The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night

History of the Lovers of Syria17

It is stated that of olden times and by-gone there dwelt in the land of Syria two men which were brothers and whereof one was wealthy and the other was needy. Now the rich man had a love-some daughter and a lovely, whilst the poor man had a son who gave his heart to his cousin as soon as his age had reached his tenth year. But at that time his father the pauper died and he was left an orphan without aught of the goods of this world; the damsel his cousin, however, loved him with exceeding love and ever and anon would send him somewhat of dirhams and this continued until both of them attained their fourteenth years. Then the youth was minded to marry the daughter of his uncle, so he sent a party of friends to her home by way of urging his claim that the father might wed her to him, but the man them and they returned disappointed. However, when it was the second day a body of warm men and wealthy came to ask for the maid in marriage, and they conditioned the needful conditions and stood agreed upon the nuptials. Presently the tidings reached the damsel who took patience till the noon o’ night, when she arose and sought the son of her uncle, bringing with her the sum of two thousand dinars which she had taken of her father’s good and she knocked softly on at the door. Hereupon the youth started from sleep and went forth and found his cousin who was leading a she-mule and an ass, so the twain bestrode either beast and travelled through the remnant of the night until the morning morrowed. Then they alighted to drink and to hide themselves in fear of being seen until the second night fell when they mounted and rode for two successive days, at the end of which they entered a town seated on the shore of the sea. Here they found a ship equipped for voyage, so they repaired to the Ra’is and hired for themselves a sitting place; after which the cousin went forth to sell the ass and the she-mule, and disappeared for a short time. Meanwhile the ship had sailed with the daughter of his uncle and had left the youth upon the strand and ceased not sailing day after day for the space of ten days, and lastly made the port she purposed and there cast anchor.18 Thus it befel them; but as regards the youth, when he had sold the beasts he returned to the ship and found her not, and when he asked tidings thereof they told him that she had put to sea; and hearing this he was mazed as to his mind and sore amated as to his affair, nor wot he whither he should wend. So he turned him inland sore dismayed. Now when the vessel anchored in that port quoth the damsel to the captain, “O Ra’is,19 hie thee ashore and bring for us a portion of flesh and fresh bread,” and quoth he, “Hearkening and obedience,” whereupon he betook himself to the town. But as soon as he was far from the vessel she arose and donning male’s dress said to the sailors, “Do ye weigh anchor and set sail,” and she shouted at them with the shouting of seamen. Accordingly they did as she bade them and the wind being fair and the weather favourable, ere an hour had sped they passed beyond sight of land.20 Presently the captain returned bringing bread and meat but he found ne’er a ship, so he asked tidings of her and they answered, “Verily she is gone.” Hereupon he was perplext and he fell to striking hand upon hand and crying out, “O my good and the good of folk!” and he repented whenas repentance availed him naught. Accordingly, he returned to the town unknowing whither he should wend and walked about like one blind and deaf for the loss of his craft. But as regards the vessel, she ceased not sailing with those within till she cast anchor near a city wherein was a King; and no sooner was she made fast than the damsel fell to scattering money amongst the crew and saying to them, “Hearten your hearts and be no afraid on any wise!” In due time the news of a fresh arrival reached the Ruler, and he ordered his men to bring him tidings concerning that vessel, and when they went for her and boarded her they found that her captain was a damsel of virginal semblance exceeding in beauty and loveliness. So they returned and reported this to the King who despatched messengers bidding her lodge with him for they had heightened their praises of her and the excess of her comeliness, and he said in his mind, “By Allah, an she prove as they describe her, needs must I marry her.” But the damsel sent back saying, “I am a clean maid, not may I land alone but do thou send to me forty girls, virgins like myself, when I will disembark together with them."— And Sharazad was surprised by the dawn of day and fell silent and ceased to say her permitted say. Then quoth her sister Dunyazad, “How sweet is thy story, O sister mine, and how enjoyable and delectable!” Quoth she, “And where is this compared with that I would relate to you on the coming night an the King suffer me to survive?” Now when it was the next night and that was

17 W.M MS. iv. 189. Scott (vi. 246-258) “Story of the Lovers of Syria, or, the Heroine:” Gauttier (iv. 348-354) Histoire des Amans de Syrie.

18 Scott (vi. 246) comments upon the text:—“The master of the ship having weighed anchor, hoisted sail and departed: the lady in vain entreating him to wait the return of her beloved, or send her on shore, for he was captivated with her beauty. Finding herself thus ensnared, as she was a woman of strong mind . . . she assumed a satisfied air; and as the only way to preserve her honour, received the addresses of the treacherous master with pretended complacency, and consented to receive him as a husband at the first port at which the ship might touch.”

19 The captain, the skipper, not the owner: see vols. i. 127; vi. 12; the fem. (which we shall presently find) is “Ra’isah.”

20 Scott (p. 246) has:—“At length the vessel anchored near a city, to which the captain went to make preparations for his marriage; but the lady, while he was on shore, addressed the ship’s crew, setting forth with such force his treacherous conduct to herself, and offering such rewards if they would convey her to her lover at the port they had left, that the honest sailors were moved in her favour, agreed to obey her as their mistress, and hoisting sail, left the master to shift for himself.”

The Five Hundred and Third Night,

Dunyazad said to her, “Allah upon thee, O my sister, an thou be other than sleepy, finish for us thy tale that we may cut short the watching of this our latter night!” She replied, “With love and good will!” It hath reached me, O auspicious King, the director, the right-guiding, lord of the rede which is benefiting and of deeds fair-seeming and worthy celebrating, that the damsel demanded of the king forty clean maids and said, “We will land, I and they together,” whereto he replied, “The right is with her.” Hereupon he ordered all those about him, the Lords of his land and the Commons, that each and every who had in the house a virginal daughter, should bring her to him until the full tale of forty (the daughter of the Wazir being amongst them) was told and he sent them on board the ship where the damsel was about sitting down for supper. But as soon as the maidens came she met them in her finest attire, none of the number being more beauteous than herself, and she salam’d to them and invited them into the cuddy21 where she bade food be served to them and they ate and were cheered and solaced, after which they sat down to converse till it was the middle of the night. Now when sleep prevailed over the girls they retired to their several berths, and when they were drowned in slumber, the damsel arose softly and arousing the crew bade them leave their moorings and shake out their canvas; not did daylight dawn to them ere they had covered a far distance. As soon as the maidens awoke they saw themselves on board a ship amid the billows of the main, and as they asked the Captainess she answered, “Fear not for yourselves or for the voyage you are making;”22 and she gentled them and solaced them until whatso was in their hearts was allayed. However, touching the affair of the King, when morrowed the morn he sent to the ship with an order for the damsel to land with the forty virgins, but they found not the craft and they returned and reported the same to their lord, who cried, “By Allah, this be the discreetest of deed which none other save she could have done.” So he arose without stay or delay and taking with him the Wazir (both being in disguise), he went down to the shore and looked around but he could not find what had become of them. And as regards the vessel carrying the virgins, she ceased not sailing until she made port beside a ruined city wherein none was inhabitant, and here the crew cast anchor and furled their sails when behold, a gang of forty pirate23 men, ever ready to cut the highway and their friends to betray, boarded them, crying in high glee, “Let us slay all in her and carry off whatso we find.” When they appeared before the damsel they would have effected their intent; but she welcomed them and said, “Do ye return ashore: we be forty maids and ye forty men and to each of you shall befal one and I will belong to your Shaykh, for that I am the Captainess.” Now when they heard this they rejoiced with excessive joy and they said, “Walláhi, our night shall be a blessed one by virtue of your coming to us;” whereto she asked, “Have you with you aught of sheep?” They answered, “We have,” and quoth she, “Do ye slay of them somewhat for supper and fetch the meat that we may cook it for you.” So a troop of pirates went off and brought back ten lambs which they slaughtered and flayed and brittled. Then the damsel and those with her tucked up their sleeves ad hung up their chauldrons24 and cooked the meat after the delicatest fashion, and when it was thoroughly done and prepared, they spread the trays and the pirates came forward one and all, and ate and washed their hands and they were in high spirits each and every, saying, “This night I will take to me a girl.” Lastly she brought to them coffee which they drank, but hardly had it settled in their maws when the Forty Thieves fell to the ground, for she had mixed up with it flying Bhang25 and those who had drunk thereof became like unto dead men. Hereupon the damsel arose without loss of time and taking in her hand a sharp-grided sword fell to cutting off their heads and casting them into the sea until she came to the Shaykh of the Pirates and in his case she was satisfied with shaving his beard and tearing out his eye-teeth and bidding the crew to cast him ashore. They did as she commanded, after which she conveyed the property of all the caitiffs and having distributed the booty amongst the sailors, bade them weigh anchor and shake out their canvas. On this wide they left that ruined city until they had made the middle of the main and they fared for a number of days athwart the billowy deep nor could they hit upon their course amongst the courses of the sea until Destiny cast them beside a city. They made fast to the anchorage-ground, and the damsel arose and donning Mameluke’s dress and arraying the Forty Virgins in the same attire all walked together and paced about the shore and they were like garden blooms. When they entered the streets they found all the folk a-sorrowing, so they asked one of them and he answered, “The Sultan who over-reigneth this city is dead and the reign lacketh rule.” Now in that stead and under the hand of the Wazir, was a Bird which they let loose at certain times, and whenever he skimmed round and perched upon the head of any man to him they would give the Sultanate.26 By the decree of the Decreer they cast the fowl high in air at the very hour when the damsel was landing and he hovered above her and settled upon her head (she being in slave’s attire), and the city folk and the lords of the land cried out, “Strange! passing strange!” So they flushed the bird from the place where he had alighted and on the next day they freed hum again at a time when the damsel had left the ship, and once more he came and settled upon her head. They drove him away, crying, “Oh rare! oh rare!” but as often as they started him off her head he returned to it and alighted there again. “Marvellous!” cried the Wazir, “but Allah Almighty hath done this27 and none shall object to what He doeth nor shall any reject what He decreeth.” Accordingly, they gave her the Sultanate together with the signet-ring of governance and the turband of commandment and they seated her upon the throne of the reign. Hereupon she fell to ordering the Forty Virgins who were still habited as Mamelukes and they served the Sultan for a while of time till one day of the days when the Wazir came to the presence and said, “O King of the Age, I have a daughter, a model of beauty and loveliness, and I am desirous of wedding her with the Sovran because one such as thou should not remain in single blessedness."— And Sharazad was surprised by the dawn of day and fell silent and ceased to say her permitted say. Then quoth her sister Dunyazad, “How sweet is thy story, O sister mine, and how enjoyable and delectable!” Quoth she, “And where is this compared with that I would relate to you on the coming night an the King suffer me to survive?” Now when it was the next night and that was

21 In text “Kamrah,” = the chief cabin, from the Gr. {greek letters} = vault; Pers. Kamar; Lat. “Camara”; Germ. “Kammer.” It is still the popular term in Egypt for the “cuddy,” which is derived from Pers. “Kadah” = a room.

22 Scott makes the doughty damsel (p. 249), “relate to them her own adventures, and assure them that when she should have rejoined her lover, they should, if they choose it be honourably restored to their homes; but in the mean time she hoped they would contentedly share her fortunes.”

23 In text “Fidáwi,” see “Fidá‘i” and “Fidawíyah,” suppl. col. iv. 220.

24 [In the text “Al-Kázánat,” pl. of “Kázán,” which occurs in Spitta Bey’s tales under the form “Kazán” on account of the accent. It is the Turkish “Kazghán,” vulgarly pronounced “Kazan,” and takes in Persian generally the form “Kazkán.” In Night 652 it will be met again in the sense of crucibles. — ST.]

25 In text “Banj al-tayyár,” i.e. volatile: as we should say, that which flies fastest to the brain.

26 This marvellous bird, the “Ter-il-bas” (Tayr Táús?), is a particular kind of peacock which is introduced with a monstrous amount of nonsense about “Dagon and his son Bil-il-Sanan” and made to determine elections by alighting upon the head of one of the candidates in Chavis and Cazotte, “History of Yamalladdin (Jamál al-Din), Prince of Great Katay” (Khátá = Cathay = China). See Heron, iv. 159.

27 Lit. “hath given it to him.”

The Five Hundred and Fifth Night,

Dunyazad said to her, “Allah upon thee, O my sister, an thou be other than sleepy, finish for us thy tale that we may cut short the watching of this our latter night!” She replied, “With love and good will!” It hath reached me, O auspicious King, the director, the right-guiding, lord of the rede which is benefiting and of deeds fair-seeming and worthy celebrating, that quoth the Wazir to the Sultan, “I have a daughter, a model of beauty and loveliness and I am desirous of wedding her with the Sultan, because one such as thou should not remain in single blessedness.” “Do whatso thou wishest,” quoth the King, “and Allah prosper thy doing.” Hereupon the Wazir fell to preparing the marriage-portion28 of his daughter, and of forwarding her affair with the Sultan, until her wedding appointments29 and other matters were completed. After this he caused the marriage-tie be tied, and he brought her to the supposed Sultan where she lay for the first night, but the damsel having performed the Wuzú-ablution did naught but pray through the hours of darkness. When dawned the day, the Wazir’s wife which was the mother of the maiden cam to look upon her daughter and asked her of her case, and the bride answered, “All the livelong night hath he passed in orisons, nor came he near me even once.” Quoth the mother, “O my daughter, this be the first night, and assuredly he was ashamed, for he is young in years, and he knoweth not what to do; haply also his heart hangeth not upon thee; and he is but a raw lad.30 However, on the coming night ye shall both enjoy your desire.” But as soon as it was the evening of the next day the Sultan went in to his Harim and made the minor ablution, and abode in prayer through the night until the morrow morrowed, when again the mother came to see how matters stood, and she asked her daughter, who answered, “All the dark hours he hath passed in devotion, and he never approached me.” Now on the third night it happened after like fashion, so the mother said, “O my daughter, whenever thou shalt see thy husband sitting by thy side, do thou throw thyself upon his bosom.” The bride did as she was bidden, and casting herself upon his breast cried, “O King of the Age, haply I please thee not at all;” whereat said the other, “O light of mine eyes, thou art a joy to me for ever; but I am about to confide to thee somewhat and say me canst thou keep a secret?” Quoth she, “Who is there like me for hiding things in my heart?” and quoth the other, “I am a clean maid, and my like is thy like, but the reason for my being in man’s habit is that the son of my uncle, who is my betrothed, hath been lost from me and I have been lost from him, but when Allah shall decree the reunion of our lots he shall marry thee first and he shall not pay the bridegroom’s visit save unto thee, and after that to myself.” The Wazir’s daughter accepted the excuse, and then arising went forth and brought a pigeon whose weazand she split and whose blood she daubed upon the snow-white sheet.31 And when it was morning and her mother again visited her, the bride showed her this proof of her pucelage, and she rejoiced thereat and her father rejoiced also. After this the Sultan ruled for a while of time, but she was ever deep in though concerning what device could be devised in order to obtain tidings of her father and her cousin and what had wrought with them the changes of times and tides. So she bade edify a magnificent Hammám and by its side a coffee-house,32 both nearhand to the palace, and forthwith she summoned architects and masons and plasterers and painters, and when all came between her hands she said to them, “Do ye take a long look at my semblance and mark well my features for I desire that you make me a carven image33 which shall resemble me in all points, and that you fashion it according to my form and figure, and you adorn it aright and render it to represent my very self in all proportions, and then bring it to me.” They obeyed her order and brought her a statue which was herself to a nail, so she looked upon it and was pleased therewith. Then she ordered them set the image over the Hammam-door, so they placed it there, and after she issued a firman and caused it to be cried through the city that whoso should enter that Bath to bathe and drink coffee, should do so free and gratis and for naught. When this was done, the tongues of the folks were loosened with benison, and they fell to praying for the Sultan and the endurance of his glory, and the permanence of his governance till such time as the bruit was spread abroad by the caravans and travellers, and the folk of all regions has heard of the Hammam and the coffee-house. Meanwhile the Sultan had summoned two eunuchs and ordered them and repeatedly enjoined them that whoso might approach the statue and consider it straitly him they should seize and bring before the presence. Accordingly, the slaves fared forth and took their seats before the Baths. After a while of time the father of the damsel who had become Sultan wandered forth to seek her,34 and arrived at that city, where he heard that whoso entered the Hammam to bathe and afterwards drank coffee did this without cost; so he said in his min, “Let me go thither to enter, when behold, he looked at the statue over the gateway, and he stood still and considered it with the tears flowing adown his cheeks, and he cried, “Indeed this figure be like her!” But when the eunuchs saw him they seized him and carried him away until they had led him to the Sultan his daughter, who, seeing him, recognized him forthright, and bade set apart for him an apartment and appointed to him rations for the time being. The next that appeared was the son of her uncle, who also had wandered as far as that city seeking his cousin, and he also having heard the folk speaking anent a free entrance to the Baths, said in himself, “Do thou get thee like others to that Hammam and solace thyself.” But when he arrived there he also cast a look at that image and stood before it and wept for an hour or so as he devoured it with his eyes when the eunuchry beholding him seized and carried him off to the Sultan, who knew him at first sight. So she bade prepare a place for him and appointed to him rations for the time being. Then also came the Ra’is of the ship, who had reached that city seeking his lost vessel, and when the fame of the free Hammam came to his ears, he said in his mind, “Go thou to the Baths and solace thyself.” And when he arrived there and looked upon the statue and fixed his glance upon it he cried out, “Walláhi! ’tis her very self.” Hereupon the eunuchry seized him and carried him to the Sultan who seeing him recognised him and placed him in a place apart for a while of time. Anon the King and the Wazir, who were responsible for the Forty Virgins came to that city — And Sharazad was surprised by the dawn of day and fell silent and ceased to say her permitted say. Then quoth her sister Dunyazad, “How sweet is thy story, O sister mine, and how enjoyable and delectable!” Quoth she, “And where is this compared with that I would relate to you on the coming night an the King suffer me to survive?” Now when it was the next night and that was

28 Arab. “Jiház,” the Egypt. “Gaház,” which is the Scotch “tocher,” and must not be confounded with the “Mahr” = dowry, settled by the husband upon the wife. Usually it consists of sundry articles of dress and ornament, furniture (matting and bedding carpets, divans, cushions and kitchen utensils), to which the Badawi add “Gribahs” (water-skins) querns, and pestles with mortars. These are usually carried by camels from the bride’s house to the bridegroom’s: they are the wife’s property, and if divorced she takes them away with her and the husband has no control over the married woman’s capital, interest or gains. For other details see Lane M.E. chapt. vi. and Herklots chapt. xiv. sec. 7.

29 [Arab. “Shuwár” = trousseau, whence the verb “shawwara binta-hu” = he gave a marriage outfit to his daughter. See Dozy Suppl. s. v. and Arnold Chrestom. 157, 1. — ST.]

30 Arab. “Ghashím,” see vol. ii. 330. It is a favourite word in Egypt extending to Badawiland, and especially in Cairo, where it is looked upon as slighting if not insulting.

31 The whole of the scene is a replica of the marriage between Kamar al-Zamán and that notable blackguard the Lady Budúr (vol. iii. 211), where also we find the pigeon slaughtered (p. 289). I have mentioned that the blood of this bird is supposed throughout the East, where the use of the microscope is unknown, and the corpuscles are never studied, most to resemble the results of a bursten hymen, and that it is the most used to deceive the expert eyes of midwives and old matrons. See note to vol. iii. p. 289.

32 Scott (p. 254) makes his heroine “erect a most magnificent caravanserai, furnished with baths hot and cold, and every convenience for the weary traveller.” Compare this device with the public and royal banquet (p. 212) contrived by the slave-girl sultaness, the charming Zumurrud or Smaragdine in the tale of Ali Shár, vol. iv. 187.

33 In text “Shakhs,” see vol. iii. 26; viii. 159.

34 This assemblage of the dramatis personû at the end of the scene, highly artistic and equally improbably, reminds us of the ending of King Omar bin al-Nu’uman (vol. iii. 112)

The Five Hundred and Seventh Night,

Dunyazad said to her, “Allah upon thee, O my sister, an thou be other than sleepy, finish for us thy tale that we may cut short the watching of this our latter night!” She replied, “With love and good will!” It hath reached me, O auspicious King, the director, the right-guiding, lord of the rede which is benefiting and of deeds fair-seeming and worthy celebrating, that the King accompanied by the Wazir came to that city seeking the lost Forty Virgins and when the twain had settled there and were stablisht at ease their souls longed for the Baths and they said each to other, “Hie we to the Hammam that we may wash away the dirt which be the result of travel.” So they repaired to the place and as they entered the gateway they looked up and fixed their eyes upon the statue; and, as they continued to gaze thereupon, the eunuchs who sighted them seized them and carried them off to the Sultan.35 When they stood between their hands and they beheld the Forty Mamelukes who were also before her, the Wazir’s glance happened to fall upon his daughter who was on similar wise in slave’s habit, and he looked at her with the tears flowing adown his cheeks and he said in his mind, “Walláhi! Verily this Mameluke is like my child as like can be.” Hereupon the Sultan considered the twain36 and asked them of their case37 and they answered, “We be Such-and-such and we are wandering about to seek our daughter and her nine-and-thirty maidens.” Hereupon she assigned them also lodgings and rations for the present. Lastly appeared the Pirate which had been Shaykh and the comrade of the Forty Thieves also seeking that city, and albeit he was aweary and perplext yet he ceased not to wander that he might come upon the damsel who had slain his associates and who had shaved his beard and had torn out his eye-teeth. He also when he heard of the Hammam without charge and the free coffee-house said in himself, “Hie thee to that place!” and as he was entering the gateway he beheld the image and stood still and fell to speaking fulsome speech and crying aloud and saying, “By Allah, this statue is likest to her in stature and size and, by the Almighty, if I can only lay my hand upon her and seize her I will slaughter her even as one cutteth a mutton’s throat. Ah! Ah! an I could but catch hold of her.” As he spake these words the eunuchry heard him; so they seized him and dragged him along and carried him before the Sultan who no sooner saw him than she ordered him to jail. And they imprisoned him for he had not come to that city save for the shortening of his days and the lavishing of his life-blood and he knew not what was predestined to him and in very sooth he deserved all that befel him. Hereupon the damsel bade bring before her, her father and her cousin and the Ra’is and the King and the Wazir and the Pirate (while she still bore herself as one who administered the Sultanate), and when it became night time all began to converse one with other and presently quoth she to them, “O folk, let each and every who hath a tale solace us with telling it.” Hereat quoth one and all of them, “We wist not a recital nor can we recount one;” and she rejoined, “I will relate unto you an adventure.” They cried, “O King of the Age, pardon us! for how shalt thou rehearse us an history and we sit listening thereto?”38 and she replied, “Forasmuch as you have no say to say, I will speak in your stead that we may shorten this our night.” Then she continued, “There was a merchant man and a wealthy with a brother which was needy, and the richard had a daughter while the pauper had a son. But when the poor man died he left only a boy who sought to marry the girl his cousin: his paternal uncle, however, refused him maugre that she loved him and she was beloved of him. Presently there came a party of substantial merchants who demanded her in wedlock and obtained her and agreed upon the conditions; when her sire was minded to marry her to their man. This was hard upon the damsel and sore grievous to her so she said, ‘By Allah, I will mate with none save my uncle’s son.’ Then she came to him at midnight leading a she-mule and an ass and bringing somewhat of her father’s moneys and she knocked at the youth’s door and he came out to her and both went forth, he and she, in the outer darkness of that murky night and the Veiler veiled her way.” Now when the father and the cousin heard this adventure they threw themselves on her neck,39 and rejoiced in her until the turn came for her recounting the tale of the merchant-captain and he also approved her and was solaced by her words. Then, as she related the history concerning the King and the Wazir, they said, “By Allah, this indeed is a sweet story and full of light and leading and our lord the Sultan deserveth for this recital whatso he may require.” But when she came to the Pirate he cried, “Walláhi, O our lord the Sultan, this adventure is a grievous, and Allah upon thee, tell us some other tale;” whereat all the hearers rejoined, “By Allah, in very sooth the recital is a pleasing.” She continued to acquaint them with the adventure of the Bird which invested her with the monarchy and she ended with relating the matter of the Hammam, at all whereof the audience wondered and said, “By Allah, this is a delectable matter and a dainty;” but the Pirate cried aloud, “Such story pleaseth me not in any way for ’tis heavy upon my heart!"— And Sharazad was surprised by the dawn of day and fell silent and ceased to say her permitted say. Then quoth her sister Dunyazad, “How sweet is thy story, O sister mine, and how enjoyable and delectable!” Quoth she, “And where is this compared with that I would relate to you on the coming night an the King suffer me to survive?” Now when it was the next night and that was

35 The King and the Minister could not have recognised the portrait as neither had seen the original.

36 In text “Ishtalaka” = he surmised, discovered (a secret).

37 In the Arab. “she knew them,” but the careless storyteller forgets the first part of his own story.

38 Story-telling being servile work.

39 [In the MS. “istanatú lá-ha.” The translation in the text presupposes the reading “istanattú” as the 10th form of “matt) = he jumped, he leapt. I am inclined to take it for the 8th form of “sanat,” which according to Dozy stands in its 2nd form “sannat” for “sannat,” a transposition of the classical “nassat” = he listened to. The same word with the same meaning of “listening attentively,” recurs in the next line in the singular, applying to the captain and the following pronoun “la-há” refers in both passages to “Hikáyah,” tale, not to the lady-sultan who reveals herself only later, when she has concluded her narrative. — ST.]

The Five Hundred and Ninth Night,

Dunyazad said to her, “Allah upon thee, O my sister, an thou be other than sleepy, finish for us thy tale that we may cut short the watching of this our latter night!” She replied, “With love and good will!” It hath reached me, O auspicious King, the director, the right-guiding, lord of the rede which is benefiting and of deeds fair-seeming and worthy celebrating, that the Pirate cried out, “This tale is heavy upon my heart!” Presently the damsel resumed her speech and said, “Walláhi! if my mother and my father say sooth this be my sire and that be my cousin and here standeth the King and there the Wazir and yonder are the Ra’is and the Pirate, the comrade of the Forty Thieves whose only will and wish was to dishonour us maidens all.” Then she resumed, addressing the King and his Minister, “These forty Mamelukes whom you see standing between your hands are the virgin girls belonging to you.” After which she presented the twain with sumptuous gifts and they took their maidens and with them went their ways. Next she restored to the Ra’is his ship and freighted it with her good and he set forth in it on his return voyage. But as regards the Pirate she commanded her attendants to kindle for him a furious fire and they lit it till it roared and the sparks flew high in air, after which they pinioned him and cast him into the flames, where his flesh was melted before his bones.40 But as concerned her cousin she caused the marriage tie to be tied between him and the Wazir’s daughter and he paid her his first visit on that same night and then she ordered her father to knit the wedding knot with the youth on the next night and when this was done forthwith he went in unto her. After this she committed to him the Sultanate and he became a Sovran and Sultan in her stead, and she bade fetch her mother to that city where her cousin governed and where her father-in-law the Wazir was chief Councillor of the realm. On this wise it endured for the length of their lives, and fair to them were the term and the tide and the age of the time, and they led of lives the joyfullest and a livelihood of the perfectest until they were consumed by the world and died out generation of the generation.41

40 Here the converse is probably meant, as we have before seen.

41 Scott ends (p. 258) “Years of unusual happiness passed over the heads of the fortunate adventurers of this history, until death, the destroyer of all things, conducted them to a grave which must one day be the resting-place for ages of us all, till the receiving (?) angel shall sound his trumpet.”

Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:52