Whilome there was, men say, a Khwajah, a merchant man who was lord of money and means and estates and endowments and appanages, withal he had no seed, or son or daughter, and therefore he sued Almighty Allah that he might be blessed with even a girl-child to inherit his good and keep it together. Suddenly he heard a Voice bespeak him in dreamery saying, “Ho Such-an-one, Predestination overcometh Prudence and resignation to the trials sent by Allah is foremost and fairest.” Hearing this he arose without stay or delay and casually498 slept with his wife who, by decree of the Decreer and by allowance of Allah Almighty, conceived that very night. When she became pregnant and the signs of gestation showed in her, the merchant rejoiced and distributed and doled and did alms-deed; and, as soon as her tale of days was fulfilled, there befel her what befalleth womankind of labour-pangs, and parturition came with its madding pains and the dolours of delivery, after which she brought forth a girl-babe moulded in mould of beauty and loveliness and showing promise of brilliance and stature and symmetric grace. Now on the night after the birth and when it was the middle thereof, the Merchant was sitting at converse beside his wife and suddenly he again heard the Voice announcing to him that his daughter was fated to become a mother in illicit guise by the son of a King who reigned in the region Al-Irak. He turned him towards the sound but could see no man at such time, and presently he reflected that between his city and the capital of the King’s son in Al-Irak was a distance of six months and a moiety. Now the night wherein the Merchant’s wife became a mother was the same when the King’s wife of Al-Irak bare a boy-heir, and the Merchant, albe he wist naught thereof, was seized with trembling and terror at the words of the Voice and said in himself, “How shall my daughter forgather with the King’s son in question when between us and him is a travel of six months and a half? What can be such case? But haply this Voice is of a Satan!” As soon as it was morning-tide the father summoned astrologers and men who compute horoscopes and scribes who cast lots,499 and when they presented themselves he informed them that a daughter had been added to his household and his aim was to see what the prognostic500 might be. Hereupon all and every wrought at his art and mystery, and it was shown that the Merchant’s daughter would become a mother by the son of a King and this would be in the way of unright: but so far from informing him of this or suffering him to learn concerning of her circumstance they said, “The future none wotteth it save Allah Almighty and our craft at times proveth soothfast and at times falsifieth us.” However the Khwajah’s heart was on no wise satisfied and he ceased not to suffer patiently nor did rest repose him nor were meat and sleep to him sweet for the space of two years, during which his daughter was suckled and in due time was weaned. The father never ceased pondering how he should act towards his child and at sundry times he would say, “Let us slay her and rest from her,” and at other times he would exclaim, “Let us remove her to a stead where none shall approach her or of man-kind or of Jinn-kind.” Withal did none point out a path to pursue nor did any guide him to any course of the courses he might adopt. Now one day of the days he fared forth his house unknowing whither he should wend and he stinted not wending until he found himself without the town — And Shahrazad was surprised by the dawn of day and fell silent and ceased saying her permitted say. Then quoth her sister Dunyazad, “How sweet and tasteful 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 Sovran suffer me to survive?” Now when it was the next night and that was
497 Again the old, old story of the “Acrisian maid,” and a prose variant of “Yusuf and Al-Hayfa” for which see supra p. 93. I must note the difference of treatment and may observe that the style is rough and the incidents are unfinished, but it has the stuff of an excellent tale.
498 In text “Min ghayr Wa’ad” = without appointment, sans préméditation, a phrase before noticed.
499 In text, “Al-Mukawwamína wa Arbábu ’l-Aklam,” the latter usually meaning “Scribes skilled in the arts of caligraphy.”
500 In text “Zarb al-Fál” = casting lots for presage, see v. 136.
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 Khwajah stinted not wending until he found himself without the town, where he was expectedly met by a wight in Darwaysh-garb to whom he salam’d and by whom he was saluted. Presently the holy man turned to the merchant and seeing him changed of colour and conduct asked him, “What is with thee to do, and what ill hast thou to rue that thy case and complexion are so changed to view?” “O Fakir,” answered the other, “verily a matter of marvel hath betided me and I know not how to act therein.” Quoth the ghostly man, “And what may that be?” whereupon the Merchant related to him all his affair first and last, and how he had heard a Voice saying to him, “In very deed thy daughter shall conceive after unlawful fashion by the King’s son of Al-Irak.” The Darwaysh was surprised on hearing these words from him and said in his thought, “There is no averting of adversity foredoomed and Allah will do whatso he will;” presently adding, “O Khwajah, in yonder direction riseth a mountain Jabal al-Saháb501 hight, which is impenetrable or to mankind or to Jinn-kind; but given thou avail to reach it thou wilt find therein and about the middle combe thereof a vast cavern two miles in breadth by an hundred long. Here, an thou have in thee force and thou attain thereto and lodge thy daughter, haply shall Allah Almighty conserve and preserve the maid from what evils thou heardest the Voice declare to thee for her destiny: however, thou shalt on no wise reach those highlands until thou shalt have expended thereon a matter of much money. Moreover at the head and front of that cave502 is an inner crevice which, extending to the mountain-top, admitteth daylight into its depths and displayeth a small pavilion by whose side be five-fold pleasaunce-gardens with flowers and fruits and rills and trees besprent and birds hymning Allah, the One, the Omnipotent. Now an thou avail to convey thy daughter to that place, she shall dwell there secure, safe-guarded.” As soon as the Khwajah heard those words from the Fakir, there faded from his heart whatso there was of thought and forethought and cark and care and he took the hand of the Religious whom he led to his home and honoured him and robed him, for that he had indicated such place of protection. When the maiden reached the age of five and had waxed killing in beauty, her father brought her a learned Divine with whom she began reading and who taught her the Koran and writing and the art of caligraphy;503 and when she had seen the first decade, she fell to studying astrology and astronomy and the aspect of the Heavens. Such was her case; but as regards that of her sire the Merchant, from the hour he forgathered with the Darwaysh he ceased not to hold him in his heart and presently he proposed to take him and travel with him to the mountain aforementioned. So they set out together and when they reached it they found it a site right strong as though fortified, and entering the antre they fell to considering it right and left till they reached its head where they came upon the little pavilion. After all this quoth the Fakir, “Indeed such stead shall safe-guard thy daughter from the shifts of the Nights and the Days;” withal was he unknowing that the Decreed be determined and must perforce be done, albeit Doom be depending from the skirts of the clouds.504 And the Religious ceased not showing the site until he caused his companion enter the parterres, which he found as they had been described to him with flowers and fruits and streams and trees besprent and birds hymning the One, the Omnipotent. As soon as they had finished solacing themselves with the sights, they fared back to their town where, during their absence-term, the damsel’s mother had made ready for them viaticum and presents, and by the time the twain returned they found ready to hand everything of travel-gear and all the wants of wayfare. So they equipped themselves and set forth, taking with them the maiden together with five white slave-girls and ten negresses and as many sturdy black chattels who loaded the packs upon the mules’ and the camels’ backs. Then they fell to cutting across the wilds and, each and everyone intent upon ministering to the maiden, and they ceased not faring until they drew near the mountain, and they took station by the cavern-door. Here they unloaded the bales and burthens and transported them to the pavilion within the cave, after which the Merchant’s daughter went in and as she walked forwards fell to gazing, rightwards and leftwards, until such time as she had reached the pavilion. Presently she found it poikilate of corners and columns, and she was assured that the distance of that mountain from her father’s town measured the march of a full-told month. And whenas she had taken seat and had settled in that pavilion, her father considered the unapproachable nature of the place and waxed contented of heart and his mind became right of rede, because he was certified of his daughter that she was safe from the tricks of Time and every trickster.505 So he tarried beside her for a decade of days, after which he farewelled her and wended him home, leaving the damsel in the mountain-cave. Thus fared it with these; but as regards the case of the Prince of Al-Irak, his father who owned no issue, or man-child or girl-child, lay sleeping one night of the nights when, lo and behold! he heard the words, “All things befal by Fate and Fortune.” Hereat he arose from slumber being sore startled and cried, “Laud to the Lord whom I have heard say506 that all things depend upon Doom and Destiny.” On the next night he slept with his spouse who by leave of Almighty Allah forthright conceived. When her pregnancy became manifest the Sovran rejoiced and he scattered and largessed and doled alms-deeds to the widows and paupers and the mean and miserable; and he sued the Creator on high saying, “O Lord vouchsafe to me a man-boy which may succeed me in the reign, and deign Thou make him a child of life.”507 But when the Queen’s time had sped she was seized by labour-pangs and delivery-pains, after which she bare a babe — Glory be to God who created him and confirmed what He had wrought in the creation of that child who was like unto a slice of the moon! They committed him to the wet-nurses who fell to suckling him and tending him and fondling him till the milk-term was completed, and when his age had reached the sixth year, his father brought for him a Divine perfect in knowledge of all the sciences, spiritual and temporal, and the craft of penmanship and what not. Accordingly, the boy began to read and study under his learner until he had excelled him in every line of lore, and he became a writer deft, doughty in all the arts and sciences: withal his sire knew not that was doomed to him of dule and dolours. — And Shahrazad 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
501 “The Mount of Clouds.”
502 In the margin is written “Kbb,” possibly “Kubb” for “Kubbah” = a vault, a cupola. [I take “Kubba” for the passive of the verb “Kabba” = he cut, and read “Fajwatun” for “Fajwatan” = ”and in that cave there is a spot in whose innermost part from the inside a crevice is cut which,” etc. — ST.]
503 “Zarb al-Aklám,” before explained: in a few pages we shall come upon “San’at al-Aklám.
504 A pun upon the name of the Mountain.
505 In text “Wa kulli Tárik” = Night-traveller, magician, morning-star.
506 i.e. In Holy Writ — the Koran and the Ahádís.
507 “Walad al-Hayáh” for “Hayát” i.e. let him be long-lived.
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 Prince became a penman doughty in all knowledge, withal he wist not that was written for him of dule and dolours. This lasted until his tenth year, and the old King rejoiced in him and caused him to back steeds until he had mastered all of horsemanship, and he waxed accomplished in hunting and birding and he had attained the bourne of omnis res scibilis. Every morning he would superintend the governance of his sire in the office of Commandments and direct him to affairs wherein lay rede that was right until, one day of the days, his parent said to him “O my son, do thou rule for a day and I will govern on the next.” “O my father,” said he, “I am young of years nor is it meet that I meddle with public matters or sit in thy Divan.” Now when he reached the age of fourteen and had entered upon man’s estate and had waxed perfect in the words of ordinance and had become complete and sanspareil in beauty and loveliness, the King resolved upon marrying him, but he consented not, nor did his heart incline to womankind for the being in the All-Knowledge of Almighty Allah all that was foredoomed to him from Time beginningless. Presently on a chance day his nature longed for the hunt and chase, and he asked leave of his sire who consented not, fearing for his safety; but he said in himself, “An I go not I will slay myself;”508 and so he privily apprized of his intent a party of his dependents who, all and every, prepared to ride forth with him into the Desert. Now the King had in his stables a stallion, known as Abú Hamámah,509 which was kept alone in a smaller stall, and he was chained by four chains to a like number of posts510 and was served by two grooms who never could draw nigh to him or let him loose; nor could any, save only his lord, approach him with bridle or saddle or aught of horse-gear. But when the Prince had designed to fare forth a-hunting and a-birding, he went in to his father’s steed Abu Hamamah by hest of Allah Almighty’s might over him and for what was hidden to him in the Future, and found him chained and tethered; and, as the horse pleased him and affected his fancy, he approached him and gentled him with caressing hands. The stallion also at that time under decree of Destiny was influenced by the Lord and directed towards the Prince for the sake of that which was hidden from him in the World of Secrets. So he continued to gentle the animal and to caress him and to make much of him and he was all the more pleased with him, and said to himself, “Verily my going forth to hunt and the chase shall not be save upon this stallion;” and he ceased not pacing and pressing around him, soothing him the while, until the steed showed subjection and neither started nor lashed-out nor indeed moved a limb, but stood like a man obedient and dependent. And when the youth’s glance wandered around he saw beside the stallion a closet, and as he neared it and opened it he found therein all manner harness and equipments, such as a saddle complete with its girths and shovel-stirrups and bit and bridle,511 whilst on every side was gear of warfare enfolded in the furniture, such as scymitar and dagger;512 and a pair of pistols. So he wondered at this circumstance of the horse how that none could draw near him or place upon him that harness, and he likewise marvelled at the subjection of the steed to himself. Hereupon he carried the furniture from the closet and going forth with it walked up to the Father of a Pigeon, which was somewhat fearful of him and affrighted, and he uplifted the saddle and threw it upon his back, and girthed him tight and bridled him with the bit, when the horse became adorned as a bride who is displayed upon her throne. Now the King’s son at times enquired of himself saying, “An I loose this horse from his chains he will start away from me;” and at other times quoth he, “At this hour the stallion will not think of bolting from me,” and on this wise he abode between belief and unbelief in his affair. And he stinted not asking of himself until his suite was a-weary of waiting and of looking at him, so they sent to him praying that he would hurry, and he said in his thought, “I place my trust in Allah, for the Forewritten hath no flight therefrom.” Anon he loosed the stallion’s chains after harnessing and girthing him straitly; then, throwing his right leg over his back513 mounted thereupon with a spring and settled himself in selle and came forth. And all who looked at that steed were unable to stand upon the road until the Prince had ridden forwards and had overtaken the rest of his suite without the town, whence they sought the hunting-grounds. But when they were amiddlemost the waste lands and beyond sight of the city, the courser glanced right and left and tossed his crest and neighed and snorted and ran away; then shaking his head and buck-jumping under the son of the Sultan bolted514 with him until he became like a bird whereof is seen no trace nor will trick avail to track.515 When his folk beheld him they were impotent to govern their horses until their lord had vanisht from their view, nor had anyone the muscle or the manhood to keep up pursuit. So waxing perplext and wildered in their wits they sought counsel one of other saying, “Let each and every of us ride by a separate road until such a day when haply we shall meet him.” Hereupon the whole party dispersed and all took their own directions seeking the Prince; and they stinted not search, anon putting out to speed and anon retracing their steps516 and then returning by the same road. This endured for five days when not a soul came upon their liege lord, so they waxed distraught nor could they find right guidance to aught they should do. However when the trysting-day came, all gathered together and said, “Fare we to the Sultan and acquaint we him with this and let him devise a device for the matter of his son; because this youth is his father’s prop and stay, nor owneth he any other than this one.” Hereupon they set out citywards and ceased not riding until they drew near the capital where they found a marquee pitched without the walls, and having considered it they knew it to be the King’s own. So they drew near it and there found the Chamberlains and Nabobs and officers of high commandment standing round about it, and when they asked saying, “What is the cause for setting up yonder tent in such place?” they were answered, “Verily, whenas his son fared from him designing to hunt and bird, on the next day his heart was straitened for the Youth and he wist not what had befallen him. On the first night when the Prince fared forth from him and disappeared, all went well, but on the second his breast was straitened and in his vitals he sensed a change and ’twas at the hour when the stallion began buck-jumping with his child and running away. Anon he lost all patience and unable to endure session within his Palace so he commanded pitch his pavilion without the walls and here we have been sitting for a space of six days, awaiting the escort to return.” As the party drew near the marquee the bruit of them went abroad until it came to the King’s ears. — And Shahrazad was surprised by the dawn of day, and fell silent and ceased saying her permitted say. Then quoth her sister Dunyazad, “How sweet and tasteful is thy tale, 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 Sovran suffer me to survive?” Now when it was the next night and that was
508 This and other incidents appear only at the latter end of the tale, MS. p. 221.
509 i.e. “Father of a Pigeon,” i.e. surpassing in swiftness the carrier-pigeon.
510 “Bi-sab’a Sikak” = lit. “with seven nails;” in the MS. vol. vi. p. 133, 1. 2, and p. 160, 1. 4, we have “four Sikak,” and the word seems to mean posts or uprights whereto the chains were attached. [“Sakk,” pl. “Sikák” and “Sukúk,” is nail, and “Sikkah,” pl. “Sikak,” has amongst many other meanings that of “an iron post or stake” (Bocthor: piquet de fer). — ST.]
511 In text “Al-Lijám w’ al-Bílám” = the latter being a “Tábi’” or dependent word used only for jingle. [The Muhít explains “Bilám” by “Kimám at-Thaur” = muzzle of a bull, and Bocthor gives as equivalent for it the French “cavecon” (English “cavesson” nose-band for breaking horses in). Here, I suppose, it means the headstall of the bridle. — ST.]
512 In Arab. “Al-Sayfu w’-al Kalani.”
513 In text “Itowwaha,” which is repeated in p. 146, 1. 2. [“Ittawwah” seems to be the modern Egyptian 5th form of “Tauh.” In classical Arabic it would be “tatawwah,” but in the dialect of to-day the prefix becomes “it,” whose final dental here assimilates with the initial palatal of the root; p. 146 the word is correctly spelt with two Tashdids. The meaning is: he threw himself (with his right foot foremost) upon the horse’s back. Instances of this formation, which has now become all but general in Egyptian, are not infrequent in old Arabic, witness chapters lxxiii. and lxxiv. of the Koran, which begin with “ayyuhá ’l Muddassiru” and “ayyuhà ’l-Muzzammilu” respectively. — ST.]
514 In text “Ramaha bi-h.”
515 The vowel points in the MS. show this to be a quotation.
516 In text “Yarjú,” I presume an error for “yarja’u.” [I believe “yarju” is an error for yajrú,” and the various paces to which they put their horses are meant: sometimes they galloped (ramahú), sometimes they trotted (Pedro de Alcala gives “trotar” for “jará yajrí”), sometimes they ambled (yasírú). — ST.]
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 feeling his breast a-straitened bade pitch his pavilion without the walls and tarried therein for a space of six days and on the seventh appeared his son’s suite which had been left behind when the horse ran away with the Prince, nor did any know what direction the beast had taken. As soon as the bruit went abroad and came to the ears of the bereaved father, he cried out with a single outcry and fell to the ground aswoon, and the fainting fit lasted for two days. But when he came to himself and asked after his son, the suite reported all that had befallen the youth from the stallion and at that moment the King recalled to mind the Voice which had spoken saying, “All things befal by Fate and Fortune;” and had declared, “Resignation to the trials sent by Allah is first and best till such time as Destiny shall win to her end.” “If” (he mused) “my lot be forgathering with him anywheres then needs must it be; and, if otherwise, we will be patient under the All-might of Allah Most Highest.” Such was the case with these; but as concerns the young Prince,517 when the stallion started off with him and bolted and became like a bird flying between the firmament and terra firma, he suffered nor fatigue nor emotion, nay, he sat contented upon the beast’s back, for that had he hent in hand a cup full of coffee naught thereof would have been spilt. And the stallion ceased not galloping at speed with him through the livelong day until night came on when, seeing a lake, he halted by the side of it. The Prince thereupon dismounted and withdrawing the bridle offered him water which he drank; then he foddered him with forage which he ate, for our Lord had subjected to him that steed till it became between his hands like one familiar from the first and, as the youth had somewhat of provaunt in his budget, he drew forth of it and took food. But the Prince knew not whither the horse was minded to bear him and the Fiat of Fate drove him to the matter foredoomed to him from Eternity. So after that time as often as he mounted and let loose the bridle thongs,518 the horse paced unguided on those wilds and wastes and hills and dales and stony leas, and whenever they drew near a city or a town the son of the Sultan dismounted from his steed; and, leaving him where he was, went into the streets in order to bring provaunt and forage, after which he could return to his beast and feed him in the same place. And he ceased not wayfaring until he drew near a city where he designed to dismount as was his wont and lay in somewhat of vivers and fodder, so he alighted and leaving his horse outside the houses he went in to satisfy his need. Now by the decree of the Decreer the King of that Capital had left it on an excursion to hunt and bird, and he chanced return at that moment and as he drew near the walls behold, he found the steed standing alone and harnessed with trappings fit for the Kings. The Sultan was astounded when he looked upon this and being on horseback himself he designed to draw near and catch the animal, and when he came close he put forth his hand. But the steed was scared with the scaring of a camel, and the King bade his followers form ring around him and seize him; so they gat about him and designed to catch him and lead him away, when suddenly the steed screamed a scream which resounded throughout the city and when the horses heard the cry of that stallion they turned with their riders in headlong flight and dispersed one from other. And amongst them was the Sultan, who, when his courser ran away with him, strove hard to pull him up and control him, but he lost all power and whilst the rest of the horses were trembling under their riders he swooned and fell to the ground. Presently the followers came to his aid and found him in fainting condition, so they propped him up and sprinkled somewhat of water upon him, when he recovered and asked them, “Where is the horse?” Answered they, “He is still standing in the same place;” and quoth he, “Walláhi, needs must this affair have a cause, and do ye lie awaiting him and see whither he will wend, for this beast God wots must be of the Jinns.” On this wise it befel them; but as regards the horse’s owner, the son of the Sultan, when he entered the city seeking to buy somewhat of victual and fodder, he heard the scream of the steed and recognised it, but of the city-folk all who had hearkened to that outcry felt their hearts fluttering with extreme affright; so each one rose and padlocked his shop and hardly believed that he could reach his house in safety and this continued until the capital (even within its bazars) became empty like a waste, a ruin. Hereupon quoth the youth, “By Allah, needs must some matter of the matters have befallen the horse,” and so saying he went forth the city and walked on till he neared the site where he had left the steed when, behold, he came suddenly upon a party of people in the middlemost whereof appeared one sitting and trembling in all his limbs, and he saw the attendants standing about him and each one holding in hand a horse. So he drew near him and asked him what was to do and they acquainted him with the affair of the stallion and his scream and the cause of the man being seated; and this was none other than the Sultan who had been seized with affright and had fainted at the outcry of the Father of a Pigeon. Hereupon he fell to conversing with them and they knew not that he was the owner of the steed until such time as he asked them, “And doth not any of you avail to draw near him?” Answered they, “O Youth indeed there is none who can approach him.” Quoth he, “This is a matter which is easy to us and therein is no hindrance;” and so saying he left them and turned towards the courser who no sooner saw him than he shook his head at him; and he approached the beast and fell to stroking his coat and kissing him upon the brow. After this he strewed somewhat of fodder before him and offered him water and the stallion ate and drank until he was satisfied. All this and the suite of the Sultan was looking on at the Prince and presently informed their lord, saying, “O King of the Age, a Youth hath come to us and asked us for information touching this steed and when we told him what had happened he approached him and gentled him and bussed him on the brow; and after that he strewed before him somewhat of forage which he ate and gave him water to drink and still he standeth hard by him.” When the Sultan heard these words he marvelled and cried, “By Allah, indeed this is a wondrous matter, but do ye fare to him and bring him to me, him and his horse; and, if he make aught delay with you, seize and pinion him and drag him before me debased and degraded and in other than plight pleasurable!”— And Shahrazad 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
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 sent to his suite bidding them bring the owner of that stallion adding, “If he make aught delay with you drag him before me debased and degraded, and in other than pleasurable plight.” Accordingly, they went to him and accosting him said, “O youth, thou owest hearing and obeying to His Highness the King; and, if thou come not to him with good gree we will bear thee maugre thyself.” But the Prince, hearing these their words, set his left foot in stirrup and throwing his right leg over the saddle mounted till he was firm of seat upon his stallion’s back and had power over his monture. Then he asked saying, “Who amongst you shall come near me to carry me to yonder Sultan of yours?” Whenas they saw this from him they kept away from his arm-reach, but inasmuch as they could not return to their King and report saying, “We availed not to bring him,” they exclaimed, “Allah upon thee, O Youth, that thou draw nigh with us to the Sovran and bespeak him from the back of thy steed: so shall we be clear and bear nor rebuke nor reproach.” Hearing this much the Prince understood what was in their thoughts and that their design was to win free of the King and the avoidance of blame; accordingly he said to them; “Fare ye before me and I will follow you.”519 But when they returned with the youth behind them to within a short distance of the King where either of the twain could hear the other’s words, the Prince asked, “O King of the Age, what dost thou require of me and what is it thou wantest?” “Do thou dismount,” answered the Sultan, “and draw near me when I will tell thee and question thee of a certain matter;” but quoth the youth, “I will not alight from the back of my steed and let whoso hath a claim upon me demand satisfaction,520 for here be the Maydán — the field of fight.” So saying he wheeled his steed and would have made for the open country, when the Sultan cried aloud to his followers, “Seize him and bring him hither.” So they took horse all of them, a matter of one hundred and fifty riders, and followed him at full speed (he still riding) and overtook him and formed a ring around him, and he seeing this shortened the bridle-reins and gored flanks with stirrup-irons when the beast sprang from under him like the wafting of the wind. Then he cried out to them, “Another day, O ye dogs;” and no sooner had they heard his outcry than they turned from him flying and to safety hieing. When the Sultan beheld his followers, some hundred and fifty riders, returning to the presence in headlong flight and taking station before him, he enquired the cause of their running, and they replied that none could approach that horseman, adding, “Verily he cried a warcry which caused each and every of us to turn and flee, for that we deemed him one of the Jánn.” “Woe to you!” exclaimed the King: “an hundred and fifty riders and not avail to prevail over a single horseman!” presently adding, “By Allah, his say was sooth who said,
‘And how many an one in the tribe they count
When to one a thousand shall ne’er amount?’
Verily this youth could not be confronted by a thousand, nor indeed could a whole tribe oppose him, and by Allah, I have been deficient in knightly devoir for not doing him honour; however, it was not to be save on such wise.” But the youth ceased not faring through days and nights for the whole of four months, unknowing the while when he should reach a place wherein to take repose. And as soon as this long wayfare ended, suddenly a mountain towering high to the heights of heaven arose before him; so he set his face thither, and after a further term of three days521 (and he ever wayfaring) he reached it and beheld upon its flanks fair leasows with grasses and rills and trees and fruits besprent, and birds hymning Allah the One, the Omnipotent. Anon he alighted therein for that his heart had somewhat to say anent that mountain, and he also marvelled thereat by cause that during his wayfare he had never seen aught like it at all, nor anything resembling that herbage and those streams. And after dismounting he unbridled his steed and suffered him browse and pasture upon the greenery and drink of the water, while he on like wise fell to eating of the fruits which hung from the trees and taking his ease and repose. But the more he shifted from place to place the fairer he found it than the first, so he was delighted with the site, and as he looked upon it he improvised these couplets,
“O who fearest the world do thou feel right safe;
Trust all to Him did mankind create:
Fate aye, O my lord, shall come to pass
While safe thou art from th’ undoomed by Fate.”
The Sultan’s son ceased not straying from stead to stead for a term of ten days, during which he wandered round about the Mountain and solaced himself by gazing upon the trees and waters,522 and he was gladdened by the warbling of the birds till at length the Doom of Destiny and the Fiat of Fate cast him over against the door of the cave which contained the Khwajah’s daughter with her handmaids and her negro slaves. He looked at the entrance and marvelled and was perplexed at — And Shahrazad was surprised by the dawn of day and fell silent and ceased saying her permitted say. Then quoth her sister Dunyazad “How sweet and tasteful is thy tale, 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 Sovran suffer me to survive?” Now when it was the next night and that was
519 The invariable practice of an agent de police in England and France, according to the detective tales of MM. Gaboriau and Du Boisgobey. In Africa the guide often attempts to follow instead of leading the party, and this proceeding should always awake suspicion.
520 In text another prothesis without apodosis: see vol. vi. 203, etc.
521 In text “Fa ghába thaláthat ayyamin” = and he (or it the mountain?) disappeared for three days. [“Ghába” = departed, may have here the meaning of “passed away” and three days had gone, and he ever travelling, before (ilà an) he reached it. — ST.]
522 A feeling well-known to the traveller: I have often been laughed at for gazing fondly upon the scanty brown-green growth about Suez after a few months’ sojourn in the wolds of Western Arabia. It is admirably expressed in that book of books Eothen (chapt. xvii.):—“The next day I entered upon Egypt, and floated along (for the delight was as the delight of bathing) through green wavy fields of rice, and pastures fresh and plentiful, and dived into the cold verdure of grasses and gardens, and quenched my hot eyes in shade, as though in deep, rushing waters.”
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 when the King’s son took place before the Cavern-door he marvelled at its strength intended to protect those within, but he knew not if it had any inmate or an it were void of inhabitants, seeing that the mountain was far distant and divided from towns and cities nor could any avail to reach it. So he said in his mind, “Sit thee down here over against the entrance amid these grasses and trees and fruits, for an thou quit this site thou shalt find none like it in charms and eke it shall console thee for parting from thy people. Moreover, haply shall someone of this place pass by me and from him I may ask tidings concerning this region and peradventure Almighty Allah shall guide me back to my own country and I shall forgather with my father and my folk and my friends. Indeed possibly there may be someone within this place who when he issueth forth shall become my familiar.” So he ceased not sitting at the door of the cave for a term of twenty days eating of the fruits of the trees and drinking of the water of the rain pools as likewise did his steed; but when it was the twenty and first day, behold, the door of the antre was thrown open and there came forth it two black slave-girls and a negro chattel, followed by five white handmaidens, all seeking diversion and disport among those meadows which lay on the mountain-flank and beyond. But as they paced along their eyes fell on the son of the Sultan who was still sitting there with his steed before him and they found him cast in the mould of beauty and loveliness, for he had now rested in that place from his wayfare and the perfection of charms was manifest upon him. When the slave-girls looked at him they were overwhelmed by the marvels of his comeliness and shapeliness and they returned in haste and hurry to their mistress and said to her, “O our lady, verily at the cavern-door is a Youth, never saw we a fairer than he or a seemlier of semblance, and in very deed he resembleth thee in grace and elegance of face and form, and before him standeth a steed even as a bride.” Now when the Merchant’s daughter heard these words from her handmaidens, she arose and in haste and hurry made for the cave-door and her heart was filled with gladness and she ceased not walking till she reached it. Then she looked upon the Prince and came forward and embraced him523 and gave him the salam and she continued to gaze upon and consider his beauty and comeliness, until love to him settled in her heart and likewise the Prince’s love to her increased. Hereupon she hent him by the hand and led him into the cavern where he fell to looking rightwards and leftwards about the sides thereof and wondering at what he saw therein of pleasaunces and trees and streams and birds, until at last they reached the pavilion. But before entering thither the Prince had led his horse and loosed him in the leasows which lay in the cavern; and, when at last the twain ended at the palace and went within, the attendants brought meat for him; so he ate his sufficiency and they washed his hands and then the couple fell to conversing together whilst all were delighted with the son of the King. And they continued in such case until night drew nigh when each of the handmaidens went to her chamber and lay her down and on like wise did the black slaves until there remained none save the Prince and the Merchant’s daughter. Then began she to excite him and incite him and disport with him until his heart inclined towards her by reason of her toyings and her allurements, so he drew near to her and clasped her to his breast and at last he threw her upon her back and did away her maidenhead. Now by hest of Allah Almighty’s All-might she conceived of him that very night and they ceased not to be in sport and laughter until the Creator brought on the dawn which showed its sheen and shone and the sun arose over lowland and lawn. Then did the twain, she and he, sit communing together, when the girl began to improvise these couplets,
“Loving maid in obedience doth come
Trailing skirt with her pride all astir;
And she’s meet for no man save for him
And he’s meet for no maid save for her.”524
After this the Khwajah’s daughter tarried with the King’s son for a term of six months; but, from the night when he had abated her pucelage, he never approached her at all, and she also on like wise felt no lust of the flesh for him in any way nor did she solicit him to love-liesse.525 But when it was the seventh month, the youth remembered his family and native land and he sought leave of her to travel but she said to him, “Why dost thou not tarry beside us?” Said he, “If in our life there be due length needs must we forgather.” Then asked she, “O my lord, who mayest thou be?” so he declared to her his pedigree and degree and the name of his native country and she also informed him of her rank and lineage and her patrial stead. Presently he farewelled her and mounting his horse fared forth from her in early morning — And Shahrazad 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, “Andwhere 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
523 The writer does not mean to charge the girl with immodesty (after the style “Come to my arms, my slight acquaintance!”) but to show how powerfully Fate and Fortune wrought upon her. Hence also she so readily allowed the King’s son to possess her person.
524 [I read “al-Muhibbattu,” fem. of “Muhibb,” lover (in Tasawwuf particularly = lover of God), and take the “lam taku taslah” in the second verse for the 3rd person fem., translating: The loving maiden has come in obedience to the lover’s call, proudly trailing her skirts (“tajarru min al-Tíhi Azyála-há”), and she is meet, etc. — ST.]
525 Again the work of Fate which intended to make the lovers man and wife and probably remembered the homely old English proverb, “None misses a slice from a cut loaf.”
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’s son farewelled the Merchant’s daughter and fared forth from her in early morning, seeking his folk and his natal land, and he drove amiddlemost the wilds and the wolds. On this wise it was with him; but as regards the merchant, the father of the damsel, he and the Darwaysh after consigning her to the cavern returned to his town and there spent six months in business as was his wont; but on the seventh he called to mind his child and was desolated by her absence because he had none other. So quoth he to her mother, “I have an intent to visit the girl and look upon her and see what may be her condition, for my heart is in sore doubt on her account and I cannot but fancy that some unforeseen casualty hath brought calamity or that some wayfarer may have visited her; and my thoughts are occupied with her, so ’tis my will to fare forth and see her.” “Such act were advisable,” quoth the wife; and so saying she fell to making him somewhat of provaunt amounting to some ten camel-loads.526 Presently he led forth with him a few of his negro slaves and set out to see his daughter on the Jabal al-Saháb. So he dove into the depths of the desert and cut across the dales and the hills and conjoined the journeyings of night with day for a space of three months, and about sunset-tide on the first of the fourth behold, a rider appeared to him coming from the breast of the waste, nor had he with him anyone. When the stranger drew near, the Khwajah saluted him and his salam was returned by the horseman who happened to be the Prince returning from the Merchant’s daughter. Quoth the Khwajah, “O Youth, dismount with us in this place and let us twain, I and thou, night together and solace ourselves with converse;527 then, when it shall be morning, each of us shall depart seeking his own stead.” Quoth the Prince, “No harm in that,” and so saying he sprang from the back of his steed and unbridled him and suffered him to browse upon the grasses and greenery together with the Khwajah’s cattle. Hereat the two sat down together in talk while the slaves slaughtered a lamb and flayed it, then, having lighted a fire, they set the meat thereupon in a chauldron and when it was cooked they fished it out with a flesh-hook and scored it528 and placed it in a mighty platter which they served up to their lord and the King’s son. Both ate of it after the measure of their sufficiency and the remnants were borne off by the slaves for their suppers. And when the time for night-prayers came, the two having made the Wuzú-ablution performed the orisons obligatory upon them, and anon sat down for evening converse, overtalking the tidings of the world and its affairs, until quoth the Merchant to the Prince, “O Youth, whence comest thou and whither art thou wending?” Quoth the other, “Walláhi, O Khwajah, I have a wondrous tale, nay a marvel of marvels which, were it graved with needle-gravers upon the eye-corners were a warning to whoso would be warned. And this it is, I am the King’s son of Al-Irak and my sire’s prop and stay in the House of the World, and he reared me with the fairest of rearing; but when I had grown to man’s estate and had learnt the mysteries of venerie I longed one chance day of the days to ride forth hunting and birding. So I went for a horse (as was my wont) to the stables, where I found yon stallion which is with me chained to four posts; whereupon of my ignorance, unknowing that none could approach him save myself nor any avail to mount him, I went up to him and girthed him, and he neither started nor moved at my gentling of him, for this was existing in the purpose of Almighty Allah. Then I mounted him and sought my suite without informing my sire and rode forth the city with all my many, when suddenly the horse snorted with his nostrils and neighed through his throttle and buckjumped in air and bolted for the wilderness swift as bird in firmament-plain, nor wist I whither he was intending.529 He ceased not running away with me the whole day till eventide when we reached a lake in a grassy mead.” (Now when the Khwajah heard the words of the Prince his heart was heartened and presently the other pursued), “So I took seat and ate somewhat of my vivers, my horse also feeding upon his fodder, and we nighted in that spot and next morning I set out and stinted not riding for a march of four months. But on the first of the fifth I neared a towering mountain whose length and whose breadth had no bounds, and on its flanks I found leasows manifold with trees and fruits and streams besprent and birds hymning the One, the Omnipotent. So I was gladdened by the sight and dismounted and unbridled my steed whom I allowed to browse the while I ate of the fruits, and presently I fell to roaming about from site to site. And when some time had passed I came to the mouth of a cavern whence after a short delay on my part fared forth slave-girls under the escort of a negro chattel. When they beheld me they rejoiced in me, then going in they disappeared for an hour and anon returned bringing a young lady as she was the moon of the fourteenth night, who salam’d to me, and invited me to become her guest and led me into the cave”— And Shahrazad was surprised by the dawn of day and fell silent and ceased saying her permitted say. Then quoth her sister Dunyazad, “How sweet and tasteful is thy tale, 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 Sovran suffer me to survive.” Now when it was the next night and that was
526 A little matter of about a ton at the smallest computation of 200 lbs. to each beast.
527 In text “Natawású sawíyah” [Clerical error for “natawánasú (nataánasú, the rarely used 6th form of anisa) shuwayyah” = let us divert ourselves a little. — ST.]
528 In text “salaku-hu wa nashalú-hu.” The “salk” = scoring the skin and the “nashl” = drawing meat from the cooking-pot with the fingers or a flesh-hook or anything but a ladle which would be “Gharf.”
529 This account has been slightly abridged seeing that it is a twice-told tale.
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 Prince continued to the Merchant saying, “The slave-girls invited me and led me into the cave until I reached a Pavilion that was there. I tarried beside them for a matter of some six months when I felt desolate for my folk and my native land, so I craved leave to depart from them and farewelled them and went forth, they sending me away with highmost honour. But when bidding them goodbye I covenanted with them saying, ‘an there be in life any length needs must we forgather’; and with these words I left them, and now ’tis some time since I journeyed thence when thou mettest me in this place.” Now the Merchant hearing his tale knew from the beginning what had occurred there, and was certified of the saying of the Voice, and judging from the tenor of the information said in his mind, “There is no doubt or hesitation but that this be the youth to whom was appointed my daughter, that of him she should conceive in the way of unright and the Written530 is now fulfilled.” So quoth the Merchant, “O Youth, where is thy town?” and he informed him thereof. Now the Prince knew not that he had come upon the damsel’s father by the road, whereas the Khwajah wotted right well that this man had had to do with his daughter. As soon as it was morning the twain farewelled each other and either of them went his own way; but, the Khwajah fell into cark and care such as cannot be conceived, and he fasted from food nor was meat to him sweet nor was sleep. However, he ceased not travelling till he arrived at the Jabal al-Sahab, when he approached the door of the cave and rapped thereat. The handmaidens opened to him and as soon as they saw his face they recognised him, and returning to their lady informed her thereof: so she arose to seek him, and presently met him and salam’d to him and kissed his hands and walked by his side until she reached the Pavilion, where the twain, he and she, went up, and she seated him and stood before him in his suit and service. Hereat her father looked at her and considered her and found her colour changed and her belly grown big, and asked her, “What is to do with thee and what is’t hath altered thy complexion, for to-day I see thee heavy of body, and no doubt some man has mixed531 with thee?” Now when she heard the words of her father she understood and was certified that he had compassed full knowledge concerning what had befallen her, so she returned him nor answer nor address, and she was overwhelmed with shame and confusion, and waxed changed and was well nigh falling upon the floor. Presently she sat down in abashment before her sire by reason of the bigness of her belly, but he bowed in obedience before the power of Almighty Allah; and they two ceased not conversing until fall of night, when each and every of the handmaids had sought her own chamber that she might sleep therein. As soon as the Khwajah remained alone with his daughter and without other being present he said to her, “O my child, verily this matter was foredoomed to thee from the Lord of the Heavens, and there is no Averter of whatso is fated; but do thou relate to me what befel between thee and the youth who owneth the steed, and who is the King’s son of Al-Irak.” Hereupon the girl was consterned and she could return no reply, and presently when she recovered she said to her sire, “How shall I relate to one who is already informed of all, first and last, and thou declarest that the foredoomed must come to pass, nor can I say thereanent a single word?” And presently she resumed, “O my father, verily the Youth promised me that an his life have length he would certainly forgather with me, and I desire of thee that when thou shalt return to thy country thou take me and carry me in thy company to him, and reunite me with him and let me meet his sire and ask him to keep his word, for I require none else nor shall anyone ever unveil me in privacy. And in fine do thou marry me to him. Now whatso hath betided me thou hast heard it from the Voice, and thou hast wearied thy soul in transporting me to this place, fearing for me the shifts of the days, and thou hast contraried the power of Allah, nor hath this profited thee aught, because the Destinies which be writ upon mankind from infinity and eternity must needs be carried out. All this was determined by Allah, for that prosperity and adversity and benefaction and interdiction all be from the Almighty. Do thou whatso I have said and that which is inscribed upon my forehead shall be the quickening of me (Inshallah — an so please God!), since patience and longsuffering are better than restless thought.” When her father heard from her such words, he agreed with her in all she had spoken to him, and as soon as it was morning he fell to preparing for wayfare, he and his daughter and his handmaidens and his negro-slaves; and on the third day they loaded their loads and set forth on return to their country and city. Then they conjoined the travel of night and day and pushed forward on their journey without stay or delay for a term of five months, until they reached their home and settled them down therein. Such was their case; but as regards the King’s son of Al-’Irak, after he had met the girl’s father on the road and had parted from him, without recognising him withal, he strave for return to his own land and behold, he wandered from the way and was confronted by a sea dashing with clashing billows. So he was perplext as to his affair and his judgment left him and his right wits, and he knew not what he should do or whither he should wend, or what direction he should take or what Allah had decreed for him — And Shahrazad 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
530 “Written” either on the Preserved Tablet (vol. ii. 68) or on the sutures of the skull (iii. 123).
531 In Arab. “Khálat-kí insánun,” meaning also to lie with. Lat. misceo. [The same word occurs presently in another tropical sense: “Khálata-há al-Khajal wa ’l-Hayá” = shame and abashment mixed with her, i.e. suffused or overwhelmed her. — ST.]
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 when the Prince came upon that sea he was perplext and wist not what to do, so he leapt from the back of the Father of the Pigeon and set his steed standing beside him that he might lean against his quarter532 when, of the excess of his night watching, he fell asleep and was drowned in slumber. Then, by doom of Destiny the beast shook his head and snorted and set off at full speed making for the wild and the wold and was presently amiddlemost the waste. Now when some two-told hours of time had passed, the Prince shook off his drowsihead and opened his eyes, but of his steed could see nor sign nor aught of visible trace. So he smote hand upon hand and cried, “There is no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great,” after which he took seat by the side of the sea and sued comfort of Almighty Allah. On the next day a ship suddenly sailed in and made fast to the shore, after which a posse of Jews landed from her and as soon as they saw him they fell upon him and seized him and pinioned him; then, carrying him perforce aboard, loaded his legs with irons. So quoth he to himself, “Whenas Fate is so minded our eyes are blinded; however, patience is fairest and of Allah must we ask aidance.” Hereupon the Jews again disembarked and filled their kegs with the water of an adjoining rain-pool, after which they trooped aboard and making sail voyaged over the billows of the ocean before them. This lasted for a month, after which time they cast anchor beside a harbour-town, and presently swarmed out to sell and to buy, and there they delayed for a term of two months until they had finished their business and they had purchased them what sufficed of provaunt. All this while the Prince lay bound in the black hole deep down in the ship’s hold, nor did anyone go near him save a Jew, a man of a certain age.533 And whenever he entered that dismal place he heard the youth reciting from the Koran and he would stand to hearken until his heart was softened to the speaker and he would favour him in the matter of meat and drink. When they cast anchor beside the second place, the King’s son asked the man, “What may be this port-city and what is her name and the name of her ruler? Would Heaven I wot an her lord be a King or a Governor under a royal hand?” “Wherefore askest thou?” quoth the Jew, and quoth the other, “For nothing: my only want is the city’s name534 and I would learn whether it belong to Moslems or Jews or Nazarenes.” “This be peopled by Moslem folk,” replied the Jew, “natheless can none carry tidings of thee to her inhabitants. However, O Moslem, I feel a fondness for thee and ’tis my intent when we reach the city of Andalús535 to give tidings of thee, but it must be on condition that thou accept of me to thy company whenas Allah Almighty shall have delivered thee.” Said the Prince, “And what hindereth thee from Al-Islam at this hour?” and said the other, “I am forbidden by fear of the ship’s Captain.”536 Replied the Prince, “Become a Moslem in secret and wash and pray in privacy beside me here.” So he became of the True Believers at the hand of the King’s son, who presently asked him, “Say me, be there in this vessel any Moslems save myself?” “There are some twenty here,” answered he, “and ’tis the design of the Captain to offer them up on arrival at his own country and he shall devote them as victims in the Greater Synagogue.” Rejoined the other, “Thou art now a Moslem even as I am a Moslem, and it besitteth thou apprise me of all and whatsoever befalleth in the ship, but first art thou able to gar me forgather with the other True Believers?” And the man answered in the affirmative. Now after the ship had sailed with them for ten days, the whilome Jew contrived to bring him and the Moslem prisoners together and they were found to number twenty, each and every in irons. But when it was the Sabbath about undurn hour, all the Jews including the Captain fell to wine-bibbing and therein exceeded until the whole of them waxed drunken; whereat the Prince and his convert arose, and going to the armoury537 and opening it found therein all manner war-gear, even habergeons. So the Youth returned to the captives and unbinding their bonds, led them to the cabin of weapons and said to them, “Do each and every of you who shall find aught befitting take it and let such as avail to wear coat of mail seize one of them and don it.” On this wise he heartened their hearts and cried to them, “Unless ye do the deeds of men you will be slaughtered with the slaughtering of sheep, for at this moment ’tis their design on reaching their own land to offer you up as corbans in their Greater Synagogue. So be you on your guard and, if ye fall in this affair,538 ’tis fairer for you than to die with split weasands.” So each of them snatched up whatso of war-gear suited him and one equipped other and they heartened their hearts and all waxed eager for the fray. Then sallied they forth, one and twenty in number, at a single word, with the Takbír and the Tahlíl,539 whilst the Jews who formed the ship’s crew were some one hundred and five. But these were all drunken with wine and giddy of head, nor did they recover until the weapons began to play upon their necks and their backs, whereat they shook off their crapulence and learned that the Moslems had gotten about them with their war-gear. So they cried out to one another and became ware and the liquor-fumes left their brains. Then they rushed for the armoury but found that most of the weapons were with the Moslems, whom the Prince was urging to derring-do of cut and thrust. Thus were they departed into two portions and hardly had passed an hour, an hour which would grey the hair of a little child, in fight and fray and onset and retreat — And Shahrazad was surprised by the dawn of day, and fell silent and ceased saying her permitted say. Then quoth her sister Dunyazad, “How sweet and tasteful is thy tale, 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 Sovran suffer me to survive?” Now when it was the next night and that was
532 In text “Istanade ’alà Shakkati-h.” [“Istanáda ’alà” is in the Vocabulista in Arabico rendered by “recumbere” and “Shikkah” is a rug, while I can find no authority for “Shakkah” as “quarter.” The passage may therefore mean he lay down on his rug. If he had been leaning against the standing horse, it would on bolting have thrown him on the ground and awaked him rudely. — ST.]
533 “Rajul ikhtiyár,” a polite term for an old man: See i. 55. In the speech of the Badawin it means a man of substance and hospitality.
534 **In**? Arab. “Wa lásh: Murádí bas Ism al-Madinah.” I seem to hear some Fellah speaking to me from the door of his clay hut.
535 “Madínat al-Andalús” = usually Seville.
536 In text “Kabdán,” the usual form being “Kaptan,” from the Ital. Capitano (iv. 85): here, however, we have the Turk. form as in “Kapúdán-pashá” = Lord High Admiral of ancient Osmanli-land.
537 Arab. “Khaznat al-Síláh.” When Easterns, especially Maroccan Moslems and Turkish Pilgrims, embark as passengers, their weapons are taken from them, ticketed and placed in a safe cabin.
538 Arab. “Waka’h” = an affair (of fight).
539 i.e. crying the war-cry, “Alláho Akbar” = God is most Great (vol. ii. 89, etc.) and “Lá iláha illa ’llah,” the refrain of Unity: vol. ii. 236.
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 Prince urged on his party and fortified their hearts to fight, nor had an hour passed in battle and slaughter (and he smiting rightwards and leftwards) when behold, he was encountered by the Captain who sprang at him with his scymitar and designed to cut him down. But he forestalled him with sway of sabre and smote him a swashing stroke and an all-sufficient which share through his joints and tare through his limbs; and when the ship’s crew saw their Chief fall dead they gave in their submission540 and throwing down their weapons would have saved their lives. The Prince, however, went forward to them and fell to pinioning them, one after other, until he had bound them all after which he counted them and found them to number about forty head while the slain were three score and five. These he threw into the sea,541 but the captives he placed in prison after chaining them with iron chains and they padlocked the doors upon them; and the Moslems worked the ship’s sails while the man who had newly islamised directed them upon their course until they moored at a holm hard by the mainland. Here they landed and found the place abounding in blooms and trees and streams, and the Prince left the ship to reconnoitre the continent when suddenly a dust cloud drew nigh and a sand-pillar soared awhile in air high; then it uncovered some fifty horsemen, and they were pursuing in the hottest of haste,542 a stallion which was saddled and bridled and which they intended to secure. Now for ten days they had galloped after him but none availed to catch him. When the King’s son looked upon that case he uttered a loud cry and the courser, hearing the sound of his master’s voice, made for him and fell to rubbing his cheeks upon his back and shoulders543 until they came up with him as he was standing beside his lord. Hereat all the riders dismounted with intent to seize him, but the Prince opposed them saying. “This is my horse and he was lost from me in such a place upon the margin of the main.” Replied they, “’Tis well, but this is our booty nor will we ever leave him to thee, for that during the last ten days we have galloped after him until we are melted, and our horses are melted as well as ourselves. Moreover, our King awaiteth us and if we return without the steed our heads will be cut off.” Quoth the Prince, “Nor ye nor that Sovran of yours can have any command over him, albeit you may have pursued him at speed for ten days or fifteen days or twenty days; nor shall you make him a quarry or for yourselves or for the King of you. By Allah, one Sultan was unable to take even a hair from him and, by the Almighty! were you to pursue him for a full-told year not one of you could come up with him or make him your own.” Hereupon talk increased between them and one drew weapon upon other and there befel between them contest and enmity and rage of bad blood and each clapt hand to sword and drew it from sheath. When the King’s son saw this from them, he sprang upon the steed’s back swiftlier than the blinding leven; and, having settled himself firmly in selle, he put forth his hand and seized a sword which hung by the saddle bow. As soon as the folk saw that he had mounted the horse, they charged upon him with their scymitars and would have cut him down, but he made his steed curvet and withdrew from them saying, “An you design battle I am not fain of fight, and do ye all go about your business and covet not the horse lest your greed deceive you and you ask more than enough and thereby fall into harm. This much we know and if you require aught else let the strongest and doughtiest of you do his best.” Then they charged upon him a second time and a third time and he warded them off and cried, “Allah draw the line between me and you,544 O folk, and do ye gang your gait for you be fifty riders and I be alone and singlehanded and how shall one contend in fight with half an hundred?” Cried they, “Naught shall save thee from us except thou dismount from the steed and suffer us to take him and return home with him;”— And Shahrazad 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
540 In text “A’atú Al-Wírah.” [“Wírah” is gerund of the Turkish “wírmek” or “wermek,” to give, to give up, and the phrase in the text corresponds to the Turkish “wírah wírmek” = to capitulate. — ST.]
541 The “buccaneers,” quite as humane, made their useless prisoners “walk a plank.” The slave-ships, when chased and hard-driven, simply tossed the poor devil niggers overboard; and the latter must often have died, damning the tender mercies of the philanthrope which had doomed them to untimely deaths instead of a comfortable middle passage from Blackland to Whiteland.
542 [In the text “Kárishín” = chasing, being in hot pursuit of; see Dozy, Suppl. s. v. “karash.”— ST.]
543 See in Mr. Doughty’s valuable “Arabia Deserta” (i. 309) how the Badawi’s mare puts down her soft nose to be kissed by the sitters about the coffee-hearth.
544 In text, “Hadda ’lláho bayní wa baynakum.”
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 fifty horsemen said to the King’s son, “There is no help but that we take from thee the horse,” and said he, “I have given you good advice, and well I wot and am certified that were you two hundred riders ye could never prevail over me whilst I am mounted on my courser’s back and indeed I have no fear of fight; but let any of you who hath claim to knightlihood come forwards and take him and mount him.” So saying he alighted forthright and left his horse and went to some distance from him, when one of the fifty riders pushed forwards and designed to seize the steed by the reins and bestride him, when suddenly the stallion raged like fire at him and attacked him and smote him with his forehand and drove the entrails out of his belly and the man at once fell to the ground slain. As his party saw this they bared their brands and assaulted the horse designing to cut him in pieces when behold, a dust-cloud high in lift upflew and walled the view; and all extended their glances in that direction for an hour of time until it opened and showed some two hundred knights headed by a King mighty of degree and majesty and over his head were flags a-flying. The fifty horsemen, seeing him advance with his troops, drew off and stood still to look and see whom he might be, and when the horse sighted these banners he sniffed with nostrils opened wide to the air, and made for them at full speed, as if gladdened by the sight, and approached them and returned to them a second time in like guise and at the third time he drew up hard beside them and nearing the King fell to rubbing his cheeks upon the stirrups whilst the ruler put forth his hand and gentled the steed by smoothing his head and forehead. As soon as the fifty riders saw this, they marvelled thereat, but the King’s son who had kept his ground was astounded and said to himself, “The horse fled me and when this host drew nigh he sought me again.”545 Presently the Prince fixed his glance upon the latest comers and behold, the King was his father, so he sprang to him and when the sire saw him he knew his son and footed it and the twain embraced and fell fainting to the ground for awhile. When they recovered the suite of the Sultan came forward and salam’d to the Prince who presently asked his sire, “What may be the cause of thy coming to this plain?” and the ruler informed him by way of answer that after his child’s departure slumber to him brought no rest nor was there in food aught of zest and with him longing overflowed for the sake of his son, so that after a while of time he and the grandees of his realm had marched forth, and he ended by saying, “O my son, our leaving home was for the sake of thee, but do thou tell me what befel thee after mounting the Father of a Pigeon, and what was the cause of thy coming to this spot.” Accordingly the Prince told all that had betided him, first and last, of his durance vile amongst the Jews and how he had devised the killing of the Captain and the capture of the craft; and how the steed, after being lost in the waste,546 had returned to him in this place; also of the fifty riders who encountered him on landing and would fain have seized him but failed and of the death of the horseman who was slain by the horse. Hereat they pitched the pavilions upon that spot and set up a throne for the King who after taking seat thereon placed his son by his side and bade summon the fifty riders who were brought into the presence — And Shahrazad was surprised by the dawn of day and fell silent and ceased saying her permitted say. Then quoth her sister Dunyazad, “How sweet and tasteful is thy tale, 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 Sovran suffer me to survive?” Now when it was the next night and that was
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 when the Sultan took seat upon the throne and set his son by his side he summoned the fifty riders, who were brought into the presence and placed between his hands. Then he questioned them of their case and their country and the cause of their coming to that stead and they notified to him their native land and their Sovran and the reason of their wandering; to wit, their headlong pursuit of the stallion which had lasted for a term of ten days. Now when the Sultan understood their words and knew and was certified concerning their King and their country, he robed them with honourable robes547 and said to them, “Walláhi! had I known that the stallion would have submitted to you and would have obeyed you I should have delivered him up to you, but I feared for any that durst approach him, barring his master. Now, however, do ye depart and salam to your Sovran and say him, ‘By Allah, if the stallion thou sawest wandering the waste befitted the use of thee I had sent him in free gift.’” With this fair message the men farewelled him and fared from him and they ceased not faring until they returned to their liege lord and reported to him all that had betided them; that is, how the owner of the stallion had appeared and proved to be a King who (they added) “hath sent his salam to thee saying it was his desire to despatch the horse but none availed to manage him save himself and his son.” And when the Ruler heard these words, he returned thanks to the Sovran for the grace of his goodness, and returned forthright to his own land. Meanwhile the Sultan who was owner of the stallion presented the captured ship to those who had captured her, and taking his son turned towards his capital, and they marched without stay or delay until they reached it. Hereupon the Chamberlains and the Nabobs and the high Officers and the townsfolk came forth to meet and greet their Ruler and rejoiced in his safety and that of his son, and they adorned the city for three days and all were in high mirth and merriment until what time the Sultan had settled down at home. Such was his case; but as regards the Khwajah and his daughter, when they had let load their loads they quitted the cavern and set forth, making for their country and patrial stead, and they ceased not forcing their marches for a term of ten days. But on the eleventh they encountered fiery heat beginning from mid-forenoon; and, as the place was grassy ground and overgrown with greenery, they alighted from their beasts and bade pitch two pavilions, one for the daughter and the other for her father and his folk, that it might shade them and shelter them from the excessive sultriness. Now when it was mid-afternoon behold, the damsel was seized with the birth-pains and the pangs of child-bearing, but Allah Almighty made delivery right easy to her and presently she became the mother of a man-child — Glory be to God who fashioned him and perfected what He had fashioned in the creation of that babe!548 So his mother cut his navel-string and, rolling it up in one of her shifts, kept careful guard over it.549 And presently her father entered to look upon her, and finding that she had been delivered was grieved with exceeding grief and the world was straitened before his face, and unknowing what to do he said to himself, “Had we reached our homes and that babe appeared with the damsel, our honour had been smirched and men had blamed us saying, ‘The Khwajah’s daughter hath brought forth in sin.’ So we cannot confront the world, and if we bear with us this infant they will ask where is its father!” He remained perplext and distraught, seeing no way of action, and now he would say, “Let us slay the child,” and anon, “Let us hide it;” and the while he was in that place his nature bespake him with such promptings. But when morning came he had determined upon abandoning the new-born and not carrying it further, so quoth he to his daughter, “Hearken unto whatso I shall say thee.” Quoth she, “’Tis well!” and he continued, “If we travel with this infant the tidings of us will spread through the city and men will say, ‘The Khwajah’s daughter hath been debauched and hath borne a babe in bastardy’; and our right way (according to me) is that we leave it in this tent under charge of the Lord and whoso shall come up to the little one shall take it with the tent; moreover I will place under its head two hundred dinars and any whose lot it is shall carry off the whole.” When the damsel heard these words she found the matter grievous, but she could return no reply. “What sayest thou?” asked he, and she answered, “Whatso is right that do thou.” Hereupon he took a purse550 of two hundred gold pieces which he set under the child’s head and left it in the tent. Then he loaded his loads and fared forth, he and his daughter and his pages, and they ceased not pushing their marches until they reached their own land and native country and entered their home, where they were met by sundry of their familiars coming forth to greet them. They settled down in their quarters when the damsel forgathered with her mother who threw her arms round her neck for exceeding affection to her and asked her of her news; so she informed her concerning the matter of the cavern and what was therein and how great was its distance, but she told her naught of what had befallen her nor of her pregnancy by the Prince nor of the babe she had abandoned. The mother still supposed that she was a clean maid, yet she noted the change in her state and complexion. Then the damsel sought privacy in one of the chambers and wept until her gall-bladder was like to burst and said to herself, “Would Heaven I knew whether Allah will re-unite me with the child and its father the Prince!” and in this condition she remained for a while of time. On such wise it befel the Merchant and his daughter; but as regards the son of the Sultan, when he had settled down in the city of his sire he remembered the Khwajah’s daughter, and quoth he to his father, “O my papa, my desire is to hunting and birding and diversion.” Quoth the King, the better that Destiny might be fulfilled, “’Tis well, O my son, but take with thee a suite.” “I desire no more than five men in all,” said the other, and gat himself ready for travel and, having farewelled his father, set forth from the city — And Shahrazad 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
547 In Abyssinia the “Khil’at” = robe of honour (see vol. i. 195) is an extensive affair composed of a dress of lion’s pelt with silver-gilt buttons, a pair of silken breeches, a cap and waist-shawl of the same material, a sword, a shield and two spears; a horse with furniture of silk and silver and a mule similarly equipped. These gifts accompany the insignia of the “Order of Solomon,” which are various medals bearing an imperial crown, said to represent the Hierosolymitan Temple of the Wise King, and the reverses show the Amharic legend “Yohanne Negus zei Etiopia”— John, Emperor of Ethiopia. The orders are distinguished as (1) the Grand Cross, a star of 100 grammes in massive gold, hammer-wrought, and studded with gems, given only to royalties; (2) the Knighthood, similar, but of 50 grammes, and without jewels, intended for distinguished foreigners; (3) the Officer’s Star, silver-gilt, of 50 grammes; and (4) the Companion’s, of pure silver, and the same weight. All are worn round the neck save the last, which hangs upon the chest. This practice of gilding the metals prevails also in Europe, for instance in Austria, where those made of gunmetal are often gilt by the recipients contrary to all official etiquette.
548 Meaning only that the babe was perfectly beautiful.
549 In order that the cord might not be subject to the evil eye or fall into the hand of a foe who would use it magically to injure the babe. The navel-string has few superstitions in England. The lower classes mostly place over the wound a bit of cloth wherein a hole has been burned, supposing that the carbon will heal the cut, and make it fast to the babe by a “binder” or swathe round the body, as a preventative to “pot-belly.” But throughout the East there are more observances. In India, on the birth of the babe, the midwife demands something shining, as a rupee or piece of silver, and having touched the navel-string therewith she divides it and appropriates the glittering substance, under the pretence that the absence of the illuminating power of some such sparkling object would prevent her seeing to operate. The knife with which the umbilical cord has been cut is not used for common purposes but is left beside the puerpera until the “Chilla” (fortieth day), when “Kajjal” (lamp-black), used by way of Kohl, is collected on it and applied to the child’s eyelids. Whenever the babe is bathed or taken out of the house the knife must be carried along with it; and when they are brought in again the instrument is deposited in its former place near the mother. Lastly, on the “Chilla”-day they must slaughter with the same blade a cock or a sheep (Herklots, chapt. i. sec. 3). Equally quaint is the treatment of the navel-string in Egypt; but Lane (M.E.) is too modest to give details.
550 In text “Sarsarah,” a clerical error for “Akhaza(?) surratan.” See MS. vol. vi. p. 197, line 9. [I read “sarra Surrah (Surratan)” = he tied up a purse. — ST.]
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 Prince went forth from his father with a train of five attendants and made for the wilderness, and he conjoined the journeys of night and day; withal he knew not whither he was going, and he chanced travel over the same wilds and wolds and dales and stony leas. But as regards the Merchant and his daughter, he went in to her one day of the days and found her weeping and wailing, so he said to her, “What causeth thee to shed tears, O my child?” and said she, “How shall I not weep? indeed I must wail over my lot, and over the promise wherewith Allah promised me.” Hereupon he exclaimed, “O my daughter, be silent and Inshallah — God willing — I will equip me for travel and will fare to the son of the King; and look to it, for haply Allah Almighty our Lord may direct me to a somewhat shall conduct me to the Prince’s city.” So saying he bade his handmaidens and eunuchs make ready forthright a viaticum sufficing for a full-told year himself and his following of pages and eunuchs, and they did his bidding. After a few days they prepared all he had required and he purposed to set out; then, he loaded his loads and, farewelling his wife and daughter, went forth seeking the city of the King’s son. He ceased not travelling for a space of three months, when he found a meadow wide of sides on the margin of a sweet-water lake, so he said to his slaves, “Alight we here in this very place that we may take our rest.” Accordingly, they dismounted and pitched a tent and furnisht it for him, and he passed that night by the water-side, and all enjoyed their repose. But as soon as morn ’gan show and shone with sheeny glow, and the sun arose o’er the lands lying low, the Khwajah designed to order a march for his slaves when suddenly espying a dust-cloud towering in rear of them, they waited to see what it might be, and after some two hours of the day it cleared off and disclosed beneath it six riders and with them a bât-beast carrying a load of provisions. These drew near the meadow where the Khwajah sat looking at them, and fear hereat entered into his heart, and trembling fell upon his limbs551 until he was assured that they were but six men. So his mind was calmed. But when the party drew near him he fixed his glance and made certain that the men were headed by the King’s son whom he had met on his first journey, and he marvelled indeed at the youth making for the same place, and he strove to guess the cause of his coming with only five followers and no more. Then he arose and accosted him and salam’d and sat down in converse with him, being assured the while that it was the same who had had doings with his daughter, and that the child which she had borne in the tent and which they abandoned was the son of this Prince, while the youth knew not that the Khwajah was father to the damsel with whom he had tarried in the cavern. So they fell to communing together for a while until the Prince asked the Trader, “What is the cause of thy coming hither?” and answered the other, “I have come seeking thee and thy country, for I have a want which thou must fulfil me;” presently adding, “And thou, whither art thou intending? Quoth the King’s son, “I am making for the cavern wherein the handmaidens showed me much honour, for indeed I gave my word that I would return to them after I had revisited my country and had met my folk and my friends; and here I am coming back to keep what plight and promise were between us.” Hereupon the Merchant arose, and taking the Prince, retired with him to a place of privacy where none could wot of them twain save Allah Almighty. “Would Heaven I knew what may be in the thoughts of this Khwájah!” said the Prince in his mind; but when both had seated themselves at ease, the Merchant addressed the King’s son in these words, “O my son, all things are foredoomed in the World of Secrets, and from fated lot is no flight. Now the end and aim whereto thou designest in the cavern, verily they552 left it for their own land.” When the King’s son heard these words informing him that his beloved had quitted her abode, he cried out with a loud outcry for stress of what had betided him, and fell a-swoon by cause that love of the damsel had mastered his heart and his vitals hung to her. After a while he recovered and asked the Khwajah, “Say me, be these words of thine soothfast or false?” “Soothfast indeed,” answered the father, “but, O my child, be of good cheer and eyes clear, for that thy wish is won”— And Shahrazad was surprised by the dawn of day and fell silent and ceased to say her permitted say. Then quoth her sister Dunyazad, “How sweet and tasteful is thy tale, 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 Sovran suffer me to survive?” Now when it was the next night and that was
551 In the text “on account of the dust-cloud” which, we were just told, had cleared away [The translator seems to have overlooked the “kána” before “kad dákhala-hu al-Ra’b,” which gives to the verb the force of a pluperfect: “and fear had entered into him at the sight of the dust-cloud.”— ST.]
552 i.e. his daughter, of whom he afterwards speaks in the plur.
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 Khwajah to the King’s son after he had revived, “O my child, be of good cheer and eyes clear for that thy want is won and for thee the way hath been short done and if thy heart be firm-fixed upon thy beloved the heart of her is still firmer than thine and I am a messenger from her who seek thee that I may unite you twain Inshallah — an Allah please.” Asked the Prince, “And who mayest thou be to her, O my lord?” and answered the other, “I am her father and she is my daughter and hers is a marvel-tale, I swear by the All-might of Him who made the Heavens and the Earth.” Then he fell to recounting anent the Voice which came to him on the night of her being conceived in her mother’s womb and all that had since befallen her, keeping concealed553 only the matter of the babe which she had borne in the tent. But when the Prince knew that the wayfarer was her sire who was travelling to seek him, he rejoiced in the glad tidings of forgathering with the damsel and on the morning of the second day all marched off together and made for the Merchant’s city. And they stinted not wayfaring and forcing their marches until they drew near it, and as soon as they entered it, the Merchant, before going to his home, led the Prince with him and sought the Kazi by whose aid the marriage-tie, after due settlement of the dowry, might be tied between him and the damsel. This done, he conducted him to a place of concealment and presently went in to his daughter and her mother who saluted him and asked him the news. Hereupon he gave them to know that he had brought the King’s son and had made ready to knot the knot of wedlock between him and her. As soon as the damsel heard these tidings she fainted for excess of her happiness, and when she revived her mother arose and prepared her person and adorned her and made her don her most sumptuous of dresses. And when night fell they led the bridegroom in procession to her and the couple embraced and each threw arms round the neck of other for exceeding desire and their embraces lasted till dawn-tide.554 After that the times waxed clear to them and the days were serene until one chance night of the nights when the Prince was sitting beside his bride and conversing with her concerning various matters when suddenly she fell to weeping and wailing. He was consterned thereat and cried, “What causeth thee cry, O dearling of my heart and light of mine eyes?” and she, “How shall I not cry when they have parted me from my boy, the life-blood of my liver!” “And thou, hast thou a babe?” asked he and she answered, “Yes indeed, my child and thy child, whom I conceived by thee while we abode in the cavern. But when my father555 took me therefrom and was leading me home we encountered about midway a burning heat, so we halted and pitched two tents for myself and my sire; then, as I sat within mine the labour-pangs came upon me and I bare a babe as the moon. But my parent feared to carry it with us lest our honour be smirched by tittle-tattle, so we left the little one in the tent with two hundred gold pieces under its head, that whoso might come upon it and take it and tend it might therewith be repaid.” In fine, she told her spouse the whole tale concerning her infant and declared that she had no longer patience to be parted from it. Her bridegroom consoled her and promised her with the fairest promises that he would certainly set out and travel and make search for the lost one amongst the lands, even though his absence might endure through a whole year in the wilderness. And lastly he said to her, “We will ask news and seek tidings of him from all the wayfarers who wend by that same valley, and certify ourselves of the information, nor will we return to thee save with assured knowledge; for this child is the fruit of my loins and I will never neglect him; no, never. Needs must I set forth and fare to those parts and search for my son.” Such was their case; but as regards the babe which had been abandoned (as we have noticed), he lay alone for the first day and yet another when a caravan appeared passing along that same road; and, as soon as they sighted the pavilion yet they saw none within, they drew near to it and behold, they found a babe lying prostrate with his fingers in his mouth and sucking thereat556 and he was even as a slice of the moon. So they approached him and took him up and found under his head the purse, whereupon they carried him, not forgetting the gold, and showed him to the Shaykh of the Cafilah557 who cried, “Walláhi, our way is a blessed for that we have discovered this child; and, inasmuch as I have no offspring, I will take him and tend him and adopt him to son.” Now this caravan was from the land of Al-Yaman and they had halted on that spot for a night’s rest, so when it was morning they loaded and left it and fared forwards and they ceased not wayfaring until they reached their homes safe and sound. After returning all the Cafilah folk dispersed, each to his own stead, but the Shaykh, who was employed by government under the King of Al-Yaman, repaired to his own house accompanied by the child which he had carefully tended and salam’d to his wife. As soon as she saw the babe she marvelled at his fashion and, sending for a wet-nurse, committed him for suckling to her and set apart for her a place; and the woman fell to tending him and cleaning him, and the house prospered for the master and dame had charge of it558 during the days of suckling. And when the boy was weaned they fed him fairly559 and took sedulous charge of him, so he became accustomed to bespeak the man with, “O my papa,” and the woman with, “O my mamma,” believing the twain to be truly his parents. This endured for some seven years when they brought him a Divine to teach him at home, fearing lest he should fare forth the house; nor would they at any time send him to school. So the tutor560 took him in hand and taught him polite letters and he became a reader and a writer and well versed in all knowledge before he reached his tenth year. Then his adopted father appointed for him a horse that he might learn cavalarice and the shooting of shafts and firing of bullets at the butt,561 and then brought for him a complete rider that he might teach him all his art and when he came to the age of fourteen he became a doughty knight and a prow. Now one chance day of the days the youth purposed going to the wild that he might hunt — And Shahrazad 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
553 These concealments are inevitable in ancient tale and modern novel, and it need hardly be said that upon the nice conduct of them depends all the interest of the work. How careful the second-rate author is to spoil his plot by giving a needless “pregustation” of his purpose, I need hardly say.
554 The mysteries of the marriage-night are touched with a light hand because the bride had already lost her virginity.
555 In text “Abúyah,” a Fellah vulgarism for Abí which latter form occurs a few lines lower down.
556 In text “Wa-Sawábi ’hu (Asábi ’a-hu?) fí hanaki-h:” this is explained in MS. p. 216: “Bi-yarza’u fí Asábí hi.” [Dozy, Suppl. i. 815, gives “Sawábi’” as an irregular pl. of “Asba’” quoting from Bresl. ed. iii. 381, 9.] I would rather say it is a regularly formed broken plural of a singular “Sábi’” = the pointing one, i.e. index, now commonly called “Sabbábah” the reviler, where the same idea of pointing at with contempt seems to prevail, and “Sháhid” = the witnessing, because it is raised in giving testimony. In the plural it would be naturally generalised to “finger,” and in point of fact, the sing. “Sábi’” is used nowadays in this sense in Egypt along with the other popular form of “Subá’.”
557 I write “Cafilah” and not “Cafila” with the unjustifiable suppression of the final “h” which is always made sensible in the pure pronunciation of the Badawi. The malpractice has found favour chiefly through the advocacy of Dr. Redhouse, an eminent Turkish scholar whose judgments must be received with great caution; and I would quote on this subject the admirable remarks of my late lamented friend Dr. G. P. Badger in “The Academy” of July 2, 1887. “Another noticeable default in the same category is that, like Sale, Mr. Wherry frequently omits the terminal ‘h’ in his transliteration of Arabic. Thus he writes Sura, Amína, Fátima, Madína, Taháma; yet, inconsistently enough, he gives the ‘h’ in Allah, Khadijah, Kaabah, Makkah, and many other words. This point deserves special notice, owing to Dr. Redhouse’s letter, published in ‘The Academy’ of November 22 last, in which he denounces as ‘a very common European error’ the addition of the ‘h’ or ‘final aspirate,’ in the English transliteration of many Arabic words. Hence, as I read the eminent Orientalist’s criticism, when that aspirate is not sounded in pronunciation he omits it, writing “F&amacron;tima,” not Fatimah, lest, as I presume, the unwary reader may aspirate the ‘h.’ But in our Bibles we find such names as Sarah, Hannah, Judah, Beulah, Moriah, Jehovah, in the enunciation of which no one thinks of sounding the last letter as an aspirate. I quite agree with Dr. Redhouse that in the construct case the final h assumes the sound of t, as in Fatimatu bint-Muhammed; yet that does not strike me as a valid reason for eliding the final h, which among other uses, is indicative of the feminine gender, as in Fâtimah, Khadîjah, Amînah, etc.; also of the nomina vicis, of many abstract nouns, nouns of multitude and of quality, as well as of adjectives of intensiveness, all which important indications would be lost by dropping the final h. And further unless the vowel a, left after the elision of that letter, be furnished with some etymological mark of distinction, there would be great risk of its being confounded with the â, formative of the singular of many verbal nouns, such as binâ, safâ, jalâ; with the masculine plurals ending in the same letters, such as hukamâ, ághniyâ, kúfarâ; and with the feminine plurals of many adjectives, such as kúbra, súghra, húsna, etc. Dr. Redhouse says that ‘many eminent Arabists avoid such errors’— a remark which rather surprises me, since Pocock, Lane and Palmer, and Fresnel and Perron among French Orientalists, as also Burton, all retain the final aspirate h, the latter taking special care to distinguish, by some adequate, diacritical sign, those substantive and adjective forms with which words ending in the final aspirate h might otherwise be confounded.”
558 In the text, “Wa sába’l-dár wa Zaujatu-hu mutawassíyín bi-há.” [I cannot explain to myself the plural “Mutawassín” unless by supposing that the preceding “Sáb al-Dár” is another blunder of the scribe for “Sáhibu ’l-Dár” when the meaning would be: “and the master of the house and his wife took charge of her (the nurse) during the days of suckling.” — ST.]
559 In text “Sárú yaráshú-hu wa yatawassu.”
560 [In the text “Fikí” the popular form of the present day “Fikíh,” properly “learned in the law” (LL.D. as we would say), but now the usual term for “school-master.”— ST.]
561 Both of which are practised by Easterns from horseback, the animal going at fullest speed. With the English saddle and its narrow stirrup-irons we can hardly prove ourselves even moderately good shots after Parthian fashion.
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 youth proposed going forth to the wild that he might hunt, but his guardians feared for him so that he availed not to fare forth. Grievous to him was it that he could not obtain his liberty to set out a-chasing, and there befel him much concern562 and a burning thirst; so he lay him down sore sick and troubled. Hereupon his father and mother went in to him and, finding that he had taken to his pillow, they mourned over him, and fearing lest he be afflicted by some disease they asked him, “What is to do with thee and what calamity hath befallen thee?” Answered he, “There is no help but that I go forth a-hunting in the wilderness.” Quoth they, “O our son, we fear for thee,” and quoth he, “Fear not, for that all things be foredoomed from Eternity and, if aught be written for me, ’twill come to pass even although I were beside you; and the bye-word saith, ‘Profiteth not Prudence against Predestination.’” Hereat they gave him permission, and upon the second day he rode forth to the chase, but the wold and the wilds swallowed him up, and when he would have returned he knew not the road, so he said to himself, “Folk declare that affects are affected and footsteps are sped to a life that is vile and divided daily bread.563 If aught be written to me fain must I fulfil it.” And whenever he hunted down a gazelle, he cut its throat and broiled the meat over a fire and nourished himself for a while of days and nights; but he was lost in those wastes until he drew in sight of a city. This he entered, but he had no money for food or for foraging his horse, so he sold it willy-nilly and, hiring a room in a Wakálah, lived by expending its price till the money was spent. Then he cried, “There is no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great! The wise man doth even as the fool, but All-might is to Allah.” So he went forth to solace himself in the highways of the city, looking rightwards and leftwards, until he came to the gateway of the King’s Palace, and when he glanced around he saw written over it, “Dive not into the depths unless thou greed for thyself and thy wants.”564 So he said in his mind, “What is the meaning of these words I see here inscribed?” Presently he repaired for aid to a man in a shop and salam’d to him, and when his salutation was returned enquired of him, “O my lord, what is the meaning of this writ which is written over the Sultan’s gateway?” The other replied, “O my son, whereof dost thou ask? Verily the Sultan and all the Lords of his land are in sore cark and care for the affair of his daughter, the Princess.” The youth rejoined, “What is the matter with her and what hath befallen her?” and the man retorted, “O my son, verily the Sultan hath a daughter so fair that she seemeth cast in the very mould of beauty and none in her day can excel her, but whoso is betrothed to her and marrieth her and goeth in unto her the dawn never cometh without his becoming a heap of poison, and no one wotteth the business what it may be.” Hearing these words the youth said to himself, “By Allah, the death of me were better than this the life of me, but I have no dower to offer her.” Then he asked the man, “O my uncle, whoso lacketh money and wisheth to marry her, how shall he act?” “O my son,” answered the other, “verily the Sultan demandeth nothing; nay, he expendeth of his own wealth upon her.” The youth arose from beside the man at that moment and, going in to the King, found him seated on his throne; so he salam’d to him and prayed for him and deprecated and kissed ground before him, and when the King returned his salutation and welcomed him he cried, “O King of the Age, ’tis my intent and design to be connected with thee through the lady safe-guarded, thy daughter.” “By Allah, O Youth,” said the Sultan, “I consent not for thine own sake that thou wed her by cause that thou wilt be going wilfully to thy death;” and hereupon he related to him all that befel each and every who had married her and had gone in unto her. Quoth the youth, “O King of the Age, indeed I rely upon the Lord, and if I die I shall fare to Allah and His ruth and, if I live, ’tis well, for that all things are from the Almighty.” Quoth the Sultan, “O Youth, counsel appertaineth to Allah, for thou art her equal in beauty;” and the other rejoined, “All things are by Fate and man’s lot.” Hereupon the King summoned the Kazi and bade tie the marriage-tie between the youth and his daughter; then he went in to his Harem and apprised thereof her mother that she might prepare the girl’s person for the coming night. But the youth departed from the Sultan’s presence perplext of heart and distraught, unknowing what to do; and, as he walked about, suddenly he met a man in years, clean of raiment and with signs of probity evident; so he accosted him and said, “O my lord, ask a blessing for me.” Said the Shaykh, “O my son, may our Lord suffice thee against all would work thee woe and may He ever forefend thee from thy foe.”565 And the youth was gladdened by the good omen of the Shaykh’s words. But when the Sultan had sought his Harem he said, “By Allah, he who hath wedded the damsel is a beautiful youth: oh the pity of it that he should die! Indeed I dissuaded him, saying so-and-so shall befal thee, but I could not deter him. Now by the rights of Him who raised the firmament without basement, an our Lord deign preserve this Youth and he see the morn in safety, I will assuredly gift him and share with him all my good, for that I have no male issue to succeed me in the sovranty; and this one, if Allah Almighty vouchsafe prolong his days, shall become my heir apparent and inherit after me. Indeed I deem him to be a son of the Kings who disguiseth himself, or some Youth of high degree who is troubled about worldly goods and who sayeth in himself, ‘I will take this damsel to wife that I may not die of want, for verily I am ruined.’ I diverted him from wedding her, but it could not be, and the more I deterred him with words manifold only the more grew his desire and he cried, ‘I am content’; thus speaking after the fashion of one who longeth to perish. However, let him meet his lot — either death-doom or deliverance from evil.” Now when it was eventide the Sultan sent to summon his son-in-law and, seating him beside the throne, fell to talking with him and asking after his case; but he concealed his condition and said, “Thy servant is such whereof ’tis spoken, ‘I fell from Heaven and was received by Earth.’ Ask me not, O King of the Age, or of the root or of the branch, for one of the wise and ware hath said:—
‘To tell my root and my name refrain;
The root of the youth is what good he gain:566
A wight without father full oft shall win
And melting shall purify drossy strain.’
And folk are equal but in different degrees.”567 Now when the Sultan heard these words, he wondered at his eloquence and sweetness of speech; withal he marvelled that his son-in-law would not explain to him from what land or from what folk he came. And the two ceased not their converse until after the hour of night prayers, when the Lords of the land had been dismissed; whereupon the Sultan bade an eunuch take the youth and introduce him to the Princess. So he arose from him and went with the slave, the King exclaiming the while, “There is no Majesty and there is no Might, save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great: verily yonder young man wendeth wilfully to his death.” Now when the bridegroom reached the apartment of the Sultan’s daughter and entered to her — And Shahrazad was surprised by the dawn of day and fell silent and ceased saying her permitted say. Then quoth her sister Dunyazad, “How sweet and tasteful is thy tale, 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 Sovran suffer me to survive?” Now when it was the next night and that was
562 In text “Ihtimám wa Ghullah”: I suspect that the former should be written with the major h, meaning fever.
563 See Suppl. vol. iv. p. 191.
564 i.e. tempt not Providence unless compelled so to do by necessity.
565 The youth was taking a “Fál” or omen: see vol. v. 136.
566 In text “Hasal,” for which I would read “Khasal.”
567 A wiser Sprichwort than those of France and America. It compares advantageously with the second par. of the Declaration of Independence (July 4, 1776) by the Representatives of the U.S., which declares, “these truths to be self-evident:— that all men are created equal,” etc. It is regretable that so trenchant a state-paper should begin with so gross and palpable a fallacy. Men are not born equal, nor do they become equal before their death-days even in condition, except by artificial levelling; and in republics and limited monarchies, where all are politically equal, the greatest social inequalities ever prevail. Still falser is the shibboleth-crow of the French cock, ”Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité,” which has borrowed its plumage from the American Bird o’ Freedom. And Douglas Jerrold neatly expressed the truth when he said — ”We all row in the same boat but not with the same sculls.”
Then lo and behold! a wall a-middlemost the chamber clave asunder, and there issued forth the cleft a Basilisk resembling a log of palm-tree, and he was blowing like the storm-blast and his eyes were as cressets and he came on wriggling and waving
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 youth, when entering to the Sultan’s daughter, exclaimed “Bismillah — in the name of Allah — I place my trust upon Allah, and I have committed mine affair unto Allah!” Then he went forwards and found his bride seated upon her bedstead, and she was as a Hoard newly loosed from its Talisman; while she on her part rose and met him, and looked upon him and considered him until she was certified of his being cast in beauty’s mould, nor had she ever seen any like unto him. So she wept till the tears trickled adown her cheeks and she said to herself, “Oh the pity of it! Never shall my joy be fulfilled with this beautiful youth, than whom mine eyes never fell upon one fairer.” Quoth he, “What causeth thee cry, O my lady?” and quoth she, “I cry for the loss of my joys with thee seeing that thou art to perish this very night; and I sue of the Almighty and supplicate Him that my life may be thy ransom, for by Allah ’tis a pity!” When he heard these words he presently looked around and suddenly he sighted a magical Sword568 hanging by the belt against the wall: so he arose and hent it and threw it across his shoulders; then, returning he took seat upon the couch beside the Sultan’s daughter, withal his heart and his tongue never neglected to recite the Names of Allah or to sue aidance from the Prince of the Hallows569 who alone can reconcile with the Almighty fiat the fates and affairs of God’s servants. This lasted for an hour until the first third of the night, when suddenly were heard the bellowings as of wind and rumblings of thunder, and the bride, perceiving all the portents which had occurred to others, increased in weeping and wailing. Then lo and behold! a wall amiddlemost the chamber clave asunder, and there issued forth the cleft a Basilisk570 resembling a log of palm-tree, and he was blowing like the storm-blast and his eyes were as cressets and he came on wriggling and waving. But when the youth saw the monster he sprang up forthright with stout heart that knew naught of startling or affright, and cried out, “Protect me, O Chief and Lode-star of the Hallows, for I have thrown myself upon thine honour and am under thy safe-guard.” So saying and setting hand on brand he advanced and confronted the portent swiftlier than an eye-glance, raising his elbow till the blackness of the armpit appeared; and he cried out with a loud outcry whereto the whole city re-echoed, and which was audible even to the Sultan. Then he smote the monster upon his neck571 and caused head to fly from body for a measure of some two spans. Hereupon the Basilisk fell dead, but the youth was seized by a fainting-fit for the mighty stress of his stroke, and the bride arose for the excess of her joy and threw herself upon him and swooned away for a full-told hour. When the couple recovered, the Princess fell to kissing his hands and feet and wiping with her kerchief the sweat from his brow and saying to him, “O my lord, and the light of mine eyes, may none thy hand ever foreslow nor exult over thee any foe,” till he had recovered his right senses and had regained his strength. Anon he arose, and taking the Basilisk set it upon a large tray;572 then, letting bring a skinful of water he cleaned away the blood. After this the youth and the King’s daughter sat down and gave each other joy of their safety and straightway disappeared from them all traces of distress. Presently the Bridegroom looked at his Bride and found her like a pearl, so he caused her to laugh and disported with her and excited her and she did on like wise and at last he threw her upon her back and did away her maidenhead, whenas their gladness grew and their pleasures were perfected and their joyance was enhanced by the monster’s death. They ceased not, the twain of them, toying and enjoying themselves until it was well nigh dawn and sleep overcame them and they slumbered. But the Sultan during that night could relish nor lying down nor sitting up, and as soon as he heard the shout he cried, “The Youth is indeed dead and this world hath fled! There is no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great.” About morning-tide he prepared for him a shroud and mortuary perfumes, and all things required, and despatched a party to dig a tomb for him who had been slain by the side of his daughter, and he let make an iron bier, after which he sent for the washers of the dead and summoned them to his presence and lastly he awaited for his wife to seek her daughter and bring him the tidings — And Shahrazad 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
568 Sayf Kunúzí = a talismanic scymitar: see “Kanz,” ix. 320.
569 In Arab. “Al-Kutb al-Ghauth” = lit. the pole-star of invocation for help; or simply “Al-Ghauth” is the highest degree of sanctity in the mystic fraternity of Tasawwuf. See v. 384; and Lane (A. N.) i. 232. Students who would understand these titles will consult vol. iii. chapt. 12 of The Dabistán by Shaw and Troyer, Paris and London, 1843. By the learned studies of Dr. Pertsch the authorship of this work of the religious eclecticism of Akbar’s reign, has been taken from the wrongful claimant and definitively assigned to the legitimate owner, Mobed Shah. (See Z. d. M. G. xvi. 224.) It is regretable that the index of the translation is worthless as its contents are valuable.
570 Arab. “Su’ubán” = cockatrice, etc., vols. i. 172; vii. 322. Ibn Khaldun (vol. iii. 350) tells us that it was the title of a famous and fatal necklace of rubies.
571 In Ar. “Anakati-h.” [This is a very plausible conjecture of the translator for the word written in the text: “’Anfakati-h” = the hair between the lower lips and the chin, and then used for the chin itself. — ST.]
572 In the text “Tisht” (a basin for the ewer), which I have translated tray: these articles are often six feet in diameter.
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 Sultan sat until morning-tide expecting his wife to bring him tidings of the youth that he might take him and bury him. But the Queen-mother repaired to her daughter’s apartment where she found the door locked and bolted upon the couple; so she knocked for them whilst her eyes were tear-stained and she was wailing over the loss of her daughter’s love-liesse. Hereat the Princess awoke and she arose and opened the door when behold, she found her mother weeping so she asked her, “What caused thee shed tears, O Mother mine, whilst my enjoyment hath been the completest?” Asked she, “And what hath joyed you?” So the daughter led her to the middlemost of the apartment where she found the Basilisk (which was like the section of a palm-trunk) lying dead upon a huge tray and she saw her son-in-law sleeping upon the bedstead573 and he was like a fragment of the moon on the fourteenth night. The mother bowed head towards him and kissed him upon the brow saying, “Verily and indeed thou deservest safety!” Then she went forth from him lullilooing aloud and bade all the handmaids raise the cry of joy574 and the Palace was turned topsy-turvy with gladness and delight. When the Sultan heard this he arose and asked “What may be the news? Are we in grief or in gladness;” and so saying he went forth when suddenly he was met by his wife in the highest delight who took him and led him to the apartment of her daughter. There he also espied the Basilisk stretched dead upon the tray and the youth his son-in-law lying asleep upon the bedstead, whereat from the stress of his joyance he fell to the floor in a fainting-fit which lasted an hour or so. But when he revived he cried, “Is this wake or rather is’t sleep?” after which he arose and bade the musicians of his band beat the kettledrums and blow the shawms and the trumps and he commanded adorn the city; and the citizens did all his bidding. The decorations remained during seven days in honour of the safety of the Sultan’s son-in-law, and increased were their joys and fell from them all annoys, and the Sultan took to distributing and giving alms and largessing and making presents to the Fakirs and the miserable and he robed his nobles with honourable robes and fed the captives and the prisoners one and all;575 and the naked he clothed, and those anhungered he feasted in honour of his daughter. Then said the Sultan, “By Allah, this youth deserveth naught save that I make him my partner and share with him my good, for he hath banished from us our dule and our dolours and eke on account of himself and his own sake.” After this he made over to him half of his realm and his riches and the Sultan would rule one day and his son-in-law the other and their joys endured for the space of a full-told year. Then the Sovran was seized of a sickness, so he bequeathed to his son-in-law all he had and everything he owned; and but a little time elapsed before his malady increased day by day until he fared to the ruth of Almighty Allah and the youth sat in his stead as Sovran and Sultan. Such was his case; but as regards the matter of his sire, the King’s son of Al-’Irak, when he promised his wife that he would certainly go forth and travel and search for their son, he ceased not wending through the regions for a length of nights and days until Destiny threw him into such-and-such a city; and from the excess of what he had suffered of toil and travail he tarried therein a time. Now the Shaykh of the Caravans (who had found the babe in the tent and had taken him and had tended and adopted him, and from whom the youth when grown to man’s estate had disappeared on the hunting excursion and returned not to his parents) also set out a-seeking him and fell diligently to searching for tidings of him and roaming from place to place. Presently he was cast by doom of Destiny into the same city; and, as he found none to company with, he was suddenly met on one of the highways by the youth’s true father and the twain made acquaintance and became intimate until they nighted and morning’d in the same stead; withal neither knew what was his companion. But one night of the nights the two sat down in talk and the true sire asked the adoptive father, “O my brother, tell us the cause of thy going forth from thy country and of thy coming hither?” Answered his comrade, “By Allah, O my brother, my tale is a wondrous and mine adventure is a marvellous.” Quoth he, “And how?” and quoth the other, “I was Shaykh of the Cafilahs on various trading journeys, and during one of them I passed by a way of the ways where I found a pavilion pitched at a forking of the roads. So I made for it and dismounted my party in that place and I glanced at the tent but we found none therein, whereupon I went forwards and entered it and saw a babe new-born strown upon his back and sucking his fingers.576 So I raised him between my hands and came upon a purse of two hundred dinars set under his head; and I took the gold and carried it off together with the child.” But when his comrade, the true father, heard this tale from him he said to himself, “This matter must have been after such fashion,” and he was certified that the foundling was his son, for that he had heard the history told by the mother of the babe with the same details essential and accidental. So he firmly believed577 in these words and rejoiced thereat, when his comrade continued, “And after that, O my brother, I bore off that babe and having no offspring I gave him to my wife who rejoiced therein and brought him a wet-nurse to suckle him for the usual term. When he had reached his sixth year I hired a Divine to read with him and teach him writing and the art of penmanship;578 and, as soon as he saw ten years, I bought him a horse of the purest blood, whereon he learnt cavalarice and the shooting of shafts and the firing of bullets until he attained his fifteenth year. Presently one day of the days he asked to go a-hunting in the wilderness, but we his parents (for he still held me to be his father and my wife his mother) forbade him in fear of accidents; whereupon he waxed sore sorrowful and we allowed him leave to fare forth.”— And Shahrazad was surprised by the dawn of day and fell silent and ceased saying her permitted say. Then quoth her sister Dunyazad, “How sweet and tasteful 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 Sovran suffer me to survive?” Now when it was the next night and that was
573 A neat touch of realism: the youth is worn out by the genial labours of the night which have made the bride only the merrier and the livelier. It is usually the reverse with the first post-nuptial breakfast: the man eats heartily and the woman can hardly touch solid food. Is this not a fact according to your experience, Mesdames?
574 In text “Tazarghít” a scribal error for “Zaghrítah.” In Mr. Doughty (ii. 621) “Zalághít” for “Zaghárit” and the former is erroneously called a “Syrian word.” The traveller renders it by “Lullul-lullul-lullul-lá.” [Immediately before, however, the correct form “hiya tazaghritu,” she was lulli-looing, had been used. The word occurs in numerous forms, differentiated by the interchange of the dental and palatal “t” and of the liquid letters “r” and “l.” Dozy gives: “Zaghrata,” “Zaghlata” and “Zalghata” for the verb, and “Zaghrítah,” “Zaghrútah” (both with pl. “Zaghárít”), “Zalghútah,” “Zalghatah” (both with pl. “Zalághít”), and even a plural “Zaghálít” for the noun. — ST.]
575 In these cases usually an exception is made of brigands, assassins and criminals condemned for felony. See Ibn Khaldun, iv. 189.
576 [In text: “biyarza’ fí Asábí-hi” (see supra p. 294). This is, as far as I remember, the only instance where in the MS. the aorist is preceded by the preposition “bi,” a construction now so common in the popular dialects. Strange as it may appear at first sight, it has a deep foundation in the grammatical sentiment, if I may say so, of the Arabic language, which always ascribed a more or less nominal character to the aorist. Hence its inflection by Raf’ (u), Nasb (a) and Jazm (absence of final vowel), corresponding to the nominative, accusative and oblique case of the noun. Moreover in the old language itself already another preposition (“li”) was joined to the aorist. The less surprising, therefore, can it be to find that the use of a preposition in connection with it has so largely increased in the modern idiom, where it serves to mark this semi-nominal character of the aorist, which otherwise would be lost in consequence of the loss of the vowel terminations. This interesting subject deserves a fuller development, but I must reserve it for another opportunity — inshá ’lláh! — ST.]
577 [Again “yastanit” = he listened attentively; comp. note p. 24. — ST.]
578 In text “Zarb al-Aklám.”
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 adoptive father pursued to his comrade, “So we permitted him to hie a-hunting, and he farewelled us and went forth from us and left us, whereat we fell to beweeping him; and inasmuch as until this present he hath not returned to us, I have set out to seek him and here am I in this place searching for traces of him. Peradventure may Allah Almighty deign unite me with him and gar me forgather with him; for, Walláhi! from the hour he went from us sleep hath done us no good nor have we found relish in food.” And when the speech was ended, quoth his comrade, “O my brother, whenas he is not the son of thy loins and he could prove himself perverse to thee, what must be the condition in his regard of the father who begat him and the mother who enwombed him?” He replied, “Theirs must be cark and care and misery beyond even mine;” and the other rejoined, “By Allah, O my brother, verily the relation thou hast related anent this child proveth that he is, by God, my child and of mine own seed, for in sooth his mother gave birth to him in that stead where she left him being unable to carry him with her; but now she beweepeth the loss of him through the nights and the days.” “O my brother,” quoth the adoptive father, “we twain, I and thou, will indeed make public search and open inquiry for him through the lands, and Allah Almighty shall guide us himwards.” When morning came the pair went forth together intending to journey from that city, but by doom of the Decreer the Sultan on that very day set out to visit the gardens; and, when the travellers heard tidings thereof, one said to the other, “Let us stay and solace ourselves with a sight of the royal suite and after we will wend our ways.” Said his comrade, “’Tis well.” So they took their station to await the issuing forth of the Sultan, who suddenly rode out amid his suite as the two stood leaning beside the road and looking at the Sultan, when behold, his glance fell upon the two men. He at once recognised the father who had reared him, and when he gazed at the other standing beside him his heart was opened to the love of him albeit he weeted naught of their tie of blood nor believed that any was his sire save the Shaykh who had adopted him. Accordingly, after considering them he bade carry them both to the House of Hospitality, so they led them thither and did his bidding. Hereupon the twain said to themselves, “Wherefore hath the Sultan made us his guests? Nor he knoweth us nor we know him and needs must this have a cause.” But after leaving them the King rode to the gardens where he tarried the whole day, and when it was sunset he returned to his Palace, and at suppertide commanded the men be brought before him. They salam’d to him and blessed him and he returned their salutations, and bade them take seat at the trays whereat none other was present. They obeyed his order much wondering thereat the while and musing in their minds, “What condition is this?” They ate till they were satisfied, after which the food-trays were removed and they washed their hands and drank coffee and sherbets; then, by command of the King, they sat down to converse when the Sultan addressed them instead of the others, whereat they marvelled self-communing and saying, “What can be the cause?” But as soon as all the attendants had been dismissed to their quarters and no one remained save the Sultan and his guests (three in all and no more), and it was the first third of the night, the King asked them, “Which of you availeth to tell a tale which shall be a joyance to our hearts?” The first to answer him was the true father, who said, “Walláhi, O King of the Age, there befel me an adventure which is one of the wonders of the world, and ’tis this. I am son to a King of the Kings of the earth who was wealthy of money and means, and who had the goods of life beyond measure. He feared for my safety because he had none other save myself, and one day of the days, when I craved leave to go a-hunting in the wilderness, he refused me in his anxiety for my safety.” (Hereat, quoth the Sultan in himself, “By Allah, the story of this man is like my history!”) “So quoth I, ‘O King, unless I fare forth to sport, verily I will slay myself,’ and quoth my sire, ‘O my son, do thou go ride to the chase, but leave us not long for the hearts of us two, I and thy mother, will be engrossed by thee.’ Said I, ‘Hearing and obeying,’ and I went down to the stable to take a steed; and finding a smaller stall wherein was a horse chained to four posts and, on guard beside him, two slaves who could never draw near him, I approached him and fell to smoothing his coat. He remained silent and still whilst I took his furniture and set it upon his back, and girthed his saddle right tight and bridled him and loosed him from the four posts, and during all this he never started not shied at me by reason of the Fate and Fortune writ upon my forehead from the Secret World. Then I got him ready and mounted him and went forth”— And Shahrazad 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
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 man who was bespeaking the Sultan pursued to him, “Then I mounted him and rode him over the gravelly ground without the city when behold, he snorted and snarked and shook his crest and started at speed and galloped with me and bolted, swiftly as though he were a bird in the firmament of heaven.” On this wise he fell to recounting all that had befallen in the cave between him and the Merchant’s daughter and what had betided him by decree of Allah; how he had left her for his own land and how had her sire come and carried her away; also in what manner she had been delivered of a son by him on the road and had left her babe-child in the tent hoping that someone might find him and take him and tend him; and, lastly, how he had married the child’s mother and what was the cause of his going forth and his coming to that place that he might seek his son. Hereupon the Sultan turned to his adoptive father whom hitherto he had believed to be his real parent saying, “And thou, the other, dost thou know any tale like that told to us by thy comrade?” So the Shaykh recounted to him the whole history as hath before been set forth from incept to conclusion, nor hid from him aught thereof. Then the Sultan declared himself to his true sire, saying, “Thou art my father and there befel such things and such,” after which said his adoptive parent, “Walláhi, O my son, verily none is thy father save this one from whose loins thou art sprung, for I only found thee in the pavilion and took thee and tended thee in my home. But this is thy very parent in very deed.” Hereat all the three fell upon one another’s necks and kissed one another and the Sultan cried, “Praise to Him who hath united us after disunion!” and the others related to him anent his maternal grandfather how he was a Merchant, and concerning his paternal grandsire how he was a Monarch. Anon each of the two was ordered to revisit his own country and convey his consort and his children; and the twain disappeared for the space of a year and a month and at length returned to the young King. Hereupon he set apart for them palaces and settled them therein and they tarried with him until such time as there came to them the Destroyer of delights and the Severer of societies.
Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:52