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Title: A plain and literal translation of the Arabian nights entertainments, now entituled The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night, Volume 11 (of 17)
Author: Burton, Richard Francis, Sir
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A plain and literal translation of the Arabian nights entertainments, now entituled The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night, Volume 11 (of 17)" ***



[Illustration: ‏‏لا لابرار كلّ شي تبر‎‎]

                   “TO THE PURE ALL THINGS ARE PURE.”
                           (Puris omnia pura)

                                                        —_Arab Proverb._

          “Niuna corrotta mente intese mai sanamente parole.”


              “Erubuit, posuitque meum Lucretia librum
                  Sed coram Bruto. Brute! recede, leget.”


            “Mieulx est de ris que de larmes escripre,
                Pour ce que rire est le propre des hommes.”


“The pleasure we derive from perusing the Thousand-and-One Stories makes
us regret that we possess only a comparatively small part of these truly
enchanting fictions.”

                                      —CRICHTON’S “_History of Arabia_.”




                          _TO THE BOOK OF THE_
                      Thousand Nights and a Night
                               VOLUME I.


                           RICHARD F. BURTON



                            Shammar Edition

Limited to one thousand numbered sets, of which this is


                          PRINTED IN U. S. A.

                     GENERAL STUDHOLME J. HODGSON.


To whom with more pleasure or propriety can I inscribe this volume than
to my preceptor of past times; my dear old friend, whose deep study and
vast experience of such light literature as The Nights made me so often
resort to him for good counsel and right direction? Accept this little
token of gratitude, and believe me, with the best of wishes and the
kindest of memories,

                                    Ever your sincere and attached

                                                      RICHARD F. BURTON.

 LONDON, _July 15, 1886_.


                       THE TRANSLATOR’S FOREWORD.

After offering my cordial thanks to friends and subscribers who have
honoured “THE THOUSAND NIGHTS AND A NIGHT” (Kama Shastra Society) with
their patronage and approbation, I would inform them that my
“Anthropological Notes” are by no means exhausted, and that I can
produce a complete work only by means of a somewhat extensive
Supplement. I therefore propose to print (not publish), for private
circulation only, five volumes, bearing title—

                         _SUPPLEMENTAL NIGHTS_
                            _TO THE BOOK OF_
                   _THE THOUSAND NIGHTS AND A NIGHT._

This volume and its successor (Nos. i. and ii.) contain Mr. John Payne’s
Tales from the Arabic; his three tomes, being included in my two. The
stories are taken from the Breslau Edition where they are distributed
among the volumes between Nos. iv. and xii., and from the Calcutta
fragment of 1814. I can say little for the style of the story-stuff
contained in this Breslau text, which has been edited with phenomenal
incuriousness. Many parts are hopelessly corrupted, whilst at present we
have no means of amending the commissions and of supplying the omissions
by comparison with other manuscripts. The Arabic is not only faulty, but
dry and jejune, comparing badly with that of the “Thousand Nights and a
Night,” as it appears in the Macnaghten and the abridged Bulak Texts.
Sundry of the tales are futile; the majority has little to recommend it,
and not a few require a diviner rather than a translator. Yet they are
valuable to students as showing the different sources and the
heterogeneous materials from and of which the great Saga-book has been
compounded. Some are, moreover, striking and novel, especially parts of
the series entitled King Shah Bakht and his Wazir Al-Rahwan (pp.
191–355). Interesting also is the Tale of the “Ten Wazirs” (pp. 55–155),
marking the transition of the Persian Bakhtiyár-Námeh into Arabic. In
this text also and in this only is found Galland’s popular tale
“Abou-Hassan; or, the Sleeper Awakened,” which I have entitled “The
Sleeper and the Waker.”

In the ten volumes of “The Nights” proper, I mostly avoided parallels of
folk-lore and fabliaux which, however interesting and valuable to
scholars, would have over-swollen the bulk of a work especially devoted
to Anthropology. In the “Supplementals,” however it is otherwise; and,
as Mr. W. A. Clouston, the “Storiologist,” has obligingly agreed to
collaborate with me, I shall pay marked attention to this subject, which
will thus form another _raison d’être_ for the additional volumes.

                                                      RICHARD F. BURTON.

     _December 1, 1886_.

                     CONTENTS OF THE FIRST VOLUME.

                             =Breslau Tert.=

 1. THE SLEEPER AND THE WAKER                                          1

   (_Lane_, ii. pp. 352–79, _The Story of Abu-l-Hasan the Wag, or the
                           Sleeper Awakened_).

     _a._ STORY OF THE LARRIKIN AND THE COOK                           4

 2. THE CALIPH OMAR BIN ABD AL-AZIZ AND THE POETS                     39

 3. AL-HAJJAJ AND THE THREE YOUNG MEN                                 47



       ILL FORTUNE                                                    63

         _aa._ STORY OF THE MERCHANT WHO LOST HIS LUCK                65

     _b._ OF LOOKING TO THE ENDS OF AFFAIRS                           73

         _bb._ TALE OF THE MERCHANT AND HIS SONS                   _ib._

     _c._ OF THE ADVANTAGES OF PATIENCE                               81

         _cc._ STORY OF ABU SABIR                                  _ib._

     _d._ OF THE ILL EFFECTS OF IMPATIENCE                            89

         _dd._ STORY OF PRINCE BIHZAD                              _ib._

     _e._ OF THE ISSUES OF GOOD AND EVIL ACTIONS                      93

         _ee._ STORY OF KING DADBIN AND HIS WAZIRS                    94

     _f._ OF TRUST IN ALLAH                                          102

         _ff._ STORY OF KING BAKHTZAMAN                            _ib._

     _g._ OF CLEMENCY                                                107

         _gg._ STORY OF KING BIHKARD                               _ib._

     _h._ OF ENVY AND MALICE                                         111

         _hh._ STORY OF AYLAN SHAH AND ABU TAMMAM                    112


         _ii._ STORY OF KING IBRAHIM AND HIS SON                     121


         _jj._ STORY OF KING SULAYMAN SHAH AND HIS NIECE             131

     _k._ OF THE SPEEDY RELIEF OF ALLAH                              151



 7. AL-RASHID AND THE BARMECIDES                                     165

 8. IBN AL-SAMMAK AND AL-RASHID                                      171

 9. AL-MAAMUN AND ZUBAYDAH                                           175

 10. AL-NU’UMAN AND THE ARAB OF THE BANU TAY                         179

 11. FIRUZ AND HIS WIFE                                              185

 12. KING SHAH BAKHT AND HIS WAZIR AL-RAHWAN                         191


     _b._ TALE OF THE SINGER AND THE DRUGGIST                        203


       TO THE POOR OLD MAN                                           218

     _e._ TALE OF THE SAGE AND HIS THREE SONS                        222



     _h._ TALE OF THE MERCHANT, THE CRONE, AND THE KING              235

     _i._ TALE OF THE SIMPLETON HUSBAND                              239

     _j._ TALE OF THE UNJUST KING AND THE TITHER                     242

         _jj._ STORY OF DAVID AND SOLOMON                            244

     _k._ TALE OF THE ROBBER AND THE WOMAN                           246

     _l._ TALE OF THE THREE MEN AND OUR LORD ISA                     250

         _ll._ THE DISCIPLE’S STORY                                  251

       RESTORED TO HIM                                               253

     _n._ TALE OF THE MAN WHOSE CAUTION SLEW HIM                     258

       PROVISION TO ONE WHOM HE KNEW NOT                             259

     _p._ TALE OF THE MELANCHOLIST AND THE SHARPER                   264


     _r._ TALE OF THE DEVOTEE ACCUSED OF LEWDNESS                    270

     _s._ TALE OF THE HIRELING AND THE GIRL                          279

       WIFE                                                          282



     _w._ TALE OF THE CHEAT AND THE MERCHANTS                        302

         _wa._ STORY OF THE FALCON AND THE LOCUST                    305

     _x._ TALE OF THE KING AND HIS CHAMBERLAIN’S WIFE                308

         _xa._ STORY OF THE CRONE AND THE DRAPER’S WIFE              309

     _y._ TALE OF THE UGLY MAN AND HIS BEAUTIFUL WIFE                315

       AND ALLAH RESTORED THEM TO HIM                                319

       SISTER                                                        332

     _bb._ TALE OF THE KING OF HIND AND HIS WAZIR                    352

 13. SHAHRAZAD AND SHAHRYAR                                          359

                          SUPPLEMENTAL NIGHTS

                           TO THE BOOK OF THE

                      THOUSAND NIGHTS AND A NIGHT.

                     THE SLEEPER AND THE WAKER.[1]

It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that there was once at Baghdad,
in the Caliphate of Harun al-Rashid, a man and a merchant, who had a son
Abú al-Hasan-al-Khalí’a by name.[2] The merchant died leaving great
store of wealth to his heir who divided it into two equal parts, whereof
he laid up one and spent of the other half; and he fell to companying
with Persians[3] and with the sons of the merchants and he gave himself
up to good drinking and good eating, till all the wealth[4] he had with
him was wasted and wantoned; whereupon he betook himself to his friends
and comrades and cup-companions and expounded to them his case,
discovering to them the failure of that which was in his hand of wealth.
But not one of them took heed of him or even deigned answer him. So he
returned to his mother (and indeed his spirit was broken) and related to
her that which had happened to him and what had befallen him from his
friends, how they had neither shared with him nor requited him with
speech. Quoth she, “O Abu al-Hasan, on this wise are the sons[5] of this
time: an thou have aught, they draw thee near to them,[6] and if thou
have naught, they put thee away from them.” And she went on to condole
with him, what while he bewailed himself and his tears flowed and he
repeated these lines:—

 An wane my wealth, no man will succour me, ✿ When my wealth waxeth all
    men friendly show:
 How many a friend, for wealth showed friendliness ✿ Who, when my wealth
    departed, turned to foe!

Then he sprang up and going to the place wherein was the other half of
his good, took it and lived with it well; and he sware that he would
never again consort with a single one of those he had known, but would
company only with the stranger nor entertain even him but one night and
that, when it morrowed, he would never know him more. Accordingly he
fell to sitting every eventide on the bridge over Tigris and looking at
each one who passed by him; and if he saw him to be a stranger, he made
friends with him and carried him to his house, where he conversed and
caroused with him all night till morning. Then he dismissed him and
would never more salute him with the Salam nor ever more drew near unto
him neither invited him again. Thus he continued to do for the space of
a full year, till, one day, while he sat on the bridge, as was his wont,
expecting who should come to him so he might take him and pass the night
with him, behold, up came the Caliph and Masrur, the Sworder of his
vengeance[7] disguised in merchants’ dress, according to their custom.
So Abu al-Hasan looked at them and rising, because he knew them not,
asked them, “What say ye? Will ye go with me to my dwelling-place, so ye
may eat what is ready and drink what is at hand, to wit,
platter-bread[8] and meat cooked and wine strained?” The Caliph refused
this, but he conjured him and said to him, “Allah upon thee, O my lord,
go with me, for thou art my guest this night, and baulk not my hopes of
thee!” And he ceased not to press him till he consented; whereat Abu
al-Hasan rejoiced and walking on before him, gave not over talking with
him till they came to his house and he carried the Caliph into the
saloon. Al-Rashid entered a hall such as an thou sawest it and gazedst
upon its walls, thou hadst beheld marvels; and hadst thou looked
narrowly at its water-conduits thou wouldst have seen a fountain cased
with gold. The Caliph made his man abide at the door; and, as soon as he
was seated, the host brought him somewhat to eat; so he ate, and Abu
al-Hasan ate with him that eating might be grateful to him. Then he
removed the tray and they washed their hands and the Commander of the
Faithful sat down again; whereupon Abu al-Hasan set on the drinking
vessels and seating himself by his side, fell to filling and giving him
to drink[9] and entertaining him with discourse. And when they had drunk
their sufficiency the host called for a slave-girl like a branch of Bán
who took a lute and sang to it these two couplets:—

 O thou aye dwelling in my heart, ✿ Whileas thy form is far from sight,
 Thou art my sprite by me unseen, ✿ Yet nearest near art thou, my sprite.

His hospitality pleased the Caliph and the goodliness of his manners,
and he said to him, “O youth, who art thou? Make me acquainted with
thyself, so I may requite thee thy kindness.” But Abu al-Hasan smiled
and said, “O my lord, far be it, alas! that what is past should again
come to pass and that I company with thee at other time than this time!”
The Prince of True Believers asked, “Why so? and why wilt thou not
acquaint me with thy case?” and Abu al-Hasan answered, “Know, O my lord,
that my story is strange and that there is a cause for this affair.”
Quoth Al-Rashid, “And what is the cause?” and quoth he, “The cause hath
a tail.” The Caliph[10] laughed at his words and Abu al-Hasan said, “I
will explain to thee this saying by the tale of the Larrikin and the
Cook. So hear thou, O my lord, the


               _STORY OF THE LARRIKIN[11] AND THE COOK_.”

One of the ne’er-do-wells found himself one fine morning without aught
and the world was straitened upon him and patience failed him; so he lay
down to sleep and ceased not slumbering till the sun stang him and the
foam came out upon his mouth, whereupon he arose, and he was penniless
and had not even so much as a single dirham. Presently he arrived at the
shop of a Cook, who had set his pots and pans over the fire and washed
his saucers and wiped his scales and swept his shop and sprinkled it;
and indeed his fats and oils were clear and clarified and his spices
fragrant and he himself stood behind his cooking-pots ready to serve
customers. So the Larrikin, whose wits had been sharpened by hunger,
went in to him and saluting him, said to him, “Weigh me half a dirham’s
worth of meat and a quarter of a dirham’s worth of boiled grain[12] and
the like of bread.” So the Kitchener weighed it out to him and the
good-for-naught entered the shop, whereupon the man set the food before
him and he ate till he had gobbled up the whole and licked the saucers
and sat perplexed, knowing not how he should do with the Cook concerning
the price of that he had eaten, and turning his eyes about upon
everything in the shop; and as he looked, behold, he caught sight of an
earthen pan lying arsy-versy upon its mouth; so he raised it from the
ground and found under it a horse’s tail, freshly cut off and the blood
oozing from it; whereby he knew that the Cook adulterated his meat with
horseflesh. When he discovered this default, he rejoiced therein and
washing his hands, bowed his head and went out; and when the Kitchener
saw that he went and gave him naught, he cried out, saying, “Stay, O
pest, O burglar!” So the Larrikin stopped and said to him, “Dost thou
cry out upon me and call to me with these words, O cornute?” Whereat the
Cook was angry and coming down from the shop, cried, “What meanest thou
by thy speech, O low fellow, thou that devourest meat and millet and
bread and kitchen and goest forth with ‘the Peace[13] be on thee!’ as it
were the thing had not been, and payest down naught for it?” Quoth the
Lackpenny, “Thou liest, O accursed son of a cuckold!” Whereupon the Cook
cried out and laying hold of his debtor’s collar, said, “O Moslems, this
fellow is my first customer[14] this day and he hath eaten my food and
given me naught.” So the folk gathered about them and blamed the
Ne’er-do-well and said to him, “Give him the price of that which thou
hast eaten.” Quoth he, “I gave him a dirham before I entered the shop;”
and quoth the Cook, “Be everything I sell this day forbidden to me, if
he gave me so much as the name of a coin! By Allah, he gave me naught,
but ate my food and went out and would have made off, without aught
said.” Answered the Larrikin, “I gave thee a dirham,” and he reviled the
Kitchener, who returned his abuse; whereupon he dealt him a buffet and
they gripped and grappled and throttled each other. When the folk saw
them fighting, they came up to them and asked them, “What is this strife
between you, and no cause for it?” and the Lackpenny answered, “Ay, by
Allah, but there is a cause for it, and the cause hath a tail!”
Whereupon, cried the Cook, “Yea, by Allah, now thou mindest me of
thyself and thy dirham! Yes, he gave me a dirham and but a quarter of
the coin is spent. Come back and take the rest of the price of thy
dirham.” For he understood what was to do, at the mention of the tail;
“and I, O my brother” (added Abu al-Hasan), “my story hath a cause,
which I will tell thee.” The Caliph laughed at his speech and said, “By
Allah, this is none other than a pleasant tale! Tell me thy story and
the cause.” Replied the host, “With love and goodly gree! Know, O my
lord, that my name is Abu al-Hasan al-Khalí’a and that my father died
and left me abundant wealth, of which I made two parts. One I laid up
and with the other I betook myself to enjoying the pleasures of
friendship and conviviality and consorting with intimates and
boon-companions and with the sons of the merchants, nor did I leave one
but I caroused with him and he with me, and I lavished all my money on
comrades and good cheer, till there remained with me naught;[15]
whereupon I betook myself to the friends and fellow-topers upon whom I
had wasted my wealth, so perhaps they might provide for my case; but,
when I visited them and went round about to them all, I found no vantage
in one of them, nor would any so much as break a bittock of bread in my
face. So I wept for myself and repairing to my mother, complained to her
of my case. Quoth she:—Such are friends; an thou have aught, they
frequent thee and devour thee, but, an thou have naught, they cast thee
off and chase thee away. Then I brought out the other half of my money
and bound myself by an oath that I would never more entertain any save
one single night, after which I would never again salute him nor notice
him; hence my saying to thee:—Far be it, alas! that what is past should
again come to pass, for I will never again company with thee after this
night.” When the Commander of the Faithful heard this, he laughed a loud
laugh and said, “By Allah, O my brother, thou art indeed excused in this
matter, now that I know the cause and that the cause hath a tail.
Nevertheless, Inshallah, I will not sever myself from thee.” Replied Abu
al-Hasan, “O my guest, did I not say to thee, Far be it, alas! that what
is past should again come to pass? For indeed I will never again
foregather with any!” Then the Caliph rose and the host set before him a
dish of roast goose and a bannock of first-bread[16] and sitting down,
fell to cutting off morsels and morselling the Caliph therewith. They
gave not over eating till they were filled, when Abu al-Hasan brought
basin and ewer and potash[17] and they washed their hands. Then he
lighted three wax-candles and three lamps, and spreading the
drinking-cloth, brought strained wine, clear, old and fragrant, whose
scent was as that of virgin musk. He filled the first cup and saying, “O
my boon-companion, be ceremony laid aside between us by thy leave! Thy
slave is by thee; may I not be afflicted with thy loss!” drank it off
and filled a second cup, which he handed to the Caliph with due
reverence. His fashion pleased the Commander of the Faithful, and the
goodliness of his speech and he said to himself, “By Allah, I will
assuredly requite him for this!” Then Abu al-Hasan filled the cup again
and handed it to the Caliph, reciting these two couplets:[18]—

 Had we thy coming known, we would for sacrifice ✿ Have poured thee out
    heart’s blood or blackness of the eyes;
 Ay, and we would have spread our bosoms in thy way, ✿ That so thy feet
    might fare on eyelids, carpet-wise.

When the Caliph heard his verses, he took the cup from his hand and
kissed it and drank it off and returned it to Abu al-Hasan, who make him
an obeisance and filled and drank. Then he filled again and kissing the
cup thrice, recited these lines:—

 Your presence honoureth the base, ✿ And we confess the deed of grace;
 An you absent yourself from us, ✿ No freke we find to fill your place.

Then he gave the cup to the Caliph, saying, “Drink it in health and
soundness! It doeth away malady and bringeth remedy and setteth the
runnels of health to flow free.” So they ceased not carousing and
conversing till middle-night, when the Caliph said to his host, “O my
brother, hast thou in thy heart a concupiscence thou wouldst have
accomplished or a contingency thou wouldst avert?” Said he, “By Allah,
there is no regret in my heart save that I am not empowered with bidding
and forbidding, so I might manage what is in my mind!” Quoth the
Commander of the Faithful, “By Allah, and again by Allah,[19] O my
brother, tell me what is in thy mind!” And quoth Abu al-Hasan, “Would
Heaven I might be Caliph for one day and avenge myself on my neighbours,
for that in my vicinity is a mosque and therein four shaykhs, who hold
it a grievance when there cometh a guest to me, and they trouble me with
talk and worry me in words and menace me that they will complain of me
to the Prince of True Believers, and indeed they oppress me exceedingly,
and I crave of Allah the Most High power for one day, that I may beat
each and every of them with four hundred lashes, as well as the Imám of
the mosque, and parade them round about the city of Baghdad and bid cry
before them:—This is the reward and the least of the reward of whoso
exceedeth in talk and vexeth the folk and turneth their joy to annoy.
This is what I wish, and no more.” Said the Caliph, “Allah grant thee
that thou seekest! Let us crack one last cup and rise ere the dawn draw
near, and to-morrow night I will be with thee again.” Said Abu al-Hasan,
“Far be it!” Then the Caliph crowned a cup, and putting therein a piece
of Cretan Bhang,[20] gave it to his host and said to him, “My life on
thee, O my brother, drink this cup from my hand!” and Abu al-Hasan
answered, “Ay, by thy life, I will drink it from thy hand.” So he took
it and drank it off; but hardly had it settled in his stomach, when his
head forewent his heels and he fell to the ground like one slain;
whereupon the Caliph went out and said to his slave Masrur, “Go in to
yonder young man, the house master, and take him up and bring him to me
at the palace; and when thou goest out, shut the door.” So saying, he
went away, whilst Masrur entered, and taking up Abu al-Hasan, shut the
door behind him, and made after his master, till he reached with him the
palace what while the night drew to an end and the cocks began
crowing,[21] and set him down before the Commander of the Faithful, who
laughed at him.[22] Then he sent for Ja’afar the Barmecide and when he
came before him, said to him, “Note thou yonder young man” (pointing to
Abu al-Hasan), “and when thou shalt see him to-morrow seated in my place
of estate and on the throne[23] of my Caliphate and clad in my royal
clothing, stand thou in attendance upon him and enjoin the Emirs and
Grandees and the folk of my household and the officers of my realm to be
upon their feet, as in his service and obey him in whatso he shall bid
them do; and thou, if he speak to thee of aught, do it and hearken unto
his say and gainsay him not in anything during this coming day.” Ja’afar
acknowledged the order with “Hearkening and obedience” and withdrew,
whilst the Prince of True Believers went in to the palace women, who
came up to him, and he said to them, “When this sleeper shall awake
to-morrow, kiss ye the ground between his hands, and do ye wait upon him
and gather round about him and clothe him in the royal clothing and
serve him with the service of the Caliphate and deny not aught of his
estate, but say to him, Thou art the Caliph.” Then he taught them what
they should say to him and how they should do with him and withdrawing
to a retired room,[24] let down a curtain before himself and slept. Thus
fared it with the Caliph; but as regards Abu al-Hasan, he gave not over
snoring in his sleep till the day brake clear, and the rising of the sun
drew near, when a woman in waiting came up to him and said to him, “O
our lord, the morning prayer!” Hearing these words he laughed and
opening his eyes, turned them about the palace and found himself in an
apartment whose walls were painted with gold and lapis lazuli and its
ceiling dotted and starred with red gold. Around it were sleeping
chambers, with curtains of gold-embroidered silk let down over their
doors, and all about vessels of gold and porcelain and crystal and
furniture and carpets dispread and lamps burning before the niche
wherein men prayed, and slave-girls and eunuchs and Mamelukes and black
slaves and boys and pages and attendants. When he saw this he was
bewildered in his wit and said, “By Allah, either I am dreaming a dream,
or this is Paradise and the Abode of Peace!”[25] And he shut his eyes
and would have slept again. Quoth one of the eunuchs, “O my lord, this
is not of thy wont, O Commander of the Faithful!” Then the rest of the
handmaids of the palace came up to him and lifted him into a sitting
posture, when he found himself upon a mattrass, raised a cubit’s height
from the ground and all stuffed with floss silk. So they seated him upon
it and propped his elbow with a pillow, and he looked at the apartment
and its vastness and saw those eunuchs and slave-girls in attendance
upon him and standing about his head, whereupon he laughed at himself
and said, “By Allah, ’tis not as I were on wake, yet I am not asleep!”
And in his perplexity he bowed his chin upon his bosom and then opened
his eyes, little by little, smiling and saying, “What is this state
wherein I find myself?” Then he arose and sat up, whilst the damsels
laughed at him privily; and he was bewildered in his wit, and bit his
finger; and as the bite pained him, he cried “Oh!” and was vexed; and
the Caliph watched him, whence he saw him not, and laughed. Presently
Abu al-Hasan turned to a damsel and called to her; whereupon she
answered, “At thy service, O Prince of True Believers!” Quoth he, “what
is thy name?” and quoth she, “Shajarat al-Durr.”[26] Then he said to
her, “By the protection of Allah, O damsel, am I Commander of the
Faithful?” She replied, “Yes, indeed, by the protection of Allah thou in
this time art Commander of the Faithful.” Quoth he, “By Allah, thou
liest, O thousandfold whore!”[27] Then he glanced at the Chief Eunuch
and called to him, whereupon he came to him and kissing the ground
before him, said, “Yes, O Commander of the Faithful.” Asked Abu
al-Hasan, “Who is Commander of the Faithful?” and the Eunuch answered
“Thou.” And Abu al-Hasan said, “Thou liest, thousandfold he-whore that
thou art!” Then he turned to another eunuch and said to him, “O my
chief,[28] by the protection of Allah, am I Prince of the True
Believers?” Said he, “Ay, by Allah, O my lord, thou art in this time
Commander of the Faithful and Viceregent of the Lord of the three
Worlds.” Abu al-Hasan laughed at himself and doubted of his reason and
was bewildered at what he beheld, and said, “In one night do I become
Caliph? Yesterday I was Abu al-Hasan the Wag, and to-day I am Commander
of the Faithful.” Then the Chief Eunuch came up to him and said, “O
Prince of True Believers (the name of Allah encompass thee!) thou art
indeed Commander of the Faithful and Viceregent of the Lord of the three
Worlds!” And the slave-girls and eunuchs flocked round about him, till
he arose and abode wondering at his case. Hereupon the Eunuch brought
him a pair of sandals wrought with raw silk and green silk and purfled
with red gold, and he took them and after examining them set them in his
sleeve; whereat the Castrato cried out and said, “Allah! Allah! O my
lord, these are sandals for the treading of thy feet, so thou mayst wend
to the wardrobe.” Abu al-Hasan was confounded, and shaking the sandals
from his sleeve, put them on his feet, whilst the Caliph died[29] of
laughter at him. The slave forewent him to the chapel of ease, where he
entered and doing his job,[30] came out into the chamber, whereupon the
slave-girls brought him a basin of gold and an ewer of silver and poured
water on his hands[31] and he made the Wuzú-ablution. Then they spread
him a prayer-carpet and he prayed. Now he knew not how to pray[32] and
gave not over bowing and prostrating for twenty inclinations,[33]
pondering in himself the while and saying, “By Allah, I am none other
than the Commander of the Faithful in very truth! This is assuredly no
dream, for all these things happen not in a dream.” And he was convinced
and determined in himself that he was Prince of True Believers; so he
pronounced the Salám[34] and finished his prayers; whereupon the
Mamelukes and slave-girls came round about him with bundled suits of
silken and linen stuffs and clad him in the costume of the Caliphate and
gave the royal dagger in his hand. Then the Chief Eunuch came in and
said, “O Prince of True Believers, the Chamberlain is at the door
craving permission to enter.” Said he, “Let him enter!” whereupon he
came in and after kissing ground offered the salutation, “Peace be upon
thee, O Commander of the Faithful!” At this Abu al-Hasan rose and
descended from the couch to the floor; whereupon the official exclaimed
“Allah! Allah! O Prince of True Believers, wottest thou not that all men
are thy lieges and under thy rule and that it is not meet for the Caliph
to rise to any man?” Presently the Eunuch went out before him and the
little white slaves behind him, and they ceased not going till they
raised the curtain and brought him into the hall of judgment and the
throne-room of the Caliphate. There he saw the curtains and the forty
doors and Al-’Ijlí and Al-Rakáshí the poet, and ’Ibdán and Jadím and Abu
Ishák[35] the cup-companion and beheld swords drawn and the lions[36]
compassing the throne as the white of the eye encircleth the black, and
gilded glaives and death-dealing bows and Ajams and Arabs and Turks and
Daylamites and folk and peoples and Emirs and Wazirs and Captains and
Grandees and Lords of the land and men of war in band, and in very sooth
there appeared the might of the house of Abbas[37] and the majesty of
the Prophet’s family. So he sat down upon the throne of the Caliphate
and set the dagger[38] on his lap, whereupon all present came up to kiss
ground between his hands and called down on him length of life and
continuance of weal. Then came forward Ja’afar the Barmecide and kissing
the ground, said, “Be the wide world of Allah the treading of thy feet
and may Paradise be thy dwelling-place and the Fire the home of thy
foes! Never may neighbour defy thee nor the lights of fire die out for
thee,[39] O Caliph of all cities and ruler of all countries!”
Therewithal Abu al-Hasan cried out at him and said, “O dog of the sons
of Barmak, go down forthright, thou and the chief of the city police, to
such a place in such a street and deliver an hundred dinars of gold to
the mother of Abu al-Hasan the Wag and bear her my salutation. Then, go
to such a mosque and take the four Shaykhs and the Imám and scourge each
of them with a thousand[40] lashes and mount them on beasts, face to
tail, and parade them round about all the city and banish them to a
place other than this city; and bid the crier make cry before them,
saying:—This is the reward and the least of the reward of whoso
multiplieth words and molesteth his neighbours and damageth their
delights and stinteth their eating and drinking!” Ja’afar received the
command and answered “With obedience”; after which he went down from
before Abu al-Hasan to the city and did all he had ordered him to do.
Meanwhile, Abu al-Hasan abode in the Caliphate, taking and giving,
bidding and forbidding and carrying out his command till the end of the
day, when he gave leave and permission to withdraw, and the Emirs and
Officers of state departed to their several occupations and he looked
towards the Chamberlain and the rest of the attendants and said,
“Begone!” Then the Eunuchs came to him and calling down on him length of
life and continuance of weal, walked in attendance upon him and raised
the curtain, and he entered the pavilion of the Harem, where he found
candles lighted and lamps burning and singing-women smiting on
instruments, and ten slave-girls, high-bosomed maids. When he saw this,
he was confounded in his wit and said to himself, “By Allah, I am in
truth Commander of the Faithful!” presently adding, “or haply these are
of the Jánn and he who was my guest yesternight was one of their kings
who saw no way to requite my favours save by commanding his Ifrits to
address me as Prince of True Believers. But an these be of the Jann may
Allah deliver me in safety from their mischief!” As soon as he appeared,
the slave-girls rose to him and carrying him up on to the daïs,[41]
brought him a great tray, bespread with the richest viands. So he ate
thereof with all his might and main, till he had gotten his fill, when
he called one of the handmaids and said to her, “What is thy name?”
Replied she, “My name is Miskah,”[42] and he said to another, “What is
thy name?” Quoth she, “My name is Tarkah.”[43] Then he asked a third,
“What is thy name?” who answered, “My name is Tohfah;”[44] and he went
on to question the damsels of their names, one after other, till he had
learned the ten, when he rose from that place and removed to the
wine-chamber. He found it every way complete and saw therein ten great
trays, covered with all fruits and cates and every sort of sweetmeats.
So he sat down and ate thereof after the measure of his competency, and
finding there three troops of singing-girls, was amazed and made the
girls eat. Then he sat and the singers also seated themselves, whilst
the black slaves and the white slaves and the eunuchs and pages and boys
stood, and of the slave-girls some sat and others stood. The damsels
sang and warbled all varieties of melodies and the place rang with the
sweetness of the songs, whilst the pipes cried out and the lutes with
them wailed, till it seemed to Abu al-Hasan that he was in Paradise and
his heart was heartened and his breast broadened. So he sported and
joyance grew on him and he bestowed robes of honour on the damsels and
gave and bestowed, challenging this girl and kissing that and toying
with a third, plying one with wine and morselling another with meat,
till nightfall. All this while the Commander of the Faithful was
diverting himself with watching him and laughing, and when night fell he
bade one of the slave-girls drop a piece of Bhang in the cup and give it
to Abu al-Hasan to drink. So she did his bidding and gave him the cup,
which no sooner had he drunk than his head forewent his feet.[45]
Therewith the Caliph came forth from behind the curtain, laughing, and
calling to the attendant who had brought Abu al-Hasan to the palace,
said to him, “Carry[46] this man to his own place.” So Masrur took him
up, and carrying him to his own house, set him down in the saloon. Then
he went forth from him, and shutting the saloon-door upon him, returned
to the Caliph, who slept till the morrow. As for Abu al-Hasan, he gave
not over slumbering till Almighty Allah brought on the morning, when he
recovered from the drug and awoke, crying out and saying, “Ho, Tuffáhah!
Ho, Ráhat al-Kulúb! Ho, Miskah! Ho, Tohfah!”[47] And he ceased not
calling upon the palace hand-maids till his mother heard him summoning
strange damsels, and rising, came to him and said, “Allah’s name
encompass thee! Up with thee, O my son, O Abu al-Hasan! Thou dreamest.”
So he opened his eyes, and finding an old woman at his head, raised his
eyes and said to her, “Who art thou?” Quoth she, “I am thy mother;” and
quoth he, “Thou liest! I am the Commander of the Faithful, the
Viceregent of Allah.” Whereupon his mother shrieked aloud and said to
him, “Heaven preserve thy reason! Be silent, O my son, and cause not the
loss of our lives and the wasting of thy wealth, which will assuredly
befal us if any hear this talk and carry it to the Caliph.” So he rose
from his sleep, and finding himself in his own saloon and his mother by
him, had doubts of his wit, and said to her, “By Allah, O my mother, I
saw myself in a dream in a palace, with slave-girls and Mamelukes about
me and in attendance upon me, and I sat upon the throne of the Caliphate
and ruled. By Allah, O my mother, this is what I saw, and in very sooth
it was no dream!” Then he bethought himself awhile and said,
“Assuredly,[48] I am Abu al-Hasan al-Khali’a, and this that I saw was
only a dream when I was made Caliph and bade and forbade.” Then he
bethought himself again and said, “Nay, but ’twas not a dream, and I am
none other than the Caliph, and indeed I gave gifts and bestowed
honour-robes.” Quoth his mother to him, “O my son, thou sportest with
thy reason: thou wilt go to the mad-house[49] and become a gazing-stock.
Indeed, that which thou hast seen is only from the foul Fiend, and it
was an imbroglio of dreams, for at times Satan sporteth with men’s wits
in all manner of ways.”[50] Then said she to him, “O my son, was there
any one with thee yesternight?” And he reflected and said, “Yes; one lay
the night with me and I acquainted him with my case and told him my
tale. Doubtless, he was of the Devils, and I, O my mother, even as thou
sayst truly, am Abu al-Hasan al-Khali’a.” She rejoined, “O my son,
rejoice in tidings of all good, for yesterday’s record is that there
came the Wazir Ja’afar the Barmecide and his many, and beat the Shaykhs
of the mosque and the Imam, each a thousand lashes; after which they
paraded them round about the city, making proclamation before them and
saying:—This is the reward and the least of the reward of whoso faileth
in goodwill to his neighbours and troubleth on them their lives! And he
banished them from Baghdad. Moreover, the Caliph sent me an hundred
dinars and sent to salute me.” Whereupon Abu al-Hasan cried out and said
to her, “O ill-omened crone, wilt thou contradict me and tell me that I
am not the Prince of True Believers? ’Twas I who commanded Ja’afar the
Barmecide to beat the Shaykhs and parade them about the city and make
proclamation before them and ’twas I, very I, who sent thee the hundred
dinars and sent to salute thee, and I, O beldam of ill-luck, am in very
deed the Commander of the Faithful, and thou art a liar, who would make
me out an idiot.” So saying, he rose up and fell upon her and beat her
with a staff of almond-wood, till she cried out, “Help, O Moslems!” and
he increased the beating upon her, till the folk heard her cries and
coming to her, found Abu al-Hasan bashing his mother and saying to her,
“O old woman of ill-omen, am I not the Commander of the Faithful? Thou
hast ensorcelled me!” When the folk heard his words, they said, “This
man raveth,” and doubted not of his madness. So they came in upon him,
and seizing him, pinioned his elbows, and bore him to the Bedlam. Quoth
the Superintendant, “What aileth this youth?” and quoth they, “This is a
madman, afflicted of the Jinn.” “By Allah,” cried Abu al-Hasan, “they
lie against me! I am no madman, but the Commander of the Faithful.” And
the Superintendant answered him, saying, “None lieth but thou, O foulest
of the Jinn-maddened!” Then he stripped him of his clothes, and clapping
on his neck a heavy chain,[51] bound him to a high lattice and fell to
beating him two bouts a day and two anights; and he ceased not abiding
on this wise the space of ten days. Then his mother came to him and
said, “O my son, O Abu al-Hasan, return to thy right reason, for this is
the Devil’s doing.” Quoth he, “Thou sayst sooth, O my mother, and bear
thou witness of me that I repent me of that talk and turn me from my
madness. So do thou deliver me, for I am nigh upon death.” Accordingly
his mother went out to the Superintendant[52] and procured his release
and he returned to his own house. Now this was at the beginning of the
month, and when it ended, Abu al-Hasan longed to drink liquor and,
returning to his former habit, furnished his saloon and made ready food
and bade bring wine; then, going forth to the bridge, he sat there,
expecting one whom he should converse and carouse with, according to his
custom. As he sat thus, behold, up came the Caliph and Masrur to him;
but Abu al-Hasan saluted them not and said to Al-Rashid, “No friendly
welcome to thee, O King of the Jánn!” Quoth Al-Rashid, “What have I done
to thee?” and quoth Abu al-Hasan, “What more couldst thou do than what
thou hast done to me, O foulest of the Jánn? I have been beaten and
thrown into Bedlam, where all said I was Jinn-mad and this was caused by
none save thyself. I brought thee to my house and fed thee with my best;
after which thou didst empower thy Satans and Marids to disport
themselves with my wits from morning to evening. So avaunt and aroynt
thee and wend thy ways!” The Caliph smiled and, seating himself by his
side said to him, “O my brother, did I not tell thee that I would return
to thee?” Quoth Abu al-Hasan, “I have no need of thee; and as the byword
sayeth in verse:—

 Fro’ my friend, ’twere meeter and wiser to part, ✿ For what eye sees not
    born shall ne’er sorrow heart.

And indeed, O my brother, the night thou camest to me and we conversed
and caroused together, I and thou, ’twas as if the Devil came to me and
troubled me that night.” Asked the Caliph, “And who is he, the Devil?”
and answered Abu al-Hasan, “He is none other than thou;” whereat the
Caliph laughed and coaxed him and spake him fair, saying, “O my brother,
when I went out from thee, I forgot the door and left it open and
perhaps Satan came in to thee.”[53] Quoth Abu al-Hasan, “Ask me not of
that which hath betided me. What possessed thee to leave the door open,
so that the Devil came in to me and there befel me with him this and
that?” And he related to him all that had betided him, first and last
(and in repetition is no fruition); what while the Caliph laughed and
hid his laughter. Then said he to Abu al-Hasan, “Praised be Allah who
hath done away from thee whatso irked thee and that I see thee once more
in weal!” And Abu al-Hasan said, “Never again will I take thee to
cup-companion or sitting-comrade; for the proverb saith:—Whoso stumbleth
on a stone and thereto returneth, upon him be blame and reproach. And
thou, O my brother, nevermore will I entertain thee nor company with
thee, for that I have not found thy heel propitious to me.”[54] But the
Caliph coaxed him and said, “I have been the means of thy winning to thy
wish anent the Imam and the Shaykhs.” Abu al-Hasan replied, “Thou hast;”
and Al-Rashid continued, “And haply somewhat may betide which shall
gladden thy heart yet more.” Abu al-Hasan asked, “What dost thou require
of me?” and the Commander of the Faithful answered, “Verily, I am thy
guest; reject not the guest.” Quoth Abu al-Hasan, “On condition that
thou swear to me by the characts on the seal of Solomon David’s son (on
the twain be the Peace!) that thou wilt not suffer thine Ifrits to make
fun of me.” He replied, “To hear is to obey!” Whereupon the Wag took him
and brought him into the saloon and set food before him and entreated
him with friendly speech. Then he told him all that had befallen him,
whilst the Caliph was like to die of stifled laughter; after which Abu
al-Hasan removed the tray of food and bringing the wine-service, filled
a cup and cracked it three times, then gave it to the Caliph, saying, “O
boon-companion mine, I am thy slave and let not that which I am about to
say offend thee, and be thou not vexed, neither do thou vex me.” And he
recited these verses:—

 Hear one that wills thee well! Lips none shall bless ✿ Save those who
    drink for drunk and all transgress.
 Ne’er will I cease to swill while night falls dark ✿ Till lout my
    forehead low upon my tasse:
 In wine like liquid sun is my delight ✿ Which clears all care and
    gladdens allegresse.

When the Caliph heard these his verses and saw how apt he was at
couplets, he was delighted with exceeding delight and taking the cup,
drank it off, and the twain ceased not to converse and carouse till the
wine rose to their heads. Then quoth Abu al-Hasan to the Caliph, “O
boon-companion mine, of a truth I am perplexed concerning my affair, for
meseemed I was Commander of the Faithful and ruled and gave gifts and
largesse, and in very deed, O my brother, it was not a dream.” Quoth the
Caliph, “These were the imbroglios of sleep,” and crumbling a bit of
Bhang into the cup, said to him, “By my life, do thou drink this cup;”
and said Abu al-Hasan, “Surely I will drink it from thy hand.” Then he
took the cup and drank it off, and no sooner had it settled in his
stomach than his head fell to the ground before his feet. Now his
manners and fashions pleased the Caliph and the excellence of his
composition and his frankness, and he said in himself, “I will assuredly
make him my cup-companion and sitting-comrade.” So he rose forthright
and saying to Masrur, “Take him up,” returned to the palace.
Accordingly, the Eunuch took up Abu al-Hasan and carrying him to the
palace of the Caliphate, set him down before Al-Rashid, who bade the
slaves and slave-girls compass him about, whilst he himself hid in a
place where Abu al-Hasan could not see him. Then he commanded one of the
hand-maidens to take the lute and strike it over the Wag’s head, whilst
the rest smote upon their instruments. So they played and sang, till Abu
al-Hasan awoke at the last of the night and heard the symphony of lutes
and tambourines and the sound of the flutes and the singing of the
slave-girls, whereupon he opened his eyes and finding himself in the
palace, with the hand-maids and eunuchs about him, exclaimed, “There is
no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great!
Come to my help this night which meseems more unlucky than the former!
Verily, I am fearful of the Madhouse and of that which I suffered
therein the first time, and I doubt not but the Devil is come to me
again, as before. O Allah, my Lord, put thou Satan to shame!” Then he
shut his eyes and laid his head in his sleeve, and fell to laughing
softly and raising his head bytimes, but still found the apartment
lighted and the girls singing. Presently, one of the eunuchs sat down at
his head and said to him, “Sit up, O Prince of True Believers, and look
on thy palace and thy slave-girls.” Said Abu al-Hasan, “Under the veil
of Allah, am I in truth Commander of the Faithful, and dost thou not
lie? Yesterday I rode not forth neither ruled, but drank and slept, and
this eunuch cometh to make me rise.” Then he sat up and recalled to
thought that which had betided him with his mother and how he had beaten
her and entered the Bedlam, and he saw the marks of the beating,
wherewith the Superintendant had beaten him, and was perplexed
concerning his affair and pondered in himself, saying, “By Allah, I know
not how my case is nor what is this that betideth me!” Then, gazing at
the scene around him, he said privily, “All these are of the Jann in
human shape, and I commit my case to Allah.” Presently he turned to one
of the damsels and said to her, “Who am I?” Quoth she, “Thou art the
Commander of the Faithful;” and quoth he, “Thou liest, O calamity![55]
If I be indeed the Commander of the Faithful, bite my finger.” So she
came to him and bit it with all her might, and he said to her, “It doth
suffice.” Then he asked the Chief Eunuch, “Who am I?” and he answered,
“Thou art the Commander of the Faithful.” So he left him and returned to
his wonderment: then, turning to a little white slave, said to him,
“Bite my ear;” and he bent his head low down to him and put his ear to
his mouth. Now the Mameluke was young and lacked sense; so he closed his
teeth upon Abu al-Hasan’s ear with all his might, till he came near to
sever it; and he knew not Arabic, so, as often as the Wag said to him,
“It doth suffice,” he concluded that he said, “Bite like a vice,” and
redoubled his bite and made his teeth meet in the ear, whilst the
damsels were diverted from him with hearkening to the singing-girls, and
Abu al-Hasan cried out for succour from the boy and the Caliph lost his
senses for laughter. Then he dealt the boy a cuff, and he let go his
ear, whereupon all present fell down with laughter and said to the
little Mameluke, “Art mad that thou bitest the Caliph’s ear on this
wise?” And Abu al-Hasan cried to them, “Sufficeth ye not, O ye wretched
Jinns, that which hath befallen me? But the fault is not yours: the
fault is of your Chief who transmewed you from Jinn shape to mortal
shape. I seek refuge against you this night by the Throne-verse and the
Chapter of Sincerity[56] and the Two Preventives!”[57] So saying the Wag
put off his clothes till he was naked, with prickle and breech exposed,
and danced among the slave-girls. They bound his hands and he wantoned
among them, while they died of laughing at him and the Caliph swooned
away for excess of laughter. Then he came to himself and going forth the
curtain to Abu al-Hasan, said to him, “Out on thee, O Abu al-Hasan! Thou
slayest me with laughter.” So he turned to him and knowing him, said to
him, “By Allah, ’tis thou slayest me and slayest my mother and slewest
the Shaykhs and the Imam of the Mosque!” After which he kissed ground
before him and prayed for the permanence of his prosperity and the
endurance of his days. The Caliph at once robed him in a rich robe and
gave him a thousand dinars; and presently he took the Wag into especial
favour and married him and bestowed largesse on him and lodged him with
himself in the palace and made him of the chief of his cup-companions,
and indeed he was preferred with him above them and the Caliph advanced
him over them all. Now they were ten in number, to wit, Al-’Ijlí and
Al-Rakáshi and ’Ibdán and Hasan al-Farazdak and Al-Lauz and Al-Sakar and
Omar al-Tartís and Abu Nowas and Abu Ishak al-Nadím and Abu al-Hasan
al-Khali’a, and by each of them hangeth a story which is told in other
than this book.[58] And indeed Abu al-Hasan became high in honour with
the Caliph and favoured above all, so that he sat with him and the Lady
Zubaydah bint al-Kasim, whose treasuress Nuzhat al-Fuád[59] hight, was
given to him in marriage. After this Abu al-Hasan the Wag abode with his
wife in eating and drinking and all delight of life, till whatso was
with them went the way of money, when he said to her, “Harkye, O Nuzhat
al-Fuad!” Said she, “At thy service;” and he continued, “I have it in
mind to play a trick on the Caliph[60] and thou shalt do the like with
the Lady Zubaydah, and we will take of them at once, to begin with, two
hundred dinars and two pieces of silk.” She rejoined, “As thou willest,
but what thinkest thou to do?” And he said, “We will feign ourselves
dead and this is the trick. I will die before thee and lay myself out,
and do thou spread over me a silken napkin and loose my turban over me
and tie my toes and lay on my stomach a knife and a little salt.[61]
Then let down thy hair and betake thyself to thy mistress Zubaydah,
tearing thy dress and slapping thy face and crying out. She will ask
thee, What aileth thee? and do thou answer her, May thy head outlive Abu
al-Hasan the Wag; for he is dead. She will mourn for me and weep and bid
her new treasuress give thee an hundred dinars and a piece of silk[62]
and will say to thee:—Go, lay him out and carry him forth. So do thou
take of her the hundred dinars and the piece of silk and come back, and
when thou returnest to me, I will rise up and thou shalt lie down in my
place, and I will go to the Caliph and say to him, May thy head outlive
Nuzhat al-Fuad, and rend my raiment and pluck out my beard. He will
mourn for thee and say to his treasurer, Give Abu al-Hasan an hundred
dinars and a piece of silk. Then he will say to me, Go; lay her out and
carry her forth; and I will come back to thee.” Therewith Nuzhat al-Fuad
rejoiced and said, “Indeed, this is an excellent device.” Then Abu
al-Hasan stretched himself out forthright and she shut his eyes and tied
his feet and covered him with the napkin and did whatso her lord had
bidden her; after which she tare her gear and bared her head and letting
down her hair, went in to the Lady Zubaydah, crying out and weeping.
When the Princess saw her in this state, she cried, “What plight is
this? What is thy story and what maketh thee weep?” And Nuzhat al-Fuad
answered, weeping and loud-wailing the while, “O my lady, may thy head
live and mayst thou survive Abu al-Hasan al Khali’a; for he is dead!”
The Lady Zubaydah mourned for him and said, “Alas, poor Abu al-Hasan the
Wag!” and she shed tears for him awhile. Then she bade her treasuress
give Nuzhat al-Fuad an hundred dinars and a piece of silk and said to
her, “O Nuzhat al-Fuad, go, lay him out and carry him forth.” So she
took the hundred dinars and the piece of silk and returned to her
dwelling, rejoicing, and went in to her spouse and acquainted him what
had befallen, whereupon he arose and rejoiced and girdled his middle and
danced and took the hundred dinars and the piece of silk and laid them
up. Then he laid out Nuzhat al-Fuad and did with her as she had done
with him; after which he rent his raiment and plucked out his beard and
disordered his turban and ran out nor ceased running till he came in to
the Caliph, who was sitting in the judgment-hall, and he in this plight,
beating his breast. The Caliph asked him, “What aileth thee, O Abu
al-Hasan?” and he wept and answered, “Would heaven thy cup companion had
never been and would his hour had never come!”[63] Quoth the Caliph,
“Tell me thy case:” and quoth Abu al-Hasan, “O my lord, may thy head
outlive Nuzhat al-Fuád!” The Caliph exclaimed, “There is no god but
God;” and smote hand upon hand. Then he comforted Abu al-Hasan and said
to him, “Grieve not, for we will bestow upon thee a bed-fellow other
than she.” And he ordered the treasurer to give him an hundred dinars
and a piece of silk. Accordingly the treasurer did what the Caliph bade
him, and Al-Rashid said to him, “Go, lay her out and carry her forth and
make her a handsome funeral.” So Abu al-Hasan took that which he had
given him and returning to his house, rejoicing, went in to Nuzhat
al-Fuad and said to her, “Arise, for our wish is won.” Hereat she arose
and he laid before her the hundred ducats and the piece of silk, whereat
she rejoiced, and they added the gold to the gold and the silk to the
silk and sat talking and laughing each to other. Meanwhile, when Abu
al-Hasan fared forth the presence of the Caliph and went to lay out
Nuzhat al-Fuad, the Commander of the Faithful mourned for her and
dismissing the divan, arose and betook himself, leaning upon Masrur, the
Sworder of his vengeance, to the Lady Zubaydah, that he might condole
with her for her hand-maid. He found her sitting weeping and awaiting
his coming, so she might condole with him for his boon-companion Abu
al-Hasan the Wag. So he said to her, “May thy head outlive thy
slave-girl Nuzhat al-Fuad!” and said she, “O my lord, Allah preserve my
slave-girl! Mayst thou live and long survive thy boon-companion Abu
al-Hasan al-Khali’a; for he is dead.” The Caliph smiled and said, to his
eunuch, “O Masrur, verily women are little of wit. Allah upon thee, say,
was not Abu al-Hasan with me but now?”[64] Quoth the Lady Zubaydah,
laughing from a heart full of wrath, “Wilt thou not leave thy jesting?
Sufficeth thee not that Abu al-Hasan is dead, but thou must put to death
my slave-girl also and bereave us of the twain, and style me little of
wit?” The Caliph answered, “Indeed, ’tis Nuzhat al-Fuad who is dead.”
And the Lady Zubaydah said, “Indeed he hath not been with thee, nor hast
thou seen him, and none was with me but now save Nuzhat al-Fuad, and she
sorrowful, weeping, with her clothes torn to tatters. I exhorted her to
patience and gave her an hundred dinars and a piece of silk; and indeed
I was awaiting thy coming, so I might console thee for thy cup-companion
Abu al-Hasan al-Khali’a, and was about to send for thee.”[65] The Caliph
laughed and said, “None is dead save Nuzhat al-Fuad;” and she, “No, no,
good my lord; none is dead but Abu al-Hasan the Wag.” With this the
Caliph waxed wroth, and the Háshimí vein[66] started out from between
his eyes and throbbed: and he cried out to Masrur and said to him, “Fare
thee forth to the house of Abu al-Hasan the Wag, and see which of them
is dead.” So Masrur went out, running, and the Caliph said to the Lady
Zubaydah, “Wilt thou lay me a wager?” And said she, “Yes, I will wager,
and I say that Abu al-Hasan is dead.” Rejoined the Caliph, “And I wager
and say that none is dead save Nuzhat al-Fuad; and the stake between me
and thee shall be the Garden of Pleasance[67] against thy palace and the
Pavilion of Pictures.”[68] So they agreed upon this and sat awaiting
Masrur’s return with the news. As for the Eunuch, he ceased not running
till he came to the by-street, wherein was the stead of Abu al-Hasan
al-Khali’a. Now the Wag was comfortably seated and leaning back against
the lattice,[69] and chancing to look round, saw Masrur running along
the street and said to Nuzhat al-Fuad, “Meseemeth the Caliph, when I
went forth from him dismissed the Divan and went in to the Lady
Zubaydah, to condole with her; whereupon she arose and condoled with
him, saying, Allah increase thy recompense for the loss of Abu al-Hasan
al-Khali’a! And he said to her, None is dead save Nuzhat al-Fuad, may
thy head outlive her! Quoth she, ’Tis not she who is dead, but Abu
al-Hasan al-Khali’a, thy boon companion. And quoth he, None is dead save
Nuzhat al-Fuad. And they waxed so obstinate that the Caliph became wroth
and they laid a wager, and he hath sent Masrur the Sworder to see who is
dead. Now, therefore, ’twere best that thou lie down, so he may sight
thee and go and acquaint the Caliph and confirm my saying.”[70] So
Nuzhat al-Fuad stretched herself out and Abu al-Hasan covered her with
her mantilla and sat weeping at her head. Presently, Masrur the eunuch
suddenly came in to him and saluted him, and seeing Nuzhat al-Fuad
stretched out, uncovered her face and said, “There is no god but God!
Our sister Nuzhat al-Fuad is dead indeed. How sudden was the stroke of
Destiny! Allah have ruth on thee and acquit thee of all charge!” Then he
returned and related what had passed before the Caliph and the Lady
Zubaydah, and he laughing as he spoke. “O accursed one,” cried the
Caliph, “this is no time for laughter! Tell us which is dead of them.”
Masrur replied, “By Allah, O my lord, Abu al-Hasan is well, and none is
dead but Nuzhat al-Fuad.” Quoth the Caliph to Zubaydah, “Thou hast lost
thy pavilion in thy play,” and he jeered at her and said, “O Masrur,
tell her what thou sawest.” Quoth the Eunuch, “Verily, O my lady, I ran
without ceasing till I came in to Abu al-Hasan in his house and found
Nuzhat al-Fuad lying dead and Abu al-Hasan sitting tearful at her head.
I saluted him and condoled with him and sat down by his side and
uncovered the face of Nuzhat al-Fuad and saw her dead and her face
swollen.[71] So I said to him:—Carry her out forthwith, so we may pray
over her. He replied:—’Tis well; and I left him to lay her out and came
hither, that I might tell you the news.” The Prince of True Believers
laughed and said, “Tell it again and again to thy lady Little-wits.”
When the Lady Zubaydah heard Masrur’s words and those of the Caliph she
was wroth and said, “None is little of wit save he who believeth a black
slave.” And she abused Masrur, whilst the Commander of the Faithful
laughed: and the Eunuch, vexed at this, said to the Caliph, “He spake
sooth who said:—Women are little of wits and lack religion.”[72] Then
said the Lady Zubaydah to the Caliph, “O Commander of the Faithful, thou
sportest and jestest with me, and this slave hoodwinketh me, the better
to please thee; but I will send and see which of them be dead.” And he
answered, saying, “Send one who shall see which of them is dead.” So the
Lady Zubaydah cried out to an old duenna, and said to her, “Hie thee to
the house of Nuzhat al-Fuad in haste and see who is dead and loiter
not.” And she used hard words to her.[73] So the old woman went out
running, whilst the Prince of True Believers and Masrur laughed, and she
ceased not running till she came into the street. Abu al-Hasan saw her,
and knowing her, said to his wife, “O Nuzhat al-Fuad, meseemeth the Lady
Zubaydah hath sent to us to see who is dead and hath not given credit to
Masrur’s report of thy death: accordingly, she hath despatched the old
crone, her duenna, to discover the truth. So it behoveth me to be dead
in my turn for the sake of thy credit with the Lady Zubaydah.” Hereat he
lay down and stretched himself out, and she covered him and bound his
eyes and feet and sat in tears at his head. Presently the old woman came
in to her and saw her sitting at Abu al-Hasan’s head, weeping and
recounting his fine qualities; and when she saw the old trot, she cried
out and said to her, “See what hath befallen me! Indeed Abu al-Hasan is
dead and hath left me lone and lorn!” Then she shrieked out and rent her
raiment and said to the crone, “O my mother, how very good he was to
me!”[74] Quoth the other, “Indeed thou art excused, for thou wast used
to him and he to thee.” Then she considered what Masrur had reported to
the Caliph and the Lady Zubaydah and said to her, “Indeed, Masrur goeth
about to cast discord between the Caliph and the Lady Zubaydah.” Asked
Nuzhat al-Fuad, “And what is the cause of discord, O my mother?” and the
other replied, “O my daughter, Masrur came to the Caliph and the Lady
Zubaydah and gave them news of thee that thou wast dead and that Abu
al-Hasan was well.” Nuzhat al-Fuad said to her, “O naunty mine,[75] I
was with my lady just now and she gave me an hundred dinars and a piece
of silk; and now see my case and that which hath befallen me! Indeed, I
am bewildered, and how shall I do, and I lone, and lorn? Would heaven I
had died and he had lived!” Then she wept and with her wept the old
woman, who, going up to Abu al-Hasan and uncovering his face, saw his
eyes bound and swollen for the swathing. So she covered him again and
said, “Indeed, O Nuzhat al-Fuad, thou art afflicted in Abu al-Hasan!”
Then she condoled with her and going out from her, ran along the street
till she came into the Lady Zubaydah and related to her the story; and
the Princess said to her, laughing, “Tell it over again to the Caliph,
who maketh me out little of wit, and lacking of religion, and who made
this ill-omened liar of a slave presume to contradict me.” Quoth Masrur,
“This old woman lieth; for I saw Abu al-Hasan well and Nuzhat al-Fuad it
was who lay dead.” Quoth the duenna “’Tis thou that liest, and wouldst
fain cast discord between the Caliph and the Lady Zubaydah.” And Masrur
cried, “None lieth but thou, O old woman of ill-omen and thy lady
believeth thee and she must be in her dotage.” Whereupon the Lady
Zubaydah cried out at him, and in very sooth she was enraged with him
and with his speech and shed tears. Then said the Caliph to her, “I lie
and my eunuch lieth, and thou liest and thy waiting-woman lieth; so ’tis
my rede we go, all four of us together, that we may see which of us
telleth the truth.” Masrur said, “Come, let us go, that I may do to this
ill-omened old woman evil deeds[76] and deal her a sound drubbing for
her lying.” And the duenna answered him, “O dotard, is thy wit like unto
my wit? Indeed, thy wit is as the hen’s wit.” Masrur was incensed at her
words and would have laid violent hands on her, but the Lady Zubaydah
pushed him away from her and said to him, “Her truth-speaking will
presently be distinguished from thy truth-speaking and her leasing from
thy leasing.” Then they all four arose, laying wagers one with other,
and went forth afoot from the palace-gate and hied on till they came in
at the gate of the street where Abu al-Hasan al-Khali’a dwelt. He saw
them and said to his wife Nuzhat al-Fuad, “Verily, all that is sticky is
not a pancake[77] they cook nor every time shall the crock escape the
shock. It seemeth the old woman hath gone and told her lady and
acquainted her with our case and she hath disputed with Masrur the
Eunuch and they have laid wagers each with other about our death and are
come to us, all four, the Caliph and the Eunuch and the Lady Zubaydah
and the old trot.” When Nuzhat al-Fuad heard this, she started up from
her outstretched posture and asked, “How shall we do?” whereto he
answered, “We will both feign ourselves dead together and stretch
ourselves out and hold our breath.” So she hearkened unto him and they
both lay down on the place where they usually slept the siesta[78] and
bound their feet and shut their eyes and covered themselves with the
veil and held their breath. Presently, up came the Caliph, Zubaydah,
Masrur and the old woman and entering, found Abu al-Hasan the Wag and
wife both stretched out as dead; which when the Lady saw, she wept and
said, “They ceased not to bring ill-news of my slave-girl till she
died,[79] methinketh Abu al-Hasan’s death was grievous to her and that
she died after him.”[80] Quoth the Caliph, “Thou shalt not prevent me
with thy prattle and prate. She certainly died before Abu al-Hasan, for
he came to me with his raiment rent and his beard plucked out, beating
his breast with two bits of sunbaked brick,[81] and I gave him an
hundred dinars and a piece of silk and said to him, Go, bear her forth
and I will give thee a bed-fellow other than she and handsomer, and she
shall be in stead of her. But it would appear that her death was no
light matter to him and he died after her;[82] so it is I who have
beaten thee and gotten thy stake.” The Lady Zubaydah answered him in
words galore and the dispute between them waxed sore. At last the Caliph
sat down at the heads of the pair and said, “By the tomb of the Apostle
of Allah (whom may He save and assain!) and the sepulchres of my fathers
and forefathers, whoso will tell me which of them died before the other,
I will willingly give him a thousand dinars!” When Abual-Hasan heard the
Caliph’s words, he sprang up in haste and said, “I died first, O
Commander of the Faithful! Here with the thousand dinars and acquit thee
of thine oath and the swear thou sworest.” Nuzhat al-Fuad rose also and
stood up before the Caliph and the Lady Zubaydah, who both rejoiced in
this and in their safety, and the Princess chid her slave-girl. Then the
Caliph and Zubaydah gave them joy of their well-being and knew that this
death was a trick to get the gold; and the Lady said to Nuzhat al-Fuad,
“Thou shouldst have sought of me that which thou neededst, without this
fashion, and not have burned[83] my heart for thee.” And she, “Verily, I
was ashamed, O my lady.” As for the Caliph, he swooned away for laughing
and said, “O Abu al-Hasan, thou wilt never cease to be a wag and do
peregrine things and prodigious!” Quoth he, “O Commander of the
Faithful, this trick I played off for that the money which thou gavest
me was exhausted, and I was ashamed to ask of thee again. When I was
single, I could never keep money in hand; but since thou marriedst me to
this damsel, if I possessed even thy wealth, I should lay it waste.
Wherefore when all that was in my hand was spent, I wrought this
sleight, so I might get of thee the hundred dinars and the piece of
silk; and all this is an alms from our lord. But now make haste to give
me the thousand dinars and acquit thee of thine oath.” The Caliph and
the Lady Zubaydah laughed and returned to the palace; and he gave Abu
al-Hasan the thousand dinars saying, “Take them as a _douceur_[84] for
thy preservation from death,” whilst her mistress did the like with
Nuzhat al-Fuad, honouring her with the same words. Moreover, the Caliph
increased the Wag in his solde and supplies, and he and his wife ceased
not to live in joy and contentment, till there came to them the
Destroyer of delights and Severer of societies, the Plunderer of
palaces, and the Garnerer of graves.


It is said that, when the Caliphate devolved on Omar bin Abd al-Aziz[86]
(of whom Allah accept), the poets resorted to him, as they had been used
to resort to the Caliphs before him, and abode at his door days and
days, but he suffered them not to enter, till there came to him ’Adí bin
Artah,[87] who stood high in esteem with him. Jarír[88] accosted him and
begged him to crave admission for them to the presence; so Adi answered,
“’Tis well;” and, going in to Omar, said to him, “The poets are at thy
door and have been there days and days; yet hast thou not given them
leave to enter, albeit their sayings abide[89] and their arrows from
mark never fly wide.” Quoth Omar, “What have I to do with the poets?”
and quoth Adi, “O Commander of the Faithful, the Prophet (Abhak!)[90]
was praised by a poet[91] and gave him largesse, and in him[92] is an
exemplar to every Moslem.” Quoth Omar, “And who praised him?” and quoth
Adi, “’Abbás bin Mirdás[93] praised him, and he clad him with a suit and
said, O Generosity,[94] cut off from me his tongue!” Asked the Caliph,
“Dost thou remember what he said?” and Adi answered, “Yes.” Rejoined
Omar, “Then repeat it;” so Adi repeated:—[95]

 I saw thee, O thou best of human race, ✿ Bring out a Book which brought
    to graceless Grace.
 Thou showedst righteous road to men astray ✿ From Right, when darkest
    Wrong had ta’en its place;—
 Thou with Islám didst light the gloomiest way, ✿ Quenching with proof
    live coals of frowardness;
 I own for Prophet mine Mohammed’s self; ✿ And man’s award upon his word
    we base;
 Thou madest straight the path that crooked ran, ✿ Where in old days foul
    growth o’ergrew its face.
 Exalt be thou in Joy’s empyrean ✿ And Allah’s glory ever grow apace.

“And indeed (continued Adi), this Elegy on the Prophet (Abhak!) is well
known and to comment it would be tedious.” Quoth Omar, “Who is at the
door?” and quoth Adi, “Among them is Omar ibn Abi Rabí’ah, the
Korashí”[96]; whereupon the Caliph cried, “May Allah show him no favour
neither quicken him! Was it not he who said these verses:—

 Would Heaven what day Death shall visit me ✿ I smell as thy droppings
    and drippings[97] smell!
 Could I in my clay-bed on Salmá lie ✿ There to me were better than
    Heaven or Hell!

Had he not been (continued the Caliph) the enemy of Allah, he had wished
for her in this world, so he might after repent and return to righteous
dealing. By Allah, he shall not come in to me! Who is at the door other
than he?” Quoth Adi, “Jamíl bin Ma’mar al-Uzri[98] is at the door;” and
quoth Omar, “’Tis he who saith in one of his elegies:—

 Would Heaven conjoint we lived, and if I die ✿ Death only grant me a
    grave within her grave:
 For I’d no longer deign to live my life ✿ If told upon her head is laid
    the pave.[99]

Quoth Omar, “Away with him from me! Who is at the door?” and quoth Adi,
“Kuthayyir ’Azzah”[100]; whereupon Omar cried, “’Tis he who saith in one
of his odes:—

 Some talk of faith and creed and nothing else ✿ And wait for pains of
    Hell in prayer-seat;[101]
 But did they hear what I from Azzah heard, ✿ They’d make prostration,
    fearfull, at her feet.

“Leave the mention of him. Who is at the door?” Quoth Adi, “Al-Ahwas
al-’Ansárí.”[102] Cried Omar, “Allah Almighty put him away and estrange
him from His mercy! Is it not he who said, berhyming on a Medinite’s
slave-girl, so she might outlive her lord:—

 Allah be judge betwixt me and her lord! ✿ Who ever flies with her and I

“He shall not come in to me. Who is at the door, other than he?” Adi
replied, “Hammám bin Ghálib al-Farazdak;”[103] and Omar said, “’Tis he
who saith, glorying in whoring:—

 Two girls let me down eighty fathoms deep, ✿ As low sweeps a falcon wi’
    pinions spread;
 And cried, as my toes touched the ground, “Dost live ✿ To return, or the
    fall hath it done thee dead?”

“He shall not come in to me. Who is at the door, other than he?” Adi
replied, “Al-Akhtal al-Taghlibí”[104] and Omar said, “He is the
Miscreant who saith in his singing:—

 Ramazan I ne’er fasted in life-time; nay ✿ I ate flesh in public at
    undurn day[105];
 Nor chide I the fair, save in way of love, ✿ Nor seek Meccah’s
    plain[106] in salvation-way:
 Nor stand I praying like rest who cry ✿ “Hie salvationwards”[107] at the
    dawn’s first ray.
 But I drink her cooled[108] by fresh Northern breeze ✿ And my head at
    dawn to her prone I lay.[109]

“By Allah, he treadeth no carpet of mine! Who is at the door, other than
he?” Said Adi, “Jarír ibn al-Khatafah”; and Omar cried, “’Tis he who

 But for ill-spying glances had our eyes espied ✿ Eyne of the antelope
    and ringlets of the Reems.[110]
 A Huntress of the eyes[111] by night-tide came and I ✿ Cried, “Turn in
    peace, no time for visit this, meseems!”

“An it must be and no help, admit Jarir.” So Adi went forth and admitted
Jarir, who entered, saying:—

 Yea, he who sent Mohammed unto man, ✿ A just successor for Imám[112]
 His ruth and justice all mankind embrace, ✿ To daunt the bad and
    stablish well-designed.
 Verily now I look to present good, ✿ For man hath ever-transient weal in

Quoth Omar, “O Jarir, keep the fear of Allah before thine eyes and say
naught save the sooth.” And Jarir recited these couplets:—

 How many widows loose the hair in far Yamámah-land[113] ✿ How many an
    orphan there abides feeble of voice and eye,
 Since faredst thou who wast to them instead of father lost ✿ When they
    like nested fledglings were sans power to creep or fly!
 And now we hope, since brake the clouds their word and troth with us, ✿
    Hope from the Caliph’s grace to gain a rain[114] that ne’er shall

When the Caliph heard this, he said “By Allah, O Jarir, Omar possesseth
but an hundred dirhams.[115] Ho, boy! do thou give them to him.”
Moreover, he gifted him with the ornaments of his sword; and Jarir went
forth to the other poets, who asked him, “What is behind thee?”[116] and
he answered, “A man who giveth to the poor and denieth the poets, and
with him I am well-pleased.”

                AL-HAJJAJ AND THE THREE YOUNG MEN.[117]

They tell that Al-Hajjáj[118] once bade the Chief of Police go his
rounds about Bassorah city by night, and whomsoever he found abroad
after supper-tide that he should smite his neck. So he went round one
night of the nights and came upon three youths swaying and staggering
from side to side, and on them signs of wine-bibbing. So the watch laid
hold of them and the captain said to them, “Who be you that ye durst
transgress the commandment of the Commander of the Faithful[119] and
come abroad at this hour?” Quoth one of the youths, “I am the son of him
to whom all necks[120] abase themselves, alike the nose-pierced of them
and the breaker; they come to him in their own despite, abject and
submissive, and he taketh of their wealth and of their blood.” The
Master of Police held his hand from him, saying, “Belike he is of the
kinsmen of the Prince of True Believers,” and said to the second, “Who
art thou?” Quoth he, “I am the son of him whose rank[121] Time abaseth
not, and if it be lowered one day, ’twill assuredly return to its former
height; thou seest the folk crowd in troops to the light of his fire,
some standing around it and some sitting.” So the Chief of Police
refrained from slaying him and asked the third, “Who art thou?” He
answered, “I am the son of him who plungeth through the ranks[122] with
his might and levelleth them with the sword, so that they stand
straight: his feet are not loosed from the stirrup, whenas the horsemen
on the day of the battle are a-weary.” So the Master of Police held his
hand from him also, saying, “Belike, he is the son of a Brave of the
Arabs.” Then he kept them under guard, and when the morning morrowed, he
referred their case to Al-Hajjaj, who caused bring them before him and
enquiring into their affair, when behold, the first was the son of a
barber-surgeon, the second of a bean-seller and the third of a weaver.
So he marvelled at their eloquent readiness of speech and said to the
men of his assembly, “Teach your sons the rhetorical use of Arabic:[123]
for, by Allah, but for their ready wit, I had smitten off their heads!”


They tell[125] that Harun Al-Rashid was sitting one day to abate
grievances, when there came up to him a woman and said, “O Commander of
the Faithful, may Allah perfect thy purpose and gladden thee in whatso
He hath given thee and increase thee in elevation! Indeed, thou hast
done justice and wrought equitably.”[126] Quoth the Caliph to those who
were present with him, “Know ye what this one meaneth by her saying?”
and quoth they, “Of a surety, she meaneth not otherwise than well, O
Prince of True Believers.” Al-Rashid rejoined; “Nay, in this she
purposeth only to curse me. As for her saying, ‘Allah perfect thy
purpose,’ she hath taken it from the saying of the poet:—

 When thy purpose is effected beginneth its decay; ✿ when they say ‘Thy
    wish is won’ feel thou sure ’twill pass away.

As for her saying ‘Allah gladden thee in whatso He hath given thee,’ she
took it from the saying of Almighty Allah,[127] ’Till, whenas they were
gladdened in that which they were given, We suddenly laid hold of them
and lo, they were in despair!’ As for her saying, ‘Allah increase thee
in elevation!’ she took it from the saying of the poet:—

 ‘No flier flieth however tall ✿ but as he flieth shall come to fall.’

And as for her saying, ‘Indeed, thou hast done justice and wrought
equitably,’ ’tis from the saying of the Almighty, ‘If ye swerve[128] or
lag behind or turn aside, verily, Allah of that which ye do is well
aware;’ and ‘As for the swervers[129] they are fuel for Hell.’” Then he
turned to the woman and asked her, “Is it not thus?” Answered she; “Yes,
O Commander of the Faithful,” and quoth he, “What prompted thee to
this?” Quoth she, “Thou slewest my parents and my kinsfolk and
despoiledst their good.” Enquired the Caliph, “Whom meanest thou?” and
she replied, “I am of the house of Barmak.” Then said he to her, “As for
the dead, they are of those who are past away, and it booteth not to
speak of them; but, as for that which I took of wealth, it shall
forthright be restored to thee, yea, and more than it.” And he was
bountiful to her to the uttermost of his bounties.


There was once, of old days, a king of the kings, whose name was
Azádbakht; his capital was hight Kunaym Madúd[131] and his kingdom
extended to the confines of Sístán[132] and from the confines of
Hindostan to the Indian Ocean. He had ten Wazirs, who ordered his
kingship and his dominion, and he was possessed of judgment and
exceeding wisdom. One day he went forth with certain of his guards to
the chase and fell in with an Eunuch riding a mare and hending in hand
the halter of a she-mule, which he led along. On the mule’s back was a
domed litter of brocade purfled with gold and girded with an embroidered
band set with pearls and gems, and about it was a company of Knights.
When King Azadbakht saw this, he separated himself from his suite and,
making for the horsemen and that mule, questioned them, saying, “To whom
belongeth this litter and what is therein?” The Eunuch answered, (for he
knew not that the speaker was King Azadbakht,) saying, “This litter
belongeth to Isfahand, Wazir to King Azadbakht, and therein is his
daughter, whom he is minded to marry to the King hight Zád Sháh.”

As the Eunuch was speaking with the king, behold, the maiden raised a
corner of the curtain that shut in the litter, so she might look upon
the speaker, and saw the king. When Azadbakht beheld her and noted her
fashion and her loveliness, (and indeed never did seer[133] espy her
like,) his soul inclined to her and she took hold upon his heart and he
was ravished by her sight. So he said to the Eunuch, “Turn the mule’s
head and return, for I am King Azadbakht and in very sooth I will marry
her myself, inasmuch as Isfahand her sire is my Wazir and he will accept
of this affair and it will not be hard to him.” Answered the Eunuch, “O
king, Allah prolong thy continuance, have patience till I acquaint my
lord her parent, and thou shalt wed her in the way of consent, for it
besitteth thee not, neither is it seemly for thee, to seize her on this
wise, seeing that it will be an affront to her father an if thou take
her without his knowledge.” Quoth Azadbakht, “I have not patience to
wait till thou repair to her sire and return, and no shame will betide
him, if I marry her.” And quoth the eunuch, “O my lord, naught that in
haste is done long endureth nor doth the heart rejoice therein; and
indeed it behoveth thee not to take her on this unseemly wise.
Whatsoever betideth thee, destroy not thyself with haste, for I know
that her sire’s breast will be straitened by this affair and this that
thou dost will not win thy wish.” But the king said, “Verily, Isfahand
is my Mameluke and a slave of my slaves, and I reck not of her father,
an he be fain or unfain.” So saying, he drew the reins of the mule and
carrying the damsel, whose name was Bahrjaur,[134] to his house married
her. Meanwhile, the Eunuch betook himself, he and the knights to her
sire and said to him, “O my lord, thou hast served the king a many
years’ service and thou hast not failed him a single day; and now he
hath taken thy daughter without thy consent and permission.” And he
related to him what had passed and how the king had seized her by force.
When Isfahand heard the eunuch’s words, he was wroth with exceeding
wrath and assembling many troops, said to them, “Whenas the king was
occupied with his women[135] we took no reck of him; but now he putteth
out his hand to our Harim; wherefore ’tis my rede that we look us out a
place wherein we may have sanctuary.” Then he wrote a letter to King
Azadbakht, saying to him, “I am a Mameluke of thy Mamelukes and a slave
of thy slaves and my daughter at thy service is a hand-maid, and
Almighty Allah prolong thy days and appoint thy times to be in joy and
gladness! Indeed, I went ever waist-girded in thy service and in caring
to conserve thy dominion and warding off from thee all thy foes; but now
I abound yet more than erewhile in zeal and watchfulness, because I have
taken this charge upon myself, since my daughter is become thy wife.”
And he despatched a courier to the king with the letter and a present.
When the messenger came to King Azadbakht and he read the letter and the
present was laid before him, he rejoiced with joy exceeding and occupied
himself with eating and drinking, hour after hour. But the chief Wazir
of his Wazirs came to him and said, “O king, know that Isfahand the
Wazir is thine enemy, for that his soul liketh not that which thou hast
done with him, and this message he hath sent thee is a trick; so rejoice
thou not therein, neither be thou misled by the sweets of his say and
the softness of his speech.” The king hearkened to his Wazir’s speech,
but presently made light of the matter and busied himself with that
which he was about of eating and drinking, pleasuring and merrymaking.
Meanwhile, Isfahand the Wazir wrote a letter and sent it to all the
Emirs, acquainting them with that which had betided him from King
Azadbakht and how he had forced his daughter, adding, “And indeed he
will do with you more than he hath done with me.” When the letter
reached the chiefs,[136] they all assembled together to Isfahand and
said to him, “What was his affair?”[137] Accordingly he discovered to
them the matter of his daughter and they all agreed, of one accord, to
strive for the slaughter of the king; and, taking horse with their
troops, they set out to seek him. Azadbakht knew naught till the noise
of the revolt beset his capital city, when he said to his wife Bahrjaur,
“How shall we do?” She answered, “Thou knowest best and I am at thy
commandment;” so he bade fetch two swift horses and bestrode one
himself, whilst his wife mounted the other. Then they took what they
could of gold and went forth, flying through the night to the desert of
Karmán;[138] while Isfahand entered the city and made himself king. Now
King Azadbakht’s wife was big with child and the labour pains took her
in the mountain; so they alighted at the foot, by a spring of water, and
she bare a boy as he were the moon. Bahrjaur his mother pulled off a
coat of gold-woven brocade and wrapped the child therein, and they
passed the night in that place, she giving him the breast till morning.
Then said the king to her, “We are hampered by this child and cannot
abide here nor can we carry him with us; so methinks we had better leave
him in this stead and wend our ways, for Allah is able to send him one
who shall take him and rear him.” So they wept over him with exceeding
sore weeping and left him beside the fountain, wrapped in that coat of
brocade: then they laid at his head a thousand gold pieces in a bag and
mounting their horses, fared forth and fled. Now, by the ordinance of
the Most High Lord, a company of highway robbers fell upon a caravan
hard by that mountain and despoiled them of what was with them of
merchandise. Then they betook themselves to the highlands, so they might
share their loot, and looking at the foot thereof, espied the coat of
brocade: so they descended to see what it was, and behold, it was a boy
wrapped therein and the gold laid at his head. They marvelled and said,
“Praised be Allah! By what misdeed cometh this child here?” Thereupon
they divided the money between them and the captain[139] of the
highwaymen took the boy and made him his son and fed him with sweet milk
and dates,[140] till he came to his house, when he appointed a nurse for
rearing him. Meanwhile, King Azadbakht and his wife stayed not in their
flight till they came to the court of the King of Fars, whose name was
Kisra[141]. When they presented themselves to him, he honoured them with
all honour and entertained them with handsomest entertainment, and
Azadbakht told him his tale from incept to conclusion. So he gave him a
mighty power and wealth galore and he abode with him some days till he
was rested, when he made ready with his host and setting out for his own
dominions, waged war with Isfahand and falling in upon the capital,
defeated the whilome Minister and slew him. Then he entered the city and
sat down on the throne of his kingship; and whenas he was rested and his
kingdom waxed peaceful for him, he despatched messengers to the mountain
aforesaid in search of the child; but they returned and informed the
king that they had not found him. As time ran on, the boy, the son of
the king, grew up and fell to cutting the way[142] with the highwaymen,
and they used to carry him with them, whenever they went banditing. They
sallied forth one day upon a caravan in the land of Sistan, and there
were in that caravan strong men and valiant, and with them a mighty
store of merchandise. Now they had heard that in that land banditti
abounded: so they gathered themselves together and gat ready their
weapons and sent out spies, who returned and gave them news of the
plunderers. Accordingly, they prepared for battle, and when the robbers
drew near the caravan, they fell upon them and the twain fought a sore
fight. At last the caravan-folk overmastered the highwaymen by dint of
numbers, and slew some of them, whilst the others fled. They also took
the boy, the son of King Azadbakht, and seeing him as he were the moon,
a model of beauty and loveliness, bright of face and engraced with
grace, asked him, “Who is thy father, and how camest thou with these
banditti?” And he answered, saying, “I am the son of the Captain of the
highwaymen.” So they seized him and carried him to the capital of his
sire, King Azadbakht. When they reached the city, the king heard of
their coming and commanded that they should attend him with what
befitted of their goods. Accordingly they presented themselves before
him, and the boy with them, whom when the king saw, he asked them, “To
whom belongeth this boy?” and they answered, “O King, we were going on
such a road, when there came out upon us a sort of robbers; so we fought
them and beat them off and took this boy prisoner. Then we questioned
him, saying, Who is thy sire? and he replied, I am the son of the
robber-captain.” Quoth the king, “I would fain have this boy;” and quoth
the captain of the caravan, “Allah maketh thee gift of him, O king of
the age, and we all are thy slaves.” Then the king (who was not aware
that the boy was his son) dismissed the caravan and bade carry the lad
into his palace and he became as one of the pages, while his sire the
king still knew not that he was his child. As the days rolled on, the
king observed in him good breeding and understanding and handiness
galore and he pleased him; so he committed his treasuries to his charge
and shortened the Wazirs’ hand therefrom, commanding that naught should
be taken forth save by leave of the youth. On this wise he abode a
number of years and the king saw in him only good conduct and the habit
of righteousness. Now the treasuries had been aforetime in the hands of
the Wazirs to do with them whatso they would, and when they came under
the youth’s hand, that of the Ministers was shortened from them, and he
became dearer than a son to the king who could not support being
separated from him. When the Wazirs saw this, they were jealous of him
and envied him and sought a device against him whereby they might oust
him from the King’s eye,[143] but found no means. At last, when Fate
descended,[144] it chanced that the youth one day of the days drank wine
and became drunken and wandered from his right wits; so he fell to going
round about within the king’s palace and Destiny led him to the lodging
of the women, in which there was a little sleeping chamber, where the
king lay with his wife. Thither came the youth and entering the
dormitory, found there a spread couch, to wit, a sleeping place: so he
cast himself on the bed, marvelling at the paintings that were in the
chamber, which was lighted by one waxen taper. Presently he fell asleep
and slumbered heavily till eventide, when there came a hand-maid,
bringing with her as of wont all the dessert, eatables and drinkables,
usually made ready for the king and his wife, and seeing the youth lying
on his back, (and none knowing of his case and he in his drunkenness
unknowing where he was), thought that he was the king asleep on his
couch; so she set the censing-vessel and laid the perfumes by the
bedding, then shut the door and went her ways. Soon after this, the king
arose from the wine-chamber and taking his wife by the hand, repaired
with her to the chamber in which he slept. He opened the door and
entered when, lo and behold! he saw the youth lying on the bed,
whereupon he turned to his wife and said to her, “What doth this youth
here? This fellow cometh not hither save on thine account.” Said she, “I
have no knowledge of him.” Hereupon the youth awoke and seeing the king,
sprang up and prostrated himself before him, and Azadbakht said to him,
“O vile of birth,[145] O traitor of unworth, what hath driven thee to my
dwelling?” And he bade imprison him in one place and the Queen in

                             The First Day.


When the morning morrowed and the king sat on the throne of his
kingship, he summoned his Grand Wazir, the Premier of all his Ministers,
and said to him, “How seest thou the deed this robber-youth hath
done?[146] He hath entered my Harim and lain down on my couch and I fear
lest there be an object between him and the woman. What deemest thou of
the affair?” Said the Wazir, “Allah prolong the king’s continuance! What
sawest thou in this youth?[147] Is he not ignoble of birth, the son of
thieves? Needs must a thief revert to his vile origin, and whoso reareth
the serpent’s brood shall get of them naught but biting. As for the
woman, she is not at fault; since from time ago until now, nothing
appeared from her except good breeding and modest bearing; and at this
present, an the king give me leave, I will go to her and question her,
so I may discover to thee the affair.” The king gave him leave for this
and the Wazir went to the Queen and said to her, “I am come to thee, on
account of a grave shame, and I would fain have thee soothfast with me
in speech and tell me how came the youth into the sleeping-chamber.”
Quoth she, “I have no knowledge whatsoever of it, no, none at all,” and
sware to him a binding oath to that intent, whereby he knew that the
woman had no inkling of the affair, nor was in fault and said to her, “I
will show thee a sleight, wherewith thou mayst acquit thyself and thy
face be whitened before the king.” Asked she, “What is it?” and he
answered, “When the king calleth for thee and questioneth thee of this,
say thou to him:—Yonder youth saw me in the boudoir-chamber and sent me
a message, saying:—I will give thee an hundred grains of gem for whose
price money may not suffice, so thou wilt suffer me to enjoy thee. I
laughed at him who bespake me with such proposal and rebuffed him; but
he sent again to me, saying:—An thou consent not thereto, I will come
one of the nights, drunken, and enter and lie down in the
sleeping-chamber, and the king will see me and slay me; so wilt thou be
put to shame and thy face shall be blackened with him and thine honour
dishonoured. Be this thy saying to the king, and I will fare to him
forthright and repeat this to him.” Quoth the Queen, “And I also will
say thus.” Accordingly, the Minister returned to the king and said to
him, “Verily, this youth hath merited grievous pains and penalties after
the abundance of thy bounty, and no kernel which is bitter can ever wax
sweet;[148] but, as for the woman, I am certified that there is no
default in her.” Thereupon he repeated to the king the story which he
had taught the Queen, which when Azadbakht heard, he rent his raiment
and bade the youth be brought. So they fetched him and set him before
the king, who bade summon the Sworder, and the folk all fixed their eyes
upon the youth, to the end that they might see what the sovran should do
with him. Then said Azadbakht to him (and his words were words of anger
and the speech of the youth was reverent and well-bred), “I bought thee
with my money and looked for fidelity from thee, wherefore I chose thee
over all my Grandees and Pages and made thee Keeper of my treasuries.
Why, then, hast thou outraged mine honour and entered my house and
played traitor with me and tookest thou no thought of all I have done
thee of benefits?” Replied the youth, “O king, I did this not of my
choice and freewill and I had no business in being there; but, of the
lack of my luck, I was driven thither, for that Fate was contrary and
fair Fortune failed me. Indeed, I had endeavoured with all endeavour
that naught of foulness should come forth me and I kept watch and ward
over myself, lest default foreshow in me; and none may withstand an ill
chance, nor doth striving profit against adverse Destiny, as appeareth
by the example of the merchant who was stricken with ill luck and his
endeavour availed him naught and he fell by the badness of his fortune.”
The king asked, “What is the story of the merchant and how was his luck
changed upon him by the sorriness of his doom?” Answered the youth, “May
Allah prolong the king’s continuance!” and began


There was once a merchant man, who prospered in trade, and at one time
his every dirham won him fifty. Presently, his luck turned against him
and he knew it not; so he said to himself, “I have wealth galore, yet do
I toil and travel from country to country; so better had I abide in my
own land and rest myself in my own house from this travail and trouble
and sell and buy at home.” Then he made two parts of his money, and with
one bought wheat in summer, saying “Whenas winter cometh, I shall sell
it at a great profit.” But, when the cold set in wheat fell to half the
price for which he had purchased it, whereat he was concerned with sore
chagrin and left it till the next year. However, the price then fell yet
lower and one of his intimates said to him, “Thou hast no luck in this
wheat; so do thou sell it at whatsoever price.” Said the merchant, “Ah,
long have I profited! so ’tis allowable that I lose this time. Allah is
all-knowing! An it abide with me ten full years, I will not sell it save
for a gaining bargain.”[150] Then he walled up in his anger the
granary-door with clay, and by the ordinance of Allah Almighty, there
came a great rain and descended from the terrace-roofs of the house
wherein was the wheat so that the grain rotted; and the merchant had to
pay the porters from his purse five hundred dirhams for them to carry it
forth and cast it without the city, the smell of it having become
fulsome. So his friend said to him, “How often did I tell thee thou
hadst no luck in wheat? But thou wouldst not give ear to my speech, and
now it behoveth thee to go to the astrologer[151] and question him of
thine ascendant.” Accordingly the trader betook himself to the
astrologer and questioned him of his star, and astrophil said to him,
“Thine ascendant is adverse. Put not forth thy hand to any business, for
thou wilt not prosper thereby.” However, he paid no heed to the
astrologer’s words and said in himself, “If I do my business, I am not
afraid of aught.” Then he took the other half of his money, after he had
spent the first in three years, and builded him a ship, which he loaded
with a cargaison of whatso seemed good to him and all that was with him
and embarked on the sea, so he might voyage questing gain. The ship
remained in port some days, till he should be certified whither he would
wend, and he said, “I will ask the traders what this merchandise
profiteth and in what land ’tis wanted and how much can it gain.” They
directed him to a far country, where his dirham should produce an
hundredfold. So he set sail and made for the land in question; but, as
he went, there blew on him a furious gale, and the ship foundered. The
merchant saved himself on a plank and the wind cast him up, naked as he
was, on the sea-shore, where stood a town hard by. He praised Allah and
gave Him thanks for his preservation; then, seeing a great village nigh
hand, he betook himself thither and saw, seated therein, a very old man,
whom he acquainted with his case and that which had betided him. The
Shaykh grieved for him with sore grieving, when he heard his tale and
set food before him. He ate of it and the old man said to him, “Tarry
here with me, so I may make thee my overseer[152] and factor over a farm
I have here, and thou shalt have of me five dirhams a day.” Answered the
merchant, “Allah make fair thy reward, and requite thee with His boons
and bounties.” So he abode in this employ, till he had sowed and reaped
and threshed and winnowed, and all was clean in his hand and the Shaykh
appointed neither agent nor inspector, but relied utterly upon him. Then
the merchant bethought himself and said, “I doubt me the owner of this
grain will never give me my due; so the better rede were to take of it
after the measure of my wage; and if he give me my right, I will return
to him that I have taken.” So he laid hands upon the grain, after the
measure of that which fell to him, and hid it in a hiding place. Then he
carried the rest and meted it out to the old man, who said to him “Come,
take thy wage, for which I conditioned with thee, and sell the grain and
buy with the price clothes and what not else; and though thou abide with
me ten years, yet shalt thou still have this hire and I will acquit it
to thee on this wise.” Quoth the merchant in himself, “Indeed, I have
done a foul deed by taking it without his permission.” Then he went to
fetch that which he had hidden of the grain, but found it not and
returned, perplexed, sorrowful, to the Shaykh, who asked him, “What
aileth thee to be mournful?” and he answered, “Methought thou wouldst
not pay me my due; so I took of the grain, after the measure of my hire;
and now thou hast paid me all my right and I went to bring back to thee
that which I had hidden from thee, but found it gone, for those who had
come upon it have stolen it.” The Shaykh was wroth, when he heard these
words, and said to the merchant, “There is no device against ill luck! I
had given thee this but, of the sorriness of thy doom and thy fortune,
thou hast done this deed, O oppressor of thine own self! Thou deemedst I
would not fulfil to thee thy wage; but, by Allah, nevermore will I give
thee aught.” Then he drove him away from him. So the merchant went
forth, woeful, grieving, weeping-eyed, and wandered along the sea-shore,
till he came to a sort of duckers[153] diving in the sea for pearls.
They saw him weeping and wailing and said to him, “What is thy case and
what garreth thee shed tears?” So he acquainted them with his history,
from incept to conclusion, whereby the duckers knew him and asked him
“Art thou Such-an-one, son of Such-an-one?” He answered “Yes;” whereupon
they condoled with him and wept sore for him and said to him, “Abide
here till we dive upon thy luck this next time and whatso betideth us
shall be between us and thee.”[154] Accordingly, they ducked and brought
up ten oyster-shells, in each two great unions: whereat they marvelled
and said to him, “by Allah, thy luck hath re-appeared and thy good star
is in the ascendant!” Then the pearl-fishers gave him the ten pearls and
said to him, “Sell two of them and make them thy stock-in-trade: and
hide the rest against the time of thy straitness.” So he took them,
joyful and contented, and applied himself to sewing eight of them in his
gown, keeping the two others in his mouth; but a thief saw him and went
and advertised his fellows of him; whereupon they gathered together upon
him, and took his gown and departed from him. When they were gone away,
he arose, saying, “The two unions I have will suffice me,” and made for
the nearest city, where he brought out the pearls for sale. Now as
Destiny would have it, a certain jeweller of the town had been robbed of
ten unions, like those which were with the merchant; so, when he saw the
two pearls in the broker’s hand, he asked him, “To whom do these
belong?” and the broker answered, “To yonder man.” The jeweller, seeing
the merchant in pauper case and clad in tattered clothes, suspected him
and said to him, “Where be the other eight pearls?” The merchant thought
he asked him of those which were in the gown, whenas the man had
purposed only to surprise him into confession, and replied, “The thieves
stole them from me.” When the jeweller heard his reply, he was certified
that it was the wight who had taken his good; so he laid hold of him and
haling him before the Chief of Police, said to him, “This is the man who
stole my unions: I have found two of them upon him and he confesseth to
the other eight.” Now the Wali knew of the theft of the pearls; so he
bade throw the merchant into jail. Accordingly they imprisoned him and
whipped him, and he lay in trunk a whole year, till, by the ordinance of
Allah Almighty, the Chief of Police arrested one of the divers
aforesaid, and imprisoned him in the prison where the merchant was
jailed. The ducker saw him and knowing him, questioned him of his case;
whereupon he told them his tale, and that which had befallen him; and
the diver marvelled at the lack of his luck. So, when he came forth of
the prison, he acquainted the Sultan with the merchant’s case and told
him that it was he who had given him the pearls. The Sultan bade bring
him forth of the jail, and asked him of his story, whereupon he told him
all that had befallen him, and the Sovran pitied him and assigned him a
lodging in his own palace, together with pay and allowances for his
support. Now the lodging in question adjoined the king’s house, and
whilst the merchant was rejoicing in this and saying, “Verily, my luck
hath returned, and I shall live in the shadow of this king the rest of
my life,” he espied an opening walled up with clay and stones. So he
cleared the opening the better to see what was behind it, and behold, it
was a window giving upon the lodging of the king’s women. When he saw
this, he was startled and affrighted and rising in haste, fetched clay
and stopped it up again. But one of the eunuchs[155] saw him, and
suspecting him, repaired to the Sultan, and told him of this. So he came
and seeing the stones pulled out, was wroth with the merchant and said
to him, “Be this my reward from thee, that thou seekest to unveil my
Harim?” Thereupon he bade pluck out his eyes; and they did as he
commanded. The merchant took his eyes in his hand and said, “How long, O
star of ill-omen, wilt thou afflict me? First my wealth and now my
life!” And he bewailed himself, saying, “Striving profiteth me naught
against evil fortune. The Compassionate aided me not, and effort was
worse than useless.”[156] “On like wise, O king,” continued the youth,
“whilst fortune was favourable to me, all that I did came to good; but
now that it hath turned against me, everything turneth to mine ill.”
When the youth had made an end of his tale, the king’s anger subsided a
little, and he said, “Return him to the prison, for the day draweth to
an end, and to-morrow we will look into his affair, and punish him for
his ill-deeds.”

                            The Second Day.


When it was the next day, the second of the king’s Wazirs, whose name
was Baharún, came in to him and said, “Allah advance the king! This deed
which yonder youth hath done is a grave matter, and a foul misdeed and a
heinous against the household of the king.” So Azadbakht bade fetch the
youth, because of the Minister’s speech; and when he came into the
presence, said to him, “Woe to thee, O youth! There is no help but that
I do thee die by the dreadest of deaths, for indeed thou hast committed
a grave crime, and I will make thee a warning to the folk.” The youth
replied, “O king, hasten not, for the looking to the ends of affairs is
a column of the kingdom, and a cause of continuance and assurance for
the kingship. Whoso looketh not to the issues of actions, there
befalleth him that which befel the merchant, and whoso looketh to the
consequences of actions, there betideth him of joyance that which
betideth the merchant’s son.” The king asked, “And what is the story of
the merchant and his sons?” and the youth answered, “Hear, O king,


There was once a merchant, who had abundant wealth, and a wife to boot.
He set out one day on a business journey, leaving his wife big with
child, and said to her, “Albeit, I now leave thee, yet I will return
before the birth of the babe, Inshallah!” Then he farewelled her and
setting out, ceased not faring from country to country till he came to
the court of one of the kings and foregathered with him. Now this king
needed one who should order his affairs and those of his kingdom and
seeing the merchant well-bred and intelligent, he required him to abide
at court and entreated him honourably. After some years, he sought his
Sovran’s leave to go to his own house, but the king would not consent to
this; whereupon he said to him, “O king, suffer me go and see my
children and come again.” So he granted him permission for this and,
taking surety of him for his return, gave him a purse, wherein were a
thousand gold dinars. Accordingly, the merchant embarked in a ship and
set sail, intending for his mother-land. On such wise fared it with the
trader; but as regards his wife, news had reached her that her husband
had accepted service with King Such-an-one; so she arose and taking her
two sons, (for she had borne twins in his absence,) set out seeking
those parts. As Fate would have it, they happened upon an island and her
husband came thither that very night in the ship. So the woman said to
her children, “The ship cometh from the country where your father is:
hie ye to the sea-shore, that ye may enquire of him.” Accordingly, they
repaired to the sea-shore and going up into the ship, fell to playing
about it and busied themselves with their play till evening evened. Now
the merchant their sire lay asleep in the ship, and the noisy disport of
the boys troubled him; whereupon he rose to call out to them “Silence”
and let the purse with the thousand dinars fall among the bales of
merchandise. He sought for it and finding it not, buffeted his head and
seized upon the boys, saying, “None took the purse but you: ye were
playing all about the bales, so ye might steal somewhat, and there was
none here but you twain.” Then he took his staff, and laying hold of the
children, fell to beating them and flogging them, whilst they wept, and
the crew came round about them saying, “The boys of this island are all
rogues and robbers.” Then, of the greatness of the merchant’s anger, he
swore an oath that, except they brought out the purse, he would drown
them in the sea; so when by reason of their denial his oath demanded the
deed, he took the two boys and binding them each to a bundle of reeds,
cast them into the water. Presently, finding that they tarried from her,
the mother of the two boys went searching for them, till she came to the
ship and fell to saying, “Who hath seen two boys of mine? Their fashion
is so and so and their age thus and thus.” When the crew heard her
words, they said, “This is the description of the two boys who were
drowned in the sea but now.” Their mother hearing this began calling on
them and crying, “Alas, my anguish for your loss, O my sons! Where was
the eye of your father this day, that it might have seen you?” Then one
of the sailors asked her, “Whose wife art thou?” and she answered, “I am
the wife of Such-an-one the trader. I was on my way to him, and there
hath befallen me this calamity.” When the merchant heard her words, he
knew her and rising to his feet, rent his raiment and beat his head and
said to his wife, “By Allah, I have destroyed my children with mine own
hand! This is the end of whoso looketh not to the endings of affairs.
This is his reward who taketh not time to reflect.” Then he took to
wailing and weeping over them, he and his wife, and he said to his
shipmates, “By Allah, I shall never enjoy my life, till I light upon
news of them!” And he began to go round about the sea, in quest of his
sons, but found them not. Meanwhile, the wind carried the two children
from the ship towards the land, and cast them up on the sea-shore. As
for one of them, a company of the guards of the king of those parts
found him and carried him to their lord, who marvelled at him with
exceeding marvel and adopted him, giving out to the folk that he was his
own son, whom he had hidden,[158] of his love for him. So the folk
rejoiced in him with joy exceeding, for their lord’s sake, and the king
appointed him his heir-apparent and the inheritor of his kingdom. On
this wise a number of years passed, till the king died and they
enthroned the youth sovran in his stead, when he sat down on the seat of
his kingship and his estate flourished and his affairs prospered with
all regularity. Meanwhile, his father and mother had gone round about,
in quest of him and his brother, all the islands of the sea, hoping that
the tide might have cast them up, but found no trace of them; so they
despaired of them and took up their abode in a certain of the islands.
One day, the merchant, being in the market, saw a broker, and in his
hand a boy he was crying for sale, and said in himself, “I will buy
yonder boy, so I may solace myself with him for my sons.”[159] So he
bought him and bore him to his house; and, when his wife saw him, she
cried out and said, “By Allah, this is my son!” Accordingly his father
and mother rejoiced in him with exceeding joy and asked him of his
brother; but he answered, “The waves parted us and I knew not how it
went with him.” Therewith his father and mother consoled themselves with
him and on this wise a number of years passed by. Now the merchant and
his wife had homed them in a city of the land where their other son was
king, and when the boy they had recovered grew up, his father assigned
unto him merchandise, to the end that he might travel therewith. Upon
this he fared forth and entered the city wherein his brother ruled and
anon news reached the king that a merchant had come thither with
merchandise befitting royalties; so he sent for him and the young trader
obeyed the summons and going in to him, sat down before him. Neither of
them knew the other; but blood moved between them[160] and the king said
to the merchant youth, “I desire of thee that thou tarry with me and I
will exalt thy station and give thee all that thou requirest and
cravest.” Accordingly, he abode with him awhile, never quitting him; and
when he saw that he would not suffer him to depart from him, he sent to
his father and mother and bade them remove thither to him. Hereat they
resolved upon moving to that island, and their son still increased in
honour with the king, albeit he knew not that he was his brother. Now it
chanced one night that the king sallied forth without the city and drank
and the wine got the mastery of him and he became drunken. So, of the
youth’s fear for his safety, he said, “I will keep watch myself over the
king this night, seeing that he deserveth this from me, for that which
he hath done with me of kindly deeds;” and he arose forthright and
baring his brand, stationed himself at the door of the king’s pavilion.
But one of the royal pages saw him standing there, with the drawn sword
in his hand, and he was of those who envied him his favour with the
king; therefore, he said to him, “Why dost thou on this wise at this
time and in the like of this place?” Said the youth, “I am keeping watch
and ward over the king myself, in requital of his bounties to me.” The
page said no more to him; however, when it was morning, he acquainted a
number of the king’s servants with the matter, and they said, “This is
an opportunity for us. Come, let us assemble together and acquaint the
king therewith, so the young merchant may lose regard with him[161] and
he rid us of him and we be at rest from him.” So they assembled together
and going in to the king, said to him, “We have a warning wherewith we
would warn thee.” Quoth he, “And what is your warning?” and quoth they,
“This youth, the trader, whom thou hast taken into favour and whose rank
thou hast exalted above the chiefest of thy lords, we saw yesterday bare
his brand and design to fall upon thee, to the end that he might slay
thee.” Now when the king heard this, his colour changed and he said to
them, “Have ye proof of this?” They rejoined, “What proof wouldst thou
have? An thou desirest this, feign thyself drunken again this night and
lie down as if asleep, and privily watch him and thou wilt see with
thine eyes all that we have mentioned to thee.” Then they went to the
youth and said to him, “Know that the king thanketh thee for thy dealing
yesternight and exceedeth in commendation of thy good deed;” and they
prompted him again to do the like. Accordingly, when the next night
came, the king abode on wake, watching the youth; and as for the latter,
he went to the door of the pavilion and unsheathing his scymitar, stood
in the doorway. When the king saw him do thus, he was sore disquieted
and bade seize him and said to him, “Is this my reward from thee? I
showed thee favour more than any else and thou wouldst do with me this
abominable deed.” Then arose two of the king’s pages and said to him, “O
our lord, an thou order it, we will smite his neck.” But the king said,
“Haste in killing is a vile thing, for ’tis[162] a grave matter; the
quick we can kill, but the killed we cannot quicken, and needs must we
look to the end of affairs. The slaying of this youth will not escape
us.”[163] Therewith he bade imprison him, whilst he himself went back to
the city and, his duties done, fared forth to the chase. Then he
returned to town and forgot the youth; so the pages went in to him and
said to him, “O king, an thou keep silence concerning yonder youth, who
designed to slaughter thee, all thy servants will presume upon the
king’s majesty, and indeed the folk talk of this matter.” Hereat the
king waxed wroth and cried, “Fetch him hither;” and bade the headsman
strike off his head. So they brought the youth and bound his eyes; and
the sworder stood at his head and said to the king, “By thy leave, O my
lord, I will smite his neck.” But the king cried, “Stay, till I look
into his affair. Needs must I put him to death and the dispatching of
him will not escape me.” Then he restored him to the prison and there he
abode till it should be the king’s will to do him die. Presently, his
parents heard of the matter; whereupon his father arose and going up to
the palace, wrote a letter and presented it to the king, who read it,
and behold, therein was written, saying, “Have ruth on me, so may Allah
have ruth on thee, and hasten not in the slaughter of my son; for indeed
I acted hastily in a certain affair and drowned his brother in the sea,
and to this day I bemourn him. An thou must needs kill him, kill me in
his stead.” Therewith the old merchant, weeping bitterly, prostrated
himself before that king, who said to him, “Tell me thy tale.” Said the
merchant, “O my lord, this youth had a brother and I in my haste cast
the twain into the sea.” And he related to him his story, first and
last, whereupon the king cried with a mighty loud cry and casting
himself down from the throne, embraced his father and brother and said
to the merchant. “By Allah, thou art my very father and this is my
brother and thy wife is our mother.” And they abode weeping, all three
of them. Then the king acquainted his people with the matter and said to
them, “O folk, how deem ye of my looking to the consequences of
action?;” and they all marvelled at his wisdom and foresight. Then he
turned to his sire and said to him, “Hadst thou looked to the issue of
thine affair and made due delay in whatso thou didst, there had not
betided thee this repentance and chagrin all this time.” Thereupon he
sent for his mother and they rejoiced one in other and lived all their
days in joy and gladness. “What then” (continued the young treasurer),
“is more grievous than the lack of looking to the ends of things?
Wherefore hasten thou not in the slaying of me, lest penitence betide
thee and sore chagrin.” When the king heard this, he said, “Return him
to the prison till the morrow, so we may look into his affair; for that
deliberation in such is advisable and the slaughter of this youth shall
not escape us.”

                             The Third Day.

                  OF THE ADVANTAGES OF PATIENCE.[164]

When it was the third day, the third Wazir came in to the king and said
to him, “O king, delay not the matter of this youth, because his deed
hath caused us fall into the mouths of folk, and it behoveth that thou
slay him forthright, that the talk may be cut from us and it be not
said:—The king saw on his bed a man with his wife and spared him.” The
king was chagrined by these words and bade bring the youth. Accordingly,
they fetched him in fetters, and indeed the king’s anger was upstirred
against him by the Minister’s speech and he was troubled; so he said to
him, “O base of birth, thou hast dishonoured us and marred our mention,
and needs must I do away thy life from the world.” Quoth the youth, “O
king, make use of patience in all thine affairs, so wilt thou win to thy
wish, for that Allah Almighty hath appointed the issue of long-suffering
to be in abounding good, and indeed by patience Abú Sábir ascended from
the pit and sat down upon the throne.” Asked the king, “Who was Abu
Sábir, and what is his tale?” and the youth answered, saying, “Hear
thou, O king,

                       _THE STORY OF ABU SABIR_.”

There was once a man, a village headman,[165] Abu Sabir hight, and he
had much black cattle and a buxom wife, who had borne him two sons. They
abode in a certain hamlet and there used to come thither a lion and rend
and devour Abu Sabir’s herd, so that the most part thereof was wasted
and his wife said to him one day, “This lion hath wasted the greater
part of our property. Arise, mount thy horse and take thy host and do
thy best to kill him, so we may be at rest from him.” But Abu Sabir
said, “Have patience, O woman, for the issue of patience is praised.
This lion it is which transgresseth against us, and the transgressor,
perforce must Almighty Allah destroy him. Indeed, ’tis our
long-suffering that shall slay him,[166] and he that doth evil needs
must it recoil upon him.” A few days after, the king went forth one
morning to hunt and falling in with the lion, he and his host, gave
chase to him and ceased not pursuit till they slew him. This news
reached Abu Sábir who improved the occasion to his wife, “Said I not to
thee, O woman, that whoso doth evil, it shall recoil upon him? Haply an
I sought to slay the lion myself, I had not prevailed against him, and
this is the issue of patience.” It befel, after this, that a man was
slain in Abu Sabir’s village; wherefore the Sultan bade plunder the
village, and they spoiled the patient one’s goods with the rest.
Thereupon his wife said to him, “All the king’s officers know thee; so
do thou prefer thy plaint to the sovran, that he may bid thy beasts to
be restored to thee.” But he said to her, “O woman, said I not to thee
that he who worketh wrong shall be wronged? Indeed, the king hath done
evil, and right soon he shall suffer the issues of his deed, for whoso
taketh the goods of the folk, needs must his goods be taken.” A man of
his neighbours heard his speech, and he was an envier of his; so he went
to the Sultan and acquainted him therewith, whereupon the king sent and
plundered all the rest of his goods and drave him forth from the
village, and his wife and family with him. They went wandering in the
waste grounds about the hamlet and his wife said to him, “All that hath
befallen us cometh of thy slowness in affairs and thy helplessness.” But
he said to her, “Have patience, for the issue of patience is good.” Then
they walked on a little way, and thieves met them and despoiling them of
whatso remained with them, stripped them of their raiment and took from
them the two children; whereupon the woman wept and said to her husband,
“Hearkye, my good man, put away from thee this folly and up with us to
follow the thieves, so, peradventure they may have compassion on us and
restore the children to us.” He replied, “O woman, have patience, for he
who doth evil shall be requited with evil and his frowardness shall
revert upon him. Were I to follow them, belike one of them would take
his sword and smite my neck and slay me; but have patience, for the
issue of patience is praised.” Then they fared on till they made a
village[167] in the land of Kirman, and by it a river of water; so the
man said to his wife, “Tarry thou here, whilst I enter the village and
look us out a place wherein we may home ourselves.” And he left her by
the water and entered the village. Presently, up came a horseman in
quest of water, wherewith to water his horse: he saw the woman and she
was pleasing in his eyes; so quoth he to her, “Arise, mount with me and
I will take thee to wife and entreat thee kindly.” Quoth she, “Spare me,
so may Allah spare thee! Indeed I have a husband.” But he drew his
dudgeon and said to her, “An thou obey me not, I will smite thee and
slay thee.” When she saw his frowardness, she wrote on the ground in the
sand with her finger, saying, “O Abu Sabir, thou hast not ceased to be
patient, till thy good is gone from thee and thy children and now thy
wife, who was more precious in thy sight than everything and than all
thy monies, and indeed thou abidest in thy sorrow the whole of thy life
long, so thou mayest see what thy patience will profit thee.” Then the
horseman took her, and setting her behind him, went his way. As for Abu
Sabir, when he returned, he saw not his wife but he read what was writ
upon the ground, wherefore he wept and sat awhile sorrowing. Then said
he to himself, “O Abu Sabir, it behoveth thee to be patient, for haply
there shall betide thee an affair yet sorer than this and more
grievous;” and he went forth a-following his face,[168] like to one
love-distraught and passion-madded, till he came to a gang of labourers
working upon the palace of the king, by way of forced labour.[169] When
the overseers saw him, they laid hold of him and said to him, “Work thou
with these folk at the palace of the king; else we will imprison thee
for life.” So he fell to working with them as a labourer and every day
they gave him a bannock of bread. He wrought with them a month’s space,
till it chanced that one of the labourers mounted a ladder and falling,
brake his leg; whereupon he cried out and shed tears. Quoth Abu Sabir to
him, “Have patience and weep not; for in thine endurance thou shalt find
ease.” But the man said to him, “How long shall I have patience?” And he
answered, saying, “Long-suffering bringeth a man forth of the bottom of
the pit and seateth him on the throne of the kingdom.” It so fortuned
that the king was seated at the lattice, hearkening to their talk, and
Abu Sabir’s words angered him for the moment; wherefore he bade bring
him before him and they brought him forthright. Now there was in the
king’s palace an underground dungeon and therein a vast silo[170] and a
deep, into which the king caused cast Abu Sabir, saying to him, “O
little of wit, soon shall we see how thou wilt come forth of the pit to
the throne of the kingdom.” Then he used continuously to come and stand
at the mouth of the pit and say, “O little of wit, O Abu Sabir,[171] I
see thee not come forth of the pit and sit down on the king’s throne!”
And he assigned him each day two bannocks of bread, whilst Abu Sabir
kept silence and spake not, but patiently bore whatso betided him. Now
the king had a brother, whom he had imprisoned in that pit of old time,
and he had died there; but the folk of the realm deemed him still alive,
and when his durance grew long, the courtiers of the king used to talk
of this and of the tyranny of their liege Lord, and the bruit spread
abroad that the sovran was a tyrant, so they fell upon him one day and
slew him. Then they sought the silo and brought out therefrom Abu Sabir,
deeming him the king’s brother, for that he was the nearest of folk to
him in favour and the likest, and he had been long in the pit. So they
doubted not but that he was the Prince and said to him, “Reign thou in
thy brother’s room, for we have slain him and thou art sovran in his
stead.” But Abu Sabir was silent and spoke not a word;[172] and he knew
that this was the result of his patience. Then he arose and sitting down
on the king’s throne, donned the royal dress and dispensed justice and
equity, and affairs prospered; wherefore the lieges obeyed him and the
subjects inclined to him and many were his soldiers. Now the king, who
erst had plundered Abu Sabir’s goods and driven him forth of his
village, had an enemy; and the foe mounted horse against him and
overcame him and captured his capital; wherefore he betook him to flight
and came to Abu Sabir’s city, craving support of him and seeking that he
should succour him. He knew not that the king of the city was the
headman whom he had spoiled; so he presented himself before him and made
complaint to him; but Abu Sabir knew him and said to him, “This is
somewhat of the issue of patience. Allah the Most High hath given me
power over thee.” Then he commanded his guards to plunder the unjust
king and his suite; so they spoiled them and stripping them of their
clothes, put them forth of his country. When Abu Sabir’s troops saw
this, they marvelled and said, “What be this deed the king doth? There
cometh a king to him, craving protection, and he spoileth him! This is
not the fashion of kings.” But they dared not speak of this. Presently,
news came to the king of highwaymen in his land; so he set out in quest
of them and ceased not to follow after them, till he seized on them all,
and behold, they were the very thieves who had plundered him and his
wife by the way and had carried off his children. Accordingly he bade
bring them before him, and when they came into his presence, he
questioned them, saying, “Where are the two boys ye took on such a day?”
Said they, “They are with us and we will present them to our lord the
king for Mamelukes to serve him and give him wealth galore that we have
gotten together and doff all we own and repent from lawlessness and
fight in thy service.” Abu Sabir, however, paid no heed to their words,
and seized all their good and bade put them all to death. Furthermore,
he took his two boys and rejoiced in them with exceeding joy, whereat
the troops murmured among themselves, saying, “Verily, this is a greater
tyrant than his brother! There cometh to him a gang of thieves, and they
seek to repent and proffer two boys by way of peace-offering, and he
taketh the two lads and all their good and slayeth them! Indeed this be
violent oppression.” After this came the horseman, who had seized Abu
Sabir’s wife, and complained of her to the king that she would not give
him possession of her person, and solemnly declared that she was his
wife. The king bade bring her before him, that he might hear her plea
and pronounce judgment upon her. So the horseman came with her before
him, and when the king saw her, he knew her and taking her from her
ravisher, bade put him to death. Then he became aware of the troops,
that they murmured against him and spake of him as a tyrant; so he
turned to his courtiers and ministers and said to them, “As for me, by
Allah of All-might,[173] I am not the king’s brother! Nay, I am but one
whom the king imprisoned upon a word he heard from me and he used every
day to come and taunt me therewith. Ye deem me the king’s brother; but I
am Abu Sabir and the Lord hath given me the kingship in virtue of my
patience. As for the king who sought protection of me and I plundered
him, ’twas he who first wronged me, for that he plundered me aforetime
and drave me forth of my native land and banished me, without due cause;
wherefore I requited him with that which he had done to me, in the way
of lawful retribution. As for the highwaymen who proffered repentance,
there was no repentance for them with me, because they began upon me
with foul dealing and waylaid me by the road and despoiled me and seized
my good and my sons, the two boys that I took of them, and those ye
deemed Mamelukes are my very sons; so I avenged myself on the thieves of
that which they did with me whilome and requited them with strict
justice. As for the horseman whom I slew, this woman I took from him was
my wife and he seized her by force, but Allah the Most High hath
restored her to me; so this was my right, and my deed that I have done
was righteous, albeit ye, judging by the externals of the matter, deemed
that I had done this by way of tyranny.” When the folk heard these
words, they marvelled and fell prostrate before him; and they redoubled
in esteem for him and exceeding affection and sued pardon of him,
admiring that which Allah had done with him and how He had given him the
kingship by reason of his longsuffering and his patience and how he had
raised himself by his endurance from the bottom of the pit to the throne
of the kingdom, what while Allah cast down the late king from the throne
into the pit.[174] Then Abu Sabir foregathered with his wife and said to
her, “How deemest thou of the fruit of patience and its sweetness and
the fruit of haste and its bitterness? Verily, all that a man doth of
good and evil, he shall assuredly encounter the same.” “On like wise, O
king” (continued the young treasurer), “it besitteth thee to practise
patience, whenever it is possible to thee, for that longsuffering is the
wont of the noble, and it is the chiefest of their reliance, especially
for kings.” When the king heard this from the youth, his wrath subsided;
so he bade return him to the prison, and the folk dispersed that day.

                            The Fourth Day.


When it was the fourth day, the fourth Wazir, whose name was
Zúshád,[175] made his appearance and prostrating himself to his liege
lord, said to him, “O king, let not the talk of yonder youth delude
thee, for that he is not a truth-teller. As long as he shall remain
alive, the folk will not leave talking nor will thy heart cease to be
occupied with him.” Cried the king, “By Allah, thou sayst sooth and I
will cause fetch him this day and slay him between my hands.” Then bade
he bring the youth; so they fetched him in fetters and he said to him,
“Woe to thee! Thinkest thou to appease my heart with thy prate, whereby
the days are spent in talk? I mean to do thee die this day and be quit
of thee.” Said the youth, “O king, ’tis in thy power to put me out of
the world whenso thou wilt, but haste is the wont of the ignoble and
patience the sign of the noble. An thou do me to death, thou wilt
repent, and when thou desire to bring me back to life, thou wilt not be
able. Indeed, whoso acteth hastily in an affair, there befalleth him
what befel Bihzád, son of the king.” Quoth the king, “And what is his
tale?” Replied the treasurer, “O king, hear

                  _THE STORY OF PRINCE BIHZAD_.”[176]

There was once, of olden time, a king and he had a son Bihzad hight,
there was not in his tide a fairer than he and he loved to fellow with
the folk and to mix with the merchants and sit and talk with them. One
day, as he was seated in an assembly, amongst a number of people, he
heard them talking of his own beauty and loveliness, and saying, “There
be not in his time a fairer than he.” But one of the company said,
“Indeed, the daughter of King Such-an-one is seemlier than he.” When
Bihzad heard this saying, his reason fled and his heart fluttered and he
called the last speaker and said to him, “Repeat to me that which thou
saidst and tell me the truth concerning her whom thou avouchest to be
goodlier than I and whose daughter she is.” Quoth the man, “She is the
daughter of King Such-an-one;” whereupon Bihzad’s heart clave to her and
his colour changed. Presently the news reached his sire, who said to
him, “O my son, this maiden to whom thy heart cleaveth is at thy command
and we have power over her; so wait till I demand her in wedlock for
thee.” But the Prince said, “I will not wait.” So the king hastened in
the matter and sent to demand her of her sire, who required of him an
hundred thousand dinars paid down to his daughter’s dowry. Quoth
Bihzad’s father, “So be it,” and weighed out what was in his treasuries,
and there remained to his charge but a little of the dower.[177] So he
said, “Have patience, O my son, till we gather together the rest of the
money and send to fetch her for thee, since now she is become thine.”
Therewith the Prince waxed wroth with exceeding wrath and cried, “I will
not have patience;” so he took his sword and his lance[178] and mounting
his horse, went forth and fell to cutting the way[179]. It chanced one
day that he fell upon a company of folk who overcame him by dint of
numbers and taking him prisoner, pinioned him and carried him to the
lord of that land wherein he was a-highwaying. This king saw his
semblance and loveliness and misdoubting of him, said, “This be no
robber’s favour. Tell me truly, O youth, who thou art.” Bihzad was
ashamed to acquaint him with his condition and preferred death for
himself; so he answered, “I am naught but a thief and a bandit.” Quoth
the king, “It behoveth us not to act hastily in the matter of this
youth, but that we look into his affair, for that impatience gendereth
penitence.” So he imprisoned him in his palace and assigned him one to
serve him. Meanwhile the news spread abroad that Bihzad, son of the
sovran, was lost, whereupon his father sent letters in quest of him to
all the kings including him with whom he was imprisoned. When the letter
reached the latter, he praised Almighty Allah for that he had not
anyways hastened in Bihzad’s affair and bidding them bring him before
himself, said to him, “Art thou minded to destroy thy life?” Quoth
Bihzad, “I did this for fear of shame;” and the king said, “An thou fear
shame, thou shouldst not practise haste in thy doings; knowest thou not
that the fruit of impatience is repentance? Had we hasted, we also, like
thee, had repented.” Then he conferred on him a robe of honour and
engaged to him for the completion of the dowry and sent to his father,
giving him the glad tidings and comforting his heart with news of his
son’s safety; after which he said to Bihzad, “Arise, O my son, and go to
thy sire.” Rejoined the Prince, “O king, complete thy kindness to me by
hastening my going-in to my wife; for, an I go back to my sire, the time
will be long till he send a messenger and he return, promising me
dispatch.” The king laughed and marvelled at him and said to him, “I
fear for thee from this precipitancy, lest thou come to shame and win
not thy wish.” Then he gave him muchel of wealth and wrote him letters,
commending him to the father of the Princess, and despatched him to
them. When he drew near their country, the king came forth to meet him
with the people of his realm and assigned him a fine lodging and bade
hasten the going-in of his daughter to him, in compliance with the other
king’s letter. He also advised the Prince’s father of his son’s coming
and they busied themselves with the affair of the young lady. When it
was the day of the bride’s going-in[180] Bihzad, of his impetuosity and
lack of patience, betook himself to the wall, which was between himself
and her lodging and wherein was a hole pierced, and of his haste looked
through it, so he might see his bride. But her mother espied him[181]
and this was grievous to her; so she took from one of the pages two
red-hot iron spits and thrust them into the hole through which the
Prince was looking. The spits ran into his eyes and put them out and he
fell down fainting and the wedding-festival was changed to mourning and
sore concern. “See, then, O king” (continued the youth), “the issue of
the Prince’s haste and lack of deliberation, for indeed his impatience
bequeathed him long penitence and his joy turned to annoy; and on like
wise was it with the woman who hastened to put out his eyes and delayed
not to deliberate. All this was the doing of haste; wherefore it
behoveth the king not to be hasty in putting me to death, for that I am
under the hold of his hand, and whatso time thou desirest my slaughter,
it shall not escape thee.” When the king heard this his anger subsided
and he said, “Return him back to the prison till to-morrow, so we may
look into his case.”

                             The Fifth Day.


When it was the fifth day, the fifth Wazir, whose name was
Jahrbaur,[182] came in to the king and prostrating himself before him,
said, “O king, it behoveth thee, an thou see or hear one look on thy
house,[183] that thou pluck out his eyes. How then should it be with him
whom thou sawest a middlemost thy palace and on thy royal bed, and he
suspected with thy Harim, and not of thy lineage or of thy kindred? So
do thou away this shame by putting him to death. Indeed, we urge thee
not to this, except for the assurance of thine empire and of our zeal
for thy loyal counselling and of our affection to thee. How can it be
lawful that this youth should live for a single hour?” Therewith the
king was filled with fury and cried, “Bring him forthright.” So they
fetched the youth whom they set before him in fetters, and the king said
to him, “Woe to thee! Thou hast sinned a great sin and the time of thy
survival hath been long;[184] but needs must we put thee to death,
because there is no ease for us in thy life till we take it.” Quoth the
youth, “Know O king, that I, by Allah, am guiltless, and by reason of
this I hope for life, for that he who is innocent of all offence goeth
not in fear of pains and penalties, neither greateneth his mourning and
his concern; but whoso hath sinned, needs must his sin be expiated upon
him, though his life be prolonged, and it shall overtake him, even as it
overtook Dádbín the king and his Wazir.” Asked Azadbakht, “How was
that?” and the youth said, “Hear, O King (whose days may Allah



There was once a king in the land of Tabaristan,[186] by name Dádbín,
and he had two Wazirs, one called Zorkhan and the other Kárdán.[187] The
Minister Zorkhan had a daughter, there was not in her day a fairer than
she nor yet a chaster or a more pious, for she was a faster, a prayer
and an adorer of Allah the Almighty, and her name was Arwà.[188] Now
Dadbin, the king, heard tell of her praises; so his heart clave to her
and he called the Wazir her sire and said to him, “I desire of thee that
thou marry me to thy daughter.” Quoth Zorkhan, “O my liegest lord,
suffer me to consult her, and if she consent, I will marry thee with
her.” And the king said, “Haste thee with this.” So the Minister went in
to his daughter and said to her, “O my daughter, the king seeketh thee
of me and desireth to marry thee.” She said, “O my father, I desire not
a husband, and if thou wilt marry me, marry me not but with a mate who
shall be mine inferior in rank and I nobler than he, so he may not turn
to other than myself nor lift his eyes upon me,[189] and marry me not to
one who is nobler than I, lest I be with him as a slave-girl and a
serving-woman.” Accordingly the Wazir returned to the king and
acquainted him with that which his daughter had said, whenas he
redoubled in desire and love-longing for her, and said to her sire, “An
thou marry me not to her of good grace, I will take her in thy despite
and by force.” The Minister again betook himself to his daughter and
repeated to her the king’s words, but she replied, “I want no husband.”
So he returned to the king and told him what she said, and he was wroth
and threatened him, whereupon the father took his daughter and fled with
her. When this came to the king’s knowledge, he despatched troops in
pursuit of Zorkhan, to stop the road upon him, whilst he himself went
out and overtaking the Wazir, smote him on the head with his mace[190]
and slew him. Then he took his daughter by force and returning to his
dwelling place, went in to her and married her. Arwa resigned herself
with patience to that which betided her and committed her case to Allah
Almighty; and indeed she was used to serve Him night and day with a
goodly service in the house of King Dadbin her husband. It befel one day
that the king had occasion to make a journey; so he called his second
Wazir Kardan and said to him, “I have a charge to commit to thy care,
and it is yonder lady, my wife, the daughter of the Wazir Zorkhan, and I
desire that thou keep her and guard her thy very self, because I have
not in the world aught dearer than she.” Quoth Kardan in his mind, “Of a
truth, the king honoureth me with an exceeding honour in entrusting me
with this lady.” And he answered, “With love and all gladness.” When the
king had departed on his journey, Kardan said in himself, “Needs must I
look upon this lady whom the king loveth with all this love.” So he hid
himself in a place, that he might espy her, and saw her surpassing
description; wherefor he was confounded at her and his wit was wildered
and love gat the lordship of him, so that he sent to her, saying, “Have
pity on me, for indeed I perish for the love of thee.” She sent back to
him and replied, “O Wazir, thou art in the place of faith and
confidence, so do not thou betray thy trust, but make thine inward life
like unto thine outward[191] and occupy thyself with thy wife and that
which is lawful to thee. As for this, ’tis mere lust and women are all
of one and the same taste.[192] And if thou wilt not be forbidden from
this talk, I will make thee a byword and a reproach among folk.” When
the Minister heard her answer, he knew that she was chaste of soul and
body; wherefore he repented with the utmost of repentance and feared for
himself from the king and said, “Needs must I devise a device whereby I
may destroy her; else shall I be disgraced with the king.” Now when the
king returned from his journey, he questioned Kardan of the affairs of
his kingdom, and the Wazir answered, “All is right well, O king, save a
vile matter, which I have espied here and with which I am ashamed to
confront the sovran; but, if I hold my peace thereof, I fear lest other
than I discover it and I shall have played traitor to the king in the
matter of my warning and my trust.” Quoth Dadbin, “Speak, for to me thou
art none other than a truth-teller, a trustworthy and a loyal counsellor
in whatso thou sayest, undistrusted in aught.” And the Minister said, “O
king, this woman to whose love thy heart cleaveth and of whose piety
thou talkest and her fasting and her praying, I will plainly prove to
thee that this is craft and guile.” Hereat the king was troubled and
said, “What may be the matter?” and the Wazir replied, “I would have
thee wot that some days after thy departure, one came to me and said to
me, Come, O Wazir, and look. So I went to the door of the queen’s
sleeping-chamber and behold, she was sitting with Abu al-Khayr, her
father’s page, whom she favoureth, and she did with him what she did,
and such is the manner of that which I saw and heard.” When Dadbin heard
this, he burnt with rage and said to one of his eunuchs,[193] “Go and
slay her in her chamber.” But the eunuch said to him, “O king, Allah
prolong thy life! Indeed, the killing of her may not be in this way
neither at this time; but do thou bid one of thine Castratos take her up
on a camel and carry her to one of the trackless wolds and cast her down
there; so, if she be guilty, Allah shall cause her to perish, and if she
be innocent, He will deliver her, and the king shall be free from
default against her; for that this lady is dear to thee and thou slewest
her father by reason of thy love for her.” Quoth the king, “By Allah,
thou sayst sooth!” Then he bade one of his eunuchs carry her on a camel
to one of the far-off wilds and cut-off wolds and there leave her and
wend his ways, and he forbad her torment to be prolonged. So he took her
up and betaking himself with her to the desert, left her there without
provaunt or water and returned, whereupon she made for one of the hills,
and ranging stones before her in form of prayer-niche, stood praying.
Now it chanced that a camel-driver, belonging to Kisrà[194] the king,
lost certain camels, and his lord threatened him, if he found them not,
that he would slay him. Accordingly he set out and plunged into the
wastes till he came to the place where the lady was, and seeing her
standing at prayer utterly alone, waited till she had made an end of her
orisons, when he went up to her and saluted her with the salam, saying,
“Who art thou?” Quoth she, “I am a hand-maid of the Almighty.” He asked,
“What doest thou in this desolate place?” and she answered, “I serve
Allah the Most High.” When he saw her beauty and loveliness, he fell in
love with her, and said to her, “Harkye! Do thou take me to mate and I
will be tender to thee and use thee with exceeding ruth, and I will
further thee in obedience to Allah Almighty.” But she answered, saying,
“I have no need of wedlock and I desire to abide here alone with my Lord
and His worship; but an thou wouldst have ruth upon me and further me in
the obedience of Allah the Most High, carry me to a place where there is
water and thou wilt have done me a kindness.” Thereupon he took her to a
place wherein was running water and setting her down on the ground, left
her and went his ways, marvelling at her. After he left her, he found
his camels, by her blessing, and when he returned, King Kisra asked him,
“Hast thou found the camels?” He answered “Yes,” and acquainted him with
the affair of the damsel, and detailed to him her beauty and loveliness:
whereupon the king’s heart clave to her and he mounted with a few men
and betook himself to that place, where he found the lady and was amazed
at her, because he saw her surpassing the description wherewith the
camel-driver had described her to him. So he accosted her and said to
her, “I am King Kisra, greatest of the kings. Wilt thou not have me to
husband?” Quoth she, “What wilt thou do with me, O king, and I a woman
abandoned in the waste?” And quoth he, “Needs must this be, and if thou
wilt not consent to me, I will take up my abode here and devote myself
to Allah’s service and thy service, and with thee worship the Almighty.”
Then he bade set up for her a tent and another for himself, facing hers,
so he might adore Allah with her, and fell to sending her food; and she
said in herself, “This is a king, and ’tis not lawful for me that I
suffer him for my sake to forsake his lieges and his land.” Presently
she said to the serving-woman, who used to bring her the food, “Speak
the king that he return to his women, for he hath no need of me, and I
desire to abide in this place, so I may worship therein Allah the Most
High.” The slave-girl returned to the king and told him this, whereupon
he sent back to her, saying, “I have no need of the kingship and I also
desire to tarry here and worship Allah with thee in this waste.” When
she found this earnestness in him, she fell in with his wishes, and
said, “O king, I will consent to that which thou desirest and will be to
thee a wife, but on condition that thou bring me Dadbin the king and his
Wazir Kardan and his Chamberlain the chief Eunuch, and that they be
present in thine assembly, so I may speak a word with them in thy
presence, to the intent that thou mayst redouble in affection for me.”
Quoth Kisra, “And what is thy want unto this?” So she related to him her
story from first to last, how she was the wife of Dadbin the king and
how the Wazir Kardan had misspoken of her honour. When King Kisra heard
this, he redoubled in love-longing for her and affection and said to
her, “Do whatso thou willest:” then he let bring a litter[195] and
carrying her therein to his dwelling-place, entreated her with the
utmost honour and espoused her. Presently he sent a great army to King
Dadbin and fetching him and his Wazir Kardan and the Eunuch-chamberlain,
caused bring them before him, they unknowing the while what he might
purpose to do with them. Moreover, he caused set up for Arwa a
pavilion[196] in the courtyard of his palace, and she entered it and let
down the curtain before herself. When the servants had set their seats
and they had seated themselves, Arwa raised a corner of the curtain and
said, “O Kardan, rise to thy feet, for it besitteth not that thou sit in
the like of this assembly, before this mighty King Kisra.” When the
Wazir heard these words, his heart fluttered and his joints were
loosened and he rose to his feet of his fear. Then said she to him, “By
the virtue of Him who hath made thee stand up to judgment in this
standing-stead, and thou abject and humiliated, I conjure thee speak the
truth and say what egged thee on to lie against me and drive me from my
home and from the land of my husband and made thee practise thus against
a man and a Moslem so as to slay him.[197] This is no place wherein
lying availeth nor may artifice be herein.” When the Wazir was ’ware
that she was Arwa and heard her speech, he knew that it behoved him not
to lie and that naught would avail him save truth; so he bowed his head
groundwards and wept and said, “Whoso doth evil, needs must he incur it,
albe his day be prolonged. By Allah, I am he who hath sinned and
transgressed, and naught prompted me unto this but fear and
overmastering desire and the misery writ upon my brow.[198] And indeed
this woman is pure and chaste and free from all fault.” When King Dadbin
heard this, he beat his face and said to Kardan, his Wazir, “Allah slay
thee![199] ’Tis thou that hast parted me and my wife and wronged me!”
But Kisra the king said to him, “Allah shall assuredly slay thee,
because thou hastenedst and lookedst not into thine affair, and knewest
not the guilty from the guiltless. Hadst thou wrought deliberately, the
unright had been made manifest to thee from the right; so when this
villain Wazir purposed thy ruin, where was thy judgment and whither went
thy sight?” Then he asked Arwa, “What wilt thou that I do with them?”
and she answered, “Accomplish on them the ordinance of Almighty
Allah:[200] let the slayer be slain and the transgressor transgressed
against, even as he transgressed against us; yea, and to the well-doer
weal shall be done even as he did unto us.” So she gave her officers
order concerning Dadbin and they smote him on the head with a mace and
slew him, and she said, “This is for the slaughter of my sire.” Then she
bade set the Wazir on a beast and bear him to the desert whither he had
caused her to be borne, and leave him there without provaunt or water;
and she said to him, “An thou be guilty, thou shalt suffer the
punishment of thy guilt and die in the desert of hunger and thirst; but
an there be no guilt in thee, thou shalt be delivered, even as I was
delivered.” As for the Eunuch-chamberlain, who had counselled King
Dadbin not to slay her, but to cause carry her to the desert, she
bestowed on him a costly robe of honour and said to him, “The like of
thee it befitteth kings to hold in favour and promote to high place, for
that thou spakest loyally and well, and a man is requited according to
his deed.” And Kisra the King made him Wali in a certain province of his
empire. “Know, therefore, O king” (continued the youth), “that whoso
doeth good is requited with good, and he who is guiltless of sin and
offence feareth not the issue of his affair. And I, O my liege lord, am
free from guilt, wherefore I hope in Allah that He will show forth the
truth to mine auspicious king, and vouchsafe me the victory over enemies
and enviers.” When the king heard this, his wrath subsided and he said,
“Return him to the prison till the morrow, so we may look into his

                             The Sixth Day.

                           OF TRUST IN ALLAH.

When it was the sixth day, the wrath of the Wazirs redoubled, because
they had not won their will of the youth and they feared for their lives
from the liege lord; so three of them went in to him and prostrating
themselves between his hands, said to him, “O king, indeed we are loyal
counsellors to thy dignity and fondly solicitous for thy weal. Verily,
thou persistest long in leaving this youth alive and we know not what is
thine advantage therein. Every day findeth him yet on life and the talk
of folk redoubleth suspicion on thee; so do thou do him dead, that the
talk may be made an end of.” When the king heard this speech, he said,
“By Allah, verily ye say sooth and speak rightly!” Then he bade them
bring the young treasurer and when he came into the presence said to
him, “How long shall I look into thy case, and find no helper for thee
and see them athirst for thy blood?” The youth answered, “O king, I hope
for succour only from Allah, not from created beings: an He aid me, none
shall have power to harm me, and if He be with me and on my side,
because of the truth, from whom shall I fear, because of untruth?
Indeed, I have made my intent with Allah a pure intent and a sincere,
and I have severed my expectation from the help of the creature; and
whoso seeketh aid of Allah findeth of his desire that which Bakhtzamán
found.” Quoth the king, “Who was Bakhtzaman and what is his story?” and
quoth the youth, “Hear, O king,

                 _THE STORY OF KING BAKHTZAMAN_.”[201]

There was once a king of the kings, whose name was Bakhtzaman, and he
was a great eater and drinker and carouser. Now enemies of his made
their appearance in certain parts of his realm, which they coveted; and
one of his friends said to him, “O king, the foe intendeth for thee: be
on thy guard against him.” Quoth Bakhtzaman, “I reck not of him, for
that I have weapons and wealth and warmen and am not afraid of aught.”
Then said his friends to him, “Ask aid of Allah, O king, for He will
help thee more than thy wealth and thy weapons and thy warriors.” But he
turned a deaf ear to the speech of his loyal counsellors, and presently
the enemy came upon him and waged war upon him and got the victory over
him and profited him naught his trust in other than Allah the Most High.
So he fled from him and seeking one of the sovrans, said to him, “I come
to thee and lay hold upon thy skirts and take refuge with thee, so thou
mayst help me against my foe.” The king gave him money and men and a
mighty many and Bakhtzaman said in himself, “Now am I fortified with
this force and needs must I conquer my foe with such combatants and
overcome him;” but he said not, “With the aid of Allah Almighty.” So his
enemy met him and overcame him again and he was defeated and put to the
rout and fled at random: his troops were dispersed from him and his
money lost and the enemy pursued him. Thereupon he sought the sea and
passing over to the other side, saw a great city and therein a mighty
citadel. He asked its name and that of its owner, and they said to him,
“It belongeth to Khadídán[202] the king.” So he fared on till he came to
the royal palace and concealing his condition, passed himself off for a
horseman[203] and sought service with King Khadidan, who attached him to
his attendance and entreated him with honour; but his heart still clung
to his mother-land and his home. Presently, it chanced that an enemy
came out against King Khadidan; so he sent his troops to meet him and
made Bakhtzaman head of the host. Then they went forth to the field and
Khadidan also came forth and ranged his troops and levelled lance and
sallied out in person and fought a sore fight and overcame his foe, who
with his troops ignominiously fled. When the king and his army returned
in triumph, Bakhtzaman said to him, “Harkye, O king! This be a strange
thing I see in thee that thou art compassed about with this mighty great
army, yet dost thou apply thyself in person to battle and adventurest
thy life.” Quoth the king, “Dost thou call thyself a knight and a
learned wight and deemest that victory is in the many of men?” Quoth
Bakhtzaman, “Such is indeed my belief.” And Khadidan the king cried, “By
Allah, then, thou errest in this thy belief!” presently adding, “Woe and
again woe to him whose trust is in other than Allah! Indeed, this army
is appointed only for phantasy and majesty, and victory is from Allah
alone. I too, O Bakhtzaman, whilome believed that victory was in the
number of men,[204] and an enemy came out against me with eight hundred
head, whilst I had eight hundred thousand. I trusted in the tale of my
troops, whilst my foe trusted in Allah, so he defeated me and routed me
and I was put to a shameful flight and hid myself in one of the
mountains, where I met with a Religious who had withdrawn himself from
the world. So I joined myself to him and complained to him of my case
and acquainted him with all that had befallen me. Quoth the Recluse,
Wottest thou why this befel thee and thou wast defeated? Quoth I, I know
not; and he said, Because thou didst put thy trust in the multitude of
thy warmen and reliedst not upon Allah the Most High. Hadst thou put thy
trust in the Almighty and believed of Him that it is He alone who
advantageth and endamageth thee, never had thy foe availed to cope with
thee. Return unto Allah. So I returned to my right senses, and repented
at the hands of that Religious, who said to me:—Turn back with what
remaineth to thee of troops and confront thy foes, for, if their intents
be changed and turned away from Allah, thou wilt overcome them, e’en
wert thou alone. When I heard the Solitary’s words, I put my trust in
Allah of All-Might; and, gathering together those who remained with me,
fell upon mine enemies at unawares in the night. They deemed us many and
fled with the shamefullest flight, whereupon I entered my city and
repossessed myself of my place by the might of Almighty Allah, and now I
fight not but trusting in His aid.” When Bakhtzaman heard these words he
awoke from his heedlessness and cried, “Extolled be the perfection of
God the Great! O king, this is my case and my story, nothing added and
naught subtracted, for I am King Bakhtzaman and all this happened to me:
wherefore I will seek the gate of Allah’s mercy and repent unto Him.” So
he went forth to one of the mountains and worshipped Allah there awhile,
till one night, as he slept, a personage appeared to him in a dream and
said to him, “O Bakhtzaman, Allah accepteth thy repentance and openeth
on thee the door of succour and will aid thee against thy foe.” When he
was assured of this in the dream, he arose and turned back, intending
for his own city; and when he drew near thereunto, he saw a company of
the king’s retainers, who said to him, “Whence art thou? We see that
thou art a foreigner and fear for thee from this king, for that every
stranger who entereth this city, he destroyeth him, of his dread of King
Bakhtzaman.” Said Bakhtzaman, “None shall prejudice him nor profit him
save Allah the Most High.” And they replied, “Indeed, he hath a vast
army and his heart is fortified in the multitude of his many.” When King
Bakhtzaman heard this, his mind was comforted and he said to himself, “I
place my trust in Allah. An He will, I shall overcome mine enemy by the
might of the Lord of Omnipotence.” So he said to the folk, “Wot ye not
who I am?” and they said, “No, by Allah.” Cried he, “I am King
Bakhtzaman.” When they heard this and knew that it was indeed he, they
dismounted from their horses and kissed his stirrup, to do him honour,
and said to him, “O king, why thus risk thy life?” Quoth he, “Indeed, my
life is a light matter to me and I set my trust in Almighty Allah,
looking to Him for protection.” And quoth they, “May that suffice thee!”
presently adding, “We will do with thee that which is in our power and
whereof thou art worthy: hearten thy heart, for we will succour thee
with our substance and our existence, and we are his chief officers and
the most in favour with him of all folk. So we will take thee with us
and cause the lieges follow after thee, because the inclination of the
people, all of them, is thee-wards.” Said he, “Do whatso Allah Almighty
enableth you to do.” So they carried him into the city and hid him with
them. Then they agreed with a company of the king’s chief officers, who
had aforetime been those of Bakhtzaman, and acquainted them with this;
whereat they rejoiced with joy exceeding. Then they assembled together
to Bakhtzaman, and made a covenant and handfast of fealty with him and
fell upon the foe and slew him and seated King Bakhtzaman again on the
throne of his kingship. And his affairs prospered and Allah amended his
estate and restored to him His bounty, and he ruled his subjects justly
and abode in the obedience of the Almighty. “On this wise, O king,”
(continued the young treasurer), “he with whom Allah is and whose intent
is pure, meeteth naught save good. As for me, I have no helper other
than the Almighty, and I am content to submit myself to His ordinance,
for that He knoweth the purity of my intent.” With this the king’s wrath
subsided and he said, “Return him to the prison till the morrow, so we
may look into his case.”

                            The Seventh Day.

                              OF CLEMENCY.

When it was the seventh day, the seventh Wazir, whose name was
Bihkamál,[205] came in to the king and prostrating himself to him, said,
“O king, what doth thy long-suffering with this youth profit thee?
Indeed the folk talk of thee and of him. Why, then, dost thou postpone
the putting him to death?” The Minister’s words aroused the anger of the
king, and he bade bring the youth. So they fetched him before, him in
fetters, and Azadbakht said to him, “Ho, woe to thee! By Allah, after
this day there abideth no deliverance for thee from my hand, by reason
that thou hast outraged mine honour, and there can be no forgiveness for
thee.” The youth replied, “O king, there is no great forgiveness save in
case of a great default, for according as the offence is great in so
much magnified is mercy; and it is no grace to the like of thee if he
spare the like of me. Verily, Allah knoweth that there is no crime in
me, and indeed He commandeth to clemency, and no clemency is greater
than that which spareth from slaughter, for that thy pardon of him whom
thou purposest to put to death is as the quickening of a dead man; and
whoso doth evil shall find it before him, even as it was with King
Bihkard.” Asked the king, “And what is the story of King Bihkard?” And
the youth answered, “Hear, O king,

                   _THE STORY OF KING BIHKARD_.”[206]

There was once a king named Bihkard and he had mickle of wealth and many
troops; but his deeds were evil and he would punish for a slight
offence, and he never forgave any offender. He went forth one day to
hunt and a certain of his pages shot a shaft, which lit on the king’s
ear and cut it off. Bihkard cried, “Who shot that arrow?” So the guards
brought him in haste the misdemeanant, whose name was Yatrú,[207] and he
of his fear fell down on the ground in a fainting fit. Then quoth the
king, “Slay him;” but Yatru said, “O king, this which hath befallen was
not of my choice nor of my knowledge; so do thou pardon me, in the hour
of thy power over me, for that mercy is of the goodliest of deeds and
belike it shall be in this world a provision and a good work for which
thou shalt be repaid one of these days, and a treasure laid up to thine
account with Allah in the world to come. Pardon me, therefore, and fend
off evil from me, so shall Allah fend off from thee the like evil.” When
the king heard this, it pleased him and he pardoned the page, albeit he
had never before pardoned any. Now this page was of the sons of the
kings and had fled from his sire on account of a sin he had committed:
then he went and took service with Bihkard the king, and there happened
to him what happened. After a while, it chanced that a man recognized
him and went and told his father, who sent him a letter, comforting his
heart and mind and calling upon him to return to him. Accordingly he
returned to his father, who came forth to meet him and rejoiced in him,
and the Prince’s affairs were set right with his sire. Now it befel, one
day of the days, that king Bihkard shipped him in a ship and put out to
sea, so he might fish: but the wind blew on them and the craft sank. The
king made the land upon a plank, unknown of any, and came forth,
mother-naked, on one of the coasts; and it chanced that he landed in the
country whereof the father of the page aforesaid was king. So he came in
the night to the gate of the sovran’s capital, and finding it shut,
lodged him in a burying-place there. When the morning morrowed and the
folk came forth of the city, behold, they found a man lately murthered
and cast down in a corner of the burial ground, and seeing Bihkard
there, doubted not but it was he who had slain him during the night; so
they laid hands on him and carried him up to the king and said to him,
“This fellow hath slain a man.” The king bade imprison him; whereupon
they threw him in jail, and he fell to-saying in himself, what while he
was in the prison, “All that hath befallen me is of the abundance of my
sins and my tyranny, for, indeed, I have slain much people unrighteously
and this is the requital of my deeds and that which I have wrought
whilome of oppression.” As he was thus pondering in himself, there came
a bird and lighted down on the pinnacle of the prison, whereupon, of his
passing eagerness in the chase, he took a stone and threw it at the
bird. Now the king’s son was playing in the exercise-ground with the
ball and the bat,[208] and the stone lit on his ear and cut it off,
whereupon the Prince fell down in a fit. So they enquired who had thrown
the stone and finding that it was Bihkard, took him and carried him
before the king’s son, who bade do him die. Accordingly, they cast the
turband from his head and were about to fillet his eyes, when the Prince
looked at him and seeing him cropped of an ear, said to him, “But for
thy villainies thine ear had not been cut off.” Said Bihkard, “Not so,
by Allah! Nay, but the story of the loss of my car is so and so, and I
pardoned him who smote me with an arrow and cut off my ear.” When the
prince heard this, he looked in his face and knowing him, cried out and
said, “Art thou not Bihkard the king?” “Yes,” replied he, and the Prince
said to him, “What ill chance threw thee here?” Thereupon he told him
all that had betided him and the folk wondered and extolled the
perfection of the Almighty, crying “Subhána ’llah!—laud to the Lord!”
Then the Prince rose to him and embraced him and kissed him and,
entreating him with respect, seated him in a chair and bestowed on him a
robe of honour; and he turned to his sire and said to him, “This be the
king who pardoned me and this be his ear which I cut off with a shaft;
and indeed he deserveth my pardon by having pardoned me.” Then said he
to Bihkard, “Verily, the issue of mercy hath been a provision for thee
in such hour as this.” And they entreated him with the utmost kindness
and sent him back to his own country in all honour. “Know, then, O king”
(continued the youth), “that there is no goodlier quality than mercy and
that all thou dost of clemency, thou shalt find before thee a treasure
for thee treasured up.” When the king heard this, his wrath subsided and
he said, “Return him to the prison till the morrow, so we may look into
his case.”

                            The Eighth Day.

                          OF ENVY AND MALICE.

When it was the eighth day, the Wazirs all assembled and had speech
together and said, “How shall we do with this youth, who overcometh us
with his much talk? Indeed, we fear lest he be saved and we fall into
destruction. So, let us all go in to the king and unite our efforts to
gain our cause, ere he appear without guilt and come forth and get the
better of us.” Accordingly they all went in to the king and prostrating
themselves before him, said to him, “O king, beware lest this youth
ensorcell thee with his sorcery and beguile thee with his wiles. An thou
heardest what we hear, thou wouldst not suffer him live; no, not a
single day. Wherefore heed not his speech, for we are thy Ministers, who
endeavour for thy permanence, and if thou hearken not to our word, to
whose word wilt thou hearken? See, we are ten Wazirs who testify against
this youth that he is guilty and entered not the king’s sleeping chamber
save with ill intent, so he might put the king to shame and outrage his
honour; and if the king slay him not, let him banish him his realm, that
the tongue of the folk may desist from him.” When the king heard his
Ministers’ words, he was wroth with exceeding wrath and bade bring the
youth, and when he came in to the king, the Wazirs all cried out with
one voice, saying, “O Lack-wits, thinkest thou to save thyself from
slaughter by guile and sleight, that thou wilest the king with thy talk
and hopest pardon for the like of this mighty great crime thou hast
committed?” Then the king bade fetch the sworder, so he might smite his
neck; whereupon each of the Wazirs fell to saying, “I will slay him;”
and they sprang upon him. Quoth the youth, “O king, consider and ponder
the eagerness of these thy Ministers. Is this of envy or is it not? They
would fain make severance between me and thee, so there may fall to them
what they shall plunder, as aforetime.” And the king said to him,
“Consider their witness against thee.” The young man said, “O king, how
shall they testify of that which they saw not?[209] This is but envy and
despight; and thou, an thou slay me, wilt indeed regret me, and I fear
lest there betide thee of repentance that which betided Aylán Sháh, by
reason of the malice of his Wazirs.” Asked Azadbakht, “And what is his
story?” and the youth answered, “Hear, O king,


Whilome there was a merchant named Abu Tammám, and he was a clever man
and a well-bred, quick-witted and truthful in all his affairs, and he
was monied to boot. Now there was in his land a king as unjust as he was
jealous, and Abu Tammam feared for his wealth from this king and said,
“I will remove hence to another place where I shall not be in dread.” So
he made for the city of Aylán Sháh and built himself a palace therein
and transporting his wealth thither, took up his abode there. Presently,
the news of him reached King Aylan Shah; so he sent to invite him to his
presence and said to him, “We know of thy coming to us and thine
entering under our allegiance, and indeed we have heard of thine
excellence and wit and generosity; so welcome to thee and fair welcome!
The land is thy land and at thy command, and whatsoever need thou
needest of us, ’tis already accomplished to thee; and it behoveth that
thou be near our person and of our assembly.” Abu Tammam prostrated
himself before the king, and said to him, “O king, I will serve thee
with my monies and with my life, but do thou excuse me from nearness to
thee, for that an I took office about thee, I should not be safe from
enemies and enviers.” Then he applied himself to the royal service with
presents and largesses, and the king saw him to be intelligent,
well-bred and of good counsel; so his heart inclined to him and he
committed to him the ordinance of his affairs and the power to bind and
to loose was in his hand. Now Aylan Shah had three Wazirs, in whose
hands public affairs were wont to be and they had been accustomed not to
quit the king night or day; but they became shut out from him by reason
of Abu Tammam and the king was occupied with him to their exclusion.
Herewith the Ministers took counsel together upon the matter and said,
“What is your rede we should do, seeing that the king is occupied from
us with yonder man, and indeed he honoureth him with more honour than
us? But now come, let us devise some device whereby we may alienate him
from the king.” So each of them spoke forth that which was in his mind,
and one of them said, “The king of the Turks hath a daughter, whose like
there is not in the world, and whatso messenger goeth to demand her in
marriage, him her father slaughtereth. Now our king hath no knowledge of
this; so, come, let us foregather with him and bring up the mention of
her: when his heart is taken with her, we will advise him to dispatch
Abu Tammam to seek her hand in marriage; whereupon her father will slay
him and we shall be quit of him and settle his affair once for all.”
Accordingly, they went in to the king one day (Abu Tammam being present
among them,) and mentioned the affair of the damsel, the daughter of the
Turks’ king, and enlarged upon her charms, till the king’s heart was
taken with her and he said to them, “We will send one to demand her to
wife for us; but who shall be our messenger?” Quoth the Wazirs, “There
is none fit for this business but Abu Tammam, by reason of his wit and
good breeding;” and the king said, “Indeed, even as ye say, none is
fitting for this affair save he.” Then he turned to Abu Tammam and said
to him, “Wilt thou not go with my message and seek me in marriage the
daughter of the Turks’ king?” and he answered, “To hear is to obey, O my
Sovran!” So they made ready his affair and the king conferred on him a
robe of honour, and he took with him a present and a letter under the
king’s hand and setting out, fared on till he came to the capital city
of Turkistan. When the king of the Turks knew of his coming, he
despatched his officers to receive him and entreated him with honour and
lodged him as befitted his rank. Then he guested him three days, after
which time he summoned him to his presence and Abu Tammam went in to
him; and, prostrating himself as beseemeth before kings, laid that
present before him and gave him the letter. The king read the writ and
said to Abu Tammam, “We will do what behoveth in the matter; but, O Abu
Tammam, needs must thou view my daughter and she view thee, and needs
must thou hear her speech and she hear thine.” So saying, he sent him to
the lodging of the Princess, who had had notice of this; so that they
had adorned her sitting-room with the costliest that might be of vessels
of gold and silver and the like, and she seated herself on a chair of
gold, clad in the richest of royal robes and ornaments. When Abu Tammam
entered, he took thought and said, “The wise declare that whoso
governeth his sight shall suffer naught unright and he who guardeth his
tongue shall hear naught of foul taunt, and he who keepeth watch over
his hand, it shall be lengthened and not shortened.”[211] So he entered
and seating himself on the floor, cast down his eyes and covered his
hands and feet with his dress.[212] Quoth the king’s daughter to him,
“Raise thy head, O Abu Tammam, and look on me and speak with me.” But he
spake not neither raised his head, and she continued, “They sent thee
only to view me and talk with me, and yet behold thou sayest not a
word;” presently adding, “Take of these union-pearls that be round thee
and of these jewels and gold and silver.” But he put not forth his hand
to aught, and when she saw that he paid no heed to anything, she was
angry and cried, “They have messaged me with a messenger, blind, dumb,
deaf.” Then she sent to acquaint her father with this; whereupon the
king called Abu Tammam to him and said to him, “Thou camest not save to
view my daughter: why, then, hast thou not looked upon her?” Quoth Abu
Tammam, “I saw everything;” and quoth the king, “Why didst thou not take
somewhat of that which thou sawest of jewels and the like? Indeed they
were set out for thee.” But he answered, “It behoveth me not to put out
my hand to aught that is not mine.” When the king heard his speech, he
gave him a sumptuous robe of honour and loved him muchly[213] and said
to him, “Come, look at this well.” So Abu Tammam went up to the
pit-mouth and looked, and behold, it was full of heads of the sons of
Adam, and the king said to him, “These are the heads of envoys whom I
slew, because I saw them without loyalty to their lords, and I was used,
whenas I beheld an envoy without good manners, to say, He who sent him
is worse-mannered than he, because the messenger is the tongue of him
who sendeth him and his breeding is of his master’s breeding; and whoso
is after this fashion, it befitteth not that he be akin to me.[214] For
this reason I used to put the envoys to death; but, as for thee, thou
hast overcome us and won my daughter, of the excellence of thy manners;
so hearten thy heart, for she is thy lord’s.” Then he sent him back to
King Aylan Shah with presents and rarities and a letter, saying, “This
that I have done is in honour of thee and of thine envoy.” When Abu
Tammam returned after accomplishing his mission and brought the presents
and the letter, King Aylan Shah rejoiced in this and redoubled all his
favours and showed him honour the highest. Some days after, the King of
Turkistan sent his daughter and she went in to King Aylan Shah, who
rejoiced in her with exceeding joy and Abu Tammam’s worth was exalted in
the royal sight. When the Wazirs saw this, they redoubled in envy and
despite and said, “An we contrive us not a contrivance to rid us of this
man, we shall die of rage.” So they bethought them and agreed upon a
device they should practise. Then they betook themselves to two boys,
pages affected to the service of the king, who slept not but on their
knee,[215] and they lay at his head, for that they were his bedchamber
pages. So the Ministers gave them each a thousand dinars of gold,
saying, “We desire of you that ye do somewhat we require and take this
gold as a provision against your time of need.” Quoth the lads, “What is
it ye would have us do?” and quoth the Wazirs, “This Abu Tammam hath
marred matters for us, and if his case abide in this way, he will remove
us all from the king’s favour; and what we want of you twain is that,
when ye are alone with the king and he leaneth back, as he were asleep,
one of you say to his fellow:—Verily, the king hath taken Abu Tammam
into high favour and hath advanced him to exalted rank, yet he is a
transgressor against the king’s honour and an accursed wight. Then let
the other of you ask:—And what is his transgression? and let the first
answer:—He outrageth the king’s honour and saith, the King of Turkistan
was used, when a messenger went to him to seek his daughter in marriage,
to slay him; but me he spared, because she liked me, and by reason of
this her sire sent her hither, for that she loved me. Then let the other
say, Knowest thou this for truth? and let the first reply:—By Allah,
this is familiar to all the folk, but, of their fear of the king, they
dare not divulge it to him; and as often as the king is absent a-hunting
or a-wayfaring, Abu Tammam cometh to her and is private with her.”
Whereupon the boys answered, “We will say this.” Accordingly, one night,
when they were alone with the king and he leant back, as he were asleep,
they said these words and the king heard all and was like to die of fury
and despite and said to himself, “These are young boys, not come to
years of discretion, and have no business with any; and unless they had
heard these words from some one, they had not spoken thereof each with
other.” When it was morning wrath overmastered him, so that he stayed
not neither deliberated, but summoned Abu Tammam and taking him apart,
said to him, “Whoso guardeth not the honour of his liege lord[216], what
deserveth he?” Said Abu Tammam, “He deserveth that his lord guard not
_his_ honour.” Aylan Shah continued, “And whoso entereth the king’s
house and playeth traitor with him, what behoveth unto him?” and Abu
Tammam replied, “He shall not be left alive.” Whereupon the king spat in
his face and said to him, “Both these deeds hast _thou_ done.” Then he
drew his poinard on him in haste and smiting him in the belly, slit it
and Abu Tammam died forthright; whereupon the king dragged him along and
cast him into a well that was in his palace. After he had slain him, he
fell into repentance and mourning increased and chagrin waxed sore upon
him, and he would acquaint none who questioned him with the cause, nor,
of his love for his wife, did he tell her of this, and whenever she
asked him wherefore he grieved, he answered her not. When the Wazirs
knew of Abu Tammam’s death, they rejoiced with exceeding joy and knew
that the king’s sorrow arose from regret for him. As for Aylan Shah,
after this he used to betake himself by night to the sleeping-chamber of
the two boys and spy upon them, that he might hear what they said
concerning his wife. As he stood one night privily at the door of their
chamber, he saw them spread out the gold between their hands and play
with it and heard one of them say, “Woe to us! What doth this gold
profit us? Indeed we cannot buy therewith any thing nor spend it upon
ourselves. Nay, but we have sinned against Abu Tammam and done him dead
unjustly.” And said the other, “Had we known that the king would slay
him on the spot, we had not done what we did.” When the king heard that,
he could not contain himself, but rushed in upon them and said to them,
“Woe to you! What did ye? Tell me.” And they cried, “Amán[217], O king!”
He cried, “An ye would have pardon from Allah and me, you are bound to
tell me the truth, for nothing shall save you from me but
soothfastness.” Hereat they prostrated themselves before him and said,
“By Allah, O king, the Wazirs gave us this gold and taught us to lie
against Abu Tammam, so thou mightest kill him, and what we said was
their speech.” When the king heard this, he plucked at his beard, till
he was like to tear it up by the roots and bit upon his fingers, till he
well nigh cut them in twain, for repentance and sorrow that he had
wrought hastily and had not delayed with Abu Tammam, so he might
consider his case. Then he sent for the Ministers and said to them, “O
villainous Wazirs, ye deemed that Allah was heedless of your deed, but
right soon shall your wickedness revert upon you. Know ye not that Whoso
diggeth for his brother a pit shall himself fall into it?[218] Take from
me the punishment of this world and to-morrow ye shall receive the
punishment of the next world and requital from Allah.” Then he bade put
them to death; so the headsman smote off their heads before the king,
and he went in to his wife and acquainted her with whatso he had misdone
to Abu Tammam; whereupon she grieved for him with mighty great grief and
the king and his household ceased not weeping and repenting all their
lives. Moreover, they brought Abu Tammam forth of the well and the king
built him a dome[219] in his palace and buried him therein. “See, then,
O auspicious king” (continued the youth), “what jealousy doth and
injustice and how Allah caused the Wazirs’ malice to revert upon their
own necks; and I trust in the Almighty that He will empower me over all
who envy me my favour with the king and show forth the truth unto him.
Indeed, I dread naught for my life from death; only I fear lest the king
repent of my slaughter, for that I am guiltless of offence, and if I
knew that I were guilty on any wise, my tongue would be dumb-struck.”
When the king heard this, he bowed his head groundwards in perplexity
and confusion and said, “Restore him to the prison till the morrow, so
we may look into his case.”

                             The Ninth Day.


Now when it was the ninth day, the Wazirs met and said one to other,
“Verily, this youth baffleth us, for as often as the king is minded to
kill him, he beguileth him and bewitcheth him with a story; so what be
your rede we should do, that we may slay him and be at rest from him?”
Then they advised together and agreed that they should go to the king’s
wife.[220] So they betook themselves to her and said to her, “Thou art
careless of this affair wherein thou art and this uncare shall not
profit thee; whilst the king, occupied with eating and drinking and
diversion, forgetteth that the folk beat upon tambourines and sing of
thee and say, The wife of king loveth the youth; and as long as he
abideth alive the talk will increase and not diminish.” Quoth she, “By
Allah, ’twas ye egged me on against him, and what shall I do now?” and
quoth they, “Go thou in to the king and weep and say to him,—Verily, the
women come to me and inform me that I am dishonoured throughout the
city, and what is thine advantage in the sparing of this youth? An thou
wilt not slay him, slay me to the end that this talk may be cut off from
us.” So the woman arose and rending her raiment, went in to the king, in
the presence of the Wazirs, and cast herself upon him, saying, “O king,
is my shame not upon thee or fearest thou not shame? Indeed, this is not
of the fashion of kings that their jealousy over their women should be
such as this.[221] Thou art heedless and all the folk of the realm prate
of thee, men and women. Either slay him, that the talk may be cut off,
or slay me, if thy soul will not consent to his slaughter.” Thereupon
the king’s wrath waxed hot and he said to her, “I have no pleasure in
his continuance and needs must I slay him this very day. So return to
thy palace and solace thy heart.” Then he bade fetch the youth;
whereupon they brought him before him and the Wazirs said, “O base of
base, fie upon thee! Thy life-term is at hand and earth hungereth for
thy flesh, so it may make a meal of it.” But he said to them, “Death is
not in your word or in your envy; nay, it is a destiny written upon the
forehead: wherefore, if aught be writ upon my front, there is no help
but it come to pass, and neither striving nor thought-taking nor
precaution-seeking shall deliver me therefrom; even as happened to King
Ibrahim and his son.” Quoth the king, “Who was King Ibrahim and who was
his son?” and quoth the youth “Hear, O king,


There was once a king of the kings, Sultan Ibrahim hight, to whom the
sovrans abased themselves and did obedience; but he had no son and was
straitened of breast because of that, fearing lest the kingship go forth
of his hand. He ceased not to long for a son and to buy slave-girls and
lie with them, till one of them conceived, whereat he rejoiced with
passing joy and gave great gifts and the largest largesse. When the
girl’s months were complete and the time of her lying-in drew near, the
king summoned the astrologers and they watched for the hour of
child-bearing and raised their astrolabes and carefully noted the time.
The hand-maid gave birth to a man-child, whereat the king rejoiced
exceedingly, and the people congratulated one another with this glad
news. Then the astrophils made their calculations and looked into his
nativity and his ascendant, whereupon their colour changed and they were
confounded. Quoth the king to them, “Acquaint me with his horoscope and
ye shall have assurance of pardon and have naught to fear.”[223] They
replied, “O king, this princely child’s nativity denoteth that, in the
seventh year of his age, there is fearful danger for him from a lion,
which shall attempt to rend him: and if he be saved from the lion, there
will betide a matter yet sorer and more grievous even than that.” Asked
the king, “What is it?” and they answered, “We will not speak, except
the king command us and give us assurance from fear.” Quoth the king,
“Allah assure you!” and quoth they, “An he be saved from the lion, the
king’s destruction shall be at his hand.” When the king heard this, his
complexion changed and his breast was straitened; but he said to
himself, “I will be watchful and do my endeavour and suffer not the lion
to eat him. It cannot be that he will kill me, and indeed ‘The
astrologers lied.’”[224] Then he caused rear him among the wet-nurses
and the noble matrons;[225] but withal he ceased not to ponder the
prediction of the astrophils and verily his life was troubled. So he
betook himself to the top of a high mountain and hollowed there a deep
excavation[226] and made in it many dwelling-places and rooms and filled
it with all that was needful of rations and raiment and what not else
and laid in it pipe-conduits of water from the mountain and lodged the
boy therein, with a nurse who should rear him. Moreover, at the first of
each month he used to go to the mountain and stand at the mouth of the
hollow and let down a rope he had with him and draw up the boy to him
and strain him to his bosom and kiss him and play with him awhile, after
which he would let him down again to his place and return; and he was
wont to count the days till the seven years should pass by. Now when
arrived the time of the Fate foreordered and the Fortune graven on the
forehead and there remained for the boy but ten days till the seven
years should be complete, there came to that mountain hunters chasing
wild beasts and, seeing a lion, they attacked him. He fled from them and
seeking refuge in the mountain, fell into the hollow in its midst. The
nurse saw him forthwith and escaped from him into one of the chambers;
upon which the lion made for the lad and seizing upon him, tare his
shoulder, after which he sought the room wherein was the nurse and
falling upon her, devoured her, whilst the boy lay in a swoon.
Meanwhile, when the huntsmen saw that the lion had fallen into the pit,
they came to the mouth and heard the shrieking of the boy and the woman;
and after awhile the cries died away, whereby they knew that the lion
had slain them. Presently, as they stood by the mouth of the excavation
behold, the lion came scrambling up the sides and would have issued
forth: but, as often as he showed his head, they pelted him with stones,
till they beat him down and he fell; whereupon one of the hunters
descended into the pit and despatched him and saw the boy wounded; after
which he went to the chamber, where he found the woman dead, and indeed
the lion had eaten his fill of her. Then he noted that which was therein
of clothes and what not else, and notifying his mates, fell to passing
the stuff up to them: lastly, he took up the boy and bringing him forth
of the pit, carried him to their dwelling-place, where they dressed his
wounds. He grew up with them, but acquainted them not with his affair;
and indeed, when they questioned him, he knew not what he should say,
because they let him down into the pit when he was a little one. The
hunters marvelled at his speech and loved him with exceeding love and
one of them took him to son and abode rearing him by his side and
training him in hunting and horse-riding, till he reached the age of
twelve and became a brave, going forth with the folk to the chase and to
the cutting of the way. Now it chanced one day that they sallied forth
to stop the road and fell in with a caravan during the night: but its
stout fellows were on their guard; so they joined battle with the
robbers and overcame them and slew them and the boy fell wounded and
tarried cast down in that place till the morrow, when he opened his eyes
and finding his comrades slain, lifted himself up and arose to walk the
road. Presently, there met him a man, a treasure-seeker, and asked him,
“Whither away, O lad?” So he told him what had betided him and the other
said, “Be of good heart, for that the tide of thy good fortune is come
and Allah bringeth thee joy and gladness. I am one who am in quest of a
hidden treasure, wherein is a mighty mickle of wealth. So come with me
that thou mayst help me, and I will give thee monies with which thou
shalt provide thyself all thy life long.” Then he carried the youth to
his dwelling and dressed his wounds, and he tarried with him some days
till he was rested; when the treasure-seeker took him and two beasts and
all that he needed, and they fared on till they came to a towering
highland. Here the man brought out a book and reading therein, dug in
the crest of the mountain five cubits deep, whereupon there appeared to
him a stone. He pulled it up and behold it was a trap-door covering the
mouth of a pit. So he waited till the foul air[227] was come forth from
the midst of the pit, when he bound a rope about the lad’s middle and
let him down bucket-wise to the bottom, and with him a lighted waxen
taper. The boy looked and beheld, at the upper end of the pit, wealth
abundant; so the treasure-seeker let down a rope and a basket and the
boy fell to filling and the man to drawing up, till the fellow had got
his sufficiency, when he loaded his beasts and ceased working, whilst
the boy looked for him to let down the rope and draw him up; but he
rolled a great stone to the mouth of the pit and went his ways. When the
boy saw what the treasure-seeker had done with him, he relied upon Allah
(extolled and exalted be He!) and abode perplexed concerning his case
and said, “How bitter be this death?” for indeed the world was darkened
on him and the pit was blinded to him. So he fell a-weeping and saying,
“I escaped the lion and the robbers and now is my death to be in this
pit, where I shall die by slow degrees.” And he abode perplexed and
looked for nothing but death. But as he stood pondering, behold, he
heard a sound of water rushing with a thunderous noise; so he arose and
walked in the pit, following the sound, till he came to a corner and
heard the mighty coursing of water. Then he laid his ear to the sound of
the current and hearing it rushing in great strength, said to himself,
“This is the flowing of a mighty watercourse and needs must I depart
life in this place, be it to-day or to-morrow; so I will throw myself
into the stream and not die a slow death in this pit.” Thereupon he
called up his courage and gathering up his skirts, cast himself into the
water, and it bore him along with force exceeding and carrying him under
the earth, stayed not till it brought him out into a deep Wady, adown
which ran a great river, that welled up from under the ground. When he
found himself on the face of earth, he abode dazed and aswoon all that
day; after which he came to himself and rising, fared on along that
valley; and he ceased not his wayfare, praising Almighty Allah the
while, till he came to an inhabited land and a great village in the
reign of the king his sire. So he entered and foregathered with the
villagers, who questioned him of his case; whereupon he told them his
tale, and they admired how Allah had delivered him from all those
dangers. Then he took up his abode with them and they loved him much. On
this wise happened it to him; but as regards the king, his father, when
he went to the pit, as was his wont, and called the nurse, she returned
him no answer, whereat his breast was straitened and he let down a man
who found the woman dead and the boy gone and acquainted therewith the
king, who when he heard this, buffeted his head and wept with sore
weeping and descended into the midst of the pit that he might see how
the case stood. There he espied the nurse slain and the lion dead, but
beheld not the boy; so he returned and acquainted the astrologers with
the soothfastness of their saying, and they replied, “O King, the lion
hath eaten him; destiny hath been wroughten upon him and thou art
delivered from his hand; for, had he been saved from the lion, we
indeed, by Allah, had feared for thee from him, because the king’s
destruction would have been at his hand.” So the king ceased to sorrow
for this and the days passed by and the affair was forgotten. Meanwhile
the boy grew up and abode with the people of the village, and when Allah
willed the accomplishing of His commandment, which no endeavour availeth
to avert, he went forth with a party of the villagers to cut the way.
The folk complained to King Ibrahim his father, who sallied out with a
company of his men and surrounded the highwaymen. Now that boy was with
them, and he drew forth an arrow and launched it at them, and it smote
the king and wounded him in a mortal place. So they carried him to his
palace, after they had laid hands upon the youth and his comrades and
brought them before the sovran, saying, “What biddest us to do with
them?” Quoth he, “I am presently in trouble for myself, so bring me the
astrologers.” Accordingly, they brought them before him and he said to
them, “Ye said to me Thy death shall be by slaying at the hand of thy
son: how, then, befalleth it that I have got my death-hurt by yonder
thieves?” The astrologers marvelled and said to him. “O king, ’tis not
beyond the lore of the stars, together with the doom of Allah, that he
who hath smitten thee should be thy son.” When King Ibrahim heard this,
he bade fetch the thieves and said to them, “Tell me truly, which of you
shot the shaft that wounded me.” Said they, “’Twas this youth that is
with us.” Whereupon the king fell to considering him and said, “O youth,
acquaint me with thy case and tell me who was thy father and thou shalt
have assurance of safety from Allah.” The youth replied, “O my lord, I
know no father; as for me, my father lodged me in a pit, with a nurse to
rear me, and one day, there fell in upon us a lion, which tare my
shoulder, then left me and occupied himself with the nurse and rent her
in pieces; and Allah vouchsafed me one who brought me forth the pit.”
Then he related to him all that had befallen him, first and last; which
when King Ibrahim heard, he cried out and said, “By Allah, this is my
son!” presently adding, “Bare thy shoulder.” So he uncovered it, and
behold, it was scarred. Then the king assembled his lords and lieges and
the astrologers and said to them, “Know that what Allah hath writ upon
the forehead, be it fair fortune or misfortune, none may efface, and all
that is decreed to a man must perforce befal him. Indeed, this my
care-taking and my endeavour profited me naught, for what weird Allah
decreed for my son, he hath dreed and whatso He decreed to me I have
endured. Nevertheless, I praise Allah and thank Him because this was at
my son’s hand, and not at the hand of another, and Alhamdolillah—laud to
the Lord—for that the kingship is come to my son!” And he strained the
youth to his bosom and embraced him and kissed him, saying “O my son,
this matter was after such fashion, and of my watchfulness over thee
from Fate, I lodged thee in that pit; but care-taking availed not.” Then
he took the crown of the kingship and set it on his son’s head and
caused the lieges and the people do homage to him and commended the
subjects to his care and enjoined to him justice and equity. And he
farewelled him that night and died and his son reigned in his
stead.[228] “On like wise, O king” (continued the young treasurer),
“’tis with thee. If Allah have written aught on my forehead, needs must
it befal me and my speech to the king shall not avail me; no, nor my
illustrating it to him with instances, against the doom of Allah. And so
it is with these Wazirs, for all their eagerness and endeavour for my
destruction, this shall not profit them; because, if Allah determine to
save me, He will give me the victory over them.” When the king heard
these words he became perplexed and said, “Return him to the prison till
the morrow, so we may look into his affair, for the day draweth to an
end and I mean to do him dead in foulest sort, and to-morrow we will
visit him with that which he meriteth.”

                             The Tenth Day.


When it was the tenth day (now this day was called Al-Mihrján[230] and
it was the day of the coming in of the folk, gentle and simple, to the
king, so they might give him joy and salute him and go forth), the
council of the Wazirs agreed that they should speak with a company of
the city notables. So they said to them, “When ye go in to-day to the
king and salute him, do ye say to him:—O king, (to the Lord be the
laud!) thou art praiseworthy of policy and procedure and just to all thy
subjects; but respecting this youth whom thou hast favoured and who
nevertheless hath reverted to his base origin and done this foul deed,
what is thy purpose in his continuance? Indeed, thou hast prisoned him
in thy palace, and every day thou hearest his palaver and thou knowest
not what the folk say.” And they answered, “Hearing is obeying.”
Accordingly, when they entered with the folk and had prostrated
themselves before the king and congratulated his majesty, he raised
their several degrees. Now it was the custom of the folk to salute and
go forth; but they took seat, and the king knew that they had a word
they would fain address to him: so he turned to them (the Wazirs being
also present) and said, “Ask your need.” Therefore they repeated to him
all that the Ministers had taught them and the Wazirs also spoke with
them; and Azadbakht said to them, “O folk, I would have it known to you
that there is no doubt with me concerning this your speech proceeding
from love and loyal counsel to me, and ye ken that, were I inclined to
kill half these folk, I could do them die and this would not be hard to
me; so how shall I not slay this youth and he in my power and in the
hending of my hand? Indeed, his crime is manifest and he hath incurred
death penalty; and I have deferred it only by reason of the greatness of
the offence; for, an I do this with him and my proof against him be
strengthened, my heart is healed and the heart of my whole folk; and if
I slay him not to-day, his slaying shall not escape me to-morrow.” Then
he bade fetch the youth who, when present between his hands, prostrated
to him and blessed him; whereupon quoth the king, “Woe to thee! How long
shall the folk upbraid me on thine account and blame me for delaying thy
death? Even the people of my city reproach me because of thee, so that I
am grown a prating-stock amongst them, and indeed they come in to me and
reproach me for not putting thee to death. How long shall I delay this?
Verily, this very day I mean to shed thy blood and rid the folk of thy
prattling.” The youth replied, “O king, an there have betided thee talk
because of me, by Allah, and again by Allah the Great, those who have
brought on thee this talk from the folk are none but these wicked
Wazirs, who chatter with the crowd and tell them foul tales and ill
things of the king’s house, but I hope in the Most High that He will
cause their malice to recoil upon their own heads. As for the king’s
menace of slaying me, I am in the grip of his hand; so let not the king
occupy his mind with my slaughter, because I am like the sparrow in the
grasp of the fowler; if he will, he cutteth his throat, and if he will,
he letteth him go. As for the delaying of my death, ’tis not from the
king, but from Him in whose hand is my life; for, by Allah, O king, an
the Almighty willed my slaughter, thou couldst not postpone it; no, not
for a single hour. And, indeed, man availeth not to fend off evil from
himself, even as it was with the son of King Sulayman Shah, whose
anxiety and carefulness for the winning of his wish in the matter of the
new-born child availed him naught, for his last hour was deferred how
many a time! and Allah saved him until he had accomplished his period
and had fulfilled his life-term.” Cried the king, “Fie upon thee, how
great is thy craft and thy talk! Tell me, what was their tale.” And the
youth said, “Hear, O king,


There was once a king named Sulayman Sháh, who was goodly of policy
and rede, and he had a brother who died and left a daughter; so
Sulayman Shah reared her with the best of rearing and the girl
became a model of reason and perfection, nor was there in her time a
more beautiful than she. Now the king had two sons, one of whom he
had appointed in his mind to wed her, while the other purposed to
take her. The elder son’s name was Bahluwán[232] and that of the
younger Malik Sháh,[233] and the girl was called Sháh Khátún. Now
one day, King Sulayman Shah went in to his brother’s daughter and
kissing her head, said to her, “Thou art my daughter and dearer to
me than a child, for the love of thy late father who hath found
mercy; wherefore I purpose espousing thee to one of my sons and
appointing him my heir apparent, so he may be king after me. Look,
then, which thou wilt have of my sons,[234] for that thou hast been
reared with them and knowest them.” The maiden arose and kissing his
hand, said to him, “O my lord, I am thine hand-maid and thou art the
ruler over me; so whatever liketh thee do that same, inasmuch as thy
wish is higher and honourabler and holier than mine and if thou
wouldst have me serve thee as a hand-maid for the rest of my life,
’twere fairer to me than any mate.” The king commended her speech
and conferred on her a robe of honour and gave her magnificent
gifts; after which, his choice having fallen upon his younger son,
Malik Shah, he wedded her with him and made him his heir apparent
and bade the folk swear fealty to him. When this reached his brother
Bahluwan and he was ware that his younger brother had by favour been
preferred over him, his breast was straitened and the affair was
sore to him and envy entered into him and hate; but he hid this in
his heart, whilst fire raged therein because of the damsel and the
dominion. Meanwhile Shah Khatun went in bridal splendour to the
king’s son and conceived by him and bare a son, as he were the
illuming moon. When Bahluwan saw this betide his brother, envy and
jealousy overcame him; so he went in one night to his father’s
palace and coming to his brother’s chamber, saw the nurse sleeping
at the door, with the cradle before her and therein his brother’s
child asleep. Bahluwan stood by him and fell to looking upon his
face, whose radiance was as that of the moon, and Satan insinuated
himself into his heart, so that he bethought himself and said, “Why
be not this babe mine? Verily, I am worthier of him than my brother;
yea, and of the damsel and the dominion.” Then the idea got the
mastery of him and anger drave him, so that he took out a knife and
setting it to the child’s gullet, cut his throat and would have
severed his windpipe. So he left him for dead and entering his
brother’s chamber, saw him asleep, with the Princess by his side,
and thought to slay her, but said to himself, “I will leave the
girl-wife for myself.” Then he went up to his brother and cutting
his throat, parted head from body, after which he left him and went
away. But now the world was straitened upon him and his life was a
light matter to him and he sought the lodging of his sire Sulayman
Shah, that he might slay him also, but could not get admission to
him. So he went forth from the palace and hid himself in the city
till the morrow, when he repaired to one of his father’s fortalices
and therein fortified himself. On this wise it was with him; but as
regards the nurse, she presently awoke that she might give the child
suck, and seeing the cradle running with blood, cried out; whereupon
the sleepers started up and the king was aroused and making for the
place, found the child with his throat cut and the bed running over
with blood and his father dead with a slit weasand in his sleeping
chamber. They examined the child and found life in him and his
windpipe whole and they sewed up the place of the wound: then the
king sought his son Bahluwan, but found him not and saw that he had
fled; so he knew that it was he who had done this deed, and this was
grievous to the king and to the people of his realm and to the lady
Shah Khatun. Thereupon the king laid out his son Malik Shah and
buried him and made him a mighty funeral and they mourned with
passing sore mourning; after which he applied himself to rearing the
infant. As for Bahluwan, when he fled and fortified himself, his
power waxed amain and there remained for him but to make war upon
his father, who had cast his fondness upon the child and used to
rear him on his knees and supplicate Almighty Allah that he might
live, so he might commit the command to him. When he came to five
years of age, the king mounted him on horseback and the people of
the city rejoiced in him and prayed for him length of life, that he
might take vengeance for his father[235] and heal his grandsire’s
heart. Meanwhile, Bahluwan the rebel[236] addressed himself to pay
court to Cæsar, king of the Roum[237] and crave aid of him in
debelling his father, and he inclined unto him and gave him a
numerous army. His sire the king hearing of this sent to Cæsar,
saying, “O glorious king of might illustrious, succour not an evil
doer. This is my son and he hath done so and so and cut his
brother’s throat and that of his brother’s son in the cradle.” But
he told not the king of the Roum that the child had recovered and
was alive. When Cæsar heard the truth of the matter, it was grievous
to him as grievous could be, and he sent back to Sulayman Shah,
saying, “An it be thy wish, O king, I will cut off his head and send
it to thee.” But he made answer, saying, “I care naught for him:
soon and surely the reward of his deed and his crimes shall overtake
him, if not to-day, then to-morrow.” And from that date he continued
to exchange letters and presents with Cæsar. Now the king of the
Roum heard tell of the widowed Princess[238] and of the beauty and
loveliness wherewith she was endowed, wherefore his heart clave to
her and he sent to seek her in wedlock of Sulayman Shah, who could
not refuse him. So he arose and going in to Shah Khatun, said to
her, “O my daughter, the king of the Roum hath sent to me to seek
thee in marriage. What sayst thou?” She wept and replied, “O king,
how canst thou find it in thy heart to address me thus? As for me,
abideth there husband for me, after the son of my uncle?” Rejoined
the king, “O my daughter, ’tis indeed as thou sayest; but here let
us look to the issues of affairs. I must now take compt of death,
for that I am a man shot in years and fear not save for thee and for
thy little son; and indeed I have written to the king of the Roum
and others of the kings and said, His uncle slew him, and said not
that he hath recovered and is living, but concealed his affair. Now
the king of the Roum hath sent to demand thee in marriage, and this
is no thing to be refused and fain would we have our back
strengthened with him.”[239] And she was silent and spake not. So
King Sulayman Shah made answer to Cæsar with “Hearing and obeying.”
Then he arose and despatched her to him, and Cæsar went in to her
and found her passing the description wherewith they had described
her; wherefore he loved her every day more and more and preferred
her over all his women and his affection for Sulayman Shah was
increased; but Shah Khatun’s heart still clave to her child and she
could say naught. As for Sulayman Shah’s son, the rebel Bahluwan,
when he saw that Shah Khatun had married the king of the Roum, this
was grievous to him and he despaired of her. Meanwhile, his father
Sulayman Shah watched over the child and cherished him and named him
Malik Shah, after the name of his sire. When he reached the age of
ten, he made the folk do homage to him and appointed him his heir
apparent, and after some days, the old king’s time for paying the
debt of nature drew near and he died. Now a party of the troops had
banded themselves together for Bahluwan; so they sent to him, and
bringing him privily, went in to the little Malik Shah and seized
him and seated his uncle Bahluwan on the throne of kingship. Then
they proclaimed him king and did homage to him all, saying, “Verily,
we desire thee and deliver to thee the throne of kingship; but we
wish of thee that thou slay not thy brother’s son, because we are
still bounden by the oaths we sware to his sire and his grandsire
and the covenants we made with them.” So Bahluwan granted this to
them and imprisoned the boy in an underground dungeon and straitened
him. Presently, the grievous news reached his mother and this was to
her a fresh grief; but she could not speak and committed her affair
to Allah Almighty, for that she durst not name this to King Cæsar
her spouse, lest she should make her uncle King Sulayman Shah a
liar. But as regards Bahluwan the Rebel, he abode king in his
father’s place and his affairs prospered, while young Malik Shah lay
in the souterrain four full-told years, till his favour faded and
his charms changed. When He (extolled and exalted be He!) willed to
relieve him and to bring him forth of the prison, Bahluwan sat one
day with his chief Officers and the Lords of his land and discoursed
with them of the story of his sire, King Sulayman Shah and what was
in his heart. Now there were present certain Wazirs, men of worth,
and they said to him, “O king, verily Allah hath been bountiful to
thee and hath brought thee to thy wish, so that thou art become king
in thy father’s place and hast won whatso thou wishedst. But, as for
this youth, there is no guilt in him, because he, from the day of
his coming into the world, hath seen neither ease nor pleasure, and
indeed his favour is faded and his charms changed. What is his crime
that he should merit such pains and penalties? Indeed, others than
he were to blame, and hereto Allah hath given thee the victory over
them, and there is no fault in this poor lad.” Quoth Bahluwan,
“Verily, ’tis as ye say; but I fear his machinations and am not safe
from his mischief; haply the most part of the folk will incline unto
him.” They replied, “O king, what is this boy and what power hath
he? An thou fear him, send him to one of the frontiers.” And
Bahluwan said, “Ye speak sooth; so we will send him as captain of
war to reduce one of the outlying stations.” Now over against the
place in question was a host of enemies, hard of heart, and in this
he designed the slaughter of the youth: so he bade bring him forth
of the underground dungeon and caused him draw near to him and saw
his case. Then he robed him, whereat the folk rejoiced, and bound
for him the banners[240] and, giving him a mighty many, despatched
him to the quarter aforesaid, whither all who went or were slain or
were taken. Accordingly Malik Shah fared thither with his force and
when it was one of the days, behold, the enemy attacked them in the
night; whereupon some of his men fled and the rest the enemy
captured; and they seized Malik Shah also and cast him into a pit
with a company of his men. His fellows mourned over his beauty and
loveliness and there he abode a whole twelvemonth in evillest
plight. Now at the beginning of every year it was the enemy’s wont
to bring forth their prisoners and cast them down from the top of
the citadel to the bottom; so at the customed time they brought them
forth and cast them down, and Malik Shah with them. However, he fell
upon the other men and the ground touched him not, for his term was
God-guarded. But those who were cast down there were slain upon the
spot and their bodies ceased not to lie there till the wild beasts
ate them and the winds scattered their bones. Malik Shah abode
strown in his place and aswoon, all that day and that night, and
when he revived and found himself safe and sound, he thanked Allah
the Most High for his safety and rising, left the place. He gave not
over walking, unknowing whither he went and dieting upon the leaves
of the trees; and by day he hid himself where he might and fared on
at hazard all his night; and thus he did for some days, till he came
to a populous part and seeing folk there, accosted them. He
acquainted them with his case, giving them to know that he had been
prisoned in the fortress and that they had thrown him down, but
Almighty Allah had saved him and brought him off alive. The people
had ruth on him and gave him to eat and drink and he abode with them
several days; then he questioned them of the way that led to the
kingdom of his uncle Bahluwan, but told them not that he was his
father’s brother. So they showed him the road and he ceased not to
go barefoot, till he drew near his uncle’s capital, naked,
anhungered, and indeed his limbs were lean and his colour changed.
He sat down at the city gate, when behold, up came a company of King
Bahluwan’s chief officers, who were out a-hunting and wished to
water their horses. They lighted down to rest and the youth accosted
them, saying, “I would ask you of somewhat that ye may acquaint me
therewith.” Quoth they, “Ask what thou wilt;” and quoth he, “Is King
Bahluwan well?” They derided him and replied, “What a fool art thou,
O youth! Thou art a stranger and a beggar, and whence art thou that
thou should’st question concerning the king?”[241] Cried he, “In
very sooth, he is my uncle;” whereat they marvelled and said, “’Twas
one catch-question[242] and now ’tis become two.” Then said they to
him, “O youth, it is as if thou wert Jinn-mad. Whence comest thou to
claim kinship with the king? Indeed, we know not that he hath any
kith and kin save a nephew, a brother’s son, who was prisoned with
him, and he despatched him to wage war upon the infidels, so that
they slew him.” Said Malik Shah, “I am he and they slew me not, but
there befel me this and that.” They knew him forthwith and rising to
him, kissed his hands and rejoiced in him and said to him, “O our
lord, thou art indeed a king and the son of a king, and we desire
thee naught but good and we pray for thy continuance. Look how Allah
hath rescued thee from this wicked uncle, who sent thee to a place
whence none ever came off safe and sound, purposing not in this but
thy destruction; and indeed thou fellest upon death from which Allah
delivered thee. How, then, wilt thou return and cast thyself again
into thine foeman’s hand? By Allah, save thyself and return not to
him this second time. Haply thou shalt abide upon the face of the
earth till it please Almighty Allah to receive thee; but, an thou
fall again into his hand, he will not suffer thee to live a single
hour.” The Prince thanked them and said to them, “Allah reward you
with all weal, for indeed ye give me loyal counsel; but whither
would ye have me wend?” Quoth they, “To the land of the Roum, the
abiding-place of thy mother.” “But,” quoth he, “My grandfather
Sulayman Shah, when the king of the Roum wrote to him demanding my
mother in marriage, hid my affair and secreted my secret; and she
hath done the same, and I cannot make her a liar.” Rejoined they,
“Thou sayst sooth, but we desire thine advantage, and even wert thou
to take service with the folk, ’twere a means of thy continuance.”
Then each and every of them brought out to him money and gave him a
modicum and clad him and fed him and fared on with him the length of
a parasang, till they brought him far from the city, and letting him
know that he was safe, departed from him, whilst he journeyed till
he came forth of his uncle’s reign and entered the dominion of the
Roum. Then he made a village and taking up his abode therein,
applied himself to serving one there in caring and seeding and the
like. As for his mother, Shah Khatun, great was her longing for her
child and she thought of him ever and news of him was cut off from
her, so her life was troubled and she foresware sleep and could not
make mention of him before King Cæsar her spouse. Now she had a
Castrato who had come with her from the court of her uncle King
Sulayman Shah, and he was intelligent, quick-witted, right-reded. So
she took him apart one day and said to him, shedding tears the
while, “Thou hast been my Eunuch from my childhood to this day;
canst thou not therefore get me tidings of my son, seeing that I
cannot speak of his matter?” He replied, “O my lady, this is an
affair which thou hast concealed from the commencement, and were thy
son here, ’twould not be possible for thee to entertain him,
lest[243] thine honour be smirched with the king; for they would
never credit thee, since the news hath been bruited abroad that thy
son was slain by his uncle.” Quoth she, “The case is even as thou
sayst and thou speakest sooth; but, provided I know that my son is
alive, let him be in these parts pasturing sheep and let me not
sight him nor he sight me.” He asked, “How shall we manage in this
matter?” and she answered, “Here be my treasures and my wealth: take
all thou wilt and bring me my son or else tidings of him.” Then they
devised a device between them, which was that they should feign some
business in their own country, to wit that she had wealth there
buried from the time of her husband, Malik Shah, and that none knew
of it but this Eunuch who was with her, so it behoved him to go
fetch it. Accordingly she acquainted the king her husband with that
and sought his permit for the Eunuch to fare: and the king granted
him leave of absence for the journey and charged him devise a
device, lest he come to grief. The Castrato, therefore, disguised
himself in merchant’s habit and repairing to Bahluwan’s city, began
to make espial concerning the youth’s case; whereupon they told him
that he had been prisoned in a souterrain and that his uncle had
released him and despatched him to such a place, where they had
slain him. When the Eunuch heard this, the mishap was grievous to
him and his breast was straitened and he knew not what to do. It
chanced one day of the days that a certain of the horsemen, who had
fallen in with the young Malik Shah by the water and clad him and
given him spending-money, saw the Eunuch in the city, habited as a
merchant, and recognising him, questioned him of his case and of the
cause of his coming. Quoth he, “I came to sell merchandise;” and
quoth the horseman, “I will tell thee somewhat, an thou canst keep
it secret.” Answered the Neutral, “That I can! What is it?” and the
other said, “We met the king’s son Malik Shah, I and sundry of the
Arabs who were with me, and saw him by such a water and gave him
spending-money and sent him towards the land of the Roum, near his
mother, for that we feared for him lest his uncle Bahluwan slay
him.” Then he told him all that had passed between them, whereat the
Eunuch’s countenance changed and he said to the cavalier “Thou art
safe!” The knight replied, “Thou also art safe though thou come in
quest of him.” And the Eunuch rejoined, saying, “Truly, that is my
errand: there is no rest for his mother, lying down or rising up,
and she hath sent me to seek news of him.” Quoth the cavalier, “Go
in safety, for he is in a quarter of the land of the Roum, even as I
said to thee.” The Castrato thanked him and blessed him and
mounting, returned upon his road, following the trail, whilst the
knight rode with him to a certain highway, when he said to him,
“This is where we left him.” Then he took leave of him and returned
to his own city, whilst the Eunuch fared on along the road,
enquiring in every village he entered of the youth, by the
description which the rider had given him, and he ceased not thus to
do till he came to the village wherein was young Malik Shah. So he
entered, and dismounting, made enquiry after the Prince, but none
gave him news of him; whereat he abode perplexed concerning his
affair and made ready to depart. Accordingly he mounted his horse;
but, as he passed through the village, he saw a cow bound with a
rope and a youth asleep by her side, hending the halter in hand; so
he looked at him and passed on and heeded him not in his heart; but
presently he halted and said to himself, “An the youth whom I am
questing have become the like of this sleeping youth whom I passed
but now, how shall I know him? Alas, the length of my travail and
travel! How shall I go about in search of a somebody I know not, one
whom, if I saw him face to face I should not know?” So saying he
turned back, musing anent that sleeping youth, and coming to him, he
still sleeping, dismounted from his mare and sat down by his side.
He fixed his eyes upon his face and considered him awhile and said
in himself, “For aught I wot, this youth may be Malik Shah;” then he
began hemming and saying, “Harkye, O youth!” Whereupon the sleeper
awoke and sat up; and the Eunuch asked him, “Who be thy father in
this village and where be thy dwelling?” The youth sighed and
replied, “I am a stranger;” and quoth the Castrato, “From what land
art thou and who is thy sire?” Quoth the other, “I am from such a
land,” and the Eunuch ceased not to question him and he to answer
his queries, till he was certified of him and knew him. So he rose
and embraced him and kissed him and wept over his case: he also told
him that he was wandering about in search of him and informed him
that he was come privily from the king, his mother’s husband, and
that his mother would be satisfied to weet that he was alive and
well, though she saw him not. Then he re-entered the village and
buying the Prince a horse, mounted him and they ceased not going
till they came to the frontier of their own country, where there
fell robbers upon them by the way and took all that was with them
and pinioned them; after which they threw them into a pit hard by
the road and went their ways and left them to die there; and indeed
they had cast many folk into that pit and they had perished. The
Eunuch fell a weeping in the pit and the youth said to him, “What is
this weeping and what shall it profit here?” Quoth the Castrato, “I
weep not for fear of death, but of ruth for thee and the cursedness
of thy case and because of thy mother’s heart and for that which
thou hast suffered of horrors and that thy death should be this
ignoble death, after the endurance of all manner dire distresses.”
But the youth said, “That which hath betided me was writ to me and
that which is written none hath power to efface; and if my life-term
be advanced, none may defer it.”[244] Then the twain passed that
night and the following day and the next night and the next day in
the hollow, till they were weak with hunger and came nigh upon death
and could but groan feebly. Now it fortuned by the decree of
Almighty Allah and His destiny, that Cæsar, king of the Greeks, the
spouse of Malik Shah’s mother Shah Khatun, went forth a-hunting that
morning. He flushed a head of game, he and his company, and chased
it, till they came up with it by that pit, whereupon one of them
lighted down from his horse, to slaughter it, hard by the mouth of
the hollow. He heard a sound of low moaning from the sole of the
pit; whereat he arose and mounting his horse, waited till the troops
were assembled. Then he acquainted the king with this and he bade
one of his servants descend into the hollow: so the man climbed down
and brought out the youth and the Eunuch in fainting condition. They
cut their pinion-bonds and poured wine down their throats, till they
came to themselves, when the king looked at the Eunuch and
recognizing him, said, “Harkye, Such-an-one!” The Castrato replied,
“Yes, O my lord the king,” and prostrated himself to him; whereat
the king wondered with exceeding wonder and asked him, “How camest
thou to this place and what hath befallen thee?” The Eunuch
answered, “I went and took out the treasure and brought it thus far;
but the evil eye was behind me and I unknowing. So the thieves took
us alone here and seized the money and cast us into this pit that we
might die the slow death of hunger, even as they had done with
others; but Allah the Most High sent thee, in pity to us.” The king
marvelled, he and his, and praised the Lord for that he had come
thither; after which he turned to the Castrato and said to him,
“What is this youth thou hast with thee?” He replied, “O king, this
is the son of a nurse who belonged to us and we left him when he was
a little one. I saw him to-day and his mother said to me, ‘Take him
with thee:’ so this morning I brought him that he might be a servant
to the king, for that he is an adroit youth and a clever.” Then the
king fared on, he and his company, and with them the Eunuch and the
youth, who questioned his companion of Bahluwan and his dealing with
his subjects, and he replied, saying, “As thy head liveth, O my lord
the king, the folk are in sore annoy with him and not one of them
wisheth a sight of him, be they high or low.” When the king returned
to his palace, he went in to his wife Shah Khatun and said to her,
“I give thee the glad tidings of thine Eunuch’s return;” and he told
her what had betided and of the youth whom he had brought with him.
When she heard this, her wits fled and she would have screamed, but
her reason restrained her, and the king said to her, “What is this?
Art thou overcome with grief for the loss of the monies or for that
which hath befallen the Eunuch?” Said she, “Nay, as thy head liveth,
O king! but women are weaklings.” Then came the Castrato and going
in to her, told her all that had happened to him and also acquainted
her with her son’s case and with that which he had suffered of
distresses and how his uncle had exposed him to slaughter, and he
had been taken prisoner and they had cast him into the pit and
hurled him from the highmost of the citadel and how Allah had
delivered him from these perils, all of them; and whilst he
recounted to her all this, she wept. Then she asked him, “When the
king saw him and questioned thee of him, what was it thou saidst
him?” and he answered, “I said to him:—This is the son of a nurse
who belonged to us. We left him a little one and he grew up; so I
brought him, that he might be servant to the king.” Cried she, “Thou
didst well;” and she charged him to serve the Prince with faithful
service. As for the king, he redoubled in kindness to the Castrato
and appointed the youth a liberal allowance and he abode going in to
and coming out of the king’s house and standing in his service, and
every day he waxed better with him. As for Shah Khatun, she used to
station herself at watch for him at the windows and in the balconies
and gaze upon him, and she frying on coals of fire on his account;
yet could she not speak. In such condition she abode a long while
and indeed yearning for him was killing her; so she stood and
watched for him one day at the door of her chamber and straining him
to her bosom, bussed him on the breast and kissed him on either
cheek. At this moment, behold, out came the major-domo of the king’s
household and seeing her embracing the youth, started in amazement.
Then he asked to whom that chamber belonged and was answered, “To
Shah Khatun, wife of the king,” whereupon he turned back, quaking as
one smitten by a leven-bolt. The king saw him in a tremor and said
to him, “Out on thee! what is the matter?” Said he, “O King, what
matter can be more grievous than that which I see?” Asked the king,
“What seest thou?” and the officer answered, “I see that the youth,
who came with the Eunuch, was not brought with him save on account
of Shah Khatun; for I passed but now by her chamber door, and she
was standing, watching; and when the youth came up, she rose to him
and clipped him and kissed him on his cheek.” When the king heard
this, he bowed his head amazed, perplexed, and sinking into a seat,
clutched at his beard and shook it till he came nigh upon plucking
it out. Then he arose forthright and laid hands on the youth and
clapped him in jail he also took the Eunuch and cast them both into
a souterrain under his palace. After this he went in to Shah Khatun
and said to her, “Brava, by Allah, O daughter of nobles. O thou whom
kings sought to wed, for the purity of thy repute and the fairness
of the fame of thee! How seemly is thy semblance! Now may Allah
curse her whose inward contrarieth her outward, after the likeness
of thy base favour, whose exterior is handsome and its interior
fulsome, face fair and deeds foul! Verily, I mean to make of thee
and of yonder ne’er-do-well an example among the lieges, for that
thou sentest not thine Eunuch but of intent on his account, so that
he took him and brought him into my palace and thou hast
trampled[245] my head with him; and this is none other than
exceeding boldness; but thou shalt see what I will do with you all.”
So saying, he spat in her face and went out from her; whilst Shah
Khatun said nothing, well knowing that, an she spoke at that time,
he would not credit her speech: Then she humbled herself in
supplication to Allah Almighty and said, “O God the Great, Thou
knowest the things by secrecy ensealed and their outwards revealed
and their inwards concealed! If an advanced life-term be appointed
to me, let it not be deferred, and if a deferred one, let it not be
advanced!” On this wise she passed some days, whilst the king fell
into bewilderment and forsware meat and drink and sleep, and abode,
knowing not what he should do and saying to himself, “An I slay the
Eunuch and the youth, my soul will not be solaced, for they are not
to blame, seeing that she sent to fetch him, and my heart careth not
to kill them all three. But I will not be hasty in doing them die,
for that I fear repentance.” Then he left them, so he might look
into the affair. Now he had a nurse, a foster-mother, on whose knees
he had been reared, and she was a woman of understanding and
suspected him, yet dared not question him. So she went in to Shah
Khatun and finding her in yet sadder plight than he, asked her what
was to do; but she refused to answer. However, the nurse gave not
over coaxing and questioning her, till she swore her to concealment.
Accordingly, the old woman made oath that she would keep secret all
that she should say to her, whereupon the Queen to her related her
history, first and last, and told her that the youth was her son.
With this the old woman prostrated herself before her and said to
her, “This is a right easy matter.” But the Queen replied, “By
Allah, O my mother, I prefer my destruction and that of my son to
defending myself by a plea which they will not believe; for they
will say:—She pleadeth this only that she may fend off shame from
herself. And naught will profit me save long-suffering.” The old
woman was moved by her speech and her wisdom and said to her,
“Indeed, O my daughter, ’tis as thou sayest, and I hope in Allah
that He will show forth the truth. Have patience and I will
presently go in to the king and hear his words and machinate
somewhat in this matter, Inshallah!” Thereupon the ancient dame
arose and going into the king, found him with his head between his
knees in sore pain of sorrow. She sat down by him awhile and bespake
him with soft words and said to him,[246] “Indeed, O my son, thou
consumest my vitals, for that these many days thou hast not mounted
horse, and thou grievest and I know not what aileth thee.” He
replied, “O my mother, all is due to yonder accursed, of whom I
deemed so well and who hath done this and that.” Then he related to
her the whole story from beginning to end, and she cried to him,
“This thy chagrin is on account of a no-better-than-she-should-be!”
Quoth he, “I was but considering by what death I should slay them,
so the folk may take warning and repent.” And quoth she, “O my son,
’ware precipitance, for it gendereth repentance and the slaying of
them shall not escape thee. When thou art assured of this affair, do
whatso thou willest.” He rejoined, “O my mother, there needeth no
assurance anent him for whom she despatched her Eunuch and he
fetched him.” But she retorted, “There is a thing wherewith we will
make her confess,[247] and all that is in her heart shall be
discovered to thee.” Asked the king, “What is that?” and she
answered, “I will bring thee the heart of a hoopoe,[248] which, when
she sleepeth, do thou lay upon her bosom and question her of
everything thou wouldest know, and she will discover the same unto
thee and show forth the truth to thee.” The king rejoiced in this
and said to his nurse, “Hasten thou and let none know of thee.” So
she arose and going in to the Queen, said to her, “I have done thy
business and ’tis as follows. This night the king will come in to
thee and do thou seem asleep; and if he ask thee of aught, do thou
answer him, as if in thy sleep.” The Queen thanked her and the old
dame went away and fetching the bird’s heart, gave it to the king.
Hardly was the night come, when he went in to his wife and found her
lying back, a-slumbering; so he sat down by her side and laying the
hoopoe’s heart on her breast, waited awhile, so he might be assured
that she slept. Then said he to her, “Shah Khatun,[249] Shah Khatun,
is this my reward from thee?” Quoth she, “What offence have I
committed?” and quoth he, “What offence can be greater than this?
Thou sentest after yonder youth and broughtest him hither, on
account of the lust of thy heart, so thou mightest do with him that
for which thou lustedst.” Said she, “I know not carnal desire.
Verily, among thy pages are those who are comelier and seemlier than
he; yet have I never desired one of them.” He asked “Why, then,
didst thou lay hold of him and kiss him?” And she answered, “This
youth is my son and a piece of my liver; and of my longing and
affection for him, I could not contain myself, but sprang upon him
and kissed him.” When the king heard this, he was dazed and amazed
and said to her, “Hast thou a proof that this youth is thy son?
Indeed, I have a letter from thine uncle King Sulayman Shah,
informing me that his uncle Bahluwan cut his throat.” Said she “Yes,
he did indeed cut his throat, but severed not the windpipe; so my
uncle sewed up the wound and reared him, for that his life-term was
not come.” When the king heard this, he said, “This proof sufficeth
me,” and rising forthright in the night, bade bring the youth and
the Eunuch. Then he examined his stepson’s throat with a candle and
saw the scar where it had been cut from ear to ear, and indeed the
place had healed up and it was like a thread stretched out.
Thereupon the king fell down prostrate before Allah, who had
delivered the Prince from all these perils and from the distresses
he had suffered, and rejoiced with joy exceeding because he had
delayed and had not made haste to slay him, in which case mighty
sore repentance had betided him.[250] “As for the youth” continued
the young treasurer, “he was not saved but because his life-term was
deferred, and in like manner, O king, ’tis with me: I too have a
deferred term, which I shall attain, and a period which I shall
accomplish, and I trust in Almighty Allah that He will give me the
victory over these villain Wazirs.” When the youth had made an end
of his speech, the king said, “Restore him to the prison;” and when
they had done this, he turned to the Ministers and said to them,
“Yonder youth lengtheneth his tongue upon you, but I know your
tenderness for the weal of mine empire and your loyal counsel to me;
so be of good heart, for all that ye advise me I will do.” They
rejoiced when they heard these words, and each of them said his say.
Then quoth the king, “I have not deferred his slaughter but to the
intent that the talk might be prolonged and that words might abound,
yet shall he now be slain without let or stay, and I desire that
forthright ye set up for him a gibbet without the town and that the
crier cry among the folk bidding them assemble and take him and
carry him in procession to the gibbet, with the crier crying before
him and saying:—This is the reward of him whom the king delighted to
favour and who hath betrayed him!” The Wazirs rejoiced when they
heard this, and for their joy slept not that night; and they made
proclamation in the city and set up the gallows.

                           The Eleventh Day.

                     OF THE SPEEDY RELIEF OF ALLAH.

When it was the eleventh day, the Wazirs repaired in early morning to
the king’s gate and said to him, “O king, the folk are assembled from
the portals of the palace to the gibbet, to the end they may see the
king’s order carried out on the youth.” So Azadbakht bade fetch the
prisoner and they brought him; whereupon the Ministers turned to him and
said to him, “O vile of birth, can any lust for life remain with thee
and canst thou hope for deliverance after this day?” Said he, “O wicked
Wazirs, shall a man of understanding renounce all esperance in Almighty
Allah? Howsoever a man be oppressed, there cometh to him deliverance
from the midst of distress and life from the midst of death, as in the
case of the prisoner and how Allah delivered him.” Asked the king, “What
is his story?” and the youth answered, saying, “O king, they tell


There was once a king of the kings, who had a high palace, overlooking
his prison, and he used to hear in the night one saying, “O Ever-present
Deliverer, O Thou whose deliverance is aye present, relieve Thou me!”
One day the king waxed wroth and said, “Yonder fool looketh for relief
from the pains and penalties of his crime.” Then said he to his
officers, “Who is in yonder jail?” and said they, “Folk upon whom blood
hath been found.”[252] Hearing this the king bade bring that man before
him and said to him, “O fool, O little of wit, how shalt thou be
delivered from this prison, seeing that thy crime is mortal?” Then he
committed him to a company of his guards and said to them, “Take this
wight and crucify him within sight of the city.” Now it was the night
season. So the soldiers carried him without the city, thinking to
crucify him, when behold, there came out upon them robbers and fell upon
them with swords and other weapons. Thereat the guards left him whom
they purposed to slay and fled whilst the man who was going to slaughter
also took to flight and plunging deep into the desert, knew not whither
he went before he found himself in a copse and there came out upon him a
lion of terrible aspect, who snatched him up and cast him under him.
Then he went up to a tree and uprooting it, covered the man therewithal
and made off into the thicket, in quest of the lioness.[253] As for the
man, he committed his affair to Allah the Most High, relying upon Him
for deliverance, and said to himself, “What is this affair?” Then he
removed the leaves from himself and rising, saw great plenty of men’s
bones there, of those whom the lion had devoured. He looked again and
behold, he saw a heap of gold lying alongside a purse-belt;[254] whereat
he marvelled and gathering up the gold in the breast of his gaberdine,
went forth of the copse and fled at hap-hazard, turning neither to the
right nor to the left, in his fear of the lion; nor did he cease flying
till he came to a village and cast himself down, as he were dead. He lay
there till the day appeared and he was rested from his travail, when he
arose and burying the gold, entered the village. Thus Allah gave him
relief and he got the gold. Then said the king, “How long wilt thou
beguile us, O youth, with thy prate? But now the hour of thy slaughter
is come.” So he bade crucify him upon the gibbet. But as they were about
to hoist him up, lo and behold! the Captain of the thieves, who had
found him and reared him, came up at that moment and asked, “What be
this assembly and the cause of the crowds here gathered together?” They
informed him that a page of the king had committed a mighty great crime
and that he was about to do him die; so the Captain of the thieves
pressed forward and looking upon the prisoner, knew him, whereupon he
went up to him and strained him to his bosom and threw his arms round
his neck, and fell to kissing him upon his mouth.[255] Then said he,
“This is a boy I found under such a mountain, wrapped in a gown of
brocade, and I reared him and he fell to cutting the way with us. One
day, we set upon a caravan, but they put us to flight and wounded some
of us and took the lad and ganged their gait. From that day to this I
have gone round about the lands seeking him, but have not found news of
him till now; and this is he.” When the king heard this, he was assured
that the youth was his very son; so he cried out at the top of his voice
and casting himself upon him, embraced him and kissed him and shedding
tears, said, “Had I put thee to death, as was mine intent, I should have
died of regret for thee.” Then he cut his pinion-bonds and taking his
crown from his head, set it on the head of his son, whereupon the people
raised cries of joy, whilst the trumpets blared and the kettle-drums
beat and there befel a mighty great rejoicing. They decorated the city
and it was a glorious day; even the birds stayed their flight in the
welkin, for the greatness of the greeting and the clamour of the crying.
The army and the folk carried the prince to the palace in splendid
procession, and the news came to his mother Bahrjaur, who fared forth
and threw herself upon him. Moreover, the king bade open the prison and
bring forth all who were therein, and they held high festival seven days
and seven nights and rejoiced with a mighty rejoicing. Thus it betided
the youth; but as regards the Ministers, terror and silence, shame and
affright fell upon them and they gave themselves up for lost. After this
the king sat, with his son by his side and the Wazirs on their knees
before him, and summoned his chief officers and the subjects of the
city. Then the prince turned to the Ministers and said to them, “See, O
villain Wazirs, the work of Allah and his speedy relief.” But they
answered ne’er a syllable and the king said, “It sufficeth me that there
is nothing alive but rejoiceth with me this day, even to the birds in
the sky, but ye, your breasts are straitened. Indeed, this is the
greatest of hostility in you me-wards, and had I hearkened to you, my
regret had been prolonged and I had died miserably of sorrow.” Quoth the
prince, “O my father, but for the fairness of thy thought and thy
perspicacity and thy longanimity and deliberation in affairs, there had
not betided thee this great joy. Hadst thou slain me in haste,
repentance would have been sore on thee and longsome annoy, and on this
wise whoso preferreth haste shall rue.” Presently the king sent for the
Captain of the robbers and bade indue him with a robe of honour,
commanding that all who loved the king should doff their dresses and
cast them upon him.[256] So there fell robes of honour on him, till he
was a-wearied with their weight, and Azadbakht invested him with the
mastership of the police of his city. Then he bade set up other nine
gibbets by the side of the first and said to his son, “Thou art
innocent, and yet these villain Wazirs strave for thy slaughter.”
Replied the prince, “O my sire, I had no fault in their eyes but that I
was a loyal counsellor to thee and still kept watch over thy wealth and
withdrew their hands from thy hoards and treasuries; wherefore they were
jealous and envied me and plotted against me and planned to slay me.”
Quoth the king, “The time of retribution is at hand, O my son; but what
be thy rede we should do with them in requital of that they did with
thee? And indeed they have striven for thy slaughter and exposed thee to
disgrace and smirched mine honour among the kings.” Then he turned to
the Wazirs and said to them, “Woe to you! What liars ye are! And is
aught of excuse left to you?” Said they, “O king, there remaineth no
excuse for us and we are houghed[257] by the deed we would have done to
him. Indeed we planned evil to this youth and it hath reverted upon us,
and we plotted mischief against him and it hath overtaken us; yea, we
digged for him a pit and we ourselves have fallen into it.” So the king
bade hoist up the Wazirs upon the gibbets and crucify them there,
because Allah is just and decreeth that which is due. Then Azadbakht and
his wife and son abode in joyance and gladness, till there came to them
the Destroyer of delights and they died all; and extolled be the Living
One, who dieth not, to whom be glory and whose mercy be upon us for ever
and ever! Amen.


It is told of Ja’afar bin Yahyà the Barmecide that he sat down one day
to wine and, being minded to be private, sent for his boon-companions,
with whom he was most familiar, and charged the chamberlain that he
suffer none of the creatures of Almighty Allah to enter, save a man of
his cup-mates, by name Abd al-Malik bin Sálih, who was behindhand with
them. Then they donned brightly-dyed dresses,[259] for it was their
wont, as often as they sat in the wine-séance, to endue raiment of red
and yellow and green silk, and they sat down to drink, and the cups went
round and the lutes thrilled and shrilled. Now there was a man of the
kinsfolk of the Caliph Harun al-Rashid, by name Abd al-Malik bin
Salih[260] bin Ali bin Abdallah bin al-Abbas[261], who was great of
gravity and sedateness, piety and propriety, and Al-Rashid used
instantly to require that he should company him in converse and carouse
and drink with him and had offered him to such end abounding wealth, but
he never would. It fortuned that this Abd al-Malik bin Salih came to the
door of Ja’afar bin Yahya, so he might bespeak him of certain
requisitions of his, and the chamberlain, doubting not but he was the
Abd al-Malik bin Salih aforesaid (whom Ja’afar had permitted him admit
and that he should suffer none but him to enter), allowed him to go in
to his master. Accordingly Abd al-Malik went in, garbed in black, with
his Rusáfiyah[262] on his head. When Ja’afar saw him, his reason was
like to depart for shame and he understood the case, to wit, that the
chamberlain had been deceived by the likeness of the name; and Abd
al-Malik also perceived how the matter stood and perplexity was manifest
to him in Ja’afar’s face. So he put on a cheery countenance and said,
“No harm be upon you![263] Bring us of these dyed clothes.” Thereupon
they brought him a dyed robe[264] and he donned it and sat discoursing
gaily with Ja’afar and jesting with him. Then said he, “Allow us to be a
partaker in your pleasures, and give us to drink of your Nabíz.[265]” So
they brought him a silken robe and poured him out a pint, when he said,
“We crave your indulgence, for we have no wont of this.” Accordingly
Ja’afar ordered a flagon of Nabíz be set before him, that he might drink
whatso he pleased. Then, having anointed himself with perfumes, he
chatted and jested with them till Ja’afar’s bosom broadened and his
constraint ceased from him and his shame, and he rejoiced in this with
joy exceeding and asked Abd al-Malik, “What is thine errand? Inform me
thereof, for I cannot sufficiently acknowledge thy courtesy.” Answered
the other, “I come (amend thee Allah!) on three requirements, of which I
would have thee bespeak the Caliph; to wit, firstly, I have on me a debt
to the amount of a thousand thousand dirhams,[266] which I would have
paid: secondly, I desire for my son the office of Wali or governor of a
province,[267] whereby his rank may be raised: and thirdly, I would fain
have thee marry him to Al-’Áliyah, the daughter of the Commander of the
Faithful, for that she is his cousin and he is a match for her.” Ja’afar
said, “Allah accomplisheth unto thee these three occasions. As for the
money, it shall be carried to thy house this very hour: as for the
government, I make thy son Viceroy of Egypt; and as for the marriage, I
give him to mate Such-an-one, the daughter of our lord the Prince of
True Believers, at a dowry of such and such a sum. So depart in the
assurance of Allah Almighty.” Accordingly Abd al-Malik went away much
astonished at Ja’afar’s boldness in undertaking such engagements. He
fared straight for his house, whither he found that the money had
preceded him, and on the morrow Ja’afar presented himself before
Al-Rashid and acquainted him with what had passed, and that he had
appointed Abd al-Malik’s son Wali of Egypt[268] and had promised him his
daughter, Al-’Áliyah to wife. The Caliph was pleased to approve of this
and he confirmed the appointment and the marriage. Then he sent for the
young man and he went not forth of the palace of the Caliphate till
Al-Rashid wrote him the patent of investiture with the government of
Egypt; and he let bring the Kazis and the witnesses and drew up the
contract of marriage.

                   AL-RASHID AND THE BARMECIDES.[269]

It is said that the most wondrous of matters which happened to Al-Rashid
was this. His brother Al-Hádí,[270] when he succeeded to the Caliphate,
enquired of a seal-ring of great price, which had belonged to his father
Al-Mahdi,[271] and it reached him that Al-Rashid had taken it. So he
required it of him, but he refused to give it up, and Al-Hadi insisted
upon him, yet he still denied the seal-ring of the Caliphate. Now this
was on Tigris-bridge, and he threw the ring into the river.[272] When
Al-Hadi died and Al-Rashid succeeded to the Caliphate, he went in person
to that very place with a seal-ring of lead, which he cast into the
stream at the same stead, and bade the divers seek it. So the duckers
did his bidding and brought up the first ring, and this was counted an
omen of Al-Rashid’s good fortune and of the continuance of his
reign.[273] When Al-Rashid came to the throne, he invested Ja’afar bin
Yahyà bin Khálid al-Barmaki[274] with the Wazirate. Now Ja’afar was
eminently noted for generosity and munificence, and the histories of him
to this purport are renowned and have been documented. None of the
Wazirs rose to the rank and favour whereto he attained with Al-Rashid,
who was wont to call him brother[275] and used to carry him with him
into his house. The period of his Wazirate was nineteen[276] years, and
Yahya one day said to his son Ja’afar, “O my son, as long as thy reed
trembleth,[277] water it with kindness.” Men differ concerning the
reason of Ja’afar’s slaughter, but the better opinion is as follows.
Al-Rashid could not bear to be parted from Ja’afar nor from his own
sister ’Abbásah, daughter of Al-Mahdi, a single hour, and she was the
loveliest woman of her day; so he said to Ja’afar, “I will marry thee to
her, that it may be lawful to thee to look upon her, but thou shalt not
touch her.” After this time the twain used to be present in Al-Rashid’s
sitting chamber. Now the Caliph would get up bytimes and leave the
chamber, and they being filled with wine as well as being young, Ja’afar
would rise to her and know her carnally.[278] She conceived by him and
bare a handsome boy; and, fearing Al-Rashid, she dispatched the new-born
child by one of her confidants to Meccah the Magnified (May Allah
Almighty greaten it in honour and increase it in venerance and nobility
and magnification!). The affair abode concealed till there befel a
brabble between Abbasah and one of her hand-maidens whereupon the
slave-girl discovered the affair of the child to Al-Rashid and
acquainted him with its abiding-place. So, when the Caliph pilgrimaged,
he sent one who brought him the boy and found the matter true, wherefore
he caused befal the Barmecides whatso befel.[279]

                   IBN AL-SAMMAK AND AL-RASHID.[280]

It is related that Ibn al-Sammák[281] went in one day to Al-Rashid, and
the Caliph, being athirst, called for drink. So his cup was brought him,
and when he took it, Ibn al-Sammak said to him, “Softly, O Prince of
True Believers! An thou wert denied this draught, with how much wouldst
thou buy it?” He replied, “With the half of my reign;” and Ibn al-Sammak
said, “Drink and Allah make it grateful to thee!” Then, when he had
drunken; he asked him, “An thou wert denied the issuing forth of the
draught from thy body, with what wouldst thou buy its issue?” Answered
Al-Rashid, “With the whole of my reign;” and Ibn al-Sammak said, “O
Commander of the Faithful, verily, a realm that weigheth not in the
balance against a draught of water or a voiding of urine is not worth
the striving for.” And Harun wept.

                      AL-MAAMUN AND ZUBAYDAH.[282]

It is said that Al-Maamún[283] came one day upon Zubaydah, mother of
Al-Amín,[284] and saw her moving her lips and muttering somewhat he
understood not; so he said to her, “O mother mine, art thou cursing me
because I slew thy son and spoiled him of his realm?” Said she, “Not so,
by Allah, O Commander of the Faithful!” and quoth he, “What then was it
thou saidst?” Quoth she, “Let the Prince of True Believers excuse me.”
But he was urgent with her, saying, “There is no help but that thou tell
it.” And she replied, “I said, Allah confound importunity!” He asked,
“How so?” and she answered, “I played one day at chess with the
Commander of the Faithful, Harun al-Rashid, and he imposed on me the
condition of forfeits.[285] He won and made me doff my dress and walk
round about the palace, stark naked; so I did this, and I felt incensed
against him. Then we fell again to playing and I won; whereat I made him
go to the kitchen and lie with the foulest and fulsomest wench of the
wenches thereof; but I found not a slave-girl fouler and filthier than
thy mother;[286] so I bade him tumble her. He did my bidding and she
conceived by him of thee, and thus was I the cause of the slaying of my
son and the spoiling him of his realm.” When Al-Maamún heard this, he
turned away, saying, “Allah curse the importunate!” that is, himself,
who had importuned her till she acquainted him with that affair.


It is said that Al-Nu’umán[288] had two boon-companions, one of whom was
hight Ibn Sa’ad and the other Amrú bin al-Malik, and he became one night
drunken and bade bury them alive; so they buried them. When he arose on
the morrow, he asked for them and was acquainted with their affair,
whereupon he built over them a building and appointed to himself a day
of ill-luck and a day of good fortune. If any met him on his unlucky
day, he slew him and with his blood he washed that monument, which is a
place well known in Kufah; and if any met him on his day of good fortune
he enriched him. Now there accosted him once, on his day of ill-omen, an
Arab of the Banú Tay,[289] and Al-Nu’uman would have done him dead; but
the Arab said, “Allah quicken the king! I have two little girls and have
made none guardian over them; wherefore, an the king see fit to grant me
leave to go to them, I will give him the covenant of Allah[290] that I
will return to him, as soon as I shall have appointed unto them a
guardian.” Al-Nu’uman had ruth on him and said to him, “An a man will be
surety for thee of those who are with us, I will let thee go, and if
thou return not I will slay him.” Now there was with Al-Nu’uman his
Wazir Sharík bin Amru: so the Táí[291] looked at him and said:—

 Ho thou, Sharík, O Amru-son is there fro’ Death repair? ✿ O brother to
    men brotherless, brother of all in care!
 O brother of Al-Nu’umán an old man this day spare, ✿ An old man slain
    and Allah deign fair meed for thee prepare!

Quoth Sharik, “On me be his warranty, Allah assain the king!” So the Táí
departed, after a term had been assigned him for his returning. Now when
the appointed day arrived, Al-Nu’uman sent for Sharik and said to him,
“Verily the high noon of this day is past;” and Sharik answered, “The
king hath no procedure against me till it be eventide.” Whenas evened
the evening, there appeared one afar off and Al-Nu’uman fell to looking
upon him and on Sharik who said to him, “Thou hast no right over me till
yonder person come, for haply he is my man.” As he spake, up came the
Táí in haste and Al-Nu’uman said, “By Allah, never saw I any more
generous than you two! I know not which of you be the nobler, whether
this one who became warrant for thee in death-risk or thou who returnest
to thy slaughter.” Then quoth he to Sharik, “What drave thee to become
warrant for him, knowing the while that it was death?” and quoth he, “I
did this lest it be said, Generosity hath departed from Wazirs.” Then
Al-Nu’uman asked the Táí, “And thou, what prompted thee to return,
knowing that therein was death and thine own destruction?” and the Arab
answered, “I did this lest it be said, Fidelity hath departed from the
folk; for such thing would be a shame to mine issue and to my tribe.”
And Al-Nu’uman cried, “By Allah, I will be the third of you, lest it be
said, Mercy hath departed from the kings.” So he pardoned him and bade
abolish the day of ill-luck; whereupon the Arab began to say:—

 A many urged me that I false my faith, ✿ But I refused whatso the wights
    could plead;
 For I’m a man in whom Faith dwells for aye, ✿ And every true man’s word
    is pledge of deed.

Quoth Al-Nu’uman, “What prompted thee to keep faith, the case being as
thou sayest?” Quoth he, “O king, it was my religion.” Al-Nu’uman asked,
“What is thy religion?” and he answered, “The Nazarene!” The king said,
“Expound it to me.” So the Táí expounded it to him and Al-Nu’uman became
a Christian.[292]

                        FIRUZ AND HIS WIFE.[293]

They relate that a certain king sat one day on the terrace-roof of his
palace, solacing himself with the view, and presently, his wandering
glances espied, on a house-top over against his palace, a woman seer
never saw her like. So he turned to those present and asked them, “To
whom belongeth yonder house?” when they answered, “To thy servant Fírúz,
and that is his spouse.” So he went down (and indeed passion had made
him drunken as with wine, and he was deeply in love of her), and calling
Firuz, said to him, “Take this letter and go with it to such a city and
bring me the reply.” Firuz took the letter and going to his house, laid
it under his head and passed that night; and when the morning morrowed,
he farewelled his wife and fared for that city, unknowing what his
sovran purposed against him. As for the king, he arose in haste after
the husband had set out and repairing to the house of Firuz in disguise,
knocked at the entrance. Quoth Firuz’s wife, “Who’s at the door?” and
quoth he, saying, “I am the king, thy husband’s master.” So she opened
and he entered and sat down, saying, “We are come to visit thee.” She
cried, “I seek refuge[294] from this visitation, for indeed I deem not
well of it;” but the king said, “O desire of hearts, I am thy husband’s
master and methinks thou knowest me not.” She replied, “Nay, I know
thee, O my lord and master, and I wot thy purpose and whatso thou
wantest and that thou art my husband’s lord. I understand what thou
wishest, and indeed the poet hath forestalled thee in his saying of the
verses referring to thy case:—

 Now will I leave your water-way untrod; ✿ For many treading that same
    way I see:
 When fall the clustering flies upon the food, ✿ I raise my hand whate’er
    my hunger be:
 And lions eke avoid the water-way ✿ When dogs to lap at fountain-side
    are free.

Then said she, “O king, comest thou to a watering-place whereat thy dog
hath drunk and wilt thou drink thereof?” The king was abashed at her and
at her words and fared forth from her but forgot his sandal in the
house. Such was his case; but as regards Firuz, when he went forth from
his house, he sought the letter, but found it not in pouch; so he
returned home. Now his return fell in with the king’s going forth and he
came upon the sandal in his house, whereat his wit was wildered and he
knew that the king had not sent him away save for a device of his own.
However, he kept silence and spake not a word, but, taking the letter,
went on his mission and accomplished it and returned to the king, who
gave him an hundred dinars. So Firuz betook himself to the bazar and
bought what beseemeth women of goodly gifts and returning to his wife,
saluted her and gave her all he had purchased, and said to her, “Arise
and hie thee to thy father’s home.” Asked she, “Wherefore?” and he
answered, “Verily, the king hath been bountiful to me and I would have
thee make this public, so thy father may joy in that which he seeth upon
thee.” She rejoined “With love and gladness,” and arising forthwith,
betook herself to the house of her father, who rejoiced in her coming
and in that which he saw upon her; and she abode with him a month’s
space, and her husband made no mention of her. Then came her brother to
him and said, “O Firuz, an thou wilt not acquaint me with the reason of
thine anger against thy wife, come and plead with us before the king.”
Quoth he, “If ye will have me plead with you, I will e’en plead.” So
they went to the king and found the Kazi sitting with him; whereupon the
damsel’s brother began, “Allah assist our lord the Kazi! I let this man
on hire a flower-garden, high-walled, with a well well-conditioned and
trees fruit-laden; but he beat down its walls and ruined its well and
ate its fruits, and now he desireth to return it to me.” The Kazi turned
to Firuz and asked him, “What sayest thou, O youth?” when he answered,
“Indeed, I delivered him the garden in better case than it was before.”
So the Kazi said to the brother, “Hath he delivered to thee the garden,
as he avoucheth?” And the pleader replied, “No; but I desire to question
him of the reason of his returning it.” Quoth the Kazi, “What sayest
thou, O youth?” And quoth Firuz, “I returned it willy nilly, because I
entered it one day and saw the trail of the lion; so I feared lest an I
entered it again, the lion should devour me. Wherefore that which I did,
I did of reverence to him and for fear of him.” Now the king was leaning
back upon the cushion, and when he heard the young man’s words, he
comprehended the purport thereof; so he sat up and said, “Return to thy
flower-garden in all ease of heart; for, by Allah, never saw I the like
of thy garth nor stronger of guard than its walls over its trees!” So
Firuz returned to his wife, and the Kazi knew not the truth of the
affair, no, nor any of those who were in that assembly, save the king
and the husband and the wife’s brother.


They relate that there was once, in days of yore and in bygone ages and
times long gone before, a king of the kings of the time, Shah Bakht
hight, who had troops and servants and guards in hosts and a Wazir
called Al-Rahwán, who was learned, understanding, a loyal counsellor and
a cheerful acceptor of the commandments of Almighty Allah, to whom
belong Honour and Glory. The king committed to this Minister the affairs
of his kingdom and his lieges and spake according to his word, and in
this way he abode a long space of time. Now this Wazir had many foes,
who envied his position and sought to do him harm, but thereunto found
no way and the Lord, in His immemorial foreknowledge and His
fore-ordinance decreed that the king dreamt that the Minister Al-Rahwan
gave him a fruit from off a tree and he ate it and died. So he awoke,
startled and troubled, and when the Wazir had presented himself before
him and had retired and the king was alone with those in whom he
trusted, he related to them his vision and they advised him to send for
the astrologers and interpreters and commended to him a Sage, whose
skill and wisdom they attested. Accordingly the king bade him be brought
and entreated him with honour and made him draw near to himself. Now
there had been in private intercourse with that Sage a company of the
Wazir’s enemies, who besought him to slander the Minister to the king
and counsel him to do him dead, in view of what they promised him of
much wealth; and he made agreement with them on this and acquainted the
king that the Minister would slay him within the coming month and bade
him hasten to put him to death, else would he surely be killed.
Presently, the Wazir entered and the king signed to him to clear the
place. So he signed to those who were present to withdraw, and they
withdrew; whereupon quoth the king to him, “How deemest thou, O Minister
of loyal counsel in all manner of contrivance, concerning a vision I
have seen in my sleep?” “What is it, O king?” asked the Wazir, and Shah
Bakht related to him his dream, adding, “And indeed the Sage interpreted
it to me and said to me:—An thou do not the Wazir dead within a month,
assuredly he will slay thee. Now to put the like of thee to death, I am
loath exceedingly, yet to leave thee on life do I sorely fear. How then
dost thou advise me act in this affair?” The Wazir bowed his head
earthwards awhile, then raised it and said, “Allah prosper the king!
Verily, it availeth not to continue him on life of whom the king is
afraid, and my counsel is that thou hasten to put me out of the world.”
When the king heard his speech and dove into the depths of his meaning,
he turned to him and said, “’Tis grievous to me, O Wazir of good rede;”
and he told him that the other sages had attested the wit and wisdom of
the astrophil. Now hearing these words Al-Rahwan sighed and knew that
the king went in fear of him; but he showed him fortitude and said to
him, “Allah assain the sovran! My rede is that the king carry out his
commandment and his decree be dight, for that needs must death be and
’tis fainer to me that I die oppressed, than that I die an oppressor.
But, an the king judge proper to postpone the putting of me to death
till the morrow and will pass this night with me and farewell me whenas
the morning cometh, the king shall do whatso he willeth.” Then he wept
till he wetted his gray hairs and the king was moved to ruth for him and
granted him that which he craved and vouchsafed him a respite for that


                     The First Night of the Month.

When it was eventide, the king caused clear his sitting chamber and
summoned the Wazir, who presented himself and making his obeisance to
the king, kissed ground before him and related to him


There was once a man of Khorasan and he had a son, whose moral weal he
ardently wished; but the young man sought to be alone and far from the
eye of his father, so he might give himself up to pleasuring and
pleasance. Accordingly he sought of his sire leave to make the
pilgrimage to the Holy House of Allah and to visit the tomb of the
Prophet (whom Allah save and assain!). Now between them and Meccah was a
journey of five hundred parasangs; but his father could not contrary
him, for that the Holy Law had made pilgrimage[297] incumbent on him and
because of that which he hoped for him of improvement. So he joined unto
him a tutor, in whom he trusted, and gave him much money and took leave
of him. The son set out with his governor on the holy pilgrimage,[298]
and abode on the like wise, spending freely and using not thrift. Also
there was in his neighbourhood a poor man, who had a slave-girl of
passing beauty and grace, and the youth conceived a desire for her and
suffered sore cark and care for the love of her and her loveliness, so
that he was like to perish for passion; and she also loved him with a
love yet greater than his love for her. Accordingly, the damsel summoned
an old woman who used to visit her and acquainted her with her case,
saying, “An I foregather not with him, I shall die.” The crone promised
her that she would do her best to bring her to her desire; so she veiled
herself and repairing to the young man, saluted him with the salam and
acquainted him with the girl’s case, saying, “Her master is a greedy
wight; so do thou invite him and lure him with lucre, and he will sell
thee the handmaiden.” Accordingly, he made a banquet, and standing in
the man’s way, invited him[299] and brought him to his house, where they
sat down and ate and drank and abode in talk. Presently, the young man
said to the other, “I hear thou hast with thee a slave-girl, whom thou
desirest to sell;” but he said, “By Allah, O my lord, I have no mind to
sell her!” Quoth the youth, “I have heard that she cost thee a thousand
dinars, and I will give thee six hundred over and above that sum;” and
quoth the other, “I sell her to thee at that price.” So they fetched
notaries who wrote out the contract of sale, and the young man weighed
to the girl’s master half the purchase money, saying, “Let her be with
thee till I complete to thee the rest of the price and take my
hand-maid.” The owner consented to this and took of him a written bond
for the rest of the money, and the girl abode with her master, on
deposit.[300] As for the youth, he gave his governor a thousand dirhams
and sent him to his sire, to fetch money from him, so he might pay the
rest of the hand-maid’s price, saying to him, “Be not long away.” But
the tutor said in his mind, “How shall I fare to his father and say to
him, Thy son hath wasted thy money and made love with it?[301] With what
eye shall I look on him and, indeed, I am he in whom he confided and to
whom he hath entrusted his son? Verily, this were ill rede. Nay, I will
fare on with this pilgrimage-caravan[302] in despite of my fool of a
youth; and when he is weary of waiting, he will demand back his money
and return to his father, and I shall be quit of travail and trouble.”
So he went on with the pilgrimage-caravan[303] and took up his abode
there.[304] Meanwhile, the youth tarried expecting his tutor’s return,
but he returned not; wherefore concern and chagrin grew upon him because
of his mistress, and his yearning for her redoubled and he was like to
kill himself. She became aware of this and sent him a messenger, bidding
him visit her. Accordingly he went to her, and she questioned him of the
case; when he told her what was to do of the matter of his tutor, and
she said to him, “With me is longing the like of that which is with
thee, and I doubt me thy messenger hath perished or thy father hath
slain him; but I will give thee all my jewellery and my dresses, and do
thou sell them and weigh out the rest of my price, and we will go, I and
thou, to thy sire.” So she handed to him all she had and he sold it and
paid the rest of her price; after which there remained to him for
spending-money an hundred dirhams. These he spent and lay that night
with the damsel in all delight of life, and his sprite was like to fly
for joy: but when he arose in the morning, he sat weeping and the damsel
said to him, “What causeth thee to weep?” Said he, “I know not an my
father be dead, and he hath none other heir save myself; but how shall I
get to him, seeing I own not a dirham?” Quoth she, “I have a bangle;
sell it and buy seed-pearls with the price: then round them and fashion
them into great unions[305] and thereby thou shalt gain much money, with
the which we may find our way to thy country.” So he took the bangle and
repairing to a goldsmith, said to him, “Break up this bracelet and sell
it;” but he said, “The king seeketh a perfect bracelet: I will go to him
and bring thee its price.” Presently he bore the bangle to the Sultan
and it pleased him greatly by reason of its goodly workmanship. Then he
called an old woman, who was in his palace, and said to her, “Needs must
I have the mistress of this bracelet though but for a single night, or I
shall die;” and the old woman replied, “I will bring her to thee.”
Thereupon she donned a devotee’s dress and betaking herself to the
goldsmith, said to him, “To whom belongeth the bangle which is now with
the king?” and said he, “It belongeth to a stranger, who hath bought him
a slave-girl from this city and lodgeth with her in such a place.” Upon
this the old woman repaired to the young man’s house and knocked at the
door. The damsel opened to her and seeing her clad in devotee’s
garb,[306] saluted her with the salam and asked her saying, “Haply thou
hast some need of us?” Answered the old woman, “Yes, I desire a private
place, where I can perform the Wuzu-ablution;” and quoth the girl,
“Enter.” So she entered and did her requirement and made the ablution
and prayed:[307] then she brought out a rosary and began to tell her
beads thereon, and the damsel said to her, “Whence comest thou, O
pilgrimess?”[308] Said she, “From visiting the Idol of the Absent in
such a church.[309] There standeth up no woman before him[310], who hath
a distant friend and discloseth to him her desire, but he acquainteth
her with her case and giveth her news of her absent one.” Said the
damsel “O pilgrimess, we have an absent one, and my lord’s heart
cleaveth to him and I desire to go question the Idol of him.” Quoth the
crone, “Do thou wait till to-morrow and ask leave of thy spouse, and I
will come to thee and fare with thee in weal and welfare.” Then she went
away, and when the girl’s master came, she sought his permission to go
with the old trot, and he gave her leave. So the beldame came and took
her and carried her to the king’s door, she, unknowing whither she went.
The damsel entered with her and beheld a goodly house and decorated
apartments which were no idol’s chamber. Then came the king and seeing
her beauty and loveliness, went up to her to buss her; whereupon she
fell down in a fainting fit and struck out with her hands and feet.[311]
When he saw this, he held aloof from her in ruth and left her; but the
matter was grievous to her and she refused meat and drink, and as often
as the king drew near to her, she fled from him in fear, so he swore by
Allah that he would not approach her save with her consent and fell to
presenting her with ornaments and raiment; but her aversion to him only
increased. Meanwhile, the youth her master abode expecting her; but she
returned not and his heart already tasted the bitter draught of
separation; so he went forth at hap-hazard, distracted and knowing not
what he should do, and began strewing dust upon his head and crying out,
“The old woman hath taken her and gone away!” The little boys followed
him with stones and pelted him, crying, “A madman! A madman!” Presently,
the king’s Chamberlain, who was a personage of years and worth, met him,
and when he saw this youth, he forbade the boys and drave them away from
him, after which he accosted him and asked him of his affair. So he told
him his tale and the Chamberlain said to him, “Fear not! I will deliver
thy slave-girl for thee; so calm thy concern.” And he went on to speak
him fair and comfort him, till he had firm reliance on his word. Then he
carried him to his home and stripping him of his clothes, clad him in
rags; after which he called an old woman, who was his housekeeper,[312]
and said to her, “Take this youth and bind on his neck yon iron chain
and go round about with him in all the great thoroughfares of the city,
and when thou hast done this, go up with him to the palace of the king.”
And he said to the youth, “In whatsoever stead thou seest the damsel,
speak not a syllable, but acquaint me with her place and thou shalt owe
her deliverance to none save to me.” The youth thanked him and went with
the old woman in such fashion as the Chamberlain bade him. She fared on
with him till they entered the city, and walked all about it; after
which she went up to the palace of the king and fell to saying, “O
fortune’s favourites, look on a youth whom the devils take twice in the
day and pray to be preserved from such affliction!” And she ceased not
to go round with him till she came to the eastern wing[313] of the
palace, whereupon the slave-girls hurried out to look upon him and when
they saw him they were amazed at his beauty and loveliness and wept for
him. Then they informed the damsel, who came forth and considered him
and knew him not; but he knew her; so he drooped his head and shed
tears. She was moved to pity for him and gave him somewhat and went back
to her place, whilst the youth returned with the housekeeper to the
Chamberlain and told him that she was in the king’s mansion, whereat he
was chagrined and said, “By Allah, I will assuredly devise a device for
her and deliver her!” Whereupon the youth kissed his hands and feet.
Then he turned to the old woman and bade her change her habit and her
semblance. Now this ancient dame was sweet of speech and winsome of wit;
so he gave her costly and delicious ottars and said to her, “Get thee to
the king’s slave-girls and sell them these essences and win thy way to
the damsel and ask her if she desire her master or not.” So the old
woman went out and making her way to the palace, went in to the
hand-maid and drew near her and recited these couplets:—

 Allah preserve our Union-days and their delights. ✿ Ah me! How sweet was
    life! how joys were ever new!
 May he not be who cursed us twain with parting day; ✿ How many a bone he
    brake, how many a life he slew!
 He shed my faultless tear-floods and my sinless blood; ✿ And beggaring
    me of love himself no richer grew.

When the damsel heard the old woman’s verses, she wept till her clothes
were drenched and drew near the speaker, who asked her, “Knowest thou
such-an-one?” And she wept and answered, “He is my lord. Whence knowest
thou him?” Rejoined the old woman, “O my lady, sawest thou not the
madman who came hither yesterday with the old woman? He was thy lord,”
presently adding, “But this is no time for talk. When ’tis night, get
thee to the top of the palace and wait on the terrace till thy lord come
to thee and compass thy deliverance.” Then she gave her what she would
of perfumes and returning to the Chamberlain, acquainted him with whatso
had passed, and he told the youth. Now as soon as it was evening, the
Chamberlain bade bring two hackneys and great store of water and
provaunt and a riding-camel and a fellow to show them the way. These he
ambushed without the town whilst he and the young man, taking with them
a long rope, made fast to a staple, went and stood below the palace.
Whenas they came thither, they looked and behold, the damsel was
standing on the terrace-roof, so they threw her the rope and the staple,
which she made fast, and tucking up her sleeves above her wrists, slid
down and landed with them. They carried her without the town, where they
mounted, she and her lord, and fared on, with the guide in front,[314]
directing them on the way, and they ceased not faring night and day till
they entered his father’s house. The young man greeted his sire, who was
gladdened in him, and to whom he related all that had befallen him,
whereupon he rejoiced in his safety. As for the tutor, he wasted whatso
was with him and returned to the city, where he saw the youth and
excused himself. Then he questioned him of what had betided him and he
told him, whereat he admired and returned to companionship with him; but
the youth ceased to have regard for him and gave him nor solde nor
ration as was his wont, neither discovered to him aught of his secrets.
When the tutor saw that there was no profit from him he returned to the
king, the ravisher of the slave-girl, and recounted to him what the
Chamberlain had done and counselled him to slay that official and egged
him on to recover the damsel, promising to give his friend a
poison-draught and return. Accordingly the king sent for the Chamberlain
and chid him for the deed he had done; whereat the king’s servants
incontinently fell upon the Chamberlain and put him to death. Meanwhile
the tutor returned to the youth, who asked him of his absence, and he
told him that he had been in the city of the king who had taken the
slave-girl. When the youth heard this, he misdoubted of his governor and
never again trusted him in anything but was always on his guard against
him. Then the tutor without stay or delay caused prepare great store of
sweetmeats and put in them deadly poison and presented them to the
youth, who, when he saw those sweetmeats, said to himself, “This is an
extraordinary thing of the tutor! Needs must there be in this sweetmeat
some mischief, and I will make proof of his confectionery upon himself.”
Accordingly he got ready food and set amongst it a portion of the
sweetmeat, and inviting the governor to his house placed the provaunt
before him. He ate, and amongst the rest which they brought him, the
poisoned sweetmeat; so while in the act of eating he died; whereby the
youth knew that this was a plot against himself and said, “Whoso seeketh
his fortune by his own force[315] attaineth a failure.” “Nor,” continued
the Wazir, “is this, O king of the age, stranger than the story of the
Druggist and his Wife and the Singer.” When King Shah Bakht heard the
tale of Al-Rahwan he gave him leave to withdraw to his own house and he
tarried there the rest of the night and the next day till eventide

                     The Second Night of the Month.

When the evening evened, the king sat private in his sitting-chamber and
his mind was occupied with the story of the Singer and the Druggist. So
he called the Wazir and bade him tell the tale. Answered he, “I will
well. They recount, O my lord, the following


There was once in the city of Hamadán[316] a young man of seemly
semblance and skilled in singing to the lute; wherefore he was well seen
of the citizens. He went forth one day of his home with intent to
travel, and gave not over journeying till his travel brought him to a
town and a goodly. Now he had with him a lute and its appurtenance,[317]
so he entered and went round about the streets till he happened upon a
druggist who, when he espied him, called to him. So he went up to him
and he bade him sit down; accordingly, the youth sat down by his side,
and the druggist questioned him of his case. The singer told him what
was in his mind, and the pharmacist took him up into his shop and bought
him food and fed him. Then said he to him, “Rise and take up thy lute
and beg about the streets, and whenas thou smellest the reek of wine,
break in upon the drinkers and say to them, I am a singer. They will
laugh and cry, Come in to us. And when thou singest, the folk will know
thee and speak one to other of thee; so shalt thou become known about
town, and thou shalt better thy business.” He went round about, as the
druggist bade him, till the sun waxed hot, but found none drinking. Then
he entered a lane, that he might take rest, and seeing there a handsome
house and a lofty, stood in its shade and fell to observing the
excellence of its edification. Now while he was thus engaged, behold, a
casement opened and there appeared thereat a face, as it were the moon.
Quoth the owner of the face, “What aileth thee to stand there? Dost thou
want aught?” And quoth he, “I am a stranger,” and acquainted her with
his adventure; whereupon asked she, “What sayst thou to meat and drink
and the enjoyment of a fair face and getting thee spending-money?” And
he answered, “O mistress mine, this is my desire whereof I am going
about in quest!” So she opened the door to him and brought him in: then
she seated him at the upper end of the room and served him with food. He
ate and drank and lay with her and futtered her. This ended, she sat
down in his lap and they toyed and laughed and exchanged kisses till the
day was half done, when her husband came home and she had no recourse
but to hide the singer in a mat[318], in which she rolled him up. The
husband entered and seeing the battle-place[319] disordered and smelling
the reek of liquor questioned her of this. Quoth she, “I had with me a
bosom friend of mine and I conjured her to crack a cup with me; and so
we drank a jar full, I and she, and but now, before thy coming in, she
fared forth.” Her husband deemed her words true and went away to his
shop, he being none other than the singer’s friend the druggist, who had
invited him and fed him; whereupon the lover came forth and he and the
lady returned to their pleasant pastime and abode on this wise till
evening, when she gave him money and said to him, “To-morrow in the
forenoon come hither to me.” He replied, “Yes,” and departed; and at
nightfall he went to the Hammam-bath. On the morrow, he betook himself
to the shop of his friend the druggist, who welcomed him as soon as he
saw him, and questioned him of his case and how he had fared that day.
Quoth the singer, “Allah requite thee with welfare, O my brother, for
indeed thou hast directed me to a restful life!” Then he acquainted him
with his adventure and told him the tale of the woman, till he came to
the mention of her husband, when he said, “And at midday came the horned
cuckold,[320] her husband, and knocked at the door. So she wrapped me in
the mat, and when he had wended his ways I came forth and we returned to
our pleasant play.” This was grievous to the druggist, and he repented
of having taught him how he should do and suspected his wife.
Accordingly he asked the singer, “And what said she to thee at thy going
away?” and the other answered, “She said, Come back to me on the morrow.
So, behold, I am off to her and I came not hither but that I might
acquaint thee with this, lest thy thoughts be pre-occupied with me.”
Then he farewelled him, and walked out. As soon as the druggist was
assured that he had reached the house, he cast the net[321] over his
shop and made for his home, in some suspicion of his wife, and knocked
at the door. Now the singer had entered and the druggist’s wife said to
him, “Up with thee and enter this chest.” Accordingly he entered it and
she shut it down on him and opened to her husband, who came in all
distraught, and searched the house but found none and overlooked the
chest. Hereat he said in his mind “The house[322] is one which favoureth
my house and the woman is one who favoureth my wife,” and returned to
his shop; whereupon the singer came forth of the chest and falling upon
the druggist’s wife, had his wicked will of her and spent upon her what
was her due, and weighed down the scale for her with full measure. Then
they ate and drank and kissed and clipped necks, and in this way they
abode till the evening, when she gave him money, because she found his
weaving nice and good,[323] and made him promise to come to her on the
morrow. So he left her and slept his night and on the morrow he returned
to the shop of his friend the druggist and saluted him. The other
welcomed him and questioned him of his case; whereat he told his tale
till he ended with the mention of the woman’s husband, when he said,
“Then came the horned cuckold, her mate and she stowed me away in the
chest and shut down the lid upon me, whilst her addlepated pander[324]
of a husband went about the house, top and bottom; and when he had gone
his way, we returned to our pleasant pastime.” With this, the druggist
was assured that the house was his house and the wife his wife, and
quoth he, “Now what wilt thou do to-day?” Quoth the singer, “I shall
return to her and weave for her and full her yarn[325], and I came
not[326] save to thank thee for thy dealing with me.” Then he went away,
whilst the fire was loosed in the heart of the druggist and he shut his
shop and returning to his house, rapped at the door. Said the singer,
“Let me jump into the chest, for he saw me not yesterday;” but said she,
“No! wrap thyself up in the mat.” So he wrapped himself up and stood in
a corner of the room, whilst the druggist entered and went no whither
else save to the chest, but found naught inside. Then he walked round
about the house and searched it, top and bottom, but came upon nothing
and no one and abode between belief and disbelief, and said to himself,
“Haply, I suspect my wife of what is not in her.” So he was certified of
her innocence and going forth content, returned to his shop, whereupon
out came the singer and they resumed their former little game, as was
their wont, till eventide when she gave him one of her husband’s shirts
and he took it and going away, nighted in his own lodging. Next morning
he repaired to the druggist, who saluted him with the salam and came to
meet him and rejoiced in him and smiled in his face, deeming his wife
innocent. Then he questioned him of his case on yesterday and he told
him how he had fared, saying, “O my brother, when the cornute knocked at
the door, I would have jumped into the chest; but his wife forbade me
and rolled me up in the mat. The man entered and thought of nothing save
the chest; so he brake it open and woned like one jinn-mad, going up and
coming down. Then he went about his business and I came out and we abode
on our accustomed case till eventide, when she gave me this shirt of her
husband’s; and behold, I am now off to her.” When the druggist heard the
singer’s words, he was assured of the adventure and knew that the
calamity, all of it, was in his own house and that the wife was his
wife; and he considered the shirt, whereupon he redoubled in assuredness
and said to the singer, “Art thou now going to her?” Said he, “Yes, O my
brother,” and taking leave of him, went away; whereupon the druggist
started up, as he were stark mad, and dismantled his shop.[327] Whilst
he was thus doing, the singer won to the house, and presently up came
the druggist and knocked at the door. The lover would have wrapped
himself up in the mat, but she forbade him and said, “Get thee down to
the ground floor of the house and enter the oven-jar[328] and close the
cover upon thyself.” So he did her bidding and she went down to her
husband and opened the door to him, whereupon he came in and went round
the house, but found no one and overlooked the oven-jar. Then he stood
musing and sware that he would not again go forth of the house till the
morrow. As for the singer, when his stay in the oven-jar grew longsome
upon him, he came forth therefrom, thinking that her husband had gone
away; and he went up to the terrace-roof and looking down, beheld his
friend the druggist: whereat he was sore concerned and said in himself,
“Alas, the disgrace, ah! This is my friend the druggist, who of me was
fain and dealt me fair and I have paid him with foul.” He feared to
return to the druggist; so he stepped down and opened the first door and
would have gone out at a venture, unseen of the husband; but, when he
came to the outer door, he found it locked and saw not the key. Hereat
he returned to the terrace and began dropping from roof to roof till the
people of the house heard him and hastened to fall upon him, deeming him
a thief. Now that house belonged to a Persian man; so they laid hands on
him and the house-master fell to beating him, saying to him, “Thou art a
thief.” He replied, “No I am not a thief, but a singing-man, a stranger
who, hearing your voices, came to sing to you.” When the folk heard his
words, they talked of letting him go; but the Persian said, “O folk, let
not his speech cozen you. This one is none other than a thief who
knoweth how to sing, and when he cometh upon the like of us, he is a
singer.” Said they, “O our lord, this man is a stranger, and needs we
must release him.” Quoth he, “By Allah, my heart heaveth at this fellow!
Let me kill him with beating;” but quoth they, “Thou mayst no ways do
that.” So they delivered the singer from the Persian, the master of the
house, and seated him amongst them, whereupon he began singing to them
and they rejoiced in him. Now the Persian had a Mameluke,[329] as he
were the full moon, and he arose and went out, and the singer followed
him and wept before him, professing lustful love to him and kissing his
hands and feet. The Mameluke took compassion on him and said to him,
“When the night cometh and my master entereth the Harim and the folk
fare away, I will grant thee thy desire; and I sleep in such a place.”
Then the singer returned and sat with the cup-companions, and the
Persian rose and went out with the Mameluke by his side. Now[330] the
singer knew the place which the Mameluke occupied at the first of the
night; but it chanced that the youth rose from his stead and the waxen
taper went out. The Persian, who was drunk, fell over on his face, and
the singer supposing him to be the Mameluke, said, “By Allah, ’tis
good!” and threw himself upon him and began to work at his bag-trousers
till the string was loosed; then he brought out[331] his prickle upon
which he spat and slipped it into him. Thereupon the Persian started up,
crying out and, laying hands on the singer, pinioned him and beat him a
grievous beating, after which he bound him to a tree that stood in the
house-court. Now there was in the house a beautiful singing-girl and
when she saw the singer tight pinioned and tied to the tree, she waited
till the Persian lay down on his couch, when she arose and going up to
the singer, fell to condoling with him over what had betided him and
making eyes at him and handling his yard and rubbing it, till it rose
upright. Then said she to him, “Do with me the deed of kind and I will
loose thy pinion-bonds, lest he return and beat thee again; for he
purposeth thee an ill purpose.” Quoth he, “Loose me and I will do it;”
but quoth she, “I fear that, an I loose thee, thou wilt not do it. But I
will do it and thou have me standing; and when I have done, I will loose
thee.” So saying, she opened her clothes and introducing the singer’s
prickle, fell to toing and froing.[332] Now there was in the house a
fighting-ram, which the Persian had trained to butting,[333] and when he
saw what the woman was doing, he thought she wished to do battle with
him; so he broke his halter and running at her, butted her and split her
skull. She fell on her back and shrieked; whereupon the Persian started
up hastily from sleep and seeing the singing-girl on her back and the
singer with yard on end, cried to him, “O accursed, doth not what thou
hast erewhile done suffice thee?” Then he beat him a shrewd beating and
opening the door, thrust him out in the middle of the night. He lay the
rest of the dark hours in one of the ruins, and when he arose in the
morning, he said, “None is in fault! I, for one, sought my own good, and
he is no fool who seeketh good for himself; and the druggist’s wife also
sought good for herself; but Predestination overcometh Precaution and
for me there remaineth no tarrying in this town.” So he went forth from
the place. “Nor” (continued the Wazir), “is this story, strange though
it be, stranger than that of the King and his Son and that which betided
them of wonders and rare marvels.” When the king heard this story, he
deemed it pretty and pleasant and said, “This tale is near unto that
which I know and ’tis my rede I should do well to have patience and
hasten not to slay my Minister, so I may get of him the profitable story
of the King and his Son.” Then he gave the Wazir leave to go away to his
own house; so he thanked him and tarried in his home all that day.

                     The Third Night of the Month.

When it was supper-time the king sought the sitting-chamber; and,
summoning the Wazir, sought of him the story he had promised him; and
the Minister said, “They tell, O king,


There came to a king of the kings, in his old age, a son, who grew up
comely, quick-witted, clever: and, when he reached years of discretion
and became a young man, his father said to him, “Take this realm and
rule it in lieu of me, for I desire to flee from the sin of
sovranty[335] to Allah the Most High and don the woollen dress and
devote all my time to devotion.” Quoth the Prince, “And I am another who
desireth to take refuge with the Almighty.” So the king said, “Arise,
let us flee forth and make for the mountains and there worship in shame
before God the Most Great.” Accordingly, the twain gat them gear of wool
and clothing themselves therewith, fared forth and wandered in the wolds
and wastes; but, when some days had passed over them, both became weak
for hunger and repented them of that they had done whenas penitence
profited them not, and the Prince complained to his father of weariness
and hunger. Cried the king, “Dear my son, I did with thee that which
behoved me,[336] but thou wouldst not hearken to me, and now there is no
means of returning to thy former estate, for that another hath taken the
kingdom and defendeth it from all foes: but indeed I will counsel thee
of somewhat, wherein do thou pleasure me by compliance.” The Prince
asked, “What is it?” and his father answered, “Take me and go with me to
the market-street and sell me and receive my price and do with it whatso
thou willest, and I shall become the property of one who shall provide
for my wants.” The Prince enquired, “Who will buy thee of me, seeing
thou art a very old man? Nay, do thou rather sell me, inasmuch as the
demand for me will be more.” But the king replied, “An thou wert king,
thou wouldest require service of me.” Accordingly the youth obeyed his
father’s bidding and taking him, carried him to the slave-dealer and
said, “Sell me this old man.” Said the dealer, “Who will buy this wight,
and he a son of eighty years?”[337] Then quoth he to the king, “In what
crafts art thou cunning?” and quoth he, “I ken the quintessence of
jewels and I ken the quintessence of horses and I ken the quintessence
of men; brief, I ken the quintessence of all things.” So the
slave-dealer took him and went about, offering him for sale to the folk;
but none would buy. Presently, up came the Chef of the Sultan’s kitchen
and asked, “What is this man?” and the dealer answered, “This be a
Mameluke for sale.” The kitchener marvelled at this and bought the king,
after questioning him of what he could do, for ten thousand dirhams.
Then he weighed out the money and carried him to his house, but dared
not employ him in aught of service; so he appointed him an allowance, a
modicum sufficient for his maintenance, and repented him of having
bought him, saying, “What shall I do with the like of this wight?”
Presently, the king of the city was minded to go forth to his
garden,[338] a-pleasuring, and bade the cook precede him and appoint in
his stead one who should dress the royal meat, so that, when he
returned, he might find the meal ready. The Chef fell to thinking of
whom he should appoint and was perplexed concerning his affair. As he
was thus, the Shaykh came to him, and seeing him distraught as to how he
should do, said to him, “Tell me what is in thy mind; haply I may bring
thee relief.” So he acquainted him with the king’s wishes and he said,
“Have no care for this, but leave me one of the serving-men and do thou
go companying thy lord in peace and surety, for I will suffice thee of
this.” Hereat the cook departed with the king, after he had brought the
old man what he needed and left him a man of the guards; and when he was
gone, the Shaykh bade the trooper wash the kitchen-battery and made
ready food exceedingly fine. When the king returned he set the meat
before him, and he tasted dishes whose like he had never savoured;
whereat he was startled and asked who had dressed it. Accordingly they
acquainted him with the Shaykh’s case and he summoned him to his
presence and asking him anent the mystery, increased his allowance of
rations;[339] moreover, he bade that they should cook together, he and
the kitchener, and the old man obeyed his bidding. Some time after this,
there came two merchants to the king with two pearls of price and each
of them declared that his pearl was worth a thousand dinars, but the
folk was incompetent to value them. Then said the cook, “Allah prosper
the king! Verily, the Shaykh whom I bought affirmed that he knew the
quintessence of jewels and that he was skilled in cookery. We have tried
him in his cuisine, and have found him the most knowing of men; and now,
if we send after him and prove him on jewels, his second claim will be
made manifest to us, whether true or false.” So the king bade fetch the
Shaykh and he came and stood before the Sultan, who showed him the two
pearls. Quoth he, “Now for this one, ’tis worth a thousand dinars;” and
quoth the king, “So saith its owner.” “But for this other,” continued
the old man, “’tis worth only five hundred.” The people laughed and
admired his saying, and the merchant who owned the second pearl asked
him, “How can this, which is bigger of bulk and worthier for water and
righter of rondure, be less of value than that?” and the old man
answered, “I have said what is with me.”[340] Then quoth the king to
him, “Indeed, the outer semblance thereof is like that of the other
pearl; why then is it worth but the half of its price?” and quoth the
old man, “Yes, but its inward is corrupt.” Asked the merchant, “Hath a
pearl then an inward and an outward?” and the Shaykh answered, “Yea! In
its interior is a teredo, a boring worm; but the other pearl is sound
and secure against breakage.” The merchant continued, “Give us approof
of this thy knowledge and confirm to us the truth of thy saying;” and
the old man rejoined, “We will break it: an I prove a liar, here is my
head, and if I speak sooth, thou wilt have lost thy pearl;” and the
merchant said, “I agree to that.” So they brake the pearl and it was
even as the old man had declared, to wit, in the heart of it was a
boring worm. The king marvelled at what he saw and questioned him of how
he came by the knowledge of this. The Shaykh replied, “O king, this kind
of jewel is engendered in the belly of a creature called the oyster[341]
and its origin is a drop of rain and it resisteth the touch and groweth
not warm whilst hent in hand:[342] so, when its outer coat became tepid
to my touch, I knew that it harboured some living thing, for that things
of life thrive not save in heat.” Therefore the king said to the cook,
“Increase his allowance;” and the Chef appointed to him fresh rations.
Now some time after this, two merchants presented themselves to the king
with two horses, and one said, “I ask a thousand ducats for my horse,”
and the other, “I seek five thousand ducats for mine.” Quoth the cook,
“We are now familiar with the old man’s just judgment; what deemeth the
king of fetching him?” So the king bade fetch him, and when he saw the
two horses,[343] he said, “This is worth a thousand and that two
thousand ducats.” Quoth the folk, “This horse thou misjudgest is
evidently a thoroughbred and he is younger and faster and compacter of
limb and finer of head and clearer of colour and skin than the other;”
presently adding, “What assurance hast thou of the sooth of thy saying?”
And the old man said, “This ye state is true, all true; but his sire is
old and this other is the son of a young horse. Now, when the son of an
old horse standeth still a-breathing, his breath returneth not to him
and his rider falleth into the hand of him who followeth after him; but
the son of a young horse, an thou put him to speed and after making him
run, alight from him, thou wilt find him, by reason of his robustness,
untired.” Quoth the merchant, “’Tis even as the Shaykh avoucheth and he
is an excellent judge.” And the king said, “Increase his allowance.” But
the Shaykh stood still and did not go away; so the king asked him, “Why
dost thou not go about thy business?” and he answered, “My business is
with the king.” Said the king, “Name what thou wouldest have,” and the
other replied, “I would have thee question me of the quintessence of
men, even as thou hast questioned me of the quintessence of horses.”
Quoth the king, “We have no occasion to question thee thereof;” but
quoth the old man, “I have occasion to acquaint thee.” “Say what thou
wilt,” rejoined the king, and the Shaykh said, “Verily, the king is the
son of a baker.” Cried the king, “How and whereby kennest thou that?”
and the Shaykh replied, “Know, O king, that I have examined into degrees
and dignities[344] and have learned this.” Thereupon the king went in to
his mother and asked her anent his sire, and she told him that the king
her husband was impotent;[345] “So,” quoth she, “I feared for the
kingdom, lest it pass away, after his death; wherefore I yielded my
person to a young man, a baker, and conceived by him and bare a
man-child;[346] and the kingship came into the hand of my son, that is,
thyself.” So the king returned to the Shaykh and said to him, “I am
indeed the son of a baker; so do thou expound to me the means whereby
thou knewest me for this.” Quoth the other, “I knew that, hadst thou
been the son of a king, thou wouldst have gifted me with things of
price, such as rubies and the like; and wert thou the son of a Kazi,
thou hadst given largesse of a dirham or two dirhams, and wert thou the
son of any of the merchants, thou hadst given me muchel of money. But I
saw that thou bestowedst upon me naught save two bannocks of bread and
other rations, wherefore I knew thee to be the son of a baker;” and
quoth the king, “Thou hast hit the mark.” Then he gave him wealth galore
and advanced him to high estate. The tale aforesaid pleased King Shah
Bakht and he marvelled thereat; but the Wazir said to him, “This story
is not stranger than that of the Richard who married his beautiful
daughter to the poor Shaykh.” The king’s mind was occupied with the
promised tale and he bade the Wazir withdraw to his lodging; so he went
and abode there the rest of the night and the whole of the following

                     The Fourth Night of the Month.

When the evening evened, the king sat private in his sitting-chamber and
bade fetch the Wazir. When he presented himself before him, he said to
him, “Tell me the tale of the Richard.” The Minister replied, “I will.
Hear, O puissant king,

                               OLD MAN_.”

A certain rich merchant had a beautiful daughter, who was as the full
moon, and when she attained the age of fifteen, her father betook
himself to an old man and spreading him a carpet in his sitting-chamber,
gave him to eat and conversed and caroused with him. Then said he to
him, “I desire to marry thee to my daughter.” The other drew back,
because of his poverty, and said to him, “I am no husband for her nor am
I a match for thee.” The merchant was urgent with him, but he repeated
his answer to him, saying, “I will not consent to this till thou
acquaint me with the cause of thy desire for me. An I find it
reasonable, I will fall in with thy wish; and if not, I will not do this
ever.” Quoth the merchant, “Thou must know that I am a man from the land
of China and was in my youth well-favoured and well-to-do. Now I made no
account of womankind, one and all, but followed after youths[347], and
one night I saw, in a dream, as it were a balance set up, and hard by it
a voice said, ‘This is the portion of Such-an-one.’ I listened and
presently I heard my own name; so I looked and behold, there stood a
woman loathly to the uttermost; whereupon I awoke in fear and cried, ‘I
will never marry, lest haply this fulsome female fall to my lot.’ Then I
set out for this city with merchandise and the journey was pleasant to
me and the sojourn here, so that I took up my abode in the place for a
length of time and gat me friends and factors. At last I sold all my
stock-in-trade and collected its price and there was left me nothing to
occupy me till the folk[348] should depart and I depart with them. One
day, I changed my clothes and putting gold into my sleeve, sallied forth
to inspect the holes and corners of this city, and as I was wandering
about, I saw a handsome house: its seemliness pleased me; so I stood
looking on it and beheld a lovely woman at the window. When she saw me,
she made haste and descended, whilst I abode confounded. Then I betook
myself to a tailor there and questioned him of the house and anent whose
it was.” Quoth he, “It belongeth to Such-an-one the Notary,[349] God
damn him!” I asked, “Is he her sire?” and he answered, “Yes.” So I
repaired in great hurry to a man, with whom I had been wont to deposit
my goods for sale, and told him I desired to gain access to Such-an-one
the Notary. Accordingly he assembled his friends and we betook ourselves
to the Notary’s house. When we came in to him, we saluted him and sat
with him, and I said to him, “I come to thee as a suitor, desiring in
marriage the hand of thy daughter.” He replied, “I have no daughter
befitting this man;” and I rejoined, “Allah aid thee! My desire is for
thee and not for her.”[350] But he still refused and his friends said to
him, “This is an honourable match and a man thine equal, nor is it
lawful to thee that thou hinder the young lady of her good luck.” Quoth
he to them, “She will not suit him!” nevertheless they were instant with
him till at last he said, “Verily, my daughter whom ye seek is passing
ill-favoured and in her are all blamed qualities of person.” And I said,
“I accept her, though she be as thou sayest.” Then said the folk,
“Extolled be Allah! Cease we to talk of a thing settled; so say the
word, how much wilt thou have to her marriage-settlement?” Quoth he, “I
must have four thousand sequins;” and I said, “To hear is to obey!”
Accordingly the affair was concluded and we drew up the contract of
marriage and I made the bride-feast; but on the wedding-night I beheld a
thing[351] than which never made Allah Almighty aught more fulsome.
Methought her folk had devised this freak byway of fun; so I laughed and
looked for my mistress, whom I had seen at the window, to make her
appearance; but saw her not. When the affair was prolonged and I found
none but her, I was like to lose my wits for vexation and fell to
beseeching my Lord and humbling myself in supplication before Him that
He would deliver me from her. When I arose in the morning, there came
the chamberwoman and said to me, “Hast thou need of the bath[352]?” I
replied, “No”; and she asked, “Art thou for breakfast?” But I still
answered “No;” and on this wise I abode three days, tasting neither meat
nor drink. When the young woman my wife saw me in this plight, she said
to me, “O man, tell me thy tale, for, by Allah, if I may effect thy
deliverance, I will assuredly further thee thereto.” I gave ear to her
speech and put faith in her sooth and acquainted her with the adventure
of the damsel whom I had seen at the window and how I had fallen in love
with her; whereupon quoth she, “An that girl belong to me, whatso I
possess is thine, and if she belong to my sire, I will demand her of him
and detain her from him and deliver her to thee.” Then she fell to
summoning hand-maid after hand-maid and showing them to me, till I saw
the damsel whom I loved and said, “This is she.” Quoth my wife, “Let not
thy heart be troubled, for this is my slave-girl. My father gave her to
me and I give her to thee:[353] so comfort thyself and be of good cheer
and of eyes cool and clear.” Then, when it was night, she brought the
girl to me, after she had adorned her and perfumed her, and said to her,
“Cross not this thy lord in aught and every that he shall seek of thee.”
When she came to bed with me, I said in myself, “Verily, this my spouse
is more generous than I!” Then I sent away the slave-girl and drew not
near her, but arose forthwith and betaking myself to my wife, lay with
her and abated her maidenhead. She conceived by me at the first bout;
and, accomplishing the time of her pregnancy, gave birth to this dear
little daughter; in whom I rejoiced, for that she was beautiful
exceedingly, and she hath inherited her mother’s sound sense and the
comeliness of her sire. Indeed, many of the notables of the people have
sought her of me in wedlock, but I would not wed her to any, because I
saw in a dream, one night, that same balance set up and men and women
being therein weighed, one against other, and meseemed I saw thee and
her and the voice said to me, ‘This is such a man, the portion of such a
woman.’[354] Wherefore I knew that Almighty Allah had allotted unto her
none other than thyself, and I choose rather to marry thee to her in my
lifetime than that thou shouldst marry her after my death.” When the
poor man heard the merchant’s story, he became desirous of wedding his
daughter: so he took her to wife and was blessed of her with exceeding
love. “Nor” (continued the Wazir), “is this story on any wise stranger
or this tale rarer than that of the Sage and his three Sons.” When the
king heard his Minister’s story, he was assured that he would not slay
him and said, “I will have patience with him, so I may get of him the
story of the Sage and his three Sons.” And he bade him depart to his own

                     The Fifth Night of the Month.

When the evening evened, the king sat private in his chamber and
summoning the Wazir, required of him the promised story. So Al-Rahwan
said, “Hear, O king,


There was once a Sage of the sages, who had three sons and sons’ sons,
and when they waxed many and their seed multiplied, there befel
dissension between them. So he assembled them and said to them, “Be ye
single-handed against all others and despise not one another lest the
folk despise you, and know that your case is the case of the man and the
rope which he cut easily, when it was single; then he doubled it and
could not cut it: on this wise is division and union.[356] And beware
lest ye seek help of others against your own selves or ye will fall into
perdition, for by what means soever ye win your wish at his hand, his
word will rank higher than your word. Now I have money which I will
presently bury in a certain place, that it may be a store for you
against the time of your need.” Then they left him and dispersed and one
of the sons fell to spying upon his sire, so that he saw him hide the
hoard outside the city. When he had made an end of burying it, the Sage
returned to his house; and as soon as the morning morrowed, his son
repaired to the place where he had seen his father bury the treasure and
dug and took all the wealth he found and fared forth. When the old man
felt that his death[357] drew nigh, he called his sons to him and
acquainted them with the place where he had hidden his hoard. As soon as
he was dead, they went and dug up the treasure and came upon much
wealth, for that the money, which the first son had taken singly and by
stealth, was on the surface and he knew not that under it were other
monies. So they carried it off and divided it and the first son claimed
his share with the rest and added it to that which he had before taken,
behind the backs of his father and his brethren. Then he married his
cousin, the daughter of his father’s brother and was blessed through her
with a male-child, who was the goodliest of the folk of his time. When
the boy grew up, his father feared for him poverty and decline of case,
so he said to him, “Dear my son, know that during my green days I
wronged my brothers in the matter of our father’s good, and I see thee
in weal; but, an thou come to want, ask not one of them nor any other
than they, for I have laid up for thee in yonder chamber a treasure; but
do not thou open it until thou come to lack thy daily bread.” Then the
man died, and his money, which was a great matter, fell to his son. The
young man had not patience to wait till he had made an end of that which
was with him, but rose and opened the chamber, and behold, it was empty
and its walls were whitened, and in its midst was a rope hanging down as
for a bucket and ten bricks, one upon other, and a scroll, wherein was
written, “There is no help against death; so hang thyself and beg not of
any, but kick away the bricks with thy toes, that there may be no escape
for thy life, and thou shalt be at rest from the exultation of enemies
and enviers and the bitterness of beggary.” Now when the youth saw this,
he marvelled at that which his father had done and said, “This is an ill
treasure.” Then he went forth and fell to eating and drinking with the
folk, till naught was left him and he passed two days without tasting
food, at the end of which time he took a handkerchief and selling it for
two dirhams, bought bread and milk with the price and left it on the
shelf and went out. Whilst he was gone, a dog came and seized the bread
and polluted the milk, and when the young man returned and saw this, he
beat his face, and fared forth distraught. Presently, he met a friend,
to whom he discovered his case, and the other said to him, “Art thou not
ashamed to talk thus? How hast thou wasted all this wealth and now
comest telling lies and saying, The dog hath mounted on the shelf, and
talking such nonsense?” And he reviled him. So the youth returned to his
house, and verily the world had waxed black in his eyes and he cried,
“My sire said sooth.” Then he opened the chamber door and piling up the
bricks under his feet, put the rope about his neck and kicked away the
bricks and swung himself off; whereupon the rope gave way with him and
he fell to the ground and the ceiling clave asunder and there poured
down on him a world of wealth. So he knew that his sire meant to chasten
him by means of this and he invoked Allah’s mercy on him. Then he got
him again that which he had sold of lands and houses and what not else
and became once more in good case; his friends also returned to him and
he entertained them for some time. Then said he to them one day, “There
was with us bread and the locusts ate it; so we set in its place a
stone, one cubit long and the like broad, and the locusts came and
nibbled away the stone, because of the smell of the bread.” Quoth one of
his friends (and it was he who had given him the lie concerning the dog
and the bread and milk), “Marvel not at this, for rats and mice do more
than that.” Thereupon he said, “Get ye home! In the days of my poverty I
was a liar when I told you of the dogs jumping upon the shelf and eating
the bread and defiling the milk; and to-day, because I am rich again, I
say sooth when I tell you that locusts devoured a stone one cubit long
and one cubit broad.” They were abashed by his speech and departed from
him; and the youth’s good prospered and his case was amended. “Nor”
(continued the Wazir), “is this stranger or more seld-seen than the
story of the Prince who fell in love with the Picture.” Quoth the king,
Shah Bakht, “Haply, an I hear this story, I shall gain wisdom from it:
so I will not hasten in the slaying of this Minister, nor will I do him
die before the thirty days have expired.” Then he gave him leave to
withdraw, and he hied away to his own house.

                     The Sixth Night of the Month.

When the day absconded and the evening arrived, the king sat private in
his chamber and, summoning the Wazir, who presented himself to him,
questioned him of the story. So the Minister said, “Hear, O auspicious


There was once, in a province of Persia, a king of the kings, who was
great of degree, a magnifico, endowed with majesty and girt by soldiery;
but he was childless. Towards the end of his life, his Lord vouchsafed
him a male-child, and that boy grew up and was comely and learned all
manner of lere. He made him a private place, which was a towering
palace, edified with coloured marbles and jewels and paintings. When the
Prince entered the palace, he saw in its ceiling the picture of a
maiden, than whom he had never beheld a fairer of aspect, and she was
surrounded by slave-girls; whereupon he fell down in a fainting fit and
became distracted for love of her. Then he sat under the picture till
his father came in to him one day, and finding him lean of limb and
changed of complexion (which was by reason of his continual looking on
that picture), imagined that he was ill and summoned the sages and the
leaches, that they might medicine him. He also said to one of his
cup-companions, “An thou canst learn what aileth my son, thou shalt have
of me the white hand.”[358] Thereupon he went in to him and spake him
fair and cajoled him, till he confessed to him that his malady was
caused by the picture. Then the courtier returned to the king and told
him what ailed his son, whereupon he transported the Prince to another
palace and made his former lodging the guest-house; and whoso of the
Arabs was entertained therein, him he questioned of the picture, but
none could give him tidings thereof, till one day, when there came a
wayfarer who seeing the picture, cried, “There is no god but _the_ God!
My brother painted this portrait.” So the king sent for him and
questioned him of the affair of the picture and where was he who had
painted it. He replied, “O my lord, we are two brothers and one of us
went to the land of Hind and fell in love with the Indian king’s
daughter, and ’tis she who is the original of the portrait. He is wont
in every city he entereth to limn her likeness, and I follow him, and
longsome is my way.” When the king’s son heard this, he said, “Needs
must I travel to this damsel.” So he took all manner rare store and
riches galore and journeyed days and nights till he entered the land of
Hind, nor did he reach it save after sore travail. Then he asked of the
King of Hind who also heard of him, and invited him to the palace. When
the Prince came before him, he sought of him his daughter in marriage,
and the king said, “Indeed, thou art her match, but there is one
objection, to wit, none dare name a male before her because of her hate
for men.” So he pitched his tents under her palace windows, till one day
of the days he gat hold of a girl, one of her favourite slave-girls, and
gave her a mint of money. Quoth she to him, “Hast thou a need?” and
quoth he, “Yes,” and presently acquainted her with his case; when she
said, “In very sooth, thou puttest thyself in peril.” Then he tarried,
flattering himself with false hopes, till all that he had with him was
gone and the servants fled from him; whereupon he said to one in whom he
trusted, “I am minded to repair to my country and fetch what may suffice
me and return hither.” The other answered, “’Tis for thee to judge.” So
they set out to return, but the way was long to them and all that the
Prince had with him was spent and his company died and there abode but
one with him whom he loaded with the little that remained of the victual
and they left the rest and fared on. Then there came out a lion and
devoured the servant, and the king’s son found himself alone. He went
on, till his hackney stood still, whereupon he left it and walked till
his feet swelled. Presently he came to the land of the Turks,[359] and
he naked, hungry, nor having with him aught but somewhat of jewels,
bound about his fore-arm.[360] So he went to the bazar of the goldsmiths
and calling one of the brokers gave him the gems. The broker looked and
seeing two great rubies, said to him, “Follow me.” Accordingly, he
followed him, till he brought him to a goldsmith, to whom he gave the
jewels, saying, “Buy these.” He asked, “Whence hadst thou these?” and
the broker answered, “This youth is the owner of them.” Then said the
goldsmith to the Prince, “Whence hadst thou these rubies?” and he told
him all that had befallen him and that he was a king’s son. The
goldsmith sat astounded at his adventures and bought of him the rubies
for a thousand gold pieces. Then said the Prince to him, “Equip thyself
to go with me to my country.” So he made ready and went with him till
the king’s son drew near the frontiers of his sire’s kingdom, where the
people received him with most honourable reception and sent to acquaint
his father with his son’s arrival. The king came out to meet him and
they entreated the goldsmith with respect and regard. The Prince abode
awhile with his sire, then set out, he and the goldsmith, to return to
the country of the fair one, the daughter of the king of Hind; but there
met him highwaymen by the way and he fought the sorest of fights and was
slain. The goldsmith buried him and set a mark[361] on his grave and
returned to his own country sorrowing and distraught, without telling
any of the Prince’s violent death. Such was the case of the king’s son
and the goldsmith; but as regards the Indian king’s daughter of whom the
Prince went in quest and on whose account he was slain, she had been
wont to look out from the topmost terrace of her palace and to gaze on
the youth and on his beauty and loveliness; so she said to her
slave-girl one day, “Out on thee! What is become of the troops which
were camped beside my palace?” The maid replied, “They were the troops
of the youth, son to the Persian king, who came to demand thee in
wedlock, and wearied himself on thine account, but thou hadst no ruth on
him.” Cried the Princess, “Woe to thee! Why didst thou not tell me?” and
the damsel replied, “I feared thy fury.” Then she sought an audience of
the king her sire and said to him, “By Allah, I will go in quest of him,
even as he came in quest of me; else should I not do him justice as
due.” So she equipped herself and setting out, traversed the wastes and
spent treasures till she came to Sistan, where she called a goldsmith to
make her somewhat of ornaments. Now as soon as the goldsmith saw her, he
knew her (for that the Prince had talked with him of her and had
depictured her to him), so he questioned her of her case, and she
acquainted him with her errand, whereupon he buffeted his face and rent
his raiment and hove dust on his head and fell a-weeping. Quoth she,
“Why dost thou all this?” And he acquainted her with the Prince’s case
and how he was his comrade and told her that he was dead; whereat she
grieved for him and faring on to his father and mother, acquainted them
with the case. Thereupon the Prince’s father and his uncle and his
mother and the lords of the land repaired to his grave and the Princess
made mourning over him, crying aloud. She abode by the tomb a whole
month; then she caused fetch painters and bade them limn her likeness
and the portraiture of the king’s son. She also set down in writing
their story and that which had befallen them of perils and afflictions
and placed it, together with the pictures, at the head of the grave; and
after a little, they departed from the spot. “Nor” (continued the
Wazir), “is this stranger, O king of the age, than the story of the
Fuller and his Wife and the Trooper and what passed between them.” With
this the king bade the Minister hie away to his lodging, and when he
arose in the morning, he abode his day in his house.

                    The Seventh Night of the Month.

At eventide the king sat in his wonted seat and sending for the Wazir,
said to him, “Tell me the story of the Fuller and his Wife.” The
Minister replied, “With joy and goodly gree!” So he came forward and
said, “Hear, O king of the age,


There was once in a city of the cities a woman fair of favour, who took
to lover a trooper wight. Her husband was a fuller, and when he went out
to his work, the trooper used to come to her and tarry with her till the
time of the fuller’s return, when he would go away. After this fashion
they abode awhile, till one day the trooper said to his mistress, “I
mean to take me a tenement close to thine and dig a Sardáb-souterrain
from my house to thy house, and do thou say to thy spouse:—My sister
hath been absent with her husband and now they have returned from their
travels; and I have made her home herself in my neighbourhood, in order
that I may foregather with her at all times. So go thou to her mate the
trooper and offer him thy wares for sale, and thou wilt see my sister
with him and wilt see that she is I and I am she, without a doubt. Now,
Allah, Allah,[363] go to my sister’s husband and give ear to that which
he shall say to thee.” So the trooper bought him a house near hand and
made therein a tunnel abutting upon his mistress’s house. When he had
accomplished his affair, the wife bespoke her husband as her lover had
lessoned her and he went out to go to the trooper’s house, but turned
back by the way, whereupon said she to him, “By Allah, go at once, for
my sister asketh of thee.” The fool of a fuller went out and made for
the trooper’s house, whilst his wife forewent him thither by the
underground passage, and going up, sat down beside the soldier her
leman. Presently, the fuller entered and saluted the trooper and salamed
to his own wife and was confounded at the coincidence of the case.[364]
Then, doubt befalling him, he returned in haste to his dwelling; but she
preceded him by the Sardab to her chamber and donning her wonted
clothes, sat awaiting him and said to him, “Did I not bid thee go to my
sister and greet her husband and make friends with them?” Quoth he, “I
did this, but I misdoubted of my affair, when I saw his wife;” and quoth
she, “Did I not tell thee that she favoureth me and I her, and there is
naught to distinguish between us but our clothes? Go back to her and
make sure.” Accordingly, of the heaviness of his wit, he believed her,
and returning on his way, went in to the trooper; but she had foregone
him, and when he saw her by the side of her lover, he began looking on
her and pondering. Then he saluted her and she returned him the salam;
and when she spoke he was clean bewildered. So the trooper asked him,
“What aileth thee to be thus?” and he answered, “This woman is my wife,
and the speech is her speech.” Then he rose in haste and, returning to
his own house, saw his wife, who had preceded him by the secret passage.
So he went back to the trooper’s house and found her sitting as before;
whereupon he was abashed in her presence and seating himself in the
trooper’s sitting-chamber, ate and drank with him and became drunken and
abode senseless all that day till nightfall, when the trooper arose and,
the fuller’s hair being long and flowing, he shaved off a portion of it
after the fashion of the Turks,[365] clipped the rest short and clapped
a Tarbúsh on his head. Then he thrust his feet into walking-boots and
girt him with a sword and a girdle and bound about his middle a quiver
and a bow and arrows. He also put some silvers in his poke and thrust
into his sleeve letters-patent addressed to the governor of Ispahan,
bidding him assign to Rustam Khamártakani a monthly allowance of an
hundred dirhams and ten pounds of bread and five pounds of meat and
enrol him among the Turks under his commandment. After which he took him
up and carrying him forth, left him in one of the mosques. The fuller
ceased not sleeping till sunrise, when he awoke and finding himself in
this plight, misdoubted of his affair and fancied that he was a Turk and
fell a-putting one foot forward and drawing the other back. Then said he
in himself, “I will go to my dwelling, and if my wife know me, then am I
Ahmad the fuller; but an she know me not, I am a Turk.” So he betook
himself to his house; but when his wife, the cunning witch, saw him, she
cried out in his face, saying, “Whither now, O trooper? Wilt thou break
into the house of Ahmad the fuller, and he a man of repute, having a
brother-in-law a Turk, a man of rank with the Sultan? An thou depart
not, I will acquaint my husband and he will requite thee thy deed.” When
he heard her words, the dregs of his drink wobbled in his brain and he
fancied that he was indeed a Turk. So he went out from her and putting
his hand to his sleeve, found therein a writ and gave it to one who read
it to him. When he heard that which was in the scroll, his mind was
confirmed in his phantasy; but he said to himself, “My wife may be
seeking to put a cheat on me; so I will go to my fellows the fullers;
and if they recognise me not, then am I for sure Khamartakani the Turk.”
So he betook himself to the fullers and when they espied him afar off,
they thought that he was really Khamartakani or one of the Turks, who
used to send their washing to them without payment and give them never a
stiver. Now they had complained of them aforetime to the Sultan, and he
said, “If any one of the Turks come to you, pelt him with stones.”
Accordingly, when they saw the fuller, they fell upon him with sticks
and stones and pelted him; whereupon quoth he, “Verily, I am a Turk and
knew it not.” Then he took of the dirhams in his pouch and bought him
victual for the way and hired a hackney and set out for Ispahan, leaving
his wife to the trooper. “Nor,” continued the Wazir, “is this stranger
than the story of the Merchant and the Crone and the King.” The
Minister’s tale pleased King Shah Bakht and his heart clave to the story
of the merchant and the old woman; so he bade Al-Rahwan withdraw to his
lodging, and he went away to his house and abode there the next day till
he should be summoned to the presence.

                     The Eighth Night of the Month.

When the evening evened, the king sat private in his chamber and bade
fetch the Wazir, who presented himself before him, and the king required
of him the story. So the Wazir answered “With love and gladness. Hear, O


There was once a family of affluence and distinction, in a city of
Khorasan, and the townsfolk used to envy them for that which Allah had
vouchsafed them. As time went on, their fortune ceased from them and
they passed away, till there remained of them but one old woman. When
she grew feeble and decrepit, the townsfolk succoured her not with
aught, but thrust her forth of the city, saying, “This old woman shall
not neighbour with us, for that we do good to her and she requiteth us
with evil.”[366] So she took shelter in a ruined place and strangers
used to bestow alms upon her, and in this way she tarried a length of
time. Now the king of that city had aforetime contended for the kingship
with his uncle’s son, and the people disliked the king; but Allah
Almighty decreed that he should overcome his cousin. However, jealousy
of him abode in his heart and he acquainted the Wazir, who hid it not
and sent him money. Furthermore, he fell to summoning all strangers who
came to the town, man after man, and questioning them of their creed and
their goods, and whoso answered him not satisfactory, he took his
wealth.[367] Now a certain wealthy man of the Moslems was wayfaring,
without knowing aught of this, and it befel that he arrived at that city
by night, and coming to the ruin, gave the old woman money and said to
her, “No harm upon thee.” Whereupon she lifted up her voice and blessed
him: so he set down his merchandise by her and abode with her the rest
of the night and the next day. Now highwaymen had followed him that they
might rob him of his monies, but succeeded not in aught: wherefore he
went up to the old woman and kissed her head and exceeded in bounty to
her. Then she warned him of that which awaited strangers entering the
town and said to him, “I like not this for thee and I fear mischief for
thee from these questions that the Wazir hath appointed for addressing
the ignorant.” And she expounded to him the case according to its
conditions: then said she to him, “But have thou no concern: only carry
me with thee to thy lodging, and if he question thee of aught
enigmatical, whilst I am with thee, I will expound the answers to thee.”
So he carried the crone with him to the city and lodged her in his
lodging and entreated her honourably. Presently, the Wazir heard of the
merchant’s coming; so he sent to him and bade bring him to his house and
talked with him awhile of his travels and of whatso had befallen him
therein, and the merchant answered his queries. Then said the Minister,
“I will put certain critical questions to thee, which an thou answer me,
’twill be well for thee,” and the merchant rose and made him no answer.
Quoth the Wazir, “What is the weight of the elephant?” The merchant was
perplexed and returned him no reply, giving himself up for lost;
however, at last he said, “Grant me three days of delay.” The minister
granted him the time he sought and he returned to his lodging and
related what had passed to the old woman, who said, “When the morrow
cometh, go to the Wazir and say to him, Make a ship and launch it on the
sea and put in it an elephant, and when it sinketh in the water, mark
the place whereunto the water riseth. Then take out the elephant and
cast in stones in its place, till the ship sink to that same mark;
whereupon do thou take out the stones and weigh them and thou wilt
presently know the weight of the elephant.”[368] Accordingly, when he
arose in the morning, he went to the Wazir and repeated to him that
which the old woman had taught him; whereat the Minister marvelled and
said to him, “What sayest thou of a man, who seeth in his house four
holes, and in each hole a viper offering to sally out upon him and slay
him, and in his house are four sticks and each hole may not be stopped
but with the ends of two sticks? How, then, shall he stop all the holes
and deliver himself from the vipers?” When the merchant heard this,
there befel him such concern that it garred him forget the first and he
said to the Wazir, “Grant me delay, so I may reflect on the reply”; and
the Minister cried, “Go out, and bring me the answer, or I will seize
thy monies.” The merchant fared forth and returned to the old woman who,
seeing him changed of complexion, said to him, “What did his hoariness
ask thee?” So he acquainted her with the case and she cried, “Fear not;
I will bring thee forth of this strait.” Quoth he, “Allah requite thee
with weal!” Then quoth she, “To-morrow go to him with a stout heart and
say:—The answer to that whereof thou asketh me is this. Put the heads of
two sticks into one of the holes; then take the other two sticks and lay
them across the middle of the first two and stop with their two heads
the second hole and with their ferrules the fourth hole. Then take the
ferrules of the first two sticks and stop with them the third
hole.”[369] So he repaired to the Wazir and repeated to him the answer;
and he marvelled at its justness and said to him, “Go; by Allah; I will
ask thee no more questions, for thou with thy skill marrest my
foundation.”[370] Then he treated him as a friend and the merchant
acquainted him with the affair of the old woman; whereupon quoth the
Wazir, “Needs must the intelligent company with the intelligent.” Thus
did this weak woman restore to that man his life and his monies on the
easiest wise; “Nor,” continued the Wazir, “is this stranger than the
story of the Simpleton Husband.” When the king heard this, he said, “How
like it must be to this our own case!” Then he bade the Minister retire
to his lodging; so he withdrew and on the morrow he abode at home till
the king should summon him to his presence.

                     The Ninth Night of the Month.

When the night came, the king sat private in his chamber and sending
after the Wazir, sought of him the story; and he said, “Hear, O august

               _THE TALE OF THE SIMPLETON HUSBAND_.”[371]

There was once in olden time a foolish man and an ignorant, who had
abounding wealth, and his wife was a beautiful woman, who loved a
handsome youth. The Cicisbeo used to watch for her husband’s absence and
come to her, and on this wise he abode a long while. One day of the
days, as the woman was closeted with her lover, he said to her, “O my
lady and my beloved, an thou desire me and love me, give me possession
of thy person and satisfy my need in the presence of thy husband;
otherwise I will never again come to thee nor draw near thee while I
live my life.” Now she loved him with exceeding love and could not
suffer his separation an hour nor could endure to anger him; so, when
she heard his words, she said to him, “Bismillah, so be it, in Allah’s
name, O my darling and coolth of mine eyes: may he not live who would
vex thee!” Quoth he, “To-day?” and quoth she, “Yes, by thy life,” and
made an appointment with him for this. When her husband came home, she
said to him, “I want to go a-pleasuring,” and he said, “With all my
heart.” So he went, till he came to a goodly place, abounding in vines
and water, whither he carried her and pitched her a tent by the side of
a tall tree; and she betook herself to a place alongside the tent and
made her there a Sardáb, in which she hid her lover. Then said she to
her husband, “I want to climb this tree[372]”; and he said, “Do so.” So
she clomb it and when she came to the tree-top, she cried out and
slapped her face, saying, “O thou lecher, are these thy lewd ways? Thou
swarest faith to me, and thou liedest.” And she repeated her speech
twice and thrice. Then she came down from the tree and rent her raiment
and said, “O lecher, an these be thy dealings with me before my eyes,
how dost thou when thou art absent from me?” Quoth he, “What aileth
thee?” and quoth she, “I saw thee futter the woman before my very eyes.”
Cried he, “Not so, by Allah! But hold thy peace till I go up and see.”
So he clomb the tree and no sooner did he begin to do so than out came
the lover from his hiding-place and taking the woman by the legs, fell
to shagging her. When the husband came to the top of the tree, he looked
and beheld a man futtering his wife; so he called out, “O whore, what
doings are these?” and he made haste to come down from the tree to the
ground. But meanwhile the lover had returned to his hiding-place and his
wife asked him, “What sawest thou?” and he answered, “I saw a man shag
thee;” but she said, “Thou liest; thou sawest naught and sayst this only
by way of phantasy.” The same they did three several times, and every
time he clomb the tree the lover came up out of the underground place
and mounted her, whilst her husband looked on and she still said, “Seest
thou aught, O liar?” “Yes,” would he answer, and came down in haste, but
saw no one and she said to him, “By my life, look and speak naught but
sooth!” Then he cried to her, “Arise, let us depart this place, for ’tis
full of Jinn and Marids.”[373] Accordingly, they returned to their house
and nighted there, and the man arose in the morning, assured that this
was all but phantasy and fascination. And so the lover won his wicked
will. “Nor, O king of the age,” continued the Wazir, “is this stranger
than the story of the King and the Tither.” When the king heard this
from the Minister, he bade him go away, and he went.

                     The Tenth Night of the Month.

When it was eventide, the king summoned the Wazir and sought of him the
story of the King and the Tither, and he said, “Hear, O king,


There was once a king of the kings of the earth, who dwelt in a
flourishing city, abounding in good; but he wronged its people and
entreated them foully, so that he ruined the city; and he was named
naught else but tyrant and oppressor. Now he was wont, wheneas he heard
of a violent man in another land, to send after him and lure him with
lucre to take service with him; and there was a certain Tither, who
exceeded all other Tithers in oppression of the people and foul dealing.
So the king sent after him and when he stood before him, he found him a
man of mighty fine presence and said to him, “Thou hast been described
to me, but I see thou surpassest the description. Set out to me some of
thy doings and sayings, so I may be dispensed therewith from enquiring
into the whole of thy case.” Answered the other, “With all my heart!
Know, O King, that I oppress the folk and people the land, whilst other
than I ruineth it and peopleth it not.” Now the king was leaning back:
but presently he sat upright and said, “Tell me of this.” The Tither
replied, “’Tis well: I go to the man whom I purpose to tithe and cozen
him and feign to be busied with certain business, so that I seclude
myself therewith from the people; and meanwhile the man is squeezed with
the foulest of extortion, till naught of money is left him. Then I
appear and they come in to me and questions arise concerning him and I
say:—Indeed, I was ordered worse than this, for some one (may Allah
curse him!) hath slandered him to the king. Presently I take half of his
good and return him the rest publicly before the folk and dismiss him to
his house, in all honour and worship, and he garreth the money returned
be carried before him, whilst he blesseth me and all who are with him
also bless me. So is it bruited abroad in the city that I have restored
to him his monies and he himself notifieth the like, to the intent that
he may have a claim on me for the favour due to those who praise me. On
this wise I keep half his property. Then I seem to forget him till the
year[374] hath passed over him, when I send for him and recall to him
somewhat of that which hath befallen aforetime and require of him
somewhat of money in secret; accordingly he doth this and hasteneth to
his house and forwardeth whatso I bid him, with a contented heart. Then
I send to another man, between whom and the first is enmity, and lay
hands upon him and feign to the other man that it is he who hath
slandered him to the king and hath taken the half of his good; and the
people praise me.”[375] The King wondered at this and at his wily
dealing and clever contrivance and made him controller of all his
affairs and of his kingdom and the land was placed under his governance,
and he said to him, “Take and people.”[376] One day, the Tither went out
and saw an old man, a woodcutter, and with him wood; so he said to him,
“Pay a dirham tithe for thy load.” Quoth the Shaykh, “Behold, thou
killest me and killest my family;” and quoth the Tither, “What? Who
killeth the folk?” And the oldster answered, “An thou let me enter the
city, I shall there sell the load for three dirhams, whereof I will give
thee one and buy with the other two silvers what will support my family;
but, an thou press me for the tithe outside the city, the load will sell
but for one dirham and thou wilt take it and I shall abide without food,
I and my family. Indeed, thou and I in this circumstance are like unto
David and Solomon (on the twain be the Peace!”) “How so?” asked the
Tither, and the woodcutter answered, “Do thou hear

                   _THE STORY OF DAVID AND SOLOMON_.”

Certain husbandmen once made complaint to David (on whom be the Peace!)
against some sheep-owners, whose flocks had come down upon their crops
by night and had devoured them, and he bade value the crops and that the
shepherds should make good the damage. But Solomon (on whom be the
Peace!) rose and said, “Nay, but let the sheep be delivered to the
husbandmen, so they may take their milk and wool, till they have
recouped the value of their crops; then let the sheep return to their
owners.” Accordingly David reversed his own decision and caused execute
that of Solomon; yet was David no oppressor; but Solomon’s judgment was
the juster and he showed himself therein better versed in jurisprudence
and Holy Law.[377] When the Tither heard the old man’s speech, he felt
ruthful and said to him, “O Shaykh, I make thee a gift of that which is
due from thee, and do thou cleave to me and leave me not, so haply I may
get of thee gain which shall do away from me my wrongousness and guide
me on the path of righteousness.” So the old man followed him, and there
met him another with a load of wood. Quoth the Tither to him, “Pay me
that which thou owest me;” and quoth he, “Have patience with me till
to-morrow, for I owe the hire of a house, and I will sell another load
of fuel and pay thee two days’ tithe.” But he refused him this and the
Shaykh said to him, “An thou constrain him unto this, thou wilt compel
him quit thy country, because he is a stranger here and hath no
domicile; and if he remove on account of one dirham, thou wilt forfeit
of him three hundred and sixty dirhams a year.[378] Thus wilt thou lose
the mickle in keeping the little.” Quoth the Tither, “Verily[379] will I
give him a dirham every month to the rent of his lodging.” Then he went
on and presently there met him a third woodcutter and he said to him,
“Pay thy due;” but he said, “I will pay thee a dirham, when I enter the
city; or take of me four dániks[380] now.” Quoth the Tither, “I will not
do it,” but the Shaykh said to him, “Take of him the four daniks
presently, for ’tis easy to take and hard to give back.” Exclaimed the
Tither, “By Allah ’tis good!” and he arose and hied on, crying out at
the top of his voice and saying, “I have no power this day to do
evil.”[381] Then he doffed his dress and went forth wandering at a
venture, repenting unto his Lord. “Nor” (continued the Wazir), “is this
story stranger than that of the Robber who believed the Woman and sought
refuge with Allah against falling in with her like, by reason of her
cunning contrivance for herself.” When the king heard this, he said to
himself, “Since the Tither repented, in consequence of the woodcutter’s
warnings, it behoveth I leave this Wazir on life so I may hear the story
of the Robber and the Woman.” And he bade Al-Rahwan return to his

                    The Eleventh Night of the Month.

When the evening came and the king had taken his seat, he summoned the
Wazir and required of him the story of the Robber and the Woman. Quoth
the Minister, “Hear, O king,


A certain Robber was a cunning workman and used not to steal aught, till
he had wasted all that was with him; moreover, he stole not from his
neighbours, neither companied with any of the thieves, for fear lest
some one should betray him, and his case become public. After this
fashion he abode a great while, in flourishing condition, and his secret
was concealed, till Almighty Allah decreed that he broke in upon a
beggar, a poor man whom he deemed rich. When he gained access to the
house, he found naught, whereat he was wroth, and necessity prompted him
to wake that man, who lay asleep alongside of his wife. So he aroused
him and said to him, “Show me thy treasure.” Now he had no treasure to
show; but the Robber believed him not and was instant upon him with
threats and blows. When he saw that he got no profit of him, he said to
him, “Swear by the oath of divorce[382] from thy wife that thou hast
nothing.” So he sware and his wife said to him, “Fie on thee! Wilt thou
divorce me? Is not the hoard buried in yonder chamber?” Then she turned
to the Robber and conjured him to be weightier of blows upon her
husband, till he should deliver to him the treasure, anent which he had
forsworn himself. So he drubbed him with a grievous drubbing, till he
carried him to a certain chamber, wherein she signed to him that the
hoard was and that he should take it up. So the Robber entered, he and
the husband; and when they were both in the chamber, she locked on them
the door, which was a stout and strong, and said to the Robber, “Woe to
thee, O fool! Thou hast fallen into the trap and now I have but to cry
out and the officers of police will come and take thee and thou wilt
lose thy life, O Satan!” Quoth he, “Let me go forth;” and quoth she,
“Thou art a man and I am a woman; and in thy hand is a knife, and I am
afraid of thee.” He cried, “Take the knife from me.” So she took it and
said to her husband, “Art thou a woman and he a man? Pain his neck-nape
with tunding, even as he tunded thee; and if he put out his hand to
thee, I will cry out a single cry and the policemen will come and take
him and hew him in two.” So the husband said to him, “O
thousand-horned,[383] O dog, O dodger, I owe thee a deposit[384]
wherefor thou hast dunned me.” And he fell to bashing him grievously
with a stick of holm-oak,[385] whilst he called out to the woman for
help and prayed her to deliver him: but she said, “Keep thy place till
the morning, and thou shalt see queer things.” And her husband beat him
within the chamber, till he killed[386] him and he swooned away. Then he
left beating him and when the Robber came to himself, the woman said to
her husband, “O man, this house is on hire and we owe its owners much
money, and we have naught; so how wilt thou do?” And she went on to
bespeak him thus. The Robber asked “And what is the amount of the rent?”
The husband answered, “’Twill be eighty dirhams;” and the thief said, “I
will pay this for thee and do thou let me go my way.” Then the wife
enquired, “O man, how much do we owe the baker and the greengrocer?”
Quoth the Robber, “What is the sum of this?” And the husband said,
“Sixty dirhams.” Rejoined the other, “That makes two hundred dirhams;
let me go my way and I will pay them.” But the wife said, “O my dear,
and the girl groweth up and needs must we marry her and equip her and do
what else is needful.” So the Robber said to the husband, “How much dost
thou want?” and he rejoined, “An hundred dirhams in a modest way.”[387]
Quoth the Robber, “That maketh three hundred dirhams.” Then the woman
said, “O my dear, when the girl is married, thou wilt need money for
winter expenses, charcoal and firewood and other necessaries.” The
Robber asked, “What wouldst thou have?” And she answered, “An hundred
dirhams.” He rejoined, “Be it four hundred dirhams.” And she continued,
“O my dear and O coolth of mine eyes, needs must my husband have capital
in hand,[388] wherewith he may buy goods and open him a shop.” Said he,
“How much will that be?” And she, “An hundred dirhams.” Quoth the
Robber, “That maketh five hundred dirhams; I will pay it; but may I be
triply divorced from my wife if all my possessions amount to more than
this, and they be the savings of twenty years! Let me go my way, so I
may deliver them to thee.” Cried she, “O fool, how shall I let thee go
thy way? Utterly impossible! Be pleased to give me a right token.”[389]
So he gave her a token for his wife and she cried out to her young
daughter and said to her, “Keep this door.” Then she charged her husband
to watch over the Robber, till she should return, and repairing to his
wife, acquainted her with his case and told her that her husband the
thief had been taken and had compounded for his release, at the price of
seven hundred dirhams, and named to her the token. Accordingly, she gave
her the money and she took it and returned to her house. By this time,
the dawn had dawned; so she let the thief go his way, and when he went
out, she said to him, “O my dear, when shall I see thee come and take
the treasure?” And he, “O indebted one,[390] when thou needest other
seven hundred dirhams, wherewith to amend thy case and that of thy
children and to pay thy debts.” And he went out, hardly believing in his
deliverance from her. “Nor,” continued the Wazir, “is this stranger than
the story of the Three Men and our Lord Ísà.” So the king bade him hie
to his own home.

                    The Twelfth Night of the Month.

When it was eventide, the king summoned the Minister and bade him tell
the promised tale. He replied, “Hearing and obeying. Give ear, O
glorious king, to


Three men once went out questing treasure and came upon a nugget of
gold, weighing fifty maunds.[391] When they saw it, they took it up on
their shoulders and carried it till they drew near a certain city, when
one of them said, “Let us sit in the cathedral-mosque,[392] whilst one
of us shall go and buy us what we may eat.” So they sat down in the
mosque and one of them arose and entered the city. When he came therein,
his soul prompted him to false his two fellows and get the gold to
himself alone. Accordingly, he bought food and poisoned it: but, when he
returned to his comrades, they sprang upon him and slew him, in order
that they might enjoy the gold without him. Then they ate of the
poisoned food and died, and the gold lay cast down over against them.
Presently, Ísà bin Maryam (on whom be the Peace!) passed by and seeing
this, besought Allah Almighty for tidings of their case; so He told him
what had betided them, whereat great was his surprise and he related to
his disciples[393] what he had seen. Quoth one of them, “O Spirit of
Allah,[394] naught resembleth this but my own adventure.” Quoth Isa,
“How so?” and the other began to tell

                        _THE DISCIPLE’S STORY_.

Once I was in such a city, where I hid a thousand dirhams in a
monastery. After a while, I went thither and taking the money, bound it
about my waist. Then I set out to return and when I came to the
Sahará[395]-waste, the carrying of the money was heavy upon me.
Presently, I espied a horseman pushing on after me; so I waited till he
came up and said to him, “O rider, carry this money for me and earn
reward and recompense in Heaven.” Said he, “No, I will not do it, for I
should tire myself and tire out my horse.” Then he went on but, before
he had gone far, he said in his mind, “An I take up the money and put my
steed to speed and devance him, how shall he overtake me?” And I also
said in my mind, “Verily, I erred; for, had he taken the money and made
off, what could I have done?” Then he turned back to me and cried to me,
“Hand over the money, that I may carry it for thee.” But I replied to
him, “That which hath occurred to thy mind hath occurred to mine also;
so go thou and go safe.” Quoth Isa (on whom be the Peace!), “Had these
done prudently, they had taken thought for themselves; but they unheeded
the issues of events; for that whoso acteth cautiously is safe and
winneth his wish, and whoso neglecteth precaution is lost and
repenteth.”[396] “Nor,” continued the Wazir, “is this stranger or rarer
than the story of the King, whose kingdom was restored to him and his
wealth, after he had become poor, possessing not a single dirham.” When
the king heard this, he said in himself, “How like is this to my own
story in the matter of the Minister and his slaughter! Had I not used
deliberation, I had done him dead.” And he bade Al-Rahwan hie to his own

                   The Thirteenth Night of the Month.

When the evening evened, the king sent for the Wazir to his sitting
chamber and bade him tell the promised tale. So he said, “Hearkening and
obedience. They relate, O king,


There was once, in a city of the cities of Al-Hind, a just king and a
beneficent, and he had a Wazir, a man of understanding, upright in his
rede, and praiseworthy in his policy, a Minister in whose hand was the
handling of all the affairs of the realm; for he was firmly based on the
Sultan’s favour and high in esteem with the folk of his time, and the
king set great store by him and entrusted himself to him in all his
transactions, by reason of his excellent management of the lieges, and
he had guards[397] who were content with him and grateful to him. Now
that king had a brother, who envied him and would lief have taken his
place; and when he was a-weary of looking for his death and the term of
his life seemed distant, he took counsel with certain of his partisans
and they said, “The Minister is the monarch’s counsellor and but for
this Wazir the king were kingdomless.” So the pretender cast about for
the ruin of the defender, but could find no means of furthering his
design; and when the affair grew longsome upon him, he said to his wife,
“What deemest thou will gar us gain herein?” “What is it?” “I mean in
the matter of yonder Minister, who inciteth my brother to worship with
all his might and biddeth him unto devoutness, and indeed the king
doteth upon his counsel and stablisheth him governor of all monies and
matters.” “True; but how shall we devise with him?” “I have a device, so
thou wilt help me in that which I shall say to thee.” “Thou shalt have
my help in whatsoever thou desirest.” “I mean to dig him a pit in the
vestibule and conceal it artfully.” Accordingly, he did this, and when
it was night, he covered the pit with a light covering, so that, when
the Wazir trod upon it, it would give way under his tread. Then he sent
to him and summoned him to the Court in the king’s name, and the
messenger bade him enter by the private wicket-way. So he came in alone,
and when he stepped upon the covering of the pit, it caved in with him
and he fell to the bottom; whereupon the king’s brother fell to pelting
him with stones. When the Minister beheld what had betided him he gave
himself up for lost; so he stirred not for a while and lay still. The
Prince, seeing him make no sign deemed him dead; so he took him forth
and wrapping him up in his robes, cast him into the surges of the sea in
the middle night. When the Wazir felt the water, he awoke from the swoon
and swam for an hour or so, till a ship passed by him, whereupon he
shouted to the sailors and they took him up. Now when the morning
morrowed, the people went seeking for him, but found him not; and the
king learning this, was perplexed concerning his affair and abode
unknowing whatso he should do. Then he sought for a Minister to stand in
his stead, and the king’s brother said, “I have for Wazir an efficient
man.” Said the king, “Bring him to me.” So he brought him a man, whom he
set at the head of affairs; but he seized upon the kingdom and threw the
king in fetters and made his brother king in lieu of him. The new ruler
gave himself up to all manner of frowardness, whereat the folk murmured
and his Minister said to him, “I fear lest the Hindians take the old
king and restore him to the kingship and we both come to ruin: so, if we
seize him and cast him into the sea, we shall be at rest from him; and
we will publish among the folk that he is dead.” And they, agreeing upon
this, took him up and carrying him out to sea, cast him in. When he felt
the water, he struck out, and ceased not swimming till he landed upon an
island, where he tarried five days finding nothing which he might eat or
drink; but, on the sixth day, when he despaired of his life, behold,
there passed a ship; so he made signals to the crew and they came and
took him up and fared on with him to an inhabited country, where they
set him ashore, mother-naked as he was. There, seeing a man seeding, he
sought guidance of him and the husbandman asked, “Art thou a foreigner?”
“Yes,” answered the king and sat with him and they talked. The peasant
found him clever and quick-witted and said to him, “An thou beheld a
comrade of mine, thou wouldst see him the like of what I see thee, for
his case is even as thy case, and he is at this present my friend.”
Quoth the king, “Verily, thou makest me long to look at him. Canst thou
not bring us together, me and him?” Quoth the husbandman, “With joy and
goodly gree;” and the king sat with him till he had made an end of his
seeding, when he carried him to his homestead and brought him in company
with the other stranger, and behold it was his Wazir. When each saw
other, the twain wept and embraced, and the sower wept for their
weeping; but the king hid their affair and said to him, “This man is
from my mother-land and he is as my brother.” So they homed with the
husbandman and helped him for a hire, wherewith they supported
themselves a long spell. Meanwhile, they sought news of their patrial
stead and learned that which its people suffered of straitness and
severity. One day there came a ship and in it a merchant from their own
country, who knew them and rejoiced in them with joy exceeding and clad
them in goodly clothing. He also acquainted them with the manner of the
treachery that had been practised upon them, and counselled them to
return to their own land, they and he with whom they had made
friends,[398] assuring them that Almighty Allah would restore them to
their former rank. So the king returned and the folk joined themselves
to him and he fell upon his brother and his Wazir and took them and
threw them into jail. Then he sat down again upon the throne of his
kingship, whilst the Minister stood between his hands and they returned
to their former estate, but they had naught of worldly wealth. Presently
the king said to his Wazir, “How shall we continue tarrying in this
city, and we thus poorly conditioned?” and he answered, “Be at thine
ease and have no concern.” Then he singled out one of the soldiers[399]
and said to him, “Send us thy service[400] for the year.” Now there were
in the city fifty thousand subjects[401] and in the hamlets and
villages[402] a like number; and the Minister sent to each of these,
saying, “Let each and every of you get an egg and set it under a hen.”
They did this and it was neither burden nor grievance to them; and when
twenty days had passed by, each egg was hatched, and the Wazir bade them
pair the chickens, male with female, and rear them well. They did
accordingly and it was found a charge unto no one. Then they waited for
them awhile and after this the Minister asked of the chickens and was
answered that they were become fowls. Furthermore, they brought him all
their eggs and he bade set them; and after twenty days there were
hatched from each pair of them thirty or five-and-twenty or fifteen
chickens at the least. The Wazir bade note against each man the number
of chickens which pertained to him, and after two months, he took the
old partlets and the cockerels, and there came to him from each man some
half a score, and he left the young partlets with them. Even so he sent
to the country folk and let the cocks remain with them. Thus he got him
whole broods of young poultry and appropriated to himself the sale of
the fowls, and on this wise he gained for him, in the course of a year,
that which the kingly estate required of the King, and his affairs were
set right for him by the cunning contrivance of the Minister. And he
caused the country to thrive and dealt justly by his subjects and
returned to them all that he took from them and lived a grateful and
prosperous life. Thus right counsel and prudence are better than wealth,
for that understanding profiteth at all times and seasons. “Nor,”
continued the Wazir, “is this stranger than the story of the Man whose
caution slew him.” When the king heard the Words of his Wazir, he
wondered with the uttermost wonder and bade him retire to his lodging.

                   The Fourteenth Night of the Month.

When the Minister returned to the presence, the King sought of him the
story of the Man whose caution slew him and he said, “Hear, O auspicious


There was once a man who was cautious exceedingly concerning himself,
and he set out one day on a journey to a land abounding in wild beasts.
The caravan wherewith he fared came by night to the gate of a city; but
the warders would not open to them, for there were lions there; so they
nighted without the walls. Now that man, of the excess of his caution,
could not determine a place wherein he should pass the night, for fear
of the wild beasts and reptiles; so he went about seeking an empty stead
wherein he might lie. At last, as there was a ruined building hard by,
he climbed up on to a high wall and ceased not clambering hither and
thither, of the excess of his carefulness, till his feet betrayed him
and he slipped and fell to the bottom and died, whilst his companions
arose in the morning safe and sound. Now, had he overmastered his
wrongous rede and had he submitted himself to Fate and Fortune, it had
been safer and better for him; but he made light of the folk and
belittled their wit and was not content to take example by them; for his
soul whispered him that he was a man of wits and he fancied that, an he
abode with them, he would perish; so his folly cast him into perdition.
“Nor,” continued the Wazir, “is this stranger than the story of the Man
who was lavish of his house and his provision to one he knew not.” When
the King heard this, he said, “I will not separate myself from the folk
and slay my Minister.” And he bade him hie to his own house.

                   The Fifteenth Night of the Month.

When the evening evened, the King bade fetch the Wazir and required of
him the story. So he said, “Hear, O King,

                        ONE WHOM HE KNEW NOT_.”

There was once an Arab of high rank and noble presence, a model of
magnanimity and exalted generosity, and he had brethren, with whom he
consorted and caroused, and they were wont to assemble by rotation at
one another’s homes. When it came to his turn, he gat ready in his house
all manner goodly meats and pleasant and dainty drinks and the fairest
flowers and the finest fruits, and he provided all kinds of instruments
of music and store of wondrous dictes and marvellous stories and
pleasant instances and histories and witty anecdotes and verses and what
not else, for there was none among those with whom he was wont to
company but enjoyed this in every goodly fashion, and the entertainment
he had provided contained all whereof each had need. Then he sallied
forth in quest of his friends, and went round about the city, so he
might assemble them; but found none of them at home. Now in that town
was a man of pleasant conversation and large generosity, a merchant of
condition, young of years and bright of blee, who had come to that place
from his own country with merchandise in great store and wealth galore.
He took up his abode therein and the town was pleasant to him and he was
large in lavishing, so that he came to the end of all his wealth and
there remained in his hand naught save what was upon him of
raiment.[403] So he left the lodging which had homed him in the days of
his prosperity; after he had wasted that which was therein of furniture,
and fell to finding refuge in the houses of the townsfolk from night to
night. One day, as he went wandering about the streets, he beheld a
woman of the uttermost beauty and loveliness, and what he saw of her
charms amazed him and there happened to him what made him forget his
sorry plight. She accosted him and jested with him and he besought her
of union and intimacy; so she consented to this and said to him, “Let us
go to thy lodging.” Herewith he repented and was perplexed concerning
his procedure and grieved for that which must escape him of her company
by reason of the straitness of his hand, for that he had not a whit of
spending-money. But he was ashamed to say “No,” after he had sued and
wooed her; wherefore he went on before her, bethinking him how he should
rid himself of her and seeking some excuse which he might put off on
her, and gave not over going from street to street, till he entered one
that had no issue and saw, at the farther end, a door, whereon was a
padlock. Then said he to her, “Do thou excuse me, for my lad hath locked
the door and how shall we open it?” Said she, “O my lord, the padlock is
worth only some ten dirhams;” and presently she tucked up her sleeves
from forearms as they were crystal and taking a stone, smote the padlock
and broke it; and, opening the door, said to him, “Enter, O my lord.”
Accordingly he went in, committing his affair to Allah (to whom belong
Honour and Glory), and she entered after him and locked the door from
within. They found themselves in a pleasant house, collecting all good
and gladness; and the young man fared forwards, till he came to the
sitting-chamber, and, behold, it was furnished with the finest of
furniture as hath before been set out.[404] He seated himself and leant
upon a cushion, whilst she put out her hand to her veil and doffed it.
Then she threw off her heavy outer clothes till she was clad in the
thinnest which showed her charms, whereupon the young man embraced her
and kissed her and enjoyed her; after which they washed with the
Ghusl-ablution and returned to their place and he said to her, “Know
that I have little knowledge of what goeth on in my own house, for that
I trust to my servant: so arise thou and see what the lad hath made
ready in the kitchen.” Accordingly, she arose and going down into the
kitchen, saw cooking pots over the fire, wherein were all manner of
dainty viands, and firsts-bread[405] and fresh almond cakes.[406] So she
set bread on a dish and ladled out what she would from the pots and
brought it to him. They ate and drank and played and made merry a while
of the day; and as they were thus engaged, suddenly up came the master
of the house, with his friends, whom he had brought with him, that they
might converse together, as of wont. He saw the door opened and knocked
a light knock, saying to his company, “Have patience with me, for some
of my family are come to visit me: wherefore excuse belongeth first to
Allah Almighty, and then to you.”[407] So they farewelled him and fared
their ways, whilst he rapped another light rap at the door. When the
young man heard this, he changed colour and the woman said to him,
“Methinks thy lad hath returned.” He answered, “Yes;” and she arose and
opening the door to the master of the house, said to him, “Where hast
thou been? Indeed, thy master is angry with thee?” and he said, “O my
lady, I have not been save about his business.” Then he girt his waist
with a kerchief and entering, saluted the young merchant, who said to
him, “Where hast thou been?” Quoth he, “I have done thine errands;” and
quoth the youth, “Go and eat and come hither and drink.” So he went
away, as he bade him, and ate; then he washed hands and returning to the
sitting-room, sat down on the carpet and fell to talking with them;
whereupon the young merchant’s heart was heartened and his breast
broadened and he applied himself to pleasure. They were in all joyance
of life and the most abounding pleasance till a third part of the night
was past, when the house-master arose, and spreading them a bed, invited
them to take their rest. So they lay down and the youth wide awake,
pondering their affair till daybreak, when the woman roused herself from
sleep and said to her companion, “I wish to go.” He farewelled her and
she departed; whereupon the master of the house followed her with a
purse of silver and gave it to her, saying, “Blame not my lord,” and
made his excuse to her for his master. Then he returned to the youth and
said to him, “Arise and come to the Hammam;”[408] and he fell to
shampooing his hands and feet, whilst the youth called down blessings on
him and said “O my lord, who art thou? Methinks there is not in the
world the like of thee; no, nor a pleasanter in thy disposition.” Then
each of the twain acquainted the other with his case and condition and
they went to the bath; after which the master of the house conjured the
young merchant to return with him and summoned his friends. So they ate
and drank and he told them the tale, wherefore they thanked the
house-master and praised him; and their friendship was complete while
the young merchant abode in the town, till Allah made easy to him a
means of travel, whereupon they farewelled him and he departed; and this
is the end of his tale. “Nor,” continued the Wazir, “O king of the age,
is this stranger than the story of the Richard who lost his wealth and
his wit.” When the king heard the Minister’s story, it pleased him and
he bade him hie to his home.

                   The Sixteenth Night of the Month.

When the evening evened, the King sat in his sitting-chamber and sending
for his Wazir, bade him relate the story of the Wealthy Man who lost his
wealth and his wit. So he said, “Hear, O King,


There was once a Richard hight ’Ajlán, the Hasty, who wasted his wealth,
and concern and chagrin gat the mastery of him, so that he became a
Melancholist[410] and lost his wit. There remained with him of his
monies about twenty dinars and he used to beg alms of the folk, and
whatso they gave him in charity he would gather together and add to the
gold pieces that were left him. Now there was in that town a Sharper,
who made his living by roguery, and he knew that the Melancholist had
somewhat of money; so he fell to spying upon him and ceased not watching
him till he saw him put into an earthen pot that which he had with him
of silvers and enter a deserted ruin, where he sat down, as if to make
water, and dug a hole, wherein he laid the pot and covering it up,
smoothed the ground as it had been. Then he went away and the Sharper
came and taking what was in the pot, restored it to its former place.
Presently ’Ajlan returned, with somewhat to add to his hoard, but found
it not; so he bethought him of who had followed him and remembered that
he had found that Sharper assiduous in sitting with him and questioning
him. So he went in search of him, assured that he had taken the pot, and
gave not over looking for him till he saw him sitting; whereupon he ran
to him and the Sharper saw him. Then the Melancholist stood within
earshot and muttered[411] to himself and said, “In the pot are sixty
ducats and I have with me other twenty in such a place and to-day I will
unite the whole in the pot.” When the Sharper heard him say this to
himself, muttering and mumbling, repeating and blundering in his speech,
he repented him of having taken the sequins and said, “He will presently
return to the pot[412] and find it empty; wherefore that for which I am
on the look-out will escape me; and meseemeth ’twere best I replace the
dinars, so he may see them and leave all which is with him in the pot,
and I can take the whole.” Now he feared to return to the pot at once,
lest the Melancholist should follow him to the place and find nothing
and on this wise his arrangements be marred; so he said to him, “O
’Ajlan,[413] I would have thee come to my lodging and eat bread with
me.” Thereupon the Melancholist went with him to his quarters and he
seated him there and going to the market, sold somewhat of his clothes
and pawned somewhat from his house and bought the best of food. Then he
betook himself to the ruin and replacing the money in the pot, buried it
again; after which he returned to his lodging and gave the Melancholist
to eat and drink, and they went out together. The Sharper walked away
and hid himself, lest his guest should see him, whilst ’Ajlan repaired
to his hiding-place and took the pot. Presently, the Sharper returned to
the ruin, rejoicing in that which he deemed he should get, and dug in
the place, but found naught and knew that the Melancholist had outwitted
him. So he began buffetting his face for regret, and fell to following
the other whitherso he went, to the intent that he might win what was
with him, but he failed in this, because the Melancholist knew what was
in his mind and was assured that he spied upon him; so he kept watch
over himself. Now, had the Sharper considered the consequences of haste
and that which is begotten of loss therefrom, he had not done on such
wise. “Nor,” continued the Wazir, “is this tale, O king of the age,
rarer or stranger or daintier than the story of Khalbas[414] and his
Wife and the learned man and that which befel between the three.” When
the king heard this story, he left his purpose of putting the Minister
to death and his soul bade him to continue him on life. So he ordered
him off to his house.

                  The Seventeenth Night of the Month.

When the evening evened, the King summoned the Minister, and as soon as
he presented himself, he required of him the story. So he said,
“Hearkening and obedience. Hear, O august King,


There was once a man called Khalbas, who was a fulsome fellow, a
calamity, notorious for this note, and he had a charming wife, renowned
for beauty and loveliness. A man of his townsfolk fell in love with her
and she also loved him. Now Khalbas was a wily wight and full of guile,
and there was in his neighbourhood a learned man, to whom the folk used
to resort every day and he told them histories and admonished them with
moral instances; and Khalbas was wont to be present in his assembly, for
the sake of making a show before the folk. This learned man also had a
wife famed for comeliness and seemlihead and quickness of wit and
understanding and the lover sought some device whereby he might manage
to meet Khalbas’s wife; so he came to him and told him as a secret what
he had seen of the learned man’s wife and confided to him that he was in
love with her and besought his assistance in this. Khalbas told him that
she was known as a model of chastity and continence and that she exposed
herself not to ill doubts; but the other said, “I cannot renounce her,
in the first place because the woman inclineth to me and coveteth my
wealth, and secondly, because of the greatness of my fondness for her;
and naught is wanting but thy help.” Quoth Khalbas, “I will do thy
will;” and quoth the other, “Thou shalt have of me every day two silvern
dirhams, on condition that thou sit with the learned man and that, when
he riseth from the assembly, thou speak a word which shall notify to me
the breaking up of the meeting.” So they agreed upon that and Khalbas
entered and sat in the session, whilst the lover was assured in his
heart that the secret was safe and secure with him, wherefore he
rejoiced and was content to pay the two dirhams. Then Khalbas used to
attend the learned man’s assembly, whilst the other would go into his
wife and be very much with her, on such wise as he thought good, till
the learned man arose from his meeting; and when Khalbas saw that he
proposed rising, he would speak a word for the lover to hear, whereupon
he went forth from the wife of Khalbas who knew not that doom was in his
own home. But when the learned man saw Khalbas do the same thing every
day, he began to suspect him, especially on account of that which he
knew of his bad name, and suspicion grew upon him; so, one day, he
resolved to advance the time of his rising ere the wonted hour and
hastening up to Khalbas, seized him and said to him, “By Allah, an thou
say a single syllable, I will do thee a damage!” Then he went in to his
wife, with Khalbas in his grip, and behold, she was sitting, as of her
wont, nor was there about her aught of suspicious or unseemly. The
learned man bethought him awhile of this, then made for Khalbas’s house,
which adjoined his own, still holding his man; and when they entered,
they found the young lover lying on the bed with Khalbas’s wife;
whereupon quoth the learned man to him, “O accursed, the doom is with
thee and in thine own home!” So Khalbas divorced his wife and went
forth, fleeing, and returned not to his own land. “This, then”
(continued the Wazir), “is the consequence of lewdness, for whoso
purposeth in himself wile and perfidious guile, they get possession of
him, and had Khalbas conceived of himself that dishonour and calamity
which he conceived of the folk, there had betided him nothing of this.
Nor is this tale, rare and curious though it be, stranger or rarer than
the story of the Devotee whose husband’s brother accused her of
lewdness.” When the king heard this, wonderment gat hold of him and his
admiration for the Wazir redoubled; so he bade him hie to his home and
return to him on the morrow, according to his custom. So the Minister
withdrew to his lodging, where he passed the night and the ensuing day.

                   The Eighteenth Night of the Month.

When the evening evened, the King summoned the Wazir and required of him
the story; so he said, “’Tis well. Hear O King,


There was once a man of Níshábúr[416] who, having a wife of the
uttermost beauty and piety, yet was minded to set out on the pilgrimage.
So before leaving home he commended her to the care of his brother and
besought him to aid her in her affairs and further her wishes till he
should return, for the brothers were on the most intimate terms.[417]
Then he took ship and departed and his absence was prolonged. Meanwhile,
the brother went to visit his brother’s wife, at all times and seasons,
and questioned her of her circumstances and went about her wants; and
when his calls were prolonged and he heard her speech and saw her face,
the love of her gat hold upon his heart and he became passionately fond
of her and his soul prompted him to evil. So he besought her to lie with
him, but she refused and showed him how foul was his deed, and he found
him no way to win what he wished;[418] wherefore he wooed her with soft
speech and gentle ways. Now she was righteous in all her doings and
never swerved from one saying;[419] so, when he saw that she consented
not to him, he had no doubts but that she would tell his brother, when
he returned from his journey, and quoth he to her, “An thou consent not
to whatso I require of thee, I will cause a scandal to befal thee and
thou wilt perish.” Quoth she, “Allah (extolled and exalted be He!) judge
betwixt me and thee, and know that, shouldst thou hew me limb from limb,
I would not consent to that thou biddest me to do.” His ignorance[420]
of womankind persuaded him that she would tell her spouse; so he betook
himself of his exceeding despite, to a company of people in the mosque
and informed them that he had witnessed a man commit adultery with his
brother’s wife. They believed his word and documented his charge and
assembled to stone her.[421] Then they dug her a pit outside the city
and seating her therein, stoned her, till they deemed her dead, when
they left her. Presently a Shaykh of a village passed by the pit and
finding her alive, carried her to his house and cured her of her wounds.
Now he had a youthful son, who, as soon as he saw her, loved her and
besought her of her person; but she refused and consented not to him,
whereupon he redoubled in love and longing and his case prompted him to
suborn a youth of the people of his village and agree with him that he
should come by night and take somewhat from his father’s house and that,
when he was seized and discovered, he should say that she was his
accomplice in this and avouch that she was his mistress and had been
stoned on his account in the city. Accordingly he did this, and, coming
by night to the villager’s house, stole therefrom goods and clothes;
whereupon the owner awoke and seizing the thief, pinioned him straitly
and beat him to make him confess; and he confessed against the woman
that she was a partner in the crime and that he was her lover from the
city. The news was bruited abroad and the citizens assembled to put her
to death; but the Shaykh with whom she was forbade them and said, “I
brought this woman hither, coveting the recompense of Allah, and I know
not the truth of that which is said of her and will not empower any to
hurt or harm her.” Then he gave her a thousand dirhams, by way of alms,
and thrust her forth of the village. As for the thief, he was imprisoned
for some days; after which the folk interceded for him with the old man,
saying, “This is a youth and indeed he erred;” and he released him from
his bonds. Meanwhile the woman went out at hap-hazard and donning a
devotee’s dress, fared on without ceasing, till she came to a city and
found the king’s deputies dunning the townsfolk for the tribute, out of
season. Presently, she saw a man, whom they were pressing for the
tribute; so she asked of his case and being acquainted with it, paid
down the thousand dirhams for him and delivered him from the bastinado;
whereupon he thanked her and those who were present. When he was set
free, he walked with her and besought her to go with him to his
dwelling: accordingly, she accompanied him thither and supped with him
and passed the night. When the dark hours gloomed on him, his soul
prompted him to evil, for that which he saw of her beauty and
loveliness, and he lusted after her, and required her of her person; but
she rejected him and threatened him with Allah the Most High and
reminded him of that which she had done with him of kindness and how she
had delivered him from the stick and its disgrace. However, he would not
be denied, and when he saw her persistent refusal of herself to him, he
feared lest she should tell the folk of him. So, when he arose in the
morning, he wrote on a paper what he would of forgery and falsehood and
going up to the Sultan’s palace, said, “I have an advisement for the
King.” So he bade admit him and he delivered him the writ he had forged,
saying, “I found this letter with the woman, the devotee, the ascetic,
and indeed she is a spy, a secret informer against the sovran to his
foe; and I deem the King’s due more incumbent on me than any other claim
and warning him to be the first duty, for that he uniteth in himself all
the subjects, and but for the King’s existence, the lieges would perish;
wherefore I have brought thee good counsel.” The King gave credit to his
words and sent with him those who should lay hands upon the Devotee and
do her to death; but they found her not. As for the woman, when the man
went out from her, she resolved to depart; so she fared forth, saying to
herself, “There is no wayfaring for me in woman’s habit.” Then she
donned men’s dress, such as is worn of the pious, and set out and
wandered over the earth; nor did she cease wandering till she entered a
certain city. Now the king of that city had an only daughter, in whom he
gloried and whom he loved, and she saw the Devotee and deeming her a
pilgrim youth, said to her father, “I would fain have this youth take up
his lodging with me, so I may learn of him lere and piety and religion.”
Her father rejoiced in this and commanded the pilgrim to take up his
abode with his daughter in his palace. So they were in one place and the
Princess was strenuous to the uttermost in continence and chastity and
nobility of mind and magnanimity and devotion; but the ignorant tattled
anent her, and the folk of the realm said, “The king’s daughter loveth
the pilgrim youth and he loveth her.” Now the king was a very old man
and destiny decreed the ending of his life-term; so he died and when he
was buried, the lieges assembled and many were the sayings of the people
and of the king’s kinsfolk and officers, and they counselled together to
slay the Princess and the young pilgrim, saying, “This fellow
dishonoureth us with yonder whore and none accepteth shame save the
base.” So they fell upon them and slew the king’s daughter in her
mosque, without asking her of aught; whereupon the pious woman (whom
they deemed a youth) said to them, “Woe to you, O miscreants Ye have
slain the pious lady.” Quoth they, “O thou fulsome fellow, dost thou
bespeak us thus? Thou lovedst her and she loved thee, and we will
assuredly slay thee.” And quoth she, “Allah forfend. Indeed, the affair
is the clear reverse of this.” They asked, “What proof hast thou of
that?” and she answered, “Bring me women.” They did so, and when the
matrons looked on her, they found her a woman. As soon as the townsfolk
saw this, they repented of that they had done and the affair was
grievous to them; so they sought pardon of Allah and said to her, “By
the virtue of Him whom thou servest, do thou crave pardon for us.” Said
she, “As for me, I may no longer tarry with you and I am about to depart
from you.” Then they humbled themselves before her and shed tears and
said to her, “We conjure thee, by the might of Allah the Most High, that
thou take upon thyself the rule of the realm and of the lieges.” But she
refused and drew her back; whereupon they came up to her and wept and
ceased not supplicating her, till she consented and undertook the
kingship. Her first commandment to them was that they bury the Princess
and build over her a dome and she abode in that palace, worshipping the
Almighty and dealing judgment between the people with justice, and Allah
(extolled and exalted be He!) vouchsafed her, for the excellence of her
piety and her patience and renunciation, the acceptance of her prayers,
so that she sought not aught of Him (to whom belong Might and Majesty),
but He granted her petition; and her fame was bruited abroad in all
lands. Accordingly, the folk resorted to her from all parts and she used
to pray Allah (to whom belong Might and Majesty) for the oppressed and
the Lord granted him relief, and against his oppressor, and He brake him
asunder; and she prayed for the sick and they were made sound; and in
this goodly way she tarried a great space of time. So fared it with the
wife; but as for her husband, when he returned from the pilgrimage, his
brother and the neighbours acquainted him with the affair of his spouse,
whereat he was sore concerned and suspected their story, for that which
he knew of her chastity and prayerfulness; and he shed tears for the
loss of her. Meanwhile, she prayed to Almighty Allah that He would
stablish her innocence in the eyes of her spouse and the folk, and He
sent down upon her husband’s brother a sickness so sore that none knew a
cure for him. Wherefore he said to his brother, “In such a city is a
Devotee, a worshipful woman and a recluse whose prayers are accepted; so
do thou carry me to her, that she may pray for my healing and Allah (to
whom belong Might and Majesty) may give me ease of this disease.”
Accordingly, he took him up and journeyed with him, till they came to
the village where dwelt the Shaykh, the grey beard who had rescued the
devout woman from the pit and carried her to his dwelling and healed her
in his home. Here they halted and lodged with the old man, who
questioned the husband of his case and that of his brother and the cause
of their journey, and he said, “I purpose to go with my brother, this
sick wight, to the holy woman, her whose petitions are answered, so she
may pray for him, and Allah may heal him by the blessing of her
orisons.” Quoth the villager, “By Allah, my son is in parlous plight for
sickness and we have heard that this Devotee prayeth for the sick and
they are made sound. Indeed, the folk counsel me to carry him to her,
and behold,[422] I will go in company with you.” And they said, “’Tis
well.” So they all nighted in that intent and on the morrow they set out
for the dwelling of the Devotee, this one carrying his son and that one
bearing his brother. Now the man who had stolen the clothes and had
forged against the pious woman a lie, to wit, that he was her lover,
sickened of a sore sickness, and his people took him up and set out with
him to visit the Devotee and crave her prayers, and Destiny brought them
altogether by the way. So they fared forward in a body till they came to
the city wherein the man dwelt for whom she had paid the thousand
dirhams to deliver him from torture, and found him about to travel to
her by reason of a malady which had betided him. Accordingly, they all
journeyed on together, unknowing that the holy woman was she whom they
had so foully wronged, and ceased not going till they came to her city
and foregathered at the gates of her palace, that wherein was the tomb
of the Princess. Now the folk used to go into her and salute her with
the salam, and crave her orisons; and it was her custom to pray for none
till he had confessed to her his sins, when she would ask pardon for him
and pray for him that he might be healed, and he was straightway made
whole of sickness, by permission of Almighty Allah. When the four sick
men were brought in to her, she knew them forthright, though they knew
her not, and said to them “Let each of you confess and specify his sins,
so I may sue pardon for him and pray for him.” And the brother said, “As
for me, I required my brother’s wife of her person and she refused;
whereupon despite and ignorance prompted me and I lied against her and
accused her to the townsfolk of adultery; so they stoned her and slew
her wrongously and unrighteously; and this my complaint is the issue of
unright and falsehood and of the slaying of the innocent soul, whose
slaughter Allah hath made unlawful to man.” Then said the youth, the old
villager’s son, “And I, O holy woman, my father brought to us a woman
who had been stoned, and my people nursed her till she recovered. Now
she was rare of beauty and loveliness; so I required her of her person;
but she refused and clave in chastity to Allah (to whom belong Might and
Majesty), wherefore ignorance prompted me, so that I agreed with one of
the youths that he should steal clothes and coin from my father’s house.
Then I laid hands on him and carried him to my sire and made him
confess. He declared that the woman was his mistress from the city and
had been stoned on his account and that she was his accomplice in the
theft and had opened the doors to him; but this was a lie against her,
for that she had not yielded to me in that which I sought of her. So
there befel me what ye see of requital.” And the young man, the thief,
said, “I am he with whom thou agreedst concerning the theft, and to whom
thou openedst the door, and I am he who accused her falsely and
calumniously and Allah (extolled be He!) well knoweth that I never did
evil with her; no, nor knew her in any way before that time.” Then said
he whom she had delivered from torture by paying down a thousand dirhams
and who had required her of her person in his house, for that her beauty
pleased him, and when she refused had forged a letter against her and
treacherously denounced her to the Sultan and requited her graciousness
with ingratitude, “I am he who wronged her and lied against her, and
this is the issue of the oppressor’s affair.” When she heard their
words, in the presence of the folk, she cried “Alhamdolillah, praise be
to Allah, the King who over all things is omnipotent, and blessing upon
His prophets and apostles!” Then quoth she to the assembly, “Bear
testimony, O ye here present, to these men’s speech, and know ye I am
that woman whom they confess to having wronged.” And she turned to her
husband’s brother and said to him, “I am thy brother’s wife and Allah
(extolled and exalted be He!) delivered me from that whereinto thou
castedst me of calumny and suspicion, and from the folly and frowardness
whereof thou hast spoken, and now hath He shown forth my innocence, of
His bounty and generosity. Go, for thou art quit of the wrong thou didst
me.” Then she prayed for him and he was made sound of his sickness.
Thereupon she said to the son of the village Shaykh, “Know that I am the
woman whom thy father delivered from strain and stress and whom there
betided from thee of calumny and ignorance that which thou hast named.”
And she sued pardon for him and he was made sound of his sickness. Then
said she to the thief, “I am the woman against whom thou liedst,
avouching that I was thy leman who had been stoned on thine account, and
that I was thine accomplice in robbing the house of the village Shaykh
and had opened the doors to thee.” And she prayed for him and he was
made whole of his malady.[423] Then said she to the townsman, him of the
tribute, “I am the woman who gave thee the thousand dirhams and thou
didst with me what thou didst.” And she asked pardon for him and prayed
for him and he was made whole; whereupon the folk marvelled at her
enemies who had all been afflicted alike, so Allah (extolled and exalted
be He!) might show forth her innocence upon the heads of witnesses.[424]
Then she turned to the old man who had delivered her from the pit and
prayed for him and gave him presents manifold and among them a myriad, a
Badrah;[425] and the sick made whole departed from her. When she was
alone with her husband, she made him draw near unto her and rejoiced in
his arrival, and gave him the choice of abiding with her. Presently, she
assembled the citizens and notified to them his virtue and worth and
counselled them to invest him with management of their rule and besought
them to make him king over them. They consented to her on this and he
became king and made his home amongst them, whilst she gave herself up
to her orisons and cohabited with her husband as she was with him
aforetime. “Nor,” continued the Wazir, “is this tale, O king of the
time, stranger or pleasanter than that of the Hireling and the Girl
whose maw he slit and fled.” When King Shah Bakht heard this, he said,
“Most like all they say of the Minister is leasing, and his innocence
will be made manifest even as that of the Devotee was manifested.” Then
he comforted the Wazir’s heart and bade him hie to his house.

                   The Nineteenth Night of the Month.

When the evening evened, the King bade fetch the Wazir and sought of him
the story of the Hireling and the Girl. So he said, “Hearkening and
obedience. Give ear, O auspicious King, to


There was once, of old time, in one of the tribes of the Arabs, a woman
pregnant by her husband, and they had a hired servant, a man of insight
and understanding. When the woman came to her delivery-time, she gave
birth to a girl-child in the night and they sought fire of the
neighbours.[426] So the Hireling went in quest of fire. Now there was in
the camp a Divineress,[427] and she questioned him of the new-born
child, an it was male or female. Quoth he, “’Tis a girl;” and quoth she,
“That girl will whore with an hundred men and a hireling shall wed her
and a spider shall slay her.” When the hired man heard this, he returned
upon his steps and going in to the woman, took the child from her by
wily management and slit its maw: then he fled forth into the wold at
hap-hazard and abode in strangerhood while Allah so willed.[428] He
gained much money; and, returning to his own land, after twenty years’
absence, alighted in the neighbourhood of an old woman, whom he wheedled
and treated with liberality, requiring of her a young person whom he
might enjoy without marriage. Said she, “I know none but a certain fair
woman, who is renowned for this industry.” Then she described her charms
to him and made him lust after her, and he said, “Hasten to her this
minute and lavish upon her whatso she asketh.” So the crone betook
herself to the girl and discovered his wishes to her and invited her to
him; but she answered, “’Tis true that I was in habit of whoredom, but
now I have repented to Almighty Allah and have no more longing to this:
nay, I desire lawful wedlock; so, if he be content with that which is
legal, I am between his hands.”[429] The old woman returned to the man
and told him what the damsel said; and he lusted after her, because of
her beauty and her penitence; so he took her to wife, and when he went
in to her, he loved her and after like fashion she loved him. Thus they
abode a great while, till one day he questioned her of the cause of a
scar[430] he espied on her body, and she said, “I wot naught thereof
save that my mother told me a marvellous thing concerning it.” Asked he,
“What was that?” and she answered, “My mother declared that she gave
birth to me one night of the wintry nights and despatched a hired man,
who was with us, in quest of fire for her. He was absent a little while
and presently returning, took me and slit my maw and fled. When my
mother saw this, chagrin seized her and compassion possessed her; so she
sewed up my stomach and nursed me till the wound healed by the ordinance
of Allah (to whom belong Might and Majesty).” When her husband heard
this, he said to her, “What is thy name and what may be the name of thy
mother and who may be thy father?” She told him their names and her own,
whereby he knew that it was she whose maw he had slit and said to her,
“And where are thy mother and father?” “They are both dead.” “I am that
Hireling who slit thy stomach.” “Why didst thou that?” “Because of a
saying I heard from the wise woman.” “What was it?” “She declared thou
wouldst play the whore with an hundred men and that I after that should
wed thee.” “Ay, I have whored with an hundred men, no more and no less,
and behold, thou hast married me.” “The Divineress also foresaid, that
thou shouldst die, at the last of thy life, of the bite of a spider.
Indeed, her saying hath been verified of the fornication and the
marriage, and I fear lest her word come true no less in the death.” Then
they betook themselves to a place without the city, where he builded him
a mansion of solid stone and white stucco and stopped its inner walls
and plastered them; leaving not therein or cranny or crevice, and he set
in it two slave-girls whose services were sweeping and wiping, for fear
of spiders. Here he abode with his wife a great while, till one day the
man espied a spider on the ceiling and beat it down. When his wife saw
it, she said, “This is that which the wise woman foresaid would slay me;
so, by thy life, suffer me to kill it with mine own hand.” Her husband
forbade her from this, but she conjured him to let her destroy the
spider; then, of her fearfulness and her eagerness, she took a piece of
wood and smote it. The wood brake of the force of the blow, and a
splinter from it entered her hand and wrought upon it, so that it
swelled. Then her fore-arm also swelled and the swelling spread to her
side and thence grew till it reached her heart and she died. “Nor,”
(continued the Wazir), “is this stranger or more wondrous than the story
of the Weaver who became a Leach by commandment of his wife.” When the
King heard this, his admiration redoubled and he said, “In very truth,
Destiny is written to all creatures, and I will not accept aught that is
said against my Minister the loyal counsellor.” And he bade him hie to
his home.

                   The Twentieth Night of the Month.

When the evening evened, the King bade summon his Minister and he
presented himself before him, whereupon he required of him the hearing
of the story. So the Wazir said, “Hearkening and obedience. Give ear, O
King, to


There was once, in the land of Fars,[431] a man who wedded a woman
higher than himself in rank and nobler of lineage, but she had no
guardian to preserve her from want. She loathed to marry one who was
beneath her; yet she wived with him because of need, and took of him a
bond in writing to the effect that he would ever be under her order to
bid and forbid and would never thwart her in word or in deed. Now the
man was a Weaver and he bound himself in writing to pay his wife ten
thousand dirhams in case of default. After such fashion they abode a
long while till one day the wife went out to fetch water, of which she
had need, and saw a leach who had spread a carpet hard by the road,
whereon he had set out great store of simples[432] and implements of
medicine and he was speaking and muttering charms, whilst the folk
flocked to him from all quarters and girt him about on every side. The
Weaver’s wife marvelled at the largeness of the physician’s fortune[433]
and said in herself, “Were my husband thus, he would lead an easy life
and that wherein we are of straitness and poverty would be widened to
him.” Then she returned home, cark-full and care-full, and when her
husband saw her in this condition, he questioned her of her case and she
said to him, “Verily, my breast is narrowed by reason of thee and of the
very goodness of thine intent,” presently adding, “Narrow means suit me
not and thou in thy present craft gainest naught; so either do thou seek
out a business other than this or pay me my rightful due[434] and let me
wend my ways.” Her husband chid her for this and advised her to take
patience; but she would not be turned from her design and said to him,
“Go forth and watch yonder physician how he doth and learn from him what
he saith.” Said he, “Let not thy heart be troubled,” and added, “I will
go every day to the session of the leach.” So he began resorting daily
to the physician and committing to memory his answers and that which he
spoke of jargon,[435] till he had gotten a great matter by rote, and all
this he learned and thoroughly digested it. Then he returned to his wife
and said to her, “I have stored up the physician’s sayings in memory and
have mastered his manner of muttering and diagnoses and prescribing
remedies and I wot by heart the names of the medicines[436] and of all
the diseases, and there abideth of thy bidding naught undone: so what
dost thou command me now to do?” Quoth she, “Leave the loom and open
thyself a leach’s shop;” but quoth he, “My fellow-townsmen know me and
this affair will not profit me, save in a land of strangerhood; so come,
let us go out from this city and get us to a foreign land and there
live.” And she said, “Do whatso thou willest.” Accordingly, he arose and
taking his weaving gear, sold it and bought with the price drugs and
simples and wrought himself a carpet, with which they set out and
journeyed to a certain village, where they took up their abode. Then the
man fell to going round about the hamlets and villages and outskirts of
towns, after donning leach’s dress; and he began to earn his livelihood
and make much gain. Their affairs prospered and their circumstances were
bettered; wherefore they praised Allah for their present ease and the
village became to them a home. In this way he lived for a long time, but
at length he wandered anew,[437] and the days and the nights ceased not
to transport him from country to country, till he came to the land of
the Roum and lighted down in a city of the cities thereof, wherein was
Jálínús[438] the Sage; but the Weaver knew him not, nor was aware who he
was. So he fared forth, as was his wont, in quest of a place where the
folk might be gathered together, and hired the courtyard[439] of
Jalinus. There he spread his carpet and setting out on it his simples
and instruments of medicine, praised himself and his skill and claimed a
cleverness such as none but he might claim.[440] Jalinus heard that
which he affirmed of his understanding and it was certified unto him and
established in his mind that the man was a skilled leach of the leaches
of the Persians and he said in himself, “Unless he had confidence in his
knowledge and were minded to confront me and contend with me, he had not
sought the door of my house neither had he spoken that which he hath
spoken.” And care and doubt gat hold upon Jalinus: so he drew near the
Weaver and addressed himself to see how his doings should end, whilst
the folk began to flock to him and describe to him their ailments,[441]
and he would answer them thereof, hitting the mark one while and missing
it another while, so that naught appeared to Jalinus of his fashion
whereby his mind might be assured that he had justly estimated his
skill. Presently, up came a woman with a urinal,[442] and when the
Weaver saw the phial afar off, he said to her, “This is the water of a
man, a stranger.” Said she, “Yes;” and he continued, “Is he not a Jew
and is not his ailment flatulence?” “Yes,” replied the woman, and the
folk marvelled at this; wherefore the man was magnified in the eyes of
Jalinus, for that he heard speech such as was not of the usage of
doctors, seeing that they know not urine but by shaking it and looking
straitly thereon, neither wot they a man’s water from a woman’s water,
nor a stranger’s from a countryman’s, nor a Jew’s from a Sharif’s.[443]
Then the woman asked, “What is the remedy?” and the Weaver answered,
“Bring the honorarium.”[444] So she paid him a dirham and he gave her
medicines contrary to that ailment and such as would only aggravate the
complaint. When Jalinus saw what appeared to him of the man’s
incapacity, he turned to his disciples and pupils and bade them fetch
the mock doctor, with all his gear and drugs. Accordingly they brought
him into his presence without stay or delay, and when Jalinus saw him
before him, he asked him, “Knowest thou me?” and the other answered,
“No, nor did I ever set eyes on thee before this day.” Quoth the Sage,
“Dost thou know Jalinus?” and quoth the Weaver, “No.” Then said Jalinus,
“What drave thee to do that which thou dost?” So he acquainted him with
his adventure, especially with the dowry and the obligation by which he
was bound with regard to his wife whereat the Sage marvelled and
certified himself anent the matter of the marriage-settlement. Then he
bade lodge him near himself and entreated him with kindness and took him
apart and said to him, “Expound to me the story of the urine-phial and
whence thou knewest that the water therein was that of a man, and he a
stranger and a Jew, and that his ailment was flatulence?” The Weaver
replied, “’Tis well. Thou must know that we people of Persia are skilled
in physiognomy,[445] and I saw the woman to be rosy-cheeked, blue-eyed
and tall-statured. Now these qualities belong to women who are enamoured
of a man and are distracted for love of him;[446] moreover, I saw her
burning with anxiety; so I knew that the patient was her husband.[447]
As for his strangerhood, I noted that the dress of the woman differed
from that of the townsfolk, wherefore I knew that she was a foreigner;
and in the mouth of the phial I saw a yellow rag,[448] which garred me
wot that the sick man was a Jew and she a Jewess. Moreover, she came to
me on first day;[449] and ’tis the Jews’ custom to take
meat-puddings[450] and food that hath passed the night[451] and eat them
on the Saturday their Sabbath, hot and cold, and they exceed in eating;
wherefore flatulence and indigestion betide them. Thus I was directed
and guessed that which thou hast heard.” Now when Jalinus heard this, he
ordered the Weaver the amount of his wife’s dowry and bade him pay it to
her and said to him, “Divorce her.” Furthermore, he forbade him from
returning to the practice of physic and warned him never again to take
to wife a woman of rank higher than his own; and he gave him his
spending-money and charged him return to his proper craft. “Nor”
(continued the Wazir), “is this tale stranger or rarer than the story of
the Two Sharpers who each cozened his Compeer.” When King Shah Bakht
heard this, he said to himself, “How like is this story to my present
case with this Minister, who hath not his like!” Then he bade him hie to
his own house and come again at eventide.

                  The Twenty-first Night of the Month.

Whenas nighted the night, the Wazir presented himself before the King,
who bade him relate the promised story. So he said, “Hearkening and
obedience. Give ear, O King, to


There was once, in the city of Baghdad, a man hight Al-Marwazí,[452] who
was a sharper and ruined the folk with his rogueries and he was renowned
in all quarters for knavery. He went out one day, carrying a load of
sheep’s droppings, and sware to himself that he would not return to his
lodging till he had sold it at the price of raisins. Now there was in
another city a second sharper, hight Al-Rází,[453] one of its worst, who
went out the same day, bearing a load of goat’s droppings,[454] anent
which he had sworn to himself that he would not sell it but at the price
of sun-dried figs. So the twain fared on with that which was by them and
ceased not going till they met in one of the khans[455] and one
complained to other of what he had suffered on travel in quest of gain
and of the little demand for his wares. Now each of them had it in mind
to cheat his fellow; so the man of Marw said to the man of Rayy, “Wilt
thou sell me that?” He said, “Yes,” and the other continued, “And wilt
thou buy that which is with me?” The man of Rayy consented; so they
agreed upon this and each of them sold to his mate that which was with
him in exchange for the other’s; after which they bade farewell and both
fared forth. As soon as the twain were out of sight, they examined their
loads, to see what was therein, and one of them found that he had a load
of sheep’s droppings and the other that he had a load of goat’s
droppings; whereupon each of them turned back in quest of his fellow.
They met again in the khan and laughing at each other cancelled their
bargain; then they agreed to enter into partnership and that all they
had of money and other good should be in common, share and share alike.
Then quoth Al-Razi to Al-Marwazi, “Come with me to my city, for that
’tis nearer than thine.” So he went with him, and when he arrived at his
quarters, he said to his wife and household and neighbours, “This is my
brother, who hath been absent in the land of Khorasan and is come back.”
And he abode with him in all honour for a space of three days. On the
fourth day, Al-Razi said to him, “Know, O my brother, that I purpose to
do something.” The other asked, “What is it?” and the first answered, “I
mean to feign myself dead and do thou go to the bazar and hire two
porters and a bier. Then take me up and go about the streets and markets
with my body and collect alms on my account.[456]” Accordingly the Marw
man repaired to the market and, fetching that which he sought, returned
to the Rayy man’s house, where he found his fellow cast down in the
entrance-passage, with his beard tied and his eyes shut, and his
complexion was paled and his belly was blown and his limbs were loose.
So he deemed him really dead and shook him but he spoke not; then he
took a knife and pricked his feet, but he budged not. Presently said
Al-Razi, “What is this, O fool?” and said Al-Marwazi, “I deemed thou
wast dead in very deed.” Al-Razi cried, “Get thee to business, and leave
funning.” So he took him up and went with him to the market and
collected alms for him that day till eventide, when he bore him back to
his abode and waited till the morrow. Next morning, he again took up the
bier and walked round with it as before, in quest of charity. Presently,
the Chief of Police, who was of those who had given him alms on the
previous day, met him; so he was angered and fell on the porters and
beat them and took the dead body, saying, “I will bury him and win
reward in Heaven.”[457] So his followers took him up and carrying him to
the Police-officer, fetched grave-diggers, who dug him a grave. Then
they brought him a shroud and perfumes[458] and fetched an old man of
the quarter, to wash him: so the Shaykh recited over him the appointed
prayers[459] and laying him on the bench, washed him and shrouded him.
After he had been shrouded he skited;[460] so the grey beard renewed the
washing and went away to make the Wuzu-ablution, whilst all the folk
departed to do likewise, before the orisons of the funeral. When the
dead man found himself alone, he sprang up, as he were a Satan; and,
donning the corpse-washer’s dress,[461] took the cups and water-can[462]
and wrapped them up in the napkins; then he clapped his shroud under his
armpit and went out. The doorkeepers thought that he was the washer and
asked him, “Hast thou made an end of the washing, so we may acquaint the
Emir?” The sharper answered “Yes,” and made off to his abode, where he
found the Marw man a-wooing his wife and saying to her, “By thy life,
thou wilt never again look upon his face for the best reason that by
this time he is buried: I myself escaped not from them but after toil
and trouble, and if he speak, they will do him to death.” Quoth she,
“And what wouldst thou have of me?” and quoth he, “Satisfy my desire and
heal my disorder, for I am better than thy husband.” And he began toying
with her as a prelude to possession. Now when the Rayy man heard this,
he said, “Yonder wittol-pimp lusteth after my wife; but I will at once
do him a damage.” Then he rushed in upon them, and when Al-Marwazi saw
him, he wondered at him and said to him, “How didst thou make thine
escape?” Accordingly he told him the trick he had played and they abode
talking of that which they had collected from the folk, and indeed they
had gotten great store of money. Then said the man of Marw, “In very
sooth, mine absence hath been prolonged and lief would I return to my
own land.” Al-Razi said, “As thou willest;” and the other rejoined, “Let
us divide the monies we have made and do thou go with me to my home, so
I may show thee my tricks and my works.” Replied the man of Rayy, “Come
to-morrow, and we will divide the coin.” So the Marw man went away and
the other turned to his wife and said to her, “We have collected us
great plenty of money, and the dog would fain take the half of it; but
such thing shall never be, for my mind hath been changed against him,
since I heard him making love to thee; now, therefore, I propose to play
him a trick and enjoy all the money; and do thou not oppose me.” She
replied, “’Tis well;” and he said to her, “To-morrow, at peep o’ day I
will feign myself dead, and do thou cry aloud and tear thy hair,
whereupon the folk will flock to me. Then lay me out and bury me; and,
when the folk are gone away from the grave, dig down to me and take me;
and fear not for me, as I can abide without harm two days in the
tomb-niche.”[463] Whereto she made answer, “Do e’en whatso thou wilt.”
Accordingly, when it was the dawn-hour, she bound his beard and
spreading a veil over him, shrieked aloud, whereupon the people of the
quarter flocked to her, men and women. Presently, up came Al-Marwazi,
for the division of the money, and hearing the keening asked, “What may
be the news?” Quoth they, “Thy brother is dead;” and quoth he in
himself, “The accursed fellow cozeneth me, so he may get all the coin
for himself, but I will presently do with him what shall soon re-quicken
him.” Then he tare the bosom of his robe and bared his head, weeping and
saying, “Alas, my brother, ah! Alas, my chief, ah! Alas, my lord, ah!”
And he went in to the men, who rose and condoled with him. Then he
accosted the Rayy man’s wife and said to her, “How came his death to
occur?” Said she, “I know nothing except that, when I arose in the
morning, I found him dead.” Moreover, he questioned her of the money
which was with her, but she cried, “I have no knowledge of this and no
tidings.” So he sat down at his fellow-sharper’s head, and said to him,
“Know, O Razi, that I will not leave thee till after ten days with their
nights, wherein I will wake and sleep by thy grave. So rise and don’t be
a fool.” But he answered him not, and the man of Marw drew his knife and
fell to sticking it into the other’s hands and feet, purposing to make
him move; but he stirred not and he presently grew weary of this and
determined that the sharper was really dead. However, he still had his
suspicions and said to himself, “This fellow is falsing me, so he may
enjoy all the money.” Therewith he began to prepare the body for burial
and bought for it perfumes and whatso was needed. Then they brought him
to the washing-place and Al-Marwazi came to him; and, heating water till
it boiled and bubbled and a third of it was evaporated, fell to pouring
it on his skin, so that it turned bright red and lively blue and was
blistered; but he abode still on one case.[464] Presently they wrapped
him in the shroud and set him on the bier, which they took up and
bearing him to the burial-place, placed him in the grave-niche and
filled in the earth; after which the folk dispersed. But the Marw man
and the widow abode by the tomb, weeping, and ceased not sitting till
sundown, when the woman said to him, “Come, let us hie us home, for this
weeping will not profit us, nor will it restore the dead.” He replied to
her, “By Allah, I will not budge hence till I have slept and waked by
this tomb ten days with their nights!” When she heard this his speech,
she feared lest he should keep his word and his oath, and so her husband
perish; but she said in her mind, “This one dis-sembleth: an I leave him
and return to my house, he will tarry by him a little while and go
away.” And Al-Marwazi said to her, “Arise, thou, and hie thee home.” So
she arose and repaired to her house, whilst the man of Marw abode in his
place till the night was half spent, when he said to himself, “How long?
Yet how can I let this knavish dog die and lose the money? Better I open
the tomb on him and bring him forth and take my due of him by dint of
grievous beating and torment.” Accordingly, he dug him up and pulled him
forth of the grave; after which he betook himself to a garden hard by
the burial-ground and cut thence staves and palm-fronds.[465] Then he
tied the dead man’s legs and laid on to him with the staff and beat him
a grievous beating; but the body never budged. When the time grew
longsome on him, his shoulders became a-weary and he feared lest some
one of the watch passing on his round should surprise and seize him. So
he took up Al-Razi and carrying him forth of the cemetery, stayed not
till he came to the Magians’ mortuary-place and casting him down in a
Tower of Silence,[466] rained heavy blows upon him till his shoulders
failed him, but the other stirred not. Then he seated him by his side
and rested; after which he rose and renewed the beating upon him; and
thus he did till the end of the night, but without making him move. Now,
as Destiny decreed, a band of robbers whose wont it was, when they had
stolen anything, to resort to that place and there divide their loot,
came thither in early-dawn, according to their custom; they numbered ten
and they had with them much wealth which they were carrying. When they
approached the Tower of Silence, they heard a noise of blows within it
and their captain cried, “This is a Magian whom the Angels[467] are
tormenting.” So they entered the cemetery and as soon as they arrived
over against him, the man of Marw feared lest they should be the
watchmen come upon him, therefore he fled and stood among the
tombs.[468] The robbers advanced to the place and finding the man of
Rayy bound by the feet and by him some seventy sticks, wondered at this
with exceeding wonder and said, “Allah confound thee! This was a
miscreant, a man of many crimes; for earth hath rejected him from her
womb, and by my life, he is yet fresh! This is his first night in the
tomb and the Angels were tormenting him but now; so whoso of you hath a
sin upon his soul, let him beat him, by way of offering to Almighty
Allah.” The robbers said, “We be sinners one and all;” so each of them
went up to the corpse and dealt it about an hundred blows, one saying
the while, “This is for my father!”[469] and another laid on to him
crying, “This is for my grandfather!” whilst a third muttered, “This is
for my brother!” and a fourth exclaimed, “This is for my mother!” And
they gave not taking turns at him and beating him till they were weary,
whilst Al-Marwazi stood laughing and saying in himself, “’Tis not I
alone who have entered into default against him. There is no Majesty and
there is no Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great!”[470] Then the
robbers applied themselves to sharing their loot wherein was a sword
which caused them to fall out anent the man who should take it. Quoth
the Captain, “’Tis my rede that we make proof of it; so, an it be a fine
blade, we shall know its worth, and if it be worthless we shall know
that;” whereto they said, “Try it on this corpse, for it is fresh.” So
the Captain took the sword and drawing it, brandished and made a false
cut with it; but, when the man of Rayy saw this, he felt sure of death
and said in his mind, “I have borne the washing-slab and the boiling
water and the pricking with the knife-point and the grave-niche and its
straitness and all this, trusting in Allah that I might be delivered
from death, and indeed I have been delivered; but the sword I may not
suffer seeing that one stroke of it will make me a dead man.” So saying,
he sprang to his feet and seizing a thigh-bone of one departed, shouted
at the top of his voice, “O ye dead ones, take them to yourselves!” And
he smote one of them, whilst his mate of Marw smote another and they
cried out at them and buffeted them on their neck-napes: whereupon the
robbers left that which was with them of loot and ran away; and indeed
their wits took flight for terror and they ceased not running till they
came forth of the Magians mortuary-ground and left it a parasang’s
length behind them, when they halted, trembling and affrighted for the
muchness of that which had befallen them of fear and awe of the
dead.[471] As for Al-Razi and Al-Marwazi, they made peace each with
other and sat down to share the spoil. Quoth the man of Marw, “I will
not give thee a dirham of this money, till thou pay me my due of the
monies that be in thy house.” And quoth the man of Rayy, “I will do
naught of the kind,[472] nor will I withdraw this from aught of my due.”
So they fell out thereupon and disputed each with other and either of
the twain went saying to his fellow, “I will not give thee a dirham!”
Wherefore words ran high between them and the brawl was prolonged.
Meanwhile, when the robbers halted, one of them said to the others, “Let
us go back and see;” and the Captain said, “This thing is impossible of
the dead: never heard we that they came to life in such way. Return we
and take our monies, for that the dead have no need of money.” And they
were divided in opinion as to returning: but presently one said,
“Indeed, our weapons are gone and we may not prevail against them and
will not draw near the place: only let one of us go look at it, and if
he hear no sound of them, let him suggest to us what we shall do.” At
this they agreed that they should send a man of them and assigned him
for such mission two parts of the plunder. Accordingly he returned to
the burial-ground and gave not over going till he stood at the door of
the Tower of Silence, when he heard the words of Al-Marwazi to his
fellow, “I will not give thee a single dirham of the money!” The other
said the same and they were occupied with brawling and abuse and talk.
So the robber returned in haste to his mates, who said, “What is behind
thee?”[473] Quoth he, “Get you gone and run for your lives, O fools, and
save yourselves: much people of the dead are come to life and between
them are words and brawls.” Hereat the robbers fled, whilst the two
sharpers returned to the man of Rayy’s house and made peace and added
the robbers’ spoil to the monies they had gained and lived a length of
time. “Nor, O king of the age” (continued the Wazir), “is this stranger
or rarer than the story of the Four Sharpers with the Shroff and the
Ass.” When the king heard this story, he smiled and it pleased him and
he bade the Minister to his own house.


                 The Twenty-Second Night of the Month.

When the evening evened, King Shah Bakht summoned the Wazir and required
of him the hearing of the story. So Al-Rahwan said, “Hearkening and
obedience. Give ear, O King, to


Four sharpers once plotted against a Shroff, a man of much wealth, and
agreed upon a sleight for securing some of his coins. So one of them
took an ass and laying on it a bag, wherein were dirhams, lighted down
at the shop of the Shroff and sought of him small change. The man of
monies brought out to him the silver bits and bartered them with him,
whilst the sharper was easy with him in the matter of the exchange, so
he might gar him long for more gain. As they were thus, up came the
other three sharpers and surrounded the donkey; and one of them said,
“’Tis he,” and another said, “Wait till I look at him.” Then he took to
considering the ass and stroking him from crest[475] to tail; whilst the
third went up to him and handled him and felt him from head to rump,
saying, “Yes, ’tis in him.” Said another, “No, ’tis not in him;” and
they left not doing the like of this for some time. Then they accosted
the donkey’s owner and chaffered with him and he said, “I will not sell
him but for ten thousand dirhams.” They offered him a thousand dirhams;
but he refused and swore that he would not vend the ass but for that
which he had said. They ceased not adding to their offer till the price
reached five thousand dirhams, whilst their mate still said, “I’ll not
vend him save for ten thousand silver pieces.” The Shroff advised him to
sell, but he would not do this and said to him, “Ho, Shaykh! Thou
wottest not the case of this donkey. Stick to silver and gold and what
pertaineth thereto of exchange and small change; because indeed the
virtue of this ass is a mystery to thee. For every craft its crafty men
and for every means of livelihood its peculiar people.” When the affair
was prolonged upon the three sharpers, they went away and sat down
aside; then they came up privily to the money-changer and said to him,
“An thou can buy him for us, do so, and we will give thee twenty
dirhams.” Quoth he, “Go away and sit down at a distance from him.” So
they did as he bade and the Shroff went up to the owner of the ass and
ceased not luring him with lucre and saying, “Leave these wights and
sell me the donkey, and I will reckon him a present from thee,” till he
sold him the animal for five thousand and five hundred dirhams.
Accordingly the money-changer weighed out to him that sum of his own
monies, and the owner of the ass took the price and delivered the beast
to him, saying, “Whatso shall betide, though he abide a deposit upon thy
neck,[476] sell him not to yonder cheats for less than ten thousand
dirhams, for that they would fain buy him because of a hidden hoard they
know, whereto naught can guide them save this donkey. So close thy hand
on him and cross me not, or thou shalt repent.” With these words he left
him and went away, whereupon up came the three other sharpers, the
comrades of him of the ass, and said to the Shroff, “God requite thee
for us with good, in that thou hast bought him! How can we reward thee?”
Quoth he, “I will not sell him but for ten thousand dirhams.” When they
heard that they returned to the ass and fell again to examining him like
buyers and handling him. Then said they to the money-changer, “Indeed we
were deceived in him. This is not the ass we sought and he is not worth
to us more than ten nusfs.”[477] Then they left him and offered to go
away, whereat the Shroff was sore chagrined and cried out at their
speech, saying, “O folk, ye asked me to buy him for you and now I have
bought him, ye say, we were deceived in him, and he is not worth to us
more than ten nusfs.” They replied, “We thought that in him was whatso
we wanted; but, behold, in him is the contrary of that which we wish;
and indeed he hath a blemish, for that he is short of back.” Then they
made long noses[478] at him and went away from him and dispersed. The
money-changer deemed they did but play him off, that they might get the
donkey at their own price; but, when they walked away from him and he
had long awaited their return, he cried out, saying, “Well-away!” and
“Ruin!” and “Sorry case I am in!” and shrieked aloud and rent his
raiment. So the market-people assembled to him and questioned him of his
case; whereupon he acquainted them with his condition and told them what
the knaves had said and how they had cozened him and how they had
cajoled him into buying an ass worth fifty dirhams[479] for five
thousand and five hundred.[480] His friends blamed him and a gathering
of the folk laughed at him and admired his folly and over-faith in
believing the talk of the sharpers without suspicion, and meddling with
that which he understood not and thrusting himself into that whereof he
had no sure knowledge. “On this wise, O King Shah Bakht” (continued the
Wazir), “is the issue of greed for the goods of the world and indeed
coveting that which our knowledge containeth not shall lead to ruin and
repentance. Nor, O King of the age (added he), is this story stranger
than that of the Cheat and the Merchants.” When the King heard these
words, he said in himself, “Indeed, had I given ear to the sayings of my
courtiers and inclined to their idle prate in the matter of my Minister,
I had repented to the utterest of penitence, but Alhamdolillah—laud be
to the Lord—who hath disposed me to endurance and long-suffering and
hath vouchsafed to me patience!” Then he turned to the Wazir and
dismissed him to his dwelling and gave congé those who were present,
according to his custom.

                  The Twenty-Third Night of the Month.

When the evening evened, the King summoned the Minister and when he
presented himself before him, he required of him the hearing of the
story. So he said, “Hearing and obeying. Give ear, O illustrious lord,


There was once in olden time a certain Cheat, who could turn the ear
inside out by his talk, and he was a model of cleverness and quick wit
and skill and mischief. It was his wont to enter a town and make a show
of being a trader and engage in intimacy with people of worth and sit in
session with the merchants, for his name was noted as a man of virtue
and piety. Then he would put a sleight on them and take of them what he
might spend and fare forth to another stead; and he ceased not to do
thus for a while of time. It chanced one day that he entered a certain
city and sold somewhat that was with him of merchandise and made friends
of the merchants of the place and took to sitting with them and
entertaining them and inviting them to his quarters and his assembly,
whilst they also invited him to their houses. He abode after such
fashion a long time until he was minded to quit the city; and this was
bruited among his intimates, who grieved for parting from him. Then he
betook himself to one of them who was the richest in substance and the
most conspicuous for generosity, and sat with him and borrowed his
goods; and when rising to depart, he bade him return the deposit that he
had left with him. Quoth the merchant, “And what is the deposit?” and
quoth the Cheat, “’Tis such a purse, with the thousand dinars therein.”
The merchant asked, “And when didst thou give me that same?” and the
Cheat answered, “Extolled be Allah of All Might! Was it not on such a
day, by such a token which is thus and thus?” The man rejoined, “I know
naught of this,” and words were bandied about between them, whilst the
folk who heard them disputed together concerning their sayings and
doings, till their voices rose high and the neighbours had knowledge of
that which passed between them.[481] Then said the Cheat, “O people,
this is my friend and I deposited with him a deposit which he denieth
having received: so in whom shall men put trust after this?” And they
said, “This person is a man of worth and we have known in him naught but
trustiness and good faith and the best of breeding, and he is endowed
with sense and manliness.[482] Indeed, he affirmeth no false claim, for
that we have consorted and associated with him and he with us and we
know the sincerity of his religion.” Then quoth one of them to the
merchant, “Ho, Such-an-one! Bethink thee of the past and refresh thy
memory. It cannot be that thou hast forgotten.” But quoth he, “O people,
I wot nothing of what he saith, for indeed he deposited naught with me:”
and the matter was prolonged between them. Then said the Cheat to the
merchant, “I am about to travel and I have, praised be Allah Almighty,
much wealth, and this money shall not escape me; but do thou make oath
to me.” And the folk said, “Indeed, this man doth justice upon
himself.”[483] Whereupon the merchant fell into that which he
disliked[484] and came nigh upon loss and ill fame. Now he had a friend,
who pretended to sharpness and intelligence; so he came up to him
secretly and said to him, “Let me do so I may cheat this Cheat, for I
know him to be a liar and thou art near upon having to weigh out the
gold; but I will parry off suspicion from thee and say to him, The
deposit is with me and thou erredst in suspecting that it was with other
than myself; and so I will divert him from thee.” The other replied, “Do
so, and rid the people of such pretended debts.” Accordingly the friend
turned to the Cheat and said to him, “O my lord, I am Such-an-one, and
thou goest under a delusion. The purse is with me, for it was with me
that thou depositedst it, and this Shaykh is innocent of it.” But the
Cheat answered him with impatience and impetuosity, saying, “Extolled be
Allah! As for the purse that is with thee, O noble and faithful man, I
know ’tis under Allah’s charge and my heart is easy anent it, because
’tis with thee as it were with me; but I began by demanding the purse
which I deposited with this man, of my knowledge that he coveteth the
goods of folk.” At this the friend was confounded and put to silence and
returned not a reply; and the only result of his meddling was that each
of them—merchant and friend—had to pay a thousand gold pieces. So the
Cheat took the two thousand dinars and made off; and when he was gone,
the merchant said to his friend, the man of pretended sharpness and
intelligence, “Ho, Such-an-one! Thou and I are like the Falcon and the
Locust.” The friend asked, “What was their case?” and the merchant
answered with


There was once, of old time, a Falcon who made himself a nest hard by
the home of a Locust, and his neighbour gloried in such neighbourhood
and betaking herself to him, saluted him with the salam and said, “O my
lord and lord of all the birds, indeed the nearness to thee delighteth
me and thou honourest me with thy vicinity and my soul is fortified with
thee.” The Falcon thanked her for this and friendship between them
followed. One day, the Locust said to the bird, “O prince of the flying
race, how is it that I see thee alone, solitary, having with thee no
friend of thy kind, the volatiles, on whom thou mayst repose in time of
gladness and of whom thou mayst seek aid in tide of sadness? Indeed,
’tis said:—Man goeth about seeking ease of body and ward of strength,
and there is naught in this more necessary to him than a true friend who
shall be the crown of his comfort and the column of his career and on
whom shall be his dependence in his distress and in his delight. Now I,
although ardently desiring thy weal in that which befitteth thy rank and
degree, yet am weak in that which the soul craveth; but, an thou deign
give me leave, I will seek out for thee one of the birds who shall
fellow thee in body and strength.” And the Falcon said, “I commit this
to thee and rely upon thee herein.” Thereupon, O my brother (quoth the
merchant), the Locust began going round the company of the birds, but
saw naught resembling the Falcon in bulk and body save the Kite and
thought well of her. So she brought the twain together and counselled
the Falcon to foregather with the Kite. Presently it fortuned that the
Falcon fell sick and the Kite tarried with and tended him a long while
till he recovered and became sound and strong, wherefore he thanked her
and she fared from him. But after some days the Falcon’s sickness
returned to him and he needed succour of the Kite, so the Locust went
out from him and was absent from him a day; after which she returned to
him with another locust,[486] saying, “I have brought thee this one.”
When the Falcon saw her, he said, “God requite thee with good! Indeed,
thou hast done well in the quest and thou hast shown subtlety and
discrimination in the choice.” All this, O my brother (continued the
merchant) befel because the Locust had no knowledge of the essence which
lurketh in the outer semblance of bodies. As for thee, O my brother,
(Allah requite thee with weal!) thou wast subtle in device and usedst
precaution, but forethought availeth not against Fate, and Fortune
foreordained baffleth force of fence. How excellent is the saying of the
poet when he spake these couplets:—[487]

 It chances whiles that the blind man escapes a pit, ✿ Whilst he who is
    clear of sight falls into it.
 The ignorant man may speak with impunity ✿ A word that is death to the
    wise and the ripe of wit.
 The true believer is pinched for his daily bread, ✿ Whilst infidel
    rogues enjoy all benefit.
 Where is a man’s resource and what can he do? ✿ It is the Almighty’s
    will; we must submit.

“Nor” (continued the Wazir) “is this, O king of the age, rarer or
stranger than the story of the King and his Chamberlain’s wife; nay,
this is more wondrous than that and more delectable.” When the king
heard this story, he was strengthened in his resolve to spare the
Minister and to eschew haste in an affair whereof he was not certified;
so he comforted him and bade him hie to his home.

                 The Twenty-fourth Night of the Month.

When it was night, the King summoned the Wazir and sought of him the
hearing of the story. Al-Rahwan replied, “Hearkening and obedience!
Listen, O august sovran, to


There was once, in days of yore and in ages and times long gone before,
a King of the kings of the Persians, who was much addicted to the love
of fair women. His courtiers spoke him of the wife of a certain of his
Chamberlains, a model of beauty and loveliness and perfect grace, and
this egged him on to go in to her. When she saw him, she knew him and
said to him, “What urgeth the King to this that he doeth?” and he
replied, saying, “Verily, I long for thee with excess of longing and
there is no help but that I enjoy thy favours.” And he gave her of
wealth that after whose like women lust; but she said, “I cannot do the
deed whereof the king speaketh, for fear of my husband;”[489] and she
refused herself to him with the most rigorous of refusals and would not
suffer him to win his wish. So the king went out in wrath, and forgot
his girdle in the place. Now it chanced that her husband entered
immediately after his lord had departed, and saw the girdle and knew it.
He was aware of the king’s love for women; so quoth he to his wife,
“What be this I see with thee?” Quoth she, “I’ll tell thee the truth,”
and recounted to him the occurrence; but he believed her not and
suspicion entered his heart. As for the King, he passed that night in
care and concern, and when the morning morrowed, he summoned that
Chamberlain and made him governor of one of his provinces; then he bade
him betake himself thither, purposing, after he should have departed and
fared afar, to foregather with his wife. The Chamberlain perceived his
project and kenned his intent; so he answered, saying, “To hear is to
obey!” presently adding, “I will go and order my affairs and give such
injunctions as may be needed for the well-doing of my affairs; then will
I go about the sovran’s commission.” And the King said, “Do this and
make haste.” So the Chamberlain went about that which he needed and
assembling his wife’s kinsfolk, said to them, “I am determined to
dismiss my wife.” They took this ill of him and complained of him and
summoning him before the sovereign, sat prosecuting him. Now the King
had no knowledge of that which had passed; so he said to the
Chamberlain, “Why wilt thou put her away and how can thy soul consent to
this and why takest thou unto thyself a fine and fertile piece of land
and presently forsakest it?” Answered the husband, “Allah amend the
king! By the Almighty, O my King, I saw therein the trail of the lion
and fear to enter that land, lest the lion devour me, and the like of my
affair with her is that which befel between the Crone and the Draper’s
Wife.” The king asked, “What is their adventure?” and the chamberlain
answered, “Hear, O king,


There was once a man of the Drapers, who had a beautiful wife, and she
was curtained[491] and chaste. A certain young man saw her coming forth
of the Hammam and loved her and his heart was engrossed with her. So he
devised for access to her all manner of devices, but availed not to
foregather with her; and when he was a-weary and his patience failed for
travail and trouble and his fortitude betrayed and forsook him and he
was at an end of his resources against her, he complained of this to an
ill-omened crone,[492] who promised him to bring about union between him
and his beloved. He thanked her for this and promised her all manner of
_douceurs_; and she said to him, “Hie thee to her husband and buy of him
a turband-cloth of fine linen, and let it be of the very best of stuff.”
So he repaired to the Draper and buying of him a turband-cloth of lawn,
returned and gave it to the old woman, who took it and burned it in two
places. Then she donned the dress of a devotee and taking the
turband-cloth with her, went to the Draper’s house and knocked at the
door. When the Draper’s wife saw her thus habited as a holy woman, she
opened to her and admitted her with kindly reception, and made much of
her and welcomed her: so the crone went in to her and conversed with her
awhile. Then said she to her, “I want to make the Wuzu-ablution
preparatory to prayer.”[493] At these words the wife brought the water
and she made the ablution and standing up to pray, prayed and satisfied
herself; and when she had ended her orisons, she left the turband-cloth
in the place of prayer and fared forth. Presently, in came the Draper,
at the hour of night-devotions, and sitting down in the prayer-place
where the old woman had prayed, looked about him and espied the turband.
He knew it and suspected foul play; so wrath showed in his face and he
was furious with his wife and reviled her and abode his day and his
night without speaking to her, during all which while she knew not the
cause of his rage. Then she looked and seeing the turband-cloth before
him and noting the traces of burning thereon, understood that his anger
was on account of this and concluded that he was in ill-temper because
it was burnt. When the morning morrowed, the Draper went out, still
wroth with his wife, and the crone returned to her and found her changed
of colour, pale of complexion, dejected and heart-broken. So she
questioned her of the cause, and the wife told her how her husband was
angered against her on account of the burns in the turband-cloth.[494]
Rejoined the old woman, “O my daughter, be not chagrined; for I have a
son, a fine-drawer, and he, by thy life, shall fine-draw the holes and
restore the turband-cloth as it was.” The wife rejoiced in her saying
and asked her, “And when shall this be?” The crone answered, “To-morrow,
Inshallah—an it please Allah the Most High—I will bring him to thee, at
the time of thy husband’s going forth from thee, and he shall fine-draw
it and depart forthwith.” Then she comforted her heart and going away
from her, returned to the young man and acquainted him with what had
passed. Now when the Draper saw the turband-cloth, he determined to
divorce his wife and waited only till he could collect that which was
obligatory on him of the contingent dowry and what not else,[495] for
fear of her people. When the crone arose in the morning, she took the
young man and carried him into the Draper’s house. The wife opened the
door to her and the ill-omened old woman entered with him and said to
the lady, “Go, fetch that which thou wouldest have fine-drawn and give
it to my son.” So saying, she bolted the door on her, whereupon the
young man raped[496] her against her will and did his want of her and
went forth. Then cried the crone, “Know that this is my son and that he
loved thee with exceeding love and was like to lose his life for longing
after thee; so I devised for thee with this device and came to thee with
this turband-cloth, which is not thy husband’s, but my son’s. Now have I
won to my wish; so do thou trust in me and I will put a sleight on thy
husband for setting thee right with him, and thou wilt be subject to me
and to him and to my son.”[497] And the wife replied, “’Tis well. Do
so.” Presently the old woman returned to the lover and said, “Know thou
that I have engineered the affair for thee with her; and now we must
mend that we have marred. Hie thee and sit with the Draper and mention
to him the turband-cloth, saying, The turband I bought of thee I chanced
to burn in two places; so I gave it to a certain old woman, to have
fine-drawn, and she took it and went away, and I know not her
dwelling-place.[498] When thou seest me pass by, rise and lay hold of
me, and demand of me the cloth, to the intent that I may arrange her
affair with her spouse and that matters go right with thee in her
regard.” Accordingly he repaired to the Draper’s shop and sat down by
him and asked him, “Thou knowest the turband-cloth I bought of thee?”
“Yes.” “Knowest thou what is come of it?” “No.” “After I bought it of
thee, I fumigated myself[499] and it fortuned that the turband-cloth was
burnt in two places; so I gave it to a woman, whose son, they said, was
a fine-drawer, and she took it and fared forth with it; and I know not
her home.” When the Draper heard this, he was startled by the thought
that he had suspected his wife wrongfully, and marvelled at the story of
the turband-cloth, and his mind was made easy anent her. After a short
while, up came the old woman, whereupon the young man sprang to his feet
and seizing her, demanded of her the turband-cloth. Said she, “Know that
I entered one of the houses and wuzu’d and prayed in the
prayer-place;[500] and I forgot the turband-cloth there and went out.
Now I weet not the house in which I prayed, nor have I been divinely
directed[501] thereto, and I go round about every day till the night, so
haply I may light on the dwelling, for I know not its owner.” When the
Draper heard these words, he said to the old woman, “Verily, Allah
restoreth to thee what thing thou hast lost. Be gladdened by good news,
for the turband-cloth is with me and in my house.”[502] And he arose
forthright and handed to her the turband-cloth, as it was, and she
handed it to the young man. Then the Draper made peace with his wife and
gave her raiment and jewellery, till she was content and her heart was
appeased. When the king heard his Chamberlain’s story, he was dazed and
amazed and said to him, “Abide on thy service and ear thy field for that
the lion entered it, but marred it not, and he will never more return
thither.”[503] Then he bestowed on him an honourable robe and made him a
costly present; and the man returned to his wife and people, rejoicing,
his heart having been set at rest concerning his wife. “Nor” (continued
the Wazir), “O King of the age, is this rarer or stranger than the story
of the beautiful wife, a woman gifted of amorous grace, with the ugly
Man, her husband.” When king Shah Bakht heard the Minister’s speech, he
deemed it delectable and it pleased him; so he bade him hie to his
house, and there he tarried his day long.

                  The Twenty-fifth Night of the Month.

When the evening evened, the King summoned his Wazir and bade him tell
the tale. So he said, “’Tis well. Hear, O King,


There was once a man of the Arabs who had a number of children, and
amongst them a boy, never was seen a fairer than he of favour nor a more
complete in comeliness; no, nor a more perfect of prudence. When he came
to man’s estate, his father married him to his first cousin, the
daughter of one of his paternal uncles, and she excelled not in beauty,
neither was she laudable for qualities; wherefore she pleased not the
youth, but he bore with her for the sake of kinship. One day, he fared
forth in quest of certain camels[504] of his which had strayed and hied
him on all his day and night till eventide, when he was fain to seek
hospitality in an Arab camp. So he alighted at one of the tents of the
tribesmen and there came forth to him a man short of stature and foul of
favour, who saluted him with the salam; and, lodging him in a corner of
the tent, sat entertaining him with chat, the cheeriest that might be.
When his food was dressed, the Arab’s wife brought it to the guest, and
he looked at the mistress of the tent and saw a semblance than which no
seemlier might be. Indeed, her beauty and loveliness, her symmetry and
perfect grace amazed him and he was struck with astonishment, gazing now
at her and then at her mate. When his looking grew long, the man said to
him, “Ho, thou son of the worthy! Busy thyself with thine own business,
for by me and this woman hangeth a wondrous tale, which is even better
than that thou seest of her beauty; and I will tell it to thee when we
have made a finish of our food.” So, when they had ended eating and
drinking, the young man asked his host for the story, and he said:—Know
that in my youth I was the same as thou seest me in the matter of
loathliness and foul favour; and I had brethren of the fairest of the
folk; wherefore my father preferred them over me and used to show them
kindness, to my exclusion, and made me serve in their stead, like as a
master employeth slaves. One day, a dromedary of his strayed from the
herd of camels, and he said to me, “Go thou forth in quest of her and
return not but with her.” I replied, “Send other than I of thy sons.”
But he would not consent to this and scolded me and insisted upon me,
till the matter came to such a pass with him that he took a thong-whip
and fell to beating me. So I arose and saddling a riding-camel, mounted
her and sallied forth at random, purposing to go out into the wolds and
the wilds and return to him never more. I fared on all my night and the
next day and coming at eventide[505] to the encampment of this my wife’s
people, alighted down with and became the guest of her father, who was a
Shaykh well stricken in years. Now when it was the noon of night, I
arose and went forth the tent at a call of nature, and none knew of my
case save this woman. The dogs followed me as a suspected stranger and
ceased not worrying me[506] till I fell on my back into a pit, wherein
was water, a deep hollow and a steep; and a dog of those dogs fell in
with me. The woman, who was then a girl in the bloom of youth, full of
strength and spirit, was moved to ruth on me, for the calamity whereinto
I was fallen, and coming to me with a rope, said to me, “Catch hold of
the rope.” So I hent it and clung to it and she haled me up; but, when I
was half-way up, I pulled her down and she fell with me into the pit;
and there we abode three days, she and I and the hound. When her people
arose in the morning and did not see her, they sought her in the camp,
but, finding her not and missing me also, never doubted but she had fled
with me.[507] Now she had four brothers, as they were Saker-hawks, and
they took horse and dispersed in search of us. When the day yellowed on
the fourth dawn, the dog began to bark and the other hounds answered him
and coming to the mouth of the pit, stood howling to him. The Shaykh, my
wife’s father, hearing the howling of the hounds, came up and standing
at the brink of the hollow, looked in and beheld a marvel. Now he was a
brave man and a sensible, an elder experienced in affairs, so he fetched
a cord and bringing forth the three, questioned us twain of our case. I
told him all that had betided and he fell a-pondering the affair.
Presently, her brothers returned, whereupon the old man acquainted them
with the whole case and said to them, “O my sons, know that your sister
intended not aught but good, and if ye kill this man, ye will earn
abiding shame and ye will wrong him, and wrong your own souls and eke
your sister: for indeed there appeareth no cause such as calleth for
killing, and it may not be denied that this accident is a thing whose
like may well occur and that he may easily have been the victim of
suchlike chance.” Then he addressed me and questioned me of my lineage;
so I set forth to him my genealogy and he, exclaiming, “A man of her
match, honourable, understanding, offered me his daughter in wedlock. I
consented to this and marrying her, took up my abode with him and Allah
hath opened on me the gates of weal and wealth, so that I am become the
richest in monies of the tribesmen; and the Almighty hath stablished me
in that which He hath given me of His bounties.” The young man marvelled
at his tale and lay the night with him; and when he arose in the
morning, he found his estrays. So he took them and returning to his
folk, acquainted them with what he had seen and all that had befallen
him. “Nor” (continued the Wazir) “is this stranger or rarer than the
story of the King who lost kingdom and wealth and wife and children and
Allah restored them to him and requited him with a realm more
magnificent than that which he had forfeited and better and finer and
greater of wealth and degree.” The Minister’s story pleased the King and
he bade him depart to his abode.

                  The Twenty-sixth Night of the Month.

When came the night, the king summoned his Wazir and bade him tell the
story of the King who lost kingdom and wife and wealth. He replied,
“Hearing and obeying! Give ear, O sovran, to

                      RESTORED THEM TO HIM_.”[508]

There was once a king of the kings of Hind, who was a model of morals,
praiseworthy in policy, lief of justice to his lieges, lavish to men of
learning and piety and abstinence and devoutness and worship and
shunning mischief-makers and froward folk, fools and traitors. After
such goodly fashion he abode in his kingship what Allah the Most High
willed of watches and days and twelvemonths,[509] and he married the
daughter of his father’s brother, a beautiful woman and a winsome,
endowed with brightness and perfection, who had been reared in the
king’s house in delicacy and delight. She bare him two sons, the most
beauteous that might be of boys, when came Destiny from whose decree is
no deliverance and Allah the Most High raised up against the King
another king, who came forth upon his realm, and was joined by all the
folk of the city that had a mind to lewdness and frowardness. So he
strengthened himself by means of them against the King and compassed his
kingdom, routing his troops and killing his guards. The King took his
wife, the mother of his sons, and what he might of monies and saved his
life and fled in the darkness of the night, unknowing whither he should
wend. Whenas wayfare grew sore upon them, there met them highwaymen on
the way, who took all that was with them, so that naught remained to
each of them save a shirt and trousers; the robbers left them without
even provaunt or camels or other riding-cattle, and they ceased not to
fare on afoot, till they came to a copse, which was an orchard of trees
on the ocean shore.[510] Now the road which they would have followed was
crossed by a sea-arm, but it was shallow and scant of water; wherefore,
when they reached that place, the king took up one of his children and
fording the water with him, set him down on the further bank and
returned for his other son, whom also he seated by his brother. Lastly,
returning for their mother, he took her up and passing the water with
her, came to the place where he had left his children, but found them
not. Thereupon he looked at the midst of the island and saw an old man
and an old woman, engaged in making themselves a reed-hut: so he set
down his wife over against them and started off in quest of his
children, but none gave him news of them and he went round about right
and left, yet found not the whereabouts they were. On this wise fared it
with him; but as to the children, they had entered the copse to make
water, and they found there a forest of trees, wherein, if a sturdy
horseman[511] strayed, he might wander by the week, and never know its
first from its last. So the boys pushed into it and wotted not how they
should return and went astray in that wood, for a purpose willed of
Allah Almighty, whilst their father sought them, but found them not. So
he returned to their mother and they abode weeping for their children;
as for whom, when they entered the forest, it swallowed them up and they
fared at hap-hazard, wandering in it many days, knowing not whence they
came or whither they went, till they issued forth, at another side, upon
the open country. Meanwhile, their parents, the king and queen, tarried
in the island, over against the old man and his old woman, and ate of
the fruits and drank of the rills that were in it till, one day of the
days, as they sat, behold, up came a ship and made fast to the
island-side, for provisioning with water, whereupon they[512] looked one
at other and spoke. The master of the craft was a Magian man and all
that was therein, both crew and goods, belonged to him, for he was a
trader and went round about the world. Now greed of gain deluded the old
man, the owner of the island, and he fared to the ship and gave the
Guebre news of the King’s wife, setting out to him her charms, till he
made him long for her and his soul moved[513] him to practise treachery
and cozenage upon her and take her from her husband. Accordingly, he
sent to her, saying, “Aboard with us is a woman with child, and we dread
lest she be delivered this night: hast thou aught of skill in
midwifery?” She replied, “Yes.” Now it was the last of the day; so he
sent to her to come up into the ship and deliver the woman, for that the
labour-pangs were come upon her; and he promised her clothes and
spending-money. Hereat, she embarked confidently, with heart at ease for
herself, and transported her gear to the ship; but no sooner had she
come thither than the sails were hoisted and the canvas was loosed[514]
and the ship set sail. When the King saw this, he cried out and his wife
wept in the ship and would have cast herself into the waves; but the
Magian bade his men lay hands on her. So they seized her and it was but
a little while ere the night darkened and the ship vanished from the
King’s eyes; whereupon he fainted away for excess of weeping and
lamentation and passed his night bewailing his wife and his children.
And when the morning morrowed he began improvising these couplets:—[515]

             O World, how long, this spite, this enmity?
             Say me, dost ever spare what spared can be?
         And look! my friends have farèd fain and free!
             They went and went wi’ them my dear delight
             E’en from the day when friends to part were dight
         And turbid made their lost life’s clarity.
             By Allah, ne’er I wist their worth aright
             Nor ever wot I worth of friends unite
         Till fared they, leaving flame in heart of me!

             I’ll ne’er forget them since what day each wight
             Hied and withdrew fro’ me his well-loved sight
         And yet I weep this parting-blow to dree.
             I vow an Heaven deign my friends return
             And cry the crier in mine ears that yearn
         “The far is near, right soon their sight shalt see!”
             Upon their site my cheeks I’ll place, to sprite
             I’ll say, “Rejoice, thy friends return to thee!”
             Nor blame my heart when friends were lief to flee:
         I rent my heart ere rent my raimentry.

He sat weeping for the severance of his wife and children till the
morning, when he went forth wandering at a venture, unweeting what he
should do, and ceased not walking along the sea-shore days and nights,
unknowing whither he went and taking no food save the herbs of the earth
and seeing neither man nor wildling nor other living thing, till his
wayfare brought him to a mountain-top. He sojourned in the highland and
abode awhile, there alone, eating of its fruits and drinking of its
founts; then he came down thence and trudged along the high road three
days, when he hit upon tilled fields and villages and gave not over
going till he made a great city on the shore of the salt sea and came to
its gate at the last of the day. The gatekeepers allowed him no
admission; so he spent his night anhungered, and when he arose in the
morning, he sat down hard by the portal. Now the king of the city was
dead and had left no son, and the citizens fell out anent who should be
ruler over them: and their words and redes differed, so that civil war
was like to befal them thereupon. But it came to pass that, after long
jangle, they agreed to leave the choice to the late king’s elephant and
that he unto whom he consented should be king and that they would not
contest with him the sway. So to this they sware and on the morrow, they
brought out their elephant and fared forth to a site within sight of the
city; nor was there man or woman but was present at that moment. Then
they adorned the elephant and raising the throne on his back, gave him
the crown in his trunk; and he went round about examining the
countenances of the folk, but stopped not over against any of them till
he came at last to the forlorn King, the exile who had lost his children
and his wife, when the beast prostrated himself to him and placing the
crown on his head, took him up and set him upon his back. Thereupon the
people all prostrated themselves and gave mutual joy of this and the
drums[516] of good tidings beat before him, and he entered the city and
went on till he reached the House of Justice and the Audience-hall of
the Palace and sat down upon the throne of the kingdom, crown on head;
whereat the lieges entered to congratulate him and to bless him. Then he
addressed himself, as was his wont in the kingship, to forwarding the
affairs of the folk and ranging the troops according to their ranks and
looking into their affairs and those of all the Ryots. He also released
those who were in the dungeons and abolished the custom-dues and gave
honourable robes and lavished great gifts and bestowed largesse and
conferred favours on the Emirs and Wazirs and Lords of the realm, and
the Chamberlains[517] and Nabobs presented themselves before him and did
him homage. So the city people rejoiced in him and said, “Indeed, this
be none other than a King of the greatest of the kings.” And presently
he assembled the sages and the theologians and the sons of the Sovrans
and conversed with them and asked them subtile questions and casuistical
problems and talked over with them things manifold of all fashions that
might direct him to rectitude in the kingship; and he questioned them
also of mysteries and religious obligations and of the laws of the land
and the regulations of rule and of that which it beseemeth the liege
lord to do of looking into the affairs of the lieges and repelling the
foe and fending off his malice with force and fight; so the subjects’
contentment redoubled and their exultation in that which Allah Almighty
had vouchsafed them of his kingship over them. On such wise he upheld
the ordinance of the realm, and the affairs abode stablished upon the
accepted custom and local usage. Now the late king had left a wife and
two daughters, and the people would fain have married the Princess royal
to the new king that the rule might not pass clean away from the old
rulers. Accordingly, they proposed to him that he should wed her or the
other of the deceased king’s daughters, and he promised them this, but
put them off from him, of his respect for the covenant he had made with
his former wife, his cousin, that he would marry none other than
herself. Then he betook himself to fasting by day and praying through
the night, multiplying his almsdeeds and beseeching Allah (extolled and
exalted be He!) to reunite him with his children and his wife, the
daughter of his father’s brother. When a year had elapsed, there came to
the city a ship, wherein were many merchants and much merchandise. Now
it was their custom from time immemorial that the king, whenever a ship
made the port, sent to it such of his pages as he trusted in, who took
agency of the goods, to the end that they might be first shown to the
Sovran, who bought as much of them as befitted him and gave the
merchants leave to sell whatso he wanted not. So he commissioned,
according to his custom, a man who should fare to the ship and seal up
the bales and set over them one who could watch and ward them. Meanwhile
the Queen his wife, when the Magian fled with her and proffered himself
to her and lavished upon her abounding wealth, rejected him and was like
to kill herself[518] for chagrin at that which had befallen and for
concern anent her separation from her husband. She also refused meat and
drink and resolved to cast herself into the sea; but the Magian chained
her and straitened her and clothed her in a coat of wool and said to
her, “I will continue thee in wretchedness and humiliation till thou
obey me and accept me.” So she took patience and looked for the Almighty
to deliver her from the hand of that accursed; and she ceased not
travelling with him from country to country till he came with her in
fine to the city wherein her husband was king and his goods were put
under seal. Now the woman was in a chest and two youths of the late
king’s pages, who were now in the new King’s service, were those who had
been charged with the watch and ward of the craft and her cargaison.
When the evening evened on them, the twain began talking and recounted
that which had befallen them in their days of childhood and the manner
of the faring forth of their father and mother from their country and
kingdom when the wicked overcame their realm, and how they had gone
astray in the forest and how Fate had severed them from their parents;
for short, they told their tale from first to last. When the woman heard
their talk, she knew that they were her sons and cried out to them from
the chest, “I am your mother, Such-an-one, and the token between you
twain and me is thus and thus.” The young men knew the token and falling
upon the chest, brake the lock and brought out their mother, who seeing
them, strained them to her bosom, and they fell upon her and fainted
away, all three. When they came to themselves, they wept awhile and the
people assembled about them, marvelling at that they saw, and questioned
them of their case. So the young Princes vied each with other who should
be the first to discover the story to the folk; and when the Magian saw
this, he came up, crying out, “Alack!” and “Ruin!” and said to them,
“Why and wherefore have ye broken open my chest? Verily, I had in it
jewels and ye have stolen them, and this damsel is my slave-girl and she
hath agreed with you both upon a device to take my wealth.” Then he rent
his raiment and cried for aid, saying, “I appeal to Allah and to the
just King, so he may quit me of these wrongous youths!” They both
replied, “This is our mother and thou stolest her:” whereupon words
waxed manifold between them and the folk plunged into talk with many a
“he said” and “’twas said” concerning their affair and that of the
pretended slave-girl, and the strife increased between them, so that at
last they carried them all four to the King’s court. When the two young
men presented themselves between his hands and stated their case to him
and to the folk and the sovran heard their speech, he knew them and his
heart was like to fly for joy: the tears poured from his eyes at their
sight and the sight of his wife, and he thanked Allah Almighty and
praised Him for that He had deigned reunite them. Then he bade the folk
who were present about him be dismissed and commanded the Magian and the
woman and the two youths be to morrow committed to his armoury[519] for
the night, ordering that they should keep guard over them all until the
Lord should make the morning to morrow, so he might assemble the Kazis
and the Justiciaries and Assessors and determine between them, according
to Holy Law, in the presence of the four judges. So they did this and
the King passed the night praying and praising Allah of All-might for
that which he had vouchsafed him of kingship and power and victory over
the wight who had wronged him and thanking Him who had reunited him with
his own. When the morning morrowed, he assembled the Kazis and Deputies
and Assessors[520] and summoning the Magian and the two youths and their
mother, questioned them of their case; whereupon the two young men began
and said, “We are the sons of King Such-an-one and foemen and lewd
fellows gat the mastery of our realm; so our sire fled forth with us and
wandered at hap-hazard, for fear of the foe.” And they recounted to him
all that had betided them, from beginning to end.[521] Quoth he, “Ye
tell a marvel-tale; but what hath Fate done with your father?” Quoth
they, “We know not how Fortune dealt with him after our loss.” And he
was silent. Then he bespake the woman, “And thou, what sayst thou?” So
she set forth to him her case and all that had betided her and her
husband, from the beginning of their hardships to the end, and recounted
to him their adventures up to the time when they took up their abode
with the old man and woman who dwelt on the sea-shore. Then she reported
that which the Magian had practised on her of fraud and how he had
carried her off in the craft and everything that had betided her of
humiliation and torment; all this while the Kazis and Judges and
Deputies hearkening to her speech as they had lent ear to the others’
adventures. When the King heard the last of his wife’s tale, he said,
“Verily, there hath betided thee a mighty grievous matter; but hast thou
knowledge of what thy husband did and what came of his affair?” She
replied, “Nay, by Allah; I have no knowledge of him, save that I leave
him no hour unremembered in righteous prayer, and never, whilst I live,
will he cease to be to me the father of my children and my cousin and my
flesh and my blood.” Then she wept and the King bowed his head, whilst
his eyes welled tears at her tale. Presently he raised his head to the
Magian and cried to him, “Say thy say, thou also.” So the Magian
replied, “This is my slave-girl, whom I bought with my money from such a
land and for so many dinars, and I made her my betrothed[522] and loved
her exceedingly and gave my monies into her charge; but she falsed me in
my substance and plotted with one of my lads to slay me, tempting him by
a promise that she would kill me and become his wife. When I knew this
of her and was assured that she purposed treason against me, I awoke
from my dream of happiness and did with her that which I did, fearing
for my life from her craft and perfidy; for indeed she is a trickstress
with her tongue and she hath taught these two youths this pretence, by
way of sleight and of her guile and her malice: so be you not deluded by
her and by her talk.” “Thou liest, O accursed,” cried the King and bade
lay hands on him and iron him. Then he turned to the two youths, his
sons, and strained them to his breast, weeping sore and saying, “O all
ye people who are present of Kazis and Assessors and Lords of the land,
know that these twain are my sons and that this is my wife and the
daughter of my father’s brother; for that whilome I was king in such a
realm.” And he recounted to them his history from commencement to
conclusion, nor is there aught of fruition in repetition; whereupon the
folk cried out with weeping and wailing for the stress of what they
heard of marvellous chances and that wondrous story. As for the king’s
wife, he bade carry her into his palace and lavished upon her and upon
her sons all that befitted and beseemed them of bounties, whilst the
lieges flocked to offer up prayers for him and give him joy of his
reunion with his wife and children. When they had made an end of
blessings and congratulations, they besought the king to hasten the
punishment of the Magian and heal their hearts with tormenting and
abasing him. So he appointed them for a day on which they should
assemble to witness his requitement and that which should betide him of
torment, and shut himself up with his wife and two sons and abode thus
private with them three days, during which they were veiled from the
folk. On the fourth day the King entered the Hammam, and faring forth,
sat down on the throne of his kingship, crown on head, whereupon the
folk came in to him, according to their custom and after the measure of
their several dignities and degrees, and the Emirs and Wazirs entered,
and eke the Chamberlains and Nabobs and Captains of war and the
Falconers and Armbearers and Commanders of the body-guard. Then he
seated his two sons, one on his right and the other on his left hand,
whilst the subjects all stood before him and lifted up their voices in
thanksgiving to Allah the Most High and glorification of Him and were
instant in orisons for the king and in setting forth his virtues and
excellent qualities. He answered them with the most gracious of answers
and bade carry the Magian outside the city and set him on a high
scaffold which had been builded for him there; and he said to the folk,
“Behold, I will torture him with torments of all kinds and fashions.”
Then he began telling them that which he had wrought of villainy with
his cousin-wife and what he had caused her of severance between her and
her husband and how he had required her of her person, but she had
sought refuge for her chastity against him with Allah (to whom belong
honour and glory) and chose abasement rather than obedience to him,
despite stress of torture: neither recked she aught of that which he
lavished to her of monies and raiment, jewels and ornaments. When the
King had made an end of his story, he bade the bystanders spit in the
Magian’s face and curse him; and they did this. Then he bade cut out his
tongue and on the next day he bade lop off his ears and nose and pluck
out both his eyes. On the third day he bade hew off his hands and on the
fourth his feet; and they ceased not to dismember him, limb after limb,
and each member they cast into the fire, after its amputation, before
his face, till his soul departed, after he had endured torments of all
kinds and fashions. Then the King bade crucify his trunk on the city
wall for three days; after which he gave orders to burn it and reduce
its ashes to powder and scatter them abroad in air. And when this was
done, the King summoned the Kazi and the Witnesses and commanded them
marry the old king’s daughter and her sister to his own sons; so the
youths wedded them, after the King had made a bride-feast three days and
displayed their brides to them from nightfall to day-dawn. Then the two
Princes went in unto their brides and abated their maidenheads and loved
them and were vouchsafed issue by them. As for the King their sire, he
abode with his cousin-wife, their mother, what while Allah (to whom be
honour and glory) willed, and they rejoiced in reunion each with other.
The kingship endured unto them and high degree and victory, and the
sovran continued to rule with justice and equity, so that the lieges
loved him and prayed for him and for his sons length of life and durance
of days; and they lived the most delightsome of existences till there
came to them the Destroyer of delights and Severer of societies, the
Depopulator of palaces and Garnerer of graves; and this is all that hath
come down to us of the story of the King and his Wife and Sons. “Nor,”
continued the Wazir, “if this story be a solace and a diversion, is it
pleasanter or more diverting than the tale of the Youth of Khorasan and
his mother and sister.” When King Shah Bakht heard this story, it
pleased him and he bade the Minister hie away to his own house.

                 The Twenty-Seventh Night of the Month.

When evening came, the king Shah Bakht bade fetch the Wazir; so he
presented himself before him and the King ordered him to tell the tale.
So he said, “Hearkening and obedience. Give ear, O sovran, to


Know, O king (but Allah alone knoweth His secret purpose and is versed
in the past and the foredone among folk bygone) that there was once, in
the parts of Khorasan, a man of its affluent, who was a merchant of the
chiefest of the merchants[523] and was blessed with two children, a son
and a daughter.[524] He was diligent exceedingly in rearing them and
they were educated with the fairest of education; for he used to teach
the boy, who taught his sister all that he learnt, so that, by means of
her brother, the damsel became perfect in the knowledge of the
Traditions of the Prophet and in polite letters. Now the boy’s name was
Salím and that of the girl Salmá. When they grew up and were fully
grown, their father built them a mansion beside his own and lodged them
apart therein and appointed them slave-girls and servants to tend them
and assigned to each of them pay and allowances and all that they needed
of high and low; meat and bread; wine, dresses, and vessels and what not
else. So Salim and Salma abode in that palace, as they were one soul in
two bodies, and they used to sleep on one couch and rise amorn with
single purpose, while firmly fixed in each one’s heart were fond
affection and familiar friendship for the other. One night, when the
half was spent, as Salim and Salma sat recounting and conversing, they
heard a noise on the ground floor; so they looked out from a latticed
casement which gave upon the gate of their father’s mansion and saw a
man of fine presence, whose clothes were hidden under a wide cloak. He
came straight up to the gate and laying hold of the door-ring, rapped a
light rap; whereupon the door opened and behold, out came their sister,
with a lighted taper, and after her their mother, who saluted the
stranger and embraced him, saying, “O dearling of my heart and light of
mine eyes and fruit of my vitals, enter.” So he went in and shut the
door, whilst Salim and Salma abode amazed. The youth turned to the girl
and said to her, “O sister mine, how deemest thou of this trouble and
what advice hast thou to offer?” She replied, “O my brother, indeed I
know not what I shall say anent the like of this; but he is not
disappointed who divine direction seeketh, nor doth he repent who
counsel taketh. One getteth not the better of the traces of burning by
haste, and know that this is an affliction that hath descended[525] on
us and a calamity foreordained to us; so we have need of wise rede to do
it away and contrivance which shall wash our shame from our faces.” And
they ceased not watching the gate till daybreak, when the young man
opened the door and their mother farewelled him; after which he went his
way and she entered, she and her hand-maid. Hereat said Salim to his
sister, “Know thou I am resolved to slay this man, an he return the next
night, and I will say to the folk, He was a robber, and none shall weet
that which hath befallen. Then I will address myself to the slaughter of
whosoever knoweth what is between the fellow and my mother.” But Salma
said, “I fear lest an thou slay him in our dwelling-place and he be not
convicted of robber-hood, suspicion and ill-fame will revert upon
ourselves, and we cannot be assured that he belongeth not to a tribe
whose mischief is to be feared and whose enmity is to be dreaded, and
thus wilt thou have fled from hidden shame to open shame and to disgrace
public and abiding.” Asked Salim: “What then is it thy rede to do?” And
she answered, “Is there no help but thou kill him? Let us not hasten
unto slaughter, for that the slaughter of a soul without just cause is a
mighty grave matter.” When Shahbán[526] heard this, he said within
himself, “By Allah, I have indeed been hasty and reckless in the slaying
of women and girls, and Alhamdolillah—lauded be the Lord—who hath
occupied me with this damsel from the slaughter of souls, for that the
slaughter of souls is a grave matter and a grievous! By the Almighty if
Shah Bakht spare the Wazir, I will assuredly spare Sháhrázád!”[527] Then
he gave ear to the story and heard her say to her sister:—Quoth Salma to
Salim, “Hasten not to slay him, but overthink the matter and consider
the issue whereto it may tend; for whoso considereth not of actions the
end hath not Fortune to friend.” Then they arose on the morrow and
busied themselves with contriving how they should turn away their parent
from that man, and the mother forefelt mischief from them, for what she
saw in their eyes of change, she being wily and keen of wit. So she took
precaution for herself against her children and Salma said to Salim,
“Thou seest what we have fallen upon through this woman, and very sooth
she hath sensed our purpose and wotteth that we have discovered her
secret. So, doubtless, she will plot against us the like of that which
we plot for her; for indeed up to now she had concealed her affair, and
from this time forth she will become harsh to us; wherefore, methinks,
there is a thing forewritten to us, whereof Allah (extolled and exalted
be He!) knew in His foreknowledge and wherein He carrieth out His
commandments.” He asked, “What is that?” and she answered, “It is that
we arise, I and thou, and go forth this night from this land and seek us
a town wherein we may wone and witness naught of the doings of yonder
traitress; for whoso is absent from the eye is absent from the heart,
and quoth one of the poets in the following couplet:[528]—

 ’Tis happiest, best for thee, the place to leave, ✿ For then no eye can
    see, nor heart can grieve.”

Quoth Salim to her,[529] “Tis for thee to decide and right is thy rede;
so let us do this, in the name of Allah the Almighty, trusting in Him
for guiding and grace.” Accordingly they arose and took the richest of
their raiment and the lightest of that which was in their treasuries of
gems and things of price and gathered together much matter. Then they
equipped them ten mules and hired them servants of other than the people
of the country; and Salim bade his sister Salma don man’s dress. Now she
was the likest of all creatures to him, so that, when she was clad in
man’s clothing, the folk knew no difference between them:—extolled be
the perfection of Him who hath no like, there is no god but He! Then he
told her to mount a mare, whilst he himself took another, and they set
out under cover of the night; nor did any of their family or household
know of them. So they fared on into Allah’s wide world and gave not over
going night and day for a space of two months, at the end of which they
came to a city on the sea-shore of the land of Makran,[530] by name
Al-Sharr, and it is the first city in Sind.[531] They lighted down
within sight of the place and when they arose in the morning, they saw a
populous city and a goodly, seemly of semblance and great, abounding in
trees and rills and fruits and wide of suburbs which stretched to the
neighbouring villages. So the young man said to his sister Salma, “Tarry
thou here in thy place, till I enter the city and make proof of it and
its people and seek us out a stead which we may buy and whereto we may
remove. An it befit us, we will make us a home therein, otherwise will
we take counsel of departing elsewhere.” Quoth she, “Do this, trusting
in the bounty of Allah (to whom belong honour and glory) and in His
blessing.” Accordingly he took a belt, wherein were a thousand gold
pieces, and girding it about his waist, entered the city and ceased not
going round about its streets and bazars and gazing upon its houses and
sitting with those of its citizens whose aspect showed signs of worth
and wealth, till the day was half spent, when he resolved to return to
his sister and said to himself, “Needs must I buy what we may eat of
ready-cooked food; I and my sister.” Hereupon he addressed a man who
sold roast meat and who was clean of person, albe foul in his way of
getting a living, and said to him, “Take the price of this dishful and
add thereto of fowls and chickens and what not else is in your market of
meats and sweetmeats and bread and arrange it in the plates.” So the
Kitchener took the money and set apart for him what he desired, then
calling a porter, he laid it in the man’s crate, and Salim, after paying
the price of provisions and porterage in fullest fashion, was about to
go away, when the Cook said to him, “O youth, doubtless thou art a
stranger?” He replied, “Yes;” and the other rejoined, “’Tis reported in
one of the Traditions that the Apostle said, Loyal admonition is a part
of religion; and the wise and ware have declared counsel is of the
characteristics of True Believers. And verily that which I have seen of
thy ways pleaseth me and I would fain give thee a warning.” Rejoined
Salim, “Speak out thy warning, and may Allah strengthen thy purpose!”
Then said the Cook, “Know, O my son, that in this our city, when a
stranger entereth and eateth of flesh-meat and drinketh not old wine
upon it, ’tis harmful to him and disturbeth his body with disorders
which be dangerous. Wherefore, an thou have provided thee somewhat of
wine it is well, but, if not, haste to procure it, ere thou take the
meat and carry it away.” Quoth Salim, “Allah requite thee with
weal—Canst thou shew me where liquor is sold?” and quoth the Cook, “With
me is all thou seekest.” The youth asked, “Is there a way for me to see
it?” and the Cook sprang up and answered, “Pass on.” So he entered and
the man showed him somewhat of wine; but he said, “I desire better than
this;” whereupon he opened a door and entering, said to Salim, “Come in,
and follow me.” Accordingly Salim followed him till he brought him to an
underground chamber and showed him somewhat of wine that suited him. So
he occupied him with looking at it and taking him unawares, sprang upon
him from behind and threw him to the ground and sat upon his breast.
Then he drew a knife and set it to his jugular; whereupon there betided
Salim that wherewith Allah made him forget all that He had decreed to
him,[532] and he cried to the Cook, “Why dost thou this thing, O good
fellow? Be mindful of the Almighty and fear Him. Seest thou not I am a
stranger man? And knowest thou not I have behind me a forlorn
defenceless[533] woman. Wherefore wilt thou kill me?” Quoth the
Kitchener, “Needs must I kill thee, so I may take thy money;” and quoth
Salim, “Take my money, but kill me not, neither enter into sin against
me; and do with me kindness, for indeed the taking of my coin is more
venial than the taking of my life.” The Cook replied, “This is nonsense.
Thou canst not deliver thyself herewith, O youth, because in thy
deliverance is my destruction.” Cried Salim, “I swear to thee and give
thee the bond of Allah (to whom belong honour and glory) and His
covenant, which He took of His prophets that I will not discover thy
secret; no, never.” But the Kitchener replied, “Away! Away! Alas! Alas!
To this there is no path.” However, Salim ceased not to conjure him and
humble himself to him and weep, while the Cook persisted in his intent
to cut his throat: then he shed tears and recited these couplets[534]:—

 Haste not to that thou dost desire, for haste is still unblest; Be
    merciful to men, as thou on mercy reckonest:
 For no hand is there but the hand of God is over it And no oppressor but
    shall be with worse than he opprest.

Quoth the Kitchener, “There is no help save that I slay thee, O fellow;
for an I spare thee, I shall myself be slain.” But Salim said, “O my
brother, I will advise thee somewhat[535] other than this.” Asked the
Cook, “What is it? Say and be brief, ere I cut thy throat;” and Salim
answered, “Suffer me to live and keep me as thy Mameluke, thy white
slave, and I will work at a craft of the skilled workmen, wherefrom
there shall result to thee every day two dinars.” Quoth the Kitchener,
“What is the craft?” and quoth Salim, “The cutting of gems and jewels.”
When the man heard this, he said to himself, “’Twill do me no hurt if I
imprison him and fetter him and bring him that whereat he may work. An
he tell truth, I will let him live, and if he prove a liar, I will kill
him.” So he took a pair of stout shackles and fitting them on Salim’s
legs, jailed him within his house and charged a man to guard him. Then
he asked him what tools he needed for work; and Salim described to him
whatso he required, and the Cook went out from him awhile and brought
him all he wanted. Then Salim sat and wrought at his craft; and he used
every day to earn two dinars; and this was his wont and custom with the
Kitchener, who fed him not but half his fill. Thus befel it with Salim;
but returning to his sister Salma, she awaited him till the last of the
day, yet he appeared not; and she expected him a second day and a third
and a fourth, yet there came no news of him. So she wept and beat hand
on breast and bethought her of her affair and her strangerhood and the
disappearance of her brother; and she improvised these couplets:—

 Salam t’you! Would I could see you again, ✿ To the joy of my heart and
    the coolth of my eyes:
 You are naught but my hope and the whole of my hope ✿ And under my
    ribs[536] love for you buried lies.

She tarried on this wise awaiting him till the end of the month, but no
tidings of him came nor happened she upon aught of his trace; wherefore
she was troubled with exceeding trouble and sending her servants hither
and thither in search of him, abode in the sorest that might be of
chagrin and concern. When it was the beginning of the new month, she
arose in the morning and bidding one of her men cry her brother
throughout the city, sat to receive visits of condolence, nor was there
any in town but made act of presence to condole with her; and they were
all sorry for her, doubting not her being a man. When three nights had
passed over her with their days of the second month, she despaired of
him and her tears never dried: then she resolved to take up her abode in
that city and making choice of a dwelling, removed thither. The folk
resorted to her from all parts, to sit with her and hear her speech and
witness her fine breeding; nor was it but a little while ere the king
died and the folk differed anent whom they should invest with the
kingship after him, so that civil war was like to befal them. However,
the men of judgment and the folk of understanding and the people of
experience directed them to crown the youth who had lost his brother,
for that they still held Salma to be a man. They consented to this one
and all; and, betaking themselves to her, offered the kingship.[537] She
refused, but they were urgent with her, till she consented, saying
within herself, “My sole desire in the kingship is to find my brother.”
Then they seated her upon the throne of the realm and set the crown upon
her head, after which she undertook the business of governance and
ordinance of affairs; and they rejoiced in her with the utmost joy. On
such wise fared it with her; but as for Salim he abode with the Cook a
whole year’s space, bringing him two dinars a day; and when his affair
waxed longsome, the man felt for him and pitied him. Presently he
promised him release on condition that, if he let him go, he should not
discover his ill-deeds to the Sultan; for that it was his wont now and
then to entrap a man and carry him to his house and slay him and take
his money and cook his flesh and give it to the folk to eat.[538] So he
asked him, “O youth, wilt thou that I release thee from this thy misery,
on condition that thou be reasonable and never discover aught of thine
affair?” Salim answered, “I will swear to thee by whatsoever oath thou
wilt administer that I will keep thy secret and will not speak one
syllable anent thee, what while I am in the land of the living.” Quoth
the Kitchener, “I purpose to send thee forth with my brother and cause
thee voyage with him over the sea, on condition that thou be to him a
Mameluke, a boughten slave; and when he cometh to the land of Hind, he
shall sell thee and thus wilt thou be delivered from prison and
slaughter.” And quoth Salim, “’Tis well: be it as thou sayst, may Allah
the Most High requite thee with weal!” Accordingly the Cook equipped his
brother and freighting him a craft, stowed therein a cargaison of
merchandise. Then he committed Salim to him and they set out with the
ship. The Lord decreed them safety, so that they arrived at the first
city of Hind, which is known as Al-Mansúrah,[539] and cast anchor there.
Now the king of that city had died, leaving a daughter and a widow who,
being the quickest-witted of women and cleverest of the folk of her day,
gave out that the girl was a boy, so that the kingship might be
established unto them. The troops and the Emirs gave credit that the
case was as she avouched and that the Princess was a Prince; wherefore
they obeyed her bidding and the Queen-mother took order for the matter
and used to dress the girl in man’s habit and seat her on the throne of
the kingship, so that the Lords of the land and the chief officers of
the realm used to go in to her and salute her and do her service and
depart, nothing doubting but she was a boy. After this fashion they
fared for months and years and the Queen-mother ceased not to do thus
till the Cook’s brother came to the town in his ship, and with him
Salim. He landed with the youth and displayed him for sale to the Queen
who, when she saw him, prognosticated well of him; presently she bought
him and was kind to him and entreated him with honour. Then began she to
prove him in his moral parts and make assay of him in his affairs, and
she found in him all that is in kings’ sons of understanding and fine
breeding and good manners and qualities. Thereupon she sent for him in
private and said to him, “I am minded to do thee a service, so thou
canst keep a secret.”[540] He promised her all that she desired and she
discovered to him her mystery in the matter of her daughter, saying, “I
will marry thee to her and commit to thee the governance and constitute
thee king and ruler over this city.” He thanked her and promised to
carry out all she should order him, and she said to him, “Go forth to
such-an-one of the neighbouring provinces privily.” So he went forth and
on the morrow she made ready loads and gear and gifts and bestowed on
him abundant substance, all of which they loaded on the backs of
baggage-camels. Then she gave out among the folk that the nephew of the
king, the son of his brother, was come and bade the Grandees and troops
go forth to meet him in a body: she also decorated the city in his
honour and the kettle-drums of good tidings beat for him whilst all the
king’s household went out and dismounting before him, escorted him into,
and lodged him with the queen-mother in the palace. Then she bade the
Headmen of the state attend his assembly; so they obeyed and witnessed
of his breeding and good parts that which amazed them and made them
forget the breeding of the kings who had preceded him. When they were
grown to like him, the Queen-mother began sending privily for the Emirs
and Councillors, one by one, and swearing them to conceal her project;
and when she was assured of their discretion, she discovered to them
that the king had left naught save a daughter and that she had done this
only that she might continue the kingship in his family and that the
rule should not go forth from them; after which she informed them that
she was minded to marry her daughter with her nephew, the new-comer; and
that he should be the holder of the kingship. They approved her proposal
and when she had discovered the secret to the last of them and assured
herself of their aid, she published the news abroad and threw off all
concealment. Then she sent for the Kazis and Assessors, who drew up the
contract of marriage between Salim and the Princess, and they lavished
gifts upon the soldiery and overwhelmed them with largesse. The bride
was incontinently carried in procession to the young man and the
kingship was established to him. They tarried after this fashion a whole
year when Salim said to the Queen-mother, “Know that my life is not
pleasing to me nor can I abide with you in content till I get me tidings
of my sister and learn how her affair hath ended and how she hath fared
after me. So I will go forth and be absent from you a year’s space; then
will I return to you, Inshallah—an it please God the Most High—and I win
of this that which I hope.” Quoth she, “I will not trust to thy word,
but will go with thee and help thee to whatso thou wishest and further
thee myself therein.” Then she took a ship and loaded it with all manner
things of price, goods and monies and the like. Furthermore, she
appointed one of the Wazirs, a man in whom she trusted for his conduct
and contrivance, to rule the realm, saying to him, “Abide in governance
a full year and ordain all thou needest.” Presently the Queen-mother and
her daughter and son-in-law Salim went down to the ship and sailed on
till they made the land of Makran. Their arrival there befel at the last
of the day; so they nighted in their ship, and when the morn was near to
dawn, the young king landed, that he might go to the Hammam, and walked
market-wards. As he drew near the bath, the Cook met him on the way and
knew him; so he seized him and pinioning him straightly, carried him to
his house, where he clapped the old fetters on his feet and cast him
back into his former place of durance vile.[541] Salim, finding himself
in that sorry condition and considering that wherewith he was afflicted
of tribulation and the reverses of his fair fortune, in that he had been
a king and was now returned to fetters and prison and hunger, wept and
groaned and lamented and improvised these couplets:—

 My God, no patience now can aid afford; ✿ Strait is my breast, O Thou of
    Lords the Lord:
 My God, who in resource like thine hath force? ✿ And Thou, the Subtle,
    dost my case record.

On this wise fared it with Salim; but as regards his wife and her
mother, when she awoke in the morning and her husband returned not to
her with break of dawn, she forbode all manner of calamity and,
straightway arising, she despatched her servants and all who were with
her in quest of her spouse; but they happened not on any trace of him
nor could they hear aught of his news. So she bethought herself
concerning the case and plained and wept and groaned and sighed and
blamed Fortune the fickle, bewailing the changes of Time and reciting
these couplets[542]:—

 God keep the days of love-delight! How passing sweet they were! How
    joyous and how solaceful was life in them whilere!
 Would he were not, who sundered us upon the parting-day! How many a body
    hath he slain, how many a bone laid bare!
 Sans fault of mine, my blood and tears he shed and beggared me Of him I
    love yet for himself gained nought thereby whate’er.

When she had made an end of her verses, she considered her affair and
said within herself, “By Allah, all these things have betided by the
predestination of Almighty Allah and His decree and this upon the
forehead was written in lines.” Then she landed and walked on till she
came to a spacious place, and an open, where she asked of the folk and
hired a house. Thither she transported forthright all that was in the
ship of goods and sending after brokers, sold all that was with her.
Presently she took part of the price and began enquiring of the folk, so
haply she might scent out tidings of the lost one; and she addressed
herself to lavishing alms and preparing medicines for the sick, clothing
the naked and watering the dry ground[543] of the forlorn. She ceased
not so doing a whole year, and little by little she sold off her goods
and gave charitable gifts to the sick and sorry; whereby her report was
bruited abroad in the city and the folk abounded in her praise. All this
while Salim lay in fetters and strait prison, and melancholy gat hold of
him by reason of that whereinto he had fallen of this affliction. At
last, when care waxed on him and calamity grew longsome, he fell sick of
a sore sickness. Then the Kitchener, seeing his plight (and verily he
was like to sink for much suffering), loosed him from the fetters and
bringing him forth of the prison, committed him to an old woman, who had
a nose the bigness of a gugglet,[544] and bade her nurse him and
medicine him and serve him and entreat him kindly, so haply he might be
made whole of that his sickness. Accordingly the old woman took him and
carrying him to her lodging, began nursing him and giving him to eat and
drink; and when he was delivered of that torment, he recovered from the
malady which had afflicted him. Now the old woman had heard from the
folk of the lady who gave alms to the sick, and indeed the news of her
bounties reached both poor and rich; so she arose and bringing out Salim
to the door of her house, laid him upon a mat and wrapped him in an
Abá-gown and sat over against him. Presently, it befel that the lady
passed by them, and the old woman seeing her rose to her and blessed
her, saying, “O my daughter, O thou to whom belong goodness and
beneficence and charity and almsdoing,[545] know that this young man is
a foreigner, and indeed lack and lice and hunger and nakedness and cold
slay him.” When the lady heard this, she gave her alms and presented her
with a part of that which was with her; and indeed her charitable heart
inclined to Salim, but she knew him not for her spouse. The old woman
received the alms from her and carrying it to Salim, took part for
herself and with the rest bought him an old shirt,[546] in which she
clad him, after she had stripped him of that he had on. Then she threw
away the frock she had taken from off him and arising forthwith, washed
his body of that which was thereon of grime and scented him with
somewhat of scent. She also bought him chickens and made him broth; so
he ate and his life returned to him and he abode with her in all comfort
of condition till the morrow. Next morning the old woman said to Salim,
“When the lady cometh to thee, arise and buss her hand and say to her:—I
am a homeless man and indeed cold and hunger kill me; so haply she may
give thee somewhat that thou mayest expend upon thy case.” And he
answered, “To hear is to obey.” Then she took him by the hand and
carrying him without her house, seated him at the door; and as he sat,
behold, the lady came up to him, whereupon the old woman rose to her and
Salim kissed her hand and, looking at her the while, blessed her. But
when he saw her, he knew her for his wife; so he shrieked and shed tears
and groaned and plained, at which she came up to him and threw herself
upon him; for indeed she knew him with all knowledge, even as he knew
her. So she hung to him and embraced him and called to her serving men
and attendants and those who were about her; and they took him up and
carried him forth of that stead. When the old woman saw this, she cried
out to the Cook within the house, and he said to her, “Fare thou before
me.” So she forewent him and he ran after her and ceased not running
till he overtook the party and seizing Salim, exclaimed, “What aileth
you to take my slave-lad?” Whereupon the Queen cried out at him, saying,
“Know that this is my husband, whom I had lost;” and Salim also cried
out, saying, “Mercy! Mercy! I appeal to Allah and to the Sultan against
this Satan!” Therewith a world of folk straightway gathered together and
loud rose the cries and the clamours between them; but the most part of
them said, “Carry their case up to the Sultan.” So they referred the
matter to the king, who was none other than Salim’s sister Salma. Then
they repaired to the palace and the dragoman went in to Salma and said
to her, “O king of the age, here is a Hindi woman, who cometh from the
land of Hind, and she hath laid hands on a servant, a young man,
claiming him as her husband, who hath been lost to her these two years,
and she journeyed not hither save for his sake, and in very sooth these
many days she hath done almsdeeds in thy city. And here is a fellow, a
Kitchener, who declareth that the young man is his slave.”[547] When the
Queen heard these words, her vitals quivered and she groaned from a
grieving heart and called to mind her brother and that which had betided
him. Then she bade those around her bring them between her hands, and
when she saw them, she knew her brother and was about to cry aloud; but
her reason restrained her; yet could she not prevent herself rising up
and sitting down.[548] At last, however, she enforced her soul to
patience and said to them, “Let each and every of you acquaint me with
his case.” So Salim came forward and kissing ground before the king,
lauded him and related to him his story from first to last, until the
time of their coming to that city, he and his sister, telling him how he
had entered the place and had fallen into the hands of the Cook and that
which had betided him and whatso he had suffered from him of beating and
collars, of fetters and pinioning, till the man had made him his
brother’s Mameluke, a boughten slave, and how the brother had sold him
in Hind and he had become king by marrying the Princess: and how life
was not lovesome to him till he should foregather with his sister and
now the same Cook had fallen in with him a second time and had pinioned
and fettered him. Brief, he acquainted her with that which had betided
him of sickness and sorrow for the space of a whole year. When he had
made an end of his speech, his wife straightways came forward and told
her story, from incept to termination, how her mother bought him[549]
from the Cook’s partner and the people of the kingdom came under his
rule; nor did she cease telling till she came, in her history, to that
city and acquainted the king with the manner of her meeting her husband.
When she had made an end of her adventure, the Kitchener exclaimed,
“Alack, what befals us from lying rascals. By Allah, O king, this woman
lieth against me, for this youth is my rearling[550] and he was born of
one of my slave-girls. He fled from me and I found him again.” When the
Queen heard the last of the talk, she said to the Cook, “The decree
between you shall not be save in accordance with justice.” Then she
dismissed all those who were present and turning to her brother, said to
him, “Indeed thy truth is stablished with me and the sooth of thy
speech, and praised be Allah who hath brought about reunion between thee
and thy wife! So now begone with her to thy country and cease to seek
thy sister Salma and depart in peace.” But, hearing this, Salim replied,
“By Allah, by the might of the All-knowing King, I will not turn back
from seeking my sister till I die or I find her, Inshallah!” Then he
called his sister to mind and improvised from a heart disappointed,
troubled, afflicted, these couplets:—

 O thou who blam’st me for my heart, in anger twitting me, ✿ Hadst tasted
    what my heart did taste, thou wouldst be pitying me!
 By Allah, O my chider for my sister leave, ah! leave ✿ My heart to moan
    its grief and feel the woes befitting me.
 Indeed I grew to hold her dear privily, publicly; ✿ And in my bosom
    bides a pang at no time quitting me;
 And in my vitals burns a flame that ne’er was equalled by ✿ The fire of
    hell and blazeth high to Death committing me.

Now when his sister Salma heard what he said, she could no longer
restrain her soul, but threw herself upon him and discovered to him her
case. When he knew her, he threw himself upon her swooning awhile; after
which he came to himself and cried, “Lauded be the Lord, the Bountiful,
the Beneficent!” Then they plained each to other of that they had
suffered from the pangs of parting, whilst Salim’s wife wondered at this
and Salma’s patience and endurance pleased her. So she saluted her with
the Salam, and thanked her for her fair boons, saying, “By Allah, O my
lady, all that we are in of gladness never befel us save by thy
blessing; so praised be Allah who deigned vouchsafe us thy sight!” Then
they tarried all three, Salma, Salim and his wife, in joy and happiness
and delight three days, veiled from the folk; and it was bruited abroad
in the city that the king had found his brother, who was lost for many a
year, and had saved him from the Cook’s house. On the fourth day, all
the troops and the lieges assembled together to see the King and
standing at his gate, craved leave to enter. Salma bade admit them; so
they entered and paid her royal suit and service and gave her joy of her
brother’s safe return. She bade them do homage to Salim, and they
consented and sware fealty to him; after which they kept silence awhile,
so they might hear what the king should command. Then quoth Salma, “Ho,
ye gathering of soldiers and subjects, ye wot that ye forced me
willy-nilly to accept the kingship and besought me thereof and I
consented to your desires anent my being raised to rule over you; and I
did this against my will; for I would have you know that I am a woman
and that I disguised myself and donned man’s dress, so peradventure my
case might be concealed when I lost my brother. But now Allah hath
deigned reunite me with my brother, and it is no longer lawful to me
that I be king and Sultan over the people, and I a woman; because there
is no Sultanate for women, whenas men are present.[551] For this reason,
an it suit you, set my brother on the throne of the kingdom, for this is
he; and I will busy myself with the worship of Allah the Most High and
thanksgiving to Him for my reunion with my brother. Or, an ye prefer it,
take your kingship and make whom ye will ruler and liege lord thereof.”
Upon this the folk all cried out, saying, “We accept him to king over
us;” and they did him suit and service and gave him joy of the kingship.
So the preachers preached the sermon[552] in his name and the
court-poets praised him; and he lavished largesse upon the soldiery and
the suite and overwhelmed them with favours and bounties and was
prodigal to the Ryots of justice and equity, with goodly policy and
polity. When he had effected this much of his affect, he caused bring
forth the Cook and his household to the divan, but spared the old woman
who had nursed him, because she had been the cause of his deliverance.
Then all assembled without the town and he tormented the Cook and those
who were with him with all manner torments, after which he did him to
die by the foulest of deaths[553] and burning him with fire, scattered
his ashes far and wide in the air. After this Salim abode in the
governance, invested with the Sultanate, and ruled the people a whole
year, when he returned to Al-Mansúrah and sojourned there another year.
And he and his wife ceased not to go from city to city and tarry in this
a year and that a year, till he was vouchsafed children and they grew
up, whereupon he appointed him of his sons, who was found fitting, to be
his deputy in one kingdom and he ruled in the other; and he lived, he
and his wife and children, what while Almighty Allah willed.[554] “Nor”
(continued the Wazir), “O King of the age, is this story rarer or
stranger than the King of Hind and his wronged and envied Minister.”
When the King heard this, his mind was occupied,[555] and he bade the
Wazir hie to his own house.

             The Twenty-Eighth and Last Night of the Month.

When the evening evened, the King summoned the Minister and bade him
tell the story of the King of Hind and his Wazir. So he said,
“Hearkening and obedience. Give ear, O auspicious King, to


There was once in the Hind-land a king illustrious of worth, endowed
with understanding and policy, and his name was Shah Bakht. He had a
Minister, a godly man and a sagacious, right prudent in rede,
conformable to him in governance and just in judgment; for which cause
his enviers were many and many were the hypocrites who sought faults in
him and set snares for him, so that they insinuated into King Shah
Bakht’s eyes hatred against him and sowed in his heart despite towards
him; and plot followed plot, and their rancour waxed until the king was
brought to arrest him and lay him in jail and to confiscate his wealth
and degrade him from his degree. When they knew that there was left him
no possession for which the king might lust, they feared lest the sovran
release him, by the influence of the Wazir’s good counsel upon the
king’s heart, and he return to his former case, so should their
machinations be marred and their degrees degraded, for that they knew
that the king would need whatso he had known from that man nor would
forget aught wherewith he was familiar in him. Now it came to pass that
a certain person of perverted belief[556] found a way to the adorning of
falsehood with a semblance of fair-seeming and there proceeded from him
that whereby the hearts of the folk were occupied, and their minds were
corrupted by his lying tales; for that he made use of Indian
quiddities[557] and forged them into proof for the denial of the Maker,
the Creator, extolled be His might and exalted be He and glorified and
magnified above the speech of the deniers. He avouched that it is the
planets which order all worldly affairs and he set down twelve
mansions[558] to twelve Zodiacal signs and made each sign thirty
degrees,[559] after the number of the days of the month, so that in
twelve mansions there are three hundred and sixty, after the number of
the days of the year; and he wrought a work, wherein he lied and was an
infidel and denied the Deity, be He for ever blessed! Then he laid hold
of the king’s heart and the enviers and haters aided him against the
Minister and won the royal favour and corrupted his intent against the
Wazir, so that he got of him that which he got and at last his lord
banished him and thrust him away. By such means the wicked man obtained
that which he sought of the Minister and the case was prolonged till the
affairs of the kingdom became disordered, by dint of ill government, and
the most part of the king’s reign fell off from him and he came nigh
unto ruin. On this wise he was assured of the loyalty of his whilome
sagacious Wazir and the excellence of his ordinance and the rectitude of
his rede. So he sent after him and brought him and the wicked man before
him and summoning to his presence the Lords of his land and the Chiefs
of his chieftainship, gave them leave to talk and dispute and forbade
the wicked man from his perverted belief.[560] Then arose that wise
Minister and skilful and praised Allah Almighty and lauded Him and
glorified Him and hallowed Him and attested His unity and disputed with
the miscreant and overcame him and silenced him; nor did he cease from
him till he compelled him to make confession of repentance from that
which he had misbelieved. Therewith King Shah Bakht rejoiced with
exceeding great joy and cried, “Praise be to the Lord who hath saved me
from this man and hath preserved me from the loss of my kingship and my
prosperity!” So the affair of the Wazir returned to order and
stablishment and the king restored him to his place and raised him to
higher rank. Lastly, he assembled the folk who had striven against him
and destroyed them all, to the last man. “And how like” (continued the
Wazir), “is this story to that of myself and King Shah Bakht, with
regard to that which befel me of the changing of the King and his
crediting others against me; but now is the fairness of my fashion
fulfilled in thine eyes, for that Allah Almighty hath inspired thee with
wisdom and endowed thee with longanimity and patience to hear from me
whatso He allotted to those who forewent us, till He hath shown forth my
innocence and made manifest unto thee the truth. For lo and behold! the
days are now past, wherein it was declared to the king that I should
labour for the loss of my soul,[561] that is within the month; and
lookye, the probation-time is gone by, and past is the season of evil
and it hath ceased by the protection of the King and his good fortune.”
Then he bowed his head and was silent. When King Shah Bakht heard his
Wazir’s speech, he was abashed before him and confounded, and he
marvelled at the gravity of his intellect and his long-suffering. So he
sprang up to him and embraced him and the Minister kissed his feet. Then
the King called for a costly robe of honour and cast it over Al-Rahwan
and honoured him with the highmost honour and showed him especial favour
and restored him to his degree and Wazirate. Furthermore he imprisoned
those who had devised his destruction with lies and leasing and gave him
full leave and license to pass judgment upon the Interpreter who had
expounded to him the dream. So the Wazir abode in the ordering of the
realm until Death came to them; “And this” (added Shahrazad) “is all, O
king of the age, that hath come down to us of King Shah Bakht and his

                        SHAHRAZAD AND SHAHRYAR.

As for King Shahryar, he wondered at Shahrazad with the utmost wonder
and drew her near to his heart of his abounding affection for her; and
she was magnified in his eyes and he said within himself, “By Allah, the
like of this is not deserving of slaughter, for indeed the time
favoureth us not with her equal. By the Almighty, I have been reckless
of mine affair, and had not the Lord overcome me with His ruth and put
this one at my service so she might recount to me instances manifest and
cases truthful and admonitions goodly and traits edifying, such as
should restore me to the right road, I had come to ruin! Wherefore to
Allah be the praise herefor and I beseech the Most High to make my end
with her like that of the Wazir and Shah Bakht.” Then sleep overcame the
king and glory be unto Him who sleepeth not![562] When it was the Nine
hundred and thirtieth Night, Shahrazad said, “O king, there is present
in my thought a tale which treateth of women’s trickery and wherein is a
warning to whoso will be warned and an admonishment to whoso will be
admonished and whoso hath sight and insight; but I fear lest the hearing
of this belittle me with the liege-lord and lower my degree in his
esteem; yet I hope that this will not be, because ’tis a rare tale.
Women are indeed mischief-makers; their craft and their cunning may not
be told nor may their wiles be known; while men enjoy their company and
are not instant to uphold them in the right way, neither are they
vigilant over them with all vigilance, but relish their society and take
whatso is winsome and regard not that which is other than this. Indeed,
they are like unto the crooked rib, which an thou go about to
straighten, thou distortest it, and which an thou persist in
straightening, thou breakest it;[563] so it behoveth the wise man to be
silent concerning them.” Thereupon quoth Dinarzad, “O sister mine, bring
forth that which is with thee and that which is present to thy mind of
the story concerning the guile of women and their wiles, and have no
fear lest this lessen thee with the king; for that women are, like
jewels, of all kinds and colours. When a gem falleth into the hand of an
expert, he keepeth it for himself and leaveth all beside it. Eke he
preferreth some of them over others, and in this he is like the
potter,[564] who filleth his kiln with all the vessels he hath moulded
and under them kindleth his fire. When the baking is done and he taketh
out that which is in the kiln, he findeth no help for it but that he
must break some of them, whilst others are what the folk need and
whereof they make use, while yet others there are which return to be as
they were. So fear thou not nor deem it a grave matter to adduce that
which thou knowest of the craft of women, for that in this is profit for
all folk.” Then said Shahrazad, “They relate, O king (but Allah alone
knoweth the secret things) the Tale of—

                            END OF VOLUME I.


 Aladid (like Khadídán) non-significant, 103.

 ’Abbas bin Mirdás (Chief of the Banu Sulaym), 40.

 Abbasides traced their descent from Al-Abbas, 14.

 Abd al-Malik bin Sálih, 159.

 Abhak (composite word), 40.

 Abú al-Hasan (cleverness of), 30.

 Abú al-Hasan-al-Khalí’a, _i.e._, The Wag (old version “debauchee”), 1.

 Abu Ishák, _i.e._, Ibrahim of Mosul the musician, 14.

 Abú Sábir = Father of the Patient (one), 81.

 “Adab” _translated_ “Arabic,” 48.

 ’Adl (Al-) = the Notary, 219.

 Adoption of slave lads and lasses common among Moslems, 76.

 ’Adúl = Assessors, 327.

 Afkah, a better Fakih or theologian, 244.

 Ahwas al-’Ansárí (Al-) (Al-Akhwass _Breslau Ed._), 42.

 Ajal = the appointed day of death (_tr._ “appointed term”), 129.

 ’Ajlan = a hasty man, 265.

 Ajr (Al-) = Heaven, 290.

 ’Ajúz nahs = a foul crone, 310.

 ’Akákír (pl. of ’Akkár) = aromatic roots (_tr._ “simples”), 282.

 Akhmitu Ghazla-há _lit._ = thicken her yarn or thread, 206.

 “Akkada lahu ráy,” plur. of “ráyat” = a banner, 137.

 Alà al-Kaylah = “the place where they usually slept the siesta,” 34.

 “Alà Tarík al-Satr wa al-Salámah,” meaning that each other’s wives did
    not veil before their brothers-in-law, 270.

 ’Alam = a pile of stones (_tr._ a “mark”), 229.

 Allah (in peace of), 6.

 —— (and again by Allah), 9.

 —— (the peace of, be upon you and the ruth of Allah), 14.

 —— (is threatening unbelievers), 51.

 —— (name of, taken in vain), 87.

 —— (accomplish on them the ordinance of Almighty), 100.

 —— (I will give him the covenant of), 179.

 —— (I seek refuge with) = God forfend, 185.

 —— (Allah, Allah! sign of impatience) = Look sharp! 231.

 —— (O spirit of), 251.

 —— (calls upon to witness a lie), 261.

 —— (while Almighty Allah willed) = a long time, 351.

 Amán = Pardon (_lit._ “security”), 118.

 Amín = Overseer, 67.

 Amín (Al-) Sixth Abbaside (A.D. 809–13), 175.

 ’Ammir = cause to flourish (_tr._ “Take and people”), 243.

 Amourist justified in obtaining his object by fair means or foul, 313.

 Amsaytu = I came at evening, 316.

 ’An Abí = (a propitiatory offering) for my father, 265.

 Arafshah = superintendent, 20.

 Árám (pl. of Irm), a beautiful girl, a white deer (_tr._ “Reems”) 43.

 Arwà written with a terminal yá is a woman’s P.N. in Arabic, 94.

 Asár, clerical error for Sár = Vendetta, blood revenge, 134.

 ’Ashshár or Tither, 243.

 Ásí (Al-) = rebel, syn. with Pers. “Yághí,” 134.

 Asmá al-Adwíyah = names of the medicines, 283.

 Athr = sign, mark, trail (_tr._ “Scar”), 280.

 Atráf (pl. of “Tarf”) = great and liberal lords (_tr._ “chiefs”), 58.

 Aulád-i = sons (vulg. plural for dual) 132.

 ’Awán _lit._ = aids, helpers (_tr._ “guards”), 253.

 Áward o burd (Pers.) = brought and bore away, 210.

 Badawi dogs dangerous, 316.

 Badrah _lit._ a myriad, ten thousand dirhams, 278.

 Bahluwán (Arab. for Pers. Pahluwán) = a brave, a warrior, 131.

 Bahrjaur (in Pers. Bahr-i-Jaur = luck of Jaur-city), 57.

 Bakht (i) Zamán (Persian) = Luck of the Time, 102.

 Bákiyah = may also mean Eternal, as opposed to Fániyah = temporal
    (_tr._ “abide”), 39.

 Bákúlat = pot-herbs (_tr._ “almond cakes”), probably clerical error for
    “Bakláwát,” 261.

 Bandukah = a little bunduk, nut, bullet, etc. (_tr._ “degrees”), 353.

 Banj akrítashí = Cretan Bhang, 9.

 Banú Tay, the tribe of the chieftain and poet Hátim Táí, 179.

 Barniyah = Pot (in which manna was collected), 265.

 Bashárah, can hardly be applied to ill news (faulty text), 34.

 Bastinado used to extort confession, 148.

 Bathá = lowlands and plains outside Meccan Valley, 42.

 Bathah = inner court, 284.

 Bayn farsi-k wa ’l-damí = _lit._ between fæces and menses (_tr._ “thy
    droppings and drippings”), 41.

 Bazaka = brought out, 209.

 Beating the bosom with a sunbaked brick, 34.

 Bi al-Salám = in the Peace (of Allah), 6.

 Bihkamál (Pers. and Arab.) = “Good Perfection,” 107.

 Bihkard = “Well he did,” 107.

 Bihzad (Persian) = Bih (well, good) Zád (born), 89.

 Bilal = moisture, beneficence, etc., 40.

 Bir al-Khátim = Well of the signet, 165.

 Blood moved between them (a “pathetic fallacy”), 77.

 Blowing a man up with bellows, 351.

 Book of Bakhtyar (Persian Bakhtyár Námeh) “The ten Wazirs, etc.,” 55.

 Bostán al-Nuzhah = the Garden of Pleasance, 29.

 Breslau Edition quoted, 1, 4, 15, 25, 39, 42, 47, 51, 55, 58, 60, 121,
    131, 134, 159, 165, 171, 175, 179, 185, 191, 266, 334, 359.

 Bunúd (pl. of Pers. “band”) = hypocrisy, deceit (_tr._ “quiddities”),

 Burúj (pl. of Burj) = _lit._ towers (_tr._ “mansions”), 353.

 Bystanders excited about some matter in no way concerning them, 303.

 Caliph can do no wrong, 167.

 Caliph Omar bin Abd al-Aziz (The Good Caliph), 39.

 Chaugán (Persian) = the crooked bat used in polo, 109.

 Chavis and Cazotte quoted, 55, 60, 65, 73, 81, 89, 94, 95, 97, 102,
    103, 107, 112, 121, 131, 147. 151.

 Circumstantial evidence not lawful amongst Moslems, 112.

 Cloud of Locusts believed by Arabs to be led by a King locust (the
    Sultan Jarád), 305.

 Cock-speak = a natural clock called by West Africans Cokkerapeek, 10.

 Condition of forfeits (_lit._ order and acceptance), 175.

 Cuckold, origin of, 205.

 “Cut the way” = became a highwayman, 90.

 Cutting the way (_i.e._, waylaying travellers), 60.

 Dabbús = a mace, 95.

 Dád-bín (Persian) = one who looks to justice, 94.

 Daïs (place of honour), 16.

 Dánik (Pers. “Dáng”) = one-sixth of a dirham, _i.e._, about a penny
    halfpenny, 245.

 Dar al-Salam = Abode of Peace, 11.

 Dastí = thou trampledst, 146.

 Dates and cream (“Proud rider on the desired steed”), 59.

 Dawn prayer, 13.

 Days in Moslem year 354 (= 6 months of 29 days and the rest of 30),

 Descended = Come down from Heaven, 333.

 Devil may not open a door shut in Allah’s name, 21.

 Diamond does not grow warm whilst held in the hand, 215.


                      50 = about 40 shillings,       300.
                   5,500 = about £220, shillings,    300.
               1,000,000 = about £25,000, shillings, 161.

 Died of laughter (now become familiar to English speech), 13.

 Dihkán, in Persian = a villager (_tr._ “village headman”), 81.

 Dismantled his shop (removing goods from the “but” to the “ben”), 207.

 Doghrí = assuredly, 18.

 (They) Draw thee near to them = they make much of thee, 2.

 Dress (a Moslem should dress for public occasions), 159.

 Dyed robe (Abbasides, _black_; Ommiades, _white_; Fatimites, _green_),

 Elopements of frequent occurrence, 317.

 Eunuchs, 70.

 Eyes swollen by swathes, 30.

 Fákhir (Al-) = the potter, 360.

 Faras = a mare (_tr._ “horses”), 216.

 Fáris = a Rider (_tr._ “horseman”), 103.

 Fars = Persia, 282.

 Fárs (Al-) = Persians (a people famed for cleverness and debauchery),

 Fazl (Caliph’s foster-brother), 166.

 “Feet towards Mecca,” 34.

 Fighting rams, 210.

 Fí-hi = “In him” (_i.e._, either Mahommed) or “in it” (his action), 40.

 Firásah _lit._ = judging the points of a mare (_tr._ “physiognomy”),

 Fire lighted to defend mother and babe from bad spirits, 279.

 First day = our Sunday, 286.

 Fírúz (Pers. “Píroz”) = Victorious, triumphant, 185.

 Forehead (compared with a page of paper upon which Destiny writes her
    decrees), 100.

 Futúh (Al-) _lit._ = the victories (_tr._ “the honorarium”), 285.

 Ghazbán = an angry man, 265.

 Ghawwásún = divers (_tr._ “duckers”), 68.

 Ghusl or complete ablution after car. cop., 220.

 Goat’s droppings (used as fuel, also for practical jokes), 288.

 Guide going in front, 201.

 Hadas = moved (“event,” a word not easy to translate), 321.

 Hádí (Al-) Fourth Abbaside (A.D. 785–786), 165.

 Hájib = Chamberlain, 324.

 “Hajj” never applied to the Visitation (Ziyárah) at Al-Medinah, 196.

 Hajj (Al-) = the company of pilgrims (_tr._ “pilgrimage caravan”), 196.

 Hajj al-Shárif = Holy pilgrimage, 194.

 Hajjáj (Al-), 47.

 Hajjat al-Islam, the Pilgrimage commanded to all Moslems, 194.

 Haláwat = _lit._ a sweetmeat, a gratuity, a thank-offering (_tr._ “a
    douceur”), 35.

 Half of marriage settlement due to wife on divorcement, 311.

 Hamadán, a well-known city of Irák ’Ajamí, 203.

 Hamhama = muttered, 265.

 Hammám _i.e._ the private bagnio, 262.

 Hammám bin Ghálib al-Farazdak, a famous Christian Poet, 42.

 Hanút = perfumes (leaves of the lotus tree), 290.

 Haráis (pl. of Harísah) = meat puddings, 287.

 Harám = “forbidden,” sinful (_tr._ “useless”), 72.

 Harem, supposed to be in Eastern Wing of Palace, 199.

 Harfúsh = Larrikin, popularly a “blackguard,” 4.

 Harun al-Rashid (house still standing), 15.

 Háshim = breaker, 47.

 Hashimites (and Abbasides) fine specimens of the Moslem Pharisee, 159.

 Hasír = mat (used for sleeping on during the hot season), 204.

 “Haukalah” and “Haulakah,” 265.

 Házúr (Al-) = loquacity, frivolous garrulity (_tr._ “jargon”), 283.

 “He Pilgrimaged: quoth one, Yes, and for his villainy lives (yujáwir)
    at Meccah.”—_Egyptian Proverb_, 196.

 “He who keeps his hands crossed upon his breast, shall not see them cut
    off.” 114.

 Hibernicè, “kilt” for beaten, 247.

 Hidden, (for fear of the “Eye”), 75.

 “Hie Salvationwards” (the Words of Azán), 42.

 Himyán (or Hamyán) = a girdle (_tr._ “purse belt”), 152.

 His head forewent his feet = He fell down senseless, 17.

 Ho, Tuffáhah! Ho, Ráhat al-Kulúb = O Apple, O Repose o’ Hearts, &c.,

 Hour (would his hour had never come), 27.

 “How very good he was to me,” 32.

 Hudhud (_tr._ “hoopoe”) called from its cry “Hood! Hood!”, 148.

 Hundred dirhams = £4 (about), 43.

 Hysterics, common amongst the races of the East, 198.

 I am between his hands = at his service, 280.

 I have not found thy heel propitious to me, 21.

 Ibl, specific name for camels (_tr._ “certain camels”), 315.

 Ibn al-Sammák = Son of the fisherman or fishmonger, 171.

 Ihtidá = divine direction, 313.

 Ihtirák = burning (used in the metaphorical sense of consuming,
    torturing), 35.

 Imám (the spiritual title of the Caliph), 43.

 In a modest way (_lit._ In the way of moderation), 248.

 ’Irk al-Háshimí = the Háshimí vein, 29.

 Jabr (Al-) = the tyranny (equiv. of “Civil law”), 212.

 Jahl = ignorance (also wickedness), 271.

 Jahrbaur (a fancy name intended to be Persian), 93.

 Jálínús = “Galen” (considered by Moslems a pre-Islamitic saint), 284.

 Jama’a atráfah, _lit._ = he drew in his extremities (_tr._ “covered his
    hands and feet with his dress”), 114.

 Jámi’ = cathedral mosque, 250.

 Jamíl bin Ma’mar al-Uzri. (“Jamíl the Poet,” and lover of Buthaynah),

 Janzír (vulgarism for “Zanjír”) = a chain, 20.

 Jarídah = Palm-frond stripped of its leaves, 264.

 Jarír al-Khatafah, 39.

 Járiyah = damsel, slave-girl, used instead of “Sabiyah” = young lady,

 Jauhar = the jewel, the essential nature of a substance (_tr._
    “quintessence”), 212.

 Jáwar = he became a mujáwir (one who lives near a collegiate mosque),

 Jewel inserted in the shoulder, 228.

 Jiddan (Egypto-Syrian) = muchly, 115.

 Joanna Papissa (Pope John VIII. called “Pope Joan”), 340.

 Ka’b = heel, glory, prosperity, 21.

 Kad = verily (affirmative particle preceding a verb gives it a present
    and at times a future signification), 245.

 Kádr = rank, 48.

 Kahbah = whore, 12.

 Káhinah = Divineress (fem. of Káhin), 279.

 Kahramánah = housekeeper (also nurse, duenna, &c. &c.), 199.

 Ka’id; _lit._ = one who sits with a colleague (_tr._ “Captain”), 59.

 Kála al-Ráwí, etc., parenthetical formula = “The Story Teller sayeth,
    etc.”, 347.

 Kalb = stomach (sometimes “heart,”) 26.

 Kalí = potash (our “alcali”), 8.

 Kamís (χιτών, chemise, etc.) = shirt, 346.

 Kanísah = a Pagan temple, a Jewish synagogue, a Christian church, 198.

 Kariyah = a village (derivation), 83.

 Kárdán (Persian) = Business-knower, 94.

 Karmán = Karmania, vulg. and fancifully derived from Kirmán. Pers. =
    worms, 59.

 Kasf = houghed, 155.

 Kásituna (Al-) = The Swervers, 52.

 Kasr = abbreviation, 295.

 Kayf, favourite word in Egypt and Syria, 58.

 Khalbas (suggests Khalbús = a buffoon), 266.

 Khalífah (Caliph) = a deputy, a successor (derivation), 4.

 Khanádik = ditches or trenches (for Fanádik, “khans”), 288.

 Khawátín (pl. of Khátún) = a matron, a lady, 122.

 Khayr al-Nassáj (the Weaver), 344.

 Khayyál = sturdy horseman, 320.

 “Khayyál kabrhu maftúh” (proverb), 320.

 Khubz Mutabbak = platter-bread, 3.

 Khubz Samíz = firsts bread, 261.

 Khulbah = sermon, 350.

 Khwájah and Khawáját (Pers.) = merchants (Arab.), 332.

 Kidr = a cooking pot, 48.

 King’s Eye = Royal favour, 61.

 Kisra = Kutrú (Bresl.) Kassera (Chavis and Cazotte), 60.

 Kisrà = Chosroës, 97.

 “Kissing him upon the mouth,” 153.

 Knife and salt placed on the stomach (_Ar._ Kalb) to repel evil
    spirits, 26.

 Koran quoted—
   (cxii.) 25.
   vi. 44, 51.
   iv. 134, 52.
   lxxii. 15, _ib._
   ii. 173, 100.
   xxx. 1, 134.
   xxvii., 148.
   lxxxv.; xv. 26; xxv. 62, 353.

 Kubbah = a dome-shaped tent (_tr._ “Pavilion”), 99.

 Kubbah (square building with cupola), 119.

 Kubúr = tombs, 295.

 Kumájah = First-bread (_i.e._, Bread unleavened and baked in ashes), 8.

 Kunaym Madúd = Kingdom of Dineroux, 55.

 Kursi = Throne, 10.

 Kuthayyir ’Azzah (contemporary of Jamil), 41.

 Kuthayyir = “the dwarf,” 41.

 Lá af’al (“I will do naught of the kind”) more commonly Má af’al, 296.

 Lá baas = “No matter” or “All right,” (_tr._ “No harm be upon you”),

 Lahd, Luhd = tomb-niche, 292.

 Lane, quoted, 3, 10, 11, 13, 16, 17, 21, 29, 31, 34, 146, 290.

 Lex talionis (the essence of Moslem and all criminal jurisprudence),

 Liallá (_i.e._, li, an, lá) = lest, 140.

 Libwah = lioness, 152.

 Líyúth (pl. of Layth) = Lions (used for “warriors”), 14.

 Long hand, or arm, means power (Arab. idiom), 114.

 Long lock left on shaven poll, 233.

 Maamún (Al-) Seventh Abbaside (A.H. 198–227), 175.

 Mahdi (Al-) Third Abbaside (A.D. 775–785), 165.

 Mahr = marriage settlement, 283.

 Makán mahjúb = a retired room, 11.

 Makhzúm = nose pierced, 47.

 Makrán, the well-known Baloch province West of Sind, 335.

 Mál = wealth, 47.

 Malik Sháh = King (Arab.) King (Persian), 131.

 Mansúrah (Al-) = opinions differ as to the site of, 341.

 Ma’rafah (Al-) = the place where the mane grows (_tr._ “crest”), 298.

 Máristán = Mad house, 18.

 “Marrying below one,” 94.

 Marwazi = Marw (derived from Sansk. Maru or Marw), 288.

 Marzbán = guardian of the Marshes, 234.

 Masalah = a question (_tr._ “catch-question”), 138.

 Masarat fí-há = and she used hard words to her, 31.

 Mastúrah = veiled (_tr._ “curtained”), 309.

 Matmúrah = a silo, matamor, or “underground cell,” 84.

 Maunds (fifty) = about 100 lbs., 250.

 Miat wa arba’at ashar Súrat = the 114 chapters of the Alcoran, 147.

 Mihrján (Al-) = the Autumnal Equinox, 129.

 Milk and dates, a favourite food, 59.

 Miskah = Bit o’ Musk, 16.

 Moslems all know how to pray, 13.

 Moslems bound to see True Believers buried, 289.

 Moslems shun a formal oath, 304.

 Mu’arris = pander, 206.

 Munajjim = Astrologer (authority in Egyptian townlets), 66.

 Munkati’ah = _lit._ “cut off” (from the weal of the world) _tr._
    “defenceless,” 337.

 Munkar and Nakír, the Interrogating Angels, 294.

 Muruwwah _lit._ = manliness, 303.

 Musallà = Prayer-place, 313.

 Musician, also a pederast, 209.

 Mutabattil (Al-) usually = one who forsakes the world (_tr._ “oyster”),

 Muwaswas (Al-) = Melancholist, 264.

 Nabíz = date-wine (or grape-wine), 160.

 Nafas _lit._ = breath (_tr._ “air”), 124.

 Náim (Al-) wa al-Yakzán = The Sleeper and the Waker, 1.

 Nákah = She-dromedary, 315.

 Náwús = Tower of Silence, 264.

 “Necks” per synecdochen for heads, 47.

 Negative emphatic in Arabic, 206.

 Never may neighbour defy thee, etc. (May thy dwelling-place never fall
    into ruin), 15.

 Ním = Persian Lilac (Melia Azadirachta) used as preventive to poison,

 Nímshah = half sword or dagger, 14.

 Níshábúr (Arab. form of Nayshápúr = reeds of (King) Shápur), 270.

 Nose (large in a woman indicating a masculine nature), 345.

 Nukl-i-Pishkil = goat-dung bonbons, 288.

 Nusfs = Halves (_i.e._, of dirhams), 300.

 Nu’umán (Al-), King of the Arab kingdom of Hirah, 179.

 Nuwab, (broken plur. of “Naubah,”) the Anglo-Indian Nowbut (_tr._
    “Drums”), 324.

 Nuzhat al-Fuád = “Delight of the Vitals” (or heart), 25.

 O thousand-horned (thousandfold cuckold), 247.

 O vile of birth (origin (Asl) of a man held to influence his conduct
    throughout life), 62.

 Oath of triple divorce irrevocable, 246.

 Ober-Ammergau “Miracle play,” 250.

 Omar ’Adi bin Artah, 39.

 Omar bin Abd al-Aziz = the good Caliph, 39.

 Omar ibn Abi Rabí’ah, the Korashí (_i.e._ of the Koraysh tribe), 41.

 Parks on the Coasts of Tropical Seas, 320.

 Payne quoted, 1, 8, 11, 34, 56, 134, 165, 209, 222, 238, 278, 286, 288,
    289, 306, 311, 312, 322, 327, 338, 344.

 Pilgrimage quoted—
   i. 18, 285.
   i. 22, 337.
   i. 38, 228.
   i. 99, 207.
   i. 100, 205.
   i. 110, 42.
   ii. 219, 165.
   iii. 12, 194.

 Pit = grave, 88.

 Prayers at burial, beginning with four “Takbírs,” 290.

 Prayers, whilst at, the Moslem cannot be spoken to, 197.

 Ráhilah = a riding camel, 315.

 Rahwán (cor. of Rahbán) = one who keeps the (right) way, 191.

 Rain and bounty are synonymous, 43.

 Rape, 311.

 Rasátík (pl. of Rusták) = villages, 256.

 Rasmál (vulg. Syrian and Egyptian form of Raas al-mál = stock in trade)
    = capital in hand, 248.

 Ráwi = a professional tale-teller (_tr._ “Seer”), 56.

 Rází (Al-) = a native of Rayy City, 288.

 Ring given as token to show fair play, 248.

 Rising up and sitting down, usual sign of emotion, 348.

 Roum = Greeks, 134.

 Ruh Allah _lit._ = breath of Allah (_tr._ “Spirit of Allah”), 251.

 Rumh = lance, 90.

 Rusáfiyah = a cap, 160.

 Rutab wa manázil = degrees and dignities, 217.

 Safíh = slab over the grave (_tr._ “pave”), 41.

 Safúl (Al-) = ranks of fighting men, or rows of threads on a loom, 48.

 Sáhah = Courtyard (as opposed to “Bathah” = Inner Court), 284.

 Sahará _pron._ Sahrá, 251.

 Sails hoisted and canvas loosed (anchors weighed and canvas spread),

 Sakhrah = labour, 84.

 Salám pronounced after prayers, 14.

 Satl = water-can (Lat. and Etruscan Situla and Situlus, a water-pot),

 Secret, difficult for an Eastern to keep, 342.

 Seed pearls made into great pearls (also rubies and branch-coral), 197.

 Service (yearly value of his fief), 256.

 Shabakah = net (hung over shop during absence of shopkeeper), 205.

 Shah Bakht = King Luck, 191.

 Shahbán, Bresl. Edit. form of Shahryár = City Keeper, for City-friend,

 Sháhrazád (in Mac. Edit. Shahrázád), 334.

 Shajarat al-Durr = Branch of Pearl, 12.

 Shakhs mafsúd = man of perverted belief (_i.e._ an infidel), 352.

 Shampooing (practice of), 116.

 Shamúl (fem.) = liquor hung in the wind to cool, 42.

 Sharif (a descendant from Mohammed), 285.

 Sharr (Al-) (“the wickedness”) last city in Makran before entering
    Sind, 336.

 Shaykh becomes ceremonially impure by handling a corpse, 290.

 Shroff (Arab Sayrafi), 298.

 Shubbák = lattice (also “Mashrabiyah” = latticed balcony,) 29.

 Si’at rizki-h = the ease with which he earned his livelihood (_tr._
    “fortune”), 282.

 Silk, Moslems may be shrouded in it, 26.

 Sindiyan (from the Persian) = holm-oak, 247.

 Sístán (Persian) Arab. Sijistán, 56.

 Slave become a King (no shame to Moslems), 348.

 Soldiers serving on feudal tenure, 256.

 “Some one to back us,” 135.

 Sons = Men, a characteristic Arab. idiom, 2.

 Stranger invites a guest during pilgrimage-time, 195.

 Subjects (men who pay taxes), 256.

 Suicide rare in Moslem lands, 325.

 Sultanate for Women. Custom of Al-Islam, a strong precedent against
    queenly rule, 350.

 Ta’ám = Millet seed (_tr._ “grain”), 5.

 Taannafú = long noses, 300.

 Tabaristan (adj. Tabari, whereas Tabaráni = native of Tiberias), 94.

 Ta’dilú = Swerve (also “Ye do injustice”), 52.

 Tafrík wa’l-jam’a = division and union, 222.

 Táí = The man of the tribe of Tay, 180.

 Tákiyah = litter, 99.

 Talámizah = disciples (sing. Talmíz), 251.

 Tale of the Simpleton Husband (History), 239.

 Tales were told before the peep of day, 359.

 Tamásil = (the Pavilion of) Pictures (generally carved images), 29.

 Tannúr = large earthen jar (_tr._ “oven-jar”), 208.

 Tannúr = oven (misprint for “Kubúr” = Tombs), 265.

 Tarbíyatí = rearling, 348.

 Tarkah = “A gin,” a snare, 16.

 Tasill sallata’l-Munkatí’ín = _lit._ “raining on the drouth-hardened
    earth of the cut-off” (_tr._ “Watering the dry ground”), 345.

 “That a standard be borne over his head,” 161.

 “The Astrologers lied,” 122.

 The babe to the blanket, and the adultress to the stone, 271.

 The sumptuary laws compelling Jews to wear yellow turbans, 286.

 “Thou hast done justice” (’adalta), also means “Thou hast swerved from
    right.” “Thou hast wrought equitably” also = “Thou hast
    transgressed,” 51.

 Tither, unable to do evil, 245.

 Tobáni = unbaked brick, 34.

 Tohfah = A gift, 16.

 Torture endured through Eastern obstinacy, 293.

 Twelvemonths, _i.e._ a long time, 319.

 Under my ribs = In my heart’s core, 339.

 Urinal (old French name for phial in which the patient’s water is
    sent), 285.

 Vocative particles (five in Arabic), 85.

 “Wa Kuntu ráihah ursil warák” (the regular Fellah language), 29.

 Waddí = Carry, 17.

 Wadí’ah = deposit (here sig. blows), 247.

 Wafát = death (decease, departure, as opposed to Maut = death), 223.

 “Wa há,” etc. (Arab.) corresponding with Syriac “ho” = behold! 275.

 Water-closet, Eastern goes to, first thing in the morning, 13.

 “We are broken to bits (Kisf.) by our own sin,” 155.

 “What hast thou left behind thee, O, Asám”? _i.e._ What didst thou see?

 What is behind thee? = What is thy news? 44.

 What was his affair? = _lit._ “How was,” etc., 58.

 When Fate descended (_i.e._ When the fated hour came down from Heaven),

 White hand, _i.e._ gifts and presents, 226.

 “Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein,” 119.

 Witch, 235.

 Women (all of one and the same taste), 96.

 “Women are of little wits and lack religion,” 31.

 Yá omitted (in poetical fashion) to show speaker’s emotion, 149.

 Yá Abá Sábir = O Abu Sabir, 85.

 Yá Bilál = O generosity, 40.

 Yá Hájjah (_pron._ Hággeh) = O Pilgrimess, 198.

 Yá Kabírí = mon brave, my good man (_tr._ “my chief”), 12.

 Yá Khálati = O my mother’s sister (_tr._ “O naunty mine”), 32.

 Yá Madyúbah = O indebted one, 249.

 Yá Nakbah = O calamity, 24.

 Yá ’llah jári, yá walad = “Be off at once, boy,” 9.

 Yá ’llah, yá ’lláh = Allah and again by Allah (vulg. used for “Look
    sharp!”), 9.

 Yáhyà, father of Ja’afar, made Wazir by Al-Rashid, 166.

 Yamámah-land, 43.

 Yar’ad = trembleth (also thundereth), 166.

 “Yaskut min ’Aynayh” _lit._ = fall from his two eyes, lose favour
    (_tr._ “lose regard with him”), 77.

 Za’íf = impotent, 217.

 Zakát wa Sadakát = _lit._ paying of poor rate and purifying thy
    property by alms deeds (_tr._ “goodness and beneficence and charity
    and almsdoing,”) 346.

 Za’mú = they tell, 51.

 Zalábiyah = a pancake, 33.

 Zird-Khánah = armoury, 327.

 Zor-Khán = Lord Violence, 94.

 Zubaydah’s tomb, 15.

 Zúshád (a fancy name) “Zawash” in Persian = Ζεὺς, 89.


Footnote 1:

  Arab. “Al-Náim wa al-Yakzán.” This excellent story is not in the Mac.
  or Bresl. Edits.; but is given in the Breslau Text, iv. 134–189
  (Nights cclxxii.-ccxci). It is familiar to readers of the old “Arabian
  Nights Entertainments” as “Abou-Hassan or the Sleeper Awakened;” and
  as yet it is the only one of the eleven added by Galland whose
  original has been discovered in Arabic: the learned Frenchman,
  however, supplied it with embellishments _more suo_, and seems to have
  taken it from an original fuller than our text as is shown by sundry
  poetical and other passages which he apparently did not invent. Lane
  (vol. ii. chap. 12.), noting that its chief and best portion is an
  historical anecdote related as a fact, is inclined to think that it is
  not a genuine tale of The Nights. He finds it in Al-Ishákí who
  finished his history about the close of Sultan Mustafá the Osmanli’s
  reign, circa A.H. 1032 (= 1623) and he avails himself of this version
  as it is “narrated in a simple and agreeable manner.” Mr. Payne
  remarks, “The above title (Asleep and Awake) is of course intended to
  mark the contrast between the everyday (or waking) hours of Aboulhusn
  and his fantastic life in the Khalif’s palace, supposed by him to have
  passed in a dream;” I may add that amongst frolicsome Eastern despots
  the adventure might often have happened and that it might have given a
  hint to Cervantes.

Footnote 2:

  _i.e._ The Wag. See vol. i. 311: the old version calls him “the

Footnote 3:

  Arab. “Al-Fárs”; a people famed for cleverness and debauchery. I
  cannot see why Lane omitted the Persians, unless he had Persian
  friends at Cairo.

Footnote 4:

  _i.e._ the half he intended for spending-money.

Footnote 5:

  _i.e._ “men,” a characteristic Arab idiom: here it applies to the sons
  of all time.

Footnote 6:

  _i.e._ make much of thee.

Footnote 7:

  In Lane the Caliph is accompanied by “certain of his domestics.”

Footnote 8:

  Arab. “Khubz Mutabbak,” = bread baked in a platter, instead of in an
  oven, an earthen jar previously heated, to the sides of which the
  scones or bannocks of dough are applied: “it is lighter than
  oven-bread, especially if it be made thin and leavened.” See
  Al-Shakúrí, a medical writer quoted by Dozy.

Footnote 9:

  In other parts of The Nights Harun al-Rashid declines wine-drinking.

Footnote 10:

  The ’Allámah (doctissimus) Sayce (p. 212, Comparative Philology,
  London, Trübner, 1885) goes far back for Khalifah = a deputy, a
  successor. He begins with the Semitic (Hebrew ?) root “Khaliph” = to
  change, exchange: hence “Khaleph” = agio. From this the Greeks got
  their κόλλυβος and Cicero his “Collybus,” a money-lender.

Footnote 11:

  Arab. “Harfúsh,” (in Bresl. Edit. iv. 138, “Kharfúsh”), in popular
  parlance a “blackguard.” I have to thank Mr. Alexander J. Cotheal, of
  New York, for sending me a MS. copy of this tale.

Footnote 12:

  Arab. “Ta’ám,” in Egypt and Somaliland = millet seed (_Holcus
  Sorghum_) cooked in various ways. In Barbary it is applied to the
  local staff of life, Kuskusú, wheaten or other flour damped and
  granulated by hand to the size of peppercorns, and lastly steamed (as
  we steam potatoes), the cullender-pot being placed over a long-necked
  jar full of boiling water. It is served with clarified butter,
  shredded onions and meat; and it represents the Risotto of Northern
  Italy. Europeans generally find it too greasy for digestion. This
  Barbary staff of life is of old date and is thus mentioned by Leo
  Africanus in early sixth century. “It is made of a lump of Dow, first
  set upon the fire, in a vessel full of holes and afterwards tempered
  with Butter and Pottage.” So says good Master John Pory, “A
  Geographical Historie of Africa, by John Leo, a Moor,” London, 1600,
  impensis George Bishop.

Footnote 13:

  Arab. “Bi al-Salám” (pron. “Bissalám”) = in the Peace (of Allah).

Footnote 14:

  And would bring him bad luck if allowed to go without paying.

Footnote 15:

  _i.e._ of the first half, as has been shown.

Footnote 16:

  Arab. “Kumájah” from the Persian Kumásh = bread unleavened and baked
  in ashes. Egyptians use the word for bannocks of fine flour.

Footnote 17:

  Arab. “Kalí,” our “alcali”: for this and other abstergents see vol. i.

Footnote 18:

  These lines have occurred twice in vol. i. 117 (Night xii.); I quote
  Mr. Payne.

Footnote 19:

  Arab. “Yá ’llah, yá ’lláh;” vulg. used for “Look sharp!” _e.g._ “Yá
  ’llah járí, yá walad” = “Be off at once, boy.”

Footnote 20:

  Arab. “Banj akrítashí,” a term which has occurred before.

Footnote 21:

  A natural clock, called by West Africans Cokkerapeek = Cock-speak. All
  the world over it is the subject of superstition: see Giles’s “Strange
  Stories from a Chinese Studio” (i. 177), where Miss Li, who is a
  devil, hears the cock crow and vanishes.

Footnote 22:

  In Lane Al-Rashid “found at the door his young men waiting for him and
  ordered them to convey Abu-l-Hasan upon a mule and returned to the
  palace; Abu-l-Hasan being intoxicated and insensible. And when the
  Khaleefeh had rested himself in the palace, he called for,” etc.

Footnote 23:

  Arab. “Kursi,” Assyrian “Kussú” = throne; and “Korsáí” in Aramaic (or
  Nabathean as Al-Mas’udi calls it), the second growth-period of the
  “Semitic” family, which supplanted Assyrian and Babylonian, and
  became, as Arabic now is, the common speech of the “Semitic” world.

Footnote 24:

  Arab. “Makán mahjúb,” which Lane renders by “a private closet,” and
  Payne by a “privy place,” suggesting that the Caliph slept in a numéro
  cent. So, when starting for the “Trakki Campaign,” Sir Charles Napier
  (of Sind), in his zeal for lightening officers’ baggage, inadvertently
  chose a water-closet tent for his head-quarters—magno cum risu not of
  the staff, who had a strange fear of him, but of the multitude who had

Footnote 25:

  Arab. “Dar al-Salam,” one of the seven “Gardens” into which the
  Mohammedan Paradise is divided. Man’s fabled happiness began in a
  Garden (Eden) and the suggestion came naturally that it would continue
  there. For the seven Heavens, see vol. viii., 111.

Footnote 26:

  Branch of Pearl, see vol. ii. 57.

Footnote 27:

  Arab. “Kahbah,” the lowest word (vol. i. 70), effectively used in
  contrast with the speaker’s surroundings.

Footnote 28:

  Arab. “Yá kabírí,” = mon brave, my good man.

Footnote 29:

  This exaggeration has now become familiar to English speech.

Footnote 30:

  Like an Eastern he goes to the water-closet the first thing in the
  morning, or rather dawn, and then washes ceremonially before saying
  the first prayer. In Europe he would probably wait till after
  breakfast. See vol. iii. 242.

Footnote 31:

  I have explained why an Eastern does not wash in the basin as
  Europeans do in vol. i. p. 241.

Footnote 32:

  _i.e._ He was so confused that he forgot. All Moslems know how to
  pray, whether they pray or not.

Footnote 33:

  The dawn-prayer consists of only four inclinations (_raka’át_); two
  “Farz” (divinely appointed), and two Sunnah (the custom of the
  Apostle). For the Raka’áh see Lane, M.E. chapt. iii.; it cannot be
  explained without illustrations.

Footnote 34:

  After both sets of prayers, Farz and Sunnah, the Moslem looks over his
  right shoulder and says “The Peace (of Allah) be upon you and the ruth
  of Allah,” and repeats the words over the left shoulder. The
  salutation is addressed to the Guardian Angels or to the bystanders
  (Moslems) who, however, do not return it.

Footnote 35:

  _i.e._ Ibrahim of Mosul the musician. See vol. iv. 108.

Footnote 36:

  Arab. “Líyúth” plur. of “Layth,” a lion: here warriors are meant.

Footnote 37:

  The Abbasides traced their descent from Al-Abbas, Mohammed’s uncle,
  and justly held themselves as belonging to the family of the Prophet.
  See vol. ii. 61.

Footnote 38:

  Arab. “Nímshah” = “half-sword.” See vol. ii. p. 193.

Footnote 39:

  _i.e._ May thy dwelling-place never fall into ruin. The prayer has,
  strange to say, been granted. “The present city on the Eastern bank of
  the Tigris was built by Haroun al-Rashid, and his house still stands
  there and is an object of reverent curiosity.” So says my friend Mr.
  Grattan Geary (vol. i. p. 212, “Through Asiatic Turkey”, London: Low,
  1878). He also gives a sketch of Zubaydah’s tomb on the western bank
  of the Tigris near the suburb which represents old Baghdad: it is a
  pineapple dome springing from an octagon, both of brick once revetted
  with white stucco.

Footnote 40:

  In the Bresl. Edit. four hundred. I prefer the exaggerated total.

Footnote 41:

  _i.e._ the raised recess at the upper end of an Oriental saloon, and
  the place of honour, which Lane calls by its Egyptian name “Líwán.”
  See his vol. i. 312 and his M.E. chapt. i: also my vol. iv. p. 71.

Footnote 42:

  “Bit o’Musk.”

Footnote 43:

  “A gin,” a snare.

Footnote 44:

  “A gift,” a present. It is instructive to compare Abu al-Hasan with
  Sancho Panza, sprightly Arab wit with grave Spanish humour.

Footnote 45:

  _i.e._ he fell down senseless. The old version has “his head knocked
  against his knees.”

Footnote 46:

  Arab. “Waddí” vulg. Egyptian and Syrian for the classical “Addí” (ii.
  of Adú = preparing to do). No wonder that Lane complains (iii. 376) of
  the “vulgar style, abounding in errors.”

Footnote 47:

  O Apple, O Repose o’ Hearts, O Musk, O Choice Gift.

Footnote 48:

  Arab. “Doghrí,” a pure Turkish word, in Egypt meaning “truly, with
  truth,” straightforwardly; in Syria = straight (going), directly.

Footnote 49:

  Arab. “Máristán,” see vol. i. 288.

Footnote 50:

  The scene is a rechauffé of Badr al-Din Hasan and his wife, i. 247.

Footnote 51:

  Arab. “Janzír,” another atrocious vulgarism for “Zanjír,” which,
  however, has occurred before.

Footnote 52:

  Arab. “Arafshah.”

Footnote 53:

  In the “Mishkát al-Masábih” (ii. 341), quoted by Lane, occurs the
  Hadis, “Shut your doors anights and when so doing repeat the Basmalah;
  for the Devil may not open a door shut in Allah’s name.” A pious
  Moslem in Egypt always ejaculates, “In the name of Allah, the
  Compassionating,” etc., when he locks a door, covers up bread, doffs
  his clothes, etc., to keep off devils and dæmons.

Footnote 54:

  An Arab idiom meaning, “I have not found thy good fortune (Ka’b =
  heel, glory, prosperity) do me any good.”

Footnote 55:

  Arab. “Yá Nakbah” = a calamity to those who have to do with thee!

Footnote 56:

  Koran cxii., the “Chapter of Unity.” See vol. iii. 307.

Footnote 57:

  See vol. iii. 222.

Footnote 58:

  Here the author indubitably speaks for himself, forgetting that he
  ended Night cclxxxi. (Bresl. iv. 168), and began that following with
  Shahrazad’s usual formula.

Footnote 59:

  _i.e._ “Delight of the vitals” (or heart).

Footnote 60:

  The trick is a rechauffé of the trick played on Al-Rashid and

Footnote 61:

  “Kalb” here is not heart, but stomach. The big toes of the Moslem
  corpse are still tied in most countries, and in some a sword is placed
  upon the body; but I am not aware that a knife and salt (both believed
  to repel evil spirits) are so used in Cairo.

Footnote 62:

  The Moslem, who may not wear unmixed silk during his lifetime, may be
  shrouded in it. I have noted that the “Shukkah,” or piece, averages
  six feet in length.

Footnote 63:

  A vulgar ejaculation; the “hour” referring either to birth or to his
  being made one of the Caliph’s equerries.

Footnote 64:

  Here the story-teller omits to say that Masrúr bore witness to the
  Caliph’s statement.

Footnote 65:

  Arab. “Wa kuntu ráihah ursil warák,” the regular Fellah language.

Footnote 66:

  Arab. “’Irk al-Háshimí.” See vol. ii. 19. Lane remarks, “Whether it
  was so in Hashim himself (or only in his descendants), I do not find;
  but it is mentioned amongst the characteristics of his great-grandson,
  the Prophet.”

Footnote 67:

  Arab. “Bostán al-Nuzhah,” whose name made the stake appropriate. See
  vol. ii. 81.

Footnote 68:

  Arab. “Tamásil” = generally carved images, which, amongst Moslems,
  always suggest idols and idolatry.

Footnote 69:

  The “Shubbák” here would be the “Mashrabiyah,” or latticed balcony,
  projecting from the saloon-wall, and containing room for three or more
  sitters. It is Lane’s “Meshrebeeyeh,” sketched in M.E. (Introduction)
  and now has become familiar to Englishmen.

Footnote 70:

  This is to show the cleverness of Abu al-Hasan, who had calculated
  upon the difference between Al-Rashid and Zubaydah. Such marvels of
  perspicacity are frequent enough in the folk-lore of the Arabs.

Footnote 71:

  An artful touch, showing how a tale grows by repetition. In Abu
  al-Hasan’s case (_infra_) the eyes are swollen by the swathes.

Footnote 72:

  A Hadis attributed to the Prophet, and very useful to Moslem husbands
  when wives differ overmuch with them in opinion.

Footnote 73:

  Arab. “Masarat fí-há,” which Lane renders, “And she threw money to

Footnote 74:

  A saying common throughout the world, especially when the afflicted
  widow intends to marry again at the first opportunity.

Footnote 75:

  Arab. “Yá Khálati” = O my mother’s sister; addressed by a woman to an
  elderly dame.

Footnote 76:

  _i.e._ That I may put her to shame.

Footnote 77:

  Arab. “Zalábiyah.”

Footnote 78:

  Arab. “’Alà al-Kaylah,” which Mr. Payne renders by “Siesta-carpet.”
  Lane reads “Kiblah” (“in the direction of the Kiblah”) and notes that
  some Moslems turn the corpse’s head towards Meccah and others the
  right side, including the face. So the old version reads “feet towards
  Mecca.” But the preposition “Alà” requires the former sig.

Footnote 79:

  Many places in this text are so faulty that translation is mere
  guess-work; _e.g._ “Bashárah” can hardly be applied to ill-news.

Footnote 80:

  _i.e._ of grief for his loss.

Footnote 81:

  Arab. “Tobáni” which Lane renders “two clods.” I have noted that the
  Tob (Span. Adobe = At· Tob) is a sunbaked brick. Beating the bosom
  with such material is still common amongst Moslem mourners of the
  lower class and the hardness of the blow gives the measure of the

Footnote 82:

  _i.e._ of grief for her loss.

Footnote 83:

  Arab. “Ihtirák” often used in the metaphorical sense of consuming;

Footnote 84:

  Arab. “Haláwat,” lit. = a sweetmeat, a gratuity, a thank-offering.

Footnote 85:

  Bresl. Edit., vol. vi. pp. 182–188, Nights ccccxxxii-ccccxxxiv.

Footnote 86:

  “The good Caliph” and the fifth of the Orthodox, the other four being
  Abu Bakr, Omar, Osman and Ali; and omitting the eight intervening,
  Hasan the grandson of the Prophet included. He was the 13th Caliph and
  8th Ommiade A.H. 99–101 (= 717–720) and after a reign of three years
  he was poisoned by his kinsmen of the Banu Umayyah who hated him for
  his piety, asceticism, and severity in making them disgorge their
  ill-gotten gains. Moslem historians are unanimous in his praise.
  Europeans find him an _anachorète couronné, à froide et respectable
  figure_, who lacked the diplomacy of Mu’awiyah and the energy of
  Al-Hajjáj. His principal imitator was Al-Muhtadi bi’lláh, who longed
  for a return to the rare old days of Al-Islam.

Footnote 87:

  Omar ’Adi bin Artah; governor of Kufah and Basrah under “the good

Footnote 88:

  Jarír al-Khatafah, one of the most famous of the “Islámí” poets,
  _i.e._, those who wrote in the first century (A.H.) before the
  corruption of language began. (See Terminal Essay, p. 267.) Ibn
  Khallikan notices him at full length i. 294.

Footnote 89:

  Arab. “Bákiyah,” which may also mean eternal as opposed to “Fániyah” =
  temporal. Omar’s answer shows all the narrow-minded fanaticism which
  distinguished the early Moslems: they were puritanical as any
  Praise-God-Barebones, and they hated “boetry and bainting” as hotly as
  any Hanoverian.

Footnote 90:

  The Saturday Review (Jan. 2, ’86), which has honoured me by the normal
  reviling in the shape of a critique upon my two first vols., complains
  of the “Curious word Abhak” as “a perfectly arbitrary and unusual
  group of Latin letters.” May I ask Aristarchus how he would render
  “Sal’am,” (vol. ii. 24), which apparently he would confine to “Arabic
  MSS.” (!). Or would he prefer to A(llah) b(less) h(im) a(nd) k(eep)
  “W. G. B.” (whom God bless) as proposed by the editor of Ockley? But
  where would be the poor old “Saturnine” if obliged to do better than
  the authors it abuses?

Footnote 91:

  He might have said “by more than one, including the great Labíd.”

Footnote 92:

  Fí-hi either “in him” (Mohammed) or “in it” (his action).

Footnote 93:

  Chief of the Banu Sulaym. According to Tabari, Abbas bin Mirdas (a
  well-known poet), being dissatisfied with the booty allotted to him by
  the Prophet, refused it and lampooned Mohammed, who said to Ali, “Cut
  off this tongue which attacketh me,” _i.e._ “Silence him by giving
  what will satisfy him.” Thereupon Ali doubled the Satirist’s share.

Footnote 94:

  Arab. “Yá Bilál”: Bilal ibn Rabah was the Prophet’s freedman and
  crier: see vol. iii. 106. But _bilal_ also signifies “moisture” or
  “beneficence,” “benefits”: it may be intended for a double entendre
  but I prefer the metonymy.

Footnote 95:

  The verses of this Kasidah are too full of meaning to be easily
  translated: it is fine old poetry.

Footnote 96:

  _i.e._ of the Koraysh tribe. For his disorderly life see Ibn Khallikan
  ii. 372: he died however, a holy death, battling against the Infidels
  in A.H. 93 (= 711–12), some five years before Omar’s reign.

Footnote 97:

  Arab. “Bayn farsi-k wa ’l-damí” = lit. between fæces and menses,
  _i.e._ the foulest part of his mistress’s person. It is not often that
  The Nights are “nasty”; but here is a case. See vol. v. 162.

Footnote 98:

  “Jamíl the Poet,” and lover of Buthaynah: see vol. ii. 102, Ibn
  Khallikan (i. 331), and Al-Mas’udi vi. 381, who quotes him copiously.
  He died A.H. 82 (= 701), or sixteen years before Omar’s reign.

Footnote 99:

  Arab. “Safíh” = the slab over the grave.

Footnote 100:

  A contemporary and friend of Jamíl and the famous lover of Azzah: See
  vol. ii. 102, and Al-Mas’udi, vi. 426. The word “Kuthayyir” means “the
  dwarf.” Term. Essay, 268.

Footnote 101:

  _i.e._ in the attitude of prayer.

Footnote 102:

  In Bresl. Edit. “Al-Akhwass,” clerical error noticed in Ibn Khallikan
  i. 526. His satires banished him to Dahlak Island in the Red Sea, and
  he died A.H. 179 (= 795–6).

Footnote 103:

  Another famous poet Abú Firás Hammám or Humaym (dimin. form), as
  debauched as Jarir, who died forty days before him in A.H. 110 (=
  728–29), at Basrah. Cf. Term. Essay, 269.

Footnote 104:

  A famous Christian poet. See C. de Perceval, Journ. Asiat. April,
  1834, Ibn Khallikan iii. 136, and Term. Essay, 269.

Footnote 105:

  The poet means that unlike other fasters he eats meat openly. See
  Pilgrimage (i. 110), for the popular hypocrisy.

Footnote 106:

  Arab. “Bathá” the lowlands and plains outside the Meccan Valley: See
  Al-Mas’udi, vi. 157. Mr. (now Sir) W. Muir in his Life of Mahomet,
  vol. i., p. ccv., remarks upon my Pilgrimage (iii. 252) that in
  placing Arafat 12 miles from Meccah, I had given 3 miles to Muna, + 3
  to Muzdalifah + 3 to Arafat = 9. But the total does not include the
  suburbs of Meccah and the breadth of the Arafat-Valley.

Footnote 107:

  The words of the Azán, vol. i. 306.

Footnote 108:

  Wine in Arabic is feminine, “Shamúl” = liquor hung in the wind to
  cool, a favourite Arab practice often noticed by the poets.

Footnote 109:

  _i.e._ I will fall down dead drunk.

Footnote 110:

  Arab. “Árám,” plur. of Irm, a beautiful girl, a white deer. The word
  is connected with the Heb. Reem (Deut. xxxiii. 17), which has been
  explained unicorn, rhinoceros, and aurochs. It is the Ass. Rimu, the
  wild bull of the mountains, provided with a human face, and placed at
  the palace-entrance to frighten away foes, demon or human.

Footnote 111:

  _i.e._ she who ensnares [all] eyes.

Footnote 112:

  _Imam_, the spiritual title of the Caliph, as head of the Faith and
  leader (lit. “foreman,” Antistes) of the people at prayer. See vol.
  iv. 111.

Footnote 113:

  For Yamámah see vol. ii. 104. Omar bin Abd al-Aziz was governor of the
  province before he came to the Caliphate. To the note on Zarká, the
  blue-eyed Yamamite, I may add that Marwan was called Ibn Zarká, son of
  “la femme au drapeau bleu,” such being the sign of a public
  prostitute. Al-Mas’udi, v. 509.

Footnote 114:

  Rain and bounty, I have said, are synonymous.

Footnote 115:

  About £2 10s.

Footnote 116:

  _i.e._ what is thy news.

Footnote 117:

  Bresl. Edit., vol. vi. pp. 188–9, Night ccccxxxiv.

Footnote 118:

  Of this masterful personage and his _énergie indomptable_ I have
  spoken in vol. iv. 3, and other places. I may add that he built Wásit
  city A.H. 83 and rendered eminent services to literature and
  civilization amongst the Arabs. When the Ommiade Caliph Abd al-Malik
  was dying he said to his son Walid, “Look to Al-Hajjaj and honour him
  for, verily, he it is who hath covered for you the pulpits; and he is
  thy sword and thy right hand against all opponents; thou needest him
  more than he needeth thee and when I die summon the folk to the
  covenant of allegiance; and he who saith with his head—thus, say thou
  with thy sword—thus” (Al-Siyuti, p. 225) yet the historian simply
  observes, “the Lord curse him.”

Footnote 119:

  _i.e._ given through his lieutenant.

Footnote 120:

  “Necks” per synecdochen for heads. The passage is a description of a
  barber-surgeon in a series of double-entendres; the “nose-pierced”
  (Makhzúm) is the subject who is led by the nose like a camel with
  halter and ring and the “breaker” (háshim) may be a breaker of bread
  as the word originally meant, or breaker of bones. Lastly the “wealth”
  (mál) is a recondite allusion to the hair.

Footnote 121:

  Arab. “Kadr” which a change of vowel makes “Kidr” = a cooking-pot. The
  description is that of an itinerant seller of boiled beans (Fúl
  mudammas) still common in Cairo. The “light of his fire” suggests à
  double-entendre some powerful Chief like masterful King Kulayb. See
  vol. ii. 77.

Footnote 122:

  Arab. “Al-Sufúf,” either ranks of fighting-men or the rows of threads
  on a loom. Here the allusion is to a weaver who levels and corrects
  his threads with the wooden spathe and shuttle governing warp and weft
  and who makes them stand straight (behave aright). The “stirrup”
  (rikáb) is the loop of cord in which the weaver’s foot rests.

Footnote 123:

  “Adab.” See vols. i. 132, and ix. 41.

Footnote 124:

  Bresl. Edit., vol. vi. pp. 189–191, Night ccccxxxiv.

Footnote 125:

  Arab. “Za’mú,” a word little used in the Cal., Mac. or Bul. Edit.; or
  in the Wortley Montague MS.; but very common in the Bresl. text.

Footnote 126:

  More double-entendres. “Thou hast done justice” (’adalta) also means
  “Thou hast swerved from right;” and “Thou hast wrought equitably”
  (Akasta iv. of Kast) = “Thou hast transgressed.”

Footnote 127:

  Koran vi. 44. Allah is threatening unbelievers, “And when they had
  forgotten their warnings We set open to them the gates of all things,
  until, when they were gladdened,” etc.

Footnote 128:

  Arab. “Ta’dilú” also meaning, “Ye do injustice”: quoted from Koran iv.

Footnote 129:

  Arab. “Al-Kásitúna” before explained. Koran lxxii. 15.

Footnote 130:

  Bresl. Edit. vol. vi. pp. 191–343, Nights ccccxxxv-cccclxxxvii. This
  is the old Persian Bakhtyár Námeh, _i.e._ the Book of Bakhtyar, so
  called from the prince and hero “Fortune’s Friend.” In the tale of
  Jili’ad and Shimas the number of Wazirs is seven, as usual in the
  Sindibad cycle. Here we have the full tale as advised by the Imám
  al-Jara’í: “it is meet for a man before entering upon important
  undertakings to consult ten intelligent friends; if he have only five
  to apply twice to each; if only one, ten times at different visits,
  and if none, let him repair to his wife and consult her; and whatever
  she advises him to do let him do the clear contrary,” (quoting Omar)
  or as says Tommy Moore,

           Whene’er you’re in doubt, said a sage I once knew,
           ’Twixt two lines of conduct which course to pursue,
           Ask a woman’s advice, and whate’er she advise
           Do the very reverse, and you’re sure to be wise.

  The Romance of the Ten Wazirs occurs in dislocated shape in the
  “Nouveaux Contes Arabes, ou Supplément aux Mille et une Nuits, etc.,
  par M. l’Abbé * * * Paris, 1788.” It is the “Story of Bohetzad
  (Bakht-zád = Luck-born, v.p.), and his Ten Viziers,” in vol. iii., pp.
  2–30 of the “Arabian Tales,” etc., published by Dom Chavis and M.
  Cazotte, in 1785; a copy of the English translation by Robert Heron,
  Edinburgh, 1792, I owe to the kindness of Mr. Leonard Smithers of
  Sheffield. It appears also in vol. viii. of M. C. de Perceval’s
  Edition of The Nights; in Gauttier’s Edition (vol. vi.), and as the
  “Historia Decem Vizirorum et filii Regis Azad-bacht,” text and
  translation by Gustav Knös, of Goettingen (1807). For the Turkish,
  Malay and other versions see (p. xxxviii. etc.) “The Bakhtiyār Nāma,”
  etc. Edited (from the Sir William Ouseley’s version of 1801) by Mr. W.
  A. Clouston and privately printed, London, 1883. The notes are
  valuable but their worth is sadly injured by the want of an index. I
  am pleased to see that Mr. E. J. W. Gibb is publishing the “History of
  the Forty Vezirs; or, the Story of the Forty Morns and Eves,” written
  in Turkish by “Sheykh-Zadah,” evidently a nom de plume (for Ahmad
  al-Misri?), and translated from an Arabic MS. which probably dated
  about the xvth century.

Footnote 131:

  In Chavis and Cazotte, the “kingdom of Dineroux (comprehending all
  Syria and the isles of the Indian Ocean) whose capital was Issessara.”
  An article in the Edinburgh Review (July, 1886), calls the
  “Supplement” a “bare-faced forgery;” but evidently the writer should
  have “read up” his subject before writing.

Footnote 132:

  The Persian form; in Arab. Sijistán, the classical Drangiana or
  province East of Fars = Persia proper. It is famed in legend as the
  feof of hero Rustam.

Footnote 133:

  Arab. _Ráwi_ = a professional tale-teller, which Mr. Payne justly
  holds to be a clerical error for “_Ráí_, a beholder, one who seeth.”

Footnote 134:

  In Persian the name would be Bahr-i-Jaur = “luck” (or fortune, “bahr”)
  of Jaur-(or Júr-) city.

Footnote 135:

  Supply “and cared naught for his kingdom.”

Footnote 136:

  Arab. “Atráf,” plur. of “Tarf,” a great and liberal lord.

Footnote 137:

  Lit. “How was,” etc. Kayf is a favourite word not only in the Bresl.
  Edit., but throughout Egypt and Syria. Classically we should write
  “Má;” vulgarly “Aysh.”

Footnote 138:

  Karmania vulg. and fancifully derived from Kirmán Pers. = worms
  because the silkworm is supposed to have been bred there; but the name
  is of far older date as we find the Asiatic Æthiopians of Herodotus
  (iii. 93) lying between the Germanii (Karman) and the Indus. Also
  Karmanía appears in Strabo and Sinus Carmanicus in other classics.

Footnote 139:

  Arab. “Ka’íd” lit. = one who sits with, a colleague, hence the Span.
  Alcayde; in Marocco it is = colonel, and is prefixed _e.g._ Ka’íd

Footnote 140:

  A favourite food; Al-Hariri calls the dates and cream, which were sold
  together in bazars, the “Proud Rider on the desired Steed.”

Footnote 141:

  In Bresl. Edit. vi. 198 by misprint “Kutrú:” Chavis and Cazotte have
  “Kassera.” In the story of Bihkard we find a P.N. “Yatrú.”

Footnote 142:

  _i.e._ waylaying travellers, a term which has often occurred.

Footnote 143:

  _i.e._ the royal favour.

Footnote 144:

  _i.e._ When the fated hour came down (from Heaven).

Footnote 145:

  As the Nights have proved in many places, the Asl (origin) of a man is
  popularly held to influence his conduct throughout life. So the
  Jeweller’s wife (vol. ix.) was of servile birth, which accounted for
  her vile conduct; and reference is hardly necessary to a host of other
  instances. We can trace the same idea in the sayings and folk-lore of
  the West, _e.g._ Bon sang ne peut mentir, etc., etc.

Footnote 146:

  _i.e._ “What deemest thou he hath done?”

Footnote 147:

  The apodosis wanting “to make thee trust in him?”

Footnote 148:

  In the Braj Bákhá dialect of Hindi, we find quoted in the
  Akhlák-i-Hindi, “Tale of the old Tiger and the Traveller”:—

    Jo jáko paryo subháo jáe ná jío-sun;
    Ním na mitho hoe sichh gur ghio sun.

    Ne’er shall his nature fail a man whate’er that nature be,
    The Ním-tree bitter shall remain though drenched with Gur and Ghí.

  The Ním (Melia Azadirachta) is the “Persian lilac,” whose leaves,
  intensely bitter, are used as a preventive to poison: Gur is the
  Anglo-Indian Jaggeri = raw sugar and Ghi = clarified butter. Roebuck
  gives the same proverb in Hindostani.

Footnote 149:

  In Chavis and Cazotte “Story of Kaskas; or the Obstinate Man.” For
  ill-luck, see Miss Frere’s “Old Deccan Days” (p. 171), and Giles’s
  “Strange Stories,” &c. (p. 430), where the young lady says to Ma, “You
  often asked me for money; but on account of your weak luck I hitherto
  refrained from giving it.”

Footnote 150:

  True to life in the present day, as many a standing hay-rick has

Footnote 151:

  The “Munajjim” is a recognised authority in Egyptian townlets, and in
  the village-republics of Southern India the “Jyoshi” is one of the
  paid officials.

Footnote 152:

  Arab. “Amín” sub. and adj. In India it means a Government employé who
  collects revenue; in Marocco a commissioner sent by His Sharifian

Footnote 153:

  Our older word for divers = Arab. “Ghawwásún”: a single pearl (in the
  text Jauhar = the Port. Aljofar) is called “habbah” = grain or seed.

Footnote 154:

  The kindly and generous deed of one Moslem to another, and by no means
  rare in real life.

Footnote 155:

  “Eunuch,” etymologically meaning chamberlain (εὐνὴ + ἔχειν), a
  bed-chamberservant or slave, was presently confined to castrated men
  found useful for special purposes, like gelded horses, hounds, and
  cockerels turned to capons. Some writers hold that the creation of the
  semivir or apocopus began as a punishment in Egypt and elsewhere; and
  so under the Romans amputation of the “peccant part” was frequent:
  others trace the Greek “invalid,” _i.e._, impotent man, to marital
  jealousy, and not a few to the wife who wished to use the sexless for
  hard work in the house without danger to the slave-girls. The origin
  of the mutilation is referred by Ammianus Marcellinus (lib. iv., chap.
  17), and the Classics generally, to Semiramis, an “ancient queen” of
  decidedly doubtful epoch, who thus prevented the propagation of
  weaklings. But in Genesis (xxxvii. 36; xxxix. 1, margin) we find
  Potiphar termed a “Sarím” (castrato), an “attenuating circumstance”
  for Mrs. P. Herodotus (iii. chap. 48) tells us that Periander, tyrant
  of Corinth, sent three hundred Corcyrean boys to Alyattes for
  castration ἐπὶ ῇτ ἐκτομῇ, and that Panionios of Chios sold caponised
  lads for high prices, (viii. 105): he notices (viii. 104 and other
  places) that eunuchs “of the Sun, of Heaven, of the hand of God,” were
  looked upon as honourable men amongst the Persians whom Stephanus and
  Brissonius charge with having invented the name (Dabistan i. 171).
  Ctesias also declares that the Persian kings were under the influence
  of eunuchs. In the debauched ages of Rome the women found a new use
  for these effeminates, who had lost only the testes or testiculi = the
  witnesses (of generative force): it is noticed by Juvenal (i. 22; ii.
  365–379; vi. 366.)

                       —sunt quos imbelles et mollia semper
               Oscula delectant.

  So Martial,

                     —vult futui Gallia, non parere,

  And Mirabeau knew (see Kadísah) “qu’ils mordent les femmes et les
  liment avec une précieuse continuité.” (Compare my vol. ii. 90; v.
  46). The men also used them as catamites (Horace i. Od. xxxvii.)

                      “Contaminato cum grege turpium
                      Morbo virorum.”

  In religion the intestabilis or intestatus was held ill-omened, and
  not permitted to become a priest (Seneca Controv. ii. 4), a practice
  perpetuated in the various Christian churches. The manufacture was
  forbidden, to the satisfaction of Martial, by Domitian, whose edict
  Nero confirmed; and was restored by the Byzantine empire, which
  advanced eunuchs, like Eutropius and Narses, to the highest dignities
  of the realm. The cruel custom to the eternal disgrace of mediæval
  Christianity was revived in Rome for providing the choirs in the
  Sistine Chapel and elsewhere with boys’ voices. Isaiah mentions the
  custom (lvi. 3–6,). Mohammed, who notices in the Koran (xxiv. 31),
  “such men as attend women and have no need of women” _i.e._ “have no
  natural force,” expressly forbade (iv. 118), “changing Allah’s
  creatures,” referring, say the commentators, to superstitious
  ear-cropping of cattle, tattooing, teeth-sharpening, sodomy,
  tribadism, and slave-gelding. See also the “Hidáyah,” vol. iv. 121;
  and the famous divine Al-Siyúti, the last of his school, wrote a
  tractate Fi ’l-Tahrími Khidmati ’l-Khisyán = on the illegality of
  using eunuchs. Yet the Harem perpetuated the practice throughout
  Al-Islam and African jealousy made a gross abuse of it. To quote no
  other instance, the Sultan of Dár-For had a thousand eunuchs under a
  Malik or king, and all the chief offices of the empire, such as Ab
  (father) and Báb (door), were monopolised by these neutrals. The
  centre of supply was the Upper Nile, where the operation was found
  dangerous after the age of fifteen, and when badly performed only one
  in four survived. For this reason, during the last century the Coptic
  monks of Girgah and Zawy al-Dayr, near Assiout, engaged in this
  scandalous traffic, and declared that it was philanthropic to operate
  scientifically (Prof. Panuri and many others). Eunuchs are now made in
  the Sudán, Nubia, Abyssinia, Kordofán, and Dár-For, especially the
  Messalmiyah district: one of those towns was called “Tawáshah”
  (eunuchry) from the traffic there conducted by Fukahá or religious
  teachers. Many are supplied by the district between Majarah
  (Majarash?) and the port Masawwah; there are also depôts at Mbadr,
  near Tajurrah-harbour, where Yusuf Bey, Governor in 1880, caponised
  some forty boys, including the brother of a hostile African chief:
  here also the well-known Abu Bakr was scandalously active. It is
  calculated that not less than eight thousand of these unfortunates are
  annually exported to Arabia, Egypt, and Turkey. Article IV. of the
  Anglo-Egyptian Convention punishes the offence with death, and no one
  would object to hanging the murderer under whose mutilating razor a
  boy dies. Yet this, like most of our modern “improvements” in Egypt,
  is a mere _brutum fulmen_. The crime is committed under our very eyes,
  but we will not see it.

  The Romans numbered three kinds of eunuchs:—1. Castrati, clean-shaved,
  from Gr. κέστρος. 2. Spadones, from σπάω when the testicles are torn
  out, not from “Spada,” a town of Persia; and, 3. Thlibii, from θλίβω,
  to press, squeeze, when the testicles are bruised, &c. In the East
  also, as I have stated (v. 46), eunuchs are of three kinds:—I.
  Sandali, or the clean-shaved, the classical apocopus. The parts are
  swept off by a single cut of a razor, a tube (tin or wooden) is set in
  the urethra, the wound is cauterised with boiling oil, and the patient
  is planted in a fresh dunghill. His diet is milk; and and if under
  puberty, he often survives. This is the eunuque aqueduc, who must pass
  his water through a tube. 2. The eunuch whose penis is removed: he
  retains all the power of copulation and procreation without the
  wherewithal; and this, since the discovery of caoutchouc, has often
  been supplied. 3. The eunuch, or classical Thlibias and Semivir, who
  has been rendered sexless by removing the testicles (as the priests of
  Cybele were castrated with a stone knife), or by bruising (the Greek
  Thlásias), twisting, searing, or bandaging them. A more humane process
  has lately been introduced: a horsehair is tied round the neck of the
  scrotum and tightened by slow degrees till the circulation of the part
  stops and the bag drops off without pain. This has been adopted in
  sundry Indian regiments of Irregular Cavalry, and it succeeded
  admirably: the animals rarely required a day’s rest. The practice was
  known to the ancients. See notes on Kadísah in Mirabeau. The
  _Eunuchata virgo_ was invented by the Lydians, according to their
  historian Xanthus. Zachias (Quæst. medico-legal.) declares that the
  process was one of infibulation or simple sewing up the vulva; but
  modern experience has suggested an operation like the “spaying” of
  bitches, or mutilation of the womb, in modern euphuism “baby-house.”
  Dr. Robert (“Journey from Delhi to Bombay, Müller’s Archiv. 1843”)
  speaks of a eunuch’d woman who after ovariotomy had no breasts, no
  pubes, no rotundities, and no desires. The Australians practise
  exsection of the ovaries systematically to make women barren. Miklucho
  Maclay learned from the traveller Retsch that about Lake Parapitshurie
  men’s urethras were split, and the girls were spayed: the latter
  showing two scars in the groin. They have flat bosoms, but feminine
  forms, and are slightly bearded; they mix with the men, whom they
  satisfy mechanically, but without enjoyment (?). MacGillivray, of the
  “Rattlesnake,” saw near Cape York a woman with these scars: she was a
  surdo-mute, and had probably been spayed to prevent increase. The old
  Scandinavians, from Norway to Iceland, systematically gelded “sturdy
  vagrants,” in order that they might not beget bastards. The Hottentots
  before marriage used to cut off the left testicle, meaning by such
  semi-castration to prevent the begetting of twins. This curious
  custom, mentioned by the Jesuit Tochard, Boeving, and Kolbe, is now
  apparently obsolete—at least, the traveller Fritsch did not find it.

Footnote 156:

  Arab. “Harám” = “forbidden,” sinful.

Footnote 157:

  In Chavis and Cazotte, who out-galland’d Galland in transmogrifying
  the Arabic, this is the “Story of Illage (Al-Hájj) Mahomet and his
  sons; or, the Imprudent Man.” The tale occurs in many forms and with
  great modifications: See, for instance, the Gesta Romanorum “Of the
  miraculous recall of sinners and of the consolation which piety offers
  to the distressed,” the adventures of the knight Placidus, vol. ii.
  99. Charles Swan, London. Rivington, 1824.

Footnote 158:

  _i.e._ For fear of the “eye”: see vol. i. 123 and passim. In these
  days the practice is rare; but, whenever you see at Cairo an Egyptian
  dame daintily dressed and leading by the hand a grimy little boy whose
  eyes are black with flies and whose dress is worn and unclean, you see
  what has taken its place. And if you would praise the brat you must
  not say “Oh, what a pretty boy!” but “Inshallah!”—the Lord doth as he

Footnote 159:

  The adoption of slave lads and lasses was and is still common among

Footnote 160:

  I have elsewhere noted this “pathetic fallacy” which is a _lieu
  commun_ of Eastern folk-lore and not less frequently used in the
  mediæval literature of Europe before statistics were invented.

Footnote 161:

  Arab. “Yaskut min ’Aynayh,” lit. = fall from his two eyes, lose

Footnote 162:

  _i.e._ killing a man.

Footnote 163:

  _i.e._ we can slay him whenever we will.

Footnote 164:

  In Chavis and Cazotte “Story of Abosaber the Patient.” “Abú Sábir”
  would mean “Father of the Patient (one).”

Footnote 165:

  Arab. “Dihkán,” in Persian a villager; but here something more, a
  village-elder or chief. Al-Mas’udi (chap. xxiv.), and other historians
  apply the term to a class of noble Persians descended from the ten
  sons of Wahkert, the first “Dihkán,” the fourth generation from King

Footnote 166:

  Reminding one not a little of certain anecdotes anent Quakers, current
  in England and English-speaking lands.

Footnote 167:

  Arab. “Karyah,” a word with a long history. The root seems to be
  Karaha, he met; in Chald. Karih and Kária (emphatic Kárita) = a town
  or city; and in Heb. Kirjath, Kiryáthayim, etc. We find it in Carthage
  = Kartá hádisah, or New Town as opposed to Utica (Atíkah) = Old Town;
  in Carchemish and in a host of similar compounds. In Syria and Egypt
  Kariyah, like Kafr, now means a hamlet, a village.

Footnote 168:

  _i.e._ wandering at a venture.

Footnote 169:

  Arab. “Sakhrah,” the old French Corvée, and the “Begár” of India.

Footnote 170:

  Arab. “Matmúrah:” see vol. ii. 39, where it is used as an “underground
  cell.” The word is extensively used in the Maghrib or Western Africa.

Footnote 171:

  Arab. “Yá Abá Sábir.” There are five vocative particles in Arabic;
  “Yá,” common to the near and far; “Ayá” (ho!) and “Hayá” (holla!)
  addressed to the far, and “Ay” and “A” (A-’Abda-lláhi, O Abdullah), to
  those near. All govern the accusative of a noun in construction in the
  literary language only; and the vulgar use none but the first named.
  The English-speaking races neglect the vocative particle, and I never
  heard it except in the Southern States of the Anglo-American Union =
  Oh, Mr. Smith.

Footnote 172:

  He was not honest enough to undeceive them; a neat Quaker-like touch.

Footnote 173:

  Here the oath is justified; but the reader will have remarked that the
  name of Allah is often taken in vain. Moslems, however, so far from
  holding this a profanation deem it an acknowledgment of the
  Omnipotence and Omnipresence. The Jews from whom the Christians have
  borrowed had an interest in concealing the name of their tribal
  divinity; and therefore made it ineffable.

Footnote 174:

  _i.e._ the grave, the fosse commune of slain men.

Footnote 175:

  A fancy name; “Zawash” in Pers. is = Ζεὺς, the planet Jupiter, either
  borrowed from Greece, or both descended from some long forgotten

Footnote 176:

  In Chavis and Cazotte “Story of Bhazad (!) the Impatient.” The name is
  Persian, Bih (well, good) Zád (born). In the adj. bih we recognise a
  positive lost in English and German which retain the comparative
  (bih-tar = better) and superlative (bih-tarin = best).

Footnote 177:

  _i.e._ the moiety kept by the bridegroom, a contingent settlement paid
  at divorce or on the death of the husband.

Footnote 178:

  Arab. “Rumh” = the horseman’s lance not the footman’s spear.

Footnote 179:

  _i.e._ became a highwayman (a time-honoured and honourable career) in
  order to collect money for completing the dowry.

Footnote 180:

  _i.e._ to the bride, the wedding-day; not to be confounded with “going
  in unto” etc.

Footnote 181:

  Probably meaning that she saw the eyes espying through the crevice
  without knowing whose they were.

Footnote 182:

  A fancy name intended to be Persian.

Footnote 183:

  _i.e._ thy Harem, thy women.

Footnote 184:

  _i.e._ thy life hath been unduly prolonged.

Footnote 185:

  See Chavis and Cazotte, “Story of Ravia (Arwà!) the Resigned.” Dád-bín
  (Persian) = one who looks to justice, a name hardly deserved in this

Footnote 186:

  For this important province and city of Persia, see Al-Mas’údí, ii. 2;
  iv. 86, etc. It gave one of many names to the Caspian Sea. The
  adjective is Tabari, whereas Tabaráni = native of Tiberias

Footnote 187:

  Zor-khán = Lord Violence, and Kárdán = Business-knower; both Persian.

Footnote 188:

  “Arwà” written with a terminal of yá is a woman’s P.N. in Arabic.

Footnote 189:

  _i.e._ Not look down upon me with eyes of contempt. This “marrying
  below one” is still an Eastern idea, very little known to women in the

Footnote 190:

  Chavis and Cazotte call the Dabbús a “dabour” and explain it as a
  “sort of scepter used by Eastern Princes, which serves also as a
  weapon.” For the Dabbús, or mace, see vol. vi. 249.

Footnote 191:

  _i.e._ Let thy purposes be righteous as thine outward profession.

Footnote 192:

  See vol. vi. 130. This is another _lieu commun_ amongst Moslems; and
  its unfact requires only statement.

Footnote 193:

  Afterwards called his “chamberlain,” _i.e._ guardian of the

Footnote 194:

  _i.e._ Chosroës, whom Chavis and Cazotte make “Cyrus.”

Footnote 195:

  Arab. “Tákiyah,” used for the Persian Takhtrawán, common in The

Footnote 196:

  Arab. “Kubbah,” a dome-shaped tent, as elsewhere.

Footnote 197:

  This can refer only to Abu al-Khayr’s having been put to death on
  Kardan’s charge, although the tale-teller, with characteristic
  inconsequence, neglected to mention the event.

Footnote 198:

  Not referring to skull sutures, but to the forehead, which is
  poetically compared with a page of paper upon which Destiny writes her
  irrevocable decrees.

Footnote 199:

  Said in the grimmest earnest, not jestingly, as in vol. iv. 264.

Footnote 200:

  _i.e._ the _lex talionis_, which is the essence of Moslem, and indeed,
  of all criminal jurisprudence. We cannot wonder at the judgment of
  Queen Arwa: even Confucius, the mildest and most humane of lawgivers,
  would not pardon the man who allowed his father’s murderer to live.
  The Moslem lex talionis (Koran ii. 173) is identical with that of the
  Jews (Exod. xxi. 24), and the latter probably derives from immemorial
  usage. But many modern Rabbins explain away the Mosaical command as
  rather a demand for a pecuniary mulct than literal retaliation. The
  well-known Isaac Aburbanel cites many arguments in proof of this
  position: he asks, for instance, supposing the accused have but one
  eye, should he lose it for having struck out one of another man’s two?
  Moreover, he dwells upon the impossibility of inflicting a punishment
  the exact equivalent of the injury; like Shylock’s pound of flesh
  without drawing blood. Moslems, however, know nothing of these
  frivolities, and if retaliation be demanded the judge must grant it.
  There is a legend in Marocco of an English merchant who was compelled
  to forfeit tooth for tooth at the instance of an old woman, but a
  profitable concession gilded the pill.

Footnote 201:

  In Chavis and Cazotte “Story of Bhazmant (!); or the Confident Man.”
  “Bakht (-i-) Zamán” in Pers. would = Luck of the Time.

Footnote 202:

  Chavis and Cazotte change the name to “Abadid,” which, like
  “Khadídán,” is non-significant.

Footnote 203:

  Arab. “Fáris,” here a Reiter, or Dugald Dolgetti, as mostly were the
  hordes led by the mediæval Italian Condottiéri.

Footnote 204:

  So Napoleon the Great also believed that Providence is mostly
  favourable to “gros bataillons.”

Footnote 205:

  Pers. and Arab. = “Good perfection.”

Footnote 206:

  In Chavis and Cazotte “Story of Baharkan.” Bihkard (in Shiraz
  pronounced “Kyard”) = “Well he did.”

Footnote 207:

  See “Katrú” in the Introduction to the Bakhtiyár-námah.

Footnote 208:

  The text has “Jaukalán” for Saulaján, the Persian “Chaugán” = the
  crooked bat used in Polo. Sec vol. 1. 46.

Footnote 209:

  Amongst Moslems, I have noted, circumstantial evidence is not lawful:
  the witness must swear to what he has seen. A curious consideration,
  how many innocent men have been hanged by “circumstantial evidence.”
  See vol. v. 97.

Footnote 210:

  In Chavis and Cazotte “Story of Abattamant (!), or the Prudent Man;”
  also Aylán Shah becomes Olensa after Italian fashion.

Footnote 211:

  In Arab. idiom a long hand or arm means power, a phrase not wholly
  unused in European languages. Chavis and Cazotte paraphrase “He who
  keeps his hands crossed upon his breast, shall not see them cut off.”

Footnote 212:

  Arab. “Jama’a atráfah,” lit. = he drew in his extremities, it being
  contrary to “etiquette” in the presence of a superior not to cover
  hands and feet. In the wild Argentine Republic the savage Gaucho
  removes his gigantic spurs when coming into the presence of his

Footnote 213:

  About the equivalent to the Arab. or rather Egypto-Syrian form
  “Jiddan,” used in the modern slang sense.

Footnote 214:

  _i.e._ that he become my son-in-law.

Footnote 215:

  For the practice of shampooing often alluded to in The Nights, see
  vol. iii. 17. The king “sleeping on the boys’ knees” means that he
  dropped off whilst his feet were on the laps of the lads.

Footnote 216:

  Meaning the honour of his Harem.

Footnote 217:

  Pardon, lit. = security: the cry for quarter already introduced into

                     “Or raise the craven cry Aman.”

  It was Mohammed’s express command that this prayer for mercy should be
  respected even in the fury of fight. See vol. i. 342.

Footnote 218:

  A saying found in every Eastern language beginning with Hebrew;
  Proverbs xxvi. 27, “Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein.”

Footnote 219:

  _i.e._ a domed tomb where prayers and prelections of the Koran could
  be made. “Kubbah” in Marocco is still the term for a small square
  building with a low media-naranja cupola under which a Santon lies
  interred. It is the “little Waly” of our “blind travellers” in the
  unholy “Holy Land.”

Footnote 220:

  _i.e._ to secure her assistance in arousing the king’s wrath.

Footnote 221:

  _i.e._ so slow to avenge itself.

Footnote 222:

  “Story of Sultan Hebriam (!), and his Son” (Chavis and Cazotte).
  Unless they greatly enlarged upon the text, they had a much fuller
  copy than that found in the Bresl. Edit.

Footnote 223:

  A right kingly king, in the Eastern sense of the word, would strike
  off their heads for daring to see omens threatening his son and heir:
  this would be constructive treason of the highest because it might be
  expected to cause its own fulfilment.

Footnote 224:

  Mahommed’s Hadís “Kazzibú ’l-Munajjimúna bi Rabbi ’l-Ka’abah” = the
  Astrologers lied, by the Ka’abah’s Lord!

Footnote 225:

  Arab. “Khawátín,” plur. of Khátún, a matron, a lady, vol. iv. 66.

Footnote 226:

  See Al-Mas’udi, chapt. xvii. (Fr. Transl. ii. 48–49) of the circular
  cavity two miles deep and sixty in circuit inhabited by men and
  animals on the Caucasus near Derbend.

Footnote 227:

  Arab. “Nafas” lit. = breath. Arabs living in a land of caverns know by
  experience the danger of asphyxiation in such places.

Footnote 228:

  This simple tale is told with much pathos not of words but of sense.

Footnote 229:

  Arab. “Ajal” = the appointed day of death; also used for sudden death.
  See vol. i. 74.

Footnote 230:

  _i.e._ the Autumnal Equinox, one of the two great festival days (the
  other being the New Year) of the Persians, and surviving in our
  Michaelmas. According to Al-Mas’udí (chap. xxi.), it was established
  to commemorate the capture of Zahhák (Azhi-Daháka), the biting snake
  (the Hindu Ahi) of night and darkness, the Greek Astyages, by Furaydun
  or Feridun. Prof. Sayce (Principles of Comparative Philology, p. 11)
  connects the latter with the Vedic deity Trita, who harnessed the
  Sun-horse (Rig. v. i. 163, 2, 3), the τριτογένεια of Homer, a title of
  Athene, the Dawn-goddess, and Burnouf proved the same Trita to be
  Thraétaona, son of Athwya, of the Avesta, who finally became Furaydún,
  the Greek Kyrus. See vol. v. 1.

Footnote 231:

  In Chavis and Cazotte, “Story of Selimansha and his Family.”

Footnote 232:

  Arab. for Pers. Pahluwán (from Pahlau) a brave, a warrior, an athlete,
  applied in India to a champion in any gymnastic exercise, especially
  in wrestling. The Frenchman calls him “Balavan”; and the Bresl. text
  in more than one place (p. 312) calls him “Bahwán.”

Footnote 233:

  _i.e._ King (Arab.) King (Persian): we find also Sultan Malik Shah =
  King King King.

Footnote 234:

  Arab. “Aulád-í,” a vulgarism, plural for dual.

Footnote 235:

  Mr. Payne translates, “so he might take his father’s leavings” _i.e._
  heritage, reading “Ásár” which I hold to be a clerical error for Sár =
  Vendetta, blood revenge (Bresl. Edit. vi. 310).

Footnote 236:

  Arab. “Al-’Ásí” the pop. term for one who refuses to obey a
  constituted authority and syn. with Pers. “Yághí.” “Ant ’Ásí?” Wilt
  thou not yield thyself? says a policeman to a refractory Fellah.

Footnote 237:

  _i.e._ of the Greeks: so in Kor. xxx. 1. “Alif Lam Mim, the Greeks
  (Al-Roum) have been defeated.” Mr. Rodwell curiously remarks that “the
  vowel-points for ’defeated’ not being originally written, would make
  the prophecy true in either event, according as the verb received an
  active or passive sense in pronunciation.” But in discovering this
  mare’s nest, a rank piece of humbug like Aio te Aeacida etc., he
  forgets that all the Prophet’s “Companions,” numbering some 5,000,
  would pronounce it only in one way and that no man could mistake
  “ghalabat” (active) for “ghulibat” (passive).

Footnote 238:

  The text persistently uses “Járiyah” = damsel, slave-girl, for the
  politer “Sabiyah” = young lady, being written in a rude and uncourtly

Footnote 239:

  So our familiar phrase “Some one to back us.”

Footnote 240:

  Arab. “’Akkada lahu ráy,” plur. of ráyat, a banner. See vol. iii. 307.

Footnote 241:

  _i.e._ “What concern hast thou with the king’s health?” The question
  is offensively put.

Footnote 242:

  Arab. “Masalah,” a question; here an enigma.

Footnote 243:

  Arab. “Liallá” (_i.e._ li, an, lá) lest; but printed here and
  elsewhere with the yá as if it were “laylan,” = for a single night.

Footnote 244:

  _i.e._ if my death be fated to befal to-day, none may postpone it to a
  later date.

Footnote 245:

  Arab. “Dustí”: so the ceremony vulgarly called “Doseh” and by the
  Italo-Egyptians “Dosso,” the riding over disciples’ backs by the
  Shaykh of the Sa’diyah Darwayshes (Lane M.E. chapt. xxv.) which took
  place for the last time at Cairo in 1881.

Footnote 246:

  In Chavis and Cazotte she conjures him “by the great Maichonarblatha
  Sarsourat” (Miat wa arba’at ashar Súrat) = the 114 chapters of the

Footnote 247:

  I have noted that Moslem law is not fully satisfied without such
  confession which, however, may be obtained by the bastinado. It is
  curious to compare English procedure with what Moslem would be in such
  a case as that of the famous Tichborne Claimant. What we did need
  hardly be noticed. An Arab judge would in a case so suspicious at once
  have applied the stick and in a quarter of an hour would have settled
  the whole business; but then what about the “Devil’s own,” the lawyers
  and lawyers’ fees? And he would have remarked that the truth is not
  less true because obtained by such compulsory means.

Footnote 248:

  The Hudhud, so called from its cry “Hood! Hood!” It is the Lat. upupa,
  Gr. ἔποψ from its supposed note epip or upup; the old Egyptian Kukufa;
  Heb. Dukiphath and Syriac Kikuphá (Bochart Hierozoicon, part ii. 347).
  The Spaniards call it Gallo de Marzo (March-Cock) from its returning
  in that month, and our old writers “lapwing” (Deut. xiv. 18). This
  foul-feeding bird derives her honours from chapt. xxvii. of the Koran
  (_q.v._), the Hudhud was sharp-sighted and sagacious enough to
  discover water underground which the devils used to draw after she had
  marked the place by her bill.

Footnote 249:

  Here the vocative Yá is designedly omitted in poetical fashion
  (_e.g._, Khaliliyya—my friend!) to show the speaker’s emotion. See p.
  113 of Captain A. Lockett’s learned and curious work the “Miet Amil”
  (= Hundred Regimens), Calcutta, 1814.

Footnote 250:

  The story-teller introduces this last instance with considerable art
  as a preface to the dénoûement.

Footnote 251:

  See Chavis and Cazotte “Story of the King of Haram and the slave.”

Footnote 252:

  _i.e._ men caught red-handed.

Footnote 253:

  Arab. “Libwah,” one of the multitudinous names for the king of beasts,
  still used in Syria where the animal has been killed out, soon to be
  followed by the bear (_U. Syriacus_). The author knows that lions are
  most often found in couples.

Footnote 254:

  Arab. “Himyán or Hamyán,” = a girdle.

Footnote 255:

  As he would kiss a son. I have never yet seen an Englishman endure
  these masculine kisses, formerly so common in France and Italy,
  without showing clearest signs of his disgust.

Footnote 256:

  A cheap way of rewarding merit, not confined to Eastern monarchs, but
  practised by all contemporary Europe.

Footnote 257:

  Arab. “Kasf,” = houghing a camel so as to render it helpless. The
  passage may read, “we are broken to bits (Kisí) by our own sin.”

Footnote 258:

  Bresl. Edit., vol. vii. pp. 251–4, Night dlxv.

Footnote 259:

  See vol. vi. 175. A Moslem should dress for public occasions, like the
  mediæval student, _in vestibus_ (quasi) _nigris aut subfuscis_; though
  not, except amongst the Abbasides, absolutely black, as sable would
  denote Jewry.

Footnote 260:

  A well-known soldier and statesman, noted for piety and austerity. A
  somewhat fuller version of this story, from which I have borrowed
  certain details, is given in the Biographical Dictionary of Ibn
  Khallikán (i. 303–4). The latter, however, calls the first Abd
  al-Malik “Ibn Bahrán” (in the index Ibn Bahrám), which somewhat spoils
  the story. “Ibn Khallikan,” by-the-by, is derived popularly from
  “Khalli” (let go), and “Kána” (it was, enough), a favourite expression
  of the author, which at last superseded his real name, Abu al-Abbás
  Ahmad. He is better off than the companion nicknamed by Mohammed Abú
  Horayrah = Father of the She-kitten (not the cat), and who in
  consequence has lost his true name and pedigree.

Footnote 261:

  In Ibn Khallikán (i. 303) he is called the “Hashimite,” from his
  ancestor, Hashim ibn Abd Manáf. The Hashimites and Abbasides were fine
  specimens of the Moslem “Pharisee,” as he is known to Christians, not
  the noble Purushi of authentic history.

Footnote 262:

  Meaning a cap, but of what shape we ignore. Ibn Khallikan afterwards
  calls it a “Kalansúa,” a word still applied to a mitre worn by
  Christian priests.

Footnote 263:

  Arab. “Lá baas,” equivalent in conversation to our “No matter,” and
  “All right.”

Footnote 264:

  As a member of the reigning family, he wore black clothes, that being
  the especial colour of the Abbasides, adopted by them in opposition to
  the rival dynasty of the Ommiades, whose family colour was white, that
  of the Fatimites being green. The Moslems borrowed their sacred green,
  “the hue of the Pure,” from the old Nabatheans and the other primitive
  colours from the tents of the captains who were thus distinguished.
  Hence also amongst the Turks and Tartars, the White Horde and the
  Black Horde.

Footnote 265:

  The word has often occurred, meaning date-wine or grape-wine. Ibn
  Khaldún contends that in Ibn Khallikan it here means the former.

Footnote 266:

  = £25,000. Ibn Khallikan (i. 304) makes the debt four millions of
  dirhams or £90,000–£100,000.

Footnote 267:

  In the Biographer occurs the equivalent phrase, “That a standard be
  borne over his head.”

Footnote 268:

  Here again we have a suggestion that Ja’afar presumed upon his favour
  with the Caliph; such presumption would soon be reported (perhaps by
  the _austère intrigant_ himself) to the royal ears, and lay the
  foundation of ill-will likely to end in utter destruction.

Footnote 269:

  Bresl. Edit., vol. vii. pp. 258–60, Night dlxvii.

Footnote 270:

  Fourth Abbaside, A.D. 785–786, vol. v. 93. He was a fantastic tyrant
  who was bent upon promoting to the Caliphate his own son, Ja’afar; he
  cast Harun into prison and would probably have slain him but for the
  intervention of the mother of the two brothers, Khayzarán widow of
  Al-Mahdi, and Yahya the Barmecide.

Footnote 271:

  Third Abbaside, A.D. 775–785, vol. vii. 136; ix. 334.

Footnote 272:

  This reminds us of the Bir Al-Khátim (Well of the Signet) at
  Al-Medinah; in which Caliph Osman during his sixth year dropped from
  his finger the silver ring belonging to the founder of Al-Islam,
  engraved in three lines with “Mohammed | Apostle (of) | Allah |.” It
  had served to sign the letters sent to neighbouring kings and had
  descended to the first three successors (Pilgrimage ii. 219). Mohammed
  owned three seal-rings, the golden one he destroyed himself; and the
  third, which was of carnelian, was buried with other objects by his
  heirs. The late Subhi Pasha used to declare that the latter had been
  brought to him with early Moslem coins by an Arab, and when he died he
  left it to the Sultan.

Footnote 273:

  Mr. Payne quotes Al-Tabari’s version of this anecdote. “El-Mehdi had
  presented his son Haroun with a ruby ring, worth a hundred thousand
  dinars, and the latter being one day with his brother [the then
  reigning Khalif], El Hadi saw the ring on his finger and desired it.
  So, when Haroun went out from him, he sent after him, to seek the ring
  of him. The Khalif’s messenger overtook Er Reshid on the bridge over
  the Tigris and acquainted him with his errand; whereupon the prince,
  enraged at the demand, pulled off the ring and threw it into the
  river. When El Hadi died and Er Reshid succeeded to the throne, he
  went with his suite to the bridge in question and bade his Vizier
  Yehya ben Khalid send for divers and cause them make search for the
  ring. It had then been five months in the water and no one believed it
  would be found. However, the divers plunged into the river and found
  the ring in the very place where he had thrown it in, whereat Haroun
  rejoiced with an exceeding joy, regarding it as a presage of fair

Footnote 274:

  Not historically correct. Al-Rashid made Yáhyà, father of Ja’afar, his
  Wazir; and the minister’s two sons, Fazl and Ja’afar, acted as his
  lieutenants for seventeen years from A.D. 786 till the destruction of
  the Barmecides in A.D. 803. The tale-teller quotes Ja’afar because he
  was the most famous of the house.

Footnote 275:

  Perhaps after marrying Ja’afar to his sister. But the endearing name
  was usually addressed to Ja’afar’s elder brother Fazl, who was the
  Caliph’s foster-brother.

Footnote 276:

  Read seventeen: all these minor inaccuracies tend to invalidate the
  main statement.

Footnote 277:

  Arab. “Yar’ad” which may also mean “thundereth.” The dark saying
  apparently means, Do good whilst thou art in power and thereby
  strengthen thyself.

Footnote 278:

  The lady seems to have made the first advances and Bin Abú Hájilah
  quotes a sixaine in which she amorously addresses her spouse. See
  D’Herbelot, _s.v._ Abbassa.

Footnote 279:

  The tale-teller passes with a very light hand over the horrors of a
  massacre which terrified and scandalised the then civilised world, and
  which still haunt Moslem history. The Caliph, like the king, can do no
  wrong; and, as Viceregent of Allah upon Earth, what would be deadly
  crime and mortal sin in others becomes in his case an ordinance from
  above. These actions are superhuman events and fatal which man must
  not judge nor feel any sentiment concerning them save one of
  mysterious respect. For the slaughter of the Barmecides, see my
  Terminal Essay, vol. x.

Footnote 280:

  Bresl. Edit., vol. vii. pp. 260–1, Night dlxviii.

Footnote 281:

  Ibn al-Sammák (Son of the fisherman or fishmonger), whose name was Abú
  al-Abbás Mohammed bin Sabíh, surnamed Al-Mazkúr (Ibn al-Athir says
  Al-Muzakkar), was a native of Kufah (where he died in A.H. 183 =
  799–80), a preacher and professional tale-teller famed as a stylist
  and a man of piety. Al-Siyuti (p. 292) relates of him that when
  honoured by the Caliph with courteous reception he said to him, “Thy
  humility in thy greatness is nobler than thy greatness.” He is known
  to have been the only theologician who, _ex cathedrâ_, promised
  Al-Rashid a place in Paradise.

Footnote 282:

  Bresl. Edit., vol. vii. pp. 261–2, Night dlxviii.

Footnote 283:

  Seventh Abbaside, A.H. 198–227 = 813–842. See vol. iv. 109. He was a
  favourite with his father, who personally taught him tradition; but he
  offended the Faithful by asserting the creation of the Koran, by his
  leaning to Shi’ah doctrine, and by changing the black garments of the
  Banu Abbas into green. He died of a chill at Budandún, a day’s march
  from Tarsus, where he was buried: for this Podendon = πόδα τείνειν =
  stretch out thy feet, see Al-Siyuti, pp. 326–27.

Footnote 284:

  Sixth Abbaside, A.D. 809–13. See vol. v. 93: 152. He was of pure
  Abbaside blood on the father’s side and his mother Zubaydah’s. But he
  was unhappy in his Wazir Al-Fazl bin Rabí’, the intriguer against the
  Barmecides, who estranged him from his brothers Al-Kásim and
  Al-Maamún. At last he was slain by a party of Persians, “who struck
  him with their swords, and cut him through the nape of his neck and
  went with his head to Tahir bin al-Husayn, general to Al-Maamún, who
  set it upon a garden-wall and made proclamation, This is the head of
  the deposed Mohammed (Al-Amín).” Al-Siyuti, pp. 306–311. It was
  remarked by Moslem annalists that every sixth Abbaside met with a
  violent death: the first was this Mohammed al-Amin surnamed Al-Makhlú’
  = The Deposed; the second sixth was Al-Musta’ín; and the last was
  Al-Muktadí bi ’lláh.

Footnote 285:

  Lit. “Order and acceptance.” See the Tale of the Sandal-wood Merchant
  and the Sharpers: vol. vi. 202.

Footnote 286:

  This is not noticed by Al-Siyuti (p. 318) who says that his mother was
  a slave-concubine named Marájil who died in giving him birth. The tale
  in the text appears to be a bit of Court scandal, probably suggested
  by the darkness of the Caliph’s complexion.

Footnote 287:

  Bresl. Edit., vol. viii. pp. 226–9, Nights dclx-i.

Footnote 288:

  King of the Arab kingdom of Hirah, for whom see vol. v. 74. This
  ancient villain rarely appears in such favourable form when tales are
  told of him.

Footnote 289:

  The tribe of the chieftain and poet, Hátim Táí, for whom see vol. iv.

Footnote 290:

  _i.e._ I will make a covenant with him before the Lord. Here the word
  “Allah” is introduced among the Arabs of The Ignorance.

Footnote 291:

  _i.e._ The man of the tribe of Tay.

Footnote 292:

  A similar story of generous dealing is told of the Caliph Omar in The
  Nights. See vol. v. 99 _et sqq._

Footnote 293:

  Bres. Edit., vol. viii. pp. 273–8, Nights dclxxv-vi. In Syria and
  Egypt Fírúz (the Persian “Píroz”) = victorious, triumphant, is usually
  pronounced Fayrúz. The tale is a rechauffé of the King and the Wazir’s
  Wife in The Nights. See vol. vi. 129.

Footnote 294:

  _i.e._ I seek refuge with Allah = God forfend.

Footnote 295:

  Bresl. Edit., vol. xi. pp. 84–318, Nights dccclxxv-dccccxxx. Here
  again the names are Persian, showing the provenance of the tale; Shah
  Bakht is = King Luck and Rahwán is a corruption of Rahbán = one who
  keeps the (right) way; or it may be Ruhbán = the Pious. Mr. W. A.
  Clouston draws my attention to the fact that this tale is of the
  Sindibad (Seven Wise Masters) cycle and that he finds remotely allied
  to it a Siamese collection, entitled Nonthuk Pakaranam in which
  Princess Kankras, to save the life of her father, relates eighty or
  ninety tales to the king of Pataliput (Palibothra.) He purposes to
  discuss this and similar subjects in extenso in his coming volumes,
  “Popular Tales and Fictions: their Migrations and Transformations,” to
  which I look forward with pleasant anticipations.

Footnote 296:

  So far this work resembles the Bakhtiyár-námeh, in which the ten
  Wazirs are eager for the death of the hero who relates tales and
  instances to the king, warning him against the evils of precipitation.

Footnote 297:

  One pilgrimage (Hajjat al-Islam) is commanded to all Moslems. For its
  conditions see The Nights, vol. v. 202, _et sqq._

Footnote 298:

  Arab. “Hajj al-Shárif.” For the expenses of the process see my
  Pilgrimage iii. 12. As in all “Holy Places,” from Rome to Benares, the
  sinner in search of Salvation is hopelessly taken in and fleeced by
  the “sons of the sacred cities.”

Footnote 299:

  Here a stranger invites a guest who at once accepts the invitation;
  such is the freedom between Moslems at Meccah and Al-Medinah,
  especially during pilgrimage-time.

Footnote 300:

  _i.e._ the master could no longer use her carnally.

Footnote 301:

  _i.e._ wantoned it away.

Footnote 302:

  Here “Al-Hajj” = the company of pilgrims, a common use of the term.

Footnote 303:

  The text says, “He went on with the caravan to the Pilgrimage,”
  probably a clerical error. “Hajj” is never applied to the Visitation
  (Ziyárah) at Al-Medinah.

Footnote 304:

  Arab. “Jáwar,” that is, he became a mujáwir, one who lives in or near
  a collegiate mosque. The Egyptian proverb says, “He pilgrimaged: quoth
  one, Yes, and for his villainy lives (yujawir) at Meccah,” meaning
  that he found no other place bad enough for him.

Footnote 305:

  I have often heard of this mysterious art in the East, also of
  similarly making rubies and branch-coral of the largest size; but,
  despite all my endeavours, I never was allowed to witness the
  operation. It was the same with alchemy, which, however, I found very
  useful to the “smasher.” See my History of Sindh, chapt. vii.

Footnote 306:

  Elsewhere in The Nights specified as white woollen robes.

Footnote 307:

  Whilst she was praying the girl could not address her; but the use of
  the rosary is a kind of “parergon.”

Footnote 308:

  Arab. “Yá Hájjah” (in Egypt pronounced “Hággeh”), a polite address to
  an elderly woman, who is thus supposed to have “finished her faith.”

Footnote 309:

  Arab. “Kanísah” (from Kans = sweeping) a pagan temple, a Jewish
  synagogue, and especially a Christian church.

Footnote 310:

  _i.e._ standeth in prayer or supplication.

Footnote 311:

  _i.e._ fell into hysterics, a very common complaint amongst the highly
  nervous and excitable races of the East.

Footnote 312:

  Arab. “Kahramánah,” a word which has often occurred in divers senses,
  nurse, duenna, chamberwoman, stewardess, armed woman defending the
  Harem, etc.

Footnote 313:

  Which is supposed to contain the Harem.

Footnote 314:

  Especially mentioned because the guide very often follows his charges,
  especially when he intends to play them an ugly trick. I had an
  unpleasant adventure of the kind in Somaliland; but having the fear of
  the “Aborigines Protection Society” before my eyes, refrained from
  doing more than hinting at it.

Footnote 315:

  _i.e._ otherwise than according to ordinance of Allah.

Footnote 316:

  A well-known city of Irák ’Ajamí (or Persian).

Footnote 317:

  _i.e._ spare pegs and strings, plectra, thumb-guards, etc.

Footnote 318:

  Arab. “Hasír,” the fine matting used for sleeping on during the hot
  season in Egypt and Syria.

Footnote 319:

  _i.e._ The bed where the “rough and tumble” had taken place.

Footnote 320:

  This word, which undoubtedly derives from cuculus, cogul, cocu, a
  cuckoo, has taken a queer twist, nor can I explain how its present
  meaning arose from a she-bird which lays her egg in a strange nest.
  Wittol, on the other hand, from Witan to know, is rightly applied to
  one whom La Fontaine calls “cocu et content,” the Arab. Dayyús.

Footnote 321:

  Arab. “Shabakah,” here a net like a fisherman’s, which is hung over
  the hole in the wall called a shop, during the temporary absence of
  the shopkeeper. See my Pilgrimage, i. 100.

Footnote 322:

  _i.e._ of which the singer speaks.

Footnote 323:

  _i.e._, she found him good at the to-and-fro movement; our
  corresponding phrase is “basket-making.”

Footnote 324:

  Arab. “Mu’arris”: in vol. i. 338, I derived the word from ’Ars
  marriage, like the Germ. Kupplerin. This was a mere mistake; the root
  is ’Ars (with a Sád not a Sín) and means a pimp who shows off or
  displays his wares.

Footnote 325:

  Arab. “Akhmitu Ghazla-há” lit. = thicken her yarn or thread.

Footnote 326:

  I must again warn the reader that the negative, which to us appears
  unnecessary, is emphatic in Arabic.

Footnote 327:

  _i.e._ By removing the goods from the “but” to the “ben.” Pilgrimage
  i. 99.

Footnote 328:

  Arab. “Tannúr,” here the large earthern jar with a cover of the same
  material, round which the fire is built.

Footnote 329:

  Being a musician the hero of the tale was also a pederast.

Footnote 330:

  Here Mr. Payne supplies “Then they returned and sat down (apparently
  changing places).” He is quite correct in characterising the Bresl.
  Edit. as corrupt and “fearfully incoherent.” All we can make certain
  of in this passage is that the singer mistook the Persian for his
  white slave (Mameluke).

Footnote 331:

  Arab. “Bazaka,” normally used in the sense of spitting: here the
  saliva might be applied for facilitating insertion.

Footnote 332:

  In Persian “Áward o burd,” = brought and bore away, gen. applied to
  the movement of the man as in the couplet,

             Chenín burd o áward o áward o burd,
             Kih dáyeh pas-i-pardeh zi ghussah murd.

             He so came and went, went and came again,
             That Nurse who lay curtained to faint was fain.

Footnote 333:

  Alluding to the fighting rams which are described by every
  Anglo-Indian traveller. They strike with great force, amply sufficient
  to crush the clumsy hand which happens to be caught between the two
  foreheads. The animals are sometimes used for Fál or consulting
  futurity: the name of a friend is given to one and that of a foe to
  the other; and the result of the fight suggests victory or defeat for
  the men.

Footnote 334:

  Arab. “Jauhar” = the jewel, the essential nature of a substance.
  Compare M. Alcofribas’ “Abstraction of the Quintessence.”

Footnote 335:

  In parts of the Moslem world Al-Jabr = the tyranny, is the equivalent
  of what we call “civil law,” as opposed to Al-Sharí’ah, or Holy Law,
  the religious code; Diwan Al-Jabr (Civil Court) being the contrary of
  the Mahkamah or Kazi’s tribunal. See “First Footsteps in East Africa,”
  p. 126.

Footnote 336:

  _i.e._ in offering thee the kingship.

Footnote 337:

  _i.e._ “a man of fourscore.”

Footnote 338:

  _i.e._ outside the city.

Footnote 339:

  See the conclusion of the story.

Footnote 340:

  _i.e._ I have said my say.

Footnote 341:

  Arab. “Al-Mutabattil,” usually = one who forsakes the world. The
  Katarát al-Naysán or rain-drops in the month Naysán (April) produce
  pearls when falling into the oyster-shells and poison in the serpent’s
  mouth. The allusions to them are innumerable in Persian poetry, and
  the idea gives rise to a host of moralities more or less insipid.

Footnote 342:

  This is the general idea concerning the diamond in all countries where
  the gem is dug, but I never heard it of the pearl.

Footnote 343:

  Arab. “Faras,” properly a mare; but the writer begins by using the
  feminine, and then employs the masculine. It is an abominable text.

Footnote 344:

  Arab. “Rutab wa manázil,” may also mean “stations and mansions (of the
  moon and planets).” The double entendre was probably intended.

Footnote 345:

  Arab. “Za’íf,” still a popular word, meaning feeble, sick, ailing, but
  especially, weak in venery.

Footnote 346:

  See the original of this tale in King Al-Af’á: Al-Mas’udi, chap. xlvi.

Footnote 347:

  He says this without any sense of shame, coolly as Horace or Catullus

Footnote 348:

  _i.e._ of the caravan with which he came.

Footnote 349:

  Arab. “Al-’Adl.” In the form of Zú ’adl it = a legal witness, a man of
  good repute; in Marocco and other parts of the Moslem world ’Adul
  (plur. ’Udúl) signifies an assessor of the Kazi, a notary. Padre
  Lerchundy (loc. cit. p. 345) renders it _notario_.

Footnote 350:

  _i.e._ I would marry thy daughter, not only for her own sake, but for
  alliance with thy family.

Footnote 351:

  _i.e._ the bride’s face.

Footnote 352:

  The Ghusl or complete ablution after car. cop.

Footnote 353:

  Thus the girl was made lawful to him as a concubine by the “loathly
  ladye,” whose good heart redeemed her ill-looks.

Footnote 354:

  Meaning the poor man and his own daughter.

Footnote 355:

  Mr. Payne changes the Arab title to the far more appropriate heading,
  “Story of the Rich man and his Wasteful Son.” The tale begins with
  Æsop’s fable of the faggot; and concludes with the “Heir of Linne,” in
  the famous Scotch ballad. Mr. Clouston refers also to the Persian Tale
  of Murchlis (The Sorrowful Wazir); to the Forty Vezirs (23rd Story) to
  Cinthio and to sundry old English chap-books.

Footnote 356:

  Arab. “Tafrík wa’l-jam’a.”

Footnote 357:

  Arab. “Wafát” pop. used as death, decease, departure; but containing
  the idea of departing to the mercy of Allah and “paying the debt of
  nature.” It is not so ill-omened a word as Maut = death.

Footnote 358:

  _i.e._ gifts and presents. See vol. iv. 185.

Footnote 359:

  _i.e._ Turcomans; presently called Sístán, for which see vol. ii. 218.

Footnote 360:

  In my Pilgrimage (i. 38), I took from Mr. Galton’s Art of Travel, the
  idea of opening with a lancet the shoulder or other fleshy part of the
  body and inserting into it a precious stone. This was immensely
  derided by not a few including one who, then a young man from the
  country, presently became a Cabinet Minister. Despite their
  omniscience, however, the “dodge” is frequently practised. See how
  this device was practised by Jeshua Nażarenus, vol. v. 238.

Footnote 361:

  Arab. “’Alam,” a pile of stones, a flag or some such landmark. The
  reader will find them described in “The Sword of Midian,” i. 98, and

Footnote 362:

  Mr. Clouston refers to the “Miles Gloriosus” (Plautus); to “Orlando
  Innamorato” of Berni (the Daughter of the King of the Distant Isles);
  to the “Seven Wise Masters” (“The Two Dreams,” or “The Crafty Knight
  of Hungary”); to his Book of Sindibad, p. 343 ff.; to Miss Busk’s
  Folk-Lore of Rome, p. 399 (“The Grace of the Hunchback”); to Prof.
  Crane’s “Italian Popular Tales,” p. 167, and “The Elopement,” from
  Pitrè’s Sicilian collection.

Footnote 363:

  In sign of impatience; “Look sharp!”

Footnote 364:

  _i.e._ the resemblance of the supposed sister to his wife. This is a
  rechauffé of Kamar al-Zamán iid.

Footnote 365:

  This leaving a long lock upon the shaven poll is a very ancient
  practice: we find it amongst the old Egyptians. For the Shúshah or
  topknot of hair, see vol. i. 308. It is differently worn in the
  several regions of the Moslem world: the Maroccans of the Ríf country
  grow it not on the pole but on one side of the head. As a rule,
  however, it is confined to boys, and is shaved off at puberty.

Footnote 366:

  Suspecting her to be a witch because she was old and poor. The same
  was the case in Europe when these unfortunates were burned during the
  early part of the last century and even now the country-folk are often
  ready to beat or drown them. The abominable witchcraft acts, which
  arose from bibliolatry and belief in obsolete superstitions, can claim
  as many victims in “Protestant” countries, England and the
  Anglo-American States as the Jesuitical Inquisition.

Footnote 367:

  It is not easy to make sense of this passage especially when the Wazir
  is spoken of.

Footnote 368:

  This is a rechauffé of the Sandal-Wood Merchant and the Sharpers. Vol.
  vi. 202.

Footnote 369:

  I have followed Mr. Payne’s adaptation of the text as he makes sense,
  whilst the Arabic does not. I suppose that the holes are disposed

Footnote 370:

  _i.e._ Thy skill is so great that thou wilt undermine my authority
  with the king.

Footnote 371:

  This famous tale is first found in a small collection of Latin fables
  (Adolphi Fabulæ apud Leyser Hist. Poet. Medii Ævi, p. 200–8),

                Cæcus erat quidam, cui pulcra virago, etc.

  The date is 1315, and Caxton printed it in English in 1483; hence it
  was adopted by Boccaccio, Day vii., Novella 9; whence Chaucer’s
  “Marchaundes Tale”: this, by-the-by, was translated by Pope in his
  sixteenth or seventeenth year, and christened “January and May.” The
  same story is inserted in La Fontaine (Contes, lib. ii., No. 8), “_La
  Gageure des trois Commères_,” with the normal poirier; and lastly it
  appears in Wieland’s “Oberon,” canto vi.; where the Fairy King
  restores the old husband’s sight, and Titania makes the lover on the
  pear-tree invisible. Mr. Clouston refers me also to the
  Bahár-i-Dánish, or Prime of Knowledge (Scott’s translation, vol. ii.,
  pp. 64–68); “How the Brahman learned the Tirrea Bede”; to the Turkish
  “Kirk Wazir” (Forty Wazirs) of Shaykh-Zadeh (xxivth Wazir’s story); to
  the “Comœdia Lydiæ,” and to Barbazan’s “Fabliaux et Contes” t. iii.,
  p. 451, “La Saineresse,” the cupping-woman.

Footnote 372:

  In the European versions it is always a pear-tree.

Footnote 373:

  This supernatural agency, ever at hand and ever credible to Easterns,
  makes this the most satisfactory version of the world-wide tale.

Footnote 374:

  _i.e._ till next harvest time.

Footnote 375:

  The “’Ashshár,” or Tither, is most unpopular in the Nile-valley as in
  Wales; and he generally merits his ill-repute. Tales concerning the
  villainy of these extortioners abound in Egypt and Syria. The first
  step in improvement will be so to regulate the tithes that the
  peasants may not be at the mercy of these “publicans and sinners” who,
  however, can plead that they have paid highly for appointment to
  office and must recoup themselves.

Footnote 376:

  Arab. “’Ammir” = cause to flourish.

Footnote 377:

  Arab. “Afkah,” a better Fakíh or theologian; all Moslem law being
  based upon the Koran, the Sayings (Hadís) and Doings (Sunnat) of the
  Prophet; and, lastly, the Rasm or immemorial custom of the country
  provided that it be not opposed to the other three.

Footnote 378:

  If the number represent the days in the Moslem year it should be 354
  (= 6 months of 29 days and the rest of 30).

Footnote 379:

  The affirmative particle “kad” preceding a verb in the past gives it a
  present and at times a future signification.

Footnote 380:

  A danik, the Persian “Dáng,” is one-sixth of a dirham, _i.e._ about
  one penny. See vol. ii. 204.

Footnote 381:

  It would mightily tickle an Eastern audience to hear of a Tither being
  unable to do any possible amount of villainy.

Footnote 382:

  _i.e._ The oath of triple divorce which is, I have said irrevocable,
  and the divorcée may not be taken again by her husband till her
  marriage with another man (the Mustahill of The Nights) has been
  consummated. See vol. iv., 48.

Footnote 383:

  _i.e._ thousandfold cuckold.

Footnote 384:

  Arab. “Wadí’ah” = the blows which the Robber had given him.

Footnote 385:

  Arab. “Sindiyán” (from the Persian) gen. used for the holm-oak, the
  _Quercus pseudo-coccifera_, vulgarly termed ilex, or native oak, and
  forming an extensive scrub in Syria. For this and other varieties of
  _Quercus_, as the Mallúl and the Ballút, see Unexplored Syria, i. 68.

Footnote 386:


Footnote 387:

  Lit. “In the way of moderation” = at least, at the most moderate

Footnote 388:

  Arab. “Rasmál,” the vulg. Syrian and Egyptian form of Raas al-mál =

Footnote 389:

  Usually a ring or something from his person to show that all was fair
  play; here however, it was a watchword.

Footnote 390:

  Arab. “Yá Madyúbah,” prob. a clerical error for “Madyúnah,” alluding
  to her many debts which he had paid. Here, however, I suspect the
  truly Egyptian term “Yá Manyúkah!” = O thou berogered; a delicate term
  of depreciation which may be heard a dozen times a day in the streets
  of Cairo. It has also a masculine form, “Yá Manyúk!”

Footnote 391:

  About = 100 lb. Mr. Sayce (Comparative Philol. p. 210) owns that Mn is
  old Egyptian but makes it a loan from the “Semites,” like Sús (horse),
  Sar (prince), Sepet (lip) and Murcabutha (chariot), and goes to its
  origin in the Acratan column, because “it is not found before the
  times when the Egyptians borrowed freely from Palestine.” But surely
  it is premature to draw such conclusion when we have so much still to
  learn concerning the dates of words in Egyptian.

Footnote 392:

  Arab. Jámi’. This anachronism, like many of the same kind, is only
  apparent. The faith preached by Sayyidná Isà was the Islam of his day
  and dispensation, and it abrogated all other faiths till itself
  abrogated by the mission of Mahommed. It is therefore logical to apply
  to it terms which we should hold to be purely Moslem. On the other
  hand it is not logical to paint the drop-curtain of the Ober-Ammergau
  “Miracle-play” with the Mosque of Omar and the minarets of Al-Islam. I
  humbly represented this fact to the mechanicals of the village whose
  performance brings them in so large a sum every decade; but Snug,
  Snout and Bottom turned up the nose of contempt and looked upon me as
  a mere “shallow sceptic.”

Footnote 393:

  Arab. “Talámizah,” plur. of Tilmíz, a disciple, a young attendant. The
  word is Syriac [Illustration] and there is a Heb. root ‏למד‎ but no
  Arabic. In the Durrat al-Ghawwás, however, Tilmíz, Bilkís, and similar
  words are Arabic in the form of Fa’líl and Fi’líl.

Footnote 394:

  Rúh Allah, lit. = breath of Allah, attending to the miraculous
  conception according to the Moslems. See vol. v. 238.

Footnote 395:

  Readers will kindly pronounce this word “Sahrá,” not Sahárá.

Footnote 396:

  Mr. Clouston refers for analogies to this tale to his “Oriental
  Sources of some of Chaucer’s Tales” (Notes and Queries, 1885-86), and
  he finds the original of The Pardoner’s Tale in one of the Játakas or
  Bhuddist Birth-stories entitled Vedabbha Jataka. The story is spread
  over all Europe; in the Cento Novelle Antiche; Morlini; Hans Sachs,
  etc. And there are many Eastern versions, _e.g._ a Persian by Faríd
  al-Dín “’Attar” who died at a great age in A.D. 1278; an Arabic
  version in The Orientalist (Kandy, 1884); a Tibetan in Rollston’s
  Tibetan Tales; a Cashmirian in Knowles’ Dict. of Kashmírí Proverbs,
  etc., etc., etc.

Footnote 397:

  Arab. “’Awán” lit. = aids, helpers; the “Aun of the Jinn” has often

Footnote 398:

  _i.e._ the peasant.

Footnote 399:

  _i.e._ those serving on the usual feudal tenure; and bound to suit and
  service for their fiefs.

Footnote 400:

  _i.e._ the yearly value of his fief.

Footnote 401:

  _i.e._ men who paid taxes.

Footnote 402:

  Arab. “Rasátík” plur. of Rusták. See vol. vi. 289.

Footnote 403:

  This adventure is a rechauffé of Amjad’s adventure (vol. iii. 333)
  without, however, its tragic catastrophe.

Footnote 404:

  The text is so concise as to be enigmatical. The house was finely
  furnished for a feast, as it belonged to the Man who was lavish, etc.

Footnote 405:

  Arab. “Khubz Samíz;” the latter is the Arabisation of the Pers. Samíd,
  fine white bread, simnel, Germ. semmel.

Footnote 406:

  The text has “Bakúlát” = pot-herbs; but it is probably a clerical
  error for “Bakláwát.” See vol. ii. 311.

Footnote 407:

  Egyptian-like he at once calls upon Allah to witness a lie and his
  excuse would be that the lie was well-intentioned.

Footnote 408:

  _i.e._ The private bagnio which in old days every grand house

Footnote 409:

  This is a fancy title, but it suits the tale better than that in the
  text (xi. 183) “The Richard who lost his wealth and his wits.” Mr.
  Clouston refers to similar stories in Sacchetti and other early
  Italian novelists.

Footnote 410:

  Arab. “Al-Muwaswis”: for “Wiswás” see vol. i. 106. This class of men
  in stories takes the place of our “cunning idiot,” and is often
  confounded with the Saudáwi, the melancholist proper.

Footnote 411:

  Arab. “Hamhama,” an onomapœic, like our hum, hem, and haw.

Footnote 412:

  Arab. “Barniyah,” a vessel either of glass or pottery like that in
  which the manna was collected (Exod. xvi. 33).

Footnote 413:

  = A hasty man, as Ghazbán = an angry man.

Footnote 414:

  The Bresl. Edit, misprint. “Khablas” in more places than one, now with
  a Sín, then with a Sád. Khalbas suggests “Khalbús,” a buffoon, for
  which see vol. ii. 143. In Egypt, however, the latter generally ends
  in a Sad (see Lane’s “Khalboos” M. E. chap. xxvii).

Footnote 415:

  This story is a rechauffe of the Jewish Kazi and his pious wife; see
  vol. v. 256.

Footnote 416:

  The Arab. form of “Nayshápúr” = reeds of (King) Shapúr: see vol. ix.

Footnote 417:

  Arab. “Alà Tarík al-Satr wa al-Salámah,” meaning that each other’s
  wives did not veil before their brothers-in-law as is usually done. It
  may also mean that they were under Allah’s protection and in best of

Footnote 418:

  _i.e._ he dared not rape her.

Footnote 419:

  _i.e._ her “yes” meant “yes” and her “no” meant “no.”

Footnote 420:

  “Ignorance” (Jahl) may, here and elsewhere mean wickedness,
  frowardness, folly, vicious folly or uncalled-for wrath. Here Arabic
  teaches a good lesson for ignorance, intemperance and egoism are, I
  repeat, the roots of all evil.

Footnote 421:

  So Mohammed said of a child born in adultery “The babe to the blanket
  (_i.e._ let it be nursed and reared) and the adultress to the stone.”

Footnote 422:

  Arab. “Wa há” etc., an interjection corresponding with the Syriac “ho”
  lo! (_i.e._, look) behold! etc.

Footnote 423:

  This paragraph is supplied by Mr. Payne: something of the kind has
  evidently fallen out of the Arab. text.

Footnote 424:

  _i.e._ in the presence of witnesses, legally.

Footnote 425:

  Lit. a myriad, ten thousand dirhams. See vol. iv. 281.

Footnote 426:

  The fire was intended to defend the mother and babe from Jinns, bad
  spirits, the evil eye, etc. Romans lit candles in the room of the
  puerpara; hence the goddess Candelifera, and the term Candelaria
  applied to the B.V. In Brand’s Popular Antiquities (ii. 144) we find,
  “Gregory mentions an ordinary superstition of the old wives who dare
  not trust a child in a cradle by itself alone without a candle;” this
  was for fear of the “night-hag” (Milton, P. L., ii. 662). The same
  idea prevailed in Scotland and in Germany: see the learned Liebrecht
  (who translated the Pentamerone) “Zur Folkskunde,” p. 31. In Sweden if
  the candle go out, the child may be carried off by the Trolls
  (Weckenstedt, Wendische Sagen, p. 446). The custom has been traced to
  the Malay peninsula, whither it was probably imported by the Hindus or
  the Moslems, and amongst the Tajiks in Bokhara. For the Hindu
  practice, see Katha S. S. 305, and Prof. Tawney’s learned note
  analysed above.

Footnote 427:

  Arab. “Káhinah,” fem. of Káhin (Cohen): see Kahánah, vol. i. 28.

Footnote 428:

  _i.e._ for a long time, as has been before explained.

Footnote 429:

  _i.e._ at his service. Arabia was well provided with Hetairæ and
  public women long before the days of Al-Islam.

Footnote 430:

  Arab. “Athar” = sign, mark, trail.

Footnote 431:

  _i.e._ Persia. See vol. v. 26.

Footnote 432:

  Arab. “’Akákír” plur. of ’Akkár prop. = aromatic roots; but applied to
  vulgar drugs or simples, as in the Tale of the Sage Duban, i. 46.

Footnote 433:

  Arab. “Si’at rizki-h” _i.e._ the ease with which he earned his copious

Footnote 434:

  _i.e._ the ten thousand dirhams of the bond, beside the unpaid and
  contingent portion of her “Mahr” or marriage-settlement.

Footnote 435:

  Arab. “Al-Házúr” from Hazr = loquacity, frivolous garrulity. Every
  craft in the East has a jargon of its own and the goldsmith (Zargar)
  is famed for speaking a language made unintelligible by the constant
  insertion of a letter or letters not belonging to the word. It is as
  if we rapidly pronounced How d’ye do = Howth doth yeth doth?

Footnote 436:

  Arab. “Asmá al-Adwiyah,” such as are contained in volumes like the
  “Alfáz al-Adwiyah” (Nomenclature of Drugs).

Footnote 437:

  I am compelled to insert a line in order to make sense.

Footnote 438:

  “Galen,” who is considered by Moslems as a kind of pre-Islamitic
  Saint; and whom Rabelais (iii. c. 7) calls Le gentil Falot Galen, is
  explained by Eustathius as the Serene Γαληνὸς from γελάω = rideo.

Footnote 439:

  Arab. “Sáhah” the clear space before the house as opposed to the
  “Bathah” (Span. _Patio_) the inner court.

Footnote 440:

  A naïve description of the naïve style of _réclame_ adopted by the
  Eastern Bob Sawyer.

Footnote 441:

  Which they habitually do, by the by, with an immense amount of
  unpleasant detail. See Pilgrimage i. 18.

Footnote 442:

  The old French name for the phial or bottle in which the patient’s
  water is sent.

Footnote 443:

  A descendant from Mohammed, strictly through his grandson Husayn. See
  vol. iv. 170.

Footnote 444:

  Arab. “Al-Futúh” lit. the victories; a euphemistic term for what is
  submitted to the “musculus guineaorum.”

Footnote 445:

  Arab. “Firásah” lit. judging the points of a mare (_faras_). Of
  physiognomy, or rather judging by externals, curious tales are told by
  the Arabs. In Al-Mas’udi’s (chapt. lvi.) is the original of the camel
  blind of one eye, etc., which the genius of Voltaire has made famous
  throughout Europe.

Footnote 446:

  I here quote Mr. Payne’s note. “Sic in the text; but the passage is
  apparently corrupt. It is not plain why a rosy complexion, blue eyes
  and tallness should be peculiar to women in love. Arab women being
  commonly short, swarthy and black-eyed, the attributes mentioned
  appear rather to denote the foreign origin of the woman; and it is
  probable, therefore, that this passage has by a copyist’s error, been
  mixed up with that which relates to the signs by which the mock
  physician recognized her strangerhood, the clause specifying the
  symptoms of her love-lorn condition having been crowded out in the
  process, an accident of no infrequent occurrence in the transcription
  of Oriental works.”

Footnote 447:

  Most men would have suspected that it was her lover.

Footnote 448:

  The sumptuary laws, compelling for instance the Jews to wear yellow
  turbans, and the Christians to carry girdles date from the Capture of
  Jerusalem in A.D. 636 by Caliph Omar. See vol. i. 77; and Terminal
  Essay § 1.

Footnote 449:

  _i.e._ Our Sunday: the Jewish week ending with the Sabbath (Saturday).
  I have already noted this term for Saturn’s day, established as a
  God’s rest by Commandment No. iv. How it lost its honours amongst
  Christians none can say: the text in Col. ii. 16, 17, is insufficient
  to abolish an order given with such pomp and circumstance to, and
  obeyed, so strictly and universally by, the Hebrews, including the
  Founder of Christianity. The general idea is that the Jewish Sabbath
  was done away with by the Christian dispensation (although Jesus kept
  it with the usual scrupulous care), and that sundry of the Councils at
  Colossæ and Laodicea anathematised those who observed the Saturday
  after Israelitish fashion. With the day its object changed; instead of
  “keeping it holy,” as all pious Jews still do, the early Fathers
  converted it into the “Feast of the Resurrection,” which could not be
  kept too joyously. The “Sabbatismus” of the Sabbatarian Protestant who
  keeps holy the wrong day is a marvellous perversion and the Sunday
  feast of France, Italy, and Catholic countries generally is far more
  logical than the mortification day of England and the so-called
  Reformed countries.

Footnote 450:

  Haráis plur. of Harísah: see vol. i. 131.

Footnote 451:

  It would have been cooked on our Thursday night, or the Jewish Friday
  night and would be stale and indigestible on the next day.

Footnote 452:

  Marw (Margiana), which the Turkomans pronounce “Mawr,” is derived by
  Bournouf from the Sansk. Maru or Marw; and by Sir H. Rawlinson from
  Marz or Marj, the Lat. Margo; Germ. Mark; English March; Old French
  Marche and Neo-Lat. Marca. So Marzbán, a Warden of the Marches; vol.
  iii. 256. The adj. is not Marází, as stated in vol. iii. 222; but
  Marwazi, for which see Ibn Khallikan, vol. i. p. 7, etc.: yet there
  are good writers who use “Marází” as Rází for a native of Rayy.

Footnote 453:

  _i.e._ native of Rayy city. See vol. iv. 104.

Footnote 454:

  Normally used for fuel and at times by funny men to be put into
  sweetmeats by way of practical joke: these are called “Nukl-i-Pishkil”
  = goat-dung bonbons. The tale will remind old Anglo-Indians of the two
  Bengal officers who were great at such “sells” and who “swopped” a
  spavined horse for a broken-down “buggy.”

Footnote 455:

  In the text “khanádik,” ditches, trenches; probably (as Mr. Payne
  suggests) a clerical or typographical error for “Fanádik,” inns or
  caravanserais; the plural of “Funduk” (Span. Fonda), for which see
  vol. viii. 184.

Footnote 456:

  This sentence is supplied by Mr. Payne to remedy the incoherence of
  the text. Moslems are bound to see True Believers decently buried and
  the poor often beg alms for the funeral. Here the tale resembles the
  opening of Hajji Baba by Mr. Morier, that admirable picture of Persian
  manners and morals.

Footnote 457:

  Arab. “Al-ajr” which has often occurred.

Footnote 458:

  Arab. “Hanút,” _i.e._ leaves of the lotus-tree to be infused as a wash
  for the corpse; camphor used with cotton to close the mouth and other
  orifices; and, in the case of a wealthy man, rose-water, musk,
  ambergris, sandal-wood, and lign-aloes for fumigation.

Footnote 459:

  Which always begin with four “Takbírs” and differ in many points from
  the usual orisons. See Lane (M. E. chapt. xxviii.) who is, however,
  very superficial upon an intricate and interesting subject. He even
  neglects to mention the number of Ruk’át (bows) usual at Cairo and the
  absence of prostration (sujúd) for which see vol. ii. 10.

Footnote 460:

  Thus requiring all the ablutional offices to be repeated. The Shaykh,
  by handling the corpse, became ceremonially impure and required “Wuzu”
  before he could pray either at home or in the Mosque.

Footnote 461:

  The Shaykh had left it when he went out to perform Wuzu.

Footnote 462:

  Arab. “Satl” = the Lat. and Etruscan “Situla” and “Situlus,” a

Footnote 463:

  Arab. “Lahd, Luhd,” the niche or cell hollowed out in the side of the
  oblong trench: here the corpse is deposited and covered with
  palm-fronds etc. to prevent the earth touching it. See my Pilgrimage
  ii. 304.

Footnote 464:

  For the incredible amount of torture which Eastern obstinacy will
  sometimes endure, see Al-Mas’udi’s tale of the miserable little old
  man who stole the ten purses, vol. viii. 153 _et seq._

Footnote 465:

  Arab. “Jarídah” (whence the Jaríd-game) a palm-frond stripped of its
  leaves and used for a host of purposes besides flogging, chairs,
  sofas, bedsteads, cages etc. etc. Tales of heroism in “eating stick”
  are always highly relished by the lower orders of Egyptians who pride
  themselves upon preferring the severest bastinado to paying the
  smallest amount of “rint.”

Footnote 466:

  Arab. “Náwús,” the hollow tower of masonry with a grating over the
  central well upon which the Magian corpse is placed to be torn by
  birds of prey: it is kept up by the Parsi population of Bombay and is
  known to Europeans as the “Tower of Silence.” Náís and Náwús also mean
  a Pyrethrum, a fire-temple and have a whimsical resemblance to the
  Greek Ναός.

Footnote 467:

  For Munkar and Nakir, the Interrogating Angels, see vol. v. 111.
  According to Al-Mas’udi (chapt. xxxi.) these names were given by the
  Egyptians to the thirteenth and fourteenth cubits marked on the
  Nilometer which, in his day, was expected to shew seventeen.

Footnote 468:

  The text (xi. 227) has “Tannúr” = an oven, evidently a misprint for
  “Kubúr” = tombs.

Footnote 469:

  Arab. “’An Abí” = (a propitiatory offering) for my father. So in
  Marocco the “Powder-players” dedicate a shot to a special purpose or
  person, crying, “To my sweetheart!” “To my dead!” “To my horse!” etc.

Footnote 470:

  For this formula see vol. i. 65. It is technically called “Haukalah”
  and “Haulakah” words in the third conjugation of increased
  triliterals, corresponding with the quadriliteral radicals and
  possessing the peculiar power of Kasr = abbreviation. Of this same
  class is Basmalah (vol. v. 206; ix. 1).

Footnote 471:

  This scene with the watch would be relished in the coffee-house, where
  the tricks of robbers, like a gird at the police, are always

Footnote 472:

  Arab. “Lá af’al”; more commonly Má af’al. Má and Lá are synonymous
  negative particles, differing, however, in application. Má (Gr. μὴ)
  precedes definites, or indefinites: Lá and Lam (Gr. οὐ) only
  indefinites as “Lá iláha” etc.

Footnote 473:

  Alluding to the proverb, “What hast thou left behind thee, O Asám?”
  _i.e._, what didst thou see?

Footnote 474:

  Arab. “Sayrafi,” s.s. as “Sarráf”: see vol. i. 210.

Footnote 475:

  Arab. “Al-Ma’rafah” = the place where the mane grows.

Footnote 476:

  _i.e._ though the ass remain on thy hands.

Footnote 477:

  “Halves,” _i.e._ of dirhams: see vol. ii. 37.

Footnote 478:

  Arab. “Taannafú,” = the Germ. lange Nase.

Footnote 479:

  About forty shillings.

Footnote 480:

  About £220.

Footnote 481:

  Characteristically Eastern and Moslem is this action of the neighbours
  and bystanders. A walk through any Oriental city will show a crowd of
  people screaming and gesticulating, with thundering yells and
  lightning glances, as if about to close in mortal fight, concerning
  some matter which in no way concerns them. Our European cockneys and
  _badauds_ mostly content themselves with staring and mobbing.

Footnote 482:

  Arab. “Muruwwah,” lit. manliness, especially in the sense of
  generosity. So the saying touching the “Miyán,” or Moslem of India:—

                          Fí ’l-ruz kuwwah:
                          Fí ’l Hindí muruwwah.

               When rice have strength, you’ll haply find,
               In Hindi man, a manly mind.

Footnote 483:

  _i.e._ His claim is just and reasonable.

Footnote 484:

  I have noted (vol. i. 17) that good Moslems shun a formal oath,
  although “by Allah!” is ever on their tongues. This they seem to have
  borrowed from Christianity, which expressly forbade it, whilst
  Christians cannot insist upon it too much. The scandalous scenes
  lately enacted in a certain legislative assembly because an M.P. did
  not believe in a practice denounced by his creed, will be the wonder
  and ridicule of our descendants.

Footnote 485:

  Most Arabs believe that the black cloud which sometimes produces,
  besides famine, contagious fevers and pestilence, like that which in
  1799 depopulated the cities and country of Barbary, is led by a king
  locust, the Sultan Jarád.

Footnote 486:

  The text is hopelessly corrupt, and we have no other with which to
  collate. Apparently a portion of the tale has fallen out, making a
  _non-sens_ of its ending, which suggests that the kite gobbled up the
  two locusts at her ease, and left the falcon to himself.

Footnote 487:

  The lines have occurred in vol. i. 265. I quote Mr. Payne.

Footnote 488:

  The fabliau is a favourite in the East; this is the third time it has
  occurred with minor modifications. Of course the original was founded
  on fact, and the fact was and is by no means uncommon.

Footnote 489:

  This would hardly be our Western way of treating a proposal of the
  kind; nor would the European novelist neglect so grand an opportunity
  for tall-talk.

Footnote 490:

  This is a rechauffé of “The House with the Belvedere;” see vol. vi.

Footnote 491:

  Arab. “Mastúrah,” = veiled, well-guarded, confined in the Harem.

Footnote 492:

  Arab. “’Ajúz nahs” = an old woman so crafty that she was a calamity to
  friends and foes.

Footnote 493:

  Here, as in many places the text is painfully concise: the crone says
  only, “The Wuzu for the prayer!”

Footnote 494:

  I have followed Mr. Payne who supplies this sentence to make the Tale
  run smoothly.

Footnote 495:

  _i.e._ the half of the marriage-settlement due to the wife on
  divorcement and whatever monies he may have borrowed of her.

Footnote 496:

  Here we find the vulgar idea of a rape, which is that a man can, by
  mere force, possess a woman against her will. I contend that this is
  impossible unless he use drugs like chloroform or violence, so as to
  make the patient faint or she be exceptionally weak. “Good Queen Bess”
  hit the heart of the question when she bade Lord High Chancellor
  Burleigh sheath his sword, she holding the scabbard-mouth before him
  and keeping it in constant motion. But it often happens that the
  woman, unless she have a loathing for her violator, becomes infected
  with the amorous storge, relaxes her defence, feels pleasure in the
  outer contact of the parts and almost insensibly allows penetration
  and emission. Even conception is possible in such cases as is proved
  in that curious work, “The Curiosities of Medical Experience.”

Footnote 497:

  _i.e._ thou wilt have satisfied us all three.

Footnote 498:

  Here I follow Mr. Payne who has skilfully fine-drawn the holes in the
  original text.

Footnote 499:

  See vol. vii. 363; ix. 238.

Footnote 500:

  Arab. “Musallà,” which may be either a praying carpet, a pure place in
  a house, or a small chapel like that near Shiraz which Hafiz

  “Bring, boy, the sup that’s in the cup; in highest Heaven man ne’er
     shall find
  Such watery marge as Ruknábád, Musallà’s mazes rose entwined.”

Footnote 501:

  Arab. “Ihtidá,” = divine direction to Hudà or salvation. The old bawd
  was still dressed as a devotee, and keeps up the cant of her caste. No
  sensible man in the East ever allows a religious old woman to pass his

Footnote 502:

  In this tale “poetical justice” is neglected, but the teller skilfully
  caused the wife to be ravished and not to be a particeps criminis. The
  lover escapes scot-free because Moslems, as well as Hindus, hold that
  the amourist under certain conditions is justified in obtaining his
  object by fair means or foul. See p. 147 of “Early Ideas, a Group of
  Hindoo Stories,” collected and collated by Anaryan; London, Allens,

Footnote 503:

  This is supplied from the “Tale of the King and his Wazir’s Wife,”
  vol. vi. 129.

Footnote 504:

  Arab. “Ibl,” a specific name: it is presently opposed to “Nákah,” a
  she-dromedary, and “Ráhilah,” a riding-camel.

Footnote 505:

  Here “Amsaytu” is used in its literal sense “I evened” (came at
  evening), and this is the case with seven such verbs, Asbaha, Amsá,
  Azhá, Azhara, A’tama, Zalla, and Báta, which either conjoin the sense
  of the sentence with their respective times, morning, evening,
  forenoon, noon and the first sundown watch, all day and all night or
  are used “elegantly,” as grammarians say, for the simple “becoming” or

Footnote 506:

  The Badawi dogs are as dangerous as those of Montenegro but not so
  treacherous: the latter will sneak up to the stranger and suddenly
  bite him most viciously. I once had a narrow escape from an ignoble
  death near the slaughter-house of Alexandria-Ramlah, where the beasts
  were unusually ferocious. A pack assailed me at early dawn and but for
  an iron slick and a convenient wall I should have been torn to pieces.

Footnote 507:

  These elopements are of most frequent occurrence: see Pilgrimage iii.

Footnote 508:

  The principal incidents, the loss and recovery of wife and children,
  occur in the Story of the Knight Placidus (Gesta Romanorum, cx.). But
  the ecclesiastical tale-teller does not do poetical justice upon any
  offenders, and he vilely slanders the great Cæsar, Trajan.

Footnote 509:

  _i.e._ a long time: the idiom has already been noticed. In the
  original we have “of days and years and twelvemonths” in order that
  “A’wám” (years) may jingle with “Ayyám” (days).

Footnote 510:

  Nothing can be more beautiful than the natural parks which travellers
  describe on the coasts of tropical seas.

Footnote 511:

  Arab. “Khayyál,” not only a rider but a good and a hard rider. Hence
  the proverb “Al-Khayyál kabr maftúh” = uomo a cavallo sepoltura

Footnote 512:

  _i.e._ the crew and the islanders.

Footnote 513:

  Arab. “Hadas,” a word not easy to render. In grammar Lumsden renders
  it by “event” and the learned Captain Lockett (Miut Amil) in an awful
  long note (pp. 195 to 224) by “mode,” grammatical or logical. The
  value of his disquisition is its proving that, as the Arabs borrowed
  their romance from the Persians, so they took their physics and
  metaphysics of grammar and syntax; logic and science in general, from
  the Greeks.

Footnote 514:

  We should say the anchors were weighed and the canvas spread.

Footnote 515:

  The rhymes are disposed in the quaintest way, showing extensive
  corruption. Mr. Payne has ordered them into couplets with a “bob” or
  refrain: I have followed suit, preserving the original vagaries of

Footnote 516:

  Arab. “Nuwab,” broken plur. (that is, noun of multitude) of Naubah,
  the Anglo-Indian Nowbut. This is applied to the band playing at
  certain intervals before the gate of a Rajah or high official.

Footnote 517:

  Arab. “Hájib”: Captain Trotter (“Our Mission to the Court of Morocco
  in 1880”: Edinburgh, Douglas, 1881) speaks, passim, of the “cheery
  little Hájeb or ’Eyebrow.’” Really this is too bad: why cannot
  travellers consult an Orientalist when treating of Oriental subjects?

Footnote 518:

  Suicide is rare in Moslem lands, compared with India, China, and
  similar “pagan” countries; for the Mussulman has the same objection as
  the Christian “to rush into the presence of his Creator”, as if he
  could so do without the Creator’s permission. The Hindu also has some
  curious prejudices on the subject: he will hang himself, but not by
  the neck, for fear lest his soul be defiled by exiting through an
  impure channel. In England hanging is the commonest form for men; then
  follow in due order drowning, cutting or stabbing, poison, and
  gun-shot: women prefer drowning (except in the cold months) and
  poison. India has not yet found a Dr. Ogle to tabulate suicide; but
  the cases most familiar to old Anglo-Indians are leaping down cliffs
  (as at Giruar), drowning, and starving to death. And so little is life
  valued that a mother will make a vow obliging her son to suicide
  himself at a certain age.

Footnote 519:

  Arab. “Zarad-Khánah,” before noticed: vol. vii. 363. Here it would
  mean a temporary prison for criminals of high degree. De Sacy,
  Chrestom, ii. 179.

Footnote 520:

  Arab. “’Adúl,” I have said, means in Marocco, that land of lies and
  subterfuges, a public notary.

Footnote 521:

  This sentence is inserted by Mr. Payne to complete the sense.

Footnote 522:

  _i.e._ He intended to marry her when time served.

Footnote 523:

  Arab. from Pers. Khwájah and Khawáját: see vol. vi. 46.

Footnote 524:

  Probably meaning by one mother whom he loved best of all his wives: in
  the next page we read of their sister.

Footnote 525:

  Come down, _i.e._ from heaven.

Footnote 526:

  This is the Bresl. Edit’s. form of Shahryár = city-keeper (like
  Marzbán, guardian of the Marches), for city-friend. The learned Weil
  has perferred it to Shahryár.

Footnote 527:

  Sic: in the Mac. Edit. “Shahrázád” and here making nonsense of the
  word. It is regretable that the king’s reflections do not run at times
  as in this text: his compunctions lead well up to the dénoûement.

Footnote 528:

  The careless text says “couplets.” It has occurred in vol. i. 149: so
  I quote Torrens (p. 149.)

Footnote 529:

  In the text Salma is made to speak, utterly confusing the dialogue.

Footnote 530:

  The well-known Baloch province beginning west of Sind; the term is
  supposed to be a corruption of Máhí-Khorán = Ichthyophagi. The reader
  who wishes to know more about it will do well to consult “Unexplored
  Baluchistan,” etc. (Griffith and Farran, 1882), the excellent work of
  my friend Mr. Ernest A. Floyer, long Chief of the Telegraphic
  Department, Cairo.

Footnote 531:

  Meaning the last city in Makran before entering Sind. Al-Sharr would
  be a fancy name, “The Wickedness.”

Footnote 532:

  _i.e._ think of nothing but his present peril.

Footnote 533:

  Arab. “Munkati’ah” = lit. “cut off” (from the weal of the world). See
  Pilgrimage i. 22.

Footnote 534:

  The lines are in vol. i. 207 and iv. 189. I here quote Mr. Payne.

Footnote 535:

  _i.e._ I have another proposal to make.

Footnote 536:

  _i.e._ In my heart’s core: the figure has often occurred.

Footnote 537:

  These sudden elevations, so common in the East and not unknown to the
  West in the Napoleonic days, explain how the legend of “Joanna
  Papissa” (Pope John XIII.), who succeeded Leo IV. in A.D. 855 and was
  succeeded by Benedict III., found ready belief amongst the enemies of
  papacy. She was an English woman born in Germany who came to Rome and
  professed theology with éclat, wherefore the people enthroned her.
  “Pope Joan” governed with exemplary wisdom, but during a procession on
  Rogation Sunday she was delivered of a fine boy in the street: some
  make her die on the spot; others declare that she perished in prison.

Footnote 538:

  That such things should happen in times of famine is only natural; but
  not at other seasons. This abomination on the part of the butcher is,
  however, more than once alluded to in The Nights: see vol. i. 332.

Footnote 539:

  Opinions differ as to the site of this city, so celebrated in the
  mediæval history of Al-Islam: most probably it stood where Hyderabad
  of Sind now is. The question has been ably treated by Sir Henry M.
  Elliot in his “History of India,” edited from his posthumous papers by
  Professor Dowson.

Footnote 540:

  Which, by-the-by, the average Eastern does with even more difficulty
  than the average European. For the most part the charge to secrecy
  fixes the matter in his mind even when he has forgotten that it is to
  be kept secret. Hence the most unpleasant results.

Footnote 541:

  Such an act appears impossible, and yet history tells us of a
  celebrated Sufi, Khayr al-Nassáj (the Weaver), who being of dark
  complexion was stopped on return from his pilgrimage at Kufah by a
  stranger that said, “Thou art my negro slave and thy name is Khayr.”
  He was kept at the loom for years, till at last the man set him free,
  and simply said, “Thou wast not my slave” (Ibn Khall. i. 513).

Footnote 542:

  These lines have occurred before. I quote Mr. Payne for variety.

Footnote 543:

  Arab. “Tasill sallata’l-Munkati’ín” = lit. “raining on the
  drouth-hardened earth of the cut-off.” The metaphor is admissible in
  the eyes of an Arab who holds water to be the chiefest of blessings,
  and makes it synonymous with bounty and beneficence.

Footnote 544:

  Possibly this is said in mere fun; but, as Easterns are practical
  physiognomists, it may hint the fact that a large nose in womankind is
  the sign of a masculine nature.

Footnote 545:

  Arab. “Zakát wa Sadakat,” = lit. paying of poor rate and purifying thy
  property by almsdeeds. See vol. i. 339.

Footnote 546:

  I have noted (i. 293) that Kamís (χιτών, Chemise, Cameslia, Camisa) is
  used in the Hindostani and Bengali dialects. Lake its synonyms
  prætexta and shift, it has an equivocal meaning and here probably
  signifies the dress peculiar to Arab devotees and devout beggars.

Footnote 547:

  I omit here and elsewhere the parenthetical formula “Kála al-Ráwi,”
  etc. = The Story-teller sayeth, reminding the reader of its
  significance in a work collected from the mouths of professional
  Tale-tellers and intended mainly for their use.

Footnote 548:

  The usual sign of emotion, already often mentioned.

Footnote 549:

  It being no shame to Moslems if a slave become King.

Footnote 550:

  Arab. “Tarbiyatí,” _i.e._ he was brought up in my house.

Footnote 551:

  There is no Salic law amongst Moslems; but the Rasm or custom of
  Al-Islam, established by the succession of the four first Caliphs, to
  the prejudice of Ayishah and other masterful women would be a strong
  precedent against queenly rule. It is the reverse with the Hindus who
  accept a Rani as willingly as a Rajah and who believe with Europeans
  that when kings reign women rule, and _vice versa_. To the vulgar
  Moslem feminine government appears impossible, and I was once asked by
  an Afghan, “What would happen if the queen were in childbed?”

Footnote 552:

  Arab. “Khutbah,” the sermon preached from the pulpit (Mimbar) after
  the congregational prayers on Friday noon. It is of two kinds, for
  which see Lane, M.E., chap. iii. This public mention of his name and
  inscribing it upon the newly-minted money are the special prerogatives
  of the Moslem king: hence it often happens that usurpers cause a
  confusion of Khutbah and coinage.

Footnote 553:

  For a specimen of which, blowing a man up with bellows, see
  Al-Mas’udi, chap. cxxiii.

Footnote 554:

  _i.e._ A long time: the idiom has been noted before more than once.

Footnote 555:

  _i.e._ With what he had heard and what he was promised.

Footnote 556:

  Arab. “Shakhs mafsúd,” _i.e._ an infidel.

Footnote 557:

  Arab. “Bunúd,” plur. of Persian “band” = hypocrisy, deceit.

Footnote 558:

  Arab. “Burúj” pl. of Burj. lit. = towers, an astrological term
  equivalent to our “houses” or constellations which form the Zodiacal
  signs surrounding the heavens as towers gird a city; and applied also
  to the 28 lunar Mansions. So in Al-Hariri (Ass. of Damascus) “I swear
  by the sky with its towers,” the incept of Koran chapt. lxxxv.; see
  also chapts. xv. 26 and xxv. 62. “Burj” is a word with a long history:
  πύργος, burg, burgh, etc.

Footnote 559:

  Arab. “Bundukah” = a little bunduk, nut, filbert, pellet, rule, musket

Footnote 560:

  See John Raister’s “Booke of the Seven Planets; or, Seven Wandering
  Motives,” London, 1598.

Footnote 561:

  _i.e._ for the king whom I love as my own soul.

Footnote 562:

  The Bresl. Edit. (xi. 318-21) seems to assume that the tales were told
  in the early night before the royal pair slept. This is no
  improvement; we prefer to think that the time was before peep of day
  when Easterns usually awake and have nothing to do till the

Footnote 563:

  See vol. ii. 161.

Footnote 564:

  Arab. Al-Fákhir. No wonder that the First Hand who moulded the Man-mud
  is a _lieu commun_ in Eastern thought. The Pot and the Potter began
  with the old Egyptians. “Sitting as a potter at the wheel, god Cneph
  (in Philæ) moulds clay, and gives the spirit of life (the Genesitic
  ‘breath’) to the nostrils of Osiris.” Then we meet him in the Vedas,
  the Being “by whom the fictile vase is formed; the clay out of which
  it is fabricated.” We find him next in Jeremiah (xviii. 2), “Arise and
  go down unto the Potter’s house,” etc., and in Romans (ix. 20), “Hath
  not the Potter power over the clay?” He appears in full force in
  Omar-i-Khayyám (No. xxxvii.):—

               For I remember stopping by the way
               To watch a Potter thumping his wet Clay:
                   And with its all obliterated Tongue
               It murmur’d—“Gently, Brother, gently, pray!”

  Lastly the Potter shows in the Kasidah of Hají Abdú al-Yezdi (p. 4):—

   “The first of pots the Potter made by Chrysorrhoas’ blue-green wave;
    Methinks I see him smile to see what guerdon to the world he gave.”


                          TRANSCRIBER’S NOTES

 1. Added “13. SHAHRAZAD AND SHAHRYAR 359” to the Contents on p. xi.
 2. Added missing footnote anchors on p. 94, 151, 260, and 313.
 3. Changed “promted” to “prompted” on p. 250
 4. Changed “‏דכל‎” to “‏למד‎” on p. 251.
 5. Silently corrected simple spelling, grammar, and typographical
 6. Retained anachronistic and non-standard spellings as printed.
 7. Footnotes have been re-indexed using numbers and collected together
      at the end of the last chapter.
 8. Enclosed italics font in _underscores_.
 9. Enclosed bold font in =equals=.

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