travellings and seizeth the merchants’ preciousest things. And the steed under thee is that I am seeking; and I call upon thee to tell me how thou camest by him and hast him in thy keeping.” Replied Kan makan, “Know thou that this steed was being carried to my uncle King Sasan, under the escort of an ancient dame high in rank attended by ten slaves, when thou fellest upon her and tookest the horse from her; and I have a debt of blood against this old woman for the sake of my grandfather King Omar bin al Nu’uman and my uncle King Sharrkan.’ “Woe to thee!” quoth Kahrdash, “who is thy father, O thou that hast no lawful mother?” Quoth he, “Know that I am Kanmakan, bin Zau al-Makan, son of Omar bin al-Nu’uman.” But when Kahrdash heard this address he said, “Thy perfection cannot be denied, nor yet the union in thee of knightly virtue and seemlihead,” and he added, “Fare in peace, for thy father showed us favour.” Rejoined Kanmakan, “By Allah, I will not deign to honour thee, O wretch I disdain, so far as to overcome thee in battle plain!” Upon this the Badawi waxed wroth and they drove at each other, shouting aloud, whilst their horses pricked their ears and raised their tails.10 And they ceased not clashing together with such a crash that it seemed to each as if the firmament were split in sunder, and they continued to strive like two rams which butt, smiting and exchanging with their spears thrust and cut. Presently Kahrdash foined at Kanmakan; but he evaded it and rejoined upon him and so pierced him through the breast that the spearhead issued from his back. Then he collected the horses and the plunder, and he cried out to the slaves, saying, “Up and be driving as hard as ye may!” Hearing this, down came Sabbah and, accosting Kanmakan, said to him, “Right well hast thou dight, O Knight of the age! Verily I prayed Allah for thee and the Lord heard my prayer.” Then he cut off Kahrdash’s head and Kanmakan laughed and said, “Woe to thee, O Sabbah! I thought thee a rider fain of fight.” Quoth the Badawi, “Forget not thy slave in the division of the spoil, so haply therewith I may marry my cousin Najmah.” Answered Kanmakan, “Thou shalt assuredly share in it, but now keep watch over the booty and the slaves.” Then he set out for his home and he ceased not journeying night and day till he drew near Baghdad city, and all the troops heard of Kanmakan, and saw what was his of loot and cattle and the horse-thief’s head on the point of Sabbah’s spear. Also (for he was a noted highwayman) the merchants knew Kahrdash’s head and rejoiced, saying, “Allah hath rid mankind of him!”; and they marvelled at his being slain and blessed his slayer. Thereupon all the people of Baghdad came to Kanmakan, seeking to know what adventures had befallen him, and he told them what had passed, whereupon all men were taken with awe of him and the Knights and champions feared him. Then he drove his spoil under the palace walls; and, planting the spear heel, on whose point was Kahrdash’s head, over against the royal gate, gave largesse to the people of Baghdad, distributing horses and camels, so that all loved him and their hearts inclined to him. Presently he took Sabbah and lodged him in a spacious dwelling and gave him a share of the loot; after which he went in to his mother and told her all that had befallen him in his last journey. Meanwhile the news of him reached the King, who rose from his levee and, shutting himself up with his chief officers, said to them, “Know ye that I desire to reveal to you my secret and acquaint you with the hidden facts of my case. And further know that Kanmakan will be the cause of our being uprooted from this kingdom, our birth place; for he hath slain Kahrdash, albeit he had with him the tribes of the Kurds and the Turks, and our affair with him will end in our destruction, seeing that the most part of our troops are his kinsmen and ye weet what the Wazir Dandan hath done; how he disowneth me, after all I have shown him of favours; and after being faithful he hath turned traitor. Indeed it hath reached me that he hath levied an army in the provinces and hath planned to make Kanmakan Sultan, for that the Sultanate was his father’s and his grandfather’s; and assuredly he will slay me without mercy.” Now when the Lords of the Realm heard from him these words, they replied, “O King, verily this man.11 is unequal to this, and did we not know him to have been reared by thee, not one of us would approve of him. And know thou that we are at thy commandment; if thou desire his death, we will do him die; and if thou wilt remove him, we will remove him.” Now when King Sasan heard this, he said, “Verily, to slay him were wise; but needs must ye swear an oath to it.” So all sware to slay Kanmakan without giving him a chance; to the end that, when the Wazir Dandan should come and hear of his death, his force might be weakened and he fail of his design. When they had made this compact and covenant with trim, the king honoured them with the highest honours and presently retired to his own apartments. But the officers deserted him and the troops refused their service and would neither mount nor dismount until they should espy what might befal, for they saw that most of the army was with the Wazir Dandan. Presently, the news of these things came to Kuzia Fakan and caused her much concern; so that she sent for the old woman who was wont to carry messages between her and her cousin, and when she came, bade her go to him and warn him of the plot. Whereto he replied, “Bear my salutation to the daughter of my uncle and say to her, ‘Verily the earth is of Allah (to whom belong Might and Majesty!), and He giveth it as heritage to whomsoever of His servants He willeth.’ How excellent is the saying of the sayer,
‘Allah holds Kingship! Whoso seeks without Him victory
Shall be cast out, with soul condemned to Hell of low degree:
Had I or any other man a finger breadth of land,
The rule were changed and men a twain of partner gods would see.’ ”
Then the old woman returned to Kuzia Fakan and told her his reply and acquainted her that he abode in the city. Meanwhile, King Sasan awaited his faring forth from Baghdad, that he might send after him some who would slay him; till it befel one morning that Kanmakan went out to course and chase, accompanied by Sabbah, who would not leave him night or day. He caught ten gazelles and among them one that had tender black eyes and turned right and left: so he let her go and Sabbah said to him, “Why didst thou free this gazelle?” Kanmakan laughed and set the others free also, saying, “It is only humane to release gazelles that have young, and this one turned not from side to side, save to look for her fawns: so I let her go and released the others in her honour.” Quoth Sabbah, “Do thou release me, that I may go to my people.” At this Kanmakan laughed and smote him with the spear butt on the breast, and he fell to the ground squirming like a snake. Whilst they were thus doing, behold, they saw a dust cloud spireing high and heard the tramp of horses; and presently there appeared under it a plump of knights and braves. Now the cause of their coming was this. Some of his followers had acquainted King Sasan with Kanmakan’s going out to the chase; so he sent for an Emir of the Daylamites, called Jámi’ and twenty of his horsemen; and gave them money and bade them slay Kanmaken. So when they drew near the Prince, they charged down upon him and he met them in mid-charge and killed them all, to the last man. And behold, King Sasan took horse and riding out to meet his people, found them all slain, whereat he wondered and turned back; when lo! the people of the city laid hands on him and bound him straitly. As for Kanmakan after that adventure, he left the place behind him and rode onward with Sabbah the Badawi. And the while he went, lo! he saw a youth sitting at the door of a house on his road and saluted him. The youth returned his greeting and, going into the house, brought out two platters, one full of soured milk and the other of brewis swimming in clarified butter; and he set the platter before Kanmakan, saying “Favour us by eating of our victual.” But he refused and quoth the young man to him, “What aileth thee, O man, that thou wilt not eat?” Quoth Kanmakan, “I have a vow upon me.” The youth asked, “What is the cause of thy vow?”, and Kanmakan answered, “Know that King Sasan seized upon my kingdom like a tyrant and an enemy, although it was my father’s and my grand father’s before me; yet he became master of it by force after my father’s death and took no count of me, by reason of my tender years. So I have bound myself by a vow to eat no man’s victual till I have eased my heart of my foe.” Rejoined the youth, “Rejoice, for Allah hath fulfilled thy vow. Know that he hath been prisoned in a certain place and methinks he will soon die.” Asked Kanmakan, “In what house is he confined?” “Under yon high dome,” answered the other. The Prince looked and saw the folk entering and buffeting Sasan, who was suffering the agonies of the dying. So he arose and went up to the pavilion and noted what was therein; after which he returned to his place and, sitting down to the proferred victual, ate what sufficed him and put the rest in his wallet. Then he took seat in his own place and ceased not sitting till it was dark night and the youth, whose guest he was slept; when he rose and repaired to the pavilion wherein Sasan was confined. Now about it were dogs guarding it, and one of them sprang at him; so he took out of his budget a bit of meat and threw it to him. He ceased not casting flesh to the dogs till he came to the pavilion and, making his way to where King Sasan was, laid his hand upon his head; whereupon he said in a loud voice, “Who art thou?” He replied, “I am Kanmakan whom thou stravest to kill; but Allah made thee fall into thine evil device. Did it not suffice thee to take my kingdom and the kingdom of my father, but thou must purpose to slay me?”12 And Sasan swore a false oath that he had not plotted his death and that the bruit was untrue. So Kanmakan forgave him and said to him, “Follow me.” Quoth he, “I cannot walk a single step for weakness.” Quoth Kanmakan, “If the case be thus we will get us two horses and ride forth, I and thou, and seek the open.” So he did as he said, and he took horse with Sasan and rode till day break, when they prayed the dawn prayer and fared on, and ceased not faring till they came to a garden, where they sat down and talked. Then Kanmakan rose to Sasan and said, “Is aught left to set thy heart against me?” “No, by Allah!” replied Sasan. So they agreed to return to Baghdad and Sabbah the Badawi said, “I will go before you, to give folk the fair tidings of your coming.” Then he rode on in advance, acquainting women and men with the good news; so all the people came out to meet Kanmakan with tabrets and pipes; and Kuzia Fakan also came out, like the full moon shining in all her splendour of light through the thick darkness of the night. So Kanmakan met her, and soul yearned to soul and body longed for body. There was no talk among the people of the time but of Kanmakan; for the Knights bore witness of him that he was the most valiant of the folk of the age and said, “It is not right that other than Kanmakan should be our Sultan, but the throne of his grandfather shall revert to him as it began.” Meanwhile Sasan went in to his wife, Nuzhat al-Zaman, who said to him, “I hear that the folk talk of nothing but Kanmakan and attribute to him such qualities as tongue never can.” He replied, “Hearing of a man is not like seeing a man. I have seen him, but have noted in him none of the attributes of perfection. Not all that is heard is said; but folk ape one another in extolling and cherishing him, and Allah maketh his praises to run on the lips of men, so that there incline to him the hearts of the people of Baghdad and of the Wazir Dandan, that perfidious and treacherous man; who hath levied troops from all lands and taketh to himself the right of naming a King of the country; and who chooseth that it shall be under the hand of an orphan ruler whose worth is naught.” Asked Nuzhat al-Zaman, “What then is it that thou purposest to do?”; and the King answered, “I mean to kill him, that the Wazir may be baulked of his intent and return to his allegiance, seeing nothing for it but my service.” Quoth she, “In good sooth perfidy with strangers is a foul thing and how much more with kith and kin! The righteous deed to do would be to marry him to thy daughter Kuzia Fakan and give heed to what was said of old time,
‘An Fate some person ‘stablish o’er thy head,
And thou being worthier her choice upbraid,
Yet do him honour due to his estate;
He’ll bring thee weal though far or near thou vade:
Nor speak thy thought of him, else shalt thou be
Of those who self degrade from honour’s grade:
Many Haríms are lovelier than the Bride,
But Time and Fortune lent the Bride their aid.’”
When Sasan heard these her words and comprehended what her verse intended, he rose from her in anger and said, “Were it not that thy death would bring on me dishonour and disgrace, I would take off thy head with my blade and make an end of thy breath.” Quoth she, “Why art thou wroth with me? I did but jest with thee.” Then she rose to him and bussed his head and hands, saying, “Right is thy foresight, and I and thou will cast about for some means to kill him forthright.” When he heard this, he was glad and said, “Make haste and contrive some deceit to relieve me of my grieving: for in my sooth the door of device is straitened upon me!” Replied she, “At once I will devise for thee to do away his life.” “How so?” asked he; and she answered, “By means of our female slave the so-called Bákún.” Now this Bakun was past mistress in all kinds of knavery and was one of the most pestilent of old women, in whose religion to abstain from wickedness was not lawful; she had brought up Kuzia Fakan and Kanmakan who had her in so great affection that he used to sleep at her feet. So when King Sasan heard his wife name her, he said, “Right is this recking”; and, sending for the old woman, told her what had passed and bade her cast about to kill Kanmaken, promising her all good. Replied she, “Thy bidding shall be obeyed; but I would have thee, O my lord, give me a dagger13 which hath been tempered in water of death, that I may despatch him the speedilier for thee.” Quoth Sasan, “And welcome to thee!”; and gave her a hanger that would devance man’s destiny. Now this slave women had heard stories and verses and had learned by rote great store of strange sayings and anecdotes: so she took the dagger and went out of the room, considering how she could compass his doom. Then she repaired to Kanmakan, who was sitting and awaiting news of tryst with the daughter of his uncle, Kuzia Fakan; so that night his thought was taken up with her and the fires of love for her raged in his heart. And while he was thus, behold, the slave woman, Bakun, went in to him and said, “Union time is at hand and the days of disunion are over and gone.” Now when he heard this he asked, “How is it with Kuzia Fakan?”; and Bakun answered, “Know that her time is wholly taken up with love of thee.” At this he rose and doffing his outer clothes put them on her and promised her all good. Then said she, “Know that I mean to pass this night with thee, that I may tell thee what talk I have heard and console thee with stories of many passion distraughts whom love hath made sick.” “Nay,” quoth he, “rather tell me a tale that will gladden my heart and gar my cares depart.” “With joy and good will,” answered she; then she took seat by his side (and that poniard under her dress) and began to say: “Know thou that the pleasantest thing my ears ever heard was
1 “Him” for “her.”
2 Arab. “Sáibah,” a she-camel freed from labour under certain conditions amongst the pagan Arabs; for which see Sale (Prel. Disc. sect. v.).
3 Arab. “Marba’.” In early spring the Badawi tribes leave the Rasm or wintering-place (the Turco–Persian “Kishlák”) in the desert, where winter-rains supply them, and make for the Yaylák, or summer-quarters, where they find grass and water. Thus the great Ruwala tribe appears regularly every year on the eastern slopes of the Anti–Libanus (Unexplored Syria, i. 117), and hence the frequent “partings.”
4 This “renowning it” and boasting of one’s tribe (and oneself) before battle is as natural as the war-cry: both are intended to frighten the foe and have often succeeded. Every classical reader knows that the former practice dates from the earliest ages. It is still customary in Arabia during the furious tribal fights, the duello on a magnificent scale which often ends in half the combatants on either side being placed hors-de-combat. A fair specimen of “renowning it” is Amrú‘s Suspended Poem with its extravagant panegyric of the Taghlab tribe (p. 64, “Arabian Poetry for English Readers,” etc., by W. A. Clouston, Glasgow: privately printed MDCCCLXXXI.; and transcribed from Sir William Jones’s translation).
5 The “Turk” appeared soon amongst the Abbaside Caliphs. Mohammed was made to prophecy of them under the title Banú Kantúrah, the latter being a slave-girl of Abraham. The Imam Al- Shafi’i (A.H. 195=A.D. 810) is said to have foretold their rule in Egypt where an Ottoman defended him against a donkey-boy. (For details see Pilgrimage i. 216 ) The Caliph Al–Mu’atasim bi’llah (A.D. 833–842) had more than 10,000 Turkish slaves and was the first to entrust them with high office; so his Arab subjects wrote of him:—
A wretched Turk is thy heart’s desire;
And to them thou showest thee dam and sire.
His successor Al-Wásik (Vathek, of the terrible eyes) was the first to appoint a Turk his Sultan or regent. After his reign they became praetorians and led to the downfall of the Abbasides.
6 The Persian saying is “First at the feast and last at the fray.”
7 i.e. a tempter, a seducer.
8 Arab. “Wayl-ak” here probably used in the sense of “Wayh-ak” an expression of affectionate concern.
9 Firdausi, the Homer of Persia, affects the same magnificent exaggeration. The trampling of men and horses raises such a dust that it takes one layer (of the seven) from earth and adds it to the (seven of the) Heavens. The “blaze” on the stallion’s forehead (Arab. “Ghurrah”) is the white gleam of the morning.
10 A noted sign of excitement in the Arab blood horse, when the tail looks like a panache covering the hind-quarter.
11 i.e. Prince Kanmakan.
12 The “quality of mercy” belongs to the noble Arab, whereas the ignoble and the Bada win are rancorous and revengeful as camels.
13 Arab. “Khanjar,” the poison was let into the grooves and hollows of the poniard.
A certain man loved fair women, and spent his substance on them, till he became so poor that nothing remained to him; the world was straitened upon him and he used to go about the market-streets begging his daily bread. Once upon a time as he went along, behold, a bit of iron nail pierced his finger and drew blood; so he sat down and wiping away the blood, bound up his finger. Then he arose crying out, and fared forwards till he came to a Hammam and entering took off his clothes, and when he looked about him he found it clean and empty. So he sat him down by the fountain-basin, and ceased not pouring water on his head, till he was tired. — And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the man sat down by the fountain basin and ceased not pouring water on his head till he was tired. Then he went out to the room in which was the cistern of cold water; and seeing no one there, he found a quiet corner and taking out a piece of Hashísh,1 swallowed it. Presently the fumes mounted to his brain and he rolled over on to the marble floor. Then the Hashish made him fancy that a great lord was shampooing him and that two slaves stood at his head, one bearing a bowl and the other washing gear and all the requisites of the Hammam. When he saw this, he said in himself, “Meseemeth these here be mistaken in me; or else they are of the company of us Hashish-eaters.”2 Then he stretched out his legs and he imagined that the bathman said to him, “O my master, the time of thy going up to the Palace draweth near and it is to-day thy turn of service.” At this he laughed and said to himself, “As Allah willeth,3 O Hashish!” Then he sat and said nothing, whilst the bathman arose and took him by the hand and girt his middle with a waist-cloth of black silk, after which the two slaves followed him with the bowls and gear, and they ceased not escorting him till they brought him into a cabinet, wherein they set incense and perfumes a-burning. He found the place full of various kinds of fruits and sweet-scented flowers, and they sliced him a watermelon and seated him on a stool of ebony, whilst the bathman stood to wash him and the slaves poured water on him; after which they rubbed him down well and said, “O our lord, Sir Wazir, health to thee forever!” Then they went out and shut the door on him; and in the vanity of phantasy he arose and removed the waist-cloth from his middle, and laughed till he well nigh fainted. He gave not over laughing for some time and at last quoth he to himself, “What aileth them to address me as if I were a Minister and style me Master, and Sir? Haply they are now blundering; but after an hour they will know me and say, This fellow is a beggar; and take their fill of cuffing me on the neck.” Presently, feeling hot he opened the door, whereupon it seemed to him that a little white slave and an eunuch came in to him carrying a parcel. Then the slave opened it and brought out three kerchiefs of silk, one of which he threw over his head, a second over his shoulders and a third he tied round his waist. Moreover, the eunuch gave him a pair of bath-clogs,4 and he put them on; after which in came white slaves and eunuchs and sup ported him (and he laughing the while) to the outer hall, which he found hung and spread with magnificent furniture, such as be seemeth none but kings; and the pages hastened up to him and seated him on the divan. Then they fell to kneading him till sleep overcame him; and he dreamt that he had a girl in his arms. So he kissed her and set her between his thighs; then, sitting to her as a man sitteth to a woman,5 he took yard in hand and drew her towards him and weighed down upon her, when lo! he heard one saying to him, “Awake, thou ne’er-do-well! The noon hour is come and thou art still asleep.” He opened his eyes and found him self lying on the merge of the cold-water tank, amongst a crowd of people all laughing at him; for his prickle was at point and the napkin had slipped from his middle. So he knew that all this was but a confusion of dreams and an illusion of Hashish and he was vexed and said to him who had aroused him, “Would thou hadst waited till I had put it in!” Then said the folk, “Art thou not ashamed, O Hashish-eater, to be sleeping stark naked with stiff standing tool?” And they cuffed him till his neck was red. Now he was starving, yet forsooth had he savoured the flavour of pleasure in his dream. When Kanmakan heard the bondwoman’s tale, he laughed till he fell backward and said to Bakun, “O my nurse, this is indeed a rare story and a delectable; I never heard the like of this anecdote. Say me! hast more?” “Yes,” replied she, and she ceased not to tell him merry adventures and laughable absurdities, till sleep overcame him. Then she sat by his head till the most part of the night was past, when she said to herself, “It is time to profit by the occasion.” So she sprang to her feet and unsheathed the hanger and rushing up to Kanmakan, was about to cut his throat when behold, his mother came in upon the twain. As soon as Bakun saw her, she rose in respect and advanced to meet her, and fear get hold of her and she fell a-trembling, as if he had the ague. When his mother looked at her she marvelled to see her thus and aroused her son, who awoke and found her sitting at his head. Now the cause of her coming was that Kuzia Fakan overheard the conversation and the concert to kill Kanmakan, and she said to his mother, “O wife of my uncle, go to thy son, ere that wicked whore Bakun murther him;” and she told her what had passed from first to last. So she fared forth at once, and she thought of naught and stayed not for aught till she went in to her son at the very moment when Bakun was about to slay him in his sleep. When he awoke, he said to his mother, “O my mother, indeed thou comest at a good time, for nurse Bakun hath been with me this night.” Then he turned to Bakun and asked her, “By my life! knowest thou any story better than those thou hast told me?” She answered, “And where is what I have told thee compared with what I will tell thee?; but however better it be, it must be told at another time.” Then she rose to depart, hardly believing, in her escape albeit he said, “Go in peace!” for she perceived by her cunning that his mother knew what had occurred. So she went her way; whereupon his mother said to him, “O my son, blessed be this night, for that Almighty Allah hath delivered thee from this accursed woman.” “And how so?” enquired he, and she told him the story from beginning to end. Quoth he, “O my mother, of a truth the live man findeth no slayer, and though slain he shall not die; but now it were wiser that we depart from amongst these enemies and let Allah work what He will.” So, when day dawned he left the city and joined the Wazir Dandan, and after his departure, certain things befel between King Sasan and Nuzhat al-Zaman, which compelled her also to quit the city and join herself to them; and presently they were met by all the high officers of King Sasan who inclined to their party. Then they sat in counsel together devising what they should do, and at last all agreed upon a razzia into the land of Roum there to take their revenge for the death of King Omar bin al-Nu’uman and his son Sharrkan. So they set out with this in tent and, after sundry adventures (which it were tedious to tell as will appear from what follows), they fell into the hands of Rúmzán, King of the Greeks. Next morning, King Rumzan caused Kanmakan and the Wazir Dandan and their company to be brought before him and, when they came, he seated them at his side, and bade spread the tables of food. So they ate and drank and took heart of grace, after having made sure of death, when they were summoned to the King’s presence; and they had said to one another, “He hath not sent for us but to slay us.” And when they were comforted the King said, “In truth I have had a dream, which I related to the monks, and they said, “None can expound it to thee save the Wazir Dandan.” Quoth the Minister, “Weal it was thou didst see in thy dream, O King of the age!” Quoth the King, “O Wazir, I dreamt that I was in a pit which seemed a black well where multitudes were tormenting me; and I would have risen, but when springing up I fell on my feet and could not get out of that same pit. Then I turned and saw therein a girdle of gold and I stretched out my hand to take it; but when I raised it from the ground, I saw it was two girdles. So I girt my middle with them both and behold, the girdles became one girdle; and this, O Wazir, is my dream and what I saw when my sleep was deepest.” Said Dandan, “O our Lord the Sultan! know that this thy dream denoteth thou hast a brother or a brother’s son or an uncle’s son or other near kinsman of thy flesh and blood whom thou knowest not; withal he is of the noblest of you all.” Now when the King heard these words he looked at Kanmakan and Nuzhat al-Zaman and Kuzia Fakan and the Wazir Dandan and the rest of the captives and said to himself, “If I smite these people’s necks, their troops will lose heart for the destruction of their chiefs and I shall be able to return speedily to my realm, lest the Kingship pass out of my hands.” So having determined upon this he called the Sworder and bade him strike off Kanmakan’s head upon the spot and forthright, when lo! up came Rumzan’s nurse and said to him, “O auspicious King, what purposest thou?” Quoth he, “I purpose slaughtering these prisoners who are in my power; and after that I will throw their heads among their men: then will I fall upon them, I and all my army in one body, and kill all we can kill and rout the rest: so will this be the decisive action of the war and I shall return speedily to my kingdom ere aught of accident befal among my subjects.” When the nurse heard these words, she came up to him and said in the Frankish tongue, “How canst thou prevail upon thyself to slay thine own brother’s son, and thy sister, and thy sister’s daughter?” When he heard this language, he was wroth with exceeding wrath and said to her, “O accursed woman, didst thou not tell me that my mother was murthered and that my father died by poison? Didst thou not give me a jewel and say to me, ‘Of a truth this jewel was thy father’s?’ Why didst thou not tell me the truth?” Replied she, “All that I told thee is true, but my case and thy case are wonderful and my history and thy his tory are marvellous. My name is Marjanah and thy mother’s name was Abrizah: and she was gifted with such beauty and loveliness and velour that proverbs were made of her, and her prowess was renowned among men of war. And thy father was King Omar bin al- Nu’uman, Lord of Baghdad and Khorasan, without doubt or double dealing or denial. He sent his son Sharrkan on a razzia in company with this very Wazir Dandan; and they did all that men can. But Sharrkan, thy brother, who had preceded the force, separated himself from the troops and fell in with thy mother Queen Abrizah in her palace; and we happened to have sought a place apart in order to wrestle, she and I and her other damsels. He came upon us by chance while we were in such case, and wrestled with thy mother, who overcame him by the power of her splendid beauty and by her prowess. Then she entertained him five days in her palace, till the news of this came to her father, by the old woman Shawahi, surnamed Zat al-Dawahi, whereupon she embraced Al–Islam at the hands of Sharrkan, and he took her and carried her by stealth to Baghdad, and with her myself and Rayhánab and twenty other damsels, all of us having, like her, followed the True Faith. When we came into the presence of thy Father, the King Omar bin al-Nu’uman, and he saw thy mother, Queen Abrizah, he fell in love with her and going in unto her one night, had connection with her, and she conceived by him and became with child of thee. Now thy mother had three jewels which she presented to thy father; and he gave one of them to his daughter, Nuzhat al-Zaman, another to thy brother, Zau al- Makan, and the third to thy brother Sharrkan. This last thy mother took from Sharrkan and kept it for thee. But as the time of her delivery drew near she yearned after her own people and disclosed to me her secret; so I went to a black slave called Al-Ghazban; and, privily telling him our case, bribed him to go with us. Accordingly the negro took us and fled the city with us, thy mother being near her time. But as we approached a desert place on the borders of our own country, the pangs of labour came upon thy mother. Then the slave proved himself a lustful villain and approaching her sought of her a shameful thing; whereupon she cried out at him with a loud cry, and was sore affrighted at him. In the excess of her fright she gave birth to thee at once, and at that moment there arose, in the direction of our country, a dust-cloud which towered and flew till it walled the view. Thereupon the slave feared for his life; so he smote Queen Abrizah with his sword and slew her in his fury; then mounting his horse he went his way. Soon after his going, the dust lifted and discovered thy grandfather, King Hardub, Lord of Græcia-land, who, seeing thy mother (and his daughter) lying slain on the plain, was sorely troubled with a distress that redoubled, and questioned me of the manner of her death and the cause of her secretly quitting her father’s realm. So I told him all that had passed, first and last; and this is the cause of the feud between the people of the land of the Greeks and the people of the city of Baghdad. Then we bore off thy murthered mother and buried her; and I took thee and reared thee, and hung about thy neck the jewel which was with Queen Abrizah. But, when being grown up thou camest to man’s estate, I dared not acquaint thee with the truth of the matter, lest such information stir up a war of blood revenge between you. More over, thy grandfather had enjoined me to secrecy, and I could not gainsay the commandment of thy mother’s father, Hardub, King of the Greeks. This, then, is the cause of my concealment and the reason why I forbore to inform thee that thy father was King Omar bin al-Nu’uman; but when thou camest to the throne, I told thee what thou knowest; and I durst not reveal to thee the rest till this moment, O King of the Age! So now I have discovered to thee my secret and my proof, and I have acquainted thee with all I know; and thou reckest best what is in thy mind.” Now all the captives had heard the slave woman Marjanah, nurse to King Rumzan, speaking as she spake; when Nuzhat al-Zaman, without stay or delay, cried out, saying, “This King Rumzan is my brother by my father, King Omar bin al-Nu’uman, and his mother was Queen Abrizah, daughter of King Hardub, Lord of the Greeks; and I know this slave-woman Marjanah right well.” With this, trouble and perplexity got hold upon Rumzan and he caused Nuzhat al-Zaman to be brought up to him forthright. When he looked upon her, blood yearned to blood and he questioned her of his history. She told him the tale and her story tallied with that of Marjanah, his nurse; whereupon the King was assured that he was, indeed and without a doubt, of the people of Irak; and that King Omar bin al-Nu’uman was his father. So without losing time he caused his sister to be unpinioned, and Nuzhat al-Zaman came up to him and kissed his hands, whilst her eves ran over with tears. The King west also to see her weeping, and brotherly love possessed him and his heart yearned to his brother’s son Sultan Kanmakan. So he sprang to his feet and, taking the sword from the Sworder’s hands (whereat the captives made sure of death), he caused them to be set close to him and he cut their bonds with the blade and said to his nurse Marjanah, “Explain the matter to this company, even as thou hast explained it to me.” Replied she, “O King, know that this Shayth is the Wazir Dandan and he is the best of witnesses to my story, seeing that he knoweth the facts of the case.” Then she turned to the captives and repeated the whole story to them on the spot and forthright, and in presence of the Kings of the Greeks and the Kings of the Franks; whereupon Queen Nuzhat al-Zaman and the Wazir Dandan and all who were prisoners with them confirmed her words. When Marjanah, the bond-woman, had finished, chancing to look at Sultan Kanmakan she saw on his neck the third jewel, fellow to the two which were with Queen Abrizah; and, recognising it, she cried so loud a cry, that the palace re-echoed it and said to the King, “O my son, know that now my certainty is still more assured, for this jewel that is about the neck of yonder captive is the fellow to that I hung to thy neck; and, these being the two, this captive is indeed thy brother’s son, Kanmakan.” Then the slave women Marjanah turned to Kanmakan and said to him, “Let me see that jewel, O King of the Age!”; so he took it from his neck and handed it to her. Then she asked Nuzhat al-Zaman of the third jewel and she gave it to her; and when the two were in her hand she delivered them to King Rumzan, and the truth and proof were made manifest to him; and he was assured that he was indeed Sultan Kanmakan’s uncle and that his father was King Omar bin al-Nu’uman. So he rose at once and on the spot and, going up to the Wazir Dandan, threw his arms round his neck; then he embraced King Kanmakan and the twain cried a loud cry for excess of joy. The glad news was blazed abroad without delay; and they beat the tabrets and cymbals, whilst the shawms sounded and the people held high festival. The armies of Irak and Syria heard the clamour of rejoicing among the Greeks; so they mounted to the last man, and King Zibl Khan also took horse saying to himself, “Would I knew what can be the cause of this clamour and rejoicing in the army of the Franks and the Greeks!” Then the army of Irak dight itself for fight and advanced into the plain and place of cut and foin. Presently, King Rumzan turned him round and saw the army deployed and in preparing for battle employed, so he asked the cause thereof and was told the state of the case. Thereupon he bade his niece and brother’s daughter, Kuzia Fakan, return at once and forthright to the troops of Syria and Irak and acquaint them with the plight that had betided and how it was come to light that King Rumzan was uncle to Sultan Kanmakan. She set out, putting away from her sorrows and troubles and, coming to King Zibl Khan,6 saluted him and told him all that had passed of the good accord, and how King Rumzan had proved to be her uncle and uncle of Kanmakan. And when she went in to him she found him tearful eyed, in fear for the captive Emirs and Princes; but when he heard what had passed, from first to last, the Moslem’s sadness was abated and they joyed with the more gladness. Then King Zibl Khan and all his officers and his retinue took horse and followed Princess Kuzia Fakan till they reached the pavilion of King Rumzan; and when entering they found him sitting with his nephew, Sultan Kanmakan. Now he had taken counsel with the Wazir Dandan concerning King Zibl Khan and had agreed to commit to his charge the city of Damascus of Sham and leave him King over it as he before had been while they themselves entered Irak. Accordingly, they confirmed him in the vice royalty of Damascus of Syria, and bade him set out at once for his government; so he fared forth with his troops and they rode with him a part of the way to bid him farewell. Then they returned to their own places whereupon, the two armies foregathered and gave orders for the march upon Irak; but the Kings said one to other, “Our hearts will never be at rest nor our wrath cease to rage till we have taken our wreak of the old woman Shawahi, surnamed Zat al-Dawahi, and wiped away our shame and blot upon our honour.” Thereupon King Rumzan and his nephew set out, surrounded by their Nobles and Grandees; and indeed Kanmakan rejoiced in his uncle, King Rumzan, and called down blessings on nurse Marjanah who had made them known to each other. They fared on and ceased not faring till they drew near their home Baghdad, and when the Chief Chamberlain, Sasan, heard of their approach, he came out to meet them and kissed the hand of King Rumzan who bestowed on him a dress of honour. Then the King of Roum sat down on the throne and seated by his side his nephew Sultan Kanmakan, who said to him, “O my uncle, this Kingdom befitteth none but thee.” Replied Rumzan, “Allah be my refuge and the Lord forbid that I should supplant thee in thy Kingdom!” Upon this the Wazir Dandan counselled them to share the throne between the two, ruling each one day in turn; and with this they were well satisfied. — And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
1 The Pers. “Bang”, Indian “Bhang”, Maroccan “Fasúkh” and S. African “Dakhá.” (Pilgrimage i. 64.) I heard of a “Hashish-orgie” in London which ended in half the experimentalists being on their sofas for a week. The drug is useful for stokers, having the curious property of making men insensible to heat. Easterns also use it for “Imsák” prolonging coition of which I speak presently.
2 Arab. “Hashsháshín;” whence De Sacy derived “Assassin.” A notable effect of the Hashish preparation is wildly to excite the imagination, a kind of delirium imaginans sive phantasticum.
3 Meaning “Well done!” Mashallah (Má sháa ’llah) is an exclamation of many uses, especially affected when praising man or beast for fear lest flattering words induce the evil eye.
4 Arab. “Kabkáb” vulg. “Kubkáb.” They are between three and ten inches high, and those using them for the first time in the slippery Hammam must be careful.
5 Arab. “Majlis”=sitting. The postures of coition, ethnologically curious and interesting, are subjects so extensive that they require a volume rather than a note. Full information can be found in the Ananga-ranga, or Stage of the Bodiless One, a treatise in Sanskrit verse vulgarly known as Koka Pandit from the supposed author, a Wazir of the great Rajah Bhoj, or according to others, of the Maharajah of Kanoj. Under the title Lizzat al-Nisá (The Pleasures — or enjoying — of Women) it has been translated into all the languages of the Moslem East, from Hindustani to Arabic. It divides postures into five great divisions: (1) the woman lying supine, of which there are eleven subdivisions; (2) lying on her side, right or left, with three varieties; (3) sitting, which has ten, (4) standing, with three subdivisions, and (5) lying prone, with two. This total of twenty — nine, with three forms of “Purusháyit,” when the man lies supine (see the Abbot in Boccaccio i. 4), becomes thirty-two, approaching the French quarante façons. The Upavishta, majlis, or sitting postures, when one or both “sit at squat” somewhat like birds, appear utterly impossible to Europeans who lack the pliability of the Eastern’s limbs. Their object in congress is to avoid tension of the muscles which would shorten the period of enjoyment. In the text the woman lies supine and the man sits at squat between her legs: it is a favourite from Marocco to China. A literal translation of the Ananga range appeared in 1873 under the name of Káma-Shástra; or the Hindoo Art of Love (Ars Amoris Indica); but of this only six copies were printed. It was re-issued (printed but not published) in 1885. The curious in such matters will consult the Index Librorum Prohibitorum (London, privately printed, 1879) by Pisanus Fraxi (H. S. Ashbee).
6 i.e. Le Roi Crotte.
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the two Kings agreed each to rule one day in turn: then made they feasts and offered sacrifices of clean beasts and held high festival; and they abode thus awhile, whilst Sultan Kanmakan spent his nights with his cousin Kuzia Fakan. And after that period, as the two Kings sat rejoicing in their condition and in the happy ending of their troubles, behold, they saw a cloud of dust arise and tower till it walled the world from their eyes. And out of it came a merchant shrieking and crying aloud for succour and saying, “O Kings of the Age! how cometh it that I woned safely in the land of the Infidels and I am plundered in your realm, though it be the biding place of justice1 and peace?” Then King Rumzan went up to him and questioned him of his case and he replied, “I am a merchant and, like other merchants, I have been long absent from my native land, travelling in far countries for some twenty years; and I have a patent of exemption from the city of Damascus which the Viceroy, King Sharrkan (who hath found mercy) wrote me, for the cause that I had made him gift of a slave-girl. Now as I was drawing near my home, having with me an hundred loads of rarities of Hind, when I brought them near Baghdad, which be the seat of your sovereignty and the place of your peace and your justice, out there came upon me wild Arabs and Kurds2 in band gathered together from every land; and they slew my many and they robbed my money and this is what they have done me.” Then the trader wept in presence of King Rumzan, saying that he was an old man and infirm; and he bemoaned himself till the King felt for him and had compassion on him; and likewise did King Kanmakan and they swore that they would sally forth upon the thieves. So they set out amid an hundred horse, each reckoned worth thou sands of men, and the merchant went before them to guide them in the right way; and they ceased not faring on all that day and the livelong night till dawnbreak, when they came to a valley abounding in rills and shady with trees. Here they found the foray dispersed about the valley, having divided that merchant’s bales among them; but there was yet some of the goods left. So the hundred horsemen fell upon them and surrounded them on all sides, and King Rumzan shouted his war cry, and thus also did his nephew Kanmakan, and ere long they made prize of them all, to the number of near three hundred horsemen, banded together of the refuse of rascality.3 They took what they could find of the merchant’s goods and, binding them tightly, brought them to Baghdad, where King Rumzan and his nephew, King Kanmakan, sat down together on one throne and, passing the prisoners in review before them, questioned them of their case and their chiefs. They said, “We have no chiefs but these three men and it was they who gathered us together from all corners and countries.” The Kings said to them, “Point out to us your headmen!”; and, when this was done, they bade lay hands on the leaders and set their comrades free, after taking from them all the goods in their possession and restoring them to the merchant, who examined his stuffs and monies and found that a fourth of his stock was missing. The Kings engaged to make good the whole of his loss, where upon the trader pulled out two letters, one in the handwriting of Sharrkan, and the other in that of Nuzhat al-Zaman; for this was the very merchant who had bought Nuzhat al-Zaman of the Badawi, when she was a virgin, and had forwarded her to her brother Sharrkan; and that happened between them which happened.4 Hereupon King Kanmakan examined the letters and recognised the handwriting of his uncle Sharrkan, and, having heard the history of his aunt, Nuzhat al-Zaman, he went in to her with the second letter written by her to the merchant who had lost through her his monies; Kanmakan also told her what had befallen the trader from first to last. She knew her own handwriting and, recognising the merchant, despatched to him guest gifts and commended him to her brother and nephew, who ordered him largesse of money and black slaves and pages to wait on him; besides which Nuzhat al-Zaman sent him an hundred thousand dirhams in cash and fifty loads of merchandise and presented to him other rich presents. Then she sent for him and when he came, she went up to him and saluted him and told him that she was the daughter of King Omar bin al-Nu’uman and that her brother was King Rumzan and that King Kanmakan was her nephew. Thereupon the merchant rejoiced with great joy, and congratulated her on her safety and on her reunion with her brother, and kissed her hands thanking her for her bounty, and said to her, “By Allah! a good deed is not lost upon thee!” Then she withdrew to her own apartment and the trader sojourned with them three days, after which he took leave of them and set out on his return march to the land of Syria. Thereupon the two Kings sent for the three robber chiefs who were of the highway men, and questioned them of their case, when one of them came forward and said, “Know ye that I am a Badawi who am wont to lie in wait, by the way, to snatch small children5 and virgin girls and sell them to merchants; and this I did for many a year until these latter days, when Satan incited me to join yon two gallows birds in gathering together all the riff-raff of the Arabs and other peoples, that we might plunder merchandise and waylay merchants.” Said the Kings, “Tell us the rarest of the adventures that have befallen thee in kidnapping children and maidens.” Replied he, “O Kings of the Age, the strangest thing that happened to me was that one day, two-and-twenty years ago, I snatched a girl who belonged to the Holy City; she was gifted with beauty and comeliness, despite that she was but a servant and was clad in threadbare clothes, with a piece of camlet-cloth on her head. So I entrapped her by guile as she came out of the caravanserai; and at that very hour mounting her on a camel, made off with her, thinking to carry her to my own people in the Desert and there set her to pasture the camels and gather their droppings in the valley. But she wept with so sore a weeping that after coming down upon her with blows, I took her and carried her to Damascus city where a merchant saw her with me and, being astounded at her beauty and marvelling at her accomplishments, wished to buy her of me and kept on bidding me more and more for her, till at last I sold her to him for an hundred thousand dirhams. After selling her I heard her display prodigious eloquence; and it reached me that the merchant clothed her in handsome gear and presented her to the Viceroy of Damascus, who gave him three times the price which he had paid to me, and this price, by my life! was but little for such a damsel. This, O Kings of the Age, is the strangest thing that ever befel me.” When the two Kings heard her story they wondered thereat, but when Nuzhat al-Zaman heard what the Badawi related, the light became darkness before her face and she cried out and said to her brother Rumzan, “Sure and sans doubt this is the very Badawi who kidnapped me in the Holy City Jerusalem!” Then she told them all that she had endured from him in her stranger hood of hardship, blows, hunger, humiliation, contempt, adding, “And now it is lawful for me to slay him.” So saying she seized a sword and made at him to smite him; and behold, he cried out and said, “O Kings of the Age, suffer her not to slay me, till I shall have told you the rare adventures that have betided me.” And her nephew Kanmakan said to her, “O my aunt, let him tell us his tale, and after that do with him as thou wilt.” So she held her hand and the Kings said to him, “Now let us hear thy history.” Quoth he, “O Kings of the Age, if I tell you a rare tale will ye pardon me?” “Yes,” answered they. Then the Badawi robber-chief began,
1 This seems to be a punning allusion to Baghdad, which in Persian would mean the Garden (bágh) of Justice (dád). See “Biographical Notices of Persian Poets” by Sir Gore Ouseley, London, Oriental Translation Fund, 1846
2 The Kardoukhoi (Carduchi) of Xenophon; also called (Strabo xv.) “Kárdakís, from a Persian word signifying manliness,” which would be “Kardak”=a doer (of derring do). They also named the Montes Gordæi the original Ararat of Xisisthrus-Noah’s Ark. The Kurds are of Persian race, speaking an old and barbarous Iranian tongue and often of the Shi’ah sect. They are born bandits, highwaymen, cattle-lifters; yet they have spread extensively over Syria and Egypt and have produced some glorious men, witness Sultan Saláh al-Din (Saladin) the Great. They claim affinity with the English in the East, because both races always inhabit the highest grounds they can find.
3 These irregular bands who belong to no tribe are the most dangerous bandits in Arabia, especially upon the northern frontier. Burckhardt, who suffered from them, gives a long account of their treachery and utter absence of that Arab “pundonor” which is supposed to characterise Arab thieves.
4 An euphemistic form to avoid mentioning the incestuous marriage.
5 The Arab form of our “Kinchin lay.”
Last updated Monday, December 22, 2014 at 10:48