Know thou, O King of the Age, that there was in days of yore and in ages and times long gone before, in the city of Baghdad the Abode of Peace, a Caliph Harun al-Rashid highs, and he had cup-companions and tale-tellers to entertain him by night. Among his equerries was a man named Abdullah bin Náfi’, who stood high in favour with him and dear to him, so that he did not forget him a single hour. Now it came to pass, by the decree of Destiny, that it became manifest to Abdullah how he was grown of small account with the Caliph, who paid no heed unto him nor, if he absented himself, did he ask after him, as had been his habit. This was grievous to Abdullah and he said within himself, “Verily, the soul of the Commander of the Faithful and his Wazir are changed towards me and nevermore shall I see in him that cordiality and affection wherewith he was wont to treat me.” And this was chagrin-full to him and concern grew upon him, so that he recited these couplets:—
“Whoso’s contemned in his home and land
Should, to better his case, in self-exile hie:
So fly the house where contempt awaits,
Nor on fires of grief for the parting fry;
Crude Ambergris132 is but offal where
’Tis born; but abroad on our necks shall stye;
And Kohl at home is a kind of stone,
Cast on face of earth and on roads to lie;
But when borne abroad it wins highest worth
And thrones between eyelid and ball of eye.”
(Quoth the sayer), Then he could brook this matter no longer; so he went forth from the dominions of the Prince of True Believers, under presence of visiting certain of his kith and kin, and took with him nor servant nor comrade, neither acquainted any with his intent, but betook himself to the road and fared deep into the wold and the sandwastes, unknowing whither he went. After awhile, he unexpectedly fell in with travellers who were making the land of Hind and journeyed with them. When he came thither, he lighted down in a city of that country and housed him in one of the lodging-houses; and there he abode a while of days, relishing not food neither solacing himself with sleep; nor was this for lack of dirhams or diners, but for that his mind was occupied with musing upon the shifts of Destiny and bemoaning himself for that the revolving sphere had turned against him in enmity, and the days had decreed unto him the disfavour of our lord the Imam.133 After such fashion he abode a space of days, and presently he homed him in the land and took to himself friends and got him many familiars, with whom he addressed himself to diversion and good cheer. He used also to go a-pleasuring with his companions and their hearts were solaced by his company and he entertained them every evening with stories and displays of his manifold accomplishments134 and diverted them with delectable verses and told them abundance of stories and histories. Presently, the report of him reached King Jamhúr, lord of Kashgar of Hind, who sent in quest of him, and great was his desire to see him. So Abdullah repaired to his court and going in to him, kissed ground before him; and Jamhur welcomed him and treated him with kindness and bade lodge him in the guest-house, where he abode three days, at the end of which the king sent to him a chamberlain of his chamberlains and bade bring him to the presence. When he came before him, he greeted him, and the truchman accosted him, saying, “Verily, King Jamhur hath heard of thy report, that thou art a pleasant cup-companion and an eloquent teller of night tales, and he would have thee company with him o’nights and entertain him with that which thou knowest of histories and pleasant stories and verses.” And he made answer, ‘ To hear is to obey!” (Quoth Abdullah bin Nafi’,) So I became his boon-companion and entertained him by night with tales and talk; and this pleased him with the utmost pleasure and he took me into favour and bestowed on me robes of honour and set apart for me a lodging; indeed he was bountiful exceedingly to me and could not brook to be parted from me a single hour. So I sojourned with him a while of time and every night I caroused and conversed with him till the most part of the dark hours was past; and when drowsiness overcame him, he would rise and betake himself to his sleeping-place, saying to me, Forsake not my service and forego not my presence.’ And I made answer with ‘Hearing and obeying.’ Now the king had a son, a nice child, called the Emir Mohammed, who was winsome of youth and sweet of speech: he had read books and had perused histories and he loved above all things in the world the telling and hearing of verses and tales and anecdotes. He was dear to his father King Jamhur, for that he owned no other son than he on life, and indeed he had reared him in the lap of love and he was gifted with exceeding beauty and loveliness, brilliancy and perfect grace: he had also learnt to play upon the lute and upon all manner instruments and he was used to converse and company with friends and brethren. Now it was his wont when the king arose seeking his sleeping-chamber, to sit in his place and require me to entertain him with tales and verses and pleasant anecdotes; and on this wise I abode with them both a great while in all joyance and delight, and the Prince still loved me with mighty great love and treated me with the utmost tenderness. It fortuned one day that the king’s son came to me, after his sire had withdrawn, and cried, ‘O Ibn Nafi’!’ ‘At thy service, O my lord;’ ‘I would have thee tell me a wondrous story and a marvellous matter, which thou hast never related either to me or to my father Jamhur.’ ‘O my lord, what story is this that thou desires” of me and what kind shall it be of the kinds?’ ‘It mattereth little, so it be a goodly story, whether it befel of olden tide or in these times.’ ‘O my lord, I know by rote many stories of various kinds; so which of the kinds preferrest thou, and wilt thou have a story of mankind or of Jinn kind?’ ‘ ’Tis well! An thou have espied aught with thine eyes and heard it with thine ears, tell it me.’ Then he bethought himself and said to me, ‘I conjure thee by my life, tell me a tale of the tales of the Jinn and that which thou hast heard of them and seen of them!’ I replied, ‘O my son, indeed thou conjures” me by a mighty conjuration; so lend an ear to the goodliest of stories, ay, and the strangest of them and the pleasantest and rarest.’ Quoth the Prince, ‘Say on, for I am attentive to thy speech;’ and quoth I, ‘Hear then, O my son,
The Viceregent of the Lord of the three Worlds, Harun al-Rashid, had a boon companion of the number of his boon-companions, by name Ishak bin Ibrahim al-Nadim al-Mausili,135 who was the most accomplished of the folk of his time in smiting upon the lute; and of the Commander of the Faithful’s love for him, he set apart for him a palace of the choicest of his palaces, wherein he was wont to instruct hand-maidens in the arts of singing and of lute playing. If any slave-girl became, by his instruction, clever in the craft, he carried her before the Caliph, who bade her perform upon the lute; and if she pleased him, he would order her to the Harim; else would he restore her to Ishak’s palace. One day, the Commander of the Faithful’s breast was straitened; so he sent after his Wazir Ja’afar the Barmecide and Ishak the cup-companion and Masrur the eunuch, the Sworder of his vengeance; and when they came, he changed his habit and disguised himself, whilst Ja’afar and Ishak and Masrur and al-Fazl136 and Yúnus137 (who were also present) did the like. Then he went out, he and they, by the postern, to the Tigris and taking boat fared on till they came to near Al Táf,138 when they landed and walked till they came to the gate of the high street. Here there met them an old man, handsome in his hoariness and of a venerable bearing and a dignified, agreeable of aspect and apparel. He kissed the earth before Ishak al-Mausili (for that he knew only him of the company, the Caliph being disguised, and deemed the others certain of his friends), and said to him, “O my lord, there is presently with me a hand-maid, a lutanist, never saw eyes the like of her nor the like of her grace, and indeed I was on my way to pay my respects to thee and give thee to know of her, but Allah, of His favour, hath spared me the trouble. So now I desire to show her to thee, and if she take thy fancy, well and good; otherwise I will sell her.” Quoth Ishak, “Go before me to thy quarters,139 till I come to thee and see her.” The old man kissed his hand and went away; whereupon quoth Al-Rashid to him, “O Ishak, who is yonder man and what is his want?” The other replied, “O my lord, this is a man Sa’íd the Slave-dealer hight, and ’tis he that buyeth us maidens and Mamelukes. He declareth that with him is a fair slave, a lutanist, whom he hath withheld from sale, for that he could not fairly sell her till he had passed her before me in review.” Quoth the Caliph, “Let us go to him so we may see her, by way of solace, and sight what is in the slave-dealer’s quarters of slave-girls;” and quoth Ishak, “Command belongeth to Allah and to the Commander of the Faithful” Then he forewent them and they followed in his track till they came to the slave-dealer’s quarters and found a building tall of wall and large of lodgment, with sleeping cells and chambers therein, after the number of the slave-girls, and folk sitting upon the wooden benches. So Ishak entered, he and his company and seating themselves in the place of honour, amused themselves by looking at the hand-maids and Mamelukes and watching how they were bought and sold, till the vending came to an end, when some of the folk went away and some remained seated. Then cried the slave-dealer, “Let none sit with us except whoso purchaseth by the thousand diners and upwards.” Accordingly those present withdrew and there remained none but Al-Rashid and his suite; whereupon the slave-dealer called the damsel, after he had caused set her a chair of Fawwák,140 lined with Grecian brocade, and she was like the sun shining high in the shimmering sky. When she entered, she saluted and sitting down, took the lute and smote upon it, after she had touched its strings and tuned it, so that all present were amazed. Then she sang thereto these couplets:
“Breeze o’ Morn, an thou breathe o’er the loved one’s land,
Deliver my greeting to all the dear band!
And declare to them still I am pledged to their love
And my long~ng excels all that lover unmanned:
O ye who have blighted my heart, ears and eyes,
My passion and ecstasy grow out of hand;
And torn is my sprite every night with desire,
And nothing of sleep can my eyelids command.”
Ishak exclaimed, “Brave, O damsel! By Allah, this is a fair hour!” Whereupon she sprang up and kissed his hand, saying, ‘O my lord, in very sooth the hands stand still before thy presence and the tongues at thy sight, and the eloquent when confronting thee wax dumb; but thou art the looser of the veil.”141 Then she clung to him and cried, “Stand;” so he stood and said to her, “Who art thou and what is thy need?” She raised a corner of the veil, and behold she was a damsel as she were the full moon rising or the levee glancing, with two side-locks of hair which fell down to her anklets. She kissed his hand and said to him, “O my lord, know that I have been in these quarters some five months, during which I have withheld myself from sale till thou shouldst be present and see me; and yonder slave-dealer also made thy coming a pretext for not vending me, and forbade me for all I sought of him night and day that he should cause thee come hither and vouchsafe me thy company and gar me and thee forgather.” Quoth Ishak, “Tell me what thou wouldst have;” and quoth she, “I beseech thee, by Allah Almighty, that thou buy me, so I may be with thee by way of service.” He asked, “Is that thy desire?” and she answered, “Yes.” So Ishak returned to the slave-dealer and said to him, “Ho thou, Shaykh Sa’íd!” Said the old man, “At thy service, O my lord,” and Ishak continued, “In the corridor is a chamber and therein wones a damsel pale and wan. What is her price in dirhams and how much cost thou ask for her?” Quoth the slave-dealer, “She whom thou mentionest, O my lord, is called Tohfat al-Humaká?”142 Ishak asked, “What is the meaning of Al-Humaka?” and the old man answered, “Her price hath been weighed and paid an hundred times and she still saith, Show me him who would buy me; and when I show her to him she saith, This one I mislike; he hath in him such and such a default. And in every one who would fain buy her she noteth some defect or other, so that none careth now to purchase her and none seeketh her, for fear lest she find some fault in him.” Quoth Ishak, “She seeketh at this present to sell herself; so go thou to her and inquire of her and see her price and send her to the palace.” Quoth Sa’id!” “O my lord, her price is an hundred diners, though, were she free of this paleness that is upon her face, she would be worth a thousand gold pieces; but wanton folly and wanness have diminished her value; and behold I will go to her and consult her of this.” So he betook himself to her and enquired of her, “Wilt thou be sold to Ishak bin Ibrahim al-Mausili?” She replied, “Yes,” and he said, “Leave folly, for to whom cloth it happen to be in the house of Ishak the cup-companion?”143 Thereupon Ishak went forth the slave-dealer’s quarters and overtook Al-Rashid who had preceded him; and they ceased not walking till they came to their landing-place, where they embarked in the boat and fared on to Thaghr al-Khánakah.144 As for the slave-dealer, he sent the damsel to the house of Ishak al-Nadim, whose slave-girls took her and carried her to the Hammam. Then each damsel gave her somewhat of her gear and they decked her with earrings and bracelets, so that she redoubled in beauty and became as she were the moon on the night of its full. When Ishak returned home from the Caliph’s palace, Tohfah rose to him and kissed his hand; and he saw that which the hand-maids had done with her and thanked them for so doing and said to them, “Let her home in the house of instruction and bring her instruments of music, and if she be apt at song teach her; and may Allah Almighty vouchsafe her health and weal!” So there passed over her three months, while she homed with him in the house of instruction, and they brought her the instruments of music. Furthermore, as time went on she was vouchsafed health and soundness and her beauty waxed many times brighter than before and her pallor was changed to white and red, so that she became a seduction to all who saw her. One day, Ishak bade summon all who were with him of slave-girls from the house of instruction and carried them up to Al-Rashid’s palace, leaving none in his house save Tohfah and a cookmaid; for that he thought not of Tohfah, nor did she come to his memory, and none of the damsels reminded him of her. When she saw that the house was empty of the slave-girls, she took the lute (now she was singular in her time for smiting upon the lute, nor had she her like in the world, no, not Ishak himself, nor any other) and sang thereto these couplets:—
“When soul desireth one that is its mate
It never winneth dear desire of Fate:
My life for him whose tortures tare my frame,
And dealt me pine he can alone abate!
He saith (that only he to heal mine ill,
Whose sight is medicine to my doleful state),
‘O scoffer-wight, how long wilt mock my woe
As though did Allah nothing else create?’ ”
Now Ishak had returned to his house on an occasion that called for him; and when he entered the vestibule, he heard a sound of singing, the like whereof he had never heard in the world, for that it was soft as the breeze and more strengthening than oil145 of almonds. So the pleasure of it get hold of him and delight so seized him, that he fell down fainting in the vestibule. Tohfah heard the noise of footfalls and laying the lute from her hand, went out to see what was the matter. She found her lord Ishak lying aswoon in the entrance; so she took him up and strained him to her bosom, saying, “I conjure thee in Allah’s name, O my lord, tell me, hath aught of ill befallen thee?” When he heard her voice, he recovered from his fainting and asked her, “Who art thou?” She answered, “I am thy slave-girl, Tohfah;” and he said to her, “Art thou indeed Tohfah?” “Yes,” replied she; and he, “By Allah, I had indeed forgotten thee and remembered thee not till this moment!” Then he looked at her and said, “Verily, thy case is altered to other case and thy wanness is changed to rosiness and thou hast redoubled in beauty and loveliness. But was it thou who was singing just now?” She was troubled and affrighted and answered, “Even I, O my lord;” whereupon Ishak seized upon her hand and carrying her into the house, said to her, “Take the lute and sing; for never saw I nor heard thy like in smiting upon the lute; no, not even myself!” Quoth she, “O my lord, thou mockest me. Who am I that thou shouldst say all this to me? Indeed, this is but of thy kindness.” Quoth he, “Nay, by Allah, I said but the truth to thee and I am not of those on whom presence imposeth For these three months nature hath not moved thee to take the lute and sing thereto, and this is naught save a rare thing and a strange. But all this cometh of strength in the art and thy self-restraint.” Then he bade her sing; and she said, “Hearkening and obedience.” So she took the lute and tightening its strings to the sticking-point, smote thereon a number of airs, so that she confounded Ishak’s wit and for delight he was like to fly. Then she returned to the first mode and sang thereto these couplets:—
“By your ruined stead aye I stand and stay,
Nor shall change or dwelling depart us tway!
No distance of homestead shall gar me forget
Your love, O friends, but yearn alway:
Ne’er flies your phantom the babes of these eyne
You are moons in Nighttide’s murkest array:
And with growing passion mine unrest grows
And each morn I find union dissolved in woes.”
When she had made an end of her song and laid down the lute, Ishak looked fixedly on her, then took her hand and offered to kiss it; but she snatched it from him and said to him, “Allah, O my lord, do not that!”146 Cried he, “Be silent. By Allah, I had said that there was not in the world the like of me; but now I have found my dinár in the art but a dánik,147 for thou art more excellent of skill than I, beyond comparison or approximation or calculation! This very day will I carry148 thee up to the Commander of the Faithful, Harun al-Rashid, and when his glance lighteth on thee, thou wilt become a Princess of womankind. So Allah, Allah upon thee, O my lady, whenas thou becomes” of the household of the Prince of True Believers, do not thou forget me!” She replied, “Allah, O my lord, thou art the root of my fortunes and in thee is my heart fortified.” Thereat he took her hand and made a covenant with her of this and she swore to him that she would not forget him Then said he to her, “By Allah, thou art the desire of the Commander of the Faithful! Now take the lute and sing a song which thou shalt sing to the Caliph, when thou goest in to him” So she took the lute and tuning it, improvised these couplets:—
“His lover hath ruth on his woeful mood
And o’erwept him as still by his couch he149 stood:
And garred him drink of his lip-dews and wine150
Ere he died and this food was his latest good.”
Ishak stared at her and seizing her hand, said to her, “Know that I am bound by an oath that, when the singing of a damsel pleaseth me, she shall not end her song but before the Prince of True Believers. But now tell me, how came it that thou tarriedst with the slave-dealer five months and wast not sold to any one, and thou of this skill, especially when the price set on thee was no great matter?” Hereat she laughed and answered, “O my lord, my story is a wondrous and my case a marvellous Know that I belonged aforetime to a Maghribi merchant,who bought me when I was three years old, and there were in his house many slave-girls and eunuchs; but I was the dearest to him of them all So he kept me with him and used not to address me otherwise than, ‘O daughterling,’ and indeed to this moment I am a clean maid. Now there was with him a damsel, a lutanist, and she reared me and taught me the art, even as thou seest. Then was my master removed to the mercy of Allah Almighty151 and his sons divided his monies. I fell to the lot of one of them; but ’twas only a little while ere he had wasted all his wealth and there was left him naught of coin. So I gave up the lute, fearing lest I should fall into the hand of a man who knew not my worth, for well I wot that needs must my master sell me; and indeed but a few days passed ere he carried me forth to the quarters of the slave merchant who buyeth damsels and displayeth them to the Commander of the Faithful. Now I desired to learn the art and mystery; so I refused to be sold to other than thou, until Allah (extolled and exalted be He!) vouchsafed me my desire of thy presence; whereupon I came out to thee, as soon as I heard of thy coming, and besought thee to buy me. Thou heartenedst my heart and broughtest me; and since I entered thy house, O my lord, I have not taken up the lute till now; but to-day, when I was left private by the slave-girls, I took it; and my purpose in this was that I might see if my hand were changed152 or not. As I was singing, I heard a footfall in the vestibule; so springing up, I laid the lute from my hand and going forth to see what was to do, found thee, O my lord, after this fashion.” Quoth Ishak, “Indeed, this was of thy fair fortune. By Allah, I know not that which thou knowest in this art!” Then he arose and opening a chest, brought out therefrom striped clothes,153 netted with jewels and great pearls and other costly gems and said to her, “In the name of Allah, don these, O my lady Tohfah.” So she arose and donned that dress and veiled herself and went up with Ishak to the palace of the Caliphate, where he made her stand without, whilst he himself went in to the Prince of True Believers (with whom was Ja’afar the Barmaki) and kissing the ground before him, said to him, “O Commander of the Faithful, I have brought thee a damsel, never saw eyes of seer her like for excellence in singing and touching the lute; and her name is Tohfah.” Al-Rashid asked, “And where be this Tohfah154 who hath not her like in the world?” Answered Ishak, “Yonder she standeth, O Commander of the Faithful;” and he acquainted the Caliph with her case from first to last. Then said Al-Rashid, “ ’Tis a marvel to hear thee praise a slave-girl after this fashion. Admit her that we may look upon her, for verily the morning may not be hidden.” Accordingly, Ishak bade admit her; so she entered, and when her eyes fell upon the Prince of True Believers, she kissed ground before him and said, “The Peace be upon thee, O Commander of the faithful Fold and Asylum of all who the true Creed hold and Quickener of justice in the Worlds threefold! Allah make thy feet tread on safest wise and give thee joy of what He gave thee in generous guise and make thy harbourage Paradise and Hell-fire that of thine enemies!” Quoth Al-Rashid, “And on thee be the Peace, O damsel! Sit.” So she sat down and he bade her sing; whereupon she took the lute and tightening its strings, played thereon in many modes, so that the Prince of True Believers and Ja’afar were confounded in sprite and like to fly for delight. Then she returned to the first mode and improvised these couplets:—
“O mine eyes! I swear by him I adore,
Whom pilgrims seek thronging Arafát;
An thou call my name on the grave of me,
I’ll reply to thy call tho’ my bones go rot:
I crave none for friend of my heart save thee;
So believe me, for true are the well-begot.”
Al-Rashid considered her comeliness and the goodliness of her singing and her eloquence and what other qualities she comprised and rejoiced with joy exceeding; and for the stress of that which overcame him of delight, he descended from the couch and sitting down with her upon the floor, said to her, “Thou hast done well, O Tohfah. By Allah, thou art indeed a choice gift!”155 Then he turned to Ishak and said to him, “Thou dealtest not justly, O Ishak, in the description of this damsel, nor didst thou fairly set forth all that she comprised of charms and art; for that, by Allah, she is inconceivably more skilful than thou; and I know of this craft that which none knowest save I!” Exclaimed the Wazir Ja’afar, “By Allah, thou sayst sooth, O my lord, O Commander of the Faithful. Indeed, she hath done away my wit, hath this damsel.” Quoth Ishak, “By Allah, O Prince of True Believers, I had said that there was not on the face of the earth one who knew the art of the lute like myself; but when I heard her, my skill became nothing worth in mine eyes.” Then said the Caliph to her, “Repeat thy playing, O Tohfah.” So she repeated it and he cried to her, “Well done!” Moreover, he said to Ishak, “Thou hast indeed brought me a marvellous thing, one which is worth in mine eyes the empire of the world.” Then he turned to Masrur the eunuch and said to him, “Carry Tohfah to the chamber of honour.” Accordingly, she went away with the Castrato and the Caliph looked at her raiment and ornaments and seeing her clad in clothing of choice, asked Ishak, “O Ishak, whence hath she these robes?” Answered he, “O my lord, these are somewhat of thy bounties and thy largesse, and they are a gift to her from me. By Allah, O Commander of the Faithful, the world, all of it, were little in comparison with her!” Then the Caliph turned to the Wazir Ja’afar and said to him, “Give Ishak fifty thousand dirhams and a robe of honour of the choicest apparel.” “Hearing and obeying,” replied Ja’afar and gifted him with that which the Caliph ordered him. As for Al-Rashid, he was private with Tohfah that night and found her a pure virgin and rejoiced in her; and she took high rank in his heart, so that he could not suffer her absence a single hour and committed to her the keys of the affairs of the realm, for that which he saw in her of good breeding and fine wit and leal will. He also gave her fifty slave-girls and two hundred thousand diners and a quantity of raiment and ornaments, gems and jewels worth the kingdom of Egypt; and of the excess of his love for her, he would not entrust her to any of the hand-maids or eunuchs; but, whenever he went out from her, he locked the door upon her and took the key with him, against he should return to her, forbidding the damsels to go in to her, of his fear lest they should slay her or poison her or practice on her with the knife; and in this way he abode awhile. One day, as she sang before the Commander of the Faithful, he was delighted with exceeding delight, so that he offered to kiss her hand;156 but she drew it away from him and smote upon her lute and broke it and wept. Al-Rashid wiped away her tears and said, “O desire of the heart, what is it maketh thee weep? May Allah not cause an eye of thine to shed tears!” Said she, “O my lord, what am I that thou shouldst kiss my hand? Wilt thou have Allah punish me for this and my term come to an end and my felicity pass away? For this is what none ever attained unto.” He rejoined, “Well said, O Tohfah. Know that thy rank in my esteem is high and for that which delighted me of what I saw in thee, I offered to do this, but I will not return unto the like thereof; so be of good cheer, with eyes cool and clear, for I have no desire to other than thyself and will not die but in the love of thee, and thou to me art queen this day, to the exclusion of al! humankind.” Therewith she fell to kissing his feet; and this her fashion pleased him, so that his love for her redoubled and he became unable to brook severance from her a single hour. Now Al-Rashid one day went forth to the chase and left Tohfah in her pavilion. As she sat perusing a book, with a candle-branch of gold before her, wherein was a perfumed candle, behold, a musk-apple fell down before her from the top of the saloon.157 So she looked up and beheld the Lady Zubaydah bint al-Kasim,158 who saluted her with a salam and acquainted her with herself, whereupon Tohfah sprang to her feet and said, “O my lady, were I not of the number of the new,159 I had daily sought thy service; so do not thou bereave me of those noble steps.”160 The Lady Zubaydah called down blessings upon her and replied, “I knew this of thee; and, by the life of the Commander of the Faithful, but that it is not of my wont to go forth of my place, I had come out to do my service to thee.” Then quoth she to her, “Know, O Tohfah, that the Commander of the Faithful hath deserted all his concubines and favourites on thine account, even myself hath he abandoned on this wise, and I am not content to be as one of the mistresses; yet hath he made me of them and forsaken me, and I have sought thee, so thou mayst beseech him to come to me, though it be but once a month, in order that I may not be the like of the hand-maids and concubines nor take rank with the slave-girls; and this is my need of thee.” Answered Tohfah, “Hearkening and obedience! By Allah, O my lady, I would that he might be with thee a whole month and with me but one night, so thy heart might be heartened, for that I am one of thy hand-maids and thou in every case art my lady.” The Princess Zubaydah thanked her for this and taking leave of her, returned to her palace. When the Caliph came back from the chase and course, he betook himself to Tohfah’s pavilion and bringing out the key, opened the lock and went in to her. She rose to receive him and kissed his hand, and he gathered her to his breast and seated her on his knee.161 Then food was brought to them and they ate and washed their hands; after which she took the lute and sang, till Al-Rashid was moved to sleep. When aware of this, she ceased singing and told him her adventure with the Lady Zubaydah, saying, “O Prince of True Believers, I would have thee favour me with a favour and hearten my heart and accept my intercession and reject not my supplication, but fare thee forthright to the Lady Zubaydah.” Now this talk befel after he had stripped himself naked and she also had doffed her dress; and he said, “Thou shouldst have named this ere we stripped ourselves naked, I and thou!” But she answered, say ing, “O Commander of the Faithful, I did this not except in accordance with the saying of the poet in these couplets,
“Of all intercessions can none succeed,
Save whatso Tohfah bint Marjan sue’d:
No intercessor who comes enveiled;162
She sues the best who sues mother-nude.”
When Al-Rashid heard this, her speech pleased him and he strained her to his bosom. Then he went forth from her and locked the door upon her, as before; whereupon she took the book and sat perusing it awhile. Presently, she set it aside and taking the lute, tightened its strings; and smote thereon, after a wondrous fashion, such as would have moved inanimate things to dance, and fell to singing marvellous melodies and chanting these couplets:—
“Cease for change to wail,
The world blames who rail
Bear patient its shafts
That for aye prevail.
How often a joy
Grief garbed thou shalt hail
How oft gladding bliss
Shall appear amid bale!”
Then she turned and saw within the chamber an old man, handsome in his hoariness and stately of semblance, who was dancing in goodly and winning wise, a dance whose like none might dance. So she sought refuge with Allah Almighty from Satan the Stoned and said, “I will not give over what I am about, for whatso the Lord willeth, He fulfilleth.” Accordingly, she went on singing till the Shaykh came up to her and kissed ground before her, saying, “Well done, O Highmost of the East and the West! May the world be not bereaved of thee! By Allah, indeed thou art perfect of manners and morals, O Tohfat al-Sudúr!163 Dost thou know me?” Cried she, “Nay, by Allah, but methinks thou art of the Jann.” Quoth he, “Thou sayst sooth; I am Abú al-Tawáif164 Iblis, and I come to thee every night, and with me thy sister Kamariyah, for that she loveth thee and sweareth not but by thy life; and her pastime is not pleasant to her, except she come to thee and see thee whilst thou seest her not. As for me, I approach thee upon an affair, whereby thou shalt gain and rise to high rank with the kings of the Jann and rule them, even as thou rulest mankind; and to that end I would have thee come with me and be present at the festival of my daughter’s wedding and the circumcision of my son;165 for that the Jann are agreed upon the manifestation of thy command. And she answered, “Bismillah; in the name of the Lord.”166 So she gave him the lute and he forewent her, till he came to the Chapel of Ease,167 and behold, therein was a door and a stairway. When Tohfah saw this, her reason fled; but Iblis cheered her with chat. Then he descended the steps and she followed him to the bottom of the stair, where she found a passage and they fared on therein, till they came to a horse standing, ready saddled and bridled and accoutred. Quoth Iblis, “Bismillah, O my lady Tohfah;” and he held the stirrup for her. So she mounted and the horse heaved like a wave under her and putting forth wings soared upwards with her, while the Shaykh flew by her side; whereat she was affrighted and clung to the pommel of the saddle;168 nor was it but an hour ere they came to a fair green meadow, fresh-flowered as if the soil thereof were a fine robe, purfled with all manner bright hues. Amiddlemost that mead was a palace towering high in air, with crenelles of red gold, set with pearls and gems, and a two-leaved door; and about the gateway were much people of the chiefs of the Jann, clad in costliest clothing. When they saw the Shaykh, they all cried out, saying, “The Lady Tohfah is come!” And as soon as she reached the palace-gate they pressed forward in a body, and dismounting her from the horse’s back, carried her into the palace and fell to kissing her hands. When she entered, she beheld a palace whereof seers ne’er saw the like; for therein were four halls, one facing other, and its walls were of gold and its ceilings of silver. It was high-builded of base, wide of space, and those who descried it would be posed to describe it. At the upper end of the hall stood a throne of red gold set with pearls and jewels, up to which led five steps of silver, and on its right and on its left were many chairs of gold and silver. Quoth Tohfah, “The Shaykh led me to the estrade and seated me on a chair of gold beside the throne, and over the dais was a curtain let down, gold and silver wrought and broidered with pearls and jewels.” And she was amazed at that which she beheld in that place and magnified her Lord (extolled and exalted be He!) and hallowed Him. Then the kings of the Jann came up to that throne and seated themselves thereon; and they were in the semblance of Adam’s sons, excepting two of them, who appeared in the form and aspect of the Jann, each with one eye slit endlong and jutting horns and projecting tusks.169 After this there came up a young lady, fair of favour and seemly of stature, the light of whose face outshone that of the waxen fiambeaux; and about her were other three women, than whom none fairer abode on face of earth. They saluted Tohfah with the salam and she rose to them and kissed ground before them whereupon they embraced her after returning her greeting170 and sat down on the chairs aforesaid. Now the four women who thus accosted Tohfah were the Princess Kamariyah, daughter of King Al-Shísbán, and her sisters; and Kamariyah loved Tohfah with exceeding love. So, when she came up to her, she fell to kissing and embracing her, and Shaykh Iblis cried, “Fair befal the accolade! Take me between you.” At this Tohfah laughed and Kamariyah said, “O my sister, I love thee, and doubtless hearts have their witnesses,171 for, since I saw thee, I have loved thee.” Replied Tohfah, By Allah, hearts have sea-like deeps, and thou, by Allah, art dear to me and I am thy hand-maid.” Kamariyah thanked her for this and kissing her once more said, “These be the wives of the kings of the Jann: greet them with the salam! This is Queen Jamrah,172 that is Queen Wakhímah and this other is Queen Sharárah, and they come not but for thee.” So Tohfah rose to her feet and bussed their hands, and the three queens kissed her and welcomed her and honoured her with the utmost honour. Then they brought trays and tables and amongst the rest a platter of red gold, inlaid with pearls and gems; its raised rims were of or and emerald, and thereon were graven173 these couplets:—
To bear provaunt assigned,
By hands noble designed,
For the gen’rous I’m made
Not for niggardly hind!
So eat safe all I hold
And praise God of mankind.
After reading the verses they ate and Tohfah looked at the two kings who had not changed shape and said to Kamariyah, “O my lady, what be this feral and that other like unto him? By Allah, mine eye may not suffer the sight of them.” Kamariyah laughed and answered, “O my sister, that is my sire Al-Shisban and the other is highs Maymun the Sworder; and of the arrogance of their souls and their insolence, they consented not to change their created shapes. Indeed, all whom thou seest here are nature-fashioned like them; but on thine account they have changed favour, for fear lest thou be disquieted and for the comforting of thy mind, so thou mightest become familiar with them and be at thine ease.” Quoth Tohfah, “O my lady, verily I cannot look at them. How frightful is this Maymun, with his monocular face! Mine eye cannot brook the sight of him, and indeed I am in affright of him.” Kamariyah laughed at her speech, and Tohfah continued, “By Allah, O my lady, I cannot fill my eye with the twain!”174 Then cried her father Al-Shisban to her, What be this laughing?” So she bespoke him in a tongue none understood but they two and acquainted him with that which Tohfah had said; whereat he laughed a prodigious loud laugh, as it were the roaring thunder. Presently they ate and the tables were removed and they washed their hands; after which Iblis the Accursed came up to Tohfah and said to her, “O my lady, thou gladdenest the place and enlightenest and embellishes” it with thy presence; but now fain would these kings hear somewhat of thy singing, for Night hath dispread her pinions for departure and there abideth of it but a little.” Quoth she, “Hearing and obeying.” So she took the lute and touching its strings with rare touch, played thereon after wondrous wise, so that it seemed to those who were present as if the palace surged like a wave with them for the music. Then she began singing and chanting these couplets,
“Folk of my faith and oath, Peace with you be!
Quoth ye not I shall meet you you meet me?
I’ll chide you softerwise than breeze o’ morn,
Sweeter than spring of coolest clarity.
I’ faith mine eyelids are with tears chafed sore:
My vitals plain to you some cure to see.
My friends! Our union to disunion changed
Was aye my fear for ’twas my certainty.
I’ll plain to Allah of all ills I bore;
For pine and yearning misery still I dree.”
The kings of the Jann were moved to delight by that sweet singing and seemly speech and thanked Tohfah therefore; and Queen Kamariyah rose to her and threw her arms round her neck and kissed her between the eyes, saying, “By Allah, ’tis good, O my sister and coolth of mine eyes and core of my heart!” Then said she, “I conjure thee by Allah, give us more of this lovely singing;’ and Tohfah answered with “To hear is to obey.” So she took the lute and playing thereon in a mode different from the former fashion, sang these couplets:—
“I, oft as ever grows the pine of me,
Console my soul with hope thy sight to see.
Haply shall Allah join our parted lives,
E’en as my fortunes far from thee cast He!
Then oh! who thrallest me by force of love —
Seized by fond affection’s mastery
All hardships easy wax when thou art nigh;
And all the far draws near when near thou be.
Ah! be the Ruthful light to lover fond,
Love-lore, frame wasted, ready Death to dree!
Were hope of seeing thee cut off, my loved;
After thine absence sleep mine eyes would flee!
I mourn no worldly joyance, my delight
Is but to sight thee while thou seest my sight.”
At this the accursed Iblis was hugely pleased and thrust his finger up his fundament,175 whilst Maymun danced and said, “O Tohfat al-Sudur, soften the sound;176 for, as pleasure entereth into my heart, it arresteth my breath and blood.” So she took the lute and altering the tune, played a third air; then she returned to the first and sang these couplets:—
“The waves of your177 love o’er my life have rolled;
I sink while I see you all aid withhold:
You have drowned my vitals in deeps of your love,
Nor can heart and sprite for your loss be consoled:
Deem not I forget my troth after you:
How forget what Allah decreed of old?178
Love clings to the lover who nights in grief,
And ‘plains of unrest and of woes ensouled.
The kings and all those who were present rejoiced in this with joy exceeding and the accursed Iblis came up to Tohfah and kissing her hand, said to her, “Verily there abideth but little of the night; so tarry with us till the morrow, when we will apply ourselves to the wedding179 and the circumcision.”180 Then all the Jann went away, whereupon Tohfah rose to her feet and Iblis said, “Go ye up with Tohfah to the garden for the rest of the night.” So Kamariyah took her and went with her into the garden, which contained all manner birds, nightingale and mocking-bird and ringdove and curlew181 and other than these of all the kinds. Therein were all manner of fruits: its channels182 were of gold and silver and the water thereof, as it broke forth of its conduits, was like the bellies of fleeing serpents, and indeed it was as it were the Garden of Eden.183 When Tohfah beheld this, she called to mind her lord and wept sore and said, “I beseech Allah the Most High to vouchsafe me speedy deliverance and return to my palace and to my high estate and queendom and glory, and reunion with my lord and master Al-Rashid.” Then she walked about that garden and saw in its midst a dome of white marble, raised on columns of black teak whereto hung curtains purfled with pearls and gems. Amiddlemost this pavilion was a founfain, inlaid with all kinds of jacinths, and thereon a golden statue of a man and beside it a little door. She opened the door and found herself in a long corridor: so she followed it and entered a Hammam-bath walled with all kinds of costly marbles and floored with a mosaic of pearls and jewels. Therein were four cisterns of alabaster, one facing other, and the ceiling of the bath was of glass coloured with all varieties of colours, such as confounded the understanding of those who have insight and amazed the wit of every wight. Tohfah entered the bath, after she had doffed her dress, and behold the Hammam basin was overlaid with gold set with pearls and red balasses and green emeralds and other jewels: so she extolled Allah Almighty and hallowed Him for the magnificence of that which she saw of the appointments of that bath. Then she made her Wuzu-ablution in that basin and pronouncing the Prohibition,184 prayed the dawn-prayer and what else had escaped her of orisons;185 after which she went out and walked in that garden among jessamine and lavender and roses and chamomile and gillyflowers and thyme and violets and basil royal, till she came to the door of the pavilion aforesaid. There she sat down, pondering that which would betide Al-Rashid after her, when he should come to her apartment and find her not; and she plunged into the sea of her solicitude, till slumber overtook her and soon she slept. Presently she felt a breath upon her face; whereupon she awoke and found Queen Kamariyah kissing her, and with her her three sisters, Queen Jamrah, Queen Wakhimah and Queen Sharárah. So she arose and kissed their hands and rejoiced in them with the utmost joy and they ceased not, she and they, to talk and converse, what while she related to them her history, from the time of her purchase by the Maghrabi to that of her coming to the quarters of the slave-dealer, where she besought Ishak al-Nadim to buy her,186 and how she won union with Al-Rashid, till the moment when Iblis came to her and brought her to them. They gave not over talking till the sun declined and yellowed and the hour of its setting drew near and the day departed, whereupon Tohfah was urgent in supplication187 to Allah Almighty, on the occasion of the sundown prayer, that he would reunite her with her lord Al-Rashid. After this, she abode with the four queens, till they arose and entered the palace, where she found the waxen tapers lit and ranged in candlesticks of gold and silver, and censing vessels of silver and gold filled with lign-aloes and ambergris, and there were the kings of the Jann sitting. So she saluted them with the salam, kissing the earth before them and doing them service; and they rejoiced in her and in her sight. Then she ascended the estrade and sat down upon her chair, whilst King Al-Shisban and King Al Muzfir188 and Queen Lúlúah and other kings of the Jann sat on chairs, and they brought choice tables, spread with all manner meats befitting royalties. They ate their fill; after which the tables were removed and they washed their hands and wiped them with napkins. Then they brought the wine-service and set on sasses and cups and flagons and beakers of gold and silver and bowls of crystal and gold, and they poured out the wines and they filled the flagons. Then Iblis took the bowl and signed to Tohfah to sing: and she said, “To hear is to obey!” So she hent the lute in hand and tuning it, sang these couplets,
“Drink wine, O ye lovers, I rede you alway,
And praise his worth who loves night and day;
‘Mid the myrtle, narcissus and lavender,
And the scented herbs that bedeck the tray.”
So Iblis the Damned drank and said, “Brave, O desire of hearts! But thou owest me still another aria.” Then he filled the cup and signed to her to sing. Quoth she, “Hearkening and obedience, and chanted these couplets,
“Ye wot, I am whelmed in despair and despight,
Ye dight me blight that delights your sight:
Your wone is between my unrest and my eyes;
Nor tears to melt you, nor sighs have might.
How oft shall I sue you for justice, and you
With a pining death my dear love requite?
But your harshness is duty, your farness near;
Your hate is Union, your wrath is delight:
Take your fill of reproach as you will: you claim
All my heart, and I reck not of safety or blame.”
All present were delighted and the sitting-chamber was moved like a wave with mirth, and Iblis said, “Brave, O Tohfat al-Sudur!” Then they left not liquor-bibbing and rejoicing and making merry and tambourining and piping till the night waned and the dawn waxed near; and indeed exceeding delight entered into them. The most of them in mirth was the Shaykh Iblis, and for the stress of that which befel him of joyance, he doffed all that was on him of coloured clothes and cast them over Tohfah, and among the rest a robe broidered with jewels and jacinths, worth ten thousand diners. Then he kissed the earth and danced and he thrust his finger up his fundament and hending his beard in hand, said to her, “Sing about this beard and endeavour after mirth and pleasance, and no blame shall betide thee for this.” So she improvised and sang these couplets:—
“Barbe of the olden, the one eyed goat!
What words shall thy foulness o’ deed denote?
Be not of our praises so pompous-proud:
Thy worth for a dock-tail dog’s I wot.
By Allah, to-morrow shall see me drub
Thy nape with a cow-hide189 and dust thy coat!”
All those present laughed at her mockery of Iblis and wondered at the wittiness of her visnomy190 and her readiness in versifying, whilst the Shaykh himself rejoiced and said to her, “O Tohfat al-Sudur, verily, the night be gone; so arise and rest thyself ere the day; and to-orrow there shall be naught save weal.” Then all the kings of the Jinn departed, together with those who were present of guards; and Tohfah abode alone, pondering the case of Al-Rashid and bethinking her of how it went with him after her going, and of what had betided him for her loss, till the dawn lightened, when she arose and walked about the palace. Suddenly she saw a handsome door; so she opened it and found herself in a flower-garden finer than the first — ne’er saw eyes of seer a fairer than it. When she beheld this garth, she was moved to delight and she called to mind her lord Al-Rashid and wept with sore weeping and cried, “I crave of the bounty of Allah Almighty that my return to him and to my palace and to my home may be nearhand!” Then she walked about the parterres till she came to a pavilion, high builded of base and wide of space, never espied mortal nor heard of a grander than it. So she entered and found herself in a long corridor, which led to a Hammam goodlier than that aforetime described, and its cisterns were full of rose water mingled with musk. Quoth Tohfah, “Extolled be Allah! Indeed, this191 is none other than a mighty great king.” Then she pulled off her clothes and washed her body and made her Ghusl ablution of the whole person192 and prayed that which was due from her of prayer from the evening of the previous day.193 When the sun rose upon the gate of the garden and she saw the wonders thereof, with that which was therein of all manner blooms and streams, and heard the voices of its birds, she marvelled at what she beheld of the rareness of its ordinance and the beauty of its disposition and sat musing over the case of Al-Rashid and pondering what was come of him after her. Her tears coursed down her cheeks and the Zephyr blew on her; so she slept and knew no more till she suddenly felt a breath on her side-face, whereat she awoke in affright and found Queen Kamariyah kissing her, and she was accompanied by her sisters, who said, “Rise, for the sun hath set.” So Tohfah arose and making the Wuzu-ablution, prayed her due of prayers194 and accompanied the four queens to the palace, where she saw the wax candles lighted and the kings sitting. She saluted them with the salam and seated herself upon her couch; and behold, King Al-Shisban had shifted his semblance, for all the pride of his soul. Then came up Iblis (whom Allah damn!) and Tohfah rose to him and kissed his hands. He also kissed her hand and blessed her and asked, “How deemest thou? Is not this place pleasant, for all its desertedness and desolation?” Answered she, “None may be desolate in this place;” and he cried, “Know that this is a site whose soil no mortal dare tread;” but she rejoined, “I have dared and trodden it, and this is one of thy many favours.” Then they brought tables and dishes and viands and fruits and sweetmeats and other matters, whose description passeth powers of mortal man, and they ate their sufficiency; after which the tables were removed and the dessert-trays and platters set on, and they ranged the bottles and flagons and vessels and phials, together with all manner fruits and sweet-scented flowers. The first to raise the bowl was Iblis the Accursed, who said, “O Tohfat al-Sudur, sing over my cup.” So she took the lute and touching it, carolled these couplets,
“Wake ye, Ho sleepers all! and take your joy
Of Time, and boons he deigned to bestow;
Then hail the Wine-bride, drain the wine-ptisane
Which, poured from flagon, flows with flaming glow:
O Cup-boy, serve the wine, bring round the red195
Whose draught gives all we hope for here below:
What’s worldly pleasure save my lady’s face,
Draughts of pure wine and song of musico?”
So Iblis drained his bowl and, when he had made an end of his draught, waved his hand to Tohfah; then, throwing off that which was upon him of clothes, delivered them to her. The suit would have brought ten thousand diners and with it was a tray full of jewels worth a mint of money. Presently he filled again and gave the cup to his son Al-Shisban, who took it from his hand and kissing it, stood up and sat down again. Now there was before him a tray of roses; so he said to her, “O Tohfah, sing thou somewhat upon these roses.” She replied, “Hearkening and obedience,” and chanted these two couplets,
¨It proves my price o’ er all the flowers that I
Seek you each year, yet stay but little stound:
And high my vaunt I’m dyed by my lord
Whom Allah made the best e’er trod on ground.196”
So Al-Shisban drank off the cup in his turn and said, “Brave, O desire of hearts!” and he bestowed on her that was upon him, to wit, a dress of cloth-of-pearl, fringed with great unions and rubies and purfled with precious gems, and a tray wherein were fifty thousand diners. Then Maymun the Sworder took the cup and began gazing intently upon Tohfah. Now there was in his hand a pomegranate-flower and he said to her, “Sing thou somewhat, O queen of mankind and Jinn kind upon this pomegranate-flower; for indeed thou hast dominion over all hearts.” Quoth she, “To hear is to obey;” and she improvised and sang these couplets,
“Breathes sweet the zephyr on fair partPrre;
Robing lute in the flamings that fell from air:
And moaned from the boughs with its cooing rhyme
Voice of ring-doves plaining their love and care:
The branch dresses in suit of fine sendal green
And in wine-hues borrowed from bloom Gulnare.”197
Maymun the Sworder drained his bowl and said to her, “Brave, O perfection of qualities!” Then he signed to her and was absent awhile, after which he returned and with him a tray of jewels worth an hundred thousand ducats, which he gave to Tohfah. Thereupon Kamariyah arose and bade her slave-girl open the closet behind the Songstress, wherein she laid all that wealth; and committed the key to her, saying, “Whatso of riches cometh to thee, lay thou in this closet that is by thy side, and after the festivities, it shall be borne to thy palace on the heads of the Jinn.” Tohfah kissed her hand and another king, by name Munír,198 took the bowl and filling it, said to her, “O ferry Fair, sing to me over my bowl somewhat upon-the jasmine.” She replied with, “Hearkening and obedience,” and improvised these couplets,
“’Twere as though the Jasmine (when self she enrobes
On her boughs) cloth display to my wondering eyne;
In sky of green beryl, which Beauty enclothes,
Star-groups like studs of the silvern mine.”
Munir drank off his cup and ordered her eight hundred thousand diners, whereat Kamariyah rejoiced and rising to her feet, kissed Tohfah on her face and said to her, “Be the world never bereaved of thee, O thou who lordest it over the hearts of Jinn-kind and mankind!” Then she returned to her place and the Shaykh Iblis arose and danced, till all present were confounded; after which the Songstress said, “Verily, thou embellishes” my festivities, O thou who commandest men and Jinn and rejoices” their hearts with thy loveliness and the beauty199 of thy faithfulness to thy lord. All that thy hands possess shall be borne to thee in thy palace and placed at thy service; but now the dawn is nearhand; so do thou rise and rest thee according to thy custom.” Tohfah turned and found with her none of the Jinn; so she laid her head on the floor and slept till she had gotten her repose; after which she arose and betaking herself to the lakelet, made the Wuzu-ablution and prayed. Then she sat beside the water awhile and meditated the matter of her lord Al-Rashid and that which had betided him after her loss and wept with sore weeping. Presently, she heard a blowing behind her;200 so she turned and behold, a Head without a body and with eyes slit endlong: it was of the bigness of an elephant’s skull and bigger and ha] a mouth as it were an oven and projecting canines as they were grapnels, and hair which trailed upon the ground. So Tohfah cried, “I take refuge with Allah from Satan the Stoned!” and recited the Two Preventives;201 what while the Head drew near her and said, “Peace be with thee, O Princess of Jinn and men and union-pearl of her age and her time! Allah continue thee on life, for all the lapsing of the days, and reunite thee with thy lord the Imam!”202 She replied, “And upon thee be Peace; O thou whose like I have not seen among the Jann!” Quoth the Head, “We are a folk who may not change their favours and we are highs Ghuls: mortals summon us to their presence, but we cannot present ourselves before them without leave. As for me, I have gotten leave of the Shaykh Abu al-Tawaif to appear before thee and I desire of thy favour that thou sing me a song, so I may go to thy palace and question its Haunters203 concerning the plight of thy lord after thee and return to thee; and know, O Tohfat al-Sudur, that between thee and thy lord be a distance of fifty years’ journey for the bonâ fide traveller.” She rejoined, “Indeed, thou grieves” me anent him between whom and me is fifty years’ journey;” but the Head204 cried to her, “Be of good cheer and of eyes cool and clear, for the sovrans of the Jann will restore thee to him in less than the twinkling of an eye.” Quoth she, “I will sing thee an hundred songs, so thou wilt bring me news of my lord and that which betided him after me.” And quoth the Head, “Do thou favour me and sing me a song, so I may go to thy lord and fetch thee tidings of him, for that I desire, before I go, to hear thy voice, so haply my thirst205 may be quenched.” So she took the lute and tuning it, sang these couplets:—
“They have marched, yet no empty stead left they:
They are gone, nor heart grieves me that fled be they:
My heart forebode the bereaval of friends;
Allah ne’er bereave steads wherefrom sped be they!
Though they hid the stations where led were they,
I’ll follow till stars fall in disarray!
Ye slumber, but wake shall ne’er fly these lids;
’Tis I bear what ye never bore — well-away!
It had irked them not to farewell who fares
With the parting-fires that my heart waylay.
My friends,206 your meeting to me is much
But more is the parting befel us tway:
You’re my heart’s delight, or you present be
Or absent, with you is my soul for aye!”
Thereupon the Head wept exceeding sore and cried, “O my lady, indeed thou hast solaced my heart, and I have naught but my life; so take it.” She replied, “Nay, an I but knew that thou wouldst bring me news of my lord Al-Rashid, ’twere fainer to me than the reign of the world;” and the Head answered her, “It shall be done as thou desirest.” Then it disappeared and returning to her at the last of the night, said, “O my lady, know that I have been to thy palace and have questioned one of its Haunters of the case of the Commander of the Faithful and that which befel him after thee; and he said, ‘When the Prince of True Believers came to Tohfah’s apartment and found her not and saw no sign of her, he buffeted his face and head and rent his raiment.’ Now there was in thy chamber the Castrato, the chief of thy household, and the Caliph cried out at him, saying, ‘Bring me Ja’afar the Barmaki and his father and brother at this very moment!’ The Eunuch went out, bewildered in his wit for fear of the King, and when he stood in the presence of Ja’afar, he said to him, ‘Come to the Commander of the Faithful, thou and thy father and thy brother.’ So they arose in haste and betaking themselves to the presence, said, ‘O Prince of True Believers what may be the matter?’ Quoth he, ‘There is a matter which passeth description. Know that I locked the door and taking the key with me, betook myself to my uncle’s daughter, with whom I lay the night; but, when I arose in the morning and came and opened the door, I found no sign of Tohfah.’ Quoth Ja’afar, ‘O Commander of the Faithful have patience, for that the damsel hath been snatched away, and needs must she return, seeing that she took the lute with her, and ’tis her own lute. The Jinns have assuredly carried her off, and we trust in Allah Almighty that she will return.’ Cried the Caliph, ‘This207 is a thing which may nowise be!’ And he abode in her apartment, nor eating nor drinking, while the Barmecides besought him to fare forth to the folk; and he weepeth and tarrieth on such fashion till she shall return. This, then, is that which hath betided him after thee.” When Tohfah heard his words, they were grievous to her and she wept with sore weeping; whereupon quoth the Head to her, “The relief of Allah the Most High is nearhand; but now let me hear somewhat of thy speech.” So she took the lute and sang three songs, weeping the while. The Head exclaimed, “By Allah, thou hast been bountiful to me, the Lord be with thee!” Then it disappeared and the season of sundown came: so she rose and betook herself to her place in the hall; whereupon behold, the candles sprang up from under the earth and kindled themselves. Then the kings of the Jann appeared and saluted her and kissed her hands and she greeted them with the salam. Presently appeared Kamariyah and her three sisters and saluted Tohfah and sat down; whereupon the tables were brought and they ate; and when the tables were removed there came the wine-tray and the drinking-service. So Tohfah took the lute and one of the three queens filled the cup and signed to the Songstress. Now she had in her hand a violet, so Tohfah improvised these couplets:—
“I’m clad in a leaf-cloak of green;
In an honour-robe ultramarine:
I’m a wee thing of loveliest mien
But all flowers as my vassals are seen:
An Rose title her ‘Morn-pride,’ I ween
Nor before me nor after she’s Queen.”
The queen drank off her cup and bestowed on Tohfah a dress of cloth-of-pearl, fringed with red rubies, worth twenty thousand ducats, and a tray whereon were ten thousand sequins. All this while Maymun’s eye was upon her and presently he said to her, “Harkye, Tohfah! Sing to me.” But Queen Zalzalah cried out at him, and said “Desist,208 O Maymun. Thou sufferest not Tohfah to pay heed to us.” Quoth he, “I will have her sing to me:” and many words passed between them and Queen Zalzalah cried aloud at him. Then she shook and became like unto the Jinns and taking in her hand a mace of stone, said to him, “Fie upon thee! What art thou that thou shouldst bespeak us thus? By Allah, but for the respect due to kings and my fear of troubling the session and the festival and the mind of the Shaykh Iblis, I would assuredly beat the folly out of thy head!” When Maymun heard these her words, he rose, with the fire shooting from his eyes, and said, “O daughter of Imlák, what art thou that thou shouldst outrage me with the like of this talk?” Replied she, “Woe to thee, O dog of the Jinn, knowest thou not thy place?” So saying, she ran at him, and offered to strike him with the mace, but the Shaykh Iblis arose and casting his turband on the ground cried, “Out on thee, O Maymun! Thou dost always with us on this wise. Wheresoever thou art present, thou troublest our pleasure! Canst thou not hold thy peace until thou go forth of the festival and this bride-feast be accomplished? When the circumcision is at an end and ye all return to your dwellings, then do as thou willest. Fie upon thee, O Maymun! Wottest thou not that Imlak is of the chiefs of the Jinn? But for my goodname, thou shouldst have seen what would have betided thee of humiliation and chastisement; yet on account of the festival none may speak. Indeed thou exceedest; dost thou not ken that her sister Wakhimah is doughtier209 than any of the Jann? Learn to know thyself: hast thou no regard for thy life?” So Maymun was silent and Iblis turned to Tohfah and said to her, “Sing to the kings of the Jinns this day and to-night until the morrow, when the boy will be circumcised and each shall return to his own place.” Accordingly she took the lute and Kamariyah said to her (now she had a citron in hand), “O my sister, sing to me somewhat on this citron.” Tohfah replied, “To hear is to obey,” and improvising, sang these couplets,
“I’m a dome of fine gold and right cunningly dight;
And my sweetness of youth gladdeth every sight:
My wine is ever the drink of kings
And I’m fittest gift to the friendliest sprite.
At this Queen Kamariyah rejoiced with joy exceeding and drained her cup, crying, “Brava! O thou choice Gift of hearts!” Furthermore, she took off a sleeved robe of blue brocade, fringed with red rubies, and a necklace of white jewels worth an hundred thousand ducats, and gave them to Tohfah. Then she passed the cup to her sister Zalzalah, who hent in her hand herb basil, and she said to Tohfah, “Sing to me somewhat on this basil.” She replied, “Hearing and obeying,” and improvised and sang these couplets,
“I’m the Queen of herbs in the séance of wine
And in Heaven Na’ím are my name and sign:
And the best are promised, in garth of Khuld,
Repose, sweet scents and the peace divine:210
What prizes then with my price shall vie?
What rank even mine, in all mortals’ eyne?”
Thereat Queen Zalzalah rejoiced with joy exceeding and bidding her treasuress bring a basket, wherein were fifty pairs of bracelets and the same number of earrings, all of gold, crusted with jewels of price, whose like nor mankind nor Jinn-kind possessed, and an hundred robes of vari-coloured brocades and an hundred thousand ducats, gave the whole to Tohfah. Then she passed the cup to her sister Shararah, who had in her hand a stalk of narcissus; so she took it from her and turning to the Songstress, said to her, “O Tohfah, sing to me somewhat on this.” She replied, “Hearkening and obedience,” and improvised these couplets,
“With the smaragd wand doth my form compare;
‘Mid the finest flowers my worth’s rarest rare:
My eyes are likened to Beauty’s eyne,
And my gaze is still on the bright partPrre.”
When she had made an end of her song, Shararah was moved to delight exceeding, and drinking off her cup, said to her, “Brava, O thou choice Gift of hearts!” Then she ordered her an hundred dresses of brocade and an hundred thousand ducats and passed the cup to Queen Wakhimah. Now she had in her hand somewhat of Nu’uman’s bloom, the anemone; so she took the cup from her sister and turning to the Songstress, said to her, “O Tohfah, sing to me on this.” Quoth she, “I hear and I obey,” and improvised these couplets,
“I’m a dye was dyed by the Ruthful’s might;
And all confess me the goodliest sight:
I began in the dust and the clay, but now
On the cheeks of fair women I rank by right.”
Therewith Wakhimah rejoiced with joy exceeding and drinking off the cup, ordered her twenty dresses of Roumí brocade and a tray, wherein were thirty thousand ducats. Then she gave the cup to Queen Shu’á‘ah,211 Regent of the Fourth Sea, who took it and said, “O my lady Tohfah, sing to me on the gillyflower.” She replied, “Hearing and obeying,” and improvised these couplets,
“The time of my presence ne’er draws to a close,
Amid all whose joyance with mirth o’erflows;
When topers gather to sit at wine
Or in nightly shade or when morning shows,
I filch from the flagon to fill the bowls
And the crystal cup where the wine-beam glows.”
Queen Shu’a’ah rejoiced with joy exceeding and emptying her cup, gave Tohfah an hundred thousand ducats. Then up sprang Iblis (whom Allah curse!) and cried, “Verily, the dawn lighteneth;” whereupon the folk arose and disappeared, all of them, and there abode not one of them save the Songstress, who went forth to the garden and entering the Hamman made her Wuzu-ablutions and prayed whatso lacked her of prayers. Then she sat down and when the sun rose, behold, there came up to her near an hundred thousand green birds, which filled the branches of the trees with their multitudes and they warbled in various voices, whilst Tohfah marvelled at their fashion. Suddenly, appeared eunuchs, bearing a throne of gold, studded with pearls and gems and jacinths, both white and red, and having four steps of gold, together with many carpets of sendal and brocade and Coptic cloth of silk sprigged with gold; and all these they spread in the centre of the garden and setting up the throne thereon, perfumed the place with virgin musk, Nadd212 and ambergris. After that, there came a queen; never saw eyes a fairer than she nor than her qualities; she was robed in rich raiment, broidered with pearls and gems, and on her head was a crown set with various kinds of unions and jewels. About her were five hundred slave-girls high-bosomed maids, as they were moons, screening her, right and left, and she among them like the moon on the night of its full, for that she was the most worthy of them in majesty and dignity. She ceased not walking till she came to Tohfah, whom she found gazing on her in amazement; and when the Songstress saw her turn to her, she rose to her, standing on her feet, and saluted her and kissed ground between her hands. The queen rejoiced in her and putting out her hand to her, drew her to herself and seated her by her side on the couch; whereupon the Songstress kissed her hands and the queen said to her, “Know, O Tohfah, that all which thou treadest of these carpets belongeth not to any of the Jinn, who may never tread them without thy leave,213 for that I am the queen of them all and the Shaykh Abu al-Tawaif Iblis sought my permission to hold festival214 and prayed me urgently to be present at the circumcision of his son. So I despatched to him, in my stead, a slave-girl of my slave-girls, namely, Shu’á‘ah Queen of the Fourth Sea, who is vice-reine of my reign. When she was present at the wedding and saw thee and heard thy singing, she sent to me, informing me of thee and setting forth to me thy grace and amiability and the beauty of thy breeding and thy courtesy.215 So I am come to thee, for that which I have heard of thy charms, and hereby I do thee a mighty great favour in the eyes of all the Jann.”216 Thereupon Tohfah arose and kissed the earth and the queen thanked her for this and bade her sit. So she sat down and the queen called for foods when they brought a table of gold, inlaid with pearls and jacinth; and jewels and bearing kinds manifold of birds and viands of various hues, and the queen said, “O Tohfah, in the name of Allah! Let us eat bread and salt together, I and thou.” Accordingly the Songstress came forward and ate of those meats and found therein somewhat the like whereof she had never eaten; no, nor aught more delicious than it, while the slave-girls stood around the table, as the white compasseth the black of the eye, and she sat conversing and laughing with the queen. Then said the lady, “O my sister, a slave-girl told me of thee that thou saidst, ‘How loathly is what yonder Jinni Maymun eateth!”217 Tohfah replied, “By Allah, O my lady, I have not any eye that can look at him,218 and indeed I am fearful of him.” When the queen heard this, she laughed till she fell backwards and said “O my sister, by the might of the graving upon the seal-ring of Solomon, prophet of Allah, I am queen over all the Jann, and none dare so much as cast on thee a glance of the eye;” whereat Tohfah kissed her hand. Then the tables were removed and the twain sat talking. Presently up came the kings of the Jinn from every side and kissed ground before the queen and stood in her service; and she thanked them for this, but moved not for one of them.219 Then appeared the Shaykh Abu al-Tawáif Iblis (Allah curse him!) and kissed the earth before her, saying, “O my lady, may I not be bereft of these steps!”220 She replied, “O Shaykh Abu al-Tawáif, it behoveth thee to thank the bounty of the Lady Tohfah, who was the cause of my coming.” Rejoined he, “Thou sayest sooth,” and kissed ground. Then the queen fared on towards the palace and there arose and alighted upon the trees an hundred thousand birds of manifold hues. The Songstress asked, “How many are these birds?” and Queen Wakhimah answered her, “Know, O my sister, that this queen is hight Queen al-Shahbá221 and that she is queen over all the Jann from East to West. These birds thou seest are of her host, and unless they appeared in this shape, earth would not be wide enough for them. Indeed, they came forth with her and are present with her presence at this circumcision. She will give thee after the measure of that which hath been given to thee from the first of the festival to the last thereof;222 and indeed she honoureth us all with her presence.” Then the queen entered the palace and sat down on the couch of the circumcision223 at the upper end of the hall, where-upon Tohfah took the lute and pressing it to her breast, touched its strings suchwise that the wits of all present were bewildered and Shaykh Iblis cried to her, “O my lady Tohfah, I conjure thee, by the life of this noble queen, sing for me and praise thyself, and cross me not.” Quoth she, “To hear is to obey; still, but for thine adjuration, I had not done this. Say me, doth any praise himself? What manner thing is this?” Then she improvised these couplets:
“In all fLtes I’m Choice Gift224 to the minstrel-race;
Folk attest my worth, rank and my pride of place,
While Fame, merit and praises with honour engrace.”
Her verses pleased the kings of the Jann and they cried, “By Allah, thou sayst sooth!” Then she rose to her feet, hending lute in hand, and played and sang, whilst the Jinns and the Shaykh Abu al-Tawáif danced. Presently the Father of the Tribes came up to her bussing her bosom, and gave her a Bráhmani225 carbuncle he had taken from the hidden hoard of Yáfis bin Núh226 (on whom be the Peace), and which was worth the reign of the world; its light was as the sheen of the sun and he said to her, “Take this and be equitable therewith to the people of the world.” 227 She kissed his hand and rejoiced in the jewel and said, “By Allah, this befitteth none save the Commander of the Faithful.” Now Queen Al-Shahba laughed with delight at the dancing of Iblís and she said to him, “By Allah, this is a goodly pavane!” He thanked her for this and said to the Songstress, “O Tohfah, there is not on earth’s face a skilfuller than Ishak al-Nadim;228 but thou art more skilful than he. Indeed, I have been present with him many a time and have shown him positions229 on the lute, and there has betided me with him that which betided. Indeed, the story of my dealings with him is a long one but this is no time to repeat it; for now I would show thee a shift on the lute, whereby thou shalt be exalted over all folk.” Quoth she, “Do what seemeth good to thee.” So he took the lute and played thereon a wondrous playing, with rare divisions and marvellous modulations, and showed her a passage she knew not; and this was goodlier to her than all that she had gotten. Then she took the lute from him and playing thereon, sang and presently returned to the passage which he had shown her; and he said, “By Allah, thou singest better than I!” As for Tohfah, it became manifest to her that her former practice was all of it wrong and that what she had learnt from the Shaykh Abu al-Tawáif Iblis was the root and foundation of all perfection in the art and its modes. So she rejoiced in that which she had won of skill in touching the lute far more than in all that had fallen to her lot of wealth and honour-robes and kissed the Master’s hand. Then said Queen Al-Shahba, “By Allah, O Shaykh, my sister Tohfah is indeed singular among the folk of her time, and I hear that she singeth upon all sweetsmelling blooms.” Iblis replied, “Yes, O my lady, and I am in extremest wonderment thereat. But there remaineth somewhat of sweet-scented flowers, which she hath not besung, such as myrtle and tuberose and jessamine and the moss-rose and the like.” Then the Shaykh signed to her to sing somewhat upon the rest of the flowers, that Queen Al-Shahba might hear, and she said, “Hearing and obeying.” So she took the lute and played thereon in many modes, then returned to the first and sang these couplets,
“I’m one of the lover-retinue
Whom long pine and patience have doomPd rue:
And sufferance of parting from kin and friends
Hath clothed me, O folk, in this yellow hue:
Then, after the joyance had passed away,
Heart-break, abasement and cark I knew,
Through the long, long day when the lift is light,
Nor, when night is murk, my pangs cease pursue:
So, ’twixt fairest hope and unfailing fear,
My bitter tears ever flow anew.”
Thereat Queen Al-Shahba rejoiced with joy exceeding and cried, “Brava, O queen of delight! No one is able to describe thee. Sing to us on the Apple.” Quoth Tohfah, “Hearkening and obedience.” Then she recited these couplets,
“I surpass all forms in my coquetry
For mine inner worth and mine outer blee;
Tend me noble hands in the sight of all
And slake with pure waters the thirst of me;
My robe is of sendal, and eke my veil
Is of sunlight the Ruthful hath bidden be:
When my fair companions are marched afar,
In sorrow fro’ home they are forced to flee:
But noble hands deign hearten my heart
With beds where I sit in my high degree; 230
And where, like full moon at its rise, my light
‘mid the garden-fruits thou shalt ever see.”
Queen Al-Shahba rejoiced in this with exceeding joy and cried “Brava! By Allah, there is none excelleth thee.” Tohfah kissed the ground, then returned to her place and versified on the Tuberose, saying,
“I’m a marvel-bloom to be worn on head!
Though a stranger among you fro’ home I fled:
Make use of wine in my company
And flout at Time who in languish sped.
E’en so cloth camphor my hue attest,
O my lords, as I stand in my present stead.
So gar me your gladness when dawneth day,
And to highmost seat in your homes be I led:
And quaff your cups in all jollity,
And cheer and ease shall ne’er cease to be.”
At this Queen Al-Shahba rejoiced with exceeding joy and cried, “Brava, O queen of delight! By Allah, I know not how I shall do to give thee thy due! May the Most High grant us the grace of thy long continuance!” Then she strained her to her breast and bussed her on the cheek; whereupon quoth Iblis (on whom be a curse!), “This is a mighty great honour!” Quoth the queen, “Know that this lady Tohfah is my sister and that her biddance is my biddance and her forbiddance my forbiddance. So all of you hearken to her word and render her worshipful obedience.” Therewith the kings rose in a body and kissed ground before Tohfah, who rejoiced in this. Moreover, Queen Al-Shahba doffed dress and habited her in a suit adorned with pearls, jewels and jacinths, worth an hundred thousand ducats, and wrote for her on a slip of paper231 a patent appointing her to be her deputy. So the Songstress rose and kissed ground before the Queen, who said to her, “Of thy favour, sing to us somewhat concerning the rest of the sweet-scented flowers and herbs, so I may hear thy chant and solace myself with witnessing thy skill.” She replied, “To hear is to obey, O lady mine,” and, taking the lute, improvised these couplets,
“My hue excelleth all hues in light,
And I would all eyes should enjoy my sight:
My site is the site of fillets and pearls
Where the fairest brows are with jasmine dight:
My light’s uprist (and what light it shows!)
Is a silvern zone on the waist of Night.”
Then she changed the measure and improvised these couplets,
“I’m the gem of herbs, and in seasons twain
My tryst I keep with my lovers-train:
I stint not union for length of time
Nor visits, though some be of severance fain;
The true one am I and my troth I keep,
And, easy of plucking, no hand disdain.”
Then, changing measure and the mode, she played so that she bewildered the wits of those who were present, and Queen Al-Shahba, moved to mirth and merriment, cried, “Brava, O queen of delight!” Presently she returned to the first mode and improved these couplets on Nenuphar,
“I fear me lest freke espy me,
In air when I fain deny me;
So I root me beneath the wave,
And my stalks to bow down apply me.”
Hereat Queen Al-Shahba rejoiced with exceeding joy, and cried, “Brava, O Tohfah! Let me hear more of thy chant.” Accordingly, she smote the lute and changing the mode, recited on the Moss-rose these couplets,
“Look on Nasrín232 those branchy shoots surround;
With greenest leafery ’tis deckt and crowned:
Its graceful bending stem draws every gaze
While beauteous bearing makes their love abound.”
Then she changed measure and mode and sang these couplets on the Water-lily,
“O thou who askest Súsan233 of her scent,
Hear thou my words and beauty of my lay.
‘Emir am I whom all mankind desire’
(Quoth she) ‘or present or whenta’en away.’”
When Tohfah had made an end of her song, Queen Al-Shahba rose and said, “I never heard from any the like of this;” and she drew the Songstress to her and fell to kissing her. Then she took leave of her and flew away; and on like wise all the birds took flight with her, so that they walled the horizon; whilst the rest of the kings tarried behind. Now as soon as it was the fourth night, there came the boy who was to be circumcised, adorned with jewels such as never saw eye nor heard ear of, and amongst the rest a crown of gold crusted with pearls and gems, the worth whereof was an hundred thousand sequins. He sat down upon the couch and Tohfah sang to him, till the chirurgeon234 came and they snipped his foreskin in the presence of all the kings, who showered on him a mighty great store of jewels and jacinths and gold. Queen Kamariyah bade her Eunuchs gather up all this and lay it in Tohfah’s closet and it was as much in value as all that had fallen to her, from the first of the festivities to the last thereof. Moreover, the Shaykh Iblis (whom Allah curse!) bestowed upon the Songstress the crown worn by the boy and gave the circumcisee another, whereat Tohfah’s reason took flight. Then the Jinn departed, in order of rank, whilst Iblis farewelled them, band after band. Seeing the Shaykh thus occupied with taking leave of the kings, Maymun seized his opportunity, the place being empty, and taking up Tohfah on his shoulders, soared aloft with her to the confines of the lift, and flew away with her. Presently, Iblis came to look for the Songstress and see what she purposed, but found her not and sighted the slave-girls slapping their faces: so he said to them, “Fie on you! What may be the matter?” They replied, “O our lord, Maymun hath snatched up Tohfah and flown away with her.” When Iblis heard this, he gave a cry whereto earth trembled and said, “What is to be done?” Then he buffetted his face and head, exclaiming, “Woe to you! This be none other than exceeding insolence. Shall he carry off Tohfah from my very palace and attaint mine honour? Doubtless, this Maymun hath lost his wits.” Then he cried out a second time, so that the earth quaked, and rose on his wings high in air. The news came to the rest of the kings; so they flew after him and overtaking him, found him full of anxiety and affright, with fire issuing from his nostrils, and said to him, “O Shaykh al-Tawaif,235 what is to do?” He replied, “Know ye that Maymun hath carried oh from my palace and attainted mine honour.” When they heard this, they cried, “There is no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah the Glorious, the Great. By God he hath ventured upon a grave matter and verily he destroyeth self and folk!” Then Shaykh Iblis ceased not flying till he fell in with the tribes of the Jann, and they gathered together a world of people, none may tell the tale of them save the Lord of All-might. So they came to the Fortress of Copper and the Citadel of Lead,236 and the people of the sconces saw the tribes of the Jann issuing from every deep mountain-pass237 and said, “What be the news?” Then Iblis went in to King Al-Shisban and acquainted him with that which had befallen; whereupon quoth he, “Verily, Allah hath destroyed Maymun and his many! He pretendeth to possess Tohfah, and she is become queen of the Jann! But have patience till we devise that which befitteth in the matter of Tohfah.” Iblis asked, “And what befitteth it to do?” And Al-Shisban answered, “We will fall upon him and kill him and his host with cut of brand.” Then quoth Shaykh Iblis, “’Twere better to acquaint Queen Kamariyah and Queen Zal-zalah and Queen Shararah and Queen Wakhimah; and when they are assembled, Allah shall ordain whatso He deemeth good in the matter of her release.” Quoth Al-Shisban, “Right is thy rede” and thy despatched to Queen Kamariyah an Ifrit hight Salhab who came to her palace and found her sleeping, so he roused her and she said, “What is to do, O Salhab?” Cried he, “O my lady, come to the succour of thy sister the Songstress, for Maymun hath carried her off and attainted thine honour and that of Shaykh Iblis.” Quoth she, “What sayst thou?” and she sat up straight and cried out with a great cry. And indeed she feared for Tohfah and said, “By Allah, in very sooth she used to say that he gazed at her and prolonged the gaze; but ill is that whereto his soul hath prompted him.” Then she rose in haste and mounting a Sataness of her Satans, said to her, “Fly.” So she flew off with her and alighted in the palace of her sister Shararah, whereupon she sent for her sisters Zalzalah and Wakhimah and acquainted them with the tidings, saying, “Know that Maymun hath snatched up Tohfah and flown off with her swiftlier than the blinding leven.” Then they all flew off in haste and lighting down in the place where were their father Al-Shisban and their grandfather the Shaykh Abu al-Tawáif, found the folk on the sorriest of situations. When their grandfather Iblis saw them, he rose to them and wept, and they all wept for the Songstress. Then said Iblis to them, “Yonder hound hath attainted mine honour and taken Tohfah, and I think not other wise238 but that she is like to die of distress for herself and her lord Al-Rashid and saying, ‘The whole that they said and did was false.’”239 Quoth Kamariyah, “O grandfather mine, nothing is left for it but stratagem and device for her deliverance, for that she is dearer to me than everything; and know that yonder accursed when he waxeth ware of your coming upon him, will ken that he hath no power to cope with you, he who is the least and meanest of the Jann; but we dread that he, when assured of defeat, will slay Tohfah; wherefore nothing will serve but that we contrive a sleight for saving her; else will she perish.” He asked, “And what hast thou in mind of device?” and she answered, “Let us take him with fair means, and if he obey, all will be well;240 else will we practice stratagem against him; and expect not her deliverance from other than myself.” Quoth Iblis, “The affair is thine; contrive what thou wilt, for that Tohfah is thy sister and thy solicitude for her is more effectual than that of any other.” So Kamariyah cried out to an Ifrit of the Ifrits and a calamity of the calamities,241 by name Al-Asad al-Tayyár, the Flying Lion and said to him, “Hie with my message to the Crescent Mountain,242 the wone of Maymun the Sworder, and enter and say to him, My lady saluteth thee with the salam and asketh thee, ‘How canst thou be assured for thyself of safety, after what thou hast done, O Maymun? Couldst thou find none to maltreat in thy drunken humour save Tohfah, she too being a queen? But thou art excused, because thou didst not this deed, but ’twas thy drink, and the Shaykh Abu al-Tawáif pardoneth thee, because thou wast drunken. Indeed, thou hast attainted his honour; but now restore her to her palace, for that she hath done well and favoured us and rendered us service, and thou wottest that she is this day our queen. Belike she may bespeak Queen Al-Shahba, whereupon the matter will become grievous and that wherein there is no good shall betide thee; and thou wilt get no title of gain. Verily, I give thee good counsel, and so the Peace!’” Al-Asad answered “Hearing and obeying,” and flew till he came to the Crescent Mountain, when he sought audience of Maymun, who bade admit him. So he entered and kissing ground before him, gave him Queen Kamariyah’s message, which when he heard, he cried to the Ifrit, “Return whence thou comest and say to thy mistress, ‘Be silent and thou wilt show thy good sense.’ Else will I come and seize upon her and make her serve Tohfah; and if the kings of the Jinn assemble together against me and I be overcome by them, I will not leave her to scent the wind of this world and she shall be neither mine nor theirs, for that she is presently my sprite 243 from between my ribs; and how shall any part with his sprite?” When the Ifrit heard Maymun’s words, he said to him, “By Allah, O Maymun, art thou a changeling in thy wits, that thou speakest these words of my lady, and thou one of her page-boys?” Whereupon Maymun cried out and said to him, “Woe to thee, O dog of the Jinns! Wilt thou bespeak the like of me with these words?” Then he bade those who were about him bastinado Al-Asad, but he took flight and soaring high in air, betook himself to his mistress and told her the tidings: when she said, “Thou hast done well, O good knight!” Then she turned to her sire and said to him, “Hear that which I shall say to thee.” Quoth he, “Say on;” and quoth she, “I rede thee take thy troops and go to him, for when he heareth this, he will in turn levy his many and come forth to thee; whereupon do thou offer him battle and prolong the fight with him and make a show to him of weakness and giving way. Meantime, I will devise me a device for getting at Tohfah and delivering her, what while he is busied with you in battle; and when my messenger cometh to thee and informeth thee that I have gotten possession of Tohfah and that she is with me, return thou upon Maymun forthwith and overthrow him and his hosts, and take him prisoner. But, an my device succeed not with him and we fail to deliver Tohfah, he will assuredly practice to slay her, without recourse, and regret for her will remain in our hearts.” Quoth Iblis, “This is the right rede” and bade call a march among the troops, whereupon an hundred thousand knights, doughty wights of war, joined themselves to him and set out for the country of Maymun. As for Queen Kamariyah, she flew off to the palace of her sister Wakhimah, and told her what deed Maymun had done and how he declared that, whenas he saw defeat nearhand, he would slay Tohfah; adding, “And indeed, he is resolved upon this; otherwise had he not dared to work such sleight. So do thou contrive the affair as thou see fit, for in rede thou hast no superior.” Then they sent for Queen Zalzalah and Queen Shararah and sat down to take counsel, one with other, concerning what they had best do in the matter. Presently said Wakhimah, “ ’Twere advisable we fit out a ship in this our island home and embark therein, disguised as Adam’s sons, and fare on till we come to anchor under a little island that lieth over against Maymun’s palace. There will we sit drinking and smiting the lute and singing; for Tohfah will assuredly be seated there overlooking the sea, and needs must she see us and come down to us, whereupon we will take her by force and she will be under our hands, so that none shall be able to molest her any more. Or, an Maymun be gone forth to do battle with the Jinns, we will storm his stronghold and take Tohfah and raze his palace and slay all therein. When he hears of this, his heart will be broken and we will send to let our father know, whereat he will return upon him with his troops and he will be destroyed and we shall have rest of him.” They answered her, saying, “This is a good counsel.” Then they bade fit out a ship from behind the mountain,244 and it was fitted out in less than the twinkling of an eye; so they launched it on the sea and embarking therein, together with four thousand Ifrits, set out, intending for Maymun’s palace. They also bade other five thousand Ifrits betake themselves to the island under the Crescent Mountain and there lie in wait for them ambushed well. Thus fared it with the kings of the Jann; but as regards Shaykh Abu al-Tawáif Iblis and his son Al-Shisban the twain set out, as we have said, with their troops, who were of the doughtiest of the Jinn and the prowest of them in wing-flying and horse-manship, and fared on till they drew near the Crescent Mountain. When the news of their approach reached Maymun, he cried out with a mighty great cry to the troops, who were twenty thousand riders, and bade them make ready for departure. Then he went in to Tohfah and kissing her, said, “Know that thou art this day my life of the world, and indeed the Jinns are gathered together to wage war on me for thy sake. An I win the day from them and am preserved alive, I will set all the kings of the Jann under thy feet and thou shalt become queen of the world.” But she shook her head and shed tears; and he said, “Weep not, for I swear by the virtue of the mighty inscription borne on the seal-ring of Solomon, thou shalt never again see the land of men; no, never! Say me, can any one part with his life? Give ear, then, to my words; else will I slay thee.” So she was silent. And forthright he sent for his daughter, whose name was Jamrah,245 and when she came, he said to her, “Harkye, Jamrah! Know that I am going to fight the clans of Al-Shisban and Queen Kamariyah and the Kings of the Jann. An I be vouch-safed the victory over them, to Allah be the laud and thou shalt have of me largesse;246 but, an thou see or hear that I am worsted and any come to thee with ill news of me, hasten to kill Tohfah, so she may fall neither to me nor to them.” Then he farewelled her and mounted, saying, “When this cometh about, pass over to the Crescent Mountain and take up thine abode there, and await what shall befal me and what I shall say to thee.” And Jamrah answered “Hearkening and obedience.” Now when the Songstress heard these words, she fell to weeping and wailing and said, “By Allah, naught irketh me but severance from my lord Al-Rashid; however, when I am dead, let the world be ruined after me!”247 And she was certified in herself that she was assuredly lost. Then Maymun set forth with his army and departed in quest of the hosts of the Jinn, leaving none in the palace save his daughter Jamrah and Tohfah and an Ifrit which was dear to him. They fared on till they met with the army of Al-Shisban; and when the two hosts came face to face, they fell each upon other and fought a fight, a passing sore than which naught could be more. After a while, Al-Shisban’s troops began to give way, and when Maymun saw them do thus, he despised them and made sure of victory over them. On this wise it befel them; but as regards Queen Kamariyah and her company they sailed on without ceasing, till they came under the palace wherein was Tohfah, to wit, that of Maymun the Sworder; and by the decree of the Lord of destiny, the Songstress herself was at that very time sitting on the belvedere of the palace, pondering the affair of Harun al-Rashid and her own and that which had befallen her and weeping for that she was doomed to death. She saw the vessel and what was therein of those we have named, and they in mortal guise, and said, “Alas, my sorrow for this ship and for the men that be therein!” As for Kamariyah and her many, when they drew near the palace, they strained their eyes and seeing the Songstress sitting, cried, “Yonder sitteth Tohfah. May Allah not bereave us of her!” Then they moored their craft and, making for the island which lay over against the palace, spread carpets and sat eating and drinking; whereupon quoth Tohfah, “Well come and welcome to yonder faces! These be my kinswomen and I conjure thee by Allah, O Jamrah, that thou let me down to them, so I may sit with them awhile and enjoy kindly converse with them and return.” Quoth Jamrah, “I may on no wise do that;” and Tohfah wept. Then the folk brought out wine and drank, while Kamariyah took the lute and sang these couplets,
“By Allah, had I never hoped to greet you
Your guide had failed on camel to seat you!
Far bore you parting from friend would greet you
Till meseems mine eyes for your wone entreat you.”
When Tohfah heard this, she cried out so great a cry, that the folk heard her and Kamariyah said, “Relief is nearhand.” Then the Songstress looked out to them and called to them, saying, “O daughters of mine uncle, I am a lonely maid, an exile from kin and country: so for the love of Allah Almighty, repeat that song!” Accordingly Kamariyah repeated it and Tohfah swooned away. When she came to herself, she said to Jamrah, “By the rights of the Apostle of Allah (whom may He save and assain!) unless thou suffer me go down to them and look on them and sit with them for a full hour, I will hurl myself headlong from this palace, for that I am aweary of my life and know that I am slain to all certainty; wherefore will I kill myself, ere you pass sentence upon me.” And she was instant with her in asking. When Jamrah heard her words, she knew that, an she let her not down, she would assuredly destroy herself. So she said to her, “O Tohfah, between thee and them are a thousand cubits, but I will bring the women up to thee.” The Songstress replied, “Nay, there is no help but that I go down to them and solace me in the island and look upon the sea anear; then will we return, I and thou; for that, an thou bring them up to us, they will be affrighted and there will betide them neither joy nor gladness. As for me, I wish but to be with them, that they may cheer me with their company neither give over their merrymaking, so peradventure I may broaden my breast with them, and indeed I swear that needs must I go down to them; else I will cast myself upon them.” And she cajoled Jamrah and kissed her hands, till she said, “Arise and I will set thee down beside them.” Then she took Tohfah under her armpit and flying up swiftlier than the blinding leven, set her down with Kamariyah and her company; whereupon she went up to them and accosted them, saying, “Fear ye not: no harm shall befal you; for I am a mortal, like unto you, and I would fain look on you and talk with you and hear your singing.” So they welcomed her and kept their places whilst Jamrah sat down beside them and fell a-snuffing their odours and saying, “I smell the scent of the Jinn!248 Would I wot whence it cometh!” Then said Wakhimah to her sister Kamariyah, “Yonder foul slut smelleth us and presently she will take to flight; so what be this inaction concerning her?”249 Thereupon Kamariyah put out an arm long as a camel’s neck, and dealt Jamrah a buffet on the head, that made it fly from her body and cast it into the sea. Then cried she, “Allah is All-great!”250 And they uncovered their faces, whereupon Tohfah knew them and said to them, “Protection!” Queen Kamariyah embraced her, as also did Queen Zalzalah and Queen Wakhimah and Queen Shararah, and the first-named said to her, “Receive the good tidings of assured safety, for there abideth no harm for thee; but this is no time for talk.” Then they cried out, whereupon up came the Ifrits ambushed in that island, hending swords and maces in hand, and taking up Tohfah, flew her to the palace and made themselves masters of it, whilst the Ifrit aforesaid, who was dear to Maymun and whose name was Dukhán,251 fled like an arrow and stinted not flying till he came to Maymun and found him fighting a sore fight with the Jinn. When his lord saw him, he cried out at him, saying, “Fie upon thee! Whom hast thou left in the palace?” Dukhan answered, saying, “And who abideth in the palace? Thy beloved Tohfah they have captured and Jamrah is slain and they have taken the palace, all of it.” At these ill tidings Maymun buffeted his face and head and said, “Oh! Out on it for a calamity!” Then he cried aloud. Now Kamariyah had sent to her sire and reported to him the news, whereat the raven of the wold252 croaked for the foe. So, when Maymun saw that which had betided him (and indeed the Jinn smote upon him and the wings of eternal severance overspread his host), he planted the heel of his lance in the earth and turning its head to his heart, urged his charger thereat and pressed upon it with his breast, till the point came forth gleaming from his back. Meanwhile the messenger had made the friendly host with the news of Tohfah’s deliverance, whereat the Shaykh Abu al-Tawáif rejoiced and bestowed on the bringer of lief tidings a sumptuous robe of honour and made him commander over a company of the Jann. Then they charged home upon Maymun’s host and wiped them out to the last man; and when they came to Maymun, they found that he had slain himself and was even as we have said. Presently Kamariyah and her sister Wakhimah came up to their grandfather and told him what they had done; whereupon he came to Tohfah and saluted her with the salam and congratulated her on deliverance. Then he made over Maymun’s palace to Salhab; and, taking all the rebel’s wealth gave it to the Songstress, while the troops encamped upon the Crescent Mountain. Furthermore, the Shaykh Abu al-Tawáif said to Tohfah, “Blame me not,” and she kissed his hands, when behold, there appeared to them the tribes of the Jinn, as they were clouds, and Queen Al-Shahba flying in their van, drawn sword in grip. As she came in sight of the folk, they kissed ground between her hands and she said to them, “Tell me what hath betided Queen Tohfah from yonder dog Maymun and why did ye not send to me and report to me?” Quoth they, “And who was this dog that we should send to thee on his account? Indeed he was the least and lowest of the Jinn.” Then they told her what Kamariyah and her sisters had done and how they had practiced upon Maymun and delivered the Songstress from his hand, fearing lest he should slay her when he found himself defeated; and she said, “By Allah, the accursed was wont to lengthen his looking upon her!” And Tohfah fell to kissing Al-Shahba’s hand, whilst the queen strained her to her bosom and kissed her, saying, “Trouble is past; so rejoice in assurance of deliverance.” Then they rose and went up to the palace whereupon the trays of food were brought and they ate and drank; after which quoth Queen Al-Shahba, “O Tohfah, sing to us, by way of sweetmeat253 for thine escape, and favour us with that which shall solace our minds, for that indeed my thoughts have been occupied with thee.” And quoth Tohfah, “Hearkening and obedience, O my lady.” So she improvised and sang these couplets,
“Breeze of East254 an thou breathe o’er the dear ones’ land
Speed, I pray thee, my special salute and salam:
And say them I’m pledged to love them and
In pine that passeth all pine I am.”
Thereat Queen Al-Shahba rejoiced and with her all who were present; and they admired her speech and fell to kissing her; and when she had made an end of her song, Queen Kamariyah said to her, “O my sister, ere thou go to thy palace, I would fain bring thee to look upon Al-‘Anká,255 daughter of Bahram Júr, whom Al-‘Anka, daughter of the wind, carried off, and her beauty; for that there is not her fellow on earth’s face.” And Queen Al-Shahba said, “O Kamariyah, I also think it were well an I beheld her.” Quoth Kamirayah, “I saw her three years ago; but my sister Wakhimah seeth her at all times, for she is near to her people, and she saith that there is not in the world fairer than she. Indeed, this Queen Al-Anka is become a byword for beauty and comeliness.” And Wakhimah said, “By the mighty inscription on the seal-ring of Solomon, there is not her like for loveliness here below.” Then said Queen Al-Shahba, “An it needs must be and the affair is as ye say, I will take Tohfah and go with her to Al-Anka, so she may look upon her!” So they all arose and repaired to Al-Anka, who abode in the Mountain Kaf. When she saw them, she drew near to them and saluted them, saying, “O my ladies, may I not be bereaved of you!” Quoth Wakhimah to her, “Who is like unto thee, O Anka? Behold, Queen Al-Shahba is come to thee.” So Al-Anka kissed the Queen’s feet and lodged them in her palace; whereupon Tohfah came up to her and fell to kissing her and saying, “Never saw I seemlier than this semblance.” Then she set before them somewhat of food and they ate and washed their hands; after which the Songstress took the lute and smote it well; and Al-Anka also played, and they fell to improvising verses in turns, whilst Tohfah embraced Al-Anka every moment. Al-Shahba cried, “O my sister, each kiss is worth a thousand dinars;” and Tohfah replied, “And a thousand dinars were little therefor;” whereat Al-Anka laughed and after nighting in her pavilion on the morrow they took leave of her and went away to Maymun’s palace. Here Queen Al-Shahba farewelled them and taking her troops, returned to her capital, whilst the kings also went away to their abodes and the Shaykh Abu al-Tawáif applied himself to diverting Tohfah till nightfall, when he mounted her on the back of one of the Ifrits and bade other thirty gather together all that she had gotten of treasure and raiment, jewels and robes of honour. Then they flew off, whilst Iblis went with her, and in less than the twinkling of an eye he set her down in her sleeping room, where he and those who were with him bade adieu to her and went away. When Tohfah found herself in her own chamber256 and on her couch, her reason fled for joy and it seemed to her as if she had never stirred thence: then she took the lute and tuned it and touched it in wondrous fashion and improvised verses and sang. The Eunuch heard the smiting of the lute within the chamber and cried, “By Allah, that is the touch of my lady Tohfah!” So he arose and went, as he were a madman, falling down and rising up, till he came to the Castrato on guard at the gate of the Commander of the Faithful and found him sitting. When his fellow neutral saw him, and he like a madman, slipping down and stumbling up, he asked him, “What aileth thee and what bringeth thee hither at this hour?” The other answered, “Wilt thou not make haste and awaken the Prince of True Believers?” And he fell to crying out at him; whereupon the Caliph awoke and heard them bandying words together and Tohfah’s slave crying to the other, “Woe to thee! Awaken the Commander of the Faithful in haste.” So quoth he, “O Sawab, what hast thou to say?” and quoth the Chief Eunuch, “O our lord, the Eunuch of Tohfah’s lodging hath lost his wits and crieth, ‘Awaken the Commander of the Faithful in haste!’ “ Then said Al-Rashid to one of his slave-girls, “See what may be the matter.” Accordingly she hastened to admit the Castrato, who entered at her order; and when he saw the Commander of the Faithful, he salamed not neither kissed ground, but cried in his hurry, “Quick: up with thee! My lady Tohfah sitteth in her chamber, singing a goodly ditty. Come to her in haste and see all that I say to thee! Hasten! She sitteth awaiting thee.” The Caliph was amazed at his speech and asked him, “What sayst thou?” He answered, “Didst thou not hear the first of the speech? Tohfah sitteth in the sleeping-chamber, singing and lute-playing. Come thy quickest! Hasten!” Accordingly Al-Rashid sprang up and donned his dress; but he believed not the Eunuch’s words and said to him, “Fie upon thee! What is this thou sayst? Hast thou not seen this in a dream?” Quoth the Eunuch, “By Allah, I wot not what thou sayest, and I was not asleep;” and quoth Al-Rashid, “An thy speech be soothfast, it shall be for thy good luck, for I will free thee and give thee a thousand gold pieces; but, an it be untrue and thou have seen this in dream-land, I will crucify thee.” The Eunuch said within himself, “O Protector, let me not have seen this in vision!” then he left the Caliph and running to the chamber-door, heard the sound of singing and lute-playing; whereupon he returned to Al-Rashid and said to him, “Go and hearken and see who is asleep.” When the Prince of True Believers drew near the door of the sleeping-chamber, he heard the sound of the lute and Tohfah’s voice singing; whereat he could not restrain his reason and was like to faint for excess of delight. Then he pulled out the key but his hand refused to draw the bolt: however, after a while, he took heart and applying himself, opened the door and entered, saying, “Methinks this is none other than a vision or an imbroglio of dreams.” When Tohfah saw him, she rose and coming to meet him, pressed him to her breast; and he cried out a cry wherein his sprite was like to depart and fell down in a fit. She again strained him to her bosom and sprinkled on him rose-water mingled with musk, and washed his face, till he came to himself, as he were a drunken man, and shed tears for the stress of his joy in Tohfah’s return to him, after he had despaired of her returning. Then she took the lute and smote thereon, after the fashion she had learnt from Shaykh Iblis, so that Al-Rashid’s wit was bewildered for excess of joy and his understanding was confounded for exultation; after which she improvised and sang these couplets,
“That I left thee my heart to believe is unlief;
For the life that’s in it ne’er leaveth; brief,
An thou say ‘I went,’ saith my heart ‘What a fib!’
And I bide ’twixt believing and unbelief.”
When she had made an end of her verses, Al-Rashid said to her, “O Tohfah, thine absence was wondrous, yet is thy presence still more marvellous.” She replied, “By Allah, O my lord, thou sayst sooth;” then, taking his hand, she said to him, “O Commander of the Faithful, see what I have brought with me.” So he looked and spied treasures such as neither words could describe nor registers could document, pearls and jewels and jacinths and precious stones and unions and gorgeous robes of honour, adorned with margarites and jewels and purfled with red gold. There he beheld what he never had beheld all his life long, not even in idea; and she showed him that which Queen Al-Shahba had bestowed on her of those carpets, which she had brought with her, and that throne, the like whereof neither KisrB possessed nor CFsar, and those tables inlaid with pearls and jewels and those vessels which amazed all who looked on them, and that crown which was on the head of the circumcised boy, and those robes of honour, which Queen Al-Shahba and Shaykh Abu al-Tawáif had doffed and donned upon her, and the trays wherein were those treasures; brief, she showed him wealth whose like he had never in his life espied and which the tongue availeth not to describe and whereat all who looked thereon were bewildered, Al-Rashid was like to lose his wits for amazement at this spectacle and was confounded at that he sighted and witnessed. Then said he to Tohfah, “Come, tell me thy tale from beginning to end, and let me know all that hath betided thee, as if I had been present.” She answered, “Hearkening and obedience,” and acquainting him with all that had betided her first and last, from the time when she first saw the Shaykh Abu al-Tawáif, how he took her and descended with her through the side of the Chapel of Ease; and she told him of the horse she had ridden, till she came to the meadow aforesaid and described it to him, together with the palace and that was therein of furniture, and related to him how the Jinn rejoiced in her, and whatso she had seen of their kings, masculine and feminine, and of Queen Kamariyah and her sisters and Queen Shu’a’ah, Regent of the Fourth Sea, and Queen Al-Shahba, Queen of Queens, and King Al-Shisban, and that which each one of them had bestowed upon her. Moreover, she recited to him the story of Maymun the Sworder and described to him his fulsome favour, which he had not deigned to change, and related to him that which befel her from the kings of the Jinn, male and female, and the coming of the Queen of Queens, Al-Shahba, and how she had loved her and appointed her her vice-reine and how she was thus become ruler over all the kings of the Jann; and she showed him the writ of investiture which Queen Al-Shahba had written her and told him what had betided her with the Ghulish Head, when it appeared to her in the garden, and how she had despatched it to her palace, beseeching it to bring her news of the Commander of the Faithful and of what had betided him after her. Then she described to him the flower-gardens, wherein she had taken her pleasure, and the Hammam-baths inlaid with pearls and jewels and told him that which had befallen Maymun the Sworder, when he bore her off, and how he had slain himself; in fine, she related to him everything she had seen of wonders and marvels and that which she had beheld of all kinds and colours among the Jinn. Then she told him the story of Al-Anka, daughter of Bahram Jur, with Al-Anka, daughter of the wind, and described to him her dwelling-place and her island, whereupon quoth Al-Rashid, “O Tohfat al-Sadr,257 tell me of Al-Anka, daughter of Bahram Jur; is she of the Jinn-kind or of mankind or of the bird-kind? For this long time have I desired to find one who should tell me of her.” Tohfah replied, “’Tis well, O Commander of the Faithful. I asked the queen of this and she acquainted me with her case and told me who built her the palace.” Quoth Al-Rashid, “Allah upon thee, tell it me;” and quoth Tohfah, “I will well,” and proceeded to tell him. And he was amazed at that which he heard from her and what she reported to him and at that which she had brought back of jewels and jacinths of various hues and precious stones of many sorts, such as amazed the beholder and confounded thought and mind. As for this, Tohfah was the means of the enrichment of the Barmecides and the Abbasides, and they had endurance in their delight. Then the Caliph went forth and bade decorate the city: so they decorated it and the drums of glad tidings were beaten; and they made banquets to the people for whom the tables were spread seven days. And Tohfah and the Commander of the Faithful ceased not to enjoy the most delightsome of life and the most prosperous till there came to them the Destroyer of delights and the Severer of societies; and this is all that hath come down to us of their story.
131 Bresl. Edit. vol xi. pp. 400-473 and vol. xii. pp. 4-50, Nights dccccxli.-dcccclvii. For Kashghar, see vol. i. 255.
132 Mr. Payne proposes to translate “‘Anbar” by amber, the semi-fossilised resin much used in modern days, especially in Turkey and Somaliland, for bead necklaces. But, as he says, the second line distinctly alludes to the perfume which is sewn in leather and hung about the neck, after the fashion of our ancient pomanders (pomme d’ ambre).
133 i.e. The Caliph: see vol. i. p. 50.
134 Arab. “Adab:” see vol. i. 132, etc. In Moslem dialects which borrow more or less from Arabic, “Bí-adabí"— without being Adab, means rudeness, disrespect, “impertinence” (in its modern sense).
135 i.e. Isaac of Mosul, the greatest of Arab musicians: see vol. iv. 119.
136 The elder brother of Ja’afar, by no means so genial or fitted for a royal frolic. See Terminal Essay.
137 Ibn Habíb, a friend of Isaac, and a learned grammarian who lectured at Basrah.
138 A suburb of Baghdad, mentioned by Al Mas’údi.
139 Containing the rooms in which the girl or girls were sold. See Pilgrimage i. 87.
140 Dozy quotes this passage but cannot explain the word Fawwák.
141 “A passage has apparently dropped out here. The Khalif seems to have gone away without buying, leaving Ishak behind, whereupon the latter was accosted by another slave-girl, who came out of a cell in the corridor.” So says Mr. Payne. vol. ii. 207. The “raiser of the veil” means a fitting purchaser.
142 i.e. “Choice gift of the Fools,” a skit upon the girl’s name “Tohfat al-Kulúb”=Choice gift of the Hearts. Her folly consisted in refusing to be sold at a high price, and this is often seen in real life. It is a Pundonor amongst good Moslems not to buy a girl and not to sleep with her, even when bought, against her will.
143 “Every one cannot go to Corinth.” The question makes the assertion emphatic.
144 i.e. The Narrows of the (Dervishes’) convent.
145 Arab. “AkwB min dahni ‘l-lanz.” These unguents have been used in the East from time immemorial whilst the last generation in England knew nothing of anointing with oil for incipient consumption. A late friend of mine, Dr. Stocks of the Bombay Establishment, and I proposed it as long back as 1845; but in those days it was a far cry from Sind to London.
146 The sequel will explain why she acted in this way.
147 i.e. Thou hast made my gold piece (10 shill.) worth only a doit by thy superiority in the art and mystery of music.
148 Arab. “Uaddíki,” Taadiyah (iid. of Adá, he assisted) means sending, forwarding. In Egypt and Syria we often find the form “Waddi” for Addi, imperative.
149 Again “he” for “she”.
150 i.e. Honey and wine.
151 i.e. he died.
152 i.e. if my hand had lost its cunning.
153 Arab. “Thiyáb ‘Amúdiyah”: ‘Amud=tent prop or column, and Khatt ‘Amúd=a perpendicular line.
154 i.e. a choice gift. The Caliph speaks half ironically. “Where’s this wonderful present etc?” So further on when he compares her with the morning.
155 Again the usual pun upon the name.
156 Throughout the East this is the action of a servant or a slave, practised by freemen only when in danger of life or extreme need an i therefore humiliating.
157 It had been thrown down from the Mamrak or small dome built over such pavilions for the purpose of light by day and ventilation by night. See vol. i. 257, where it is called by the Persian term “Badhánj.”
158 The Nights have more than once applied this patronymic to Zubaydah. See vol. viii. 56, 158.
159 Arab. “Mutahaddisín”=novi homines, upstarts.
160 i.e.. thine auspicious visits.
161 He being seated on the carpet at the time.
162 A quotation from Al-Farazdat who had quarrelled with his wife Al-Howár (see the tale in Ibn Khallikan, i. 521), hence “the naked intercessor” became proverbial for one who cannot be withstood.
163 i.e. Choice Gift of the Breasts, that is of hearts, the continens for the contentum.
164 Pron. “Abuttawáif,” the Father of the (Jinn-)tribes. It is one of the Moslem Satan’s manifold names, alluding to the number of his servants and worshippers, so far agreeing with that amiable Christian doctrine, “Few shall be saved.”
165 Mr. Payne supplies this last clause from the sequence.
166 i.e. “Let us go,” with a euphemistic formula to defend her from evil influences. Iblis uses the same word to prevent her being frightened.
167 Arab. “Al-Mustaráh,” a favourite haunting place of the Jinn, like the Hammám and other offices for human impurity. For its six names Al-Khalá, Al-Hushsh, Al-Mutawazzá, Al-Kaníf, Al-Mustaráh, and Mirház, see Al-Mas’udi, chap. cxxvii., and Shiríshi’s commentary to Hariri’s 47, Assembly.
168 Which, in the East, is high and prominent whilst the cantle forms a back to the seat and the rider sits as in a baby’s chair. The object is a firm seat when fighting: “across country” it is exceedingly dangerous.
169 In Swedenborg’s “Arcane CÉlestia” we read, “When man’s inner sight is opened which is that of kits spirit; then there appear the things of another life which cannot be made visible to the bodily sight.” Also “Evil spirits, when seen by eyes other than those of their infernal associates, present themselves by correspondence in the beast (fera) which represents their particular lust and life, in aspect direful and atrocious.” These are the Jinns of Northern Europe.
170 This exchange of salams was a sign of her being in safety.
171 Arab. “Shawáhid,” meaning that heart testifies to heart.
172 i.e. A live coal, afterwards called Zalzalah, an earthquake; see post p. 76. “Wakhímah”=an unhealthy land, and “Sharárah”=a spark.
173 I need hardly note the inscriptions upon the metal trays sold to Europeans. They are usually imitation words so that infidel eyes may not look upon the formulF of prayer; and the same is the case with table-cloths, etc., showing a fancy Tohgra or Sultanic sign-manual.
174 i.e.. I cannot look at them long.
175 Evidently a diabolical way of clapping his hands in applause. This description of the Foul Fiend has an element of grotesqueness which is rather Christian than Moslem.
176 Arab. “Rikkí al-Saut,” which may also mean either “lower thy voice,” or “change the air to one less touching.”
177 “Your” for “thy.”
178 i.e. written on the “Guarded Tablet” from all eternity.
179 Arab. “Al-‘Urs wa’al Tubúr” which can only mean, ‘the wedding (which does not drop out of the tale) and the circumcision.”
180 I here propose to consider at some length this curious custom which has prevailed amongst so many widely separated races. Its object has been noted (vol. v. 209), viz. to diminish the sensibility of the glans, no longer lubricated with prostatic lymph; thus the part is hardened against injury and disease and its work in coition is prolonged. On the other hand, “prFputium in coitu voluptatem (of the woman) auget, unde femina prFputiatis concubitum malunt quam cum Turcis ac JudFis “ says Dimerbroeck (Anatomic). I vehemently doubt the fact. Circumcision was doubtless practised from ages immemorial by the peoples of Central Africa, and Welcker found traces of it in a mummy of the xvith century B.C. The Jews borrowed it from the Egyptian priesthood and made it a manner of sacrament, “uncircumcised” being=“unbaptised,” that is, barbarian, heretic; it was a seal of reconciliation, a sign of alliance between the Creator and the Chosen People, a token of nationality imposed upon the body politic. Thus it became a cruel and odious protestation against the brotherhood of man, and the cosmopolitan Romans derided the verpF ac verpi. The Jews also used the term figuratively as the “circumcision of fruits” (Lev. xix. 23), and of the heart (Deut. x. 16), and the old law gives copious historical details of its origin and continuance. Abraham first amputated his horny “calotte” at aet. 99, and did the same for his son and household (Gen. xvii. 24-27). The rite caused a separation between Moses and his wife (Exod. iv. 25). It was suspended during the Desert Wanderings and was resumed by Joshua (v. 3-7), who cut off two tons’ weight of prepuces. The latter became, like the scalps of the Scythians and the North-American “Indians” trophies of victory; Saul promised his daughter Michol to David for a dowry of one hundred, and the son-in-law brought double tale.
Amongst the early Christians opinions concerning the rite differed. Although the Founder of Christianity was circumcised, St. Paul, who aimed at a cosmopolitan faith discouraged it in the physical phase. St. Augustine still sustained that the rite removed original sin despite the Fathers who preceded and followed him, Justus, Tertullian, Ambrose and others. But it gradually lapsed into desuetude and was preserved only in the outlying regions. Paulus Jovius and Munster found it practised in Abyssinia, but as a mark of nobility confined to the descendants of “Nicaules, queen of Sheba.” The Abyssinians still follow the Jews in performing the rite within eight days after the birth and baptise boys after forty and girls after eighty days. When a circumcised man became a Jew he was bled before three witnesses at the place where the prepuce had been cut off and this was called the “Blood of alliance.” Apostate Jews effaced the sing of circumcision: so in 1 Matt. i. 16, fecerunt sibi prFputia et recesserunt a Testamento Sancto. Thus making prepuces was called by the Hebrews Meshookim=recutitis, and there is an allusion to it in 1 Cor. vii. 18, 19, ì¬ ¥ðéóðÜóháé (Farrar, Paul ii. 70). St. Jerome and others deny the possibility; but Mirabeau (Akropodie) relates how Father Conning by liniments of oil, suspending weights, and wearing the virga in a box gained in 43 days 7¼ lines. The process is still practiced by Armenians and other Christians who, compelled to Islamise, wish to return to Christianity. I cannot however find a similar artifice applied to a circumcised clitoris. The simplest form of circumcision is mere amputation of the prepuce and I have noted (vol. v. 209) the difference between the Moslem and the Jewish rite, the latter according to some being supposed to heal in kindlier way. But the varieties of circumcision are immense. Probably none is more terrible than that practiced in the Province Al-Asír, the old Ophir, Iying south of Al-Hijáz, where it is called Salkh, lit.=scarification The patient, usually from ten to twelve years old, is placed upon raised ground holding in right hand a spear, whose heel rests upon his foot and whose point shows every tremour of the nerves. The tribe stands about him to pass judgment on his fortitude and the barber performs the operation with the Jumbiyah-dagger, sharp as a razor. First he makes a shallow cut, severing only the skin across the belly immediately below the navel, and similar incisions down each groin; then he tears off the epidermis from the cuts downwards and flays the testicles and the penis, ending with amputation of the foreskin. Meanwhile the spear must not tremble and in some clans the lad holds a dagger over the back of the stooping barber, crying, “Cut and fear not!” When the ordeal is over, he exclaims, “Allaho Akbar!” and attempts to walk towards the tents soon falling for pain and nervous exhaustion, but the more steps he takes the more applause he gains. He is dieted with camel’s milk, the wound is treated with salt and turmeric, and the chances in his favour are about ten to one. No body-pile or pecten ever grows upon the excoriated part which preserves through life a livid ashen hue. Whilst Mohammed Ali Pasha occupied the province he forbade “scarification” under pain of impalement, but it was resumed the moment he left Al-Asir. In Africa not only is circumcision indigenous, the operation varies more or less in the different tribes. In Dahome it is termed Addagwibi, and is performed between the twelfth and twentieth year. The rough operation is made peculiar by a double cut above and below; the prepuce being treated in the Moslem, not the Jewish fashion (loc. cit.). Heated sand is applied as a styptic and the patient is dieted with ginger-soup and warm drinks of ginger-water, pork being especially forbidden. The Fantis of the Gold Coast circumcise in sacred places, e.g., at Accra on a Fetish rock rising from the sea The peoples of Sennaar, Taka, Masawwah and the adjacent regions follow the Abyssinian custom. The barbarous Bissagos and Fellups of North Western Guinea make cuts on the prepuce without amputating it; while the Baquens and Papels circumcise like Moslems. The blacks of Loango are all “verpF,” otherwise they would be rejected by the women. The Bantu or Caffre tribes are circumcised between the ages of fifteen and eighteen, the “Fetish boys,” as we call them, are chalked white and wear only grass belts; they live outside the villages in special houses under an old “medicine-man,” who teaches them not only virile arts but also to rob and fight. The “man-making” may last five months and ends in fLtes and dances: the patients are washed in the river, they burn down their quarters, take new names, and become adults, donning a kind of straw thimble over the prepuce. In Madagascar three several cuts are made causing much suffering to the children, and the nearest male relative swallows the prepuce. The Polynesians circumcise when childhood ends and thus consecrate the fecundating organ to the Deity. In Tahiti the operation is performed by the priest, and in Tonga only the priest is exempt. The Maories on the other hand, fasten the prepuce over the glans, and the women of the Marquesas Islands have shown great cruelty to shipwrecked sailors who expose the glans. Almost all the known Australian tribes circumcise after some fashion: Bennett supposes the rite to have been borrowed from the Malays, while Gason enumerates the “Kurrawellie wonkauna among the five mutilations of puberty. Leichhardt found circumcision about the Gulf of Carpentaria and in the river-valleys of the Robinson and Macarthur: others observed it on the Southern Coast a nd among the savages of Perth, where it is noticed by Salvado. James Dawson tells us “Circumciduntur pueri,” etc., in Western Victoria. Brough Smyth, who supposes the object is to limit population (?), describes on the Western Coast and in Central Australia the “Corrobery”-dance and the operation performed with a quartz-flake. Teichelmann details the rite in Southern Australia where the assistants — all men, women, and children being driven away — form a “manner of human altar” upon which the youth is laid for circumcision. He then receives the normal two names, public and secret, and is initiated into the mysteries proper for men. The Australians also for Malthusian reasons produce an artificial hypospadias, while the Karens of New Guinea only split the prepuce longitudinally (Cosmos p. 369, Oct. 1876); the indigens of Port Lincoln on the West Coast split the virga:— Fenditur usque ad urethram a parse infera penis between the ages of twelve and fourteen, says E. J. Eyre in 1845. Missionary Schurmann declares that they open the urethra. Gason describes in the Dieyerie tribe the operation ‘Kulpi” which is performed when the beard is long enough for tying. The member is placed upon a slab of tree-bark, the urethra is incised with a quartz-flake mounted in a gum handle and a splinter of bark is inserted to keep the cut open. These men may appear naked before women who expect others to clothe themselves. Miklucho Maclay calls it “Mike” in Central Australia: he was told by a squatter that of three hundred men only three or four had the member intact in order to get children, and that in one tribe the female births greatly outnumbered the male. Those mutilated also marry: when making water they sit like women slightly raising the penis, this in coition becomes flat and broad and the semen does not enter the matrix. The explorer believes that the deed of kind is more quickly done (?). Circumcision was also known to the New World. Herrera relates that certain Mexicans cut off the ears and prepuce of the newly born child, causing many to die. The Jews did not adopt the female circumcision of Egypt described by Huet on Origen —“Circumcisio feminarum fit resectione ôò íõìnò (sive clitoridis) quF pars in Australium mulieribus ita crescit ut ferro est coërcenda.” Here we have the normal confusion between excision of the nymphF (usually for fibulation) and circumcision of the clitoris. Bruce notices this clitoridectomy among the Aybssinians. Werne describes the excision on the Upper White Nile and I have noted the complicated operation among the Somali tribes. Girls in Dahome are circumcised by ancient sages femmes, and a woman in the natural state would be derided by every one (See my Mission to Dahome, ii. 159) The Australians cut out the clitoris, and as I have noted elsewhere extirpate the ovary for Malthusian purposes (Journ Anthrop. Inst., vol. viii. of 1884).
181 Arab. “Kayrawán” which is still the common name for curlew, the peewit and plover being called (onomatopoetically) “Bibat” and in Marocco Yahúdi, certain impious Jews having been turned into the Vanellus Cristatus which still wears the black skullcap of the
182 Arab. “Sawáki,” the leats which irrigate the ground and are opened and closed with
183 The eighth (in altitude) of the many-storied Heavens.
184 Arab. “Ihramat li al-Salát,“i.e., she pronounced the formula of Intention (Niyat) with out which prayer is not valid, ending with Allaho Akbar — Allah is All-great. Thus she had clothed herself, as it were, in prayer and had retired from the world pro temp.
185 i.e.. the prayers of the last day and night which she had neglected while in company with the Jinns. The Hammam is not a pure place to pray in; but the Farz or Koranic orisons should be recited there if the legal term be hard upon its end.
186 Slaves, male as well as female, are as fond of talking over their sale as European dames enjoy looking back upon the details of courtship and marriage.
187 Arab. “Du’á,"=supplication, prayer, as opposed to ‘Salát”=divine worship, “prayers” For the technical meaning of the latter see vol. iv. 65. I have objected to Mr. Redhouse’s distinction without a difference between Moslem’s worship and prayer: voluntary prayers: are not prohibited to them and their praises of the Lord are mingled, as amongst all worshippers, with petitions.
188 Al-Muzfir=the Twister; Zafáir al-Jinn=Adiantum capillus veneris Lúlúah=The Pearl, or Wild Heifer; see vol. ix. 218.
189 Arab. “Bi jildi ‘l-baker.” I hope that captious critics will not find fault with my rendering, as they did in the case of Fals ahmar=a red cent, vol. i. 321.
190 Arab. “Farásah”=lit. knowing a horse. Arabia abounds in tales illustrating abnormal powers of observation. I have noted this in vol. viii. 326.
191 i.e. the owner of this palace.
192 She made the Ghusl not because she had slept with a man, but because the impurity of Satan’s presence called for the major ablution before prayer.
193 i.e. she conjoined the prayers of nightfall with those of dawn.
194 i.e.. Those of midday, mid-afternoon and sunset.
195 Arab. “Sahbá” red wine preferred for the morning draught.
196 The Apostle who delighted in women and perfumes. Persian poetry often alludes to the rose which, before white, was dyed red by his sweat.
197 For the etymology of Julnár — Byron’s “Gulnare”— see vol. vii. 268. Here the rhymer seems to refer to its origin; Gul (Arab. Jul) in Persian a rose; and Anár, a pomegranate, which in Arabic becomes Nár=fire.
198 i.e. “The brilliant,” the enlightened.
199 i.e.. the moral beauty.
200 A phenomenon well known to spiritualists and to “The House and the Haunter.” An old Dutch factory near Hungarian Fiume is famed for this mode of “obsession” the inmates hear the sound of footfalls, etc., behind them, especially upon the stairs; and see nothing.
201 The two short Koranic chapters, The Daybreak (cxiii.) and The Men (cxiv. and last) evidently so called from the words which occur in both (versets i., “I take refuge with”). These “Ma’úzatáni,” as they are called, are recited as talismans or preventives against evil, and are worn as amulets inscribed on parchment; they are also often used in the five canonical prayers. I have translated them in vol. iii. 222.
202 The artistes or fugleman at prayer who leads off the orisons of the congregation; and applied to the Caliph as the head of the faith. See vol. ii. 203 and iv. 111.
203 Arab. “ ‘Ummár” i.e. the Jinn, the “spiritual creatures” which walk this earth, and other non-humans who occupy it.
204 A parallel to this bodiless Head is the Giant Face, which appears to travellers (who expect it) in the Lower Valley of the Indus. See Sind Re-visited, ii. 155.
205 Arab. “Ghalílí"=my yearning.
206 Arab. “Ahbábu-ná” plur. for singular=my beloved.
207 i.e. her return.
208 Arab. “Arja’” lit. return! but here meaning to stop. It is much used by donkey-boys from Cairo to Fez in the sense of “Get out of the way.” Hence the Spanish arre! which gave rise to arriero=a carrier, a muleteer.
209 Arab. “Afras” lit.=a better horseman.
210 A somewhat crippled quotation from Koran lvi. 87-88, “As for him who is of those brought near unto Allah, there shall be for him easance and basil and a Garden of Delights (Na’ím).”
211 i.e. Queen Sunbeam.
212 See vol. i. 310 for this compound perfume which contains musk, ambergris and other essences.
213 I can hardly see the sequence of this or what the carpets have to do here.
214 Here, as before, some insertion has been found necessary.
215 Arab. “Dukhúlak” lit.=thy entering, entrance, becoming familiar.
216 Or “And in this there shall be to thee great honour over all the Jinn.”
217 Mr. Payne thus amends the text, “How loathly is yonder Genie Meimoun! There is no eating (in his presence);” referring back to p. 61.
218 i.e. “I cannot bear to see him!”
219 This assertion of dignity, which is permissible in royalty, has been absurdly affected by certain “dames” in Anglo-Egypt who are quite the reverse of queenly; and who degrade “dignity” to the vulgarest affectation.
220 i.e. “May thy visits never fail me!”
221 i.e. Ash-coloured, verging upon white.
222 i.e. “She will double thy store of presents.”
223 The Arab boy who, unlike the Jew, is circumcised long after infancy and often in his teens, thus making the ceremony conform after a fashion with our “Confirmation,” is displayed before being operated upon, to family and friends; and the seat is a couch covered with the richest tapestry. So far it resembles the bride-throne.
225 i.e. Hindu, Indian.
226 Japhet, son of Noah.
227 Mr. Payne translates “Take this and glorify thyself withal over the people of the world.” His reading certainly makes better sense, but I do not see how the text can carry the meaning. He also omits the bussing of the bosom, probably for artistic reasons.
228 A skit at Ishák, making the Devil praise him. See vol. vii. 113.
229 Arab. “Mawázi” (plur. of Mauza’)=lit. places, shifts, passages.
230 The bed (farsh), is I presume, the straw-spread (?) store-room where the apples are preserved.
231 Arab. “Farkh warak”, which sounds like an atrocious vulgarism.
232 The Moss-rose; also the eglantine, or dog-rose, and the sweet-briar, whose leaf, unlike other roses, is so odorous.
233 The lily in Heb., derived by some from its six (shash) leaves, and by others from its vivid cheerful brightness. “His lips are lilies” (Cant. v. 13), not in colour, but in odoriferous sweetness.
234 The barber is now the usual operator; but all operations began in Europe with the “barber-surgeon.”
235 Sic in text xii. 20. It may be a misprint for Abú al-Tawaif, but it can also mean “O Shaykh of the Tribes (of Jinns)!”
236 The capital of King Al-Shisban.
237 Arab “Fajj”, the Spanish “Vega” which, however, means a mountain-plain, a plain.
238 i.e. I am quite sure: emphatically.
239 i.e. all the Jinn’s professions of affection and promises of protection were mere lies.
240 In the original this apodosis is wanting: see vol. vi. 203, 239.
241 Arab. “Dáhiyat al-Dawáhí;” see vol. ii. 87.
242 Arab. “Al-Jabal al-Mukawwar”= Chaîne de montagnes de forme demi circulaire, from Kaur, a park, an enceinte.
243 Arab. “Rúhí” lit. my breath, the outward sign of life.
244 i.e. Káf.
245 i.e. A bit of burning charcoal.
246 Arab. “Al-yad al-bayzá,"=lit. The white hand: see vol. iv. 185.
247 Showing the antiquity of “AprPs moi le déluge,” the fame of all old politicians and aged statesmen who can expect but a few years of life. These “burning questions” (e.g. the Bulgarian) may be smothered for a time, but the result is that they blaze forth with increased violence. We have to thank Lord Palmerston (an Irish landlord) for ignoring the growth of Fenianism and another aged statesman for a sturdy attempt to disunite the United Kingdom. An old nation wants young blood at its head.
248 Suggesting the nursery rhyme:
Fee, fo, fum
I smell the blood of an Englishman.
249 i.e. why not at once make an end of her.
250 The well-known war-cry.
251 Lit. “Smoke” pop. applied, like our word, to tobacco. The latter, however, is not here meant.
252 Arab. “Ghuráb al-bayn,” of the wold or of parting. See vol. vii. 226.
253 Arab. “Haláwah”; see vol. iv. 60.
254 Here the vocative particle “Yá” is omitted.
255 Lit. “The long-necked (bird)” before noticed with the Rukh (Roc) in vol. v. 122. Here it becomes a Princess, daughter of Bahrám-i-Gúr (Bahram of the Onager, his favourite game), the famous Persian king in the fifth century, a contemporary of Theodosius the younger and Honorius. The “Anká” is evidently the Iranian Símurgh.
256 “Chamber” is becoming a dangerous word in English. Roars of laughter from the gods greeted the great actor’s declamation, “The bed has not been slept in! Her little chamber is empty!”
257 Choice Gift of the breast (or heart).
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