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Title: The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night — Volume 01
Author: Richard F. Burton, - To be updated
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night — Volume 01" ***

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Dianne Doefler and Charles Wilson.


A Plain and Literal Translation
of the Arabian Nights Entertainments

Translated and Annotated by Richard F. Burton

                           VOLUME ONE

                    Inscribed to the Memory
                       My Lamented Friend
                  John Frederick Steinhaeuser,
                     (Civil Surgeon, Aden)
                   A Quarter of a Century Ago
                Assisted Me in this Translation.

"To the pure all things are pure" (Puris omnia pura)
                           - Arab Proverb.

"Niuna corrotta mente intese mai sanamente parole."
                           - "Decameron" - conclusion.

"Erubuit, posuitque meum Lucretia librum Sed coram Bruto. Brute!
reced, leget.
                           - Martial.

"Miculx est de ris que de larmes escripre, Pour ce que rire est le
propre des hommes." - Rabelais.

"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."

                  Contents of the First Volume

Story Of King Shahryar and His Brother
     a.   Tale of the Bull and the Ass
1.   Tale of the Trader and the Jinni
     a.   The First Shaykh's Story
     b.   The Second Shaykh's Story
     c.   The Third Shaykh's Story
2.   The Fisherman and the Jinni
     a.   Tale of the Wazir and the Sage Duban
          ab.  Story of King Sindibad and His Falcon
          ac.  Tale of the Husband and the Parrot
          ad.  Tale of the Prince and the Ogress
     b.   Tale of the Ensorcelled Prince
3.   The Porter and the Three Ladies of Baghdad
     a.   The First Kalandar's Tale
     b.   The Second Kalandar's Tale
          ba.  Tale of the Envier and the Envied
     c.   The Third Kalandar's Tale
     d.   The Eldest Lady's Tale
     e.   Tale of the Portress
     Conclusion of the Story of the Porter and the Three Ladies
4.   Tale of the Three Apples
5.   Tale of Nur Al-din Ali and his Son
6.   The Hunchback's Tale
     a.   The Nazarene Broker's Story
     b.   The Reeve's Tale
     c.   Tale of the Jewish Doctor
     d.   Tale of the Tailor
     e.   The Barber's Tale of Himself
          ea.  The Barber's Tale of his First Brother
          eb.  The Barber's Tale of his Second Brother
          ec.  The Barber's Tale of his Third Brother
          ed.  The Barber's Tale of his Fourth Brother
          ee.  The Barber's Tale of his Fifth Brother
          ef.  The Barber's Tale of his Sixth Brother
     The End of the Tailor's Tale

                   The Translator's Foreword.

This work, labourious as it may appear, has been to me a labour of
love, an unfailing source of solace and satisfaction. During my long
years of official banishment to the luxuriant and deadly deserts of
Western Africa, and to the dull and dreary half clearings of South
America, it proved itself a charm, a talisman against ennui and
despondency. Impossible even to open the pages without a vision
starting into view; with out drawing a picture from the pinacothek of
the brain; without reviving a host of memories and reminiscences which
are not the common property of travellers, however widely they may have
travelled. From my dull and commonplace and "respectable" surroundings,
the Jinn bore me at once to the land of my pre-direction, Arabia, a
region so familiar to my mind that even at first sight, it seemed a
reminiscence of some by gone metem-psychic life in the distant Past.
Again I stood under the diaphanous skies, in air glorious as aether,
whose every breath raises men's spirits like sparkling wine. Once more
I saw the evening star hanging like a solitaire from the pure front of
the western firmament; and the after glow transfiguring and
transforming, as by magic, the homely and rugged features of the scene
into a fairy land lit with a light which never shines on other soils or
seas. Then would appear the woollen tents, low and black, of the true
Badawin, mere dots in the boundless waste of lion tawny clays and
gazelle brown gravels, and the camp fire dotting like a glow worm the
village centre. Presently, sweetened by distance, would be heard the
wild weird song of lads and lasses, driving or rather pelting, through
the gloaming their sheep and goats; and the measured chant of the
spearsmen gravely stalking behind their charge, the camels; mingled
with bleating of the flocks and the bellowing of the humpy herds; while
the reremouse flitted overhead with his tiny shriek, and the rave of
the jackal resounded through deepening glooms, and—most musical of
music—the palm trees answered the whispers of the night breeze with the
softest tones of falling water.

And then a shift of scene. The Shaykhs and "white beards" of the tribe
gravely take their places, sitting with outspread skirts like hillocks
on the plain, as the Arabs say, around the camp fire, whilst I reward
their hospitality and secure its continuance by reading or reciting a
few pages of their favourite tales. The women and children stand
motionless as silhouettes outside the ring; and all are breathless with
attention; they seem to drink in the words with eyes and mouths as well
as with ears. The most fantastic flights of fancy, the wildest
improbabilities, the most impossible of impossibilities, appear to them
utterly natural, mere matters of every day occurrence. They enter
thoroughly into each phase of feeling touched upon by the author: they
take a personal pride in the chivalrous nature and knightly prowess of
Taj al-Mulúk; they are touched with tenderness by the self sacrificing
love of Azízah; their mouths water as they hear of heaps of untold gold
given away in largesse like clay; they chuckle with delight every time
a Kázi or a Fakír—a judge or a reverend—is scurvily entreated by some
Pantagruelist of the Wilderness; and, despite their normal solemnity
and impassibility, all roar with laughter, sometimes rolling upon the
ground till the reader's gravity is sorely tried, at the tales of the
garrulous Barber and of Ali and the Kurdish Sharper. To this
magnetising mood the sole exception is when a Badawi of superior
accomplishments, who sometimes says his prayers, ejaculates a startling
"Astagh-faru'llah"—I pray Allah's pardon!—for listening, not to
Carlyle's "downright lies," but to light mention of the sex whose name
is never heard amongst the nobility of the Desert.

Nor was it only in Arabia that the immortal Nights did me such notable
service: I found the wildlings of Somali land equally amenable to its
discipline; no one was deaf to the charm and the two women cooks of my
caravan, on its way to Harar, were in continently dubbed by my men
"Shahrazad" and "Dinazad."

It may be permitted me also to note that this translation is a natural
outcome of my Pilgrimage to Al-Medinah and Meccah. Arriving at Aden in
the (so called) winter of 1852, I put up with my old and dear friend,
Steinhaeuser, to whose memory this volume is inscribed; and, when
talking over Arabia and the Arabs, we at once came to the same
conclusion that, while the name of this wondrous treasury of Moslem
folk lore is familiar to almost every English child, no general reader
is aware of the valuables it contains, nor indeed will the door open to
any but Arabists. Before parting we agreed to "collaborate" and produce
a full, complete, unvarnished, uncastrated copy of the great original,
my friend taking the prose and I the metrical part; and we corresponded
upon the subject for years. But whilst I was in the Brazil,
Steinhaeuser died suddenly of apoplexy at Berne in Switzerland and,
after the fashion of Anglo India, his valuable MSS. left at Aden were
dispersed, and very little of his labours came into my hands.

Thus I was left alone to my work, which progressed fitfully amid a host
of obstructions. At length, in the spring of 1879, the tedious process
of copying began and the book commenced to take finished form. But,
during the winter of 1881-82, I saw in the literary journals a notice
of a new version by Mr. John Payne, well known to scholars for his
prowess in English verse, especially for his translation of "The Poems
of Master Francis Villon, of Paris." Being then engaged on an
expedition to the Gold Coast (for gold), which seemed likely to cover
some months, I wrote to the "Athenaeum" (Nov. 13, 1881) and to Mr.
Payne, who was wholly unconscious that we were engaged on the same
work, and freely offered him precedence and possession of the field
till no longer wanted. He accepted my offer as frankly, and his
priority entailed another delay lasting till the spring of 1885. These
details will partly account for the lateness of my appearing, but there
is yet another cause. Professional ambition suggested that literary
labours, unpopular with the vulgar and the half educated, are not
likely to help a man up the ladder of promotion. But common sense
presently suggested to me that, professionally speaking, I was not a
success, and, at the same time, that I had no cause to be ashamed of my
failure. In our day, when we live under a despotism of the lower
"middle class" Philister who can pardon anything but superiority, the
prizes of competitive services are monopolized by certain "pets" of the
Médiocratie, and prime favourites of that jealous and potent
majority—the Mediocrities who know "no nonsense about merit." It is
hard for an outsider to realise how perfect is the monopoly of common
place, and to comprehend how fatal a stumbling stone that man sets in
the way of his own advancement who dares to think for himself, or who
knows more or who does more than the mob of gentlemen employee who know
very little and who do even less.

Yet, however behindhand I may be, there is still ample room and verge
for an English version of the "Arabian Nights' Entertainments."

Our century of translations, popular and vernacular, from (Professor
Antoine) Galland's delightful abbreviation and adaptation (A.D. 1704),
in no wise represent the eastern original. The best and latest, the
Rev. Mr. Foster's, which is diffuse and verbose, and Mr. G. Moir
Bussey's, which is a re- correction, abound in gallicisms of style and
idiom; and one and all degrade a chef d'oeuvre of the highest
anthropological and ethnographical interest and importance to a mere
fairy book, a nice present for little boys.

After nearly a century had elapsed, Dr. Jonathan Scott (LL.D.
H.E.I.C.'s S., Persian Secretary to the G. G. Bengal; Oriental
Professor, etc., etc.), printed his "Tales, Anecdotes, and Letters,
translated from the Arabic and Persian," (Cadell and Davies, London,
A.D. 1800); and followed in 1811 with an edition of "The Arabian
Nights' Entertainments" from the MS. of Edward Wortley Montague (in 6
vols., small 8vo, London: Longmans, etc.). This work he (and he only)
describes as "Carefully revised and occasionally corrected from the
Arabic." The reading public did not wholly reject it, sundry texts were
founded upon the Scott version and it has been imperfectly reprinted (4
vole., 8vo, Nimmo and Bain, London, 1883). But most men, little recking
what a small portion of the original they were reading, satisfied
themselves with the Anglo French epitome and metaphrase. At length in
1838, Mr. Henry Torrens, B.A., Irishman, lawyer ("of the Inner Temple")
and Bengal Civilian, took a step in the right direction; and began to
translate, "The Book of the Thousand Nights and One Night," (1 vol.,
8vo, Calcutta: W. Thacker and Co.) from the Arabic of the Ægyptian (!)
MS. edited by Mr. (afterwards Sir)William H. Macnaghten. The attempt,
or rather the intention, was highly creditable; the copy was carefully
moulded upon the model and offered the best example of the verbatim et
literatim style. But the plucky author knew little of Arabic, and least
of what is most wanted, the dialect of Egypt and Syria. His prose is so
conscientious as to offer up spirit at the shrine of letter; and his
verse, always whimsical, has at times a manner of Hibernian whoop which
is comical when it should be pathetic. Lastly he printed only one
volume of a series which completed would have contained nine or ten.

That amiable and devoted Arabist, the late Edward William Lane does not
score a success in his "New Translation of the Tales of a Thousand and
One Nights" (London: Charles Knight and Co., MDCCCXXXIX.) of which
there have been four English editions, besides American, two edited by
E. S. Poole. He chose the abbreviating Bulak Edition; and, of its two
hundred tales, he has omitted about half and by far the more
characteristic half: the work was intended for "the drawing room
table;" and, consequently, the workman was compelled to avoid the
"objectionable" and aught "approaching to licentiousness." He converts
the Arabian Nights into the Arabian Chapters, arbitrarily changing the
division and, worse still, he converts some chapters into notes. He
renders poetry by prose and apologises for not omitting it altogether:
he neglects assonance and he is at once too Oriental and not Oriental
enough. He had small store of Arabic at the time—Lane of the Nights is
not Lane of the Dictionary—and his pages are disfigured by many
childish mistakes. Worst of all, the three handsome volumes are
rendered unreadable as Sale's Koran by their anglicised Latin, their
sesquipedalian un English words, and the stiff and stilted style of
half a century ago when our prose was, perhaps, the worst in Europe.
Their cargo of Moslem learning was most valuable to the student, but
utterly out of place for readers of "The Nights;" re-published, as
these notes have been separately (London, Chatto, 1883), they are an
ethnological text book.

Mr. John Payne has printed, for the Villon Society and for private
circulation only, the first and sole complete translation of the great
compendium, "comprising about four times as much matter as that of
Galland, and three times as much as that of any other translator;" and
I cannot but feel proud that he has honoured me with the dedication of
"The Book of The Thousand Nights and One Night." His version is most
readable: his English, with a sub-flavour of the Mabinogionic
archaicism, is admirable; and his style gives life and light to the
nine volumes whose matter is frequently heavy enough. He succeeds
admirably in the most difficult passages and he often hits upon choice
and special terms and the exact vernacular equivalent of the foreign
word, so happily and so picturesquely that all future translators must
perforce use the same expression under pain of falling far short. But
the learned and versatile author bound himself to issue only five
hundred copies, and "not to reproduce the work in its complete and
uncastrated form." Consequently his excellent version is caviaire to
the general—practically unprocurable.

And here I hasten to confess that ample use has been made of the three
versions above noted, the whole being blended by a callida junctura
into a homogeneous mass. But in the presence of so many predecessors a
writer is bound to show some raison d'etre for making a fresh attempt
and this I proceed to do with due reserve.

Briefly, the object of this version is to show what "The Thousand
Nights and a Night" really is. Not, however, for reasons to be more
fully stated in the Terminal Essay, by straining verbum reddere verbo,
but by writing as the Arab would have written in English. On this point
I am all with Saint Jerome (Pref. in Jobum) "Vel verbum e verbo, vel
sensum e sensu, vel ex utroque commixtum, et medic temperatum genus
translationis." My work claims to be a faithful copy of the great
Eastern Saga book, by preserving intact, not only the spirit, but even
the mécanique, the manner and the matter. Hence, however prosy and long
drawn out be the formula, it retains the scheme of The Nights because
they are a prime feature in the original. The Ráwí or reciter, to whose
wits the task of supplying details is left, well knows their value: the
openings carefully repeat the names of the dramatic personae and thus
fix them in the hearer's memory. Without the Nights no Arabian Nights!
Moreover it is necessary to retain the whole apparatus: nothing more
ill advised than Dr. Jonathan Scott's strange device of garnishing The
Nights with fancy head pieces and tail pieces or the splitting up of
Galland's narrative by merely prefixing "Nuit," etc., ending moreover,
with the ccxxxivth Night: yet this has been done, apparently with the
consent of the great Arabist Sylvestre de Sacy (Paris, Ernest Bourdin).
Moreover, holding that the translator's glory is to add something to
his native tongue, while avoiding the hideous hag like nakedness of
Torrens and the bald literalism of Lane, I have carefully Englished the
picturesque turns and novel expressions of the original in all their
outlandishness; for instance, when the dust cloud raised by a tramping
host is described as "walling the horizon." Hence peculiar attention
has been paid to the tropes and figures which the Arabic language often
packs into a single term; and I have never hesitated to coin a word
when wanted, such as "she snorted and sparked," fully to represent the
original. These, like many in Rabelais, are mere barbarisms unless
generally adopted; in which case they become civilised and common

Despite objections manifold and manifest, I have preserved the balance
of sentences and the prose rhyme and rhythm which Easterns look upon as
mere music. This "Saj'a," or cadence of the cooing dove, has in Arabic
its special duties. It adds a sparkle to description and a point to
proverb, epigram and dialogue; it corresponds with our "artful
alliteration" (which in places I have substituted for it) and,
generally, it defines the boundaries between the classical and the
popular styles which jostle each other in The Nights. If at times it
appear strained and forced, after the wont of rhymed prose, the scholar
will observe that, despite the immense copiousness of assonants and
consonants in Arabic, the strain is often put upon it intentionally,
like the Rims cars of Dante and the Troubadours. This rhymed prose may
be "un English" and unpleasant, even irritating to the British ear;
still I look upon it as a sine quâ non for a complete reproduction of
the original. In the Terminal Essay I shall revert to the subject.

On the other hand when treating the versical portion, which may
represent a total of ten thousand lines, I have not always bound myself
by the metrical bonds of the Arabic, which are artificial in the
extreme, and which in English can be made bearable only by a tour de
force. I allude especially to the monorhyme, Rim continuat or tirade
monorime, whose monotonous simplicity was preferred by the Troubadours
for threnodies. It may serve well for three or four couplets but, when
it extends, as in the Ghazal-cannon, to eighteen, and in the Kasidah,
elegy or ode, to more, it must either satisfy itself with banal rhyme
words, when the assonants should as a rule be expressive and emphatic;
or, it must display an ingenuity, a smell of the oil, which assuredly
does not add to the reader's pleasure. It can perhaps be done and it
should be done; but for me the task has no attractions: I can fence
better in shoes than in sabots. Finally I print the couplets in Arab
form separating the hemistichs by asterisks.

And now to consider one matter of special importance in the book—its
turpiloquium. This stumbling-block is of two kinds, completely
distinct. One is the simple, naïve and child like indecency which, from
Tangiers to Japan, occurs throughout general conversation of high and
low in the present day. It uses, like the holy books of the Hebrews,
expressions "plainly descriptive of natural situations;" and it treats
in an unconventionally free and naked manner of subjects and matters
which are usually, by common consent, left undescribed. As Sir William
Jones observed long ago, "that anything natural can be offensively
obscene never seems to have occurred to the Indians or to their
legislators; a singularity (?) pervading their writings and
conversation, but no proof of moral depravity." Another justly
observes, Les peuples primitifs n'y entendent pas malice: ils appellent
les choses par leurs noms et ne trouvent pas condamnable ce qui est
naturel. And they are prying as children. For instance the European
novelist marries off his hero and heroine and leaves them to consummate
marriage in privacy; even Tom Jones has the decency to bolt the door.
But the Eastern story teller, especially this unknown "prose
Shakespeare," must usher you, with a flourish, into the bridal chamber
and narrate to you, with infinite gusto, everything he sees and hears.
Again we must remember that grossness and indecency, in fact les
turpitudes, are matters of time and place; what is offensive in England
is not so in Egypt; what scandalises us now would have been a tame joke
tempore Elisoe. Withal The Nights will not be found in this matter
coarser than many passages of Shakespeare, Sterne, and Swift, and their
uncleanness rarely attains the perfection of Alcofribas Naiser, "divin
maitre et atroce cochon." The other element is absolute obscenity,
sometimes, but not always, tempered by wit, humour and drollery; here
we have an exaggeration of Petronius Arbiter, the handiwork of writers
whose ancestry, the most religious and the most debauched of mankind,
practised every abomination before the shrine of the Canopic Gods.

In accordance with my purpose of reproducing the Nights, not virginibus
puerisque, but in as perfect a picture as my powers permit, I have
carefully sought out the English equivalent of every Arabic word,
however low it may be or "shocking" to ears polite; preserving, on the
other hand, all possible delicacy where the indecency is not
intentional; and, as a friend advises me to state, not exaggerating the
vulgarities and the indecencies which, indeed, can hardly be
exaggerated. For the coarseness and crassness are but the shades of a
picture which would otherwise be all lights. The general tone of The
Nights is exceptionally high and pure. The devotional fervour often
rises to the boiling point of fanaticism. The pathos is sweet, deep and
genuine; tender, simple and true, utterly unlike much of our modern
tinsel. Its life, strong, splendid and multitudinous, is everywhere
flavoured with that unaffected pessimism and constitutional melancholy
which strike deepest root under the brightest skies and which sigh in
the face of heaven: —

       Vita quid est hominis? Viridis floriscula mortis;
           Sole Oriente oriens, sole cadente cadens.

Poetical justice is administered by the literary Kází with exemplary
impartiality and severity; "denouncing evil doers and eulogising deeds
admirably achieved." The morale is sound and healthy; and at times we
descry, through the voluptuous and libertine picture, vistas of a
transcendental morality, the morality of Socrates in Plato. Subtle
corruption and covert licentiousness are utterly absent; we find more
real"vice" in many a short French roman, say La Dame aux Camélias, and
in not a few English novels of our day than in the thousands of pages
of the Arab. Here we have nothing of that most immodest modern modesty
which sees covert implication where nothing is implied, and "improper"
allusion when propriety is not outraged; nor do we meet with the
Nineteenth Century refinement; innocence of the word not of the
thought; morality of the tongue not of the heart, and the sincere
homage paid to virtue in guise of perfect hypocrisy. It is, indeed,
this unique contrast of a quaint element, childish crudities and
nursery indecencies and "vain and amatorious" phrase jostling the
finest and highest views of life and character, shown in the
kaleidoscopic shiftings of the marvellous picture with many a "rich
truth in a tale's presence", pointed by a rough dry humour which
compares well with "wut; "the alternations of strength and weakness, of
pathos and bathos, of the boldest poetry (the diction of Job) and the
baldest prose (the Egyptian of today); the contact of religion and
morality with the orgies of African Apuleius and Petronius Arbiter—at
times taking away the reader's breath—and, finally, the whole dominated
everywhere by that marvellous Oriental fancy, wherein the spiritual and
the supernatural are as common as the material and the natural; it is
this contrast, I say, which forms the chiefest charm of The Nights,
which gives it the most striking originality and which makes it a
perfect expositor of the medieval Moslem mind.

Explanatory notes did not enter into Mr. Payne's plan. They do with
mine: I can hardly imagine The Nights being read to any profit by men
of the West without commentary. My annotations avoid only one subject,
parallels of European folklore and fabliaux which, however interesting,
would overswell the bulk of a book whose speciality is anthropology.
The accidents of my life, it may be said without undue presumption, my
long dealings with Arabs and other Mahommedans, and my familiarity not
only with their idiom but with their turn of thought, and with that
racial individuality which baffles description, have given me certain
advantages over the average student, however deeply he may have
studied. These volumes, moreover, afford me a long sought opportunity
of noticing practices and customs which interest all mankind and which
"Society" will not hear mentioned. Grate, the historian, and Thackeray,
the novelist, both lamented that the bégueulerie of their countrymen
condemned them to keep silence where publicity was required; and that
they could not even claim the partial licence of a Fielding and a
Smollett. Hence a score of years ago I lent my best help to the late
Dr. James Hunt in founding the Anthropological Society, whose
presidential chair I first occupied (pp. 2-4 Anthropologia; London,
Balliere, vol. i., No. I, 1873). My motive was to supply travellers
with an organ which would rescue their observations from the outer
darkness of manuscript, and print their curious information on social
and sexual matters out of place in the popular book intended for the
Nipptisch and indeed better kept from public view. But, hardly had we
begun when "Respectability," that whited sepulchre full of all
uncleanness, rose up against us. "Propriety" cried us down with her
brazen blatant voice, and the weak kneed brethren fell away. Yet the
organ was much wanted and is wanted still. All now known barbarous
tribes in Inner Africa, America and Australia, whose instincts have not
been overlaid by reason, have a ceremony which they call "making men."
As soon as the boy shows proofs of puberty, he and his coevals are
taken in hand by the mediciner and the Fetisheer; and, under priestly
tuition, they spend months in the "bush," enduring hardships and
tortures which impress the memory till they have mastered the "theorick
and practick" of social and sexual relations. Amongst the civilised
this fruit of the knowledge tree must be bought at the price of the
bitterest experience, and the consequences of ignorance are peculiarly
cruel. Here, then, I find at last an opportunity of noticing in
explanatory notes many details of the text which would escape the
reader's observation, and I am confident that they will form a
repertory of Eastern knowledge in its esoteric phase. The student who
adds the notes of Lane ("Arabian Society," etc., before quoted) to mine
will know as much of the Moslem East and more than many Europeans who
have spent half their lives in Orient lands. For facility of reference
an index of anthropological notes is appended to each volume.

The reader will kindly bear with the following technical details.
Steinhaeuser and I began and ended our work with the first Bulak
("Bul.") Edition printed at the port of Cairo in A.H. 1251 = A.D. 1835.
But when preparing my MSS. for print I found the text incomplete, many
of the stories being given in epitome and not a few ruthlessly
mutilated with head or feet wanting. Like most Eastern scribes the
Editor could not refrain from "improvements," which only debased the
book; and his sole title to excuse is that the second Bulak Edition (4
vols. A.H. 1279 = A.D. 1863), despite its being "revised and corrected
by Sheik Mahommed Qotch Al- Adewi," is even worse; and the same may be
said of the Cairo Edit. (4 vols. A.H. 1297 = A. D. 1881). The Calcutta
("Calc.") Edition, with ten lines of Persian preface by the Editor,
Ahmed al-Shirwani (A.D. 1814), was cut short at the end of the first
two hundred Nights, and thus made room for Sir William Hay Macnaghten's
Edition (4 vols. royal 4to) of 1839-42. This ("Mac."), as by far the
least corrupt and the most complete, has been assumed for my basis with
occasional reference to the Breslau Edition ("Bres.") wretchedly edited
from a hideous Egyptian MS. by Dr. Maximilian Habicht (1825-43). The
Bayrut Text "Alif-Leila we Leila" (4 vols. at. 8vo, Beirut, 1881-83) is
a melancholy specimen of The Nights taken entirely from the Bulak
Edition by one Khalil Sarkis and converted to Christianity; beginning
without Bismillah, continued with scrupulous castration and ending in
ennui and disappointment. I have not used this missionary production.

As regards the transliteration of Arabic words I deliberately reject
the artful and complicated system, ugly and clumsy withal, affected by
scientific modern Orientalists. Nor is my sympathy with their prime
object, namely to fit the Roman alphabet for supplanting all others.
Those who learn languages, and many do so, by the eye as well as by the
ear, well know the advantages of a special character to distinguish,
for instance, Syriac from Arabic, Gujrati from Marathi. Again this
Roman hand bewitched may have its use in purely scientific and literary
works; but it would be wholly out of place in one whose purpose is that
of the novel, to amuse rather than to instruct. Moreover the devices
perplex the simple and teach nothing to the learned. Either the reader
knows Arabic, in which case Greek letters, italics and "upper case,"
diacritical points and similar typographic oddities are, as a rule with
some exceptions, unnecessary; or he does not know Arabic, when none of
these expedients will be of the least use to him. Indeed it is a matter
of secondary consideration what system we prefer, provided that we
mostly adhere to one and the same, for the sake of a consistency which
saves confusion to the reader. I have especially avoided that of Mr.
Lane, adopted by Mr. Payne, for special reasons against which it was
vain to protest: it represents the debased brogue of Egypt or rather of
Cairo; and such a word as Kemer (ez-Zeman) would be utterly un-
pronounceable to a Badawi. Nor have I followed the practice of my
learned friend, Reverend G. P. Badger, in mixing bars and acute
accents; the former unpleasantly remind man of those hateful dactyls
and spondees, and the latter should, in my humble opinion, be applied
to long vowels which in Arabic double, or should double, the length of
the shorts. Dr. Badger uses the acute symbol to denote accent or stress
of voice; but such appoggio is unknown to those who speak with purest
articulation; for instance whilst the European pronounces Mus-cat', and
the Arab villager Mas'-kat; the Children of the Waste, "on whose
tongues Allah descended," articulate Mas-kat. I have therefore followed
the simple system adopted in my "Pilgrimage," and have accented Arabic
words only when first used, thinking it unnecessary to preserve
throughout what is an eyesore to the reader and a distress to the
printer. In the main I follow "Johnson on Richardson," a work known to
every Anglo-Orientalist as the old and trusty companion of his studies
early and late; but even here I have made sundry deviations for reasons
which will be explained in the Terminal Essay. As words are the
embodiment of ideas and writing is of words, so the word is the spoken
word; and we should write it as pronounced. Strictly speaking, the
e-sound and the o-sound (viz. the Italian o-sound not the English which
is peculiar to us and unknown to any other tongue) are not found in
Arabic, except when the figure Imálah obliges: hence they are called
"Yá al-Majhúl" and "Waw al-Majhúl" the unknown y (í) and u. But in all
tongues vowel-sounds, the flesh which clothes the bones (consonants) of
language, are affected by the consonants which precede and more
especially which follow them, hardening and softening the articulation;
and deeper sounds accompany certain letters as the sád ( ) compared
with the sín ( ). None save a defective ear would hold, as Lane does,
"Maulid" ( = birth-festival) "more properly pronounced 'Molid.'" Yet I
prefer Khokh (peach) and Jokh (broad cloth) to Khukh and Jukh; Ohod
(mount) to Uhud; Obayd (a little slave) to Ubayd; and Hosayn (a
fortlet, not the P. N. Al-Husayn) to Husayn. As for the short e in such
words as "Memlúk" for "Mamluk" (a white slave), "Eshe" for "Asha"
(supper), and "Yemen" for "Al- Yaman," I consider it a flat
Egyptianism, insufferable to an ear which admires the Badawi
pronunciation. Yet I prefer "Shelebi" (a dandy) from the Turkish
Chelebi, to "Shalabi;" "Zebdani" (the Syrian village) to "Zabdani," and
"Fes and Miknes" (by the figure Imálah) to "Fas and Miknás,", our "Fez
and Mequinez."

With respect to proper names and untranslated Arabic words I have
rejected all system in favour of common sense. When a term is
incorporated in our tongue, I refuse to follow the purist and mortify
the reader by startling innovation. For instance, Aleppo, Cairo and
Bassorah are preferred to Halab, Kahirah and Al-Basrah; when a word is
half naturalised, like Alcoran or Koran, Bashaw or Pasha, which the
French write Pacha; and Mahomet or Mohammed (for Muhammad), the modern
form is adopted because the more familiar. But I see no advantage in
retaining,, simply because they are the mistakes of a past generation,
such words as "Roc" (for Rikh),), Khalif (a pretentious blunder for
Kalífah and better written Caliph) and "genie" ( = Jinn) a mere Gallic
corruption not so terrible, however, as "a Bedouin" ( = Badawi).). As
little too would I follow Mr. Lane in foisting upon the public such
Arabisms as "Khuff" (a riding boot), "Mikra'ah" (a palm rod) and a host
of others for which we have good English equivalents. On the other hand
I would use, but use sparingly, certain Arabic exclamations, as
"Bismillah" ( = in the name of Allah!) and "Inshallah" ( = if Allah
please!), (= which have special applications and which have been made
familiar to English ears by the genius of Fraser and Morier.

I here end these desultory but necessary details to address the reader
in a few final words. He will not think lightly of my work when I
repeat to him that with the aid of my annotations supplementing Lane's,
the student will readily and pleasantly learn more of the Moslem's
manners and customs, laws and religion than is known to the average
Orientalist; and, if my labours induce him to attack the text of The
Nights he will become master of much more Arabic than the ordinary Arab
owns. This book is indeed a legacy which I bequeath to my fellow
countrymen in their hour of need. Over devotion to Hindu, and
especially to Sanskrit literature, has led them astray from those (so
called) "Semitic" studies, which are the more requisite for us as they
teach us to deal successfully with a race more powerful than any
pagans—the Moslem. Apparently England is ever forgetting that she is at
present the greatest Mohammedan empire in the world. Of late years she
has systematically neglected Arabism and, indeed, actively discouraged
it in examinations for the Indian Civil Service, where it is
incomparably more valuable than Greek and Latin. Hence, when suddenly
compelled to assume the reins of government in Moslem lands, as
Afghanistan in times past and Egypt at present, she fails after a
fashion which scandalises her few (very few) friends; and her crass
ignorance concerning the Oriental peoples which should most interest
her, exposes her to the contempt of Europe as well as of the Eastern
world. When the regrettable raids of 1883-84, culminating in the
miserable affairs of Tokar, Teb and Tamasi, were made upon the gallant
Sudani negroids, the Bisharin outlying Sawakin, who were battling for
the holy cause of liberty and religion and for escape from Turkish
task-masters and Egyptian tax-gatherers, not an English official in
camp, after the death of the gallant and lamented Major Morice, was
capable of speaking Arabic. Now Moslems are not to be ruled by raw
youths who should be at school and college instead of holding positions
of trust and emolument. He who would deal with them successfully must
be, firstly, honest and truthful and, secondly, familiar with and
favourably inclined to their manners and customs if not to their law
and religion. We may, perhaps, find it hard to restore to England those
pristine virtues, that tone and temper, which made her what she is; but
at any rate we (myself and a host of others) can offer her the means of
dispelling her ignorance concerning the Eastern races with whom she is
continually in contact.

In conclusion I must not forget to notice that the Arabic
ornamentations of these volumes were designed by my excellent friend
Yacoub Artin Pasha, of the Ministry of Instruction, Cairo, with the aid
of the well-known writing artist, Shayth Mohammed Muunis the Cairene.
My name, Al-Hajj Abdullah ( = the Pilgrim Abdallah) was written by an
English calligrapher, the lamented Professor Palmer who found a
premature death almost within sight of Suez.


Wanderers' Club, August 15, 1885.

                        The Book Of The

                    (ALF LAYLAH WA LAYLAH.)

                     In the Name of Allah,
            the Compassionating, the Compassionate!


And afterwards. Verily the works and words of those gone before us have
become instances and examples to men of our modern day, that folk may
view what admonishing chances befel other folk and may therefrom take
warning; and that they may peruse the annals of antique peoples and all
that hath betided them, and be thereby ruled and restrained:—Praise,
therefore, be to Him who hath made the histories of the Past an
admonition unto the Present! Now of such instances are the tales called
"A Thousand Nights and a Night," together with their far famed legends
and wonders. Therein it is related (but Allah is All knowing of His
hidden things and All ruling and All honoured and All giving and All
gracious and All merciful [FN#1]) that, in tide of yore and in time
long gone before, there was a King of the Kings of the Banu Sásán in
the Islands of India and China, a Lord of armies and guards and
servants and dependents.[FN#2] He left only two sons, one in the prime
of manhood and the other yet a youth, while both were Knights and
Braves, albeit the elder was a doughtier horseman than the younger. So
he succeeded to the empire; when he ruled the land and forded it over
his lieges with justice so exemplary that he was beloved by all the
peoples of his capital and of his kingdom. His name was King
Shahryár[FN#3], and he made his younger brother, Shah Zamán hight, King
of Samarcand in Barbarian land. These two ceased not to abide in their
several realms and the law was ever carried out in their dominions; and
each ruled his own kingdom, with equity and fair dealing to his
subjects, in extreme solace and enjoyment; and this condition
continually endured for a score of years. But at the end of the
twentieth twelvemonth the elder King yearned for a sight of his younger
brother and felt that he must look upon him once more. So he took
counsel with his Wazír[FN#4] about visiting him, but the Minister,
finding the project unadvisable, recommended that a letter be written
and a present be sent under his charge to the younger brother with an
invitation to visit the elder. Having accepted this advice the King
forthwith bade prepare handsome gifts, such as horses with saddles of
gem encrusted gold; Mamelukes, or white slaves; beautiful handmaids,
high breasted virgins, and splendid stuffs and costly. He then wrote a
letter to Shah Zaman expressing his warm love and great wish to see
him, ending with these words, "We therefore hope of the favour and
affection of the beloved brother that he will condescend to bestir
himself and turn his face us wards. Furthermore we have sent our Wazir
to make all ordinance for the march, and our one and only desire is to
see thee ere we die; but if thou delay or disappoint us we shall not
survive the blow. Wherewith peace be upon thee!" Then King Shahryar,
having sealed the missive and given it to the Wazir with the offerings
aforementioned, commanded him to shorten his skirts and strain his
strength and make all expedition in going and returning. "Harkening and
obedience!" quoth the Minister, who fell to making ready without stay
and packed up his loads and prepared all his requisites without delay.
This occupied him three days, and on the dawn of the fourth he took
leave of his King and marched right away, over desert and hill' way,
stony waste and pleasant lea without halting by night or by day. But
whenever he entered a realm whose ruler was subject to his Suzerain,
where he was greeted with magnificent gifts of gold and silver and all
manner of presents fair and rare, he would tarry there three
days,[FN#5] the term of the guest rite; and, when he left on the
fourth, he would be honourably escorted for a whole day's march. As
soon as the Wazir drew near Shah Zaman's court in Samarcand he
despatched to report his arrival one of his high officials, who
presented himself before the King; and, kissing ground between his
hands, delivered his message. Hereupon the King commanded sundry of his
Grandees and Lords of his realm to fare forth and meet his brother's
Wazir at the distance of a full day's journey; which they did, greeting
him respectfully and wishing him all prosperity and forming an escort
and a procession. When he entered the city he proceeded straightway to
the palace, where he presented himself in the royal presence; and,
after kissing ground and praying for the King's health and happiness
and for victory over all his enemies, he informed him that his brother
was yearning to see him, and prayed for the pleasure of a visit. He
then delivered the letter which Shah Zaman took from his hand and read:
it contained sundry hints and allusions which required thought; but,
when the King had fully comprehended its import, he said, "I hear and I
obey the commands of the beloved brother!" adding to the Wazir, "But we
will not march till after the third day's hospitality." He appointed
for the Minister fitting quarters of the palace; and, pitching tents
for the troops, rationed them with whatever they might require of meat
and drink and other necessaries. On the fourth day he made ready for
wayfare and got together sumptuous presents befitting his elder
brother's majesty, and stablished his chief Wazir viceroy of the land
during his absence. Then he caused his tents and camels and mules to be
brought forth and encamped, with their bales and loads, attend ants and
guards, within sight of the city, in readiness to set out next morning
for his brother's capital. But when the night was half spent he
bethought him that he had forgotten in his palace somewhat which he
should have brought with him, so he re turned privily and entered his
apartments, where he found the Queen, his wife, asleep on his own
carpet bed, embracing with both arms a black cook of loathsome aspect
and foul with kitchen grease and grime. When he saw this the world
waxed black before his sight and he said, "If such case happen while I
am yet within sight of the city what will be the doings of this damned
whore during my long absence at my brother's court?" So he drew his
scymitar and, cutting the two in four pieces with a single blow, left
them on the carpet and returned presently to his camp without letting
anyone know of what had happened. Then he gave orders for immediate
departure and set out at once and began his travel; but he could not
help thinking over his wife's treason and he kept ever saying to
himself, "How could she do this deed by me? How could she work her own
death?," till excessive grief seized him, his colour changed to yellow,
his body waxed weak and he was threatened with a dangerous malady, such
an one as bringeth men to die. So the Wazir shortened his stages and
tarried long at the watering stations and did his best to solace the
King. Now when Shah Zaman drew near the capital of his brother he
despatched vaunt couriers and messengers of glad tidings to announce
his arrival, and Shahryar came forth to meet him with his Wazirs and
Emirs and Lords and Grandees of his realm; and saluted him and joyed
with exceeding joy and caused the city to be decorated in his honour.
When, however, the brothers met, the elder could not but see the change
of complexion in the younger and questioned him of his case whereto he
replied, "Tis caused by the travails of wayfare and my case needs care,
for I have suffered from the change of water and air! but Allah be
praised for reuniting me with a brother so dear and so rare!" On this
wise he dissembled and kept his secret, adding, "O King of the time and
Caliph of the tide, only toil and moil have tinged my face yellow with
bile and hath made my eyes sink deep in my head." Then the two entered
the capital in all honour; and the elder brother lodged the younger in
a palace overhanging the pleasure garden; and, after a time, seeing his
condition still unchanged, he attributed it to his separation from his
country and kingdom. So he let him wend his own ways and asked no
questions of him till one day when he again said, "O my brother, I see
thou art grown weaker of body and yellower of colour." "O my brother,"
replied Shah Zaman "I have an internal wound:"[FN#6] still he would not
tell him what he had witnessed in his wife. Thereupon Shahryar summoned
doctors and surgeons and bade them treat his brother according to the
rules of art, which they did for a whole month; but their sherbets and
potions naught availed, for he would dwell upon the deed of his wife,
and despondency, instead of diminishing, prevailed, and leach craft
treatment utterly failed. One day his elder brother said to him, "I am
going forth to hunt and course and to take my pleasure and pastime;
maybe this would lighten thy heart." Shah Zaman, however, refused,
saying, "O my brother, my soul yearneth for naught of this sort and I
entreat thy favour to suffer me tarry quietly in this place, being
wholly taken up with my malady." So King Shah Zaman passed his night in
the palace and, next morning, when his brother had fared forth, he
removed from his room and sat him down at one of the lattice windows
overlooking the pleasure grounds; and there he abode thinking with
saddest thought over his wife's betrayal and burning sighs issued from
his tortured breast. And as he continued in this case lo! a pastern of
the palace, which was carefully kept private, swung open and out of it
came twenty slave girls surrounding his bother's wife who was wondrous
fair, a model of beauty and comeliness and symmetry and perfect
loveliness and who paced with the grace of a gazelle which panteth for
the cooling stream. Thereupon Shah Zaman drew back from the window, but
he kept the bevy in sight espying them from a place whence he could not
be espied. They walked under the very lattice and advanced a little way
into the garden till they came to a jetting fountain amiddlemost a
great basin of water; then they stripped off their clothes and behold,
ten of them were women, concubines of the King, and the other ten were
white slaves. Then they all paired off, each with each: but the Queen,
who was left alone, presently cried out in a loud voice, "Here to me, O
my lord Saeed!" and then sprang with a drop leap from one of the trees
a big slobbering blackamoor with rolling eyes which showed the whites,
a truly hideous sight.[FN#7] He walked boldly up to her and threw his
arms round her neck while she embraced him as warmly; then he bussed
her and winding his legs round hers, as a button loop clasps a button,
he threw her and enjoyed her. On like wise did the other slaves with
the girls till all had satisfied their passions, and they ceased not
from kissing and clipping, coupling and carousing till day began to
wane; when the Mamelukes rose from the damsels' bosoms and the
blackamoor slave dismounted from the Queen's breast; the men resumed
their disguises and all, except the negro who swarmed up the tree,
entered the palace and closed the postern door as before. Now, when
Shah Zaman saw this conduct of his sister in law he said in himself,
"By Allah, my calamity is lighter than this! My brother is a greater
King among the kings than I am, yet this infamy goeth on in his very
palace, and his wife is in love with that filthiest of filthy slaves.
But this only showeth that they all do it[FN#8] and that there is no
woman but who cuckoldeth her husband, then the curse of Allah upon one
and all and upon the fools who lean against them for support or who
place the reins of conduct in their hands." So he put away his
melancholy and despondency, regret and repine, and allayed his sorrow
by constantly repeating those words, adding, " 'Tis my conviction that
no man in this world is safe from their malice!" When supper time came
they brought him the trays and he ate with voracious appetite, for he
had long refrained from meat, feeling unable to touch any dish however
dainty. Then he returned grateful thanks to Almighty Allah, praising
Him and blessing Him, and he spent a most restful night, it having been
long since he had savoured the sweet food of sleep. Next day he broke
his fast heartily and began to recover health and strength, and
presently regained excellent condition. His brother came back from the
chase ten days after, when he rode out to meet him and they saluted
each other; and when King Shahryar looked at King Shah Zaman he saw how
the hue of health had returned to him, how his face had waxed ruddy and
how he ate with an appetite after his late scanty diet. He wondered
much and said, "O my brother, I was so anxious that thou wouldst join
me in hunting and chasing, and wouldst take thy pleasure and pastime in
my dominion!" He thanked him and excused himself; then the two took
horse and rode into the city and, when they were seated at their ease
in the palace, the food trays were set before them and they ate their
sufficiency. After the meats were removed and they had washed their
hands, King Shahryar turned to his brother and said, "My mind is
overcome with wonderment at thy condition. I was desirous to carry thee
with me to the chase but I saw thee changed in hue, pale and wan to
view, and in sore trouble of mind too. But now Alham-dolillah—glory be
to God!—I see thy natural colour hath returned to thy face and that
thou art again in the best of case. It was my belief that thy sickness
came of severance from thy family and friends, and absence from capital
and country, so I refrained from troubling thee with further questions.
But now I beseech thee to expound to me the cause of thy complaint and
thy change of colour, and to explain the reason of thy recovery and the
return to the ruddy hue of health which I am wont to view. So speak out
and hide naught!" When Shah Zaman heard this he bowed groundwards
awhile his head, then raised it and said, "I will tell thee what caused
my complaint and my loss of colour; but excuse my acquainting thee with
the cause of its return to me and the reason of my complete recovery:
indeed I pray thee not to press me for a reply." Said Shahryar, who was
much surprised by these words, "Let me hear first what produced thy
pallor and thy poor condition." "Know, then, O my brother," rejoined
Shah Zaman, "that when thou sentest thy Wazir with the invitation to
place myself between thy hands, I made ready and marched out of my
city; but presently I minded me having left behind me in the palace a
string of jewels intended as a gift to thee. I returned for it alone
and found my wife on my carpet bed and in the arms of a hideous black
cook. So I slew the twain and came to thee, yet my thoughts brooded
over this business and I lost my bloom and became weak. But excuse me
if I still refuse to tell thee what was the reason of my complexion
returning." Shahryar shook his head, marvelling with extreme marvel,
and with the fire of wrath flaming up from his heart, he cried,
"Indeed, the malice of woman is mighty!" Then he took refuge from them
with Allah and said, "In very sooth, O my brother, thou hast escaped
many an evil by putting thy wife to death,[FN#9] and right excusable
were thy wrath and grief for such mishap which never yet befel crowned
King like thee. By Allah, had the case been mine, I would not have been
satisfied without slaying a thousand women and that way madness lies!
But now praise be to Allah who hath tempered to thee thy tribulation,
and needs must thou acquaint me with that which so suddenly restored to
thee complexion and health, and explain to me what causeth this
concealment." "O King of the Age, again I pray thee excuse my so
doing!" "Nay, but thou must." "I fear, O my brother, lest the recital
cause thee more anger and sorrow than afflicted me." "That were but a
better reason," quoth Shahryar, "for telling me the whole history, and
I conjure thee by Allah not to keep back aught from me." Thereupon Shah
Zaman told him all he had seen, from commencement to con elusion,
ending with these words, "When I beheld thy calamity and the treason of
thy wife, O my brother, and I resected that thou art in years my senior
and in sovereignty my superior, mine own sorrow was belittled by the
comparison, and my mind recovered tone and temper: so throwing off
melancholy and despondency, I was able to eat and drink and sleep, and
thus I speedily regained health and strength. Such is the truth and the
whole truth." When King Shahryar heard this he waxed wroth with
exceeding wrath, and rage was like to strangle him; but presently he
recovered himself and said, "O my brother, I would not give thee the
lie in this matter, but I cannot credit it till I see it with mine own
eyes." "An thou wouldst look upon thy calamity," quoth Shah Zaman,
"rise at once and make ready again for hunting and coursing.[FN#10] and
then hide thyself with me, so shalt thou witness it and thine eyes
shall verify it." "True," quoth the King; whereupon he let make
proclamation of his in tent to travel, and the troops and tents fared
forth without the city, camping within sight, and Shahryar sallied out
with them and took seat amidmost his host, bidding the slaves admit no
man to him. When night came on he summoned his Wazir and said to him,
"Sit thou in my stead and let none wot of my absence till the term of
three days." Then the brothers disguised themselves and returned by
night with all secrecy to the palace, where they passed the dark hours:
and at dawn they seated themselves at the lattice overlooking the
pleasure grounds, when presently the Queen and her handmaids came out
as before, and passing under the windows made for the fountain. Here
they stripped, ten of them being men to ten women, and the King's wife
cried out, "Where art thou, O Saeed?" The hideous blackamoor dropped
from the tree straightway; and, rushing into her arms without stay or
delay, cried out, "I am Sa'ad al Din Saood!"[FN#11] The lady laughed
heartily, and all fell to satisfying their lusts, and remained so
occupied for a couple of hours, when the white slaves rose up from the
handmaidens' breasts and the blackamoor dismounted from the Queen's
bosom: then they went into the basin and, after performing the Ghusl,
or complete ablution, donned their dresses and retired as they had done
before. When King Shahryar saw this infamy of his wife and concubines
he became as one distraught and he cried out, "Only in utter solitude
can man be safe from the doings of this vile world! By Allah, life is
naught but one great wrong." Presently he added, "Do not thwart me, O
my brother, in what I propose;" and the other answered, "I will not."
So he said, "Let us up as we are and depart forthright hence, for we
have no concern with Kingship, and let us overwander Allah's earth,
worshipping the Almighty till we find some one to whom the like
calamity hath happened; and if we find none then will death be more
welcome to us than life." So the two brothers issued from a second
private postern of the palace; and they never stinted wayfaring by day
and by night, until they reached a tree a middle of a meadow hard by a
spring of sweet water on the shore of the salt sea. Both drank of it
and sat down to take their rest; and when an hour of the day had gone
by: lo! they heard a mighty roar and uproar in the middle of the main
as though the heavens were falling upon the earth; and the sea brake
with waves before them, and from it towered a black pillar, which grew
and grew till it rose skywards and began making for that meadow. Seeing
it, they waxed fearful exceedingly and climbed to the top of the tree,
which was a lofty; whence they gazed to see what might be the matter.
And behold, it was a Jinni,[FN#12] huge of height and burly of breast
and bulk, broad of brow and black of blee, bearing on his head a coffer
of crystal. He strode to land, wading through the deep, and coming to
the tree whereupon were the two Kings, seated himself beneath it. He
then set down the coffer on its bottom and out it drew a casket, with
seven padlocks of steel, which he unlocked with seven keys of steel he
took from beside his thigh, and out of it a young lady to come was
seen, white-skinned and of winsomest mien, of stature fine and thin,
and bright as though a moon of the fourteenth night she had been, or
the sun raining lively sheen. Even so the poet Utayyah hath excellently

She rose like the morn as she shone through the night * And she
     gilded the grove with her gracious sight:
From her radiance the sun taketh increase when * She unveileth
     and shameth the moonshine bright.
Bow down all beings between her hands * As she showeth charms
     with her veil undight.
And she foodeth cities[FN#13] with torrent tears * When she
     flasheth her look of levee light.

The Jinni seated her under the tree by his side and looking at her
said, "O choicest love of this heart of mine! O dame of noblest line,
whom I snatched away on thy bride night that none might prevent me
taking thy maidenhead or tumble thee before I did, and whom none save
myself hath loved or hath enjoyed: O my sweetheart! I would fief sleep
a little while." He then laid his head upon the lady's thighs; and,
stretching out his legs which extended down to the sea, slept and
snored and sparked like the roll of thunder. Presently she raised her
head towards the tree top and saw the two Kings perched near the
summit; then she softly lifted off her lap the Jinni's pate which she
was tired of supporting and placed it upon the ground; then standing
upright under the tree signed to the Kings, "Come ye down, ye two, and
fear naught from this Ifrit."[FN#14] They were in a terrible fright
when they found that she had seen them and answered her in the same
manner, "Allah upon thee[FN#15] and by thy modesty, O lady, excuse us
from coming down!" But she rejoined by saying, "Allah upon you both,
that ye come down forthright, and if ye come not, I will rouse upon you
my husband, this Ifrit, and he shall do you to die by the illest of
deaths;" and she continued making signals to them. So, being afraid,
they came down to her and she rose be fore them and said, "Stroke me a
strong stroke, without stay or delay, otherwise will I arouse and set
upon you this Ifrit who shall slay you straightway." They said to her,
"O our lady, we conjure thee by Allah, let us off this work, for we are
fugitives from such and in extreme dread and terror of this thy
husband. How then can we do it in such a way as thou desires"?" "Leave
this talk: it needs must be so;" quoth she, and she swore them by
Him[FN#16] who raised the skies on high, without prop or pillar, that,
if they worked not her will, she would cause them to be slain and cast
into the sea. Whereupon out of fear King Shahryar said to King Shah
Zaman, "O my brother, do thou what she biddeth thee do;" but he
replied, "I will not do it till thou do it before I do." And they began
disputing about futtering her. Then quoth she to the twain, "How is it
I see you disputing and demurring; if ye do not come forward like men
and do the deed of kind ye two, I will arouse upon you the If rit." At
this, by reason of their sore dread of the Jinni, both did by her what
she bade them do; and, when they had dismounted from her, she said,
"Well done!" She then took from her pocket a purse and drew out a
knotted string, whereon were strung five hundred and seventy[FN#17]
seal rings, and asked, "Know ye what be these?" They answered her
saying, "We know not!" Then quoth she; "These be the signets of five
hundred and seventy men who have all futtered me upon the horns of this
foul, this foolish, this filthy Ifrit; so give me also your two seal
rings, ye pair of brothers." When they had drawn their two rings from
their hands and given them to her, she said to them, "Of a truth this
If rit bore me off on my bride night, and put me into a casket and set
the casket in a coffer and to the coffer he affixed seven strong
padlocks of steel and deposited me on the deep bottom of the sea that
raves, dashing and clashing with waves; and guarded me so that I might
remain chaste and honest, quotha! none save himself might have
connexion with me. But I have lain under as many of my kind as I
please, and this wretched Jinni wotteth not that Des tiny may not be
averted nor hindered by aught, and that whatso woman willeth the same
she fulfilleth however man nilleth. Even so saith one of them.—

Rely not on women; * Trust not to their hearts,
Whose joys and whose sorrows * Are hung to their parts!
Lying love they will swear thee * Whence guile ne'er departs:
Take Yusuf[FN#18] for sample * 'Ware sleights and 'ware smarts!
Iblis[FN#19] ousted Adam * (See ye not?) thro' their arts.

And another saith:—

Stint thy blame, man! 'Twill drive to a passion without bound; *
     My fault is not so heavy as fault in it hast found.
If true lover I become, then to me there cometh not * Save what
     happened unto many in the bygone stound.
For wonderful is he and right worthy of our praise * Who from
     wiles of female wits kept him safe and kept him sound."

Hearing these words they marvelled with exceeding marvel, and she went
from them to the Ifrit and, taking up his head on her thigh as before,
said to them softly, "Now wend your ways and bear yourselves beyond the
bounds of his malice." So they fared forth saying either to other,
"Allah! Allah!" and, "There be no Majesty and there be no Might save in
Allah, the Glorious, the Great; and with Him we seek refuge from
women's malice and sleight, for of a truth it hath no mate in might.
Consider, O my brother, the ways of this marvellous lady with an Ifrit
who is so much more powerful than we are. Now since there hath hap
pened to him a greater mishap than that which befel us and which should
bear us abundant consolation, so return we to our countries and
capitals, and let us decide never to intermarry with womankind and
presently we will show them what will be our action." Thereupon they
rode back to the tents of King Shahryar, which they reached on the
morning of the third day; and, having mustered the Wazirs and Emirs,
the Chamberlains and high officials, he gave a robe of honour to his
Viceroy and issued orders for an immediate return to the city. There he
sat him upon his throne and sending for the Chief Minister, the father
of the two damsels who (Inshallah!) will presently be mentioned, he
said, "I command thee to take my wife and smite her to death; for she
hath broken her plight and her faith." So he carried her to the place
of execution and did her die. Then King Shahryar took brand in hand and
repairing to the Serraglio slew all the concubines and their
Mamelukes.[FN#20] He also sware himself by a binding oath that whatever
wife he married he would abate her maidenhead at night and slay her
next morning to make sure of his honour; "For," said he, "there never
was nor is there one chaste woman upon face of earth." Then Shah Zaman
prayed for permission to fare homewards; and he went forth equipped and
escorted and travelled till he reached his own country. Mean while
Shahryar commanded his Wazir to bring him the bride of the night that
he might go in to her; so he produced a most beautiful girl, the
daughter of one of the Emirs and the King went in unto her at eventide
and when morning dawned he bade his Minister strike off her head; and
the Wazir did accordingly for fear of the Sultan. On this wise he
continued for the space of three years; marrying a maiden every night
and killing her the next morning, till folk raised an outcry against
him and cursed him, praying Allah utterly to destroy him and his rule;
and women made an uproar and mothers wept and parents fled with their
daughters till there remained not in the city a young person fit for
carnal copulation. Presently the King ordered his Chief Wazir, the same
who was charged with the executions, to bring him a virgin as was his
wont; and the Minister went forth and searched and found none; so he
returned home in sorrow and anxiety fearing for his life from the King.
Now he had two daughters, Shahrazad and Dunyazad hight,[FN#21] of whom
the elder had perused the books, annals and legends of preceding Kings,
and the stories, examples and instances of by gone men and things;
indeed it was said that she had collected a thousand books of histories
relating to antique races and departed rulers. She had perused the
works of the poets and knew them by heart; she had studied philosophy
and the sciences, arts and accomplish meets; and she was pleasant and
polite, wise and witty, well read and well bred. Now on that day she
said to her father, "Why do I see thee thus changed and laden with cark
and care? Concerning this matter quoth one of the poets.—

     Tell whoso hath sorrow     * Grief never shall last:
     E'en as joy hath no morrow * So woe shall go past."

When the Wazir heard from his daughter these words he related to her,
from first to last, all that had happened between him and the King.
Thereupon said she, "By Allah, O my father, how long shall this
slaughter of women endure? Shall I tell thee what is in my mind in
order to save both sides from destruction?" "Say on, O my daughter,"
quoth he, and quoth she, "I wish thou wouldst give me in marriage to
this King Shahryar; either I shall live or I shall be a ransom for the
virgin daughters of Moslems and the cause of their deliverance from his
hands and thine."[FN#22] "Allah upon thee!" cried he in wrath exceeding
that lacked no feeding, "O scanty of wit, expose not thy life to such
peril! How durst thou address me in words so wide from wisdom and un
far from foolishness? Know that one who lacketh experience in worldly
matters readily falleth into misfortune; and whoso considereth not the
end keepeth not the world to friend, and the vulgar say:- -I was lying
at mine ease: nought but my officiousness brought me unease." "Needs
must thou," she broke in, "make me a doer of this good deed, and let
him kill me an he will: I shall only die a ransom for others." "O my
daughter," asked he, "and how shall that profit thee when thou shalt
have thrown away thy life?" and she answered, "O my father it must be,
come of it what will!" The Wazir was again moved to fury and blamed and
reproached her, ending with, "In very deed—I fear lest the same befal
thee which befel the Bull and the Ass with the Husband man." "And
what," asked she, "befel them, O my father?" Whereupon the Wazir began

              Tale of the Bull[FN#23] and the Ass.

Know, O my daughter, that there was once a merchant who owned much
money and many men, and who was rich in cattle and camels; he had also
a wife and family and he dwelt in the country, being experienced in
husbandry and devoted to agriculture. Now Allah Most High had endowed
him with under standing the tongues of beasts and birds of every kind,
but under pain of death if he divulged the gift to any. So he kept it
secret for very fear. He had in his cow house a Bull and an Ass each
tethered in his own stall one hard by the other. As the merchant was
sitting near hand one day with his servants and his children were
playing about him, he heard the Bull say to the Ass, "Hail and health
to thee O Father of Waking![FN#24] for that thou enjoyest rest and good
ministering; all under thee is clean swept and fresh sprinkled; men
wait upon thee and feed thee, and thy provaunt is sifted barley and thy
drink pure spring water, while I (unhappy creature!) am led forth in
the middle of the night, when they set on my neck the plough and a
something called Yoke; and I tire at cleaving the earth from dawn of
day till set of sun. I am forced to do more than I can and to bear all
manner of ill treatment from night to night; after which they take me
back with my sides torn, my neck flayed, my legs aching and mine
eyelids sored with tears. Then they shut me up in the byre and throw me
beans and crushed straw,[FN#25] mixed with dirt and chaff; and I lie in
dung and filth and foul stinks through the livelong night. But thou art
ever in a place swept and sprinkled and cleansed, and thou art always
lying at ease, save when it happens (and seldom enough!) that the
master hath some business, when he mounts thee and rides thee to town
and returns with thee forthright. So it happens that I am toiling and
distress while thou takest thine ease and thy rest; thou sleepest while
I am sleepless; I hunger still while thou eatest thy fill, and I win
contempt while thou winnest good will." When the Bull ceased speaking,
the Ass turned to wards him and said, "O Broad o' Brow,[FN#26] 0 thou
lost one! he lied not who dubbed thee Bull head, for thou, O father of
a Bull, hast neither forethought nor contrivance; thou art the simplest
of simpletons,[FN#27] and thou knowest naught of good advisers. Hast
thou not heard the saying of the wise:—

For others these hardships and labours I bear * And theirs is the
     pleasure and mine is the care;
As the bleacher who blacketh his brow in the sun * To whiten the
     raiment which other men wear.[FN#28]

But thou, O fool, art full of zeal and thou toilest and moilest before
the master; and thou tearest and wearest and slayest thy self for the
comfort of another. Hast thou never heard the saw that saith, None to
guide and from the way go wide? Thou wendest forth at the call to dawn
prayer and thou returnest not till sundown; and through the livelong
day thou endurest all manner hardships; to wit, beating and belabouring
and bad language. Now hearken to me, Sir Bull! when they tie thee to
thy stinking manger, thou pawest the ground with thy forehand and
rashest out with thy hind hoofs and pushest with thy horns and
bellowest aloud, so they deem thee contented. And when they throw thee
thy fodder thou fallest on it with greed and hastenest to line thy fair
fat paunch. But if thou accept my advice it will be better for thee and
thou wilt lead an easier life even than mine. When thou goest a field
and they lay the thing called Yoke on thy neck, lie down and rise not
again though haply they swinge thee; and, if thou rise, lie down a
second time; and when they bring thee home and offer thee thy beans,
fall backwards and only sniff at thy meat and withdraw thee and taste
it not, and be satis fied with thy crushed straw and chaff; and on this
wise feign thou art sick, and cease not doing thus for a day or two
days or even three days, so shalt thou have rest from toil and moil."
When the Bull heard these words he knew the Ass to be his friend and
thanked him, saying, "Right is thy rede;" and prayed that all blessings
might requite him, and cried, "O Father Wakener![FN#29] thou hast made
up for my failings." (Now[FN#30] the merchant, O my daughter,
understood all that passed between them.) Next day the driver took the
Bull, and settling the plough on his neck,[FN#31] made him work as
wont; but the Bull began to shirk his ploughing, according to the
advice of the Ass, and the ploughman drubbed him till he broke the yoke
and made off; but the man caught him up and leathered him till he
despaired of his life. Not the less, however, would he do nothing but
stand still and drop down till the evening. Then the herd led him home
and stabled him in his stall: but he drew back from his manger and
neither stamped nor ramped nor butted nor bellowed as he was wont to
do; whereat the man wondered. He brought him the beans and husks, but
he sniffed at them and left them and lay down as far from them as he
could and passed the whole night fasting. The peasant came next
morning; and, seeing the manger full of beans, the crushed straw
untasted and the ox lying on his back in sorriest plight, with legs
outstretched and swollen belly, he was concerned for him, and said to
himself, "By Allah, he hath assuredly sickened and this is the cause
why he would not plough yesterday." Then he went to the merchant and
reported, "O my master, the Bull is ailing; he refused his fodder last
night; nay more, he hath not tasted a scrap of it this morning." Now
the merchant farmer understood what all this meant, because he had
overheard the talk between the Bull and the Ass, so quoth he, "Take
that rascal donkey, and set the yoke on his neck, and bind him to the
plough and make him do Bull's work." Thereupon the ploughman took the
Ass, and worked him through the live long day at the Bull's task; and,
when he failed for weakness, he made him eat stick till his ribs were
sore and his sides were sunken and his neck was hayed by the yoke; and
when he came home in the evening he could hardly drag his limbs along,
either fore hand or hind legs. But as for the Bull, he had passed the
day lying at full length and had eaten his fodder with an excellent
appetite, and he ceased not calling down blessings on the Ass for his
good advice, unknowing what had come to him on his ac count. So when
night set in and the Ass returned to the byte the Bull rose up before
him in honour, and said, "May good tidings gladden thy heart, O Father
Wakener! through thee I have rested all this day and I have eaten my
meat in peace and quiet." But the Ass returned no reply, for wrath and
heart burning and fatigue and the beating he had gotten; and he
repented with the most grievous of repentance; and quoth he to himself:
"This cometh of my folly in giving good counsel; as the saw saith, I
was in joy and gladness, nought save my officiousness brought me this
sadness. But I will bear in mind my innate worth and the nobility of my
nature; for what saith the poet?

Shall the beautiful hue of the Basil[FN#32] fail * Tho' the
     beetle's foot o'er the Basil crawl?
And though spider and fly be its denizens * Shall disgrace attach
     to the royal hall?
The cowrie,[FN#33] I ken, shall have currency * But the pearl's
     clear drop, shall its value fall?

And now I must take thought and put a trick upon him and return him to
his place, else I die." Then he went aweary to his manger, while the
Bull thanked him and blessed him. And even so, O my daughter, said the
Wazir, thou wilt die for lack of wits; therefore sit thee still and say
naught and expose not thy life to such stress; for, by Allah, I offer
thee the best advice, which cometh of my affection and kindly
solicitude for thee." "O my father," she answered, "needs must I go up
to this King and be married to him." Quoth he, "Do not this deed;" and
quoth she, "Of a truth I will:" whereat he rejoined, "If thou be not
silent and bide still, I will do with thee even what the merchant did
with his wife." "And what did he?" asked she. "Know then, answered the
Wazir, that after the return of the Ass the merchant came out on the
terrace roof with his wife and family, for it was a moonlit night and
the moon at its full. Now the ter race overlooked the cowhouse and
presently, as he sat there with his children playing about him, the
trader heard the Ass say to the Bull, "Tell me, O Father Broad o' Brow,
what thou purposest to do to morrow?" The Bull answered, "What but
continue to follow thy counsel, O Aliboron? Indeed it was as good as
good could be and it hath given me rest and repose; nor will I now
depart from it one little: so, when they bring me my meat, I will
refuse it and blow out my belly and counterfeit crank." The Ass shook
his head and said, "Beware of so doing, O Father of a Bull!" The Bull
asked, "Why," and the Ass answered, "Know that I am about to give thee
the best of counsel, for verily I heard our owner say to the herd, If
the Bull rise not from his place to do his work this morning and if he
retire from his fodder this day, make him over to the butcher that he
may slaughter him and give his flesh to the poor, and fashion a bit of
leather[FN#34] from his hide. Now I fear for thee on account of this.
So take my advice ere a calamity befal thee; and when they bring thee
thy fodder eat it and rise up and bellow and paw the ground, or our
master will assuredly slay thee: and peace be with thee!" Thereupon the
Bull arose and lowed aloud and thanked the Ass, and said, "To morrow I
will readily go forth with them;" and he at once ate up all his meat
and even licked the manger. (All this took place and the owner was
listening to their talk.) Next morning the trader and his wife went to
the Bull's crib and sat down, and the driver came and led forth the
Bull who, seeing his owner, whisked his tail and brake wind, and
frisked about so lustily that the merchant laughed a loud laugh and
kept laughing till he fell on his back. His wife asked him, "Whereat
laughest thou with such loud laughter as this?"; and he answered her,
"I laughed at a secret something which I have heard and seen but cannot
say lest I die my death." She returned, "Perforce thou must discover it
to me, and disclose the cause of thy laughing even if thou come by thy
death!" But he rejoined, "I cannot re veal what beasts and birds say in
their lingo for fear I die." Then quoth she, "By Allah, thou liest!
this is a mere pretext: thou laughest at none save me, and now thou
wouldest hide somewhat from me. But by the Lord of the Heavens! an thou
disclose not the cause I will no longer cohabit with thee: I will leave
thee at once." And she sat down and cried. Whereupon quoth the
merchant, "Woe betide thee! what means thy weeping? Bear Allah and
leave these words and query me no more questions." "Needs must thou
tell me the cause of that laugh," said she, and he replied, "Thou
wottest that when I prayed Allah to vouchsafe me understanding of the
tongues of beasts and birds, I made a vow never to disclose the secret
to any under pain of dying on the spot." "No matter," cried she, "tell
me what secret passed between the Bull and the Ass and die this very
hour an thou be so minded;" and she ceased not to importune him till he
was worn out and clean distraught. So at last he said, "Summon thy
father and thy mother and our kith and kin and sundry of our
neighbours," which she did; and he sent for the Kazi[FN#35] and his
assessors, intending to make his will and reveal to her his secret and
die the death; for he loved her with love exceeding because she was his
cousin, the daughter of his father's brother, and the mother of his
children, and he had lived with her a life of an hundred and twenty
years. Then, having assembled all the family and the folk of his
neighbourhood, he said to them, "By me there hangeth a strange story,
and 'tis such that if I discover the secret to any, I am a dead man."
Therefore quoth every one of those present to the woman, "Allah upon
thee, leave this sinful obstinacy and recognise the right of this
matter, lest haply thy husband and the father of thy children die." But
she rejoined, "I will not turn from it till he tell me, even though he
come by his death." So they ceased to urge her; and the trader rose
from amongst them and repaired to an out house to per form Wuzu
ablution,[FN#36] and he purposed thereafter to return and to tell them
his secret and to die. Now, daughter Shahrazad, that mer chant had in
his out houses some fifty hens under one cock, and whilst making ready
to farewell his folk he heard one of his many farm dogs thus address in
his own tongue the Cock, who was flapping his wings and crowing lustily
and jumping from one hen's back to another and treading all in turn,
saying "O Chanti clear! how mean is thy wit and how shameless is thy
conduct! Be he disappointed who brought thee up![FN#37] Art thou not
ashamed of thy doings on such a day as this!" "And what," asked the
Rooster, "hath occurred this day?" when the Dog answered, "Doss thou
not know that our master is this day making ready for his death? His
wife is resolved that he shall disclose the secret taught to him by
Allah, and the moment he so doeth he shall surely die. We dogs are all
a mourning; but thou clappest thy wings and clarionest thy loudest and
treadest hen after hen. Is this an hour for pastime and pleasuring? Art
thou not ashamed of thyself?"[FN#38] "Then by Allah," quoth the Cock,
"is our master a lack wit and a man scanty of sense: if he cannot
manage matters with a single wife, his life is not worth prolonging.
Now I have some fifty Dame Partlets; and I please this and provoke that
and starve one and stuff another; and through my good governance they
are all well under my control. This our master pretendeth to wit and
wisdom, and he hath but one wife, and yet knoweth not how to manage
her." Asked the Dog, "What then, O Cock, should the master do to win
clear of his strait?" "He should arise forthright," answered the Cock,
"and take some twigs from yon mulberry tree and give her a regular back
basting and rib roasting till she cry:—I repent, O my lord! I will
never ask thee a question as long as I live! Then let him beat her once
more and soundly, and when he shall have done this he shall sleep free
from care and enjoy life. But this master of ours owns neither sense
nor judgment." "Now, daughter Shahrazad," continued the Wazir, "I will
do to thee as did that husband to that wife." Said Shahrazad, "And what
did he do?" He replied, "When the merchant heard the wise words spoken
by his Cock to his Dog, he arose in haste and sought his wife's
chamber, after cutting for her some mulberry twigs and hiding them
there; and then he called to her, "Come into the closet that I may tell
thee the secret while no one seeth me and then die." She entered with
him and he locked the door and came down upon her with so sound a
beating of back and shoulders, ribs, arms and legs, saying the while,
"Wilt thou ever be asking questions about what concerneth thee not?"
that she was well nigh senseless. Presently she cried out, "I am of the
repentant! By Allah, I will ask thee no more questions, and indeed I
repent sincerely and wholesomely." Then she kissed his hand and feet
and he led her out of the room submissive as a wife should be. Her
parents and all the company rejoiced and sadness and mourn ing were
changed into joy and gladness. Thus the merchant learnt family
discipline from his Cock and he and his wife lived together the
happiest of lives until death. And thou also, O my daughter!" continued
the Wazir, "Unless thou turn from this matter I will do by thee what
that trader did to his wife." But she answered him with much decision,
"I will never desist, O my father, nor shall this tale change my
purpose. Leave such talk and tattle. I will not listen to thy words
and, if thou deny me, I will marry myself to him despite the nose of
thee. And first I will go up to the King myself and alone and I will
say to him:—I prayed my father to wive me with thee, but he refused
being resolved to disappoint his lord, grudging the like of me to the
like of thee." Her father asked, "Must this needs be?" and she
answered, "Even so." Hereupon the Wazir being weary of lamenting and
contending, persuading and dissuading her, all to no purpose, went up
to King Shahryar and after blessing him and kissing the ground before
him, told him all about his dispute with his daughter from first to
last and how he designed to bring her to him that night. The King
wondered with exceeding wonder; for he had made an especial exception
of the Wazir's daughter, and said to him, "O most faithful of
Counsellors, how is this? Thou wottest that I have sworn by the Raiser
of the Heavens that after I have gone in to her this night I shall say
to thee on the morrow's morning:—Take her and slay her! and, if thou
slay her not, I will slay thee in her stead without fail." "Allah guide
thee to glory and lengthen thy life, O King of the age," answered the
Wazir, "it is she that hath so determined: all this have I told her and
more; but she will not hearken to me and she persisteth in passing this
coming night with the King's Majesty." So Shahryar rejoiced greatly and
said, "'Tis well; go get her ready and this night bring her to me." The
Wazir returned to his daughter and reported to her the command saying,
"Allah make not thy father desolate by thy loss!" But Shah razed
rejoiced with exceeding joy and get ready all she required and said to
her younger sister, Dunyazad, "Note well what directions I entrust to
thee! When I have gone in to the King I will send for thee and when
thou comest to me and seest that he hath had his carnal will of me, do
thou say to me:—O my sister, an thou be not sleepy, relate to me some
new story, delectable and delightsome, the better to speed our waking
hours;" and I will tell thee a tale which shall be our deliverance, if
so Allah please, and which shall turn the King from his blood thirsty
custom." Dunyazad answered "With love and gladness." So when it was
night their father the Wazir carried Shahrazad to the King who was
gladdened at the sight and asked, "Hast thou brought me my need?" and
he answered, "I have." But when the King took her to his bed and fell
to toying with her and wished to go in to her she wept; which made him
ask, "What aileth thee?" She replied, "O King of the age, I have a
younger sister and fief would I take leave of her this night before I
see the dawn." So he sent at once for Dunyazad and she came and kissed
the ground between his hands, when he permitted her to take her seat
near the foot of the couch. Then the King arose and did away with his
bride's maidenhead and the three fell asleep. But when it was midnight
Shahrazad awoke and signalled to her sister Dunyazad who sat up and
said, "Allah upon thee, O my sister, recite to us some new story,
delightsome and delectable, wherewith to while away the waking hours of
our latter night."[FN#39] "With joy and goodly gree," answered
Shahrazad, "if this pious and auspicious King permit me." "Tell on,"
quoth the King who chanced to be sleepless and restless and therefore
was pleased with the prospect of hearing her story. So Shahrazad
rejoiced; and thus, on the first night of the Thousand Nights and a
Night, she began with the


It is related, O auspicious King, that there was a merchant of the
merchants who had much wealth, and business in various cities. Now on a
day he mounted horse and went forth to re cover monies in certain
towns, and the heat sore oppressed him; so he sat beneath a tree and,
putting his hand into his saddle bags, took thence some broken bread
and dry dates and began to break his fast. When he had ended eating the
dates he threw away the stones with force and lo! an Ifrit appeared,
huge of stature and brandishing a drawn sword, wherewith he approached
the mer chant and said, "Stand up that I may slay thee, even as thou
slewest my son!" Asked the merchant, "How have I slain thy son?" and he
answered, "When thou atest dates and threwest away the stones they
struck my son full in the breast as he was walking by, so that he died
forthwith."[FN#40] Quoth the merchant, "Verily from Allah we proceeded
and unto Allah are we re turning. There is no Majesty, and there is no
Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great! If I slew thy son, I slew
him by chance medley. I pray thee now pardon me." Rejoined the Jinni,
"There is no help but I must slay thee." Then he seized him and dragged
him along and, casting him to the earth, raised the sword to strike
him; whereupon the merchant wept, and said, "I commit my case to
Allah," and began repeating these couplets:—

Containeth Time a twain of days, this of blessing that of bane *
     And holdeth Life a twain of halves, this of pleasure that of
See'st not when blows the hurricane, sweeping stark and striking
     strong * None save the forest giant feels the suffering of
     the strain?
How many trees earth nourisheth of the dry and of the green *
     Yet none but those which bear the fruits for cast of stone
See'st not how corpses rise and float on the surface of the tide
     * While pearls o'price lie hidden in the deepest of the
In Heaven are unnumbered the many of the stars * Yet ne'er a star
     but Sun and Moon by eclipse is overta'en.
Well judgedst thou the days that saw thy faring sound and well *
     And countedst not the pangs and pain whereof Fate is ever
The nights have kept thee safe and the safety brought thee pride
     * But bliss and blessings of the night are 'genderers of

When the merchant ceased repeating his verses the Jinni said to him,
"Cut thy words short, by Allah! needs must I slay thee." But the
merchant spake him thus, "Know, O thou Ifrit, that I have debts due to
me and much wealth and children and a wife and many pledges in hand; so
permit me to go home and dis charge to every claimant his claim; and I
will come back to thee at the head of the new year. Allah be my
testimony and surety that I will return to thee; and then thou mayest
do with me as thou wilt and Allah is witness to what I say." The Jinni
took sure promise of him and let him go; so he returned to his own city
and transacted his business and rendered to all men their dues and
after informing his wife and children of what had betided him, he
appointed a guardian and dwelt with them for a full year. Then he
arose, and made the Wuzu ablution to purify himself before death and
took his shroud under his arm and bade farewell to his people, his
neighbours and all his kith and kin, and went forth despite his own
nose.[FN#41] They then began weeping and wailing and beating their
breasts over him; but he travelled until he arrived at the same garden,
and the day of his arrival was the head of the New Year. As he sat
weeping over what had befallen him, behold, a Shaykh,[FN#42] a very
ancient man, drew near leading a chained gazelle; and he saluted that
merchant and wishing him long life said, "What is the cause of thy
sitting in this place and thou alone and this be a resort of evil
spirits?" The merchant related to him what had come to pass with the
Ifrit, and the old man, the owner of the gazelle, wondered and said,
"By Allah, O brother, thy faith is none other than exceeding faith and
thy story right strange; were it graven with gravers on the eye
corners, it were a warner to whoso would be warned." Then seating
himself near the merchant he said, "By Allah, O my brother, I will not
leave thee until I see what may come to pass with thee and this Ifrit."
And presently as he sat and the two were at talk the merchant began to
feel fear and terror and exceeding grief and sorrow beyond relief and
ever growing care and extreme despair. And the owner of the gazelle was
hard by his side; when behold, a second Shaykh approached them, and
with him were two dogs both of greyhound breed and both black. The
second old man after saluting them with the salam, also asked them of
their tidings and said "What causeth you to sit in this place, a
dwelling of the Jann?"[FN#43] So they told him the tale from beginning
to end, and their stay there had not lasted long before there came up a
third Shaykh, and with him a she mule of bright bay coat; and he
saluted them and asked them why they were seated in that place. So they
told him the story from first to last: and of no avail, O my master, is
a twice told tale! There he sat down with them, and lo! a dust cloud
advanced and a mighty send devil appeared amidmost of the waste.
Presently the cloud opened and behold, within it was that Jinni hending
in hand a drawn sword, while his eyes were shooting fire sparks of
rage. He came up to them and, haling away the merchant from among them,
cried to him, "Arise that I may slay thee, as thou slewest my son, the
life stuff of my liver."[FN#44] The merchant wailed and wept, and the
three old men began sighing and crying and weeping and wailing with
their companion. Presently the first old man (the owner of the gazelle)
came out from among them and kissed the hand of the Ifrit and said, "O
Jinni, thou Crown of the Kings of the Jann! were I to tell thee the
story of me and this gazelle and thou shouldst consider it wondrous
wouldst thou give me a third part of this merchant's blood?" Then quoth
the Jinni "Even so, O Shaykh ! if thou tell me this tale, and I hold it
a marvellous, then will I give thee a third of his blood." Thereupon
the old man began to tell

The First Shaykh's Story.

Know O Jinni! that this gazelle is the daughter of my paternal uncle,
my own flesh and blood, and I married her when she was a young maid,
and I lived with her well nigh thirty years, yet was I not blessed with
issue by her. So I took me a concubine[FN#45] who brought to me the
boon of a male child fair as the full moon, with eyes of lovely shine
and eyebrows which formed one line, and limbs of perfect design. Little
by little he grew in stature and waxed tall; and when he was a lad
fifteen years old, it became needful I should journey to certain cities
and I travelled with great store of goods. But the daughter of my uncle
(this gazelle) had learned gramarye and egromancy and clerkly
craft[FN#46] from her childhood; so she bewitched that son of mine to a
calf, and my handmaid (his mother) to a heifer, and made them over to
the herdsman's care. Now when I returned after a long time from my
journey and asked for my son and his mother, she answered me, saying
"Thy slave girl is dead, and thy son hath fled and I know not whither
he is sped." So I remained for a whole year with grieving heart, and
streaming eyes until the time came for the Great Festival of
Allah.[FN#47] Then sent I to my herdsman bidding him choose for me a
fat heifer; and he brought me one which was the damsel, my handmaid,
whom this gazelle had ensorcelled. I tucked up my sleeves and skirt
and, taking a knife, proceeded to cut her throat, but she lowed aloud
and wept bitter tears. Thereat I marvelled and pity seized me and I
held my hand, saying to the herd, "Bring me other than this." Then
cried my cousin, "Slay her, for I have not a fatter nor a fairer!" Once
more I went forward to sacrifice her, but she again lowed aloud upon
which in ruth I refrained and commanded the herdsman to slay her and
flay her. He killed her and skinned her but found in her neither fat
nor flesh, only hide and bone; and I repented when penitence availed me
naught. I gave her to the herdsman and said to him, "Fetch me a fat
calf;" so he brought my son ensorcelled. When the calf saw me, he brake
his tether and ran to me, and fawned upon me and wailed and shed tears;
so that I took pity on him and said to the herdsman, "Bring me a heifer
and let this calf go!" Thereupon my cousin (this gazelle) called aloud
at me, saying, "Needs must thou kill this calf; this is a holy day and
a blessed, whereon naught is slain save what be perfect pure; and we
have not amongst our calves any fatter or fairer than this!" Quoth I,
"Look thou upon the condition of the heifer which I slaughtered at thy
bidding and how we turn from her in disappointment and she profited us
on no wise; and I repent with an exceeding repentance of having killed
her: so this time I will not obey thy bidding for the sacrifice of this
calf." Quoth she, "By Allah the Most Great, the Compassionating, the
Compassionate! there is no help for it; thou must kill him on this holy
day, and if thou kill him not to me thou art no man and I to thee am no
wife." Now when I heard those hard words, not knowing her object I went
up to the calf, knife in hand—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day
and ceased to say her permitted say.[FN#48] Then quoth her sister to
her, "How fair is thy tale, and how grateful, and how sweet and how
tasteful!" And Shahrazad answered her, "What is this to that I could
tell thee on the coming night, were I to live and the King would spare
me?" Then said the King in himself, "By Allah, I will not slay her,
until I shall have heard the rest of her tale." So they slept the rest
of that night in mutual em brace till day fully brake. Then the King
went forth to his audience hall[FN#49] and the Wazir went up with his
daughter's shroud under his arm. The King issued his orders, and
promoted this and deposed that, until the end of the day; and he told
the Wazir no whit of what had happened. But the Minister wondered
thereat with exceeding wonder; and when the Court broke up King
Shahryar entered his palace.

                 When it was the Second Night,

said Dunyazad to her sister Shahrazad, "O my sister, finish for us that
story of the Merchant and the Jinni;" and she answered "With joy and
goodly gree, if the King permit me." Then quoth the King, "Tell thy
tale;" and Shahrazad began in these words: It hath reached me, O
auspicious King and Heaven directed Ruler! that when the merchant
purposed the sacrifice of the calf but saw it weeping, his heart
relented and he said to the herdsman, "Keep the calf among my cattle."
All this the old Shaykh told the Jinni who marvelled much at these
strange words. Then the owner of the gazelle continued:—O Lord of the
Kings of the Jann, this much took place and my uncle's daughter, this
gazelle, looked on and saw it, and said, "Butcher me this calf, for
surely it is a fat one;" but I bade the herdsman take it away and he
took it and turned his face homewards. On the next day as I was sitting
in my own house, lo! the herdsman came and, standing before me said, "O
my master, I will tell thee a thing which shall gladden thy soul, and
shall gain me the gift of good tidings."[FN#50] I answered, "Even so."
Then said he, "O merchant, I have a daughter, and she learned magic in
her childhood from an old woman who lived with us. Yesterday when thou
gavest me the calf, I went into the house to her, and she looked upon
it and veiled her face; then she wept and laughed alternately and at
last she said:—O my father, hath mine honour become so cheap to thee
that thou bringest in to me strange men? I asked her:—Where be these
strange men and why wast thou laughing, and crying?; and she answered,
Of a truth this calf which is with thee is the son of our master, the
merchant; but he is ensorcelled by his stepdame who bewitched both him
and his mother: such is the cause of my laughing; now the reason of his
weeping is his mother, for that his father slew her unawares. Then I
marvelled at this with exceeding marvel and hardly made sure that day
had dawned before I came to tell thee." When I heard, O Jinni, my
herdsman's words, I went out with him, and I was drunken without wine,
from the excess of joy and gladness which came upon me, until I reached
his house. There his daughter welcomed me and kissed my hand, and
forthwith the calf came and fawned upon me as before. Quoth I to the
herdsman's daughter, "Is this true that thou sayest of this calf?"
Quoth she, "Yea, O my master, he is thy son, the very core of thy
heart." I rejoiced and said to her, "O maiden, if thou wilt release him
thine shall be whatever cattle and property of mine are under thy
father's hand." She smiled and answered, "O my master, I have no greed
for the goods nor will I take them save on two conditions; the first
that thou marry me to thy son and the second that I may bewitch her who
bewitched him and imprison her, otherwise I cannot be safe from her
malice and malpractices." Now when I heard, O Jinni, these, the words
of the herdsman's daughter, I replied, "Beside what thou askest all the
cattle and the house hold stuff in thy father's charge are thine and,
as for the daughter of my uncle, her blood is lawful to thee." When I
had spoken, she took a cup and filled it with water: then she recited a
spell over it and sprinkled it upon the calf, saying, "If Almighty
Allah created thee a calf, remain so shaped, and change not; but if
thou be enchanted, return to thy whilom form, by command of Allah Most
Highest!" and lo! he trembled and became a man. Then I fell on his neck
and said, "Allah upon thee, tell me all that the daughter of my uncle
did by thee and by thy mother." And when he told me what had come to
pass between them I said, " O my son, Allah favoured thee with one to
restore thee, and thy right hath returned to thee." Then, O Jinni, I
married the herdsman's daughter to him, and she transformed my wife
into this gazelle, saying:—Her shape is a comely and by no means
loathsome. After this she abode with us night and day, day and night,
till the Almighty took her to Himself. When she deceased, my son fared
forth to the cities of Hind, even to the city of this man who hath done
to thee what hath been done;[FN#51] and I also took this gazelle (my
cousin) and wandered with her from town to town seeking tidings of my
son, till Destiny drove me to this place where I saw the merchant
sitting in tears. Such is my tale! Quoth the Jinni, "This story is
indeed strange, and therefore I grant thee the third part of his
blood." There upon the second old man, who owned the two greyhounds,
came up and said, " O Jinni, if I recount to thee what befel me from my
brothers, these two hounds, and thou see that it is a tale even more
wondrous and marvellous than what thou hast heard, wilt thou grant to
me also the third of this man's blood?" Replied the Jinni, "Thou hast
my word for it, if thine adventures be more marvellous and wondrous."
Thereupon he thus began

The Second Shaykh's Story.

Know, O lord of the Kings of the Jann! that these two dogs are my
brothers and I am the third. Now when our father died and left us a
capital of three thousand gold pieces,[FN#52] I opened a shop with my
share, and bought and sold therein, and in like guise did my two
brothers, each setting up a shop. But I had been in business no long
while before the elder sold his stock for a thousand diners, and after
buying outfit and merchandise, went his ways to foreign parts. He was
absent one whole year with the caravan; but one day as I sat in my
shop, behold, a beggar stood before me asking alms, and I said to him,
"Allah open thee another door!"[FN#53] Whereupon he answered, weeping
the while, "Am I so changed that thou knowest me not?" Then I looked at
him narrowly, and lo! it was my brother, so I rose to him and welcomed
him; then I seated him in my shop and put questions concerning his
case. "Ask me not," answered he; "my wealth is awaste and my state hath
waxed unstated!" So I took him to the Hammam bath[FN#54] and clad him
in a suit of my own and gave him lodging in my house. Moreover, after
looking over the accounts of my stock in trade and the profits of my
business, I found that industry had gained me one thousand diners,
while my principal, the head of my wealth, amounted to two thousand. So
I shared the whole with him saying, "Assume that thou hast made no
journey abroad but hast remained at home; and be not cast down by thine
ill luck." He took the share in great glee and opened for himself a
shop; and matters went on quietly for a few nights and days. But
presently my second brother (yon other dog), also setting his heart
upon travel, sold off what goods and stock in trade he had, and albeit
we tried to stay him he would not be stayed: he laid in an outfit for
the journey and fared forth with certain wayfarers. After an absence of
a whole year he came back to me, even as my elder brother had come
back; and when I said to him, "O my brother, did I not dissuade thee
from travel?" he shed tears and cried, "O my brother, this be destiny's
decree: here I am a mere beggar, penniless[FN#55] and without a shirt
to my back." So I led him to the bath, O Jinni, and clothing him in new
clothes of my own wear, I went with him to my shop and served him with
meat and drink. Furthermore I said to him, "O my brother, I am wont to
cast up my shop accounts at the head of every year, and whatso I shall
find of surplusage is between me and thee."[FN#56] So I proceeded, O
Ifrit, to strike a balance and, finding two thousand diners of profit,
I returned praises to the Creator (be He extolled and exalted!) and
made over one half to my brother, keeping the other to my self.
Thereupon he busied himself with opening a shop and on this wise we
abode many days. After a time my brothers began pressing me to travel
with them; but I refused saying, "What gained ye by travel voyage that
I should gain thereby?" As I would not give ear to them we went back
each to his own shop where we bought and sold as before. They kept
urging me to travel for a whole twelvemonth, but I refused to do so
till full six years were past and gone when I consented with these
words, "O my brothers, here am I, your companion of travel: now let me
see what monies you have by you." I found, however, that they had not a
doit, having squandered their substance in high diet and drinking and
carnal delights. Yet I spoke not a word of reproach; so far from it I
looked over my shop accounts once more, and sold what goods and stock
in trade were mine; and, finding myself the owner of six thousand
ducats, I gladly proceeded to divide that sum in halves, saying to my
brothers, "These three thousand gold pieces are for me and for you to
trade withal," adding, "Let us bury the other moiety underground that
it may be of service in case any harm befal us, in which case each
shall take a thousand wherewith to open shops." Both replied, "Right is
thy recking;" and I gave to each one his thousand gold pieces, keeping
the same sum for myself, to wit, a thousand diners. We then got ready
suitable goods and hired a ship and, having embarked our merchandise,
proceeded on our voyage, day following day, a full month, after which
we arrived at a city, where we sold our venture; and for every piece of
gold we gained ten. And as we turned again to our voyage we found on
the shore of the sea a maiden clad in worn and ragged gear, and she
kissed my hand and said, "O master, is there kindness in thee and
charity? I can make thee a fitting return for them." I answered, "Even
so; truly in me are benevolence and good works, even though thou render
me no return." Then she said, "Take me to wife, O my master, and carry
me to thy city, for I have given myself to thee; so do me a kindness
and I am of those who be meet for good works and charity: I will make
thee a fitting return for these and be thou not shamed by my
condition." When I heard her words, my heart yearned towards her, in
such sort as willed it Allah (be He extolled and exalted!); and took
her and clothed her and made ready for her a fair resting place in the
vessel, and honourably entreated her. So we voyaged on, and my heart
became attached to her with exceeding attachment, and I was separated
from her neither night nor day, and I paid more regard to her than to
my brothers. Then they were estranged from me, and waxed jealous of my
wealth and the quantity of merchandise I had, and their eyes were
opened covetously upon all my property. So they took counsel to murder
me and seize my wealth, saying, "Let us slay our brother and all his
monies will be ours;" and Satan made this deed seem fair in their
sight; so when they found me in privacy (and I sleeping by my wife's
side) they took us both up and cast us into the sea. My wife awoke
startled from her sleep and, forthright becoming an Ifritah,[FN#57] she
bore me up and carried me to an island and disappeared for a short
time; but she returned in the morning and said, "Here am I, thy
faithful slave, who hath made thee due recompense; for I bore thee up
in the waters and saved thee from death by command of the Almighty.
Know—that I am a Jinniyah, and as I saw thee my heart loved thee by
will of the Lord, for I am a believer in Allah and in His Apostle (whom
Heaven bless and preserve!). Thereupon I came to thee conditioned as
thou sawest me and thou didst marry me, and see now I have saved thee
from sinking. But I am angered against thy brothers and assuredly I
must slay them." When I heard her story I was surprised and, thanking
her for all she had done, I said, "But as to slaying my brothers this
must not be." Then I told her the tale of what had come to pass with
them from the beginning of our lives to the end, and on hearing it
quoth she, "This night will I fly as a bird over them and will sink
their ship and slay them." Quoth I, "Allah upon thee, do not thus, for
the proverb saith, O thou who doest good to him that cloth evil, leave
the evil doer to his evil deeds. Moreover they are still my brothers."
But she rejoined, "By Allah, there is no help for it but I slay them."
I humbled myself before her for their pardon, whereupon she bore me up
and flew away with me till at last she set me down on the terrace roof
of my own house. I opened the doors and took up what I had hidden in
the ground; and after I had saluted the folk I opened my shop and
bought me merchandise. Now when night came on I went home, and there I
saw these two hounds tied up; and, when they sighted me, they arose and
whined and fawned upon me; but ere I knew what happened my wife said,
"These two dogs be thy brothers!" I answered, "And who hath done this
thing by them?" and she rejoined, "I sent a message to my sister and
she entreated them on this wise, nor shall these two be released from
their present shape till ten years shall have passed." And now I have
arrived at this place on my way to my wife's sister that she may
deliver them from this condition, after their having endured it for
half a score of years. As I was wending onwards I saw this young man,
who acquainted me with what had befallen him, and I determined not to
fare hence until I should see what might occur between thee and him.
Such is my tale! Then said the Jinni, "Surely this is a strange story
and therefor I give thee the third portion of his blood and his crime."
Thereupon quoth the third Shaykh, the master of the mare mule, to the
Jinni, "I can tell thee a tale more wondrous than these two, so thou
grant me the remainder of his blood and of his offense," and the Jinni
answered, "So be it!" Then the old man began

The Third Shaykh's Story.

Know, O Sultan and head of the Jann, that this mule was my wife. Now it
so happened that I went forth and was absent one whole year; and when I
returned from my journey I came to her by night, and saw a black slave
lying with her on the carpet bed and they were talking, and dallying,
and laughing, and kissing and playing the close buttock game. When she
saw me, she rose and came hurriedly at me with a gugglet[FN#58] of
water; and, muttering spells over it, she besprinkled me and said,
"Come forth from this thy shape into the shape of a dog;" and I became
on the instant a dog. She drove me out of the house, and I ran through
the doorway nor ceased running until I came to a butcher's stall, where
I stopped and began to eat what bones were there. When the stall owner
saw me, he took me and led me into his house, but as soon as his
daughter had sight of me she veiled her face from me, crying out, "Doss
thou bring men to me and dost thou come in with them to me?" Her father
asked, "Where is the man?"; and she answered, "This dog is a man whom
his wife hath ensorcelled and I am able to release him." When her
father heard her words, he said, "Allah upon thee, O my daughter,
release him." So she took a gugglet of water and, after uttering words
over it, sprinkled upon me a few drops, saying, "Come forth from that
form into thy former form." And I returned to my natural shape. Then I
kissed her hand and said, "I wish thou wouldest transform my wife even
as she bans formed me." Thereupon she gave me some water, saying, "As
soon as thou see her asleep, sprinkle this liquid upon her and speak
what words thou heardest me utter, so shall she become whatsoever thou
desirest." I went to my wife and found her fast asleep; and, while
sprinkling the water upon her, I said, "Come forth from that form into
the form of a mare mule." So she became on the instant a she mule, and
she it is whom thou seest with thine eyes, O Sultan and head of the
Kings of the Jann! Then the Jinni turned towards her and said, "Is this
sooth?" And she nodded her head and replied by signs, "Indeed, 'tis the
truth: for such is my tale and this is what hath be fallen me." Now
when the old man had ceased speaking the Jinni shook with pleasure and
gave him the third of the merchant's blood. And Shahrazad perceived the
dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say. Then quoth Dunyazad,
"O. my sister, how pleasant is thy tale, and how tasteful; how sweet
and how grateful!" She replied, "And what is this compared with that I
could tell thee, the night to come, if I live and the King spare
me?"[FN#59] Then thought the King, "By Allah, I will not slay her until
I hear the rest of her tale, for truly it is wondrous." So they rested
that night in mutual embrace until the dawn. After this the King went
forth to his Hall of Estate, and the Wazir and the troops came in and
the court was crowded, and the King gave orders and judged and
appointed and deposed, bidding and forbidding during the rest of the
day. Then the Divan broke up, and King Shahryar entered his palace.

                  When it was the Third Night,

And the King had had his will of the Wazir's daughter, Dunyazad, her
sister, said to her, "Finish for us that tale of thine;" and she
replied, "With joy and goodly gree! It hath reached me, O auspicious
King, that when the third old man told a tale to the Jinni more
wondrous than the two preceding, the Jinni marvelled with exceeding
marvel, and, shaking with delight, cried, Lo! I have given thee the
remainder of the merchant's punishment and for thy sake have I released
him." Thereupon the merchant embraced the old men and thanked them, and
these Shaykhs wished him joy on being saved and fared forth each one
for his own city. Yet this tale is not more wondrous than the
fisherman's story." Asked the King, "What is the fisherman's story?"
And she answered by relating the tale of


It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that there was a Fisher man well
stricken in years who had a wife and three children, and withal was of
poor condition. Now it was his custom to cast his net every day four
times, and no more. On a day he went forth about noontide to the sea
shore, where he laid down his basket; and, tucking up his shirt and
plunging into the water, made a cast with his net and waited till it
settled to the bottom. Then he gathered the cords together and haled
away at it, but found it weighty; and however much he drew it
landwards, he could not pull it up; so he carried the ends ashore and
drove a stake into the ground and made the net fast to it. Then he
stripped and dived into the water all about the net, and left not off
working hard until he had brought it up. He rejoiced thereat and,
donning his clothes, went to the net, when he found in it a dead
jackass which had torn the meshes. Now when he saw it, he exclaimed in
his grief, "There is no Majesty, and there is no Might save in Allah
the Glorious, the Great!" Then quoth he, "This is a strange manner of
daily bread;" and he began re citing in extempore verse:—

O toiler through the glooms of night in peril and in pain * Thy
     toiling stint for daily bread comes not by might and main!
Seest thou not the fisher seek afloat upon the sea * His bread,
     while glimmer stars of night as set in tangled skein.
Anon he plungeth in despite the buffet of the waves * The while
     to sight the bellying net his eager glances strain;
Till joying at the night's success, a fish he bringeth home *
     Whose gullet by the hook of Fate was caught and cut in
When buys that fish of him a man who spent the hours of night *
     Reckless of cold and wet and gloom in ease and comfort fain,
Laud to the Lord who gives to this, to that denies his wishes *
     And dooms one toil and catch the prey and other eat the

Then quoth he, "Up and to it; I am sure of His beneficence,
Inshallah!" So he continued:—

When thou art seized of Evil Fate, assume * The noble soul's long
     suffering: 'tis thy best:
Complain not to the creature; this be plaint * From one most
     Ruthful to the ruthlessest.

The Fisherman, when he had looked at the dead ass, got it free of the
toils and wrung out and spread his net; then he plunged into the sea,
saying, "In Allah's name!" and made a cast and pulled at it, but it
grew heavy and settled down more firmly than the first time. Now he
thought that there were fish in it, and he made it fast, and doffing
his clothes went into the water, and dived and haled until he drew it
up upon dry land. Then found he in it a large earthen pitcher which was
full of sand and mud; and seeing this he was greatly troubled and began
repeating these verses[FN#61]:—

Forbear, O troubles of the world, * And pardon an ye nill
I went to seek my daily bread * I find that breadless I must
For neither handcraft brings me aught * Nor Fate allots to me a
How many fools the Pleiads reach * While darkness whelms the
     wise and ware.

So he prayed pardon of Allah and, throwing away the jar, wrung his net
and cleansed it and returned to the sea the third time to cast his net
and waited till it had sunk. Then he pulled at it and found therein
potsherds and broken glass; whereupon he began to speak these verses:—

He is to thee that daily bread thou canst nor loose nor bind *
     Nor pen nor writ avail thee aught thy daily bread to find:
For joy and daily bread are what Fate deigneth to allow; * This
     soil is sad and sterile ground, while that makes glad the
The shafts of Time and Life bear down full many a man of worth *
     While bearing up to high degree wights of ignoble mind.
So come thou, Death! for verily life is not worth a straw * When
      low the falcon falls withal the mallard wings the wind:
No wonder 'tis thou seest how the great of soul and mind * Are
     poor, and many a loser carle to height of luck designed.
This bird shall overfly the world from east to furthest west *
     And that shall win her every wish though ne'er she leave the

Then raising his eyes heavenwards he said, "O my God![FN#62] verily
Thou wottest that I cast not my net each day save four times[FN#63];
the third is done and as yet Thou hast vouchsafed me nothing. So this
time, O my God, deign give me my daily bread." Then, having called on
Allah's name,[FN#64] he again threw his net and waited its sinking and
settling; whereupon he haled at it but could not draw it in for that it
was entangled at the bottom. He cried out in his vexation "There is no
Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah!" and he began reciting:—

 Fie on this wretched world, an so it be * I must be whelmed by
      grief and misery:
 Tho' gladsome be man's lot when dawns the morn * He drains the
      cup of woe ere eve he see:
 Yet was I one of whom the world when asked * "Whose lot is
      happiest?" oft would say "'Tis he!"

Thereupon he stripped and, diving down to the net, busied him self with
it till it came to land. Then he opened the meshes and found therein a
cucumber shaped jar of yellow copper,[FN#65] evidently full of
something, whose mouth was made fast with a leaden cap, stamped with
the seal ring of our Lord Sulayman son of David (Allah accept the
twain!). Seeing this the Fisherman rejoiced and said, "If I sell it in
the brass bazar 'tis worth ten golden diners." He shook it and finding
it heavy continued, "Would to Heaven I knew what is herein. But I must
and will open it and look to its contents and store it in my bag and
sell it in the brass market." And taking out a knife he worked at the
lead till he had loosened it from the jar; then he laid the cup on the
ground and shook the vase to pour out whatever might be inside. He
found nothing in it; whereat he marvelled with an exceeding marvel. But
presently there came forth from the jar a smoke which spired
heavenwards into aether (whereat he again marvelled with mighty
marvel), and which trailed along earth's surface till presently, having
reached its full height, the thick vapour condensed, and became an
Ifrit, huge of bulk, whose crest touched the clouds while his feet were
on the ground. His head was as a dome, his hands like pitchforks, his
legs long as masts and his mouth big as a cave; his teeth were like
large stones, his nostrils ewers, his eyes two lamps and his look was
fierce and lowering. Now when the Fisherman saw the Ifrit his side
muscles quivered, his teeth chattered, his spittle dried up and he
became blind about what to do. Upon this the Ifrit looked at him and
cried, "There is no god but the God, and Sulayman is the prophet of
God;" presently adding, "O Apostle of Allah, slay me not; never again
will I gainsay thee in word nor sin against thee in deed."[FN#66] Quoth
the Fisherman, "O Marid,[FN#67] diddest thou say, Sulayman the Apostle
of Allah; and Sulayman is dead some thou sand and eight hundred years
ago,[FN#68] and we are now in the last days of the world! What is thy
story, and what is thy account of thyself, and what is the cause of thy
entering into this cucur bit?" Now when the Evil Spirit heard the words
of the Fisher man, quoth he; "There is no god but the God: be of good
cheer, O Fisherman!" Quoth the Fisherman, "Why biddest thou me to be of
good cheer?" and he replied, "Because of thy having to die an ill death
in this very hour." Said the Fisherman, "Thou deservest for thy good
tidings the withdrawal of Heaven's protection, O thou distant
one![FN#69] Wherefore shouldest thou kill me and what thing have I done
to deserve death, I who freed thee from the jar, and saved thee from
the depths of the sea, and brought thee up on the dry land?" Replied
the Ifrit, "Ask of me only what mode of death thou wilt die, and by
what manner of slaughter shall I slay thee." Rejoined the Fisherman,
"What is my crime and wherefore such retribution?" Quoth the Ifrit,
"Hear my story, O Fisherman!" and he answered, "Say on, and be brief in
thy saying, for of very sooth my life breath is in my nostrils."[FN#70]
Thereupon quoth the Jinni, "Know, that I am one among the heretical
Jann and I sinned against Sulayman, David son (on the twain be peace!)
I together with the famous Sakhr al Jinni;"[FN#71] whereupon the
Prophet sent his minister, Asaf son of Barkhiya, to seize me; and this
Wazir brought me against my will and led me in bonds to him (I being
downcast despite my nose) and he placed me standing before him like a
suppliant. When Sulayman saw me, he took refuge with Allah and bade me
embrace the True Faith and obey his behests; but I refused, so sending
for this cucurbit[FN#72] he shut me up therein, and stopped it over
with lead whereon he impressed the Most High Name, and gave his orders
to the Jann who carried me off, and cast me into the midmost of the
ocean. There I abode an hundred years, during which I said in my heart,
"Whoso shall release me, him will I enrich for ever and ever." But the
full century went by and, when no one set me free, I entered upon the
second five score saying, "Whoso shall release me, for him I will open
the hoards of the earth." Still no one set me free and thus four
hundred years passed away. Then quoth I, "Whoso shall release me, for
him will I fulfil three wishes." Yet no one set me free. Thereupon I
waxed wroth with exceeding wrath and said to myself, "Whoso shall
release me from this time forth, him will I slay and I will give him
choice of what death he will die; and now, as thou hast released me, I
give thee full choice of deaths." The Fisherman, hearing the words of
the Ifrit, said, "O Allah! the wonder of it that I have not come to
free thee save in these days!" adding, "Spare my life, so Allah spare
thine; and slay me not, lest Allah set one to slay thee." Replied the
Contumacious One, "There is no help for it; die thou must; so ask me by
way of boon what manner of death thou wilt die." Albeit thus certified
the Fisherman again addressed the Ifrit saying, "Forgive me this my
death as a generous reward for having freed thee;" and the Ifrit,
"Surely I would not slay thee save on account of that same release." "O
Chief of the Ifrits," said the Fisherman, "I do thee good and thou
requitest me with evil! in very sooth the old saw lieth not when it

We wrought them weal, they met our weal with ill; * Such, by my
     life! is every bad man's labour:
To him who benefits unworthy wights * Shall hap what inapt to
     Ummi Amir's neighbor.[FN#73]"

Now when the Ifrit heard these words he answered, "No more of this
talk, needs must I kill thee." Upon this the Fisherman said to himself,
"This is a Jinni; and I am a man to whom Allah hath given a passably
cunning wit, so I will now cast about to com pass his destruction by my
contrivance and by mine intelligence; even as he took counsel only of
his malice and his frowardness."[FN#74] He began by asking the Ifrit,
"Hast thou indeed resolved to kill me?" and, receiving for all answer,
"Even so," he cried, "Now in the Most Great Name, graven on the seal
ring of Sulayman the Son of David (peace be with the holy twain!), an I
question thee on a certain matter wilt thou give me a true answer?" The
Ifrit replied "Yea;" but, hearing mention of the Most Great Name, his
wits were troubled and he said with trembling, "Ask and be brief."
Quoth the Fisherman, "How didst thou fit into this bottle which would
not hold thy hand; no, nor even thy foot, and how came it to be large
enough to contain the whole of thee?" Replied the Ifrit, "What! cost
not believe that I was all there?" and the Fisherman rejoined, "Nay! I
will never believe it until I see thee inside with my own eyes." And
Shahrazad per ceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted

                 When it was the Fourth Night,

Her sister said to her, "Please finish us this tale, an thou be not
sleepy!" so she resumed:—It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that
when the Fisherman said to the Ifrit, "I will never and nowise believe
thee until I see thee inside it with mine own eyes;" the Evil Spirit on
the instant shook[FN#75] and became a vapour, which condensed, and
entered the jar little and little, till all was well inside when lo!
the Fisherman in hot haste took the leaden cap with the seal and
stoppered therewith the mouth of the jar and called out to the Ifrit,
saying, "Ask me by way of boon what death thou wilt die! By Allah, I
will throw thee into the sea[FN#76] be fore us and here will I build me
a lodge; and whoso cometh hither I will warn him against fishing and
will say:—In these waters abideth an Ifrit who giveth as a last favour
a choice of deaths and fashion of slaughter to the man who saveth him!"
Now when the Ifrit heard this from the Fisherman and saw him self in
limbo, he was minded to escape, but this was prevented by Solomon's
seal; so he knew that the Fisherman had cozened and outwitted him, and
he waxed lowly and submissive and began humbly to say, "I did but jest
with thee." But the other an swered, "Thou liest, O vilest of the
Ifrits, and meanest and filthiest!" and he set off with the bottle for
the sea side; the Ifrit calling out "Nay! Nay!" and he calling out
"Aye! Aye !" There upon the Evil Spirit softened his voice and smoothed
his speech and abased himself, saying, "What wouldest thou do with me,
O Fisherman?" "I will throw thee back into the sea," he answered;
"where thou hast been housed and homed for a thousand and eight hundred
years; and now I will leave thee therein till Judgment day: did I not
say to thee:—Spare me and Allah shall spare thee; and slay me not lest
Allah slay thee? yet thou spurn east my supplication and hadst no
intention save to deal un graciously by me, and Allah hath now thrown
thee into my hands and I am cunninger than thou." Quoth the Ifrit,
"Open for me and I may bring thee weal." Quoth the Fisherman, "Thou
liest, thou accursed! my case with thee is that of the Wazir of King
Yunan with the sage Duban."[FN#77] "And who was the Wazir of King Yunan
and who was the sage Duban; and what was the story about them?" quoth
the Ifrit, whereupon the Fisherman began to tell

The Tale of the Wazir and the Sage Duban.

Know, O thou Ifrit, that in days of yore and in ages long gone before,
a King called Yunan reigned over the city of Fars of the land of the
Roum.[FN#78] He was a powerful ruler and a wealthy, who had armies and
guards and allies of all nations of men; but his body was afflicted
with a leprosy which leaches and men of science failed to heal. He
drank potions and he swallowed pow ders and he used unguents, but
naught did him good and none among the host of physicians availed to
procure him a cure. At last there came to his city a mighty healer of
men and one well stricken in years, the sage Duban highs. This man was
a reader of books, Greek, Persian, Roman, Arabian, and Syrian; and he
was skilled in astronomy and in leechcraft, the theorick as well as the
practick; he was experienced in all that healeth and that hurteth the
body; conversant with the virtues of every plant, grass and herb, and
their benefit and bane; and he understood philosophy and had compassed
the whole range of medical science and other branches of the knowledge
tree. Now this physician passed but few days in the city, ere he heard
of the King's malady and all his bodily sufferings through the leprosy
with which Allah had smitten him; and how all the doctors and wise men
had failed to heal him. Upon this he sat up through the night in deep
thought and, when broke the dawn and appeared the morn and light was
again born, and the Sun greeted the Good whose beauties the world
adorn,[FN#79] he donned his handsomest dress and going in to King
Yunan, he kissed the ground before him: then he prayed for the
endurance of his honour and prosperity in fairest language and made
himself known saying, "O King, tidings have reached I me of what befel
thee through that which is in thy person; and how the host of
physicians have proved themselves unavailing to abate it; and lo! I can
cure thee, O King; and yet will I not make thee drink of draught or
anoint thee with ointment." Now when King Yunan heard his words he said
in huge surprise, "How wilt thou do this? By Allah, if thou make me
whole I will enrich thee even to thy son's son and I will give thee
sumptuous gifts; and whatso thou wishest shall be thine and thou shalt
be to me a cup companion[FN#80] and a friend." The King then robed him
with a dress of honour and entreated him graciously and asked him,
"Canst thou indeed cure me of this complaint without drug and unguent?"
and he answered, "Yes! I will heal I thee without the pains and
penalties of medicine." The King marvelled with exceeding marvel and
said, "O physician, when shall be this whereof thou speakest, and in
how many days shall it take place? Haste thee, O my son!" He replied,"I
hear and I obey; the cure shall begin tomorrow." So saying he went
forth from the presence, and hired himself a house in the city for the
better storage of his books and scrolls, his medicines and his aromatic
roots. Then he set to work at choosing the fittest drugs and simples
and he fashioned a bat hollow within, and furnished with a handle
without, for which he made a ball; the two being prepared with
consummate art. On the next day when both were ready for use and wanted
nothing more, he went up to the King; and, kissing the ground between
his hands bade him ride forth on the parade ground[FN#81] there to play
at pall and mall. He was accompanied by his suite, Emirs and
Chamberlains, Wazirs and Lords of the realm and, ere he was seated, the
sage Duban came up to him, and handing him the bat said, "Take this
mall and grip it as I do; so! and now push for the plain and leaning
well over thy horse drive the ball with all thy might until thy palm be
moist and thy body perspire: then the medicine will penetrate through
thy palm and will permeate thy person. When thou hast done with playing
and thou feelest the effects of the medicine, return to thy palace, and
make the Ghusl ablation[FN#82] in the Hammam bath, and lay thee down to
sleep; so shalt thou be come whole; and now peace be with thee!"
Thereupon King Yunan took the bat from the Sage and grasped it firmly;
then, mounting steed, he drove the ball before him and gallopped after
it till he reached it, when he struck it with all his might, his palm
gripping the bat handle the while; and he ceased not malling the ball
till his hand waxed moist and his skin, perspiring, imbibed the
medicine from the wood. Then the sage Duban knew that the drugs had
penetrated his person and bade him return to the palace and enter the
Hammam without stay or delay; so King Yunan forthright returned and
ordered them to clear for him the bath. They did so, the carpet
spreaders making all haste, and the slaves all hurry and got ready a
change of raiment for the King. He entered the bath and made the total
ablution long and thoroughly; then donned his clothes within the Hammam
and rode therefrom to his palace where he lay him down and slept. Such
was the case with King Yunan, but as regards the sage Duban, he
returned home and slept as usual and when morning dawned he repaired to
the palace and craved audience. The King ordered him to be admitted;
then, having kissed the ground between his hands, in allusion to the
King he recited these couplets with solemn intonation:—

Happy is Eloquence when thou art named her sire * But mourns
     she whenas other man the title claimed.
O Lord of fairest presence, whose illuming rays * Clear off the
     fogs of doubt aye veiling deeds high famed,
Ne'er cease thy face to shine like Dawn and rise of Morn * And
     never show Time's face with heat of ire inflamed!
Thy grace hath favoured us with gifts that worked such wise * As
     rain clouds raining on the hills by words enframed:
Freely thou lavishedst thy wealth to rise on high * Till won from
     Time the heights whereat thy grandeur aimed.

Now when the Sage ceased reciting, the King rose quickly to his feet
and fell on his neck; then, seating him by his side he bade dress him
in a sumptuous dress; for it had so happened that when the King left
the Hammam he looked on his body and saw no trace of leprosy: the skin
was all clean as virgin silver. He joyed thereat with exceeding joy,
his breast broadened[FN#83] with delight and he felt thoroughly happy.
Presently, when it was full day he entered his audience hall and sat
upon the throne of his kingship whereupon his Chamberlains and Grandees
flocked to the presence and with them the Sage Duban. Seeing the leach
the King rose to him in honour and seated him by his side; then the
food trays furnished with the daintiest viands were brought and the
physician ate with the King, nor did he cease companying him all that
day. Moreover, at nightfall he gave the physician Duban two thousand
gold pieces, besides the usual dress of honour and other gifts galore,
and sent him home on his own steed. After the Sage had fared forth King
Yunan again expressed his amazement at the leach's art, saying, "This
man medicined my body from without nor anointed me with aught of
ointments: by Allah, surely this is none other than consummate skill! I
am bound to honour such a man with re wards and distinction, and take
him to my companion and my friend during the remainder of my days." So
King Yunan passed the night in joy and gladness for that his body had
been made whole and had thrown off so pernicious a malady. On the
morrow the King went forth from his Serraglio and sat upon his throne,
and the Lords of Estate stood about him, and the Emirs and Wazirs sat
as was their wont on his right hand and on his left. Then he asked for
the Sage Duban, who came in and kissed the ground before him, when the
King rose to greet him and, seating him by his side, ate with him and
wished him long life. Moreover he robed him and gave him gifts, and
ceased not con versing with him until night approached. Then the King
ordered him, by way of salary, five dresses of honour and a thousand
dinars.[FN#84] The physician returned to his own house full of
gratitude to the King. Now when next morning dawned the King repaired
to his audience hall, and his Lords and Nobles surrounded him and his
Chamberlains and his Ministers, as the white en closeth the black of
the eye.[FN#85] Now the King had a Wazir among his Wazirs, unsightly to
look upon, an ill omened spectacle; sor did, ungenerous, full of envy
and evil will. When this Minister saw the King place the physician near
him and give him all these gifts, he jaloused him and planned to do him
a harm, as in the saying on such subject, "Envy lurks in every body;"
and the say ing, "Oppression hideth in every heart: power revealeth it
and weakness concealeth it." Then the Minister came before the King
and, kissing the ground between his hands, said, "O King of the age and
of all time, thou in whose benefits I have grown to manhood, I have
weighty advice to offer thee, and if I withhold it I were a son of
adultery and no true born man; wherefore an thou order me to disclose
it I will so do forthwith." Quoth the King (and he was troubled at the
words of the Minister), "And what is this counsel of thine?" Quoth he,
"O glorious monarch, the wise of old have said:—Whoso regardeth not the
end, hath not Fortune to friend; and indeed I have lately seen the King
on far other than the right way; for he lavisheth largesse on his
enemy, on one whose object is the decline and fall of his king ship: to
this man he hath shown favour, honouring him with over honour and
making of him an intimate. Wherefore I fear for the King's life." The
King, who was much troubled and changed colour, asked, "Whom cost thou
suspect and anent whom doest thou hint?" and the Minister answered, "O
King, an thou be asleep, wake up! I point to the physician Duban."
Rejoined the King, "Fie upon thee! This is a true friend who is
favoured by me above all men, because he cured me with some thing which
I held in my hand, and he healed my leprosy which had baffled all
physicians; indeed he is one whose like may not be found in these
days—no, not in the whole world from furthest east to utmost west! And
it is of such a man thou sayest such hard sayings. Now from this day
forward I allot him a settled solde and allowances, every month a
thousand gold pieces; and, were I to share with him my realm 'twere but
a little matter. Perforce I must suspect that thou speakest on this
wise from mere envy and jealousy as they relate of the King
Sindibad."—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day, and ceased saying
her permitted say. Then quoth Dunyazad, "O my sister, how pleasant is
thy tale, and how tasteful, how sweet, and how grateful!" She replied,
"And where is this compared with what I could tell thee on the coming
night if the King deign spare my life?" Then said the King in himself,
"By Allah, I will not slay her until I hear the rest of her tale, for
truly it is wondrous." So they rested that night in mutual embrace
until the dawn. Then the King went forth to his Hall of Rule, and the
Wazir and the troops came in, and the audience chamber was thronged and
the King gave orders and judged and appointed and deposed and bade and
forbade during the rest of that day till the Court broke up, and King
Shahryar returned to his palace.

                  When It Was The Fifth Night,

Her sister said, "Do you finish for us thy story if thou be not
sleepy," and she resumed:—It hath reached me, O auspicious King and
mighty Monarch, that King Yunan said to his Minister, "O Wazir, thou
art one whom the evil spirit of envy hath possessed because of this
physician, and thou plottest for my putting him to death, after which I
should repent me full sorely, even as repented King Sindibad for
killing his falcon." Quoth the Wazir, Pardon me, O King of the age, how
was that?" So the King began the story of

King Sindibad and his Falcon.

It is said (but Allah is All knowing![FN#86]) that there was a King of
the Kings of Fars, who was fond of pleasuring and diversion, especially
coursing end hunting. He had reared a falcon which he carried all night
on his fist, and whenever he went a chasing he took with him this bird;
and he bade make for her a golden cuplet hung around her neck to give
her drink therefrom. One day as the King was sitting quietly in his
palace, behold, the high falcaner of the household suddenly addressed
him, "O King of the age, this is indeed a day fit for birding." The
King gave orders accordingly and set out taking the hawk on fist; and
they fared merrily forwards till they made a Wady[FN#87] where they
planted a circle of nets for the chase; when lo! a gazelle came within
the toils and the King cried, "Whoso alloweth yon gazelle to spring
over his head and loseth her, that man will I surely slay." They
narrowed the nets about the gazelle when she drew near the King's
station; and, planting herself on her hind quarter, crossed her
forehand over her breast, as if about to kiss the earth before the
King. He bowed his brow low in acknowledgment to the beast; when she
bounded high over his head and took the way of the waste. Thereupon the
King turned towards his troops and seeing them winking and pointing at
him, he asked, "O Wazir, what are my men saying?" and the Minister
answered, "They say thou didst proclaim that whoso alloweth the gazelle
to spring over his head, that man shall be put to death." Quoth the
King, "Now, by the life of my head! I will follow her up till I bring
her back." So he set off gallopping on the gazelle's trail and gave not
over tracking till he reached the foot hills of a mountain chain where
the quarry made for a cave. Then the King cast off at it the falcon
which presently caught it up and, swooping down, drove her talons into
its eyes, bewildering and blinding it;[FN#88] and the King drew his
mace and struck a blow which rolled the game over. He then dismounted;
and, after cutting the antelope's throat and flaying the body, hung it
to the pommel of his saddle. Now the time was that of the siesta[FN#89]
and the wold was parched and dry, nor was any water to be found
anywhere; and the King thirsted and his horse also; so he went about
searching till he saw a tree dropping water, as it were melted butter,
from its boughs. Thereupon the King who wore gauntlets of skin to guard
him against poisons took the cup from the hawk's neck, and filling it
with the water set it before the bird, and lo! the falcon struck it
with her pounces and upset the liquid. The King filled it a second time
with the dripping drops, thinking his hawk was thirsty; but the bird
again struck at the cup with her talons and overturned it. Then the
King waxed wroth with the hawk and filling the cup a third time offered
it to his horse: but the hawk upset it with a flirt of wings. Quoth the
King, "Allah confound thee, thou unluckiest of flying things! thou
keepest me from drinking, and thou deprivest thyself also, and the
horse." So he struck the falcon with his sword and cut off her wing;
but the bird raised her head and said by signs, "Look at that which
hangeth on the tree!" The King lifted up his eyes accordingly and
caught sight of a brood of vipers, whose poison drops he mistook for
water; thereupon he repented him of having struck off his falcon's
wing, and mounting horse, fared on with the dead gazelle, till he
arrived at the camp, his starting place. He threw the quarry to the
cook saying, Take and broil it," and sat down on his chair, the falcon
being still on his fist when suddenly the bird gasped and died;
whereupon the King cried out in sorrow and remorse for having slain
that falcon which had saved his life. Now this is what occurred in the
case of King Sindibad; and I am assured that were I to do as thou
desirest I should repent even as the man who killed his parrot." Quoth
the Wazir, "And how was that?" And the King began to tell

The Tale of the Husband and the Parrot.[FN#90]

A certain man and a merchant to boot had married a fair wife, a woman
of perfect beauty and grace, symmetry and loveliness, of whom he was
mad-jealous, and who contrived successfully to keep him from travel. At
last an occasion compelling him to leave her, he went to the bird
market and bought him for one hundred gold pieces a she parrot which he
set in his house to act as duenna, expecting her to acquaint him on his
return with what had passed during the whole time of his absence; for
the bird was kenning and cunning and never forgot what she had seen and
heard. Now his fair wife had fallen in love with a young Turk, [FN#91]
who used to visit her, and she feasted him by day and lay with him by
night. When the man had made his journey and won his wish he came home;
and, at once causing the Parrot be brought to him, questioned her
concerning the conduct of his consort whilst he was in foreign parts.
Quoth she, "Thy wife hath a man friend who passed every night with her
during thine absence." Thereupon the husband went to his wife in a
violent rage and bashed her with a bashing severe enough to satisfy any
body. The woman, suspecting that one of the slave girls had been
tattling to the master, called them together and questioned them upon
their oaths, when all swore that they had kept the secret, but that the
Parrot had not, adding, "And we heard her with our own ears." Upon this
the woman bade one of the girls to set a hand mill under the cage and
grind therewith and a second to sprinkle water through the cage roof
and a third to run about, right and left, dashing a mirror of bright
steel through the livelong night. Next morning when the husband
returned home after being entertained by one of his friends, he bade
bring the Parrot before him and asked what had taken place whilst he
was away. "Pardon me, O my master," quoth the bird, "I could neither
hear nor see aught by reason of the exceeding murk and the thunder and
lightning which lasted throughout the night." As it happened to be the
summer tide the master was astounded and cried, "But we are now in mid
Tammuz,[FN#92] and this is not the time for rains and storms." "Ay, by
Allah," rejoined the bird, "I saw with these eyes what my tongue hath
told thee." Upon this the man, not knowing the case nor smoking the
plot, waxed exceeding wroth; and, holding that his wife had been
wrongously accused, put forth his hand and pulling the Parrot from her
cage dashed her upon the ground with such force that he killed her on
the spot. Some days after wards one of his slave girls confessed to him
the whole truth,[FN#93] yet would he not believe it till he saw the
young Turk, his wife's lover, coming out of her chamber, when he bared
his blade [FN#94] and slew him by a blow on the back of the neck; and
he did the same by the adulteress; and thus the twain, laden with
mortal sin, went straightways to Eternal Fire. Then the merchant knew
that the Parrot had told him the truth anent all she had seen and he
mourned grievously for her loss, when mourning availed him not. The
Minister, hearing the words of King Yu nan, rejoined, 'O Monarch, high
in dignity, and what harm have I done him, or what evil have I seen
from him that I should compass his death? I would not do this thing,
save to serve thee, and soon shalt thou sight that it is right; and if
thou accept my advice thou shalt be saved, otherwise thou shalt be
destroyed even as a certain Wazir who acted treacherously by the young
Prince." Asked the King, "How was that?" and the Minister thus began

The Tale of the Prince and the Ogress.

A certain King, who had a son over much given to hunting and coursing,
ordered one of his Wazirs to be in attendance upon him whithersoever he
might wend. One day the youth set out for the chase accompanied by his
father's Minister; and, as they jogged on together, a big wild beast
came in sight. Cried the Wazir to the King's son, "Up and at yon noble
quarry!" So the Prince followed it until he was lost to every eye and
the chase got away from him in the waste; whereby he was confused and
he knew not which way to turn, when lo! a damsel appeared ahead and she
was in tears. The King's son asked, "Who art thou?" and she answered,
"I am daughter to a King among the Kings of Hind, and I was travelling
with a caravan in the desert when drowsiness overcame me, and I fell
from my beast unwittingly whereby I am cut off from my people and sore
bewildered." The Prince, hearing these words, pitied her case and,
mounting her on his horse's crupper, travelled until he passed by an
old ruin [FN#95], when the damsel said to him, "O my master, I wish to
obey a call of nature": he therefore set her down at the ruin where she
delayed so long that the King's son thought that she was only wasting
time; so he followed her without her knowledge and behold, she was a
Ghulah,[FN#96] a wicked Ogress, who was saying to her brood, "O my
children, this day I bring you a fine fat youth, [FN#97] for dinner;"
whereto they answered, "Bring him quick to us, O our mother, that we
may browse upon him our bellies full." The Prince hearing their talk,
made sure of death and his side muscles quivered in fear for his life,
so he turned away and was about to fly. The Ghulah came out and seeing
him in sore affright (for he was trembling in every limb? cried,
"Wherefore art thou afraid?" and he replied, "I have hit upon an enemy
whom I greatly fear." Asked the Ghulah, "Diddest thou not say: - I am a
King's son?" and he answered, "Even so." Then quoth she, "Why cost not
give shine enemy something of money and so satisfy him?" Quoth he, "He
will not be satisfied with my purse but only with my life, and I
mortally fear him and am a man under oppression." She replied, "If thou
be so distressed, as thou deemest, ask aid against him from Allah, who
will surely protect thee from his ill doing and from the evil whereof
thou art afraid." Then the Prince raised his eyes heavenwards and
cried, "O Thou who answerest the necessitous when he calleth upon Thee
and dispellest his distress; O my God ! grant me victory over my foe
and turn him from me, for Thou over all things art Almighty." The
Ghulah, hearing his prayer, turned away from him, and the Prince
returned to his father, and told him the tale of the Wazir; whereupon
the King summoned the Minister to his presence and then and there slew
him. Thou likewise, O King, if thou continue to trust this leach, shalt
be made to die the worst of deaths. He verily thou madest much of and
whom thou entreatedest as an intimate, will work thy destruction. Seest
thou not how he healed the disease from outside thy body by something
grasped in thy hand? Be not assured that he will not destroy thee by
something held in like manner! Replied King Yunan, "Thou hast spoken
sooth, O Wazir, it may well be as thou hintest O my well advising
Minister; and belike this Sage hath come as a spy searching to put me
to death; for assuredly if he cured me by a something held in my hand,
he can kill me by a something given me to smell." Then asked King
Yunan, "O Minister, what must be done with him?" and the Wazir
answered, "Send after him this very instant and summon him to thy
presence; and when he shall come strike him across the neck; and thus
shalt thou rid thyself of him and his wickedness, and deceive him ere
he can I deceive thee." 'Thou hast again spoken sooth, O Wazir," said
the King and sent one to call the Sage who came in joyful mood for he
knew not what had appointed for him the Compassionate; as a certain
poet saith by way of illustration:—

O Thou who fearest Fate, confiding fare * Trust all to Him who
     built the world and wait:
What Fate saith "Be" perforce must be, my lord! * And safe art
     thou from th undecreed of Fate.

As Duban the physician entered he addressed the King in these lines:—

An fail I of my thanks to thee nor thank thee day by day * For
     whom com posed I prose and verse, for whom my say and lay?
Thou lavishedst thy generous gifts ere they were craved by me *
     Thou lavishedst thy boons unsought sans pretext or delay:
How shall I stint my praise of thee, how shall I cease to laud *
     The grace of thee in secresy and patentest display?
Nay; I will thank thy benefits, for aye thy favours lie * Light
     on my thought and tongue, though heavy on my back they

And he said further on the same theme:—

Turn thee from grief nor care a jot! * Commit thy needs to Fate
     and Lot!
Enjoy the Present passing well * And let the Past be clean forgot
For whatso haply seemeth worse * Shall work thy weal as Allah
Allah shall do whate'er He wills * And in His will oppose Him

And further still.—

To th' All wise Subtle One trust worldly things * Rest thee from
     all whereto the worldling clings:
Learn wisely well naught cometh by thy will * But e'en as willeth
     Allah, King of Kings.

And lastly.—

Gladsome and gay forget thine every grief * Full often grief the
     wisest hearts outwore:
Thought is but folly in the feeble slave * Shun it and so be
     saved evermore.

Said the King for sole return, "Knowest thou why I have summoned thee?"
and the Sage replied, "Allah Most Highest alone kenneth hidden things!"
But the King rejoined, "I summoned thee only to take thy life and
utterly to destroy thee." Duban the Wise wondered at this strange
address with exceeding wonder and asked, "O King, and wherefore
wouldest thou slay me, and what ill have I done thee?" and the King
answered, "Men tell me thou art a spy sent hither with intent to slay
me; and lo! I will kill thee ere I be killed by thee;" then he called
to his Sworder, and said, "Strike me off the head of this traitor and
deliver us from his evil practices." Quoth the Sage, "Spare me and
Allah will spare thee; slay me not or Allah shall slay thee." And he
repeated to him these very words, even as I to thee, O Ifrit, and yet
thou wouldst not let me go, being bent upon my death. King Yunan only
rejoined, "I shall not be safe without slaying thee; for, as thou
healedst me by something held in hand, so am I not secure against thy
killing me by something given me to smell or otherwise." Said the
physician, "This then, O King, is thy requital and reward; thou
returnest only evil for good." The King replied, "There is no help for
it; die thou must and without delay." Now when the physician was
certified that the King would slay him without waiting, he wept and
regretted the good he had done to other than the good. As one hath said
on this subject:—

Of wit and wisdom is Maymunah[FN#98] bare * Whose sire in
     wisdom all the wits outstrippeth:
Man may not tread on mud or dust or clay * Save by good sense,
     else trippeth he and slippeth.

Hereupon the Sworder stepped forward and bound the Sage Duban's eyes
and bared his blade, saying to the King, "By thy leave;" while the
physician wept and cried, "Spare me and Allah will spare thee, and slay
me not or Allah shall slay thee," and began repeating:—

I was kind and 'scaped not, they were cruel and escaped; * And my
     kindness only led me to Ruination Hall,
If I live I'll ne'er be kind; if I die, then all be damned * Who
     follow me, and curses their kindliness befal.

"Is this," continued Duban, "the return I meet from thee? Thou givest
me, meseems, but crocodile boon." Quoth the King,"What is the tale of
the crocodile?", and quoth the physician, "Impossible for me to tell it
in this my state; Allah upon thee, spare me, as thou hopest Allah shall
spare thee." And he wept with ex ceeding weeping. Then one of the
King's favourites stood up and said, "O King! grant me the blood of
this physician; we have never seen him sin against thee, or doing aught
save healing thee from a disease which baffled every leach and man of
science." Said the King, "Ye wot not the cause of my putting to death
this physician, and this it is. If I spare him, I doom myself to
certain death; for one who healed me of such a malady by something held
in my hand, surely can slay me by something held to my nose; and I fear
lest he kill me for a price, since haply he is some spy whose sole
purpose in coming hither was to compass my destruction. So there is no
help for it; die he must, and then only shall I be sure of my own
life." Again cried Duban, "Spare me and Allah shall spare thee; and
slay me not or Allah shall slay thee." But it was in vain. Now when the
physician, O Ifrit, knew for certain that the King would kill him, he
said, "O King, if there be no help but I must die, grant me some little
delay that I may go down to my house and release myself from mine
obligations and direct my folk and my neighbours where to bury me and
distribute my books of medicine. Amongst these I have one, the rarest
of rarities, which I would present to thee as an offering: keep it as a
treasure in thy treasury." "And what is in the book?" asked the King
and the Sage answered, "Things beyond compt; and the least of secrets
is that if, directly after thou hast cut off my head, thou open three
leaves and read three lines of the page to thy left hand, my head shall
speak and answer every question thou deignest ask of it." The King
wondered with exceeding wonder and shaking[FN#99] with delight at the
novelty, said, "O physician, cost thou really tell me that when I cut
off thy head it will speak to me?" He replied, "Yes, O King!" Quoth the
King, "This is indeed a strange matter!" and forthwith sent him closely
guarded to his house, and Duban then and there settled all his
obligations. Next day he went up to the King's audience hall, where
Emirs and Wazirs, Chamberlains and Nabobs, Grandees and Lords of Estate
were gathered together, making the presence chamber gay as a garden of
flower beds. And lo! the physician came up and stood before the King,
bearing a worn old volume and a little etui of metal full of powder,
like that used for the eyes.[FN#100] Then he sat down and said, "Give
me a tray." So they brought him one and he poured the powder upon it
and levelled it and lastly spake as follows: "O King, take this book
but do not open it till my head falls; then set it upon this tray, and
bid press it down upon the powder, when forthright the blood will cease
flowing. That is the time to open the book." The King thereupon took
the book and made a sign to the Sworder, who arose and struck off the
physician's head, and placing it on the middle of the tray, pressed it
down upon the powder. The blood stopped flowing, and the Sage Duban
unclosed his eyes and said, "Now open the book, O King!" The King
opened the book, and found the leaves stuck together; so he put his
finger to his mouth and, by moistening it, he easily turned over the
first leaf, and in like way the second, and the third, each leaf
opening with much trouble; and when he had un stuck six leaves he
looked over them and, finding nothing written thereon, said, "O
physician, there is no writing here!" Duban re plied, "Turn over yet
more;" and he turned over three others in the same way. Now the book
was poisoned; and before long the venom penetrated his system, and he
fell into strong convulsions and he cried out, "The poison hath done
its work!" Whereupon the Sage Duban's head began to improvise:—

There be rulers who have ruled with a foul tyrannic sway *
     But they soon became as though they had never, never been:
Just, they had won justice: they oppressed and were oppress *
     By Fortune, who requited them with ban and bane and teen:
So they faded like the morn, and the tongue of things repeats *
     "Take this far that, nor vent upon Fortune's ways thy

No sooner had the head ceased speaking than the King rolled over dead.
Now I would have thee know, O Ifrit, that if King Yunan had spared the
Sage Duban, Allah would have spared him, but he refused so to do and
decreed to do him dead, wherefore Allah slew him; and thou too, O
Ifrit, if thou hadst spared me, Allah would have spared thee. And
Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted
say: then quoth Dunyazad, "O my sister, how pleasant is thy tale, and
how tasteful; how sweet, and how grateful!" She replied, "And where is
this compared with what I could tell thee this coming night, if I live
and the King spare me?" Said the King in himself, "By Allah, I will not
slay her until I hear the rest of her story, for truly it is wondrous."
They rested that night in mutual embrace until dawn: then the King went
forth to his Darbar; the Wazirs and troops came in and the audience
hall was crowded; so the King gave orders and judged and appointed and
deposed and bade and forbade the rest of that day, when the court broke
up, and King Shahryar entered his palace,

                  When it was the Sixth Night,

Her sister, Dunyazad, said to her,"Pray finish for us thy story;" and
she answered, "I will if the King give me leave." "Say on," quoth the
King. And she continued:—It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that
when the Fisherman said to the Ifrit, "If thou hadst spared me I would
have spared thee, but nothing would satisfy thee save my death; so now
I will do thee die by jailing thee in this jar and I will hurl thee
into this sea." Then the Marid roared aloud and cried, "Allah upon
thee, O Fisher man, don't! Spare me, and pardon my past doings; and, as
I have been tyrannous, so be thou generous, for it is said among
sayings that go current:—O thou who doest good to him who hath done
thee evil, suffice for the ill doer his ill deeds, and do not deal with
me as did Umamah to 'Atikah."[FN#101] Asked the Fisherman, "And what
was their case?" and the Ifrit answered, "This is not the time for
story telling and I in this prison; but set me free and I will tell
thee the tale." Quoth the Fisherman, "Leave this language: there is no
help but that thou be thrown back into the sea nor is there any way for
thy getting out of it for ever and ever. Vainly I placed myself under
thy protection,[FN#102] and I humbled my self to thee with weeping,
while thou soughtest only to slay me, who had done thee no injury
deserving this at thy hands; nay, so far from injuring thee by any evil
act, I worked thee nought but weal in releasing thee from that jail of
thine. Now I knew thee to be an evil doer when thou diddest to me what
thou didst, and know, that when I have cast thee back into the sea, I
will warn whomsoever may fish thee up of what hath befallen me with
thee, and I will advise him to toss thee back again; so shalt thou
abide here under these waters till the End of Time shall make an end of
thee." But the Ifrit cried aloud, "Set me free; this is a noble
occasion for generosity and I make covenant with thee and vow never to
do thee hurt and harm; nay, I will help thee to what shall put thee out
of want." The Fisherman accepted his promises on both conditions, not
to trouble him as before, but on the contrary to do him service; and,
after making firm the plight and swearing him a solemn oath by Allah
Most Highest he opened the cucurbit. Thereupon the pillar of smoke rose
up till all of it was fully out; then it thickened and once more became
an Ifrit of hideous presence, who forthright ad ministered a kick to
the bottle and sent it flying into the sea. The Fisherman, seeing how
the cucurbit was treated and making sure of his own death, piddled in
his clothes and said to himself, "This promiseth badly;" but he
fortified his heart, and cried, "O Ifrit, Allah hath said[FN#103]: -
Perform your covenant; for the performance of your covenant shall be
inquired into hereafter. Thou hast made a vow to me and hast sworn an
oath not to play me false lest Allah play thee false, for verily he is
a jealous God who respiteth the sinner, but letteth him not escape. I
say to thee as said the Sage Duban to King Yunan, "Spare me so Allah
may spare thee!" The Ifrit burst into laughter and stalked away, saying
to the Fisherman, "Follow me;" and the man paced after him at a safe
distance (for he was not assured of escape) till they had passed round
the suburbs of the city. Thence they struck into the uncultivated
grounds, and crossing them descended into a broad wilderness, and lo!
in the midst of it stood a mountain tarn. The Ifrit waded in to the
middle and again cried, "Follow me;" and when this was done he took his
stand in the centre and bade the man cast his net and catch his fish.
The Fisherman looked into the water and was much astonished to see
therein vari coloured fishes, white and red, blue and yellow; however
he cast his net and, hauling it in, saw that he had netted four fishes,
one of each colour. Thereat he rejoiced greatly and more when the Ifrit
said to him, "Carry these to the Sultan and set them in his presence;
then he will give thee what shall make thee a wealthy man; and now
accept my excuse, for by Allah at this time I wot none other way of
benefiting thee, inasmuch I have lain in this sea eighteen hundred
years and have not seen the face of the world save within this hour.
But I would not have thee fish here save once a day." The Ifrit then
gave him God speed, saying, Allah grant we meet again;"[FN#104] and
struck the earth with one foot, whereupon the ground clove asunder and
swallowed him up. The Fisherman, much marvelling at what had happened
to him with the Ifrit, took the fish and made for the city; and as soon
as he reached home he filled an earthen bowl with water and therein
threw the fish which began to struggle and wriggle about. Then he bore
off the bowl upon his head and repairing to the King's palace (even as
the Ifrit had bidden him) laid the fish before the presence; and the
King wondered with exceeding wonder at the sight, for never in his
lifetime had' he seen fishes like these in quality or in conformation.
So he said, "Give those fish to the stranger slave girl who now cooketh
for us," meaning the bond maiden whom the King of Roum had sent to him
only three days before, so that he had not yet made trial of her
talents in the dressing of meat. Thereupon the Wazir carried the fish
to the cook and bade her fry them[FN#105] saying, "O damsel, the King
sendeth this say to thee:—I have not treasured thee, O tear o' me! save
for stress time of me; approve, then, to us this day thy delicate
handiwork and thy savoury cooking; for this dish of fish is a present
sent to the Sultan and evidently a rarity." The Wazir, after he had
carefully charged her, returned to the King, who commanded him to give
the Fisherman four hundred diners: he gave them accordingly, and the
man took them to his bosom and ran off home stumbling and falling and
rising again and deeming the whole thing to be a dream. However, he
bought for his family all they wanted and lastly he went to his wife in
huge joy and gladness. So far concerning him; but as regards the
cookmaid, she took the fish and cleansed them and set them in the
frying pan, basting them with oil till one side was dressed. Then she
turned them over and, behold, the kitchen wall crave asunder, and
therefrom came a young lady, fair of form, oval of face, perfect in
grace, with eyelids which Kohl lines enchase.[FN#106] Her dress was a
silken head kerchief fringed and tasseled with blue: a large ring hung
from either ear; a pair of bracelets adorned her wrists; rings with
bezels of priceless gems were on her fingers; and she hent in hand a
long rod of rattan cane which she thrust into the frying pan, saying,
"O fish! O fish! be ye constant to your covenant?" When the cookmaiden
saw this apparition she swooned away. The young lady repeated her words
a second time and a third time, and at last the fishes raised their
heads from the pan, and saying in articulate speech "Yes! Yes!" began
with one voice to recite:—

Come back and so will I! Keep faith and so will I! * And if ye fain
forsake, I'll requite till quits we cry!

After this the young lady upset the frying pan and went forth by the
way she came in and the kitchen wall closed upon her. When the cook
maiden recovered from her fainting fit, she saw the four fishes charred
black as charcoal, and crying out, "His staff brake in his first
bout,"[FN#107] she again fell swooning to the ground. Whilst she was in
this case the Wazir came for the fish and looking upon her as
insensible she lay, not knowing Sunday from Thursday, shoved her with
his foot and said, "Bring the fish for the Sultan!" Thereupon
recovering from her fainting fit she wept and in formed him of her case
and all that had befallen her. The Wazir marvelled greatly and
exclaiming, "This is none other than a right strange matter!", he sent
after the Fisherman and said to him, "Thou, O Fisherman, must needs
fetch us four fishes like those thou broughtest before." Thereupon the
man repaired to the tarn and cast his net; and when he landed it, lo!
four fishes were therein exactly like the first. These he at once
carried to the Wazir, who went in with them to the cook maiden and
said, "Up with thee and fry these in my presence, that I may see this
business." The damsel arose and cleansed the fish, and set them in the
frying pan over the fire; however they remained there but a little
while ere the wall crave asunder and the young lady appeared, clad as
before and holding in hand the wand which she again thrust into the
frying pan, saying, "O fish! O fish! be ye constant to your olden
covenant?" And behold, the fish lifted their heads, and repeated "Yes!
Yes!" and recited this couplet:

Come back and so will I! Keep faith and so will I! * But if ye
     fain forsake, I'll requite till quits we cry!

And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted

                 When it was the Seventh Night,

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the
fishes spoke, and the young lady upset the frying pan with her rod, and
went forth by the way she came and the wall closed up, the Wazir cried
out, "This is a thing not to be hidden from the King." So he went and
told him what had happened, where upon quoth the King, "There is no
help for it but that I see this with mine own eyes." Then he sent for
the Fisherman and commended him to bring four other fish like the first
and to take with him three men as witnesses. The Fisherman at once
brought the fish: and the King, after ordering them to give him four
hundred gold pieces, turned to the Wazir and said, "Up and fry me the
fishes here before me!" The Minister, replying "To hear is to obey,"
bade bring the frying pan, threw therein the cleansed fish and set it
over the fire; when lo! the wall crave asunder, and out burst a black
slave like a huge rock or a remnant of the tribe Ad[FN#108] bearing in
hand a branch of a green tree; and he cried in loud and terrible tones,
"O fish! O fish! be ye all constant to your antique covenant?"
whereupon the fishes lifted their heads from the frying pan and said,
"Yes! Yes ! we be true to our vow;" and they again recited the couplet:

Come back and so will I! Keep faith and so will I! * But if ye fain
forsake, I'll requite till quits we cry!

Then the huge blackamoor approached the frying pan and upset it with
the branch and went forth by the way he came in. When he vanished from
their sight the King inspected the fish; and finding them all charred
black as charcoal, was utterly bewildered and said to the Wazir,
"Verily this is a matter whereanent silence cannot be kept, and as for
the fishes, assuredly some marvellous adventure connects with them." So
he bade bring the Fisherman and asked him, saying "Fie on thee, fellow!
whence came these fishes?" and he answered, "From a tarn between four
heights lying behind this mountain which is in sight of thy city."
Quoth the King, "How many days' march?" Quoth he, "O our lord the
Sultan, a walk of half hour." The King wondered and, straight way
ordering his men to march and horsemen to mount, led off the Fisherman
who went before as guide, privily damning the Ifrit. They fared on till
they had climbed the mountain and descended unto a great desert which
they had never seen during all their lives; and the Sultan and his
merry men marvelled much at the wold set in the midst of four
mountains, and the tarn and its fishes of four colours, red and white,
yellow and blue. The King stood fixed to the spot in wonderment and
asked his troops and all present, "Hath any one among you ever seen
this piece of water before now?" and all made answer, "O King of the
age never did we set eyes upon it during all our days." They also
questioned the oldest inhabitants they met, men well stricken in years,
but they replied, each and every, "A lakelet this we never saw in this
place." Thereupon quoth the King, "By Allah I will neither return to my
capital nor sit upon the throne of my forbears till I learn the truth
about this tarn and the fish therein." He then ordered his men to
dismount and bivouac all around the mountain; which they did; and
summoning his Wazir, a Minister of much experience, sagacious, of
penetrating wit and well versed in affairs, said to him, "'Tis in my
mind to do a certain thing whereof I will inform thee; my heart telleth
me to fare forth alone this night and root out the mystery of this tarn
and its fishes. Do thou take thy seat at my tent door, and say to the
Emirs and Wazirs, the Nabobs and the Chamberlains, in fine to all who
ask thee:—The Sultan is ill at ease, and he hath ordered me to refuse
all admittance;[FN#109] and be careful thou let none know my design."
And the Wazir could not oppose him. Then the King changed his dress and
ornaments and, slinging his sword over his shoulder, took a path which
led up one of the mountains and marched for the rest of the night till
morning dawned; nor did he cease wayfaring till the heat was too much
for him. After his long walk he rested for a while, and then resumed
his march and fared on through the second night till dawn, when
suddenly there appeared a black point in the far distance. Hereat he
rejoiced and said to himself, "Haply some one here shall acquaint me
with the mystery of the tarn and its fishes." Presently drawing near
the dark object he found it a palace built of swart stone plated with
iron; and, while one leaf of the gate stood wide open, the other was
shut, The King's spirits rose high as he stood before the gate and
rapped a light rap; but hearing no answer he knocked a second knock and
a third; yet there came no sign. Then he knocked his loudest but still
no answer, so he said, "Doubtless 'tis empty." Thereupon he mustered up
resolution and boldly walked through the main gate into the great hall
and there cried out aloud, "Holla, ye people of the palace! I am a
stranger and a wayfarer; have you aught here of victual?" He repeated
his cry a second time and a third but still there came no reply; so
strengthening his heart and making up his mind he stalked through the
vestibule into the very middle of the palace and found no man in it.
Yet it was furnished with silken stuffs gold starred; and the hangings
were let down over the door ways. In the midst was a spacious court off
which set four open saloons each with its raised dais, saloon facing
saloon; a canopy shaded the court and in the centre was a jetting fount
with four figures of lions made of red gold, spouting from their mouths
water clear as pearls and diaphanous gems. Round about the palace birds
were let loose and over it stretched a net of golden wire, hindering
them from flying off; in brief there was everything but human beings.
The King marvelled mightily thereat, yet felt he sad at heart for that
he saw no one to give him account of the waste and its tarn, the
fishes, the mountains and the palace itself. Presently as he sat
between the doors in deep thought behold, there came a voice of lament,
as from a heart grief spent and he heard the voice chanting these

I hid what I endured of him[FN#110] and yet it came to light, *
     And nightly sleep mine eyelids fled and changed to sleepless
Oh world! Oh Fate! withhold thy hand and cease thy hurt and
     harm * Look and behold my hapless sprite in colour and
Wilt ne'er show ruth to highborn youth who lost him on the way *
     Of Love, and fell from wealth and fame to lowest basest
Jealous of Zephyr's breath was I as on your form he breathed *
     But whenas Destiny descends she blindeth human sight[FN#111]
What shall the hapless archer do who when he fronts his foe * And
     bends his bow to shoot the shaft shall find his string
When cark and care so heavy bear on youth[FN#112] of generous
     soul * How shall he 'scape his lot and where from Fate his
     place of flight?

Now when the Sultan heard the mournful voice he sprang to his feet;
and, following the sound, found a curtain let down over a chamber door.
He raised it and saw behind it a young man sitting upon a couch about a
cubit above the ground; and he fair to the sight, a well shaped wight,
with eloquence dight; his forehead was flower white, his cheek rosy
bright, and a mole on his cheek breadth like an ambergris mite; even as
the poet cloth indite:—

A youth slim waisted from whose locks and brow * The world in
     blackness and in light is set.
Throughout Creation's round no fairer show * No rarer sight thine
     eye hath ever met:
A nut brown mole sits throned upon a cheek * Of rosiest red
     beneath an eye of jet.[FN#113]

The King rejoiced and saluted him, but he remained sitting in his
caftan of silken stuff pureed with Egyptian gold and his crown studded
with gems of sorts; but his face was sad with the traces of sorrow. He
returned the royal salute in most courteous wise adding, "O my lord,
thy dignity demandeth my rising to thee; and my sole excuse is to crave
thy pardon."[FN#114] Quoth the King, "Thou art excused, O youth; so
look upon me as thy guest come hither on an especial object. I would
thou acquaint me with the secrets of this tarn and its fishes and of
this palace and thy loneliness therein and the cause of thy groaning
and wailing." When the young man heard these words he wept with sore
weeping;[FN#115] till his bosom was drenched with tears and began

Say him who careless sleeps what while the shaft of Fortune flies
     * How many cloth this shifting world lay low and raise to
Although thine eye be sealed in sleep, sleep not th' Almighty's
     eyes * And who hath found Time ever fair, or Fate in
     constant guise?

Then he sighed a long fetched sigh and recited:—

Confide thy case to Him, the Lord who made mankind; * Quit cark
     and care and cultivate content of mind;
Ask not the Past or how or why it came to pass: * All human
     things by Fate and Destiny were designed!

The King marvelled and asked him, "What maketh thee weep, O young man?"
and he answered, "How should I not weep, when this is my case!"
Thereupon he put out his hand and raised the skirt of his garment, when
lo! the lower half of him appeared stone down to his feet while from
his navel to the hair of his head he was man. The King, seeing this his
plight, grieved with sore grief and of his compassion cried, "Alack and
well away! in very sooth, O youth, thou heapest sorrow upon my sorrow.
I was minded to ask thee the mystery of the fishes only: whereas now I
am concerned to learn thy story as well as theirs. But there is no
Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the
Great![FN#116] Lose no time, O youth, but tell me forthright thy whole
tale." Quoth he, "Lend me thine ears, thy sight and thine insight;" and
quoth the King, "All are at thy service!" Thereupon the youth began,
"Right wondrous and marvellous is my case and that of these fishes; and
were it graven with gravers upon the eye corners it were a warner to
whoso would be warned." "How is that?" asked the King, and the young
man began to tell

The Tale of the Ensorcelled Prince.

Know then, O my lord, that whilome my sire was King of this city, and
his name was Mahmud, entitled Lord of the Black Islands, and owner of
what are now these four mountains. He ruled three score and ten years,
after which he went to the mercy of the Lord and I reigned as Sultan in
his stead. I took to wife my cousin, the daughter of my paternal
uncle,[FN#117] and she loved me with such abounding love that whenever
I was absent she ate not and she drank not until she saw me again. She
cohabited with me for five years till a certain day when she went forth
to the Hammam bath; and I bade the cook hasten to get ready all
requisites for our supper. And I entered this palace and lay down on
the bed where I was wont to sleep and bade two damsels to fan my face,
one sitting by my head and the other at my feet. But I was troubled and
made restless by my wife's absence and could not sleep; for although my
eyes were closed my mind and thoughts were wide awake. Presently I
heard the slave girl at my head say to her at my feet, "O Mas'udah, how
miserable is our master and how wasted in his youth and oh! the pity of
his being so be trayed by our mistress, the accursed whore!''[FN#118]
The other replied, "Yes indeed: Allah curse all faithless women and
adulterous; but the like of our master, with his fair gifts, deserveth
something better than this harlot who lieth abroad every night." Then
quoth she who sat by my head, "Is our lord dumb or fit only for
bubbling that he questioneth her not!" and quoth the other, "Fie on
thee! cloth our lord know her ways or cloth she allow him his choice?
Nay, more, cloth she not drug every night the cup she giveth him to
drink before sleep time, and put Bhang[FN#119] into it? So he sleepeth
and wotteth not whither she goeth, nor what she doeth; but we know that
after giving him the drugged wine, she donneth her richest raiment and
perfumeth herself and then she fareth out from him to be away till
break of day; then she cometh to him, and burneth a pastile under his
nose and he awaketh from his deathlike sleep." When I heard the slave
girl's words, the light became black before my sight and I thought
night would never-fall. Presently the daughter of my uncle came from
the baths; and they set the table for us and we ate and sat together a
fair half hour quaffing our wine as was ever our wont. Then she called
for the particular wine I used to drink before sleeping and reached me
the cup; but, seeming to drink it according to my wont, I poured the
contents into my bosom; and, lying down, let her hear that I was
asleep. Then, behold, she cried, "Sleep out the night, and never wake
again: by Allah, I loathe thee and I loathe thy whole body, and my soul
turneth in disgust from cohabiting with thee; and I see not the moment
when Allah shall snatch away thy life!" Then she rose and donned her
fairest dress and perfumed her person and slung my sword over her
shoulder; and, opening the gates of the palace, went her ill way. I
rose and followed her as she left the palace and she threaded the
streets until she came to the city gate, where she spoke words I
understood not, and the padlocks dropped of themselves as if broken and
the gate leaves opened. She went forth (and I after her without her
noticing aught) till she came at last to the outlying mounds[FN#120]
and a reed fence built about a round roofed hut of mud bricks. As she
entered the door, I climbed upon the roof which commanded a view of the
interior, and lo! my fair cousin had gone in to a hideous negro slave
with his upper lip like the cover of a pot, and his lower like an open
pot; lips which might sweep up sand from the gravel-floor of the cot.
He was to boot a leper and a paralytic, lying upon a strew of sugar
cane trash and wrapped in an old blanket and the foulest rags and
tatters. She kissed the earth before him, and he raised his head so as
to see her and said, "Woe to thee! what call hadst thou to stay away
all this time? Here have been with me sundry of the black brethren, who
drank their wine and each had his young lady, and I was not content to
drink because of thine absence." Then she, "O my lord, my heart's love
and coolth of my eyes [FN#121] knowest thou not that I am married to my
cousin whose very look I loathe, and hate myself when in his company?
And did not I fear for thy sake, I would not let a single sun arise
before making his city a ruined heap wherein raven should croak and
howlet hoot, and jackal and wolf harbour and loot; nay I had removed
its very stones to the back side of Mount Kaf." [FN#122] Rejoined the
slave, Thou liest, damn thee! Now I swear an oath by the velour and
honour of blackamoor men (and deem not our manliness to be ; the poor
manliness of white men), from today forth if thou stay away till this
hour, I will not keep company with thee nor will I glue my body with
thy body and strum and belly bump Dost play fast and loose with us,
thou cracked pot, that we may satisfy thy dirty lusts? stinkard! bitch!
vilest of the vile whites!" When I heard his words, and saw with my own
eyes what passed between these two wretches, the world waxed dark be
fore my face and my soul knew not in what place it was. But , my wife
humbly stood up weeping before and wheedling the slave, and saying, O
my beloved, and very fruit of my heart, there is none left to cheer me
but thy dear self; and, if thou cast me off who shall take me in, O my
beloved, O light of my eyes?" And she ceased not weeping and abasing
herself to him until he deigned be reconciled with her. Then was she
right glad and stood up and doffed her clothes, even to her petticoat
trousers, and said, 0 my master what hast thou here for thy handmaiden
to eat? Uncover the basin," he grumbled, "and thou shalt find t the
bottom the broiled bones of some rats we dined on, pick at them, and
then go to that slop pot where thou shalt find some leavings of beer
[FN#123] which thou mayest drink." So she ate and drank and washed her
hands, and went and lay down by the side of the slave, upon the cane
trash and, stripping herself stark naked, she crept in with him under
his foul coverlet and his rags and tatters. When I saw my wife, my
cousin, the daughter of my uncle, do this deed[FN#124] I clean lost my
wits, and climbing down from the roof, I entered and took the sword
which she had with her and drew it, determined to cut down the twain. I
first struck at the slave's neck and thought that the death decree had
fallen on him:"And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to
say her permitted say.

                 When it was the Eighth Night,

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the young
ensorcelled Prince said to the King, "When I smote the slave with
intent to strike off his head, I thought that I had slain him; for he
groaned a loud hissing groan, but I had cut only the skin and flesh of
the gullet and the two arteries! It awoke the daughter of my uncle, so
I sheathed the sword and fared forth for the city; and, entering the
palace, lay upon my bed and slept till morning when my wife aroused me
and I saw that she had cut off her hair and had donned mourning
garments. Quoth she:—O son of my uncle, blame me not for what I do; it
hath just reached me that my mother is dead, and my father hath been
killed in holy war, and of my brothers one hath lost his life by a
snake sting and the other by falling down some precipice; and I can and
should do naught save weep and lament. When I heard her words I
refrained from all reproach and said only:—Do as thou list; I certainly
will not thwart thee. She continued sorrowing, weeping and wailing one
whole year from the beginning of its circle to the end, and when it was
finished she said to me.—I wish to build me in thy palace a tomb with a
cupola, which I will set apart for my mourning and will name the House
of Lamentations.[FN#125] Quoth I again:—Do as thou list! Then she
builded for herself a cenotaph wherein to mourn, and set on its centre
a dome under which showed a tomb like a Santon's sepulchre. Thither she
carried the slave and lodged him; but he was exceeding weak by reason
of his wound, and unable to do her love service; he could only drink
wine and from the day of his hurt he spake not a word, yet he lived on
because his appointed hour[FN#126] was not come. Every day, morning and
evening, my wife went to him and wept and wailed over him and gave him
wine and strong soups, and left not off doing after this manner a
second year; and I bore with her patiently and paid no heed to her. One
day, however, I went in to her unawares; and I found her weeping and
beating her face and crying:—Why art thou absent from my sight, O my
heart's delight? Speak to me, O my life; talk with me, O my love? Then
she recited these verses:—

For your love my patience fails and albeit you forget * I may
     not, nor to other love my heart can make reply:
Bear my body, bear my soul wheresoever you may fare * And
     where you pitch the camp let my body buried lie:
Cry my name above my grave, and an answer shall return * The
     moaning of my bones responsive to your cry.[FN#127]

Then she recited, weeping bitterly the while:—

The day of my delight is the day when draw you near * And the
     day of mine affright is the day you turn away:
Though I tremble through the night in my bitter dread of death *
     When I hold you in my arms I am free from all affray

Once more she began reciting:—

Though a morn I may awake with all happiness in hand *
     Though the world all be mine and like Kisra-kings[FN#128] I
To me they had the worth of the winglet of the gnat * When I fail
     to see thy form, when I look for thee in vain

When she had ended for a time her words and her weeping I said to her—O
my cousin, let this thy mourning suffice, for in pouring forth tears
there is little profit! Thwart me not, answered she, in aught I do, or
I will lay violent hands on myself! So I held my peace and left her to
go her own way; and she ceased not to cry and keen and indulge her
affliction for yet another year. At the end of the third year I waxed
aweary of this lonesome mourning, and one day I happened to enter the
cenotaph when vexed and angry with some matter which had thwarted me,
and suddenly I heard her say:—O my lord, I never hear thee vouch safe a
single word to me! Why cost thou not answer me, O my master? and she
began reciting:—

O thou tomb! O, thou tomb! be his beauty set in shade? * Hast
     thou darkened that countenance all sheeny as the noon?
O thou tomb! neither earth nor yet heaven art to me * Then how
     cometh it in thee are conjoined my sun and moon?

When I heard such verses as these rage was heaped upon my rage I cried
out:—Well away! how long is this sorrow to last? and I began

O thou tomb! O thou tomb! be his horrors set in blight? * Hast
     thou dark ened his countenance that sickeneth the soul?
O thou tomb! neither cess pool nor pipkin art to me * Then how
     cometh it in thee are conjoined soil and coal?

When she heard my words she sprang to her feet crying.—Fie upon thee,
thou cur! all this is of thy doings; thou hast wounded my heart s
darling and thereby worked me sore woe and thou hast wasted his youth
so that these three years he hath lain abed more dead than alive! In my
wrath I cried:—O thou foulest of harlots and filthiest of whores ever
futtered by negro slaves who are hired to have at thee![FN#129] Yes
indeed it was I who did this good deed; and snatching up my sword I
drew it and made at her to cut her down. But she laughed my words and
mine intent to scorn crying: To heel, hound that thou art! Alas[FN#130]
for the past which shall no more come to pass nor shall any one avail
the dead to raise. Allah hath indeed now given into my hand him who did
to me this thing, a deed that hath burned my heart with a fire which
died not and a flame which might not be quenched! Then she stood up;
and, pronouncing some words to me unintelligible, she said:— By virtue
of my egromancy become thou half stone and half man; whereupon I became
what thou seest, unable to rise or to sit, and neither dead nor alive.
Moreover she ensorcelled the city with all its streets and garths, and
she turned by her gramarye the four islands into four mountains around
the tarn whereof thou questionest me; and the citizens, who were of
four different faiths, Moslem, Nazarene, Jew and Magian, she
transformed by her enchantments into fishes; the Moslems are the white,
the Magians red, the Christians blue and the Jews yellow.[FN#131] And
every day she tortureth me and scourgeth me with an hundred stripes,
each of which draweth floods of blood and cutteth the skin of my
shoulders to strips; and lastly she clotheth my upper half with a hair
cloth and then throweth over them these robes." Hereupon the young man
again shed tears and began reciting:—

In patience, O my God, I endure my lot and fate; * I will bear at
     will of Thee whatsoever be my state:
They oppress me; they torture me; they make my life a woe * Yet
     haply Heaven's happiness shall compensate my strait:
Yea, straitened is my life by the bane and hate o' foes * But
     Mustafa and Murtaza[FN#132] shall ope me Heaven's gate.

After this the Sultan turned towards the young Prince and said, "O
youth, thou hast removed one grief only to add another grief; but now,
O my friend, where is she; and where is the mausoleum wherein lieth the
wounded slave?" "The slave lieth under yon dome," quoth the young man,
"and she sitteth in the chamber fronting yonder door. And every day at
sunrise she cometh forth, and first strippeth me, and whippeth me with
an hundred strokes of the leathern scourge, and I weep and shriek; but
there is no power of motion in my lower limbs to keep her off me. After
ending her tormenting me she visiteth the slave, bringing him wine and
boiled meats. And to morrow at an early hour she will be here." Quoth
the King, "By Allah, O youth, I will as suredly do thee a good deed
which the world shall not willingly let die, and an act of derring do
which shall be chronicled long after I am dead and gone by." Then the
King sat him by the side of the young Prince and talked till nightfall,
when he lay down and slept; but, as soon as the false dawn[FN#133]
showed, he arose and doffing his outer garments[FN#134] bared his blade
and hastened to the place wherein lay the slave. Then was he ware of
lighted candles and lamps, and the perfume of incenses and unguents,
and directed by these, he made for the slave and struck him one stroke
killing him on the spot: after which he lifted him on his back and
threw him into a well that was in the palace. Presentry he returned
and, donning the slave's gear, lay down at length within the mausoleum
with the drawn sword laid close to and along his side. After an hour or
so the accursed witch came; and, first going to her husband, she
stripped off his clothes and, taking a whip, flogged him cruelly while
he cried out, "Ah! enough for me the case I am in! take pity on me, O
my cousin!' But she replied, "Didst thou take pity on me and spare the
life of my true love on whom I coated?" Then she drew the cilice over
his raw and bleeding skin and threw the robe upon all and went down to
the slave with a goblet of wine and a bowl of meat broth in her hands.
She entered under the dome weeping and wailing, "Well-away!" and
crying, "O my lord! speak a word to me! O my master! talk awhile with
me!" and began to recite these couplets.—

How long this harshness, this unlove, shall bide? * Suffice thee
     not tear floods thou hast espied?
Thou cost prolong our parting purposely * And if wouldst please
     my foe, thou'rt satisfied!

Then she wept again and said, "O my lord! speak to me, talk with me!"
The King lowered his voice and, twisting his tongue, spoke after the
fashion of the blackamoors and said "'lack! 'lack! there be no Ma'esty
and there be no Might save in Allauh, the Gloriose, the Great!" Now
when she heard these words she shouted for joy, and fell to the ground
fainting; and when her senses returned she asked, "O my lord, can it be
true that thou hast power of speech?" and the King making his voice
small and faint answered, "O my cuss! cost thou deserve that I talk to
thee and speak with thee?" "Why and wherefore?" rejoined she; and he
replied "The why is that all the livelong day thou tormentest thy
hubby; and he keeps calling on 'eaven for aid until sleep is strange to
me even from evenin' till mawnin', and he prays and damns, cussing us
two, me and thee, causing me disquiet and much bother: were this not
so, I should long ago have got my health; and it is this which prevents
my answering thee." Quoth she, "With thy leave I will release him from
what spell is on him;"and quoth the King, "Release him and let's have
some rest!" She cried, "To hear is to obey;" and, going from the
cenotaph to the palace, she took a metal bowl and filled it with water
and spake over it certain words which made the contents bubble and boil
as a cauldron seetheth over the fire. With this she sprinkled her
husband saying, "By virtue of the dread words I have spoken, if thou
becamest thus by my spells, come forth out of that form into shine own
former form." And lo and behold! the young man shook and trembled; then
he rose to his feet and, rejoicing at his deliverance, cried aloud, "I
testify that there is no god but the God, and in very truth Mohammed is
His Apostle, whom Allah bless and keep!" Then she said to him, "Go
forth and return not hither, for if thou do I will surely slay thee;"
screaming these words in his face. So he went from between her hands;
and she returned to the dome and, going down to the sepulchre, she
said, "O my lord, come forth to me that I may look upon thee and thy
goodliness!" The King replied in faint low words, "What[FN#135] thing
hast thou done? Thou hast rid me of the branch but not of the root."
She asked, "O my darling! O my negro ring! what is the root?" And he
answered, "Fie on thee, O my cuss! The people of this city and of the
four islands every night when it's half passed lift their heads from
the tank in which thou hast turned them to fishes and cry to Heaven and
call down its anger on me and thee; and this is the reason why my
body's baulked from health. Go at once and set them free then come to
me and take my hand, and raise me up, for a little strength is already
back in me." When she heard the King's words (and she still supposed
him to be the slave) she cried joyously, O my master, on my head and on
my eyes be thy commend, Bismillah[FN#136]!'' So she sprang to her feet
and, full of joy and gladness, ran down to the tarn and took a little
of its water n the palm of her hand—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of
day and ceased to say her permitted say.

                  When it Was the Ninth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the young
woman, the sorceress, took in hand some of the tarn water and spake
over it words not to be understood, the fishes lifted their heads and
stood up on the instant like men, the spell on the people of the city
having been removed. What was the lake again became a crowded capital;
the bazars were thronged with folk who bought and sold; each citizen
was occupied with his own calling and the four hills became islands as
they were whilome. Then the young woman, that wicked sorceress,
returned to the King and (still thinking he was the negro) said to him,
O my love! stretch forth thy honoured hand that I may assist thee to
rise." "Nearer to me," quoth the King in a faint and feigned tone. She
came close as to embrace him when he took up the sword lying hid by his
side and smote her across the breast, so that the point showed gleaming
behind her back. Then he smote her a second time and cut her in twain
and cast her to the ground in two halves. After which he fared forth
and found the young man, now freed from the spell, awaiting him and
gave him joy of his happy release while the Prince kissed his hand with
abundant thanks. Quoth the King, "Wilt thou abide in this city or go
with me to my capital?" Quoth the youth, "O King of the age, wottest
thou not what journey is between thee and thy city?" "Two days and a
half," answered he, whereupon said the other, "An thou be sleeping, O
King, awake! Between thee and thy city is a year's march for a well
girt walker, and thou haddest not come hither in two days and a half
save that the city was under enchantment. And I, O King, will never
part from thee; no, not even for the twinkling of an eye." The King
rejoiced at his words and said, "Thanks be to Allah who hath bestowed
thee upon me! From this hour thou art my son and my only son, for that
in all my life I have never been blessed with issue." Thereupon they
embraced and joyed with exceeding great joy; and, reaching the palace,
the Prince who had been spell bound informed his lords and his grandees
that he was about to visit the Holy Places as a pilgrim, and bade them
get ready all things necessary for the occasion. The preparations
lasted ten days, after which he set out with the Sultan, whose heart
burned in yearning for his city whence he had been absent a whole
twelvemonth. They journeyed with an escort of Mamelukes[FN#137]
carrying all manners of precious gifts and rarities, nor stinted they
wayfaring day and night for a full year until they approached the
Sultan's capital, and sent on messengers to announce their coming. Then
the Wazir and the whole army came out to meet him in joy and gladness,
for they had given up all hope of ever seeing their King; and the
troops kissed the ground before him and wished him joy of his safety.
He entered and took seat upon his throne and the Minister came before
him and, when acquainted with all that had be fallen the young Prince,
he congratulated him on his narrow escape. When order was restored
throughout the land the King gave largesse to many of his people, and
said to the Wazir, "Hither the Fisherman who brought us the fishes!" So
he sent for the man who had been the first cause of the city and the
citizens being delivered from enchantment and, when he came in to the
presence, the Sultan bestowed upon him a dress of honour, and
questioned him of his condition and whether he had children. The
Fisherman gave him to know that he had two daughters and a son, so the
King sent for them and, taking one daughter to wife, gave the other to
the young Prince and made the son his head treasurer. Furthermore he
invested his Wazir with the Sultanate of the City in the Black Islands
whilome belonging to the young Prince, and dispatched with him the
escort of fifty armed slaves together with dresses of honour for all
the Emirs and Grandees. The Wazir kissed hands and fared forth on his
way; while the Sultan and the Prince abode at home in all the solace
and the delight of life; and the Fisherman became the richest man of
his age, and his daughters wived with Kings, until death came to them.
And yet, O King! this is not more wondrous than the story of

          The Porter and the Three Ladies of Baghdad.

Once upon a time there was a Porter in Baghdad, who was a bachelor and
who would remain unmarried. It came to pass on a certain day, as he
stood about the street leaning idly upon his crate, behold, there stood
before him an honourable woman in a mantilla of Mosul[FN#138] silk,
broidered with gold and bordered with brocade; her walking shoes were
also purfled with gold and her hair floated in long plaits. She raised
her face veil[FN#139] and, showing two black eyes fringed with jetty
lashes, whose glances were soft and languishing and whose perfect
beauty was ever blandishing, she accosted the Porter and said in the
suavest tones and choicest language, "Take up thy crate and follow me."
The Porter was so dazzled he could hardly believe that he heard her
aright, but he shouldered his basket in hot haste saying in himself, "O
day of good luck! O day of Allah's grace!" and walked after her till
she stopped at the door of a house. There she rapped, and presently
came out to her an old man, a Nazarene, to whom she gave a gold piece,
receiving from him in return what she required of strained wine clear
as olive oil; and she set it safely in the hamper, saying "Lift and
follow." Quoth the Porter, "This, by Allah, is indeed an auspicious
day, a day propitious for the granting of all a man wisheth." He again
hoisted up the crate and followed her; till she stopped at a
fruiterer's shop and bought from him Shami[FN#140] apples and Osmani
quinces and Omani[FN#141] peaches, and cucumbers of Nile growth, and
Egyptian limes and Sultani oranges and citrons; besides Aleppine
jasmine, scented myrtle berries, Damascene nenuphars, flower of
privet[FN#142] and camomile, blood red anemones, violets, and
pomegranate bloom, eglantine and narcissus, and set the whole in the
Porter's crate, saying, "Up with it." So he lifted and followed her
till she stopped at a butcher's booth and said, "Cut me off ten pounds
of mutton." She paid him his price and he wrapped it in a banana leaf,
whereupon she laid it in the crate and said "Hoist, O Porter." He
hoisted accordingly, and followed her as she walked on till she stopped
at a grocer's, where she bought dry fruits and pistachio kernels,
Tihamah raisins, shelled almonds and all wanted for dessert, and said
to the Porter, "Lift and follow me." So he up with his hamper and after
her till she stayed at the confectioner's, and she bought an earthen
platter, and piled it with all kinds of sweetmeats in his shop, open
worked tarts and fritters scented with musk and "soap cakes," and lemon
loaves and melon preserves,[FN#143] and "Zaynab's combs," and "ladies'
fingers," and "Kazi's tit-bits" and goodies of every description; and
placed the platter in the Porter's crate. Thereupon quoth he (being a
merry man), "Thou shouldest have told me, and I would have brought with
me a pony or a she camel to carry all this market stuff." She smiled
and gave him a little cuff on the nape saying, "Step out and exceed not
in words for (Allah willing!) thy wage will not be wanting." Then she
stopped at a perfumer's and took from him ten sorts of waters, rose
scented with musk, grange Lower, waterlily, willow flower, violet and
five others; and she also bought two loaves of sugar, a bottle for
perfume spraying, a lump of male in cense, aloe wood, ambergris and
musk, with candles of Alex' andria wax; and she put the whole into the
basket, saying, "Up with thy crate and after me." He did so and
followed until she stood before the greengrocer's, of whom she bought
pickled safflower and olives, in brine and in oil; with tarragon and
cream cheese and hard Syrian cheese; and she stowed them away in the
crate saying to the Porter, "Take up thy basket and follow me." He did
so and went after her till she came to a fair mansion fronted by a
spacious court, a tall, fine place to which columns gave strength and
grace: and the gate thereof had two leaves of ebony inlaid with plates
of red gold. The lady stopped at the door and, turning her face veil
sideways, knocked softly with her knuckles whilst the Porter stood
behind her, thinking of naught save her beauty and loveliness.
Presently the door swung back and both leaves were opened, whereupon he
looked to see who had opened it; and behold, it was a lady of tall
figure, some five feet high; a model of beauty and loveliness,
brilliance and symmetry and perfect grace. Her forehead was flower
white; her cheeks like the anemone ruddy bright; her eyes were those of
the wild heifer or the gazelle, with eyebrows like the crescent moon
which ends Sha'aban and begins Ramazan;[FN#144] her mouth was the ring
of Sulayman,[FN#145] her lips coral red, and her teeth like a line of
strung pearls or of camomile petals. Her throat recalled the
antelope's, and her breasts, like two pomegranates of even size, stood
at bay as it were,[FN#146] her body rose and fell in waves below her
dress like the rolls of a piece of brocade, and her navel[FN#147] would
hold an ounce of benzoin ointment. In fine she was like her of whom the
poet said:—

On Sun and Moon of palace cast thy sight * Enjoy her flower like
     face, her fragrant light:
Thine eyes shall never see in hair so black * Beauty encase a
     brow so purely white:
The ruddy rosy cheek proclaims her claim * Though fail her name
     whose beauties we indite:
As sways her gait I smile at hips so big * And weep to see the
     waist they bear so slight.

When the Porter looked upon her his wits were waylaid, and his senses
were stormed so that his crate went nigh to fall from his head, and he
said to himself, "Never have I in my life seen a day more blessed than
this day!" Then quoth the lady portress to the lady cateress, "Come in
from the gate and relieve this poor man of his load." So the
provisioner went in followed by the portress and the Porter and went on
till they reached a spacious ground floor hall,[FN#148] built with
admirable skill and beautified with all manner colours and carvings;
with upper balconies and groined arches and galleries and cupboards and
recesses whose curtains hung before them. In the midst stood a great
basin full of water surrounding a fine fountain, and at the upper end
on the raised dais was a couch of juniper wood set with gems and
pearls, with a canopy like mosquito curtains of red satin silk looped
up with pearls as big as filberts and bigger. Thereupon sat a lady
bright of blee, with brow beaming brilliancy, the dream of philosophy,
whose eyes were fraught with Babel's gramarye[FN#149] and her eye brows
were arched as for archery; her breath breathed ambergris and perfumery
and her lips were sugar to taste and carnelian to see. Her stature was
straight as the letter I[FN#150] and her face shamed the noon sun's
radiancy; and she was even as a galaxy, or a dome with golden marquetry
or a bride displayed in choicest finery or a noble maid of
Araby.[FN#151] Right well of her sang the bard when he said:—

Her smiles twin rows of pearls display * Chamomile-buds or rimey
Her tresses stray as night let down * And shames her light the
     dawn o' day.

[FN#152]The third lady rising from the couch stepped forward with grace
ful swaying gait till she reached the middle of the saloon, when she
said to her sisters, "Why stand ye here? take it down from this poor
man's head!" Then the cateress went and stood before him, and the
portress behind him while the third helped them, and they lifted the
load from the Porter's head; and, emptying it of all that was therein,
set everything in its place. Lastly they gave him two gold pieces,
saying, "Wend thy ways, O Porter." But he went not, for he stood
looking at the ladies and admiring what uncommon beauty was theirs, and
their pleasant manners and kindly dispositions (never had he seen
goodlier); and he gazed wistfully at that good store of wines and sweet
scented flowers and fruits and other matters. Also he marvelled with
exceeding marvel, especially to see no man in the place and delayed his
going; whereupon quoth the eldest lady, "What aileth thee that goest
not; haply thy wage be too little?" And, turning to her sister the
cateress, she said, "Give him another diner!" But the Porter answered,
"By Allah, my lady, it is not for the wage; my hire is never more than
two dirhams; but in very sooth my heart and my soul are taken up with
you and your condition. I wonder to see you single with ne'er a man
about you and not a soul to bear you company; and well you wot that the
minaret toppleth o'er unless it stand upon four, and you want this same
fourth; and women's pleasure without man is short of measure, even as
the poet said:—

Seest not we want for joy four things all told * The harp and
     lute, the flute and flageolet;
And be they companied with scents four fold * Rose, myrtle,
     anemone and violet
Nor please all eight an four thou wouldst withold * Good wine and
     youth and gold and pretty pet.

You be there and want a fourth who shall be a person of good sense and
prudence; smart witted, and one apt to keep careful counsel." His words
pleased and amused them much; and they laughed at him and said, "And
who is to assure us of that? We are maidens and we fear to entrust our
secret where it may not be kept, for we have read in a certain
chronicle the lines of one Ibn al-Sumam:-

Hold fast thy secret and to none unfold * Lost is a secret when
     that secret's told
An fail thy breast thy secret to conceal * How canst thou hope
     another's breast shall hold?

And Abu Nowás[FN#153] said well on the same subject:—

Who trusteth secret to another's hand * Upon his brow deserveth burn of

When the Porter heard their words he rejoined, "By your lives! I am a
man of sense and a discreet, who hath read books and perused
chronicles; I reveal the fair and conceal the foul and I act as the
poet adviseth:—

None but the good a secret keep * And good men keep it
It is to me a well shut house * With keyless locks and door

When the maidens heard his verse and its poetical application addressed
to them they said, "Thou knowest that we have laid out all our monies
on this place. Now say, hast thou aught to offer us in return for
entertainment? For surely we will not suf fer thee to sit in our
company and be our cup companion, and gaze upon our faces so fair and
so rare without paying a round sum.[FN#155] Wottest thou not the

     Sans hope of gain
     Love's not worth a grain?"

Whereto the lady portress added, "If thou bring anything thou art a
something; if no thing, be off with thee, thou art a nothing;" but the
procuratrix interposed, saying, "Nay, O my sisters, leave teasing him
for by Allah he hath not failed us this day, and had he been other he
never had kept patience with me, so whatever be his shot and scot I
will take it upon myself." The Porter, over joyed, kissed the ground
before her and thanked her saying, "By Allah, these monies are the
first fruits this day hath given me." Hearing this they said, "Sit thee
down and welcome to thee," and the eldest lady added, "By Allah, we may
not suffer thee to join us save on one condition, and this it is, that
no questions be asked as to what concerneth thee not, and frowardness
shall be soundly flogged." Answered the Porter, "I agree to this, O my
lady, on my head and my eyes be it! Lookye, I am dumb, I have no
tongue. Then arose the provisioneress and tightening her girdle set the
table by the fountain and put the flowers and sweet herbs in their
jars, and strained the wine and ranged the flasks in row and made ready
every requisite. Then sat she down, she and her sisters, placing amidst
them the Porter who kept deeming himself in a dream; and she took up
the wine flagon, and poured out the first cup and drank it off, and
likewise a second and a third.[FN#156] After this she filled a fourth
cup which she handed to one of her sisters; and, lastly, she crowned a
goblet and passed it to the Porter, saying:—

"Drink the dear draught, drink free and fain * What healeth every
     grief and pain."

He took the cup in his hand and, louting low, returned his best thanks
and improvised:—

Drain not the bowl save with a trusty friend * A man of worth
     whose good old
For wine, like wind, sucks sweetness from the sweet * And stinks
     when over stench it haply blow:"


Drain not the bowl; save from dear hand like thine * The cup
     recall thy gifts; thou, gifts of wine."

After repeating this couplet he kissed their hands and drank and was
drunk and sat swaying from side to side and pursued:—

"All drinks wherein is blood the Law unclean * Doth hold save
     one, the blood shed of the vine:
Fill! fill! take all my wealth bequeathed or won * Thou fawn! a
     willing ransom for those eyne."

Then the cateress crowned a cup and gave it to the portress, who took
it from her hand and thanked her and drank. Thereupon she poured again
and passed to the eldest lady who sat on the couch, and filled yet
another and handed it to the Porter. He kissed the ground before them;
and, after drinking and thanking them, he again began to recite :

"Here! Here! by Allah, here! * Cups of the sweet, the dear'
 Fill me a brimming bowl * The Fount o' Life I speer

Then the Porter stood up before the mistress of the house and said, "O
lady, I am thy slave, thy Mameluke, thy white thrall, a, thy very
bondsman;" and he began reciting:—

"A slave of slaves there standeth at thy door * Lauding thy
     generous boons and gifts galore
Beauty! may he come in awhile to 'joy * Thy charms? for Love
     and I part nevermore!"

She said to him, "Drink; and health and happiness attend thy drink." So
he took the cup and kissed her hand and recited these lines in sing

"I gave her brave old wine that like her cheeks * Blushed red or
     flame from furnace flaring up:
She bussed the brim and said with many a smile * How durst thou
     deal folk's cheek for folk to sup?
"Drink!" (said I) "these are tears of mine whose tinct * Is heart
     blood sighs have boiled in the cup."

She answered him in the following couplet:—

"An tears of blood for me, friend, thou hast shed * Suffer me sup them,
by thy head and eyes!"

Then the lady took the cup, and drank it off to her sisters' health,
and they ceased not drinking (the Porter being in the midst of them),
and dancing and laughing and reciting verses and singing ballads and
ritornellos. All this time the Porter was carrying on with them,
kissing, toying, biting, handling, groping, fingering; whilst one
thrust a dainty morsel in his mouth, and another slapped him; and this
cuffed his cheeks, and that threw sweet flowers at him; and he was in
the very paradise of pleasure, as though he were sitting in the seventh
sphere among the Houris[FN#157] of Heaven. They ceased not doing after
this fashion until the wine played tucks in their heads and worsted
their wits; and, when the drink got the better of them, the portress
stood up and doffed her clothes till she was mother naked. However, she
let down her hair about her body by way of shift, and throwing herself
into the basin disported herself and dived like a duck and swam up and
down, and took water in her mouth, and spurted it all over the Porter,
and washed her limbs, and between her breasts, and inside her thighs
and all around her navel. Then she came up out of the cistern and
throwing herself on the Porter's lap said, "O my lord, O my love, what
callest thou this article?" pointing to her slit, her solution of
continuity. "I call that thy cleft," quoth the Porter, and she
rejoined, Wah! wah, art thou not ashamed to use such a word?" and she
caught him by the collar and soundly cuffed him. Said he again, Thy
womb, thy vulva;" and she struck him a second slap crying, "O fie, O
fie, this is another ugly word; is here no shame in thee?" Quoth he,
"Thy coynte;" and she cried, O thou! art wholly destitute of modesty?"
and thumped and bashed him. Then cried the Porter, "Thy
clitoris,"[FN#158] whereat the eldest lady came down upon him with a
yet sorer beating, and said, "No;" and he said, " 'Tis so," and the
Porter went on calling the same commodity by sundry other names, but
whatever he said they beat him more and more till his neck ached and
swelled with the blows he had gotten; and on this wise they made him a
butt and a laughing stock. At last he turned upon them asking, And what
do you women call this article?" Whereto the damsel made answer, "The
basil of the bridges."[FN#159] Cried the Porter, "Thank Allah for my
safety: aid me and be thou propitious, O basil of the bridges!" They
passed round the cup and tossed off the bowl again, when the second
lady stood up; and, stripping off all her clothes, cast herself into
the cistern and did as the first had done; then she came out of the
water and throwing her naked form on the Porter's lap pointed to her
machine and said, "O light of mine eyes, do tell me what is the name of
this concern?" He replied as before, "Thy slit;" and she rejoined,
"Hath such term no shame for thee?" and cuffed him and buffeted him
till the saloon rang with the blows. Then quoth she, "O fie! O fie! how
canst thou say this without blushing?" He suggested, "The basil of the
bridges;" but she would not have it and she said, "No! no!" and stuck
him and slapped him on the back of the neck. Then he began calling out
all the names he knew, "Thy slit, thy womb, thy coynte, thy clitoris;"
and the girls kept on saying, "No! no!" So he said, "I stick to the
basil of the bridges;" and all the three laughed till they fell on
their backs and laid slaps on his neck and said, "No! no! that's not
its proper name." Thereupon he cried, "O my sisters, what is its name?"
and they replied, "What sayest thou to the husked sesame seed?" Then
the cateress donned her clothes and they fell again to carousing, but
the Porter kept moaning, "Oh! and Oh!" for his neck and shoulders, and
the cup passed merrily round and round again for a full hour. After
that time the eldest and handsomest lady stood up and stripped off her
garments, whereupon the Porter took his neck in hand, and rubbed and
shampoo'd it, saying, "My neck and shoulders are on the way of
Allah!"[FN#160] Then she threw herself into the basin, and swam and
dived, sported and washed; and the Porter looked at her naked figure as
though she had been a slice of the moon[FN#161] and at her face with
the sheen of Luna when at full, or like the dawn when it brighteneth,
and he noted her noble stature and shape, and those glorious forms that
quivered as she went; for she was naked as the Lord made her. Then he
cried "Alack! Alack!"and began to address her, versifying in these

"If I liken thy shape to the bough when green * My likeness errs
     and I sore mistake it;
For the bough is fairest when clad the most * And thou art
     fairest when mother naked."

When the lady heard his verses she came up out of the basin and,
seating herself upon his lap and knees, pointed to her genitory and
said, "O my lordling, what be the name of this?" Quoth he, "The basil
of the bridges;" but she said, "Bah, bah!" Quoth he, "The husked
sesame;" quoth she, "Pooh, pooh!" Then said he, "Thy womb;" and she
cried, "Fie, Fie! art thou not ashamed of thyself?" and cuffed him on
the nape of the neck. And whatever name he gave declaring " 'Tis so,"
she beat him and cried "No! no!" till at last he said, "O my sisters,
and what is its name?" She replied, "It is entitled the Khan[FN#162] of
Abu Mansur;" whereupon the Porter replied, "Ha! ha! O Allah be praised
for safe deliverance! O Khan of Abu Mansur!" Then she came forth and
dressed and the cup went round a full hour. At last the Porter rose up,
and stripping off all his clothes, jumped into the tank and swam about
and washed under his bearded chin and armpits, even as they had done.
Then he came out and threw himself into the first lady's lap and rested
his arms upon the lap of the portress, and reposed his legs in the lap
of the cateress and pointed to his prickle[FN#163] and said, "O my
mistresses, what is the name of this article?" All laughed at his words
till they fell on their backs, and one said, "Thy pintle!" But he
replied, "No!" and gave each one of them a bite by way of forfeit. Then
said they, "Thy pizzle!" but he cried "No," and gave each of them a
hug; And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her
permitted say.

                  When it was the Tenth Night,

Quoth her sister Dunyazad, "Finish for us thy story;" and she answered,
"With joy and goodly greet" It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that
the damsels stinted not saying to the Porter "Thy prickle, thy pintle,
thy pizzle," and he ceased not kissing and biting and hugging until his
heart was satisfied, and they laughed on till they could no more. At
last one said, "O our brother, what, then, is it called?" Quoth he,
"Know ye not?" Quoth they, "No!" "Its veritable name," said he, "is
mule Burst all, which browseth on the basil of the bridges, and
muncheth the husked sesame, and nighteth in the Khan of Abu Mansur."
Then laughed they till they fell on their backs, and returned to their
carousel, and ceased not to be after this fashion till night began to
fall. Thereupon said they to the Porter, ''Bismillah,[FN#164] O our
master, up and on with those sorry old shoes of thine and turn thy face
and show us the breadth of thy shoulders!" Said he, "By Allah, to part
with my soul would be easier for me than departing from you: come let
us join night to day, and tomorrow morning we will each wend our own
way." "My life on you," said the procuratrix, "suffer him to tarry with
us, that we may laugh at him: we may live out our lives and never meet
with his like, for surely he is a right merry rogue and a
witty."[FN#165] So they said, "Thou must not remain with us this night
save on condition that thou submit to our commands, and that whatso
thou seest, thou ask no questions there anent, nor enquire of its
cause." "All right," rejoined he, and they said, "Go read the writing
over the door." So he rose and went to the entrance and there found
written in letters of gold wash; WHOSO SPEAKETH OF WHAT CONCERNETH HIM
NOT, SHALL HEAR WHAT PLEASETH HIM NOT! [FN#166] The Porter said, Be ye
witnesses against me that I will not speak on whatso concerneth me
not." Then the cateress arose, and set food before them and they ate;
after which they changed their drinking place for an other, and she
lighted the lamps and candles and burned amber gris and aloes wood, and
set on fresh fruit and the wine service, when they fell to carousing
and talking of their lovers. And they ceased not to eat and drink and
chat, nibbling dry fruits and laughing and playing tricks for the space
of a full hour when lo! a knock was heard at the gate. The knocking in
no wise dis turbed the seance, but one of them rose and went to see
what it was and presently returned, saying, "Truly our pleasure for
this night is to be perfect." "How is that?" asked they; and she
answered, "At the gate be three Persian Kalandars[FN#167] with their
beards and heads and eyebrows shaven; and all three blind of the left
eye—which is surely a strange chance. They are foreigners from
Roum-land with the mark of travel plain upon them; they have just
entered Baghdad, this being their first visit to our city; and the
cause of their knocking at our door is simply because they cannot find
a lodging. Indeed one of them said to me:—Haply the owner of this
mansion will let us have the key of his stable or some old out house
wherein we may pass this night; for evening had surprised them and,
being strangers in the land, they knew none who would give them
shelter. And, O my sisters, each of them is a figure o' fun after his
own fashion; and if we let them in we shall have matter to make sport
of." She gave not over persuading them till they said to her, "Let them
in, and make thou the usual condition with them that they speak not of
what concerneth them not, lest they hear what pleaseth them not." So
she rejoiced and going to the door presently returned with the three
monoculars whose beards and mustachios were clean shaven.[FN#168] They
salam'd and stood afar off by way of respect; but the three ladies rose
up to them and welcomed them and wished them joy of their safe arrival
and made them sit down. The Kalandars looked at the room and saw that
it was a pleasant place, clean swept and garnished with cowers; and the
lamps were burning and the smoke of perfumes was spireing in air; and
beside the dessert and fruits and wine, there were three fair girls who
might be maidens; so they exclaimed with one voice, "By Allah, 'tis
good!" Then they turned to the Porter and saw that he was a merry faced
wight, albeit he was by no means sober and was sore after his
slappings. So they thought that he was one of themselves and said, "A
mendicant like us! whether Arab or foreigner."[FN#169] But when the
Porter heard these words, he rose up, and fixing his eyes fiercely upon
them, said, "Sit ye here without exceeding in talk! Have you not read
what is writ over the door? surely it befitteth not fellows who come to
us like paupers to wag your tongues at us." "We crave thy pardon, O
Fakír,"[FN#170] rejoined they, "and our heads are between thy hands."
The ladies laughed consumedly at the squabble; and, making peace
between the Kalandars and the Porter, seated the new guests before meat
and they ate. Then they sat together, and the portress served them with
drink; and, as the cup went round merrily, quoth the Porter to the
askers, "And you, O brothers mine, have ye no story or rare adventure
to amuse us withal?" Now the warmth of wine having mounted to their
heads they called for musical instruments; and the portress brought
them a tambourine of Mosul, and a lute of Irák, and a Persian harp; and
each mendicant took one and tuned it; this the tambourine and those the
lute and the harp, and struck up a merry tune while the ladies sang so
lustily that there was a great noise.[FN#171] And whilst they were
carrying on, behold, some one knocked at the gate, and the portress
went to see what was the matter there. Now the cause of that knocking,
O King (quoth Shahrazad) was this, the Caliph, Harun al-Rashid, had
gone forth from the palace, as was his wont now and then, to solace
himself in the city that night, and to see and hear what new thing was
stirring; he was in merchant's gear, and he was attended by Ja'afar,
his Wazir, and by Masrur his Sworder of Vengeance.[FN#172] As they
walked about the city, their way led them towards the house of the
three ladies; where they heard the loud noise of musical instruments
and singing and merriment; so quoth the Caliph to Ja'afar, "I long to
enter this house and hear those songs and see who sing them." Quoth
Ja'afar, "O Prince of the Faithful; these folk are surely drunken with
wine, and I fear some mischief betide us if we get amongst them."
"There is no help but that I go in there," replied the Caliph, "and I
desire thee to contrive some pretext for our appearing among them."
Ja'afar replied, "I hear and I obey;"[FN#173] and knocked at the door,
whereupon the portress came out and opened. Then Ja'afar came forward
and kissing the ground before her said, "O my lady, we be merchants
from Tiberias town: we arrived at Baghdad ten days ago; and, alighting
at the merchants' caravanserai, we sold all our merchandise. Now a
certain trader invited us to an entertainment this night; so we went to
his house and he set food before us and we ate: then we sat at wine and
wassail with him for an hour or so when he gave us leave to depart; and
we went out from him in the shadow of the night and, being strangers,
we could not find our way back to our Khan. So haply of your kindness
and courtesy you will suffer us to tarry with you this night, and
Heaven will reward you!"[FN#174] The portress looked upon them and
seeing them dressed like merchants and men of grave looks and solid,
she returned to her sisters and repeated to them Ja'afar's story; and
they took compassion upon the strangers and said to her, "Let them
enter." She opened the door to them, when said they to her, "Have we
thy leave to come in?" "Come in," quoth she; and the Caliph entered
followed by Ja'afar and Masrur; and when the girls saw them they stood
up to them in respect and made them sit down and looked to their wants,
saying, "Welcome, and well come and good cheer to the guests, but with
one condition!" "What is that?" asked they, and one of the ladies
answered, "Speak not of what concerneth you not, lest ye hear what
pleaseth you not." "Even so," said they; and sat down to their wine and
drank deep. Presently the Caliph looked on the three Kalandars and,
seeing them each and every blind of the left eye, wondered at the
sight; then he gazed upon the girls and he was startled and he
marvelled with exceeding marvel at their beauty and loveliness. They
continued to carouse and to converse and said to the Caliph, "Drink!"
but he replied, "I am vowed to Pilgrimage;"[FN#175] and drew back from
the wine. Thereupon the portress rose and spreading before him a table
cloth worked with gold, set thereon a porcelain bowl into which she
poured willow flower water with a lump of snow and a spoonful of sugar
candy. The Caliph thanked her and said in himself,"By Allah, I will
recompense her to morrow for the kind deed she hath done." The others
again addressed themselves to conversing and carousing; and, when the
wine gat the better of them, the eldest lady who ruled the house rose
and making obeisance to them took the cateress by the hand, and said,
"Rise, O my sister and let us do what is our devoir." Both answered
"Even so!" Then the portress stood up and proceeded to remove the table
service and the remnants of the banquet; and renewed the pastiles and
cleared the middle of the saloon. Then she made the Kalandars sit upon
a sofa at the side of the estrade, and seated the Caliph and Ja'afar
and Masrur on the other side of the saloon; after which she called the
Porter, and said, "How scanty is thy courtesy! now thou art no
stranger; nay, thou art one of the household." So he stood up and,
tightening his waist cloth, asked, "What would ye I do?" and she
answered, "Stand in thy place." Then the procuratrix rose and set in
the midst of the saloon a low chair and, opening a closet, cried to the
Porter, "Come help me." So he went to help her and saw two black
bitches with chains round their necks; and she said to him, "Take hold
of them;" and he took them and led them into the middle of the saloon.
Then the lady of the house arose and tucked up her sleeves above her
wrists and, seizing a scourge, said to the Porter, "Bring forward one
of the bitches." He brought her forward, dragging her by the chain,
while the bitch wept, and shook her head at the lady who, however, came
down upon her with blows on the sconce; and the bitch howled and the
lady ceased not beating her till her forearm failed her. Then, casting
the scourge from her hand, she pressed the bitch to her bosom and,
wiping away her tears with her hands, kissed her head. Then she said to
the Porter, "Take her away and bring the second;" and, when he brought
her, she did with her as she had done with the first. Now the heart of
the Caliph, was touched at these cruel doings; his chest straitened and
he lost all patience in his desire to know why the two bitches were so
beaten. He threw a wink at Ja'afar wishing him to ask, but; the
Minister turning towards him said by signs, "Be silent!" Then quoth the
portress to the mistress of the house, "O my lady, arise and go to thy
place that I in turn may do my devoir."[FN#176] She answered, "Even
so"; and, taking her seat upon the couch of juniper wood, pargetted
with gold and silver, said to the portress and cateress, "Now do ye
what ye have to do." Thereupon the portress sat upon a low seat by the
couch side; but the procuretrix, entering a closet, brought out of it a
bag of satin with green fringes and two tassels of gold. She stood up
before the lady of the house and shaking the bag drew out from it a
lute which she tuned by tightening its pegs; and when it was in perfect
order, she began to sing these quatrains:—

"Ye are the wish, the aim of me *And when, O Love, thy sight I
The heavenly mansion openeth;[FN#178] * But Hell I see when
     lost thy sight.
From thee comes madness; nor the less * Comes highest joy,
     comes ecstasy:
Nor in my love for thee I fear * Or shame and blame, or hate and
When Love was throned within my heart * I rent the veil of
And stints not Love to rend that veil * Garring disgrace on grace
     to alight;
The robe of sickness then I donned * But rent to rags was
Wherefore my love and longing heart * Proclaim your high
     supremest might;
The tear drop railing adown my cheek * Telleth my tale of
And all the hid was seen by all * And all my riddle ree'd aright.

Heal then my malady, for thou * Art malady and remedy!
But she whose cure is in thy hand * Shall ne'er be free of bane
     and blight;
Burn me those eyne that radiance rain * Slay me the swords of
How many hath the sword of Love * Laid low, their high degree
Yet will I never cease to pine * Nor to oblivion will I flee.
Love is my health, my faith, my joy * Public and private, wrong
     or right.
O happy eyes that sight thy charms * That gaze upon thee at their
Yea, of my purest wish and will * The slave of Love I'll aye be

When the damsel heard this elegy in quatrains she cried out "Alas!
Alas!" and rent her raiment, and fell to the ground fainting; and the
Caliph saw scars of the palm rod[FN#179] on her back and welts of the
whip; and marvelled with exceeding wonder. Then the portress arose and
sprinkled water on her and brought her a fresh and very fine dress and
put it on her. But when the company beheld these doings their minds
were troubled, for they had no inkling of the case nor knew the story
thereof; so the Caliph said to Ja'afar, "Didst thou not see the scars
upon the damsel's body? I cannot keep silence or be at rest till I
learn the truth of her condition and the story of this other maiden and
the secret of the two black bitches." But Ja'afar answered, "O our
lord, they made it a condition with us that we speak not of what
concerneth us not, lest we come to hear what pleaseth us not." Then
said the portress "By Allah, O my sister, come to me and complete this
service for me." Replied the procuratrix, "With joy and goodly gree;"
so she took the lute; and leaned it against her breasts and swept the
strings with her finger tips, and began singing:—

"Give back mine eyes their sleep long ravished * And say me
     whither be my reason fled:
I learnt that lending to thy love a place * Sleep to mine eyelids
     mortal foe was made.
They said, "We held thee righteous, who waylaid * Thy soul?" "Go
     ask his glorious eyes," I said.
I pardon all my blood he pleased to spill * Owning his troubles
     drove him blood to shed.
On my mind's mirror sun like sheen he cast * Whose keen
     reflection fire in vitals bred
Waters of Life let Allah waste at will * Suffice my wage those
     lips of dewy red:
An thou address my love thou'lt find a cause * For plaint and
     tears or ruth or lustihed.
In water pure his form shall greet your eyne * When fails the
     bowl nor need ye drink of wine.[FN#180]"

Then she quoted from the same ode:—

"I drank, but the draught of his glance, not wine, * And his
     swaying gait swayed to sleep these eyne:
'Twas not grape juice grips me but grasp of Past * 'Twas not bowl
     o'erbowled me but gifts divine:
His coiling curl-lets my soul ennetted * And his cruel will all
     my wits outwitted.[FN#181]"

After a pause she resumed:—

"If we 'plain of absence what shall we say? * Or if pain afflict
     us where wend our way?
An I hire a truchman[FN#182] to tell my tale * The lover's plaint
     is not told for pay:
If I put on patience, a lover's life * After loss of love will
     not last a day:
Naught is left me now but regret, repine * And tears flooding
     cheeks for ever and aye:
O thou who the babes of these eyes[FN#183] hast fled * Thou art
     homed in heart that shall never stray
Would heaven I wot hast thou kept our pact * Long as stream shall
     flow, to have firmest fey?
Or hast forgotten the weeping slave * Whom groans afflict and
     whom griefs waylay?
Ah, when severance ends and we side by side * Couch, I'll blame
     thy rigours and chide thy pride!"

Now when the portress heard her second ode she shrieked aloud and said,
"By Allah! 'tis right good!"; and laying hands on her garments tore
them, as she did the first time, and fell to the ground fainting.
Thereupon the procuratrix rose end brought her a second change of
clothes after she had sprinkled water on her. She recovered and sat
upright and said to her sister the cateress, "Onwards, and help me in
my duty, for there remains but this one song." So the provisioneress
again brought out the lute and began to sing these verses:—

"How long shall last, how long this rigour rife of woe * May not
     suffice thee all these tears thou seest flow?
Our parting thus with purpose fell thou dost prolong * Is't not
     enough to glad the heart of envious foe?
Were but this lying world once true to lover heart * He had not
     watched the weary night in tears of woe:
Oh pity me whom overwhelmed thy cruel will * My lord, my king,
     'tis time some ruth to me thou show:
To whom reveal my wrongs, O thou who murdered me? * Sad,
     who of broken troth the pangs must undergo!
Increase wild love for thee and phrenzy hour by hour * And days
     of exile minute by so long, so slow;
O Moslems, claim vendetta[FN#184] for this slave of Love *
     Whose sleep Love ever wastes, whose patience Love lays low:
Doth law of Love allow thee, O my wish! to lie * Lapt in
     another's arms and unto me cry Go!?
Yet in thy presence, say, what joys shall I enjoy * When he I
     love but works my love to overthrow?"

When the portress heard the third song she cried aloud; and, laying
hands on her garments, rent them down to the very skirt and fell to the
ground fainting a third time, again showing the scars of the scourge.
Then said the three Kalandars, "Would Heaven we had never entered this
house, but had rather righted on the mounds and heaps outside the city!
for verily our visit hath been troubled by sights which cut to the
heart." The Caliph turned to them and asked, "Why so?" and they made
answer, "Our minds are sore troubled by this matter." Quoth the Caliph,
"Are ye not of the household?" and quoth they, "No; nor indeed did we
ever set eyes on the place till within this hour." Hereat the Caliph
marvelled and rejoined, "This man who sitteth by you, would he not know
the secret of the matter?" and so saying he winked and made signs at
the Porter. So they questioned the man but he replied, "By the All
might of Allah, in love all are alike![FN#185] I am the growth of
Baghdad, yet never in my born days did I darken these doors till to day
and my companying with them was a curious matter." "By Allah," they
rejoined, "we took thee for one of them and now we see thou art one
like ourselves." Then said the Caliph, "We be seven men, and they only
three women without even a fourth to help them; so let us question them
of their case; and, if they answer us not, fain we will be answered by
force." All of them agreed to this except Ja'afar who said,[FN#186]
"This is not my recking; let them be; for we are their guests and, as
ye know, they made a compact and condition with us which we accepted
and promised to keep: wherefore it is better that we be silent
concerning this matter; and, as but little of the night remaineth, let
each and every of us gang his own gait." Then he winked at the Caliph
and whispered to him, "There is but one hour of darkness left and I can
bring them before thee to morrow, when thou canst freely question them
all concerning their story." But the Caliph raised his head haughtily
and cried out at him in wrath, saying, "I have no patience left for my
longing to hear of them: let the Kalandars question them forthright."
Quoth Ja'afar, "This is not my rede." Then words ran high and talk
answered talk, and they disputed as to who should first put the
question, but at last all fixed upon the Porter. And as the jingle
increased the house mistress could not but notice it and asked them, "O
ye folk! on what matter are ye talking so loudly?" Then the Porter
stood up respectfully before her and said, "O my lady, this company
earnestly desire that thou acquaint them with the story of the two
bitches and what maketh thee punish them so cruelly; and then thou
fallest to weeping over them and kissing them; and lastly they want to
hear the tale of thy sister and why she hath been bastinado'd with palm
sticks like a man. These are the questions they charge me to put, and
peace be with thee."[FN#187] Thereupon quoth she who was the lady of
the house to the guests, "Is this true that he saith on your part?" and
all replied, "Yes!" save Ja'afar who kept silence. When she heard these
words she cried, "By Allah, ye have wronged us, O our guests. with
grievous wronging; for when you came before us we made compact and
condition with you, that whoso should speak of what concerneth him not
should hear what pleaseth him not. Sufficeth ye not that we took you
into our house and fed you with our best food? But the fault is not so
much yours as hers who let you in." Then she tucked up her sleeves from
her wrists and struck the floor thrice with her hand crying, "Come ye
quickly;" and lo! a closet door opened and out of it came seven negro
slaves with drawn swords in hand to whom she said, "Pinion me those
praters' elbows and bind them each to each." They did her bidding and
asked her, "O veiled and virtuous! is it thy high command that we
strike off their heads?"; but she answered, "Leave them awhile that I
question them of their condition, before their necks feel the sword."
"By Allah, O my lady!" cried the Porter, "slay me not for other's sin;
all these men offended and deserve the penalty of crime save myself.
Now by Allah, our night had been charming had we escaped the
mortification of those monocular Kalandars whose entrance into a
populous city would convert it into a howling wilderness." Then he
repeated these verses :

"How fair is ruth the strong man deigns not smother! * And
     fairest fair when shown to weakest brother:
By Love's own holy tie between us twain, * Let one not suffer for
     the sin of other."

When the Porter ended his verse the lady laughed. And Shahrazad
perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

                When It was the Eleventh Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the lady, after
laughing at the Porter despite her wrath, came up to the party and
spake thus, "Tell me who ye be, for ye have but an hour of life; and
were ye not men of rank and, perhaps, notables of your tribes, you had
not been so froward and I had hastened your doom." Then said the
Caliph, "Woe to thee, O Ja'afar, tell her who we are lest we be slain
by mistake; and speak her fair be fore some horror befal us." "'Tis
part of thy deserts,"replied he; whereupon the Caliph cried out at him
saying, "There is a time for witty words and there is a time for
serious work." Then the lady accosted the three Kalandars and asked
them, "Are ye brothers?"; when they answered, "No, by Allah, we be
naught but Fakirs and foreigners." Then quoth she to one among them,
"Wast thou born blind of one eye?"; and quoth he, "No, by Allah, 'twas
a marvellous matter and a wondrous mischance which caused my eye to be
torn out, and mine is a tale which, if it were written upon the eye
corners with needle gravers, were a warner to whoso would be
warned."[FN#188] She questioned the second and third Kalandar; but all
replied like the first, "By Allah, O our mistress, each one of us
cometh from a different country, and we are all three the sons of
Kings, sovereign Princes ruling over suzerains and capital cities."
Thereupon she turned towards them and said, "Let each and every of you
tell me his tale in due order and explain the cause of his coming to
our place; and if his story please us let him stroke his head[FN#189]
and wend his way." The first to come forward was the Hammal, the
Porter, who said, "O my lady, I am a man and a porter. This dame, the
cateress, hired me to carry a load and took me first to the shop of a
vintner, then to the booth of a butcher; thence to the stall of a
fruiterer; thence to a grocer who also sold dry fruits; thence to a
confectioner and a perfumer cum druggist and from him to this place
where there happened to me with you what happened. Such is my story and
peace be on us all!" At this the lady laughed and said, "Rub thy head
and wend thy ways!"; but he cried, "By Allah, I will not stump it till
I hear the stories of my companions." Then came forward one of the
Monoculars and began to tell her

The First Kalandar's Tale.

Know, O my lady, that the cause of my beard being shorn and my eye
being out torn was as follows. My father was a King and he had a
brother who was a King over another city; and it came to pass that I
and my cousin, the son of my paternal uncle, were both born on one and
the same day. And years and days rolled on; and, as we grew up, I used
to visit my uncle every now and then and to spend a certain number of
months with him. Now my cousin and I were sworn friends; for he ever
entreated me with exceeding kindness; he killed for me the fattest
sheep and strained the best of his wines, and we enjoyed long
conversing and carousing. One day when the wine had gotten the better
of us, the son of my uncle said to me, "O my cousin, I have a great
service to ask of thee; and I desire that thou stay me not in whatso I
desire to do!" And I replied, "With joy and goodly will." Then he made
me swear the most binding oaths and left me; but after a little while
he returned leading a lady veiled and richly apparelled with ornaments
worth a large sum of money. Presently he turned to me (the woman being
still behind him) and said, "Take this lady with thee and go before me
to such a burial ground" (describing it, so that I knew the place),
"and enter with her into such a sepulchre[FN#190] and there await my
coming." The oaths I swore to him made me keep silence and suffered me
not to oppose him; so I led the woman to the cemetery and both I and
she took our seats in the sepulchre; and hardly had we sat down when in
came my uncle's son, with a bowl of water, a bag of mortar and an adze
somewhat like a hoe. He went straight to the tomb in the midst of the
sepulchre and, breaking it open with the adze set the stones on one
side; then he fell to digging into the earth of the tomb till he came
upon a large iron plate, the size of a wicket door; and on raising it
there appeared below it a staircase vaulted and winding. Then he turned
to the lady and said to her, "Come now and take thy final choice!" She
at once went down by the staircase and disappeared; then quoth he to
me, "O son of my uncle, by way of completing thy kindness, when I shall
have descended into this place, restore the trap door to where it was,
and heap back the earth upon it as it lay before; and then of thy
goodness mix this unslaked lime which is in the bag with this water
which is in the bowl and, after building up the stones, plaster the
outside so that none looking upon it shall say:—This is a new opening
in an old tomb. For a whole year have I worked at this place whereof
none knoweth but Allah, and this is the need I have of thee;" presently
adding, "May Allah never bereave thy friends of thee nor make them
desolate by thine absence, O son of my uncle, O my dear cousin!" And he
went down the stairs and disappeared for ever. When he was lost to
sight I replaced the iron plate and did all his bidding till the tomb
became as it was before and I worked almost unconsciously for my head
was heated with wine. Returning to the palace of my uncle, I was told
that he had gone forth a-sporting and hunting; so I slept that night
without seeing him; and, when the morning dawned, I remembered the
scenes of the past evening and what happened between me and my cousin;
I repented of having obeyed him when penitence was of no avail, I still
thought, however, that it was a dream. So I fell to asking for the son
of my uncle; but there was none to answer me concerning him; and I went
out to the grave-yard and the sepulchres, and sought for the tomb under
which he was, but could not find it; and I ceased not wandering about
from sepulchre to sepulchre, and tomb to tomb, all without success,
till night set in. So I returned to the city, yet I could neither eat
nor drink; my thoughts being engrossed with my cousin, for that I knew
not what was become of him; and I grieved with exceeding grief and
passed another sorrowful night, watching until the morning. Then went I
a second time to the cemetery, pondering over what the son of mine
uncle had done; and, sorely repenting my hearkening to him, went round
among all the tombs, but could not find the tomb I sought. I mourned
over the past, and remained in my mourning seven days, seeking the
place and ever missing the path. Then my torture of scruples[FN#191]
grew upon me till I well nigh went mad, and I found no way to dispel my
grief save travel and return to my father. So I set out and journeyed
homeward; but as I was entering my father's capital a crowd of rioters
sprang upon me and pinioned me.[FN#192] I wondered thereat with all
wonderment, seeing that I was the son of the Sultan, and these men were
my father's subjects and amongst them were some of my own slaves. A
great fear fell upon me, and I said to my soul,[FN#193] "Would heaven I
knew what hath happened to my father!" I questioned those that bound me
of the cause of their doing, but they returned me no answer. However,
after a while one of them said to me (and he had been a hired servant
of our house), "Fortune hath been false to thy father; his troops
betrayed him and the Wazir who slew him now reigneth in his stead and
we lay in wait to seize thee by the bidding of him." I was well nigh
distraught and felt ready to faint on hearing of my father's death;
when they carried me off and placed me in presence of the usurper. Now
between me and him there was an olden grudge, the cause of which was
this. I was fond of shooting with the stone bow,[FN#194] and it befel
one day as I was standing on the terrace roof of the palace, that a
bird lighted on the top of the Wazir's house when he happened to be
there. I shot at the bird and missed the mark; but I hit the Wazir's
eye and knocked it out as fate and fortune decreed. Even so saith the

We tread the path where Fate hath led * The path Fate writ we
     fain must tread:
And man in one land doomed to die * Death no where else shall do
     him dead.

And on like wise saith another:—

Let Fortune have her wanton way * Take heart and all her words
Nor joy nor mourn at anything * For all things pass and no things

Now when I knocked out the Wazir's eye he could not say a single word,
for that my father was King of the city; but he hated me everafter and
dire was the grudge thus caused between us twain. So when I was set
before him hand bound and pinioned, he straightway gave orders for me
to be beheaded. I asked, "For what crime wilt thou put me to death?";
whereupon he answered, "What crime is greater than this?" pointing the
while to the place where his eye had been Quoth I, "This I did by
accident not of malice prepense;" and quoth he, "If thou didst it by
accident, I will do the like by thee with intention.''[FN#195] Then
cried he, "Bring him forward," and they brought me up to him, when he
thrust his finger into my left eye and gouged it out; whereupon I
became one eyed as ye see me. Then he bade bind me hand and foot, and
put me into a chest and said to the sworder, "Take charge of this
fellow, and go off with him to the waste lands about the city; then
draw thy scymitar and slay him, and leave him to feed the beasts and
birds." So the headsman fared forth with me and when he was in the
midst of the desert, he took me out of the chest (and I with both hands
pinioned and both feet fettered) and was about to bandage my eyes
before striking off my head. But I wept with exceeding weeping until I
made him weep with me and, looking at him I began to recite these

"I deemed you coat o' mail that should withstand * The foeman's
     shafts, and you proved foeman's brand
I hoped your aidance in mine every chance * Though fail my left
     to aid my dexter hand:
Aloof you stand and hear the railer's gibe * While rain their
     shafts on me the giber-band:
But an ye will not guard me from my foes * Stand clear, and
     succour neither these nor those!"

And I also quoted:—

"I deemed my brethren mail of strongest steel * And so they were—
     from foes I to fend my dart!
I deemed their arrows surest of their aim; * And so they were—
     when aiming at my heart!"

When the headsman heard my lines (he had been sworder to my sire and he
owed me a debt of gratitude) he cried, "O my lord, what can I do, being
but a slave under orders?" presently adding, "Fly for thy life and
nevermore return to this land, or they will slay thee and slay me with
thee, even as the poet said:—

Take thy life and fly whenas evils threat; * Let the ruined house
     tell its owner's fate:
New land for the old thou shalt seek and find * But to find new
     life thou must not await.
Strange that men should sit in the stead of shame, * When Allah's
     world is so wide and great!
And trust not other, in matters grave * Life itself must act for
     a life beset:
Ne'er would prowl the lion with maned neck, * Did he reckon on
     aid or of others reck."

Hardly believing in my escape, I kissed his hand and thought the loss
of my eye a light matter in consideration of my escaping from being
slain. I arrived at my uncle's capital; and, going in to him, told him
of what had befallen my father and myself; whereat he wept with sore
weeping and said, "Verily thou addest grief to my grief, and woe to my
woe; for thy cousin hath been missing these many days; I wot not what
hath happened to him, and none can give me news of him." And he wept
till he fainted. I sorrowed and condoled with him; and he would have
applied certain medicaments to my eye, but he saw that it was become as
a walnut with the shell empty. Then said he, "O my son, better to lose
eye and keep life!" After that I could no longer remain silent about my
cousin, who was his only son and one dearly loved, so I told him all
that had happened. He rejoiced with extreme joyance to hear news of his
son and said, "Come now and show me the tomb;" but I replied, "By
Allah, O my uncle, I know not its place, though I sought it carefully
full many times, yet could not find the site." However, I and my uncle
went to the grave yard and looked right and left, till at last I
recognised the tomb and we both rejoiced with exceeding joy. We entered
the sepulchre and loosened the earth about the grave; then, up raising
the trap door, descended some fifty steps till we came to the foot of
the staircase when lo! we were stopped by a blinding smoke. Thereupon
said my uncle that saying whose sayer shall never come to shame, "There
is no Majesty and there is no Might, save in Allah, the Glorious, the
Great!" and we advanced till we suddenly came upon a saloon, whose
floor was strewed with flour and grain and provisions and all manner
necessaries; and in the midst of it stood a canopy sheltering a couch.
Thereupon my uncle went up to the couch and inspecting it found his son
and the lady who had gone down with him into the tomb, lying in each
other's embrace; but the twain had become black as charred wood; it was
as if they had been cast into a pit of fire. When my uncle saw this
spectacle, he spat in his son's face and said, "Thou hast thy deserts,
O thou hog![FN#196] this is thy judgment in the transitory world, and
yet remaineth the judgment in the world to come, a durer and a more
enduring "— And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying
her permitted say.

                 When it was the Twelfth Night,

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Kalandar
thus went on with his story before the lady and the Caliph and
Ja'afar:—My uncle struck his son with his slipper[FN#197] as he lay
there a black heap of coal. I marvelled at his hardness of heart, and
grieving for my cousin and the lady, said, "By Allah, O my uncle, calm
thy wrath: dost thou not see that all my thoughts are occupied with
this misfortune, and how sorrowful I am for what hath befallen thy son,
and how horrible it is that naught of him remaineth but a black heap of
charcoal? And is not that enough, but thou must smite him with thy
slipper?" Answered he,"O son of my brother, this youth from his boyhood
was madly in love with his own sister;[FN#198] and often and often I
forbade him from her, saying to myself:—They are but little ones.
However, when they grew up sin befel between them; and, although I
could hardly believe it, I confined him and chided him and threatened
him with the severest threats; and the eunuchs and servants said to
him:—Beware of so foul a thing which none before thee ever did, and
which none after thee will ever do; and have a care lest thou be
dishonoured and disgraced among the Kings of the day, even to the end
of time. And I added:—Such a report as this will be spread abroad by
caravans, and take heed not to give them cause to talk or I will
assuredly curse thee and do thee to death. After that I lodged them
apart and shut her up; but the accursed girl loved him with passionate
love, for Satan had got the mastery of her as well as of him and made
their foul sin seem fair in their sight. Now when my son saw that I
separated them, he secretly built this souterrain and furnished it and
transported to it victuals, even as thou seest; and, when I had gone
out a-sporting, came here with his sister and hid from me. Then His
righteous judgment fell upon the twain and consumed them with fire from
Heaven; and verily the last judgment will deal them durer pains and
more enduring!" Then he wept and I wept with him; and he looked at me
and said, "Thou art my son in his stead." And I bethought me awhile of
the world and of its chances, how the Wazir had slain my father and had
taken his place and had put out my eye; and how my cousin had come to
his death by the strangest chance: and I wept again and my uncle wept
with me. Then we mounted the steps and let down the iron plate and
heaped up the earth over it; and, after restoring the tomb to its
former condition, we returned to the palace. But hardly had we sat down
ere we heard the tomtoming of the kettle drum and tantara of trumpets
and clash of cymbals; and the rattling of war men's lances; and the
clamours of assailants and the clanking of bits and the neighing of
steeds; while the world was canopied with dense dust and sand clouds
raised by the horses' hoofs.[FN#199] We were amazed at sight and sound,
knowing not what could be the matter; so we asked and were told us that
the Wazir who usurped my father's kingdom had marched his men; and that
after levying his soldiery and taking a host of wild Arabs[FN#200] into
service, he had come down upon us with armies like the sands of the
sea; their number none could tell and against them none could prevail.
They attacked the city unawares; and the citizens, being powerless to
oppose them, surrendered the place: my uncle was slain and I made for
the suburbs saying to myself, "If thou fall into this villain's hands
he will assuredly kill thee." On this wise all my troubles were
renewed; and I pondered all that had betided my father and my uncle and
I knew not what to do; for if the city people or my father's troops had
recognised me they would have done their best to win favour by
destroying me; and I could think of no way to escape save by shaving
off my beard and my eyebrows. So I shore them off and, changing my fine
clothes for a Kalandar's rags, I fared forth from my uncle's capital
and made for this city; hoping that peradventure some one would assist
me to the presence of the Prince of the Faithful,[FN#201] and the
Caliph who is the Viceregent of Allah upon earth. Thus have I come
hither that I might tell him my tale and lay my case before him. I
arrived here this very night, and was standing in doubt whither I
should go, when suddenly I saw this second Kalandar; so I salam'd to
him saying—"I am a stranger!" and he answered:—"I too am a stranger!"
And as we were conversing behold, up came our companion, this third
Kalandar, and saluted us saying:—"I am a stranger!" And we
answered:—"We too be strangers!" Then we three walked on and together
till darkness overtook us and Destiny crave us to your house. Such,
then, is the cause of the shaving of my beard and mustachios and
eyebrows; and the manner of my losing my right eye. They marvelled much
at this tale and the Caliph said to Ja'afar, "By Allah, I have not seen
nor have I heard the like of what hath happened to this Kalandar!"
Quoth the lady of the house, "Rub thy head and wend thy ways;" but he
replied, "I will not go, till I hear the history of the two others."
Thereupon the second Kalandar came forward; and, kissing the ground,
began to tell

The Second Kalandar's Tale.

Know, O my lady, that I was not born one eyed and mine is a strange
story; an it were graven with needle graver on the eye corners, it were
a warner to whoso would be warned. I am a King, son of a King, and was
brought up like a Prince. I learned intoning the Koran according the
seven schools;[FN#202] and I read all manner books, and held
disputations on their contents with the doctors and men of science;
moreover I studied star lore and the fair sayings of poets and I
exercised myself in all branches of learning until I surpassed the
people of my time; my skill in calligraphy exceeded that of all the
scribes; and my fame was bruited abroad over all climes and cities, and
all the kings learned to know my name. Amongst others the King of Hind
heard of me and sent to my father to invite me to his court, with
offerings and presents and rarities such as befit royalties. So my
father fitted out six ships for me and my people; and we put to sea and
sailed for the space of a full month till we made the land. Then we
brought out the horses that were with us in the ships; and, after
loading the camels with our presents for the Prince, we set forth
inland. But we had marched only a little way, when behold, a dust cloud
up flew, and grew until it walled[FN#203] the horizon from view. After
an hour or so the veil lifted and discovered beneath it fifty horsemen,
ravening lions to the sight, in steel armour dight. We observed them
straightly and lo! they were cutters off of the highway, wild as wild
Arabs. When they saw that we were only four and had with us but the ten
camels carrying the presents, they dashed down upon us with lances at
rest. We signed to them, with our fingers, as it were saying, "We be
messengers of the great King of Hind, so harm us not!" but they
answered on like wise, "We are not in his dominions to obey nor are we
subject to his sway." Then they set upon us and slew some of my slaves
and put the lave to flight; and I also fled after I had gotten a wound,
a grievous hurt, whilst the Arabs were taken up with the money and the
presents which were with us. I went forth unknowing whither I went,
having become mean as I was mighty; and I fared on until I came to the
crest of a mountain where I took shelter for the night in a cave. When
day arose I set out again, nor ceased after this fashion till I arrived
at a fair city and a well filled. Now it was the season when Winter was
turning away with his rime and to greet the world with his flowers came
Prime, and the young blooms were springing and the streams flowed
ringing, and the birds were sweetly singing, as saith the poet
concerning a certain city when describing it:—

A place secure from every thought of fear * Safety and peace for
     ever lord it here:
Its beauties seem to beautify its sons * And as in Heaven its
     happy folk appear.

I was glad of my arrival for I was wearied with the way, and yellow of
face for weakness and want; but my plight was pitiable and I knew not
whither to betake me. So I accosted a Tailor sitting in his little shop
and saluted him; he returned my salam, and bade me kindly welcome and
wished me well and entreated me gently and asked me of the cause of my
strangerhood. I told him all my past from first to last; and he was
concerned on my account and said, "O youth, disclose not thy secret to
any: the King of this city is the greatest enemy thy father hath, and
there is blood wit[FN#204] between them and thou hast cause to fear for
thy life." Then he set meat and drink before me; and I ate and drank
and he with me; and we conversed freely till night fall, when he
cleared me a place in a corner of his shop and brought me a carpet and
a coverlet. I tarried with him three days; at the end of which time he
said to me, "Knowest thou no calling whereby to win thy living, O my
son?" "I am learned in the law," I replied, "and a doctor of doctrine;
an adept in art and science, a mathematician and a notable penman." He
rejoined, "Thy calling is of no account in our city, where not a soul
under standeth science or even writing or aught save money making."
Then said I, "By Allah, I know nothing but what I have mentioned;" and
he answered, "Gird thy middle and take thee a hatchet and a cord, and
go and hew wood in the wold for thy daily bread, till Allah send thee
relief; and tell none who thou art lest they slay thee." Then he bought
me an axe and a rope and gave me in charge to certain wood cutters; and
with these guardians I went forth into the forest, where I cut fuel
wood the whole of my day and came back in the evening bearing my bundle
on my head. I sold it for half a diner, with part of which I bought
provision and laid by the rest. In such work I spent a whole year and
when this was ended I went out one day, as was my wont, into the
wilderness; and, wandering away from my companions, I chanced on a
thickly grown lowland[FN#205] in which there was an abundance of wood.
So I entered and I found the gnarled stump of a great tree and loosened
the ground about it and shovelled away the earth. Presently my hatchet
rang upon a copper ring; so I cleared away the soil and behold, the
ring was attached to a wooden trap door. This I raised and there
appeared beneath it a staircase. I descended the steps to the bottom
and came to a door, which I opened and found myself in a noble hall
strong of structure and beautifully built, where was a damsel like a
pearl of great price, whose favour banished from my heart all grief and
cark and care; and whose soft speech healed the soul in despair and
captivated the wise and ware. Her figure measured five feet in height;
her breasts were firm and upright; her cheek a very garden of delight;
her colour lively bright; her face gleamed like dawn through curly
tresses which gloomed like night, and above the snows of her bosom
glittered teeth of a pearly white.[FN#206] As the poet said of one like

Slim waisted loveling jetty hair encrowned * A wand of willow on a
sandy mound:

And as saith another.—

Four things that meet not, save they here unite * To shed my
     heart blood and to rape my sprite:
Brilliantest forehead; tresses jetty bright; * Cheeks rosy red
     and stature beauty dight.

When I looked upon her I prostrated myself before Him who had created
her, for the beauty and loveliness He had shaped in her, and she looked
at me and said, "Art thou man or Jinni?" "I am a man," answered I, and
she, "Now who brought thee to this place where I have abided five and
twenty years without even yet seeing man in it?" Quoth I (and indeed I
found her words wonder sweet, and my heart was melted to the core by
them), "O my lady, my good fortune led me hither for the dispelling of
my cark and care." Then I related to her all my mishap from first to
last, and my case appeared to her exceeding grievous; so she wept and
said, "I will tell thee my story in my turn. I am the daughter of the
King Ifitamus, lord of the Islands of Abnus,[FN#207] who married me to
my cousin, the son of my paternal uncle; but on my wedding night an
Ifrit named Jirjís[FN#208] bin Rajmús, first cousin that is, mother's
sister's son, of Iblís, the Foul Fiend, snatched me up and, flying away
with me like a bird, set me down in this place, whither he conveyed all
I needed of fine stuffs, raiment and jewels and furniture, and meat and
drink and other else. Once in every ten days he comes here and lies a
single night with me, and then wends his way, for he took me without
the consent of his family; and he hath agreed with me that if ever I
need him by night or by day, I have only to pass my hand over yonder
two lines engraved upon the alcove, and he will appear to me before my
fingers cease touching. Four days have now passed since he was here;
and, as there remain six days before he come again, say me, wilt thou
abide with me five days, and go hence the day before his coming?" I
replied "Yes, and yes again! O rare, if all this be not a dream!"
Hereat she was glad and, springing to her feet, seized my hand and
carried me through an arched doorway to a Hammam bath, a fair hall and
richly decorate. I doffed my clothes, and she doffed hers; then we
bathed and she washed me; and when this was done we left the bath, and
she seated me by her side upon a high divan, and brought me sherbet
scented with musk. When we felt cool after the bath, she set food
before me and we ate and fell to talking; but presently she said to me,
"Lay thee down and take thy rest, for surely thou must be weary." So I
thanked her, my lady, and lay down and slept soundly, forgetting all
that had happened to me. When I awoke I found her rubbing and
shampooing my feet;[FN#209] so I again thanked her and blessed her and
we sat for awhile talking. Said she, "By Allah, I was sad at heart, for
that I have dwelt alone underground for these five and twenty years;
and praise be to Allah, who hath sent me some one with whom I can
converse!" Then she asked, "O youth, what sayest thou to wine?" and I
answered, "Do as thou wilt." Where- upon she went to a cupboard and
took out a sealed flask of right old wine and set off the table with
flowers and scented herbs and began to sing these lines:—

"Had we known of thy coming we fain had dispread * The cores of
     our hearts or the balls of our eyes;
Our cheeks as a carpet to greet thee had thrown * And our eyelids
     had strown for thy feet to betread."

 Now when she finished her verse I thanked her, for indeed love of her
 had gotten hold of my heart and my grief and anguish were gone. We sat
 at converse and carousel till nightfall, and with her I spent the
 night—such night never spent I in all my life! On the morrow delight
 followed delight till midday, by which time I had drunken wine so
 freely that I had lost my wits, and stood up, staggering to the right
 and to the left, and said "Come, O my charmer, and I will carry thee
 up from this underground vault and deliver thee from the spell of thy
 Jinni." She laughed and replied "Content thee and hold thy peace: of
 every ten days one is for the Ifrit and the other nine are thine."
 Quoth I (and in good sooth drink had got the better of me), "This very
 instant will I break down the alcove whereon is graven the talisman
 and summon the Ifrit that I may slay him, for it is a practice of mine
 to slay Ifrits!" When she heard my words her colour waxed wan and she
 said, "By Allah, do not!" and she began repeating:—

"This is a thing wherein destruction lies * I rede thee shun it an thy
wits be wise."

And these also:—

"O thou who seekest severance, draw the rein * Of thy swift steed
     nor seek o'ermuch t' advance;
Ah stay! for treachery is the rule of life, * And sweets of
     meeting end in severance."

I heard her verse but paid no heed to her words, nay, I raised my foot
and administered to the alcove a mighty kick. And Shahrazad perceived
the dawn of day and ceased to say her permisted say.

               When it was the Thirteenth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the second
Kalandar thus continued his tale to the lady:—But when, O my mistress,
I kicked that alcove with a mighty kick, behold, the air starkened and
darkened and thundered and lightened; the earth trembled and quaked and
the world became invisible. At once the fumes of wine left my head: I
cried to her, "What is the matter?" and she replied, "The Ifrit is upon
us! did I not warn thee of this? By Allah, thou hast brought ruin upon
me; but fly for thy life and go up by the way thou camest down!" So I
fled up the staircase; but, in the excess of my fear, I forgot sandals
and hatchet. And when I had mounted two steps I turned to look for
them, and lo! I saw the earth cleave asunder, and there arose from it
an Ifrit, a monster of hideousness, who said to the damsel "What
trouble and posher be this wherewith thou disturbest me? What mishap
hath betided thee?" "No mishap hath befallen me" she answered, "save
that my breast was straitened[FN#210] and my heart heavy with sadness!
so I drank a little wine to broaden it and to hearten myself; then I
rose to obey a call of Nature, but the wine had gotten into my head and
I fell against the alcove." "Thou liest, like the whore thou art!"
shrieked the Ifrit; and he looked around the hall right and left till
he caught sight of my axe and sandals and said to her, "What be these
but the belongings of some mortal who hath been in thy society?" She
answered, "I never set eyes upon them till this moment: they must have
been brought by thee hither cleaving to thy garments." Quoth the Ifrit,
"These words are absurd; thou harlot! thou strumpet!" Then he stripped
her stark naked and, stretching her upon the floor, bound her hands and
feet to four stakes, like one crucified;[FN#211] and set about
torturing and trying to make her confess. I could not bear to stand
listening to her cries and groans; so I climbed the stair on the quake
with fear; and when I reached the top I replaced the trap door and
covered it with earth. Then repented I of what I had done with
penitence exceeding; and thought of the lady and her beauty and
loveliness, and the tortures she was suffering at the hands of the
accursed Ifrit, after her quiet life of five and twenty years; and how
all that had happened to her was for the cause of me. I bethought me of
my father and his kingly estate and how I had become a woodcutter; and
how, after my time had been awhile serene, the world had again waxed
turbid and troubled to me. So I wept bitterly and repeated this

 What time Fate's tyranny shall most oppress thee * Perpend! one day
 shall joy thee, one distress thee!

Then I walked till I reached the home of my friend, the Tailor, whom I
found most anxiously expecting me; indeed he was, as the saying goes,
on coals of fire for my account. And when he saw me he said, "All night
long my heart hath been heavy, fearing for thee from wild beasts or
other mischances. Now praise be to Allah for thy safety!" I thanked him
for his friendly solicitude and, retiring to my corner, sat pondering
and musing on what had befallen me; and I blamed and chided myself for
my meddlesome folly and my frowardness in kicking the alcove. I was
calling myself to account when behold, my friend, the Tailor, came to
me and said, "O youth, in the shop there is an old man, a
Persian,[FN#212] who seeketh thee: he hath thy hatchet and thy sandals
which he had taken to the woodcutters,[FN#213] saying, "I was going out
at what time the Mu'azzin began the call to dawn prayer, when I chanced
upon these things and know not whose they are; so direct me to their
owner." The woodcutters recognised thy hatchet and directed him to
thee: he is sitting in my shop, so fare forth to him and thank him and
take thine axe and sandals." When I heard these words I turned yellow
with fear and felt stunned as by a blow; and, before I could recover
myself, lo! the floor of my private room clove asunder, and out of it
rose the Persian who was the Ifrit. He had tortured the lady with
exceeding tortures, natheless she would not confess to him aught; so he
took the hatchet and sandals and said to her, "As surely as I am Jirjis
of the seed of Iblis, I will bring thee back the owner of this and
these!"[FN#214] Then he went to the woodcutters with the presence
aforesaid and, being directed to me, after waiting a while in the shop
till the fact was confirmed, he suddenly snatched me up as a hawk
snatcheth a mouse and dew high in air; but presently descended and
plunged with me under the earth (I being aswoon the while), and lastly
set me down in the subterranean palace wherein I had passed that
blissful night. And there I saw the lady stripped to the skin, her
limbs bound to four stakes and blood welling from her sides. At the
sight my eyes ran over with tears; but the Ifrit covered her person and
said, "O wanton, is not this man thy lover?" She looked upon me and
replied, "I wot him not nor have I ever seen him before this hour!"
Quoth the Ifrit, "What! this torture and yet no confessing;" and quoth
she,"I never saw this man in my born days, and it is not lawful in
Allah's sight to tell lies on him." "If thou know him not," said the
Ifrit to her, "take this sword and strike off his head.''[FN#215] She
hent the sword in hand and came close up to me; and I signalled to her
with my eyebrows, my tears the while flowing adown my cheeks. She
understood me and made answer, also by signs, "How couldest thou bring
all this evil upon me?" and I rejoined after the same fashion, "This is
the time for mercy and forgiveness." And the mute tongue of my
case[FN#216] spake aloud saying:—

Mine eyes were dragomans for my tongue betted * And told full
     clear the love I fain would hide:
When last we met and tears in torrents railed * For tongue struck
     dumb my glances testified:
She signed with eye glance while her lips were mute * I signed
     with fingers and she kenned th' implied:
Our eyebrows did all duty 'twixt us twain; * And we being
     speechless Love spake loud and plain.

Then, O my mistress, the lady threw away the sword and said, "How shall
I strike the neck of one I wot not, and who hath done me no evil? Such
deed were not lawful in my law!" and she held her hand. Said the Ifrit,
"'Tis grievous to thee to slay thy lover; and, because he hath lain
with thee, thou endurest these torments and obstinately refusest to
confess. After this it is clear to me that only like loveth and pitieth
like." Then he turned to me and asked me, "O man, haply thou also dost
not know this woman;" whereto I answered, "And pray who may she be?
assuredly I never saw her till this instant." "Then take the sword,"
said he "and strike off her head and I will believe that thou wottest
her not and will leave thee free to go, and will not deaf 'hardly with
thee." I replied, "That will I do;" and, taking the sword went forward
sharply and raised my hand to smite. But she signed to me with her
eyebrows, "Have I failed thee in aught of love; and is it thus that
thou requirest me?" I understood what her looks implied and answered
her with an eye-glance, "I will sacrifice my soul for thee." And the
tongue of the case wrote in our hearts these lines:—

How many a lover with his eyebrows speaketh * To his beloved, as
     his passion pleadeth:
With flashing eyne his passion he inspireth * And well she seeth
     what kits pleading needeth.
How sweet the look when each on other gazeth; * And with what
     swiftness and how sure it speedeth:
And this with eyebrows all his passion writeth; * And that with
     eyeballs all his passion readeth.

Then my eyes filled with tears to overflowing and I cast the sword from
my hand saying, "O mighty Ifrit and hero, if a woman lacking wits and
faith deem it unlawful to strike off my head, how can it be lawful for
me, a man, to smite her neck whom I never saw in my whole life. I
cannot do such misdeed though thou cause me drink the cup of death and
perdition." Then said the Ifrit, "Ye twain show the good understanding
between you; but I will let you see how such doings end." He took the
sword, and struck off the lady's hands first, with four strokes, and
then her feet; whilst I looked on and made sure of death and she
farewelled me with her dying eyes. So the Ifrit cried at her, "Thou
whorest and makest me a wittol with thine eyes;" and struck her so that
her head went flying. Then he turned to me and said, "O mortal, we have
it in our law that, when the wife committeth advowtry it is lawful for
us to slay her. As for this damsel I snatched her away on her
bride-night when she was a girl of twelve and she knew no one but
myself. I used to come to her once every ten days and lie with her the
night, under the semblance of a man, a Persian; and when I was well
assured that she had cuckolded me, I slew her. But as for thee I am not
well satisfied that thou hast wronged me in her; nevertheless I must
not let thee go unharmed; so ask a boon of me and I will grant it."
Then I rejoiced, O my lady, with ex ceeding joy and said, "What boon
shall I crave of thee?" He replied, "Ask me this boon; into what shape
I shall bewitch thee; wilt thou be a dog, or an ass or an ape?" I
rejoined (and indeed I had hoped that mercy might be shown me), "By
Allah, spare me, that Allah spare thee for sparing a Moslem and a man
who never wronged thee." And I humbled myself before him with exceeding
humility, and remained standing in his presence, saying, "I am sore
oppressed by circumstance." He replied "Talk me no long talk, it is in
my power to slay thee; but I give thee instead thy choice." Quoth I, "O
thou Ifrit, it would besit thee to pardon me even as the Envied
pardoned the Envier." Quoth he, "And how was that?" and I began to tell

The Tale of the Envier and the Envied.

They relate, O Ifrit, that in a certain city were two men who dwelt in
adjoining houses, having a common party wall; and one of them envied
the other and looked on him with an evil eye,[FN#217] and did his
utmost endeavour to injure him; and, albeit at all times he was jealous
of his neighbour, his malice at last grew on him till he could hardly
eat or enjoy the sweet pleasures of sleep. But the Envied did nothing
save prosper; and the more the other strove to injure him, the more he
got and gained and throve. At last the malice of his neighbour and the
man's constant endeavour to work him a harm came to his knowledge; so
he said, "By Allah! God's earth is wide enough for its people;" and,
leaving the neighbourhood, he repaired to another city where he bought
himself a piece of land in which was a dried up draw well,[FN#218] old
and in ruinous condition. Here he built him an oratory and, furnishing
it with a few necessaries, took up his abode therein, and devoted
himself to prayer and worshipping Allah Almighty; and Fakirs and holy
mendicants docked to him from all quarters; and his fame went abroad
through the city and that country side. Presently the news reached his
envious neighbour, of what good fortune had befallen him and how the
city notables had become his disciples; so he travelled to the place
and presented himself at the holy man's hermitage, and was met by the
Envied with welcome and greeting and all honour. Then quoth the Envier,
"I have a word to say to thee; and this is the cause of my faring
hither, and I wish to give thee a piece of good news; so come with me
to thy cell." Thereupon the Envied arose and took the Envier by the
hand, and they went in to the inmost part of the hermitage; but the
Envier said, "Bid thy Fakirs retire to their cells, for I will not tell
thee what I have to say, save in secret where none may hear us."
Accordingly the Envied said to his Fakirs, "Retire to your private
cells;" and, when all had done as he bade them, he set out with his
visitor and walked a little way until the twain reached the ruinous old
well. And as they stood upon the brink the Envier gave the Envied a
push which tumbled him headlong into it, unseen of any; whereupon he
fared forth, and went his ways, thinking to have had slain him. Now
this well happened to be haunted by the Jann who, seeing the case, bore
him up and let him down little by little, till he reached the bottom,
when they seated him upon a large stone. Then one of them asked his
fellows, "Wot ye who be this man?" and they answered, "Nay." "This
man," continued the speaker, "is the Envied hight who, flying from the
Envier, came to dwell in our city, and here founded this holy house,
and he hath edified us by his litanies[FN#219] and his lections of the
Koran; but the Envier set out and journeyed till he rejoined him, and
cunningly contrived to deceive him and cast him into the well where we
now are. But the fame of this good man hath this very night come to the
Sultan of our city who designeth to visit him on the morrow on account
of his daughter." "What aileth his daughter?" asked one, and another
answered "She is possessed of a spirit; for Maymun, son of Damdam, is
madly in love with her; but, if this pious man knew the remedy, her
cure would be as easy as could be." Hereupon one of them inquired, "And
what is the medicine?" and he replied, "The black tom cat which is with
him in the oratory hath, on the end of his tail, a white spot, the size
of a dirham; let him pluck seven white hairs from the spot, then let
him fumigate her therewith and the Marid will flee from her and not
return; so she shall be sane for the rest of her life." All this took
place, O Ifrit, within earshot of the Envied who listened readily. When
dawn broke and morn arose in sheen and shone, the Fakirs went to seek
the Shaykh and found him climbing up the wall of the well; whereby he
was magnified in their eyes.[FN#220] Then, knowing that naught save the
black tomcat could supply him with the remedy required, he plucked the
seven tail hairs from the white spot and laid them by him; and hardly
had the sun risen ere the Sultan entered the hermitage, with the great
lords of his estate, bidding the rest of his retinue to remain standing
outside. The Envied gave him a hearty welcome, and seating him by his
side asked him, "Shall I tell thee the cause of thy coming?" The King
answered, "Yes." He continued, "Thou hast come upon pretext of a
visitation;[FN#221] but it is in thy heart to question me of thy
daughter." Replied the King, " 'Tis even so, O thou holy Shaykh;" and
the Envied continued, "Send and fetch her, and I trust to heal her
forthright (an such it be the will of Allah!)" The King in great joy
sent for his daughter, and they brought her pinioned and fettered. The
Envied made her sit down behind a curtain and taking out the hairs
fumigated her therewith; whereupon that which was in her head cried out
and departed from her. The girl was at once restored to her right mind
and veiling her face, said, "What hath happened and who brought me
hither?" The Sultan rejoiced with a joy that nothing could exceed, and
kissed his daughter's eyes,[FN#222] and the holy man's hand; then,
turning to his great lords, he asked, "How say ye! What fee deserveth
he who hath made my daughter whole?" and all answered, "He deserveth
her to wife;" and the King said, "Ye speak sooth!" So he married him to
her and the Envied thus became son in law to the King. And after a
little the Wazir died and the King said, "Whom can I make Minister in
his stead?" "Thy son in law," replied the courtiers. So the Envied
became a Wazir; and after a while the Sultan also died and the lieges
said, "Whom shall we make King?" and all cried, "The Wazir." So the
Wazir was forthright made Sultan, and he became King regnant, a true
ruler of men. One day as he had mounted his horse; and, in the eminence
of his kinglihood, was riding amidst his Emirs and Wazirs and the
Grandees of his realm his eye fell upon his old neighbour, the Envier,
who stood afoot on his path; so he turned to one of his Ministers, and
said, "Bring hither that man and cause him no affright." The Wazir
brought him and the King said, "Give him a thousand miskals[FN#223] of
gold from the treasury, and load him ten camels with goods for trade,
and send him under escort to his own town." Then he bade his enemy
farewell and sent him away and forbore to punish him for the many and
great evils he had done. See, O Ifrit, the mercy of the Envied to the
Envier, who had hated him from the beginning and had borne him such
bitter malice and never met him without causing him trouble; and had
driven him from house and home, and then had journeyed for the sole
purpose of taking his life by throwing him into the well. Yet he did
not requite his injurious dealing, but forgave him and was bountiful to
him.[FN#224] Then I wept before him, O my lady, with sore weeping,
never was there sorer, and I recited:—

"Pardon my fault, for 'tis the wise man's wont * All faults to
     pardon and revenge forgo:
In sooth all manner faults in me contain * Then deign of goodness
     mercy grace to show:
Whoso imploreth pardon from on High * Should hold his hand
     from sinners here below."

Said the Ifrit, "Lengthen not thy words! As to my slaying thee fear it
not, and as to my pardoning thee hope it not; but from my bewitching
thee there is no escape." Then he tore me from the ground which closed
under my feet and hew with me into the firmament till I saw the earth
as a large white cloud or a saucer[FN#225] in the midst of the waters.
Presently he set me down on a mountain, and taking a little dust, over
which he muttered some magical words, sprinkled me therewith, saying,
"Quit that shape and take thou the shape of an ape!" And on the instant
I became an ape, a tailless baboon, the son of a century[FN#226]. Now
when he had left me and I saw myself in this ugly and hateful shape, I
wept for myself, but resigned my soul to the tyranny of Time and
Circumstance, well weeting that Fortune is fair and constant to no man.
I descended the mountain and found at the foot a desert plain, long and
broad, over which I travelled for the space of a month till my course
brought me to the brink of the briny sea.[FN#227] After standing there
awhile, I was ware of a ship in the offing which ran before a fair wind
making for the shore. I hid myself behind a rock on the beach and
waited till the ship drew near, when I leaped on board. I found her
full of merchants and passengers and one of them cried, "O Captain,
this ill omened brute will bring us ill luck!" and another said, "Turn
this ill omened beast out from among us;" the Captain said, "Let us
kill it!" another said, "Slay it with the sword;" a third, "Drown it;"
and a fourth, "Shoot it with an arrow." But I sprang up and laid hold
of the Rais's[FN#228] skirt, and shed tears which poured down my chops.
The Captain took pity on me, and said, "O merchants! this ape hath
appealed to me for protection and I will protect him; henceforth he is
under my charge: so let none do him aught hurt or harm, otherwise there
will be bad blood between us." Then he entreated me kindly and
whatsoever he said I understood and ministered to his every want and
served him as a servant, albeit my tongue would not obey my wishes; so
that he came to love me. The vessel sailed on, the wind being fair, for
the space of fifty days; at the end of which we cast anchor under the
walls of a great city wherein was a world of people, especially learned
men, none could tell their number save Allah. No sooner had we arrived
than we were visited by certain Mameluke officials from the King of
that city; who, after boarding us, greeted the merchants and giving
them joy of safe arrival said, "Our King welcometh you, and sendeth you
this roll of paper, whereupon each and every of you must write a line.
For ye shall know that the King's Minister, a calligrapher of renown,
is dead, and the King hath sworn a solemn oath that he will make none
Wazir in his stead who cannot write as well as he could." He then gave
us the scroll which measured ten cubits long by a breadth of one, and
each of the merchants who knew how to write wrote a line thereon, even
to the last of them; after which I stood up (still in the shape of an
ape) and snatched the roll out of their hands. They feared lest I
should tear it or throw it overboard; so they tried to stay me and
scare me, but I signed to them that i could write, whereat all
marvelled, saying, "We never yet saw an, ape write." And the Captain
cried, "Let him write; and if he scribble and scrabble we will kick him
out and kill him; but if he; write fair and scholarly I will adopt him
as my son; for surely I never yet saw a more intelligent and well
mannered monkey than he. Would Heaven my real son were his match in
morals and manners." I took the reed, and stretching out my paw, dipped
it in ink and wrote, in the hand used for letters,[FN#229] these two

Time hath recorded gifts she gave the great; * But none recorded
     thine which be far higher
Allah ne'er orphan men by loss of thee * Who be of Goodness
     mother. Bounty's sire.

And I wrote in Rayháni or larger letters elegantly curved[FN#230]:—

Thou hast a reed[FN#231] of rede to every land, * Whose driving
     causeth all the world to thrive;
Nil is the Nile of Misraim by thy boons * Who makest misery
     smile with fingers five

Then I wrote in the Suls[FN#232] character:—

There be no writer who from Death shall fleet, * But what his
     hand hath writ men shall repeat:
Write, therefore, naught save what shall serve thee when * Thou
     see's on Judgment-Day an so thou see's!

Then I wrote in the character Naskh[FN#233]:—

When to sore parting Fate our love shall doom, * To distant life
     by Destiny decreed,
We cause the inkhorn's lips to 'plain our pains, * And tongue our
     utterance with the talking reed.

And I wrote in the Túmár character[FN#234]:—

Kingdom with none endures; if thou deny * This truth, where be
     the Kings of earlier earth?
Set trees of goodliness while rule endures, * And when thou art
     fallen they shall tell thy worth.

And I wrote in the character Muhakkak[FN#235]:—

When oped the inkhorn of thy wealth and fame * Take ink of
     generous heart and gracious hand;
Write brave and noble deeds while write thou can * And win thee
     praise from point of pen and brand.

Then I gave the scroll to the officials and, after we all had written
our line, they carried it before the King. When he saw the paper no
writing pleased him save my writing; and he said to the assembled
courtiers, "Go seek the writer of these lines and dress him in a
splendid robe of honour; then mount him on a she mule,[FN#236] let a
band of music precede him and bring him to the presence." At these
words they smiled and the King was wroth with them and cried, "O
accursed! I give you an order and you laugh at me?" "O King," replied
they, "if we laugh 'tis not at thee and not without a cause." "And what
is it?" asked he; and they answered, "O King, thou orderest us to bring
to thy presence the man who wrote these lines; now the truth is that he
who wrote them is not of the sons of Adam,[FN#237] but an ape, a
tail-less baboon, belonging to the ship captain." Quoth he, "Is this
true that you say?" Quoth they, "Yea! by the rights of thy
munificence!" The King marvelled at their words and shook with mirth
and said, "I am minded to buy this ape of the Captain." Then he sent
messengers to the ship with the mule, the dress, the guard and the
state drums, saying, "Not the less do you clothe him in the robe of
honour and mount him on the mule and let him be surrounded by the
guards and preceded by the band of music." They came to the ship and
took me from the Captain and robed me in the robe of honour and,
mounting me on the she mule, carried me in state procession through the
streets', whilst the people were amazed and amused. And folk said to
one another, "Halloo! is our Sultan about to make an ape his
Minister?"; and came all agog crowding to gaze at me, and the town was
astir and turned topsy turvy on my account. When they brought me up to
the King and set me in his presence, I kissed the ground before him
three times, and once before the High Chamberlain and great officers,
and he bade me be seated, and I sat respectfully on shins and
knees,[FN#238] and all who were present marvelled at my fine manners,
and the King most of all. Thereupon he ordered the lieges to retire;
and, when none remained save the King's majesty, the Eunuch on duty and
a little white slave, he bade them set before me the table of food,
containing all manner of birds, whatever hoppeth and flieth and
treadeth in nest, such as quail and sand grouse. Then he signed me to
eat with him; so I rose and kissed ground before him, then sat me down
and ate with him. And when the table was removed I washed my hands in
seven waters and took the reed-case and reed; and wrote instead of
speaking these couplets:—

Wail for the little partridges on porringer and plate; * Cry for
     the ruin of the fries and stews well marinate:
Keen as I keen for loved, lost daughters of the
     Katá-grouse,[FN#239] * And omelette round the fair
     enbrowned fowls agglomerate:
O fire in heart of me for fish, those deux poissons I saw, *
     Bedded on new made scones[FN#240] and cakes in piles to
For thee, O vermicelli! aches my very maw! I hold * Without thee
     every taste and joy are clean annihilate
Those eggs have rolled their yellow eyes in torturing pains of
     fire * Ere served with hash and fritters hot, that
     delicatest cate.
Praised be Allah for His baked and roast and ah! how good * This
     pulse, these pot-herbs steeped in oil with eysill combinate!
When hunger sated was, I elbow-propt fell back upon * Meat
     pudding[FN#241] wherein gleamed the bangles that my wits
Then woke I sleeping appetite to eat as though in sport * Sweets
     from broceded trays and kickshaws most elaborate.
Be patient, soul of me! Time is a haughty, jealous wight; * Today
     he seems dark-lowering and tomorrow fair to sight.[FN#242]

Then I rose and seated myself at a respectful distance while the King
read what I had written, and marvelled, exclaiming, "O the miracle,
that an ape should be gifted with this graceful style and this power of
penmanship! By Allah, 'tis a wonder of wonders!" Presently they set
before the King choice wines in flagons of glass and he drank: then he
passed on the cup to me; and I kissed the ground and drank and wrote on

With fire they boiled me to loose my tongue,[FN#243] * And pain
     and patience gave for fellowship:
Hence comes it hands of men upbear me high * And honey dew
     from lips of maid I sip!

And these also:—

Morn saith to Night, "withdraw and let me shine;" * So drain we
     draughts that dull all pain and pine:[FN#244]
I doubt, so fine the glass, the wine so clear, * If 'tis the wine
     in glass or glass in twine.

The King read my verse and said with a sigh, "Were these gifts[FN#245]
in a man, he would excel all the folk of his time and age!" Then he
called for the chess board, and said, "Say, wilt thou play with me?";
and I signed with my head, "Yes." Then I came forward and ordered the
pieces and played with him two games, both of which I won. He was
speechless with surprise; so I took the pen case and, drawing forth a
reed, wrote on the board these two couplets:—

Two hosts fare fighting thro' the livelong day * Nor is their
     battling ever finished,
Until, when darkness girdeth them about, * The twain go sleeping
     in a single bed.[FN#246]

The King read these lines with wonder and delight and said to his
Eunuch,[FN#247] "O Mukbil, go to thy mistress, Sitt al- Husn,[FN#248]
and say her, 'Come, speak the King who biddeth thee hither to take thy
solace in seeing this right wondrous ape!"' So the Eunuch went out and
presently returned with the lady who, when she saw me veiled her face
and said, "O my father! hast thou lost all sense of honour? How cometh
it thou art pleased to send for me and show me to strange men?" "O Sitt
al-Husn," said he, "no man is here save this little foot page and the
Eunuch who reared thee and I, thy father. From whom, then, cost thou
veil thy face?" She answered, "This whom thou deemest an ape is a young
man, a clever and polite, a wise and learned and the son of a King; but
he is ensorcelled and the Ifrit Jirjaris, who is of the seed of Iblis,
cast a spell upon him, after putting to death his own wife the daughter
of King Ifitamus lord of the Islands of Abnus." The King marvelled at
his daughter's words and, turning to me, said, "Is this true that she
saith of thee?"; and I signed by a nod of my head the answer, "Yea,
verily;" and wept sore. Then he asked his daughter, "Whence knewest
thou that he is ensorcelled?"; and she answered, "O my dear papa, there
was with me in my childhood an old woman, a wily one and a wise and a
witch to boot, and she taught me the theory of magic and its practice;
and I took notes in writing and therein waxed perfect, and have
committed to memory an hundred and seventy chapters of egromantic
formulas, by the least of which I could transport the stones of thy
city behind the Mountain Kaf and the Circumambient Main,[FN#249] or
make its site an abyss of the sea and its people fishes swimming in the
midst of it." "O my daughter," said her father, "I conjure thee, by my
life, disenchant this young man, that I may make him my Wazir and marry
thee to him, for indeed he is an ingenious youth and a deeply learned."
"With joy and goodly gree," she replied and, hending in hand an iron
knife whereon was inscribed the name of Allah in Hebrew characters, she
described a wide circle—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and
ceased saying her permitted say.

               When it was the Fourteenth Night,

 She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Kalandar
 continued his tale thus:—O my lady, the King's daughter hent in hand a
 knife whereon were inscribed Hebrew characters and described a wide
 circle in the midst of the palace hall, and therein wrote in Cufic
 letters mysterious names and talismans; and she uttered words and
 muttered charms, some of which we understood and others we understood
 not. Presently the world waxed dark before our sight till we thought
 that the sky was falling upon our heads, and lo! the Ifrit presented
 himself in his own shape and aspect. His hands were like many pronged
 pitch forks, his legs like the masts of great ships, and his eyes like
 cressets of gleaming fire. We were in terrible fear of him but the
 King's daughter cried at him, "No welcome to thee and no greeting, O
 dog!" whereupon he changed to the form of a lion and said, "O
 traitress, how is it thou hast broken the oath we sware that neither
 should contraire other!" "O accursed one," answered she, "how could
 there be a compact between me and the like of thee?" Then said he,
 "Take what thou has brought on thy self;" and the lion opened his jaws
 and rushed upon her; but she was too quick for him; and, plucking a
 hair from her head, waved it in the air muttering over it the while;
 and the hair straightway became a trenchant sword blade, wherewith she
 smote the lion and cut him in twain. Then the two halves flew away in
 air and the head changed to a scorpion and the Princess became a huge
 serpent and set upon the accursed scorpion, and the two fought,
 coiling and uncoiling, a stiff fight for an hour at least. Then the
 scorpion changed to a vulture and the serpent became an eagle which
 set upon the vulture, and hunted him for an hour's time, till he
 became a black tom cat, which miauled and grinned and spat. Thereupon
 the eagle changed into a piebald wolf and these two battled in the
 palace for a long time, when the cat, seeing himself overcome, changed
 into a worm and crept into a huge red pomegranate,[FN#250] which lay
 beside the jetting fountain in the midst of the palace hall. Whereupon
 the pomegranate swelled to the size of a water melon in air; and,
 falling upon the marble pavement of the palace, broke to pieces, and
 all the grains fell out and were scattered about till they covered the
 whole floor. Then the wolf shook himself and became a snow white cock,
 which fell to picking up the grains purposing not to leave one; but by
 doom of destiny one seed rolled to the fountain edge and there lay
 hid. The cock fell to crowing and clapping his wings and signing to us
 with his beak as if to ask, ' Are any grains left?" But we understood
 not what he meant, and he cried to us with so loud a cry that we
 thought the palace would fall upon us. Then he ran over all the floor
 till he saw the grain which had rolled to the fountain edge, and
 rushed eagerly to pick it up when behold, it sprang into the midst of
 the water and became a fish and dived to the bottom of the basin.
 Thereupon the cock changed to a big fish, and plunged in after the
 other, and the two disappeared for a while and lo! we heard loud
 shrieks and cries of pain which made us tremble. After this the Ifrit
 rose out of the water, and he was as a burning flame; casting fire and
 smoke from his mouth and eyes and nostrils. And immediately the
 Princess likewise came forth from the basin and she was one live coal
 of flaming lowe; and these two, she and he, battled for the space of
 an hour, until their fires entirely compassed them about and their
 thick smoke filled the palace. As for us we panted for breath, being
 well nigh suffocated, and we longed to plunge into the water fearing
 lest we be burnt up and utterly destroyed; and the King said, There is
 no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah the Glorious, the
 Great! Verily we are Allah's and unto Him are we returning! Would
 Heaven I had not urged my daughter to attempt the disenchantment of
 this ape fellow, whereby I have imposed upon her the terrible task of
 fighting yon accursed Ifrit against whom all the Ifrits in the world
 could not prevail. And would Heaven we had never seen this ape, Allah
 never assain nor bless the day of his coming! We thought to do a good
 deed by him before the face of Allah,[FN#251] and to release him from
 enchantment, and now we have brought this trouble and travail upon our
 heart." But I, O my lady, was tongue tied and powerless to say a word
 to him. Suddenly, ere we were ware of aught, the Ifrit yelled out from
 under the flames and, coming up to us as we stood on the estrade, blew
 fire in our faces. The damsel overtook him and breathed blasts of fire
 at his face and the sparks from her and from him rained down upon us,
 and her sparks did us no harm, but one of his sparks alighted upon my
 eye and destroyed it making me a monocular ape; and another fell on
 the King's face scorching the lower half, burning off his beard and
 mustachios and causing his under teeth to fall out; while a third
 alighted on the Castrato's breast, killing him on the spot. So we
 despaired of life and made sure of death when lo! a voice repeated the
 saying, "Allah is most Highest! Allah is most Highest! Aidance and
 victory to all who the Truth believe; and disappointment and disgrace
 to all who the religion of Mohammed, the Moon of Faith, unbelieve."
 The speaker was the Princess who had burnt the Ifrit, and he was
 become a heap of ashes. Then she came up to us and said, "Reach me a
 cup of water." They brought it to her and she spoke over it words we
 understood not, and sprinkling me with it cried, "By virtue of the
 Truth, and by the Most Great name of Allah, I charge thee return to
 thy former shape." And behold, I shook, and became a man as before,
 save that I had utterly lost an eye. Then she cried out, "The fire!
 The fire! O my dear papa an arrow from the accursed hath wounded me to
 the death, for I am not used to fight with the Jann; had he been a man
 I had slain him in the beginning. I had no trouble till the time when
 the pomegranate burst and the grains scattered, but I overlooked the
 seed wherein was the very life of the Jinni. Had I picked it up he had
 died on the spot, but as Fate and Fortune decreed, I saw it not; so he
 came upon me all unawares and there befel between him and me a sore
 struggle under the earth and high in air and in the water; and, as
 often as I opened on him a gate,[FN#252] he opened on me another gate
 and a stronger, till at last he opened on me the gate of fire, and few
 are saved upon whom the door of fire openeth. But Destiny willed that
 my cunning prevail over his cunning; and I burned him to death after I
 vainly exhorted him to embrace the religion of al-Islam. As for me I
 am a dead woman; Allah supply my place to you!" Then she called upon
 Heaven for help and ceased not to implore relief from the fire; when
 lo! a black spark shot up from her robed feet to her thighs; then it
 flew to her bosom and thence to her face. When it reached her face she
 wept and said, "I testify that there is no god but the God and that
 Mahommed is the Apostle of God!" And we looked at her and saw naught
 but a heap of ashes by the side of the heap that had been the Ifrit.
 We mourned for her and I wished I had been in her place, so had I not
 seen her lovely face who had worked me such weal become ashes; but
 there is no gainsaying the will of Allah. When the King saw his
 daughter's terrible death, he plucked out what was left of his beard
 and beat his face and rent his raiment; and I did as he did and we
 both wept over her. Then came in the Chamberlains and Grandees and
 were amazed to find two heaps of ashes and the Sultan in a fainting
 fit; so they stood round him till he revived and told them what had
 befallen his daughter from the Ifrit; whereat their grief was right
 grievous and the women and the slave girls shrieked and
 keened,[FN#253] and they continued their lamentations for the space of
 seven days. Moreover the King bade build over his daughter's ashes a
 vast vaulted tomb, and burn therein wax tapers and sepulchral lamps:
 but as for the Ifrit's ashes they scattered them on the winds,
 speeding them to the curse of Allah. Then the Sultan fell sick of a
 sickness that well nigh brought him to his death for a month's space;
 and, when health returned to him and his beard grew again and he had
 been converted by the mercy of Allah to al-Islam, he sent for me and
 said, "O youth, Fate had decreed for us the happiest of lives, safe
 from all the chances and changes of Time, till thou camest to us, when
 troubles fell upon us. Would to Heaven we had never seen thee and the
 foul face of thee! For we took pity on thee and thereby we have lost
 our all. I have on thy account first lost my daughter who to me was
 well worth an hundred men, secondly I have suffered that which befel
 me by reason of the fire and the loss of my teeth, and my Eunuch also
 was slain. I blame thee not, for it was out of thy power to prevent
 this: the doom of Allah was on thee as well as on us and thanks be to
 the Almighty for that my daughter delivered thee, albeit thereby she
 lost her own life! Go forth now, O my son, from this my city, and
 suffice thee what hath befallen us through thee, even although 'twas
 decreed for us. Go forth in peace; and if I ever see thee again I will
 surely slay thee." And he cried out at me. So I went forth from his
 presence, O my lady, weeping bitterly and hardly believing in my
 escape and knowing not whither I should wend. And I recalled all that
 had befallen me, my meeting the tailor, my love for the damsel in the
 palace beneath the earth, and my narrow escape from the Ifrit, even
 after he had determined to do me die; and how I had entered the city
 as an ape and was now leaving it a man once more. Then I gave thanks
 to Allah and said, "My eye and not my life!" and before leaving the
 place I entered the bath and shaved my poll and beard and mustachios
 and eye brows; and cast ashes on my head and donned the coarse black
 woollen robe of a Kalandar. Then I fared forth, O my lady, and every
 day I pondered all the calamities which had betided me, and I wept and
 repeated these couplets:—

"I am distraught, yet verily His ruth abides with me, * Tho'
     round me gather hosts of ills, whence come I cannot see:
Patient I'll be till Patience self with me impatient wax; *
     Patient for ever till the Lord fulfil my destiny:
Patient I'll bide without complaint, a wronged and vanquish" man;
     * Patient as sunparcht wight that spans the desert's sandy
Patient I'll be till Aloe's[FN#254] self unwittingly allow * I'm
     patient under bitterer things than bitterest aloë:
No bitterer things than aloes or than patience for mankind, * Yet
     bitterer than the twain to me were Patience' treachery:
My sere and seamed and seared brow would dragoman my sore *
     If soul could search my sprite and there unsecret secrecy:
Were hills to bear the load I bear they'd crumble 'neath the
    weight, * 'Twould still the roaring wind, 'twould quench the
    flame-tongue's flagrancy,
And whoso saith the world is sweet certès a day he'll see * With
     more than aloes' bitterness and aloes' pungency."

Then I journeyed through many regions and saw many a city intending for
Baghdad, that I might seek audience, in the House of Peace,[FN#255]
with the Commander of the Faithful and tell him all that had befallen
me. I arrived here this very night and found my brother in Allah, this
first Kalandar, standing about as one perplexed; so I saluted him with
"Peace be upon thee," and entered into discourse with him. Presently up
came our brother, this third Kalandar, and said to us, "Peace be with
you! I am a stranger;" whereto we replied, "And we too be strangers,
who have come hither this blessed night." So we all three walked on
together, none of us knowing the other's history, till Destiny crave us
to this door and we came in to you. Such then is my story and my reason
for shaving my beard and mustachios, and this is what caused the loss
of my eye. Said the house mistress, "Thy tale is indeed a rare; so rub
thy head and wend thy ways;" but he replied, "I will not budge till I
hear my companions' stories." Then came forward the third Kalandar, and
said, "O illustrious lady! my history is not like that of these my
comrades, but more wondrous and far more marvellous. In their case Fate
and Fortune came down on them unawares; but I drew down destiny upon my
own head and brought sorrow on mine own soul, and shaved my own beard
and lost my own eye. Hear then

The Third Kalandar's Tale.

Know, O my lady, that I also am a King and the son of a King and my
name is Ajíb son of Kazíb. When my father died I succeeded him; and I
ruled and did justice and dealt fairly by all my lieges. I delighted in
sea trips, for my capital stood on the shore, before which the ocean
stretched far and wide; and near hand were many great islands with
sconces and garrisons in the midst of the main. My fleet numbered fifty
merchantmen, and as many yachts for pleasance, and an hundred and fifty
sail ready fitted for holy war with the Unbelievers. It fortuned that I
had a mind to enjoy myself on the islands aforesaid, so I took ship
with my people in ten keel; and, carrying with me a month's victual, I
set out on a twenty days' voyage. But one night a head wind struck us,
and the sea rose against us with huge waves; the billows sorely
buffetted us and a dense darkness settled round us. We gave ourselves
up for lost and I said, "Whoso endangereth his days, e'en an he 'scape
deserveth no praise." Then we prayed to Allah and besought Him; but the
storm blasts ceased not to blow against us nor the surges to strike us
till morning broke when the gale fell, the seas sank to mirrory
stillness and the sun shone upon us kindly clear. Presently we made an
island where we landed and cooked somewhat of food, and ate heartily
and took our rest for a couple of days. Then we set out again and
sailed other twenty days, the seas broadening and the land shrinking.
Presently the current ran counter to us, and we found ourselves in
strange waters, where the Captain had lost his reckoning, and was
wholly bewildered in this sea; so said we to the look out man,[FN#256]
"Get thee to the mast head and keep thine eyes open." He swarmed up the
mast and looked out and cried aloud, "O Rais, I espy to starboard
something dark, very like a fish floating on the face of the sea, and
to larboard there is a loom in the midst of the main, now black and now
bright." When the Captain heard the look out's words he dashed his
turband on the deck and plucked out his beard and beat his face saying,
"Good news indeed! we be all dead men; not one of us can be saved." And
he fell to weeping and all of us wept for his weeping and also for our
lives; and I said, "O Captain, tell us what it is the look out saw." "O
my Prince," answered he, "know that we lost our course on the night of
the storm, which was followed on the morrow by a two days' calm during
which we made no way; and we have gone astray eleven days reckoning
from that night, with ne'er a wind to bring us back to our true course.
Tomorrow by the end of the day we shall come to a mountain of black
stone, highs the Magnet Mountain;[FN#257] for thither the currents
carry us willy-nilly. As soon as we are under its lea, the ship's sides
will open and every nail in plank will fly out and cleave fast to the
mountain; for that Almighty Allah hath gifted the loadstone with a
mysterious virtue and a love for iron, by reason whereof all which is
iron travelleth towards it; and on this mountain is much iron, how much
none knoweth save the Most High, from the many vessels which have been
lost there since the days of yore. The bright spot upon its summit is a
dome of yellow laton from Andalusia, vaulted upon ten columns; and on
its crown is a horseman who rideth a horse of brass and holdeth in hand
a lance of laton; and there hangeth on his bosom a tablet of lead
graven with names and talismans." And he presently added, "And, O King,
none destroyeth folk save the rider on that steed, nor will the
egromancy be dispelled till he fall from his horse.''[FN#258] Then, O
my lady, the Captain wept with exceeding weeping and we all made sure
of death doom and each and every one of us farewelled his friend and
charged him with his last will and testament in case he might be saved.
We slept not that night and in the morning we found ourselves much
nearer the Loadstone Mountain, whither the waters crave us with a
violent send. When the ships were close under its lea they opened and
the nails flew out and all the iron in them sought the Magnet Mountain
and clove to it like a network; so that by the end of the day we were
all struggling in the waves round about the mountain. Some of us were
saved, but more were drowned and even those who had escaped knew not
one another, so stupefied were they by the beating of the billows and
the raving of the winds. As for me, O my lady, Allah (be His name
exalted!) preserved my life that I might suffer whatso He willed to me
of hardship, misfortune and calamity; for I scrambled upon a plank from
one of the ships, and the wind and waters threw it at the feet of the
Mountain. There I found a practicable path leading by steps carven out
of the rock to the summit, and I called on the name of Allah
Almighty"[FN#259]—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to
say her permitted say.

                When it was the Fifteenth Night,

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the third
Kalandar said to the lady (the rest of the party sitting fast bound and
the slaves standing with swords drawn over their heads):—And after
calling on the name of Almighty Allah and passionately beseeching Him,
I breasted the ascent, clinging to the steps and notches hewn in the
stone, and mounted little by little. And the Lord stilled the wind and
aided me in the ascent, so that I succeeded in reaching the summit.
There I found no resting place save the dome, which I entered, joying
with exceeding joy at my escape; and made the Wuzu-ablution[FN#260] and
prayed a two bow prayer,[FN#261] a thanksgiving to God for my
preservation. Then I fell asleep under the dome, and heard in my dream
a mysterious Voice[FN#262] saying, "O son of Khazib! when thou wakest
from thy sleep dig under thy feet and thou shalt find a bow of brass
and three leaden arrows, inscribed with talismans and characts. Take
the bow and shoot the arrows at the horseman on the dome top and free
mankind from this sore calamity. When thou hast shot him he shall fall
into the sea, and the horse will also drop at thy feet: then bury it in
the place of the bow. This done, the main will swell and rise till it
is level with the mountain head, and there will appear on it a skiff
carrying a man of laton (other than he thou shalt have shot) holding in
his hand a pair of paddles. He will come to thee and do thou embark
with him but beware of saying Bismillah or of otherwise naming Allah
Almighty. He will row thee for a space of ten days, till he bring thee
to certain Islands called the Islands of Safety, and thence thou shalt
easily reach a port and find those who will convey thee to thy native
land; and all this shall be fulfilled to thee so thou call not on the
name of Allah." Then I started up from my sleep in joy and gladness
and, hastening to do the bidding of the mysterious Voice, found the bow
and arrows and shot at the horseman and tumbled him into the main,
whilst the horse dropped at my feet; so I took it and buried it.
Presently the sea surged up and rose till it reached the top of the
mountain; nor had I long to wait ere I saw a skiff in the offing coming
towards me. I gave thanks to Allah; and, when the skiff came up to me,
I saw therein a man of brass with a tablet of lead on his breast
inscribed with talismans and characts; and I embarked without uttering
a word. The boatman rowed on with me through the first day and the
second and the third, in all ten whole days, till I caught sight of the
Islands of Safety; whereat I joyed with exceeding joy and for stress of
gladness exclaimed, "Allah! Allah! In the name of Allah! There is no
god but the God and Allah is Almighty.''[FN#263] Thereupon the skiff
forthwith upset and cast me upon the sea; then it righted and sank deep
into the depths. Now I am a fair swimmer, so I swam the whole day till
nightfall, when my forearms and shoulders were numbed with fatigue and
I felt like to die; so I testified to my faith, expecting naught but
death. The sea was still surging under the violence of the winds, and
presently there came a billow like a hillock; and, bearing me up high
in air, threw me with a long cast on dry land, that His will might be
fulfilled. I crawled up the beach and doffing my raiment wrung it out
to dry and spread it in the sunshine: then I lay me down and slept the
whole night. As soon as it was day, I donned my clothes and rose to
look whither I should walk. Presently I came to a thicket of low trees;
and, making a cast round it, found that the spot whereon I stood was an
islet, a mere holm, girt on all sides by the ocean; whereupon I said to
myself, "Whatso freeth me from one great calamity casteth me into a
greater!" But while I was pondering my case and longing for death
behold, I saw afar off a ship making for the island; so I clomb a tree
and hid myself among the branches. Presently the ship anchored and
landed ten slaves, blackamoors, bearing iron hoes and baskets, who
walked on till they reached the middle of the island. Here they dug
deep into the ground, until they uncovered a plate of metal which they
lifted, thereby opening a trap door. After this they returned to the
ship and thence brought bread and flour, honey and fruits, clarified
butter,[FN#264] leather bottles containing liquors and many household
stuffs; also furniture, table service and mirrors rugs, carpets and in
fact all needed to furnish a dwelling; and they kept going to and fro,
and descending by the trap door, till they had transported into the
dwelling all that was in the ship. After this the slaves again went on
board and brought back with them garments as rich as may be, and in the
midst of them came an old, old man, of whom very little was left, for
Time had dealt hardly and harshly with him, and all that remained of
him was a bone wrapped in a rag of blue stuff through which the winds
whistled west and east. As saith the poet of him:—

Time gars me tremble Ah, how sore the baulk! * While Time in
     pride of strength cloth ever stalk:
Time was I walked nor ever felt I tired, * Now am I tired albe I
     never walk!

And the Shaykh held by the hand a youth cast in beauty's mould, all
elegance and perfect grace; so fair that his comeliness deserved to be
proverbial; for he was as a green bough or the tender young of the roe,
ravishing every heart with his loveliness and subduing every soul with
his coquetry and amorous ways.[FN#265] It was of him the poet spake
when he said:—

Beauty they brought with him to make compare, * But Beauty
     hung her head in shame and care:
Quoth' they, "O Beauty, hast thou seen his like?" * And Beauty
     cried, "His like? not anywhere!"

They stinted not their going, O my lady, till all went down by the trap
door and did not reappear for an hour, or rather more; at the end of
which time the slaves and the old man came up without the youth and,
replacing the iron plate and carefully closing the door slab as it was
before, they returned to the ship and made sail and were lost to my
sight. When they turned away to depart, I came down from the tree and,
going to the place I had seen them fill up, scraped off and removed the
earth; and in patience possessed my soul till I had cleared the whole
of it away. Then appeared the trap door which was of wood, in shape and
size like a millstone; and when I lifted it up it disclosed a winding
staircase of stone. At this I marvelled and, descending the steps till
I reached the last, found a fair hall, spread with various kinds of
carpets and silk stuffs, wherein was a youth sitting upon a raised
couch and leaning back on a round cushion with a fan in his hand and
nosegays and posies of sweet scented herbs and flowers before
him;[FN#266] but he was alone and not a soul near him in the great
vault. When he saw me he turned pale; but I saluted him courteously and
said, "Set thy mind at ease and calm thy fears; no harm shall come near
thee; I am a man like thyself and the son of a King to boot; whom the
decrees of Destiny have sent to bear thee company and cheer thee in thy
loneliness. But now tell me, what is thy story and what causeth thee to
dwell thus in solitude under the ground?" When he was assured that I
was of his kind and no Jinni, he rejoiced and his fine colour returned;
and, making me draw near to him he said, "O my brother, my story is a
strange story and 'tis this. My father is a merchant-jeweller possessed
of great wealth, who hath white and black slaves travelling and trading
on his account in ships and on camels, and trafficking with the most
distant cities; but he was not blessed with a child, not even one. Now
on a certain night he dreamed a dream that he should be favoured with a
son, who would be short lived; so the morning dawned on my father
bringing him woe and weeping. On the following night my mother
conceived and my father noted down the date of her becoming
pregnant.[FN#267] Her time being fulfilled she bare me; whereat my
father rejoiced and made banquets and called together the neighbors and
fed the Fakirs and the poor, for that he had been blessed with issue
near the end of his days. Then he assembled the astrologers and
astronomers who knew the places of the planets, and the wizards and
wise ones of the time, and men learned in horoscopes and
nativities,[FN#268] and they drew out my birth scheme and said to my
father, "Thy son shall live to fifteen years, but in his fifteenth
there is a sinister aspect; an he safely tide it over he shall attain a
great age. And the cause that threateneth him with death is this. In
the Sea of Peril standeth the Mountain Magnet hight; on whose summit is
a horseman of yellow laton seated on a horse also of brass and bearing
on his breast a tablet of lead. Fifty days after this rider shall fall
from his steed thy son will die and his slayer will be he who shoots
down the horseman, a Prince named Ajib son of King Khazib." My father
grieved with exceeding grief to hear these words; but reared me in
tenderest fashion and educated me excellently well until my fifteenth
year was told. Ten days ago news came to him that the horseman had
fallen into the sea and he who shot him down was named Ajib son of King
Khazib. My father thereupon wept bitter tears at the need of parting
with me and became like one possessed of a Jinni. However, being in
mortal fear for me, he built me this place under the earth; and,
stocking it with all required for the few days still remaining, he
brought me hither in a ship and left me here. Ten are already past and,
when the forty shall have gone by without danger to me, he will come
and take me away; for he hath done all this only in fear of Prince
Ajib. Such, then, is my story and the cause of my loneliness." When I
heard his history I marvelled and said in my mind, "I am the Prince
Ajib who hath done all this; but as Allah is with me I will surely not
slay him!" So said I to him, "O my lord, far from thee be this hurt and
harm and then, please Allah, thou shalt not suffer cark nor care nor
aught disquietude, for I will tarry with thee and serve thee as a
servant, and then wend my ways; and after having borne thee company
during the forty days, I will go with thee to thy home where thou shalt
give me an escort of some of thy Mamelukes with whom I may journey back
to my own city; and the Almighty shall requite thee for me." He was
glad to hear these words, when I rose and lighted a large wax candle
and trimmed the ramps end the three lanterns; and I set on meat and
drink and sweetmeats. We ate and drank and sat talking over various
matters till the greater part of the night was gone; when he lay down
to rest and I covered him up and went to sleep myself. Next morning I
arose and warmed a little water, then lifted him gently so as to awake
him and brought him the warm water wherewith he washed his face[FN#269]
and said to me, "Heaven requite thee for me with every blessing, O
youth! By Allah, if I get quit of this danger and am saved from him
whose name is Ajib bin Khazib, I will make my father reward thee and
send thee home healthy and wealthy; and, if I die, then my blessing be
upon thee." I answered, "May the day never dawn on which evil shall
betide thee; and may Allah make my last day before thy last day!" Then
I set before him somewhat of food and we ate; and I got ready perfumes
for fumigating the hall, wherewith he was pleased. Moreover I made him
a Mankalah- cloth;[FN#270] and we played and ate sweetmeats and we
played again and took our pleasure till nightfall, when I rose and
lighted the lamps, and set before him somewhat to eat, and sat telling
him stories till the hours of darkness were far spent. Then he lay down
to rest and I covered him up and rested also. And thus I continued to
do, O my lady, for days and nights and affection for him took root in
my heart and my sorrow was eased, and I said to myself, "The
astrologers lied[FN#271] when they predicted that he should be slain by
Ajib bin Khazib: by Allah, I will not slay him." I ceased not
ministering to him and conversing and carousing with him and telling
him all manner tales for thirty nine days. On the fortieth
night[FN#272] the youth rejoiced and said, "O my brother, Alhamdo,
lillah!—praise be to Allah—who hath preserved me from death and this is
by thy blessing and the blessing of thy coming to me and I pray God
that He restore thee to thy native land. But now, O my brother, I would
thou warm me some water for the Ghusl ablution and do thou kindly bathe
me and change my clothes." I replied, "With love and gladness;" and I
heated water in plenty and carrying it in to him washed his body all
over the washing of health,[FN#273] with meal of lupins[FN#274] and
rubbed him well and changed his clothes and spread him a high bed
whereon he lay down to rest, being drowsy after bathing. Then said he,
"O my brother, cut me up a water melon, and sweeten it with a little
sugar candy."[FN#275] So I went to the store room and bringing out a
fine water melon I found there, set it on a platter and laid it before
him saying, "O my master hast thou not a knife?" "Here it is," answered
he, "over my head upon the high shelf." So I got up in haste and taking
the knife drew it from its sheath; but my foot slipped in stepping down
and I fell heavily upon the youth holding in my hand the knife which
hastened to fulfil what had been written on the Day that decided the
destinies of man, and buried itself, as if planted, in the youth's
heart. He died on the instant. When I saw that he was slain and knew
that I had slain him, maugre myself, I cried out with an exceeding loud
and bitter cry and beat my face and rent my raiment and said, "Verily
we be Allah's and unto Him we be returning, O Moslems! O folk fain of
Allah! there remained for this youth but one day of the forty dangerous
days which the astrologers and the learned had foretold for him; and
the predestined death of this beautiful one was to be at my hand. Would
Heaven I had not tried to cut the watermelon. What dire misfortune is
this I must bear fief or loath? What a disaster! What an affliction! O
Allah mine, I implore thy pardon and declare to Thee my innocence of
his death. But what God willeth let that come to pass.''[FN#276]—And
Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted

                When it was the Sixteenth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Ajib thus
continued his tale to the lady:—When I was certified that I had slain
him, I arose and ascending the stairs replaced the trap- door and
covered it with earth as before. Then I looked out seawards and saw the
ship cleaving the waters and making for the island, wherefore I was
afeard and said, "The moment they come and see the youth done to death,
they will know 'twas I who slew him and will slay me without respite."
So I climbed up into a high tree and concealed myself among its leaves;
and hardly had I done so when the ship anchored and the slaves landed
with the ancient man, the youth's father, and made direct for the place
and when they removed the earth they were surprised to see it
soft.[FN#277] Then they raised the trap door and went down and found
the youth lying at full length, clothed in fair new garments, with a
face beaming after the bath, and the knife deep in his heart. At the
sight they shrieked and wept and beat their faces, loudly cursing the
murderer; whilst a swoon came over the Shaykh so that the slaves deemed
him dead, unable to survive his son. At last they wrapped the slain
youth in his clothes and carried him up and laid him on the ground
covering him with a shroud of silk. Whilst they were making for the
ship the old man revived; and, gazing on his son who was stretched out,
fell on the ground and strewed dust over his head and smote his face
and plucked out his beard; and his weeping redoubled as he thought of
his murdered son and he swooned away once more. After awhile a slave
went and fetched a strip of silk whereupon they lay the old man and sat
down at his head. All this took place and I was on the tree above them
watching everything that came to pass; and my heart became hoary before
my head waxed grey, for the hard lot which was mine, and for the
distress and anguish I had undergone, and I fell to reciting:—

"How many a joy by Allah's will hath fled * With flight escaping
     sight of wisest head!
How many a sadness shall begin the day, * Yet grow right
     gladsome ere the day is sped!
How many a weal trips on the heels of ill, * Causing the
     mourner's heart with joy to thrill!"[FN#278]

But the old man, O my lady, ceased not from his swoon till near sunset,
when he came to himself and, looking upon his dead son, he recalled
what had happened, and how what he had dreaded had come to pass; and he
beat his face and head and recited these couplets:—

"Racked is my heart by parting fro' my friends * And two rills
     ever fro' my eyelids flow:
With them[FN#279] went forth my hopes, Ah, well away! * What
     shift remaineth me to say or do?
Would I had never looked upon their sight, * What shift, fair
     sirs, when paths e'er strainer grow?
What charm shall calm my pangs when this wise burn * Longings
     of love which in my vitals glow?
Would I had trod with them the road of Death! * Ne'er had befel
     us twain this parting blow:
Allah: I pray the Truthful show me Roth * And mix our lives nor
     part them evermo'e!
How blest were we as 'death one roof we dwelt * Conjoined in
     joys nor recking aught of woe;
Till Fortune shot us pith the severance shaft; * Ah who shall
     patient bear such parting throe?
And dart of Death struck down amid the tribe * The age's pearl
     that Morn saw brightest show:
I cried the while his case took speech and said:—* Would Heaven,
     my son, Death mote his doom foreslow!
Which be the readiest road wi' thee to meet * My Son! for whom I
     would my soul bestow?
If sun I call him no! the sun cloth set; * If moon I call him,
     wane the moons; Ah no!
O sad mischance o' thee, O doom of days, * Thy place none other
     love shall ever know:
Thy sire distracted sees thee, but despairs * By wit or wisdom
     Fate to overthrow:
Some evil eye this day hath cast its spell * And foul befal him
     as it foul befel!"

Then he sobbed a single sob and his soul fled his flesh. The slaves
shrieked aloud, "Alas, our lord!" and showered dust on their heads and
redoubled their weeping and wailing. Presently they carried their dead
master to the ship side by side with his dead son and, having
transported all the stuff from the dwelling to the vessel, set sail and
disappeared from mine eyes. I descended from the tree and, raising the
trap-door, went down into the underground dwelling where everything
reminded me of the youth; and I looked upon the poor remains of him and
began repeating these verses:—

"Their tracks I see, and pine with pain and pang * And on
     deserted hearths I weep and yearn:
And Him I pray who doomed them depart * Some day vouchsafe
     the boon of safe return.''[FN#280]

Then, O my lady, I went up again by the trap-door, and every day I used
to wander round about the island and every night I returned to the
underground hall. Thus I lived for a month, till at last, looking at
the western side of the island, I observed that every day the tides
ebbed, leaving shallow water for which the flow did not compensate; and
by the end of the month the sea showed dry land in that direction. At
this I rejoiced making certain of my safety; so I arose and fording
what little was left of the water got me to the mainland, where I fell
in with great heaps of loose sand in which even a camel's hoof would
sink up to the knee.[FN#281] However I emboldened my soul and wading
through the sand behold, a fire shone from afar burning with a brazing
light.[FN#282] So I made for it hoping haply to find succour, and broke
out into these verses:—

"Belike Fortune may her bridle turn * And Time bring weal
     although he's jealous hight;
Forward my hopes, and further all my needs, * And passed ills
     with present weals requite."

And when I drew near the fire aforesaid lo! it was a palace with gates
of copper burnished red which, when the rising sun shone thereon,
gleamed and glistened from afar showing what had seemed to me a fire. I
rejoiced in the sight, and sat down over against the gate, but I was
hardly settled in my seat before there met me ten young men clothed in
sumptuous gear and all were blind of the left eye which appeared as
plucked out. They were accompanied by a Shaykh, an old, old man, and
much I marvelled at their appearance, and their all being blind of the
same eye. When they saw me, they saluted me with the Salam and asked me
of my case and my history; whereupon I related to them all what had
befallen me, and what full measure of misfortune was mine. Marvelling
at my tale they took me to the mansion, where I saw ranged round the
hall ten couches each with its blue bedding and coverlet of blue
stuff[FN#283] and amiddlemost stood a smaller couch furnished like them
with blue and nothing else. As we entered each of the youths took his
seat on his own couch and the old man seated himself upon the smaller
one in the middle saying to me, "O youth, sit thee down on the floor
and ask not of our case nor of the loss of our eyes." Presently he rose
up and set before each young man some meat in a charger and drink in a
large mazer, treating me in like manner; and after that they sat
questioning me concerning my adventures and what had betided me: and I
kept telling them my tale till the night was far spent. Then said the
young men, "O our Shaykh, wilt not thou set before us our ordinary? The
time is come." He replied, "With love and gladness," and rose and
entering a closet disappeared, but presently returned bearing on his
head ten trays each covered with a strip of blue stuff. He set a tray
before each youth and, lighting ten wax candles, he stuck one upon each
tray, and drew off the covers and lo! under them was naught but ashes
and powdered charcoal and kettle soot. Then all the young men tucked up
their sleeves to the elbows and fell a weeping and wailing and they
blackened their faces and smeared their clothes and buffetted their
brows and beat their breasts, continually exclaiming, "We were sitting
at our ease but our frowardness brought us unease! " They ceased not to
do this till dawn drew nigh, when the old man rose and heated water for
them; and they washed their faces, and donned other and clean clothes.
Now when I saw this, O my lady, for very wonderment my senses left me
and my wits went wild and heart and head were full of thought, till I
forgot what had betided me and I could not keep silence feeling I fain
must speak out and question them of these strangenesses; so I said to
them, "How come ye to do this after we have been so open hearted and
frolicksome? Thanks be to Allah ye be all sound and sane, yet actions
such as these befit none but mad men or those possessed of an evil
spirit. I conjure you by all that is dearest to you, why stint ye to
tell me your history, and the cause of your losing your eyes and your
blackening your faces with ashes and soot?" Hereupon they turned to me
and said, "O young man, hearken not to thy youthtide's suggestions and
question us no questions." Then they slept and I with them and when
they awoke the old man brought us somewhat of food; and, after we had
eaten and the plates and goblets had been removed, they sat conversing
till night fall when the old man rose and lit the wax candles and lamps
and set meat and drink before us. After we had eaten and drunken we sat
conversing and carousing in companionage till the noon of night, when
they said to the old man, "Bring us our ordinary, for the hour of sleep
is at hand!" So he rose and brought them the trays of soot and ashes;
and they did as they had done on the preceding night, nor more, nor
less. I abode with them after this fashion for the space of a month
during which time they used to blacken their faces with ashes every
night, and to wash and change their raiment when the morn was young;
and I but marvelled the more and my scruples and curiosity increased to
such a point that I had to forego even food and drink. At last, I lost
command of myself, for my heart was aflame with fire unquenchable and
lowe unconcealable and I said, "O young men, will ye not relieve my
trouble and acquaint me with the reason of thus blackening your faces
and the meaning of your words:—We were sitting at our ease but our
frowardness brought us unease?" Quoth they "'Twere better to keep these
things secret." Still I was bewildered by their doings to the point of
abstaining from eating and drinking and, at last wholly losing
patience, quoth I to them, There is no help for it: ye must acquaint me
with what is the reason of these doings." They replied, "We kept our
secret only for thy good: to gratify thee will bring down evil upon
thee and thou wilt become a monocular even as we are." I repeated
"There is no help for it and, if ye will not, let me leave you and
return to mine own people and be at rest from seeing these things, for
the proverb saith:—

Better ye 'bide and I take my leave: * For what eye sees not heart
shall never grieve."

Thereupon they said to me, "Remember, O youth, that should ill befal
thee we will not again harbour thee nor suffer thee to abide amongst
us;" and bringing a ram they slaughtered it and skinned it. Lastly they
gave me a knife saying, "Take this skin and stretch thyself upon it and
we will sew it around thee, presently there shall come to thee a
certain bird, hight Rukh,[FN#284] that will catch thee up in his
pounces and tower high in air and then set thee down on a mountain.
When thou feelest he is no longer flying, rip open the pelt with this
blade and come out of it; the bird will be scared and will fly away and
leave thee free. After this fare for half a day, and the march will
place thee at a palace wondrous fair to behold, towering high in air
and builded of Khalanj[FN#285], lign-aloes and sandal-wood, plated with
red gold, and studded with all manner emeralds and costly gems fit for
seal rings. Enter it and thou shalt win to thy wish for we have all
entered that palace; and such is the cause of our losing our eyes and
of our blackening our faces. Were we now to tell thee our stories it
would take too long a time; for each and every of us lost his left eye
by an adventure of his own." I rejoiced at their words and they did
with me as they said; and the bird Rukh bore me off end set me down on
the mountain. Then I came out of the skin and walked on till I reached
the palace. The door stood open as I entered and found myself in a
spacious and goodly hall, wide exceedingly, even as a horse-course; and
around it were an hundred chambers with doors of sandal and aloes woods
plated with red gold and furnished with silver rings by way of
knockers.[FN#286] At the head or upper end[FN#287] of the hall I saw
forty damsels, sumptuously dressed and ornamented and one and all
bright as moons; none could ever tire of gazing upon them and all so
lovely that the most ascetic devotee on seeing them would become their
slave and obey their will. When they saw me the whole bevy came up to
me and said "Welcome and well come and good cheer[FN#288] to thee, O
our lord! This whole month have we been expecting thee. Praised be
Allah who hath sent us one who is worthy of us, even as we are worthy
of him!" Then they made me sit down upon a high divan and said to me,
"This day thou art our lord and master, and we are thy servants and thy
hand-maids, so order us as thou wilt." And I marvelled at their case.
Presently one of them arose and set meat before me and I ate and they
ate with me; whilst others warmed water and washed my hands and feet
and changed my clothes and others made ready sherbets and gave us to
drink; and all gathered around me being full of joy and gladness at my
coming. Then they sat down and conversed with me till nightfall, when
five of them arose and laid the trays and spread them with flowers and
fragrant herbs and fruits, fresh and dried, and confections in
profusion. At last they brought out a fine wine service with rich old
wine; and we sat down to drink and some sang songs and others played
the lute and psaltery and recorders and other instruments, and the bowl
went merrily round. Hereupon such gladness possessed me that I forgot
the sorrows of the world one and all and said, "This is indeed life; O
sad that 'tis fleeting!" I enjoyed their company till the time came for
rest; and our heads were all warm with wine, when they said, "O our
lord, choose from amongst us her who shall be thy bed-fellow this night
and not lie with thee again till forty days be past." So I chose a girl
fair of face and perfect in shape, with eyes Kohl-edged by nature's
hand;[FN#289] hair long and jet black with slightly parted
teeth[FN#290] and joining brows: 'twas as if she were some limber
graceful branchlet or the slender stalk of sweet basil to amaze and to
bewilder man's fancy, even as the poet said of such an one—

To even her with greeny bough were vain * Fool he who finds her
     beauties in the roe:
When hath the roe those lively lovely limbs * Or honey dews those
     lips alone bestow?
Those eyne, soul piercing eyne, which slay with love, * Which
     bind the victim by their shafts laid low?
My heart to second childhood they beguiled * No wonder: love
     sick-man again is child!

And I repeated to her the maker's words who said:—

"None other charms but thine shall greet mine eyes, * Nor other
     image can my heart surprise:
Thy love, my lady, captives all my thoughts * And on that love
     I'll die and I'll arise.

So I lay with her that night; none fairer I ever knew; and, when it was
morning, the damsels carried me to the Hammam bath and bathed me and
robed me in fairest apparel. Then they served up food, and we ate and
drank and the cup went round till nightfall when I chose from among
them one fair of form and face, soft- sided and a model of grace, such
an one as the poet described when he said.—

On her fair bosom caskets twain I scanned, * Sealed fast with
     musk seals lovers to withstand
With arrowy glances stand on guard her eyes, * Whose shafts
     would shoot who dares put forth a hand.

With her I spent a most goodly night; and, to be brief, O my mistress,
I remained with them in all solace and delight of life, eating and
drinking, conversing and carousing and every night lying with one or
other of them. But at the head of the new year they came to me in tears
and bade me farewell, weeping and crying out and clinging about me:
whereat I wondered and said, "What may be the matter? verily you break
my heart!" They exclaimed, "Would Heaven we had never known thee; for,
though we have companies with many, yet never saw we a pleasanter than
thou or a more courteous." And they wept again. "But tell me more
clearly," asked I, "what causeth this weeping which maketh my
gall-bladder[FN#291] like to burst;" and they answered, "O our lord and
master, it is severance which maketh us weep; and thou, and thou only,
art the cause of our tears. If thou hearken to us we need never be
parted and if thou hearken not we part for ever; but our hearts tell us
that thou wilt not listen to our words and this is the cause of our
tears and cries." "Tell me how the case standeth?" "Know, O our lord,
that we are the daughters of Kings who have met here and have lived
together for years; and once in every year we are perforce absent for
forty days; and afterwards we return and abide here for the rest of the
twelve month eating and drinking and taking our pleasure and enjoying
delights: we are about to depart according to our custom; and we fear
lest after we be gone thou contraire our charge and disobey our
injunctions. Here now we commit to thee the keys of the palace which
containeth forty chambers and thou mayest open of these thirty and
nine, but beware (and we conjure thee by Allah and by the lives of us!)
lest thou open the fortieth door, for therein is that which shall
separate us for ever."[FN#292] Quoth I, "Assuredly I will not open it,
if it contain the cause of severance from you." Then one among them
came up to me and falling on my neck wept and recited these verses.—

"If Time unite us after absent while, * The world harsh frowning
     on our lot shall smile
And if thy semblance deign adorn mine eyes,[FN#293] * I'll
     pardon Time past wrongs and by gone guile."

And I recited the following:—

"When drew she near to bid adieu with heart unstrung, * While
     care and longing on that day her bosom wrung
Wet pearls she wept and mine like red carnelians rolled * And,
     joined in sad rivière, around her neck they hung."

When I saw her weeping I said, "By Allah I will never open that
fortieth door, never and no wise!" and I bade her farewell. Thereupon
all departed flying away like birds; signalling with their hands
farewells as they went and leaving me alone in the palace. When evening
drew near I opened the door of the first chamber and entering it found
myself in a place like one of the pleasaunces of Paradise. It was a
garden with trees of freshest green and ripe fruits of yellow sheen;
and its birds were singing clear and keen and rills ran wimpling
through the fair terrene. The sight and sounds brought solace to my
sprite; and I walked among the trees, and I smelt the breath of the
flowers on the breeze; and heard the birdies sing their melodies
hymning the One, the Almighty in sweetest litanies; and I looked upon
the apple whose hue is parcel red and parcel yellow; as said the poet:—

Apple whose hue combines in union mellow * My fair's red cheek,
     her hapless lover's yellow.

Then I looked upon the quince, and inhaled its fragrance which to shame
musk and ambergris, even as the poet hath said :

Quince every taste conjoins; in her are found * Gifts which for
     queen of fruits the Quince have crowned
Her taste is wine, her scent the waft of musk; * Pure gold her
     hue, her shape the Moon's fair round.

Then I looked upon the pear whose taste surpasseth sherbet and sugar;
and the apricot[FN#294] whose beauty striketh the eye with admiration,
as if she were a polished ruby. Then I went out of the place and locked
the door as it was before. When it was the morrow I opened the second
door; and entering found myself in a spacious plain set with tall date
palms and watered by a running stream whose banks were shrubbed with
bushes of rose and jasmine, while privet and eglantine, oxe-eye, violet
and lily, narcissus, origane and the winter gilliflower carpeted the
borders; and the breath of the breeze swept over these sweet smelling
growths diffusing their delicious odours right and left, perfuming the
world and filling my soul with delight. After taking my pleasure there
awhile I went from it and, having closed the door as it was before,
opened the third door wherein I saw a high open hall pargetted with
parti-coloured marbles and pietra dura of price and other precious
stones, and hung with cages of sandal-wood and eagle-wood; full of
birds which made sweet music, such as the Thousand voiced,[FN#295] and
the cushat, the merle, the turtle- dove and the Nubian ring dove. My
heart was filled with pleasure thereby; my grief was dispelled and I
slept in that aviary till dawn. Then I undocked the door of the fourth
chamber and therein found a grand saloon with forty smaller chambers
giving upon it. All their doors stood open: so I entered and found them
full of pearls and jacinths and beryls and emeralds and corals and car
buncles, and all manner precious gems and jewels, such as tongue of man
may not describe. My thought was stunned at the sight and I said to
myself, "These be things methinks united which could not be found save
in the treasuries of a King of Kings, nor could the monarchs of the
world have collected the like of these!" And my heart dilated and my
sorrows ceased, "For," quoth I, "now verily am I the monarch of the
age, since by Allah's grace this enormous wealth is mine; and I have
forty damsels under my hand nor is there any to claim them save
myself." Then I gave not over opening place after place until nine and
thirty days were passed and in that time I had entered every chamber
except that one whose door the Princesses had charged me not to open.
But my thoughts, O my mistress, ever ran on that forbidden
fortieth[FN#296] and Satan urged me to open it for my own undoing; nor
had I patience to forbear, albeit there wanted of the trysting time but
a single day. So I stood before the chamber aforesaid and, after a
moment's hesitation, opened the door which was plated with red gold,
and entered. I was met by a perfume whose like I had never before
smelt; and so sharp and subtle was the odour that it made my senses
drunken as with strong wine, and I fell to the ground in a fainting fit
which lasted a full hour. When I came to myself I strengthened my heart
and, entering, found myself in a chamber whose floor was bespread with
saffron and blazing with light from branched candelabra of gold and
lamps fed with costly oils, which diffused the scent of musk and
ambergris. I saw there also two great censers each big as a
mazer-bowl,[FN#297] flaming with lign-aloes, nadd- perfume,[FN#298]
ambergris and honied scents; and the place was full of their fragrance.
Presently, O my lady, I espied a noble steed, black as the murks of
night when murkiest, standing, ready saddled and bridled (and his
saddle was of red gold) before two mangers, one of clear crystal
wherein was husked sesame, and the other also of crystal containing
water of the rose scented with musk. When I saw this I marvelled and
said to myself, "Doubtless in this animal must be some wondrous
mystery;" and Satan cozened me, so I led him without the palace end
mounted him, but he would not stir from his place. So I hammered his
sides with my heels, but he moved not, and then I took the rein
whip,[FN#299] and struck him withal. When he felt the blow, he neighed
a neigh with a sound like deafening thunder and, opening a pair of
wings[FN#300] flew up with me in the firmament of heaven far beyond the
eyesight of man. After a full hour of flight he descended and alighted
on a terrace roof and shaking me off his back lashed me on the face
with his tail and gouged out my left eye causing it roll along my
cheek. Then he flew away. I went down from the terrace and found myself
again amongst the ten one eyed youths sitting upon their ten couches
with blue covers; and they cried out when they saw me, "No welcome to
thee, nor aught of good cheer! We all lived of lives the happiest and
we ate and drank of the best; upon brocades and cloths of gold we took
rest and we slept with our heads on beauty's breast, but we could not
await one day to gain the delights of a year!" Quoth I, "Behold I have
become one like unto you and now I would have you bring me a tray full
of blackness, wherewith to blacken my face, and receive me into your
society." "No, by Allah," quoth they, "thou shalt not sojourn with us
and now get thee hence!" So they drove me away. Finding them reject me
thus I foresaw that matters would go hard with me, and I remembered the
many miseries which Destiny had written upon my forehead; and I fared
forth from among them heavy hearted and tearful eyed, repeating to
myself these words, "I was sitting at mine ease but my frowardness
brought me to unease." Then I shaved beard and mustachios and eye
brows, renouncing the world, and wandered in Kalandar garb about
Allah's earth; and the Almighty decreed safety for me till I arrived at
Baghdad, which was on the evening of this very night. Here I met these
two other Kalandars standing bewildered; so I saluted them saying, "I
am a stranger!" and they answered, "And we likewise be strangers!" By
the freak of Fortune we were like to like, three Kalandars and three
monoculars all blind of the left eye. Such, O my lady, is the cause of
the shearing of my beard and the manner of my losing an eye. Said the
lady to him, "Rub thy head and wend thy ways;" but he answered, "By
Allah, I will not go until I hear the stories of these others." Then
the lady, turning towards the Caliph and Ja'afar and Masrur, said to
them, "Do ye also give an account of yourselves, you men!" Whereupon
Ja'afar stood forth and told her what he had told the portress as they
were entering the house; and when she heard his story of their being
merchants and Mosul men who had outrun the watch, she said, "I grant
you your lives each for each sake, and now away with you all." So they
all went out and when they were in the street, quoth the Caliph to the
Kalandars, "O company, whither go ye now, seeing that the morning hath
not yet dawned?" Quoth they, "By Allah, O our lord, we know not where
to go." "Come and pass the rest of the night with us," said the Caliph
and, turning to Ja'afar, "Take them home with thee and tomorrow bring
them to my presence that we may chronicle their adventures." Ja'afar
did as the Caliph bade him and the Commander of the Faithful returned
to his palace; but sleep gave no sign of visiting him that night and he
lay awake pondering the mishaps of the three Kalandar princes and
impatient to know the history of the ladies and the two black bitches.
No sooner had morning dawned than he went forth and sat upon the throne
of his sovereignty; and, turning to Ja'afar, after all his Grandees and
Officers of state were gathered together, he said, "Bring me the three
ladies and the two bitches and the three Kalandars." So Ja'afar fared
forth and brought them all before him (and the ladies were veiled);
then the Minister turned to them and said in the Caliph's name, "We
pardon you your maltreatment of us and your want of courtesy, in
consideration of the kindness which forewent it, and for that ye knew
us not: now however I would have you to know that ye stand in presence
of the fifth[FN#301] of the sons of Abbas, Harun al-Rashid, brother of
Caliph Músá al- Hádi, son of Al-Mansúr; son of Mohammed the brother of
Al-Saffáh bin Mohammed who was first of the royal house. Speak ye
therefore before him the truth and the whole truth!" When the ladies
heard Ja afar's words touching the Commander of the Faithful, the
eldest came forward and said, "O Prince of True Believers, my story is
one which, were it graven with needle-gravers upon the eye corners were
a warner for whoso would be warned and an example for whoso can take
profit from example."—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and
ceased to say her permitted say.

               When it was the Seventeenth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that she stood forth
before the Commander of the Faithful and began to tell

The Eldest Lady's Tale.

Verily a strange tale is mine and 'tis this:—Yon two black bitches are
my eldest sisters by one mother and father; and these two others, she
who beareth upon her the signs of stripes and the third our procuratrix
are my sisters by another mother. When my father died, each took her
share of the heritage and, after a while my mother also deceased,
leaving me and my sisters german three thousand diners; so each
daughter received her portion of a thousand diners and I the same, albe
the youngest. In due course of time my sisters married with the usual
festivities and lived with their husbands, who bought merchandise with
their wives monies and set out on their travels together. Thus they
threw me off. My brothers in law were absent with their wives five
years, during which period they spent all the money they had and,
becoming bankrupt, deserted my sisters in foreign parts amid stranger
folk. After five years my eldest sister returned to me in beggar's gear
with her clothes in rags and tatters[FN#302] and a dirty old
mantilla;[FN#303] and truly she was in the foulest and sorriest plight.
At first sight I did not know my own sister; but presently I recognised
her and said "What state is this?" "O our sister," she replied, "Words
cannot undo the done; and the reed of Destiny hath run through what
Allah decreed." Then I sent her to the bath and dressed her in a suit
of mine own, and boiled for her a bouillon and brought her some good
wine and said to her, "O my sister, thou art the eldest, who still
standest to us in the stead of father and mother; and, as for the
inheritance which came to me as to you twain, Allah hath blessed it and
prospered it to me with increase; and my circumstances are easy, for I
have made much money by spinning and cleaning silk; and I and you will
share my wealth alike." I entreated her with all kindliness and she
abode with me a whole year, during which our thoughts and fancies were
always full of our other sister. Shortly after she too came home in yet
fouler and sorrier plight than that of my eldest sister; and I dealt by
her still more honorably than I had done by the first, and each of them
had a share of my substance. After a time they said to me, 'O our
sister, we desire to marry again, for indeed we have not patience to
drag on our days without husbands and to lead the lives of widows
bewitched;" and I replied, "O eyes of me![FN#304] ye have hitherto seen
scanty weal in wedlock, for now-a-days good men and true are become
rarities and curiosities; nor do I deem your projects advisable, as ye
have already made trial of matrimony and have failed." But they would
not accept my advice and married without my consent: nevertheless I
gave them outfit and dowries out of my money; and they fared forth with
their mates. In a mighty little time their husbands played them false
and, taking whatever they could lay hands upon, levanted and left them
in the lurch. Thereupon they came to me ashamed and in abject case and
made their excuses to me, saying, Pardon our fault and be not wroth
with us;[FN#305] for although thou art younger in years yet art thou
older in wit; henceforth we will never make mention of marriage; so
take us back as thy hand maidens that we may eat our mouthful." Quoth
I, "Welcome to you, O my sisters, there is naught dearer to me than
you." And I took them in and redoubled my kindness to them. We ceased
not to live after this loving fashion for a full year, when I resolved
to sell my wares abroad and first to fit me a conveyance for Bassorah;
so I equipped a large ship, and loaded her with merchandise and
valuable goods for traffic, and with provaunt and all needful for a
voyage, and said to my sisters, "Will ye abide at home whilst I travel,
or would ye prefer to accompany me on the voyage?" "We will travel with
thee," answered they, "for we cannot bear to be parted from thee." So I
divided my monies into two parts, one to accompany me and the other to
be left in charge of a trusty person, for, as I said to myself, "Haply
some accident may happen to the ship and yet we remain alive; in which
case we shall find on our return what may stand us in good stead." I
took my two sisters and we went a voyaging some days and nights; but
the master was careless enough to miss his course, and the ship went
astray with us and entered a sea other than the sea we sought. For a
time we knew naught of this; and the wind blew fair for us ten days,
after which the look out man went aloft to see about him and cried,
"Good news!" Then he came down rejoicing and said, "I have seen what
seemeth to be a city as 'twere a pigeon." Hereat we rejoiced and, ere
an hour of the day had passed, the buildings showed plain in the offing
and we asked the Captain, "What is the name of yonder city?" and he
answered By Allah I wot not, for I never saw it before and never sailed
these seas in my life: but, since our troubles have ended in safety,
remains for you only to land there with your merchandise and, if you
find selling profitable, sell and make your market of what is there;
and if not, we will rest here two days and provision ourselves and fare
away." So we entered the port and the Captain went up town and was
absent awhile, after which he returned to us and said, "Arise; go up
into the city and marvel at the works of Allah with His creatures and
pray to be preserved from His righteous wrath!" So we landed and going
up into the city, saw at the gate men hending staves in hand; but when
we drew near them, behold, they had been translated[FN#306] by the
anger of Allah and had become stones. Then we entered the city and
found all who therein woned into black stones enstoned: not an
inhabited house appeared to the espier, nor was there a blower of
fire.[FN#307] We were awe struck at the sight and threaded the market
streets where we found the goods and gold and silver left lying in
their places; and we were glad and said, "Doubtless there is some
mystery in all this." Then we dispersed about the thorough-fares and
each busied himself with collecting the wealth and money and rich
stuffs, taking scanty heed of friend or comrade. As for myself I went
up to the castle which was strongly fortified; and, entering the King's
palace by its gate of red gold, found all the vaiselle of gold and
silver, and the King himself seated in the midst of his Chamberlains
and Nabobs and Emirs and Wazirs; all clad in raiment which confounded
man's art. I drew nearer and saw him sitting on a throne incrusted and
inlaid with pearls and gems; and his robes were of gold-cloth adorned
with jewels of every kind, each one flashing like a star. Around him
stood fifty Mamelukes, white slaves, clothed in silks of divers sorts
holding their drawn swords in their hands; but when I drew near to them
lo! all were black stones. My understanding was confounded at the
sight, but I walked on and entered the great hall of the Harim,[FN#308]
whose walls I found hung with tapestries of gold striped silk and
spread with silken carpets embroidered with golden cowers. Here I saw
the Queen lying at full length arrayed in robes purfled with fresh
young[FN#309] pearls; on her head was a diadem set with many sorts of
gems each fit for a ring[FN#310] and around her neck hung collars and
necklaces. All her raiment and her ornaments were in natural state but
she had been turned into a black stone by Allah's wrath. Presently I
espied an open door for which I made straight and found leading to it a
flight of seven steps. So I walked up and came upon a place pargetted
with marble and spread and hung with gold-worked carpets and tapestry,
amiddlemostof which stood a throne of juniper wood inlaid with pearls
and precious stones and set with bosses of emeralds. In the further
wall was an alcove whose curtains, bestrung with pearls, were let down
and I saw a light issuing therefrom; so I drew near and perceived that
the light came from a precious stone as big as an ostrich egg, set at
the upper end of the alcove upon a little chryselephantine couch of
ivory and gold; and this jewel, blazing like the sun, cast its rays
wide and side. The couch also was spread with all manner of silken
stuffs amazing the gazer with their richness and beauty. I marvelled
much at all this, especially when seeing in that place candles ready
lighted; and I said in my mind, "Needs must some one have lighted these
candles." Then I went forth and came to the kitchen and thence to the
buttery and the King's treasure chambers; and continued to explore the
palace and to pace from place to place; I forgot myself in my awe and
marvel at these matters and I was drowned in thought till the night
came on. Then I would have gone forth, but knowing not the gate I lost
my way, so I returned to the alcove whither the lighted candles
directed me and sat down upon the couch; and wrapping myself in a
coverlet, after I had repeated somewhat from the Koran, I would have
slept but could not, for restlessness possessed me. When night was at
its noon I heard a voice chanting the Koran in sweetest accents; but
the tone thereof was weak; so I rose, glad to hear the silence broken,
and followed the sound until I reached a closet whose door stood ajar.
Then peeping through a chink I considered the place and lo! it was an
oratory wherein was a prayer niche[FN#311] with two wax candles burning
and lamps hanging from the ceiling. In it too was spread a prayer
carpet whereupon sat a youth fair to see; and before him on its
stand[FN#312] was a copy of the Koran, from which he was reading. I
marvelled to see him alone alive amongst the people of the city and
entering saluted him; whereupon he raised his eyes and returned my
salam. Quoth I, "Now by the Truth of what thou readest in Allah's Holy
Book, I conjure thee to answer my question." He looked upon me with a
smile and said, "O handmaid of Allah, first tell me the cause of thy
coming hither, and I in turn will tell what hath befallen both me and
the people of this city, and what was the reason of my escaping their
doom." So I told him my story whereat he wondered; and I questioned him
of the people of the city, when he replied, "Have patience with me for
a while, O my sister!" and, reverently closing the Holy Book, he laid
it up in a satin bag. Then he seated me by his side; and I looked at
him and behold, he was as the moon at its full, fair of face and rare
of form, soft sided and slight, of well proportioned height, and cheek
smoothly bright and diffusing light; in brief a sweet, a sugar
stick,[FN#313]. even as saith the poet of the like of him in these

That night th' astrologer a scheme of planets drew, * And lo! a
     graceful shape of youth appeared in view:
Saturn had stained his locks with Saturninest jet, * And spots of
     nut brown musk on rosy side face blew:[FN#314]
Mars tinctured either cheek with tinct of martial red; * Sagittal
     shots from eyelids Sagittarius threw:
Dowered him Mercury with bright mercurial wit; * Bore off the
     Bear[FN#315] what all man's evil glances grew:
Amazed stood Astrophil to sight the marvel birth * When louted
     low the Moon at full to buss the Earth.

And of a truth Allah the Most High had robed him in the raiment of
perfect grace and had purfled and fringed it with a cheek all beauty
and loveliness, even as the poet saith of such an one:—

By his eyelids shedding perfume and his fine slim waist I swear,
     * By the shooting of his shafts barbed with sorcery passing
By the softness of his sides,[FN#316] and glances' lingering
     light, * And brow of dazzling day-tide ray and night within
     his hair;
By his eyebrows which deny to who look upon them rest, * Now
     bidding now forbidding, ever dealing joy and care;
By the rose that decks his cheek, and the myrtle of its
     moss,[FN#317] * By jacinths bedded in his lips and pearl his
     smile lays bare;
By his graceful bending neck and the curving of his breast, *
     Whose polished surface beareth those granados, lovely pair;
By his heavy hips that quiver as he passeth in his pride, * Or he
     resteth with that waist which is slim beyond compare;
By the satin of his skin, by that fine unsullied sprite; * By the
     beauty that containeth all things bright and debonnair;
By that ever open hand; by the candour of his tongue; * By noble
     blood and high degree whereof he's hope and heir;
Musk from him borrows muskiness she loveth to exhale * And all
     the airs of ambergris through him perfume the air;
The sun, methinks, the broad bright sun, before my love would
     pale * And sans his splendour would appear a paring of his

I glanced at him with one glance of eyes which caused me a thousand
sighs; and my heart was at once taken captive wise, so I asked him, "O
my lord and my love, tell me that whereof I questioned thee;" and he
answered, "Hearing is obeying! Know O handmaid of Allah, that this city
was the capital of my father who is the King thou sawest on the throne
transfigured by Allah's wrath to a black stone, and the Queen thou
foundest in the alcove is my mother. They and all the people of the
city were Magians who fire adored in lieu of the Omnipotent
Lord[FN#319] and were wont to swear by lowe and heat and shade and
light and the spheres revolving day and night. My father had ne'er a
son till he was blest with me near the last of his days; and he reared
me till I grew up and prosperity anticipated me in all things. Now it
so fortuned that there was with us an old woman well stricken in years,
a Moslemah who, inwardly believing in Allah and His Apostle, conformed
outwardly with the religion of my people; and my father placed thorough
confidence in her for that he knew her to be trustworthy and virtuous;
and he treated her with ever increasing kindness believing her to be of
his own belief. So when I was well nigh grown up my father committed me
to her charge saying:—Take him and educate him and teach him the rules
of our faith; let him have the best in structions and cease not thy
fostering care of him. So she took me and taught me the tenets of
Al-Islam with the divine ordinances[FN#320] of the Wuzu ablution and
the five daily prayers and she made me learn the Koran by rote, often
repeating:—Serve none save Allah Almighty! When I had mastered this
much of knowledge she said to me:—O my son, keep this matter concealed
from thy sire and reveal naught to him lest he slay thee. So I hid it
from him and I abode on this wise for a term of days when the old woman
died, and the people of the city redoubled in their impiety[FN#321] and
arrogance and the error of their ways. One day, while they were as
wont, behold, they heard a loud and terrible sound and a crier crying
out with a voice like roaring thunder so every ear could hear, far and
near, "O folk of this city, leave ye your fire worshipping and adore
Allah the All-compassionate King!" At this, fear and terror fell upon
the citizens and they crowded to my father (he being King of the city)
and asked him, "What is this awesome voice we have heard, for it hath
confounded us with the excess of its terror?" and he answered, "Let not
a voice fright you nor shake your steadfast sprite nor turn you back
from the faith which is right." Their hearts inclined to his words and
they ceased not to worship the fire and they persisted in rebellion for
a full year from the time they heard the first voice; and on the
anniversary came a second cry, and a third at the head of the third
year, each year once Still they persisted in their malpractises till
one day at break of dawn, judgment and the wrath of Heaven descended
upon them with all suddenness, and by the visitation of Allah all were
metamorphosed into black stones,[FN#322] they and their beasts and
their cattle; and none was saved save myself who at the time was
engaged in my devotions. From that day to this I am in the case thou
seest, constant in prayer and fasting and reading and reciting the
Koran; but I am indeed grown weary by reason of my loneliness, having
none to bear me company." Then said I to him (for in very sooth he had
won my heart and was the lord of my life and soul), "O youth, wilt thou
fare with me to Baghdad city and visit the Olema and men learned in the
law and doctors of divinity and get thee increase of wisdom and
understanding and theology? And know that she who standeth in thy
presence will be thy handmaid, albeit she be head of her family and
mistress over men and eunuchs and servants and slaves Indeed my life
was no life before it fell in with thy youth. I have here a ship laden
with merchandise; and in very truth Destiny drove me to this city that
I might come to the knowledge of these matters, for it was fated that
we should meet." And I ceased not to persuade him and speak him fair
and use every art till he consented.—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn
of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

               When it was the Eighteenth Night,

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the lady
ceased not persuading with soft speech the youth to depart with her
till he consented and said "Yes." She slept that night lying at his
feet and hardly knowing where she was for excess of joy. As soon as the
next morning dawned (she pursued, addressing the Caliph), I arose and
we entered the treasuries and took thence whatever was light in weight
and great in worth; then we went down side by side from the castle to
the city, where we were met by the Captain and my sisters and slaves
who had been seeking for me. When they saw me they rejoiced and asked
what had stayed me, and I told them all I had seen and related to them
the story of the young Prince and the transformation wherewith the
citizens had been justly visited. Hereat all marvelled, but when my two
sisters (these two bitches, O Commander of the Faithful!) saw me by the
side of my young lover they jaloused me on his account and were wroth
and plotted mischief against me. We awaited a fair wind and went on
board rejoicing and ready to fly for joy by reason of the goods we had
gotten, but my own greatest joyance was in the youth; and we waited
awhile till the wind blew fair for us and then we set sail and fared
forth. Now as we sat talking, my sisters asked me, "And what wilt thou
do with this handsome young man?"; and I answered, "I purpose to make
him my husband!" Then I turned to him and said, "O my lord, I have that
to propose to thee wherein thou must not cross me; and this it is that,
when we reach Baghdad, my native city, I offer thee my life as thy
handmaiden in holy matrimony, and thou shalt be to me baron and I will
be femme to thee." He answered, "I hear and I obey!; thou art my lady
and my mistress and whatso thou doest I will not gainsay." Then I
turned to my sisters and said, "This is my gain; I content me with this
youth and those who have gotten aught of my property let them keep it
as their gain with my good will." "Thou sayest and doest well,"
answered the twain, but they imagined mischief against me. We ceased
not spooning before a fair wind till we had exchanged the sea of peril
for the seas of safety and, in a few days, we made Bassorah city, whose
buildings loomed clear before us as evening fell. But after we had
retired to rest and were sound alseep, my two sisters arose and took me
up, bed and all, and threw me into the sea: they did the same with the
young Prince who, as he could not swim, sank and was drowned and Allah
enrolled him in the noble army of Martyrs.[FN#323] As for me would
Heaven I had been drowned with him, but Allah deemed that I should be
of the saved; so when I awoke and found myself in the sea and saw the
ship making off like a dash of lightning, He threw in my way a piece of
timber which I bestrided, and the waves tossed me to and fro till they
cast me upon an island coast, a high land and an uninhabited. I landed
and walked about the island the rest of the night and, when morning
dawned, I saw a rough track barely fit for child of Adam to tread,
leading to what proved a shallow ford connecting island and mainland.
As soon as the sun had risen I spread my garments to dry in its rays;
and ate of the fruits of the island and drank of its waters; then I set
out along the foot track and ceased not walking till I reached the
mainland. Now when there remained between me and the city but a two
hours' journey behold, a great serpent, the bigness of a date palm,
came fleeing towards me in all haste, gliding along now to the right
then to the left till she was close upon me, whilst her tongue lolled
ground wards a span long and swept the dust as she went. She was
pursued by a Dragon[FN#324] who was not longer than two lances, and of
slender build about the bulk of a spear and, although her terror lent
her speed, and she kept wriggling from side to side, he overtook her
and seized her by the tail, whereat her tears streamed down and her
tongue was thrust out in her agony. I took pity on her and, picking up
a stone and calling upon Allah for aid, threw it at the Dragon's head
with such force that he died then and there; and the serpent opening a
pair of wings flew into the lift and disappeared from before my eyes. I
sat down marvelling over that adventure, but I was weary and,
drowsiness overcoming me, I slept where I was for a while. When I awoke
I found a jet black damsel sitting at my feet shampooing them; and by
her side stood two black bitches (my sisters, O Commander of the
Faithful!). I was ashamed before her[FN#325] and, sitting up, asked
her, "O my sister, who and what art thou?"; and she answered, "How soon
hast thou forgotten me! I am she for whom thou wroughtest a good deed
and sowedest the seed of gratitude and slewest her foe; for I am the
serpent whom by Allah's aidance thou didst just now deliver from the
Dragon. I am a Jinniyah and he was a Jinn who hated me, and none saved
my life from him save thou. As soon as thou freedest me from him I flew
on the wind to the ship whence thy sisters threw thee, and removed all
that was therein to thy house. Then I ordered my attendant Marids to
sink the ship and I transformed thy two sisters into these black
bitches; for I know all that hath passed between them and thee; but as
for the youth, of a truth he is drowned." So saying, she flew up with
me and the bitches, and presently set us down on the terrace roof of my
house, wherein I found ready stored the whole of what property was in
my ship, nor was aught of it missing. "Now (continued the serpent that
was), I swear by all engraver on the seal-ring of Solomon[FN#326] (with
whom be peace!) unless thou deal to each of these bitches three hundred
stripes every day I will come and imprison thee forever under the
earth." I answered, "Hearkening and obedience!"; and away she flew. But
before going she again charged me saying, "I again swear by Him who
made the two seas flow[FN#327] (and this be my second oath) if thou
gainsay me I will come and transform thee like thy sisters." Since then
I have never failed, O Commander of the Faithful, to beat them with
that number of blows till their blood flows with my tears, I pitying
them the while, and well they wot that their being scourged is no fault
of mine and they accept my excuses. And this is my tale and my history!
The Caliph marvelled at her adventures and then signed to Ja'afar who
said to the second lady, the Portress, "And thou, how camest thou by
the welts and wheels upon thy body?" So she began the

Tale of the Portress.

Know, O Commander of the Faithful, that I had a father who, after
fulfilling his time, deceased and left me great store of wealth. I
remained single for a short time and presently married one of the
richest of his day. I abode with him a year when he also died, and my
share of his property amounted to eighty thousand diners in gold
according to the holy law of inheritance.[FN#328] Thus I became passing
rich an my reputation spread far and wide, for I had made me ten
changes of raiment, each worth a thousand diners One day as I was
sitting at home, behold, there came in to me an old woman[FN#329] with
lantern jaws and cheeks sucked in, and eyes rucked up, and eyebrows
scant and scald, and head bare and bald; and teeth broken by time and
mauled, and back bending and neck nape nodding, and face blotched, and
rheum running, and hair like a snake black and white speckled, in
complexion a very fright, even as saith the poet of the like of her:—

Ill-omened hag! unshriven be her sins * Nor mercy visit her on
     dying bed:
Thousand head strongest he mules would her guiles, * Despite
     their bolting lead with spider thread.

And as saith another:—

A hag to whom th' unlawful lawfullest * And witchcraft wisdom in
     her sight are grown:
A mischief making brat, a demon maid, * A whorish woman and a
     pimping crone.[FN#330]

When the old woman entered she salamed to me and kissing the ground
before me, said, "I have at home an orphan daughter and this night are
her wedding and her displaying.[FN#331] We be poor folks and strangers
in this city knowing none inhabitant and we are broken hearted. So do
thou earn for thyself a recompense and a reward in Heaven by being
present at her displaying and, when the ladies of this city shall hear
that thou art to make act of presence, they also will present
themselves; so shalt thou comfort her affliction, for she is sore
bruised in spirit and she hath none to look to save Allah the Most
High." Then she wept and kissed my feet reciting these couplets:—

"Thy presence bringeth us a grace * We own before thy winsome
And wert thou absent ne'er an one * Could stand in stead or take
     thy place."

So pity get hold on me and compassion and I said, "Hearing is
consenting and, please Allah, I will do somewhat more for her; nor
shall she be shown to her bridegroom save in my raiment and ornaments
and jewelry." At this the old woman rejoiced and bowed her head to my
feet and kissed them, saying, "Allah requite thee weal, and comfort thy
heart even as thou hast comforted mine! But, O my lady, do not trouble
thyself to do me this service at this hour; be thou ready by supper
time,[FN#332] when I will come and fetch thee." So saying she kissed my
hand and went her ways. I set about stringing my pearls and donning my
brocades and making my toilette. Little recking what Fortune had in
womb for me, when suddenly the old woman stood before me, simpering and
smiling till she showed every tooth stump, and quoth she, "O my
mistress, the city madams have arrived and when I apprized them that
thou promisedst to be present, they were glad and they are now awaiting
thee and looking eagerly for thy coming and for the honour of meeting
thee." So I threw on my mantilla and, making the old crone walk before
me and my handmaidens behind me, I fared till we came to a street well
watered and swept neat, where the winnowing breeze blew cool and sweet.
Here we were stopped by a gate arched over with a dome of marble stone
firmly seated on solidest foundation, and leading to a Palace whose
walls from earth rose tall and proud, and whose pinnacle was crowned by
the clouds,[FN#333] and over the doorway were writ these couplets:—

I am the wone where Mirth shall ever smile; * The home of
     Joyance through my lasting while:
And 'mid my court a fountain jets and flows, * Nor tears nor
     troubles shall that fount defile:
The merge with royal Nu'uman's[FN#334] bloom is dight, *
     Myrtle, Narcissus-flower and Chamomile.

Arrived at the gate, before which hung a black curtain, the old woman
knocked and it was opened to us; when we entered and found a vestibule
spread with carpets and hung around with lamps all alight and wax
candles in candelabra adorned with pendants of precious gems and noble
ores. We passed on through this passage till we entered a saloon, whose
like for grandeur and beauty is not to be found in this world. It was
hung and carpeted with silken stuffs, and was illuminated with branches
sconces and tapers ranged in double row, an avenue abutting on the
upper or noble end of the saloon, where stood a couch of juniper wood
encrusted with pearls and gems and surmounted by a baldaquin with
mosquito curtains of satin looped up with margaritas. And hardly had we
taken note of this when there came forth from the baldaquin a young
lady and I looked, O Commander of the Faithful, upon a face and form
more perfect than the moon when fullest, with a favour brighter than
the dawn gleaming with saffron-hued light, even as the poet sang when
he said—

Thou pacest the palace a marvel sight, * A bride for a Kisra's or
     Kaisar's night!
Wantons the rose on thy roseate cheek, * O cheek as the blood of
     the dragon[FN#335] bright!
Slim waisted, languorous, sleepy eyed, * With charms which
     promise all love
And the tire which attires thy tiara'd brow * Is a night of woe
     on a morn's glad light.

The fair young girl came down from the estrade and said to me, "Welcome
and well come and good cheer to my sister, the dearly beloved, the
illustrious, and a thousand greetings!" Then she recited these

"An but the house could know who cometh 'twould rejoice, * And
     kiss the very dust whereon thy foot was placed
And with the tongue of circumstance the walls would say, *
     "Welcome and hail to one with generous gifts engraced!"

Then sat she down and said to me, "O my sister, I have a brother who
hath had sight of thee at sundry wedding feasts and festive seasons: he
is a youth handsomer than I, and he hath fallen desperately in love
with thee, for that bounteous Destiny hath garnered in thee all beauty
and perfection; and he hath given silver to this old woman that she
might visit thee; and she hath contrived on this wise to foregather us
twain. He hath heard that thou art one of the nobles of thy tribe nor
is he aught less in his; and, being desirous to ally his lot with thy
lot, he hath practiced this device to bring me in company with thee;
for he is fain to marry thee after the ordinance of Allah and his
Apostle; and in what is lawful and right there is no shame." When I
heard these words and saw myself fairly entrapped in the house, I said,
"Hearing is consenting." She was delighted at this and clapped her
hands;[FN#336] whereupon a door opened and out of it came a young man
blooming in the prime of life, exquisitely dressed, a model of beauty
and loveliness and symmetry and perfect grace, with gentle winning
manners and eyebrows like a bended bow and shaft on cord, and eyes
which bewitched all hearts with sorcery lawful in the sight of the
Lord; even as saith some rhymer describing the like of him:—

His face as the face of the young moon shines * And Fortune stamps him
with pearls for signs.[FN#337]

And Allah favour him who said:—

Blest be his beauty; blest the Lord's decree * Who cast and
     shaped a thing so bright of blee:
All gifts of beauty he conjoins in one; * Lost in his love is all
For Beauty's self inscribed on his brow * "I testify there be no
     Good but he!"[FN#338]

When I looked at him my heart inclined to him and I loved him; and he
sat by my side and talked with me a while, when the young lady again
clapped her hands and behold, a side door opened and out of it came the
Kazi with his four assessors as witnesses; and they saluted us and,
sitting down, drew up and wrote out the marriage contract between me
and the youth and retired. Then he turned to me and said, "Be our night
blessed," presently adding, "O my lady, I have a condition to lay on
thee." Quoth I, "O my lord, what is that?" Whereupon he arose and
fetching a copy of the Holy Book presented it to me saying "Swear
hereon thou wilt never look at any other than myself nor incline thy
body or thy heart to him." I swore readily enough to this and he joyed
with exceeding joy and embraced me round the neck while love for him
possessed my whole heart. Then they set the table[FN#339] before us and
we ate and drank till we were satisfied, but I was dying for the coming
of the night. And when night did come he led me to the bride chamber
and slept with me on the bed and continued to kiss and embrace me till
the morning—such a night I had never seen in my dreams. I lived with
him a life of happiness and delight for a full month, at the end of
which I asked his leave[FN#340] to go on foot to the bazar and buy me
certain especial stuffs and he gave me permission. So I donned my
mantilla and, taking with me the old woman and a slave-girl,[FN#341] I
went to the khan of the silk-mercers, where I seated myself in the shop
front of a young merchant whom the old woman recommended, saying to me,
"This youth's father died when he was a boy and left him great store of
wealth: he hath by him a mighty fine[FN#342] stock of goods and thou
wilt find what thou seekest with him, for none in the bazar hath better
stuffs than he. Then she said to him, "Show this lady the most costly
stuffs thou hast by thee;" and he replied, "Hearkening and obedience!"
Then she whispered me, "Say a civil word to him!"; but I replied, "I am
pledged to address no man save my lord. And as she began to sound his
praise I said sharply to her, We want nought of thy sweet speeches; our
wish is to buy of him whatsoever we need, and return home." So he
brought me all I sought and I offered him his money, but he refused to
take it saying, "Let it be a gift offered to my guest this day!" Then
quoth I to the old woman, "If he will not take the money, give him back
his stuff." "By Allah," cried he, "not a thing will I take from thee: I
sell it not for gold or for silver, but I give it all as a gift for a
single kiss; a kiss more precious to me than everything the shop
containeth." Asked the old woman, "What will the kiss profit thee?";
and, turning to me, whispered, "O my daughter, thou hearest what this
young fellow saith? What harm will it do thee if he get a kiss from
thee and thou gettest what thou seekest at that price?" Replied I, "I
take refuge with Allah from such action! Knowest thou not that I am
bound by an oath?''[FN#343] But she answered, "Now whist! just let him
kiss thee and neither speak to him nor lean over him, so shalt thou
keep thine oath and thy silver, and no harm whatever shall befal thee."
And she ceased not to persuade me and importune me and make light of
the matter till evil entered into my mind and I put my head in the
poke[FN#344] and, declaring I would ne'er consent, consented. So I
veiled my eyes and held up the edge of my mantilla between me and the
people passing and he put his mouth to my cheek under the veil. But
while kissing me he bit me so hard a bite that it tore the flesh from
my cheek,[FN#345] and blood flowed fast and faintness came over me. The
old woman caught me in her arms and, when I came to myself, I found the
shop shut up and her sorrowing over me and saying, "Thank Allah for
averting what might have been worse!" Then she said to me, "Come, take
heart and let us go home before the matter become public and thou be
dishonoured. And when thou art safe inside the house feign sickness and
lie down and cover thyself up; and I will bring thee powders and
plasters to cure this bite withal, and thy wound will be healed at the
latest in three days." So after a while I arose and I was in extreme
distress and terror came full upon me; but I went on little by little
till I reached the house when I pleaded illness and lay me down. When
it was night my husband came in to me and said, "What hath befallen
thee, O my darling, in this excursion of thine?"; and I replied, "I am
not well: my head acheth badly." Then he lighted a candle and drew near
me and looked hard at me and asked, "What is that wound I see on thy
cheek and in the tenderest part too?" And I answered, When I went out
to day with thy leave to buy stuffs, a camel laden with firewood
jostled me and one of the pieces tore my veil and wounded my cheek as
thou seest; for indeed the ways of this city are strait." "Tomorrow,"
cried he, "I will go complain to the Governor, so shall he gibbet every
fuel seller in Baghdad." "Allah upon thee," said I, "burden not thy
soul with such sin against any man. The fact is I was riding on an ass
and it stumbled, throwing me to the ground; and my cheek lighted upon a
stick or a bit of glass and got this wound." "Then," said he, "tomorrow
I will go up to Ja'afar the Barmaki and tell him the story, so shall he
kill every donkey boy in Baghdad." "Wouldst thou destroy all these men
because of my wound," said I, "when this which befel me was by decree
of Allah and His destiny?" But he answered, "There is no help for it;"
and, springing to his feet, plied me with words and pressed me till I
was perplexed and frightened; and I stuttered and stammered and my
speech waxed thick and I said, "This is a mere accident by decree of
Allah." Then, O Commander of the Faithful, he guessed my case and said,
"Thou hast been false to thine oath." He at once cried out with a loud
cry, whereupon a door opened and in came seven black slaves whom he
commanded to drag me from my bed and throw me down in the middle of the
room. Furthermore, he ordered one of them to pinion my elbows and squat
upon my head; and a second to sit upon my knees and secure my feet; and
drawing his sword he gave it to a third and said, "Strike her, O Sa'ad,
and cut her in twain and let each one take half and cast it into the
Tigris[FN#346] that the fish may eat her; for such is the retribution
due to those who violate their vows and are unfaithful to their love."
And he redoubled in wrath and recited these couplets:—

"An there be one who shares with me her love, * I'd strangle Love
     tho' life by Love were slain
Saying, O Soul, Death were the nobler choice, * For ill is Love
     when shared 'twixt partners twain."

Then he repeated to the slave, "Smite her, O Sa'ad!" And when the slave
who was sitting upon me made sure of the command he bent down to me and
said, "O my mistress, repeat the profession of Faith and bethink thee
if there be any thing thou wouldst have done; for verily this is the
last hour of thy life." "O good slave," said I, "wait but a little
while and get off my head that I may charge thee with my last
injunctions." Then I raised my head and saw the state I was in, how I
had fallen from high degree into lowest disgrace; and into death after
life (and such life!) and how I had brought my punishment on myself by
my own sin; where upon the tears streamed from mine eyes and I wept
with exceed ing weeping. But he looked on me with eyes of wrath, and
began repeating:—

"Tell her who turneth from our love to work it injury sore, * And
     taketh her a fine new love the old love tossing o'er:
We cry enough o' thee ere thou enough of us shalt cry! * What
     past between us cloth suffice and haply something

When I heard this, O Commander of the Faithful, I wept and looked at
him and began repeating these couplets:—

"To severance you doom my love and all unmoved remain; * My
     tear sore lids you sleepless make and sleep while I
You make firm friendship reign between mine eyes and
    insomny; * Yet can my heart forget you not, nor tears can I
You made me swear with many an oath my troth to hold for aye; *
     But when you reigned my bosom's lord you wrought me traitor
I loved you like a silly child who wots not what is Love; * Then
     spare the learner, let her not be by the master slain!
By Allah's name I pray you write, when I am dead and gone, *
     Upon my tomb, This died of Love whose senses Love had ta'en:
Then haply one shall pass that way who fire of Love hath felt, *
     And treading on a lover's heart with ruth and woe shall

When I ended my verses tears came again; but the poetry and the weeping
only added fury to his fury, and he recited:—

"'Twas not satiety bade me leave the dearling of my soul, * But
     that she sinned a mortal sin which clips me in its clip:
She sought to let another share the love between us twain, * But
     my True Faith of Unity refuseth partnership."[FN#348]

When he ceased reciting I wept again and prayed his pardon and humbled
myself before him and spoke him softly, saying to myself, "I will work
on him with words; so haply he will refrain from slaying me, even
though he take all I have." So I complained of my sufferings and began
to repeat these couplets:—

"Now, by thy life and wert thou just my life thou hadst not
     ta'en, * But who can break the severance law which parteth
     lovers twain!
Thou loadest me with heavy weight of longing love, when I * Can
     hardly bear my chemisette for weakness and for pain:
I marvel not to see my life and soul in ruin lain: * I marvel
     much to see my frame such severance pangs sustain."

When I ended my verse I wept again; and he looked at me and reviled me
in abusive language,[FN#349] repeating these couplets:—

"Thou wast all taken up with love of other man, not me; * 'Twas
     thine to show me severance face, ''twas only mine to see:
I'll leave thee for that first thou wert of me to take thy leave
     * And patient bear that parting blow thou borest so
E'en as thou soughtest other love, so other love I'll seek, * And
     make the crime of murdering love thine own atrocity."

When he had ended his verses he again cried out to the slave, "Cut her
in half and free us from her, for we have no profit of her. So the
slave drew near me, O Commander of the Faithful and I ceased bandying
verses and made sure of death and, despairing of life, committed my
affairs to Almighty Allah, when behold, the old woman rushed in and
threw herself at my husband's feet and kissed them and wept and said,
"O my son, by the rights of my fosterage and by my long service to
thee, I conjure thee pardon this young lady, for indeed she hath done
nothing deserving such doom. Thou art a very young man and I fear lest
her death be laid at thy door; for it is said:—Whoso slayeth shall be
slain. As for this wanton (since thou deemest her such) drive her out
from thy doors, from thy love and from thy heart." And she ceased not
to weep and importune him till he relented and said, 'I pardon her, but
needs must I set on her my mark which shall show upon her all my life."
Then he bade the slaves drag me along the ground and lay me out at full
length, after stripping me of all my clothes;[FN#350] and when the
slaves had so sat upon me that I could not move, he fetched in a rod of
quince tree and came down with it upon my body, and continued beating
me on the back and sides till I lost consciousness from excess of pain,
and I despaired of life. Then he commanded the slaves to take me away
as soon as it was dark, together with the old woman to show them the
way and throw me upon the floor of the house wherein I dwelt before my
marriage. They did their lord's bidding and cast me down in my old home
and went their ways. I did not revive from my swoon till dawn appeared,
when I applied myself to the dressing of my wounds with ointments and
other medicaments; and I medicined myself, but my sides and ribs still
showed signs of the rod as thou hast seen. I lay in weakly case and
confined to my bed for four months before I was able to rise and health
returned to me. At the end of that time I went to the house where all
this had happened and found it a ruin; the street had been pulled down
endlong and rubbish heaps rose where the building erst was; nor could I
learn how this had come about. Then I betook myself to this my sister
on my father's side and found her with these two black bitches. I
saluted her and told her what had betided me and the whole of my story
and she said, "O my sister, who is safe from the despite of Time and
secure? Thanks be to Allah who has brought thee off safely;" and she
began to say:—

"Such is the World, so bear a patient heart * When riches leave thee
and when friends depart!"

Then she told me her own story, and what had happened to her with her
two sisters and how matters had ended; so we abode together and the
subject of marriage was never on our tongues for all these years. After
a while we were joined by our other sister, the procuratrix, who goeth
out every morning and buyeth all we require for the day and night; and
we continued in such condition till this last night. In the morning our
sister went out, as usual, to make her market and then befel us what
befel from bringing the Porter into the house and admitting these three
Kalandar men., We entreated them kindly and honourably and a quarter of
the night had not passed ere three grave and respectable merchants from
Mosul joined us and told us their adventures. We sat talking with them
but on one condition which they violated, whereupon we treated them as
sorted with their breach of promise, and made them repeat the account
they had given of themselves. They did our bidding and we forgave their
offence; so they departed from us and this morning we were unexpectedly
summoned to thy presence. And such is our story! The Caliph wondered at
her words and bade the tale be recorded and chronicled and laid up in
his muniment-chambers.—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and
ceased saying her permitted say.

               When it was the Nineteenth Night,

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Caliph
commanded this story and those of the sister and the Kalandars to be
recorded in the archives and be set in the royal muniment-chambers.
Then he asked the eldest lady, the mistress of the house, "Knowest thou
the whereabouts of the Ifritah who spelled thy sisters?"; and she
answered, "O Commander of the Faithful, she gave me a ringlet of her
hair saying: —Whenas thou wouldest see me, burn a couple of these hairs
and I will be with thee forthright, even though I were beyond
Caucasus-mountain." Quoth the Caliph, "Bring me hither the hair." So
she brought it and he threw the whole lock upon the fire. As soon as
the odour of the burning hair dispread itself, the palace shook and
trembled, and all present heard a rumbling and rolling of thunder and a
noise as of wings and lo! the Jinniyah who had been a serpent stood in
the Caliph's presence. Now she was a Moslemah, so she saluted him and
said, "Peace be with thee O Vicar[FN#351] of Allah;" whereto he
replied, "And with thee also be peace and the mercy of Allah and His
blessing." Then she continued, "Know that this damsel sowed for me the
seed of kindness, wherefor I cannot enough requite her, in that she
delivered me from death and destroyed mine enemy. Now I had seen how
her sisters dealt with her and felt myself bound to avenge her on them.
At first I was minded to slay them, but I feared it would be grievous
to her, so I transformed them to bitches; but if thou desire their
release, O Commander of the Faithful, I will release them to pleasure
thee and her for I am of the Moslems." Quoth the Caliph, "Release them
and after we will look into the affair of the beaten lady and consider
her case carefully; and if the truth of her story be evidenced I will
exact retaliation[FN#352] from him who wronged her." Said the Ifritah,
"O Commander of the Faithful, I will forthwith release them and will
discover to thee the man who did that deed by this lady and wronged her
and took her property, and he is the nearest of all men to thee!" So
saying she took a cup of water and muttered a spell over it and uttered
words there was no understanding; then she sprinkled some of the water
over the faces of the two bitches, saying, "Return to your former human
shape!" whereupon they were restored to their natural forms and fell to
praising their Creator. Then said the Ifritah, "O Commander of the
Faithful, of a truth he who scourged this lady with rods is thy son
Al-Amin brother of Al-Maamun ;[FN#353] for he had heard of her beauty
and love liness and he played a lover's stratagem with her and married
her according to the law and committed the crime (such as it is) of
scourging her. Yet indeed he is not to be blamed for beating her, for
he laid a condition on her and swore her by a solemn oath not to do a
certain thing; however, she was false to her vow and he was minded to
put her to death, but he feared Almighty Allah and contented himself
with scourging her, as thou hast seen, and with sending her back to her
own place. Such is the story of the second lady and the Lord knoweth
all." When the Caliph heard these words of the Ifritah, and knew who
had beaten the damsel, he marvelled with mighty marvel and said,
"Praise be to Allah, the Most High, the Almighty, who hath shown his
exceeding mercy towards me, enabling me to deliver these two damsels
from sorcery and torture, and vouchsafing to let me know the secret of
this lady's history! And now by Allah, we will do a deed which shall be
recorded of us after we are no more." Then he summoned his son Al-Amin
and questioned him of the story of the second lady, the portress; and
he told it in the face of truth; whereupon the Caliph bade call into
presence the Kazis and their witnesses and the three Kalandars and the
first lady with her sisters german who had been ensorcelled; and he
married the three to the three Kalandars whom he knew to be princes and
sons of Kings and he appointed them chamberlains about his person,
assigning to them stipends and allowances and all that they required,
and lodging them in his palace at Baghdad. He returned the beaten lady
to his son, Al-Amin, renewing the marriage contract between them and
gave her great wealth and bade rebuild the house fairer than it was
before. As for himself he took to wife the procuratrix and lay with her
that night: and next day he set apart for her an apartment in his
Serraglio, with handmaidens for her service and a fixed daily
allowance. And the people marvelled at their Caliph's generosity and
natural beneficence and princely widsom; nor did he forget to send all
these histories to be recorded in his annals. When Shahrazad ceased
speaking Dunyazad exclaimed, "O my own sister, by Allah in very sooth
this is a right pleasant tale and a delectable; never was heard the
like of it, but prithee tell me now another story to while away what
yet remaineth of the waking hours of this our night." She replied,
"With love and gladness if the King give me leave;" and he said, "Tell
thy tale and tell it quickly." So she began, in these words,


They relate, O King of the age and lord of the time and of these days,
that the Caliph Harun al-Rashid summoned his Wazir Ja'afar one night
and said to him, 'I desire to go down into the city and question the
common folk concerning the conduct of those charged with its
governance; and those of whom they complain we will depose from office
and those whom they commend we will promote." Quoth Ja'afar,
"Hearkening and obedience!" So the Caliph went down with Ja'afar and
Eunuch Masrur to the town and walked about the streets and markets and,
as they were threading a narrow alley, they came upon a very old man
with a fishing-net and crate to carry small fish on his head, and in
his hand a staff; and, as he walked at a leisurely pace, he repeated
these lines:—

"They say me: —Thou shinest a light to mankind * With thy lore
     as the night which the Moon doth uplight!
I answer, "A truce to your jests and your gibes; * Without luck
     what is learning?—a poor-devil wight!
If they take me to pawn with my lore in my pouch, * With my
     volumes to read and my ink-case to write,
For one day's provision they never could pledge me; * As likely
     on Doomsday to draw bill at sight:"
How poorly, indeed, doth it fare wi' the poor, * With his pauper
     existence and beggarly plight:
In summer he faileth provision to find; * In winter the
     fire-pot's his only delight:
The street-dogs with bite and with bark to him rise, * And each
     losel receives him with bark and with bite:
If he lift up his voice and complain of his wrong, * None pities
     or heeds him, however he's right;
And when sorrows and evils like these he must brave * His
     happiest homestead were down in the grave."

When the Caliph heard his verses he said to Ja'afar, "See this poor man
and note his verses, for surely they point to his necessities." Then he
accosted him and asked, "O Shaykh, what be thine occupation?" and the
poor man answered, "O my lord, I am a fisherman with a family to keep
and I have been out between mid-day and this time; and not a thing hath
Allah made my portion wherewithal to feed my family. I cannot even pawn
myself to buy them a supper and I hate and disgust my life and I hanker
after death." Quoth the Caliph, "Say me, wilt thou return with us to
Tigris' bank and cast thy net on my luck, and whatsoever turneth up I
will buy of thee for an hundred gold pieces?" The man rejoiced when he
heard these words and said, "On my head be it! I will go back with
you;" and, returning with them river-wards, made a cast and waited a
while; then he hauled in the rope and dragged the net ashore and there
appeared in it a chest padlocked and heavy. The Caliph examined it and
lifted it finding it weighty; so he gave the fisherman two hundred
dinars and sent him about his business; whilst Masrur, aided by the
Caliph, carried the chest to the palace and set it down and lighted the
candles. Ja'afar and Masrur then broke it open and found therein a
basket of palm-leaves corded with red worsted. This they cut open and
saw within it a piece of carpet which they lifted out, and under it was
a woman's mantilla folded in four, which they pulled out; and at the
bottom of the chest they came upon a young lady, fair as a silver
ingot, slain and cut into nineteen pieces. When the Caliph looked upon
her he cried, "Alas!" and tears ran down his cheeks and turning to
Ja'afar he said, "O dog of Wazirs, [FN#354] shall folk be murdered in
our reign and be cast into the river to be a burden and a
responsibility for us on the Day of Doom? By Allah, we must avenge this
woman on her murderer and he shall be made die the worst of deaths!"
And presently he added, " Now, as surely as we are descended from the
Sons of Abbas, [FN#355] if thou bring us not him who slew her, that we
do her justice on him, I will hang thee at the gate of my palace, thee
and forty of thy kith and kin by thy side." And the: Caliph was wroth
with exceeding rage. Quoth Ja'afar, "Grant me three days' delay;" and
quoth the Caliph, "We grant thee this." So Ja'afar went out from before
him and returned to his own house, full of sorrow and saying to
himself, "How shall I find him who murdered this damsel, that I may
bring him before the Caliph? If I bring other than the murderer, it
will be laid to my charge by the Lord: in very sooth I wot not what to
do." He kept his house three days and on the fourth day the Caliph sent
one of the Chamberlains for him and, as he came into the presence,
asked him, "Where is the murderer of the damsel?" to which answered
Ja'afar, "O Commander of the Faithful, am I inspector of " murdered
folk that I should ken who killed her?" The Caliph was furious at his
answer and bade hang him before the palace-gate and commanded that a
crier cry through the streets of Baghdad, "Whoso would see the hanging
of Ja'afar, the Barmaki, Wazir of the Caliph, with forty of the
Barmecides, [FN#356] his cousins and kinsmen, before the palace-gate,
let him come and let him look!" The people flocked out from all the
quarters of the city to witness the execution of Ja'afar and his
kinsmen, not knowing the cause. Then they set up the gallows and made
Ja'afar and the others stand underneath in readiness for execution, but
whilst every eye was looking for the Caliph's signal, and the crowd
wept for Ja'afar and his cousins of the Barmecides, lo and behold! a
young man fair of face and neat of dress and of favour like the moon
raining light, with eyes black and bright, and brow flower-white, and
cheeks red as rose and young down where the beard grows, and a mole
like a grain of ambergris, pushed his way through the people till he
stood immediately before the Wazir and said to him, "Safety to thee
from this strait, O Prince of the Emirs and Asylum of the poor! I am
the man who slew the woman ye found in the chest, so hang me for her
and do her justice on me!" When Ja'afar heard the youth's confession he
rejoiced at his own deliverance. but grieved and sorrowed for the fair
youth; and whilst they were yet talking behold, another man well
stricken in years pressed forwards through the people and thrust his
way amid the populace till he came to Ja'afar and the youth, whom he
saluted saying, "Ho thou the Wazir and Prince sans-peer! believe not
the words of this youth. Of a surety none murdered the damsel but I;
take her wreak on me this moment; for, an thou do not thus, I will
require it of thee before Almighty Allah." Then quoth the young man, "O
Wazir, this is an old man in his dotage who wotteth not whatso he saith
ever, and I am he who murdered her, so do thou avenge her on me!" Quoth
the old man, "O my son, thou art young and desirest the joys of the
world and I am old and weary and surfeited with the world: I will offer
my life as a ransom for thee and for the Wazir and his cousins. No one
murdered the damsel but I, so Allah upon thee, make haste to hang me,
for no life is left in me now that hers is gone." The Wazir marvelled
much at all this strangeness and, taking the young man and the old man,
carried them before the Caliph, where, after kissing the ground seven
times between his hands, he said, "O Commander of the Faithful, I bring
thee the murderer of the damsel!" "Where is he?" asked the Caliph and
Ja'afar answered, "This young man saith, I am the murderer, and this
old man giving him the lie saith, I am the murderer, and behold, here
are the twain standing before thee." The Caliph looked at the old man
and the young man and asked, "Which of you killed the girl?" The young
man replied, "No one slew her save I;" and the old man answered,
"Indeed none killed her but myself." Then said the Caliph to Ja'afar,
"Take the twain and hang them both;" but Ja'afar rejoined, "Since one
of them was the murderer, to hang the other were mere
injustice."[FN#357] "By Him who raised the firmament and dispread the
earth like a carpet," cried the youth, "I am he who slew the damsel;"
and he went on to describe the manner of her murder and the basket, the
mantilla and the bit of carpet, in fact all that the Caliph had found
upon her. So the Caliph was certified that the young man was the
murderer; whereat he wondered and asked him, 'What was the cause of thy
wrongfully doing this damsel to die and what made thee confess the
murder without the bastinado, and what brought thee here to yield up
thy life, and what made thee say Do her wreak upon me?" The youth
answered, "Know, O Commander of the Faithful, that this woman was my
wife and the mother of my children; also my first cousin and the
daughter of my paternal uncle, this old man who is my father's own
brother. When I married her she was a maid [FN#358] and Allah blessed
me with three male children by her; she loved me and served me and I
saw no evil in her, for I also loved her with fondest love. Now on the
first day of this month she fell ill with grievous sickness and I
fetched in physicians to her; but recovery came to her little by
little. and, when I wished her to go to the Hammam-bath, she said,
"There is a something I long for before I go to the bath and I long for
it with an exceeding longing." To hear is to comply," said I. "And what
is it?" Quoth she, "I have a queasy craving for an apple, to smell it
and bite a bit of it." I replied, "Hadst thou a thousand longings I
would try to satisfy them!" So I went on the instant into the city and
sought for apples but could find none; yet, had they cost a gold piece
each, would I have bought them. I was vexed at this and went home and
said, "O daughter of my uncle. by Allah I can find none!" She was
distressed, being yet very weakly, and her weakness in. creased greatly
on her that night and I felt anxious and alarmed on her account. As
soon as morning dawned I went out again and made the round of the
gardens, one by one, but found no apples anywhere. At last there met me
an old gardener. of whom I asked about them and he answered, "O my son,
this fruit is a rarity with us and is not now to be found save in the
garden of the Commander of the Faithful at Bassorah, where the gardener
keepeth it for the Caliph's eating." I returned to my house troubled by
my ill-success; and my love for my wife and my affection moved me to
undertake the journey. So I gat me ready and set out and travelled
fifteen days and nights, going and coming, and brought her three apples
which I bought from the gardener for three dinars. But when I went in
to my wife and set them before her, she took no pleasure in them and
let them lie by her side; for her weakness and fever had increased on
her and her malady lasted without abating ten days, after which time
she began to recover health. So I left my house and betaking me to my
shop sat there buying and selling; and about midday behold, a great
ugly black slave, long as a lance and broad as a bench, passed by my
shop holding in hand one of the three apples wherewith he was playing.
Quoth I, "O my good slave, tell me whence thou tookest that apple, that
I may get the like of it?" He laughed and answered, "I got it from my
mistress, for I had been absent and on my return I found her lying ill
with three apples by her side, and she said to me, 'My horned wittol of
a husband made a journey for them to Bassorah and bought them for three
dinars.' So I ate and drank with her and took this one from her."
[FN#359] When I heard such words from the slave, O Commander of the
Faithful, the world grew black before my face, and I arose and locked
up my shop and went home beside myself for excess of rage. I looked for
the apples and finding only two of the three asked my wife, "O my
cousin, where is the third apple?"; and raising her head languidly she
answered, "I wet not, O son of my uncle, where 'tis gone!" This
convinced me that the slave had spoken the truth, so I took a knife and
coming behind her got upon her breast without a word said and cut her
throat. Then I hewed off her head and her limbs in pieces and, wrapping
her in her mantilla and a rag of carpet, hurriedly sewed up the whole
which I set in a chest and, locking it tight, loaded it on my he-mule
and threw it into the Tigris with my own hands. So Allah upon thee, O
Commander of the Faithful, make haste to hang me, as I fear lest she
appeal for vengeance on Resurrection Day. For, when I had thrown her
into the river and none knew aught of it, as I went back home I found
my eldest son crying and yet he knew naught of what I had done with his
mother. I asked him, "What hath made thee weep, my boy?" and he
answered, "I took one of the three apples which were by my mammy and
went down into the lane to play with my brethren when behold, a big
long black slave snatched it from my hand and said. 'Whence hadst thou
this?' Quoth I, 'My father travelled far for it, and brought it from
Bassorah for my mother who was ill and two other apples for which he
paid three ducats.' He took no heed of my words and I asked for the
apple a second and a third time, but he cuffed me and kicked me and
went off with it. I was afraid lest my mother should swinge me on
account of the apple, so for fear of her I went with my brother outside
the city and stayed there till evening closed in upon us; and indeed I
am in fear of her; and now by Allah, O my father, say nothing to her of
this or it may add to her ailment!" When I heard what-my child said I
knew that the slave was he who had foully slandered my wife, the
daughter of my uncle, and was certified that I had slain her wrong.
fully. So I wept with exceeding weeping and presently this old man, my
paternal uncle and her father, came in; and I told him what had
happened and he sat down by my side and wept and we ceased not weeping
till midnight. We have kept up mourning for her these last five days
and we lamented her in the deepest sorrow for that she was unjustly
done to die. This came from the gratuitous lying of the slave, the
blackamoor, and this was the manner of my killing her; so I conjure
thee, by the honour of thine ancestors, make haste to kill me and do
her justice upon me, as there is no living for me after her!" The
Caliph marvelled at his words and said, "By Allah, the young man is
excusable: I will hang none but the accursed slave and I will do a deed
which shall comfort the ill-at-ease and suffering, and which shall
please the All-glorious King."—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day
and ceased saying her permitted say,

                When it was the Twentieth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Caliph swore
he would hang none but the slave, for the youth was excusable. Then he
turned to Ja'afar and said to him, "Bring before me this accursed slave
who was the sole cause of this calamity; and, if thou bring him not
before me within three days, thou shalt be slain in his stead." So
Ja'afar fared forth weeping and saying. "Two deaths have already beset
me, nor shall the crock come of safe from every shock.' [FN#360] In
this matter craft and cunning are of no avail; but He who preserved my
life the first time can preserve it a second time. By Allah, I will not
leave my house during the three days of life which remain to me and let
the Truth (whose perfection be praised!) do e'en as He will." So he
kept his house three days, and on the fourth day he summoned the Kazis
and legal witnesses and made his last will and testament, and took
leave of his children weeping. Presently in came a messenger from the
Caliph and said to him, "The Commander of the Faithful is in the most
violent rage that can be, and he sendeth to seek thee and he sweareth
that the day shall certainly not pass without thy being hanged unless
the slave be forth-coming." When Ja'afar heard this he wept, and his
children and slaves and all who were in the house wept with him. After
he had bidden adieu to everybody except his youngest daughter, he
proceeded to farewell her; for he loved this wee one, who was a
beautiful child, more than all his other children; and he pressed her
to his breast and kissed her and wept bitterly at parting from her;
when he felt something round inside the bosom of her dress and asked
her, "O my little maid, what is in thy bosom pocket?"; "O my father,"
she replied, "it is an apple with the name of our Lord the Caliph
written upon it. Rayhán our slave brought it to me four days ago and
would not let me have it till I gave him two dinars for it." When
Ja'afar heard speak of the slave and the apple, he was glad and put his
hand into his child's pocket [FN#361] and drew out the apple and knew
it and rejoiced saying, "O ready Dispeller of trouble " [FN#362] Then
he bade them bring the slave and said to him, "Fie upon thee, Rayhan!
whence haddest thou this apple?" "By Allah, O my master," he replied,
"though a lie may get a man once off, yet may truth get him off, and
well off, again and again. I did not steal this apple from thy palace
nor from the gardens of the Commander of the Faithful. The fact is that
five days ago, as I was walking along one of the alleys of this city, I
saw some little ones at play and this apple in hand of one of them. So
I snatched it from him and beat him and he cried and said, 'O youth
this apple is my mother's and she is ill. She told my father how she
longed for an apple, so he travelled to Bassorah and bought her three
apples for three gold pieces, and I took one of them to play withal.'
He wept again, but I paid no heed to what he said and carried it off
and brought it here, and my little lady bought it of me for two dinars
of gold. And this is the whole story." When Ja'afar heard his words he
marvelled that the murder of the damsel and all this misery should have
been caused by his slave; he grieved for the relation of the slave to
himself, while rejoicing over his own deliverance, and he repeated
these lines: —

"If ill betide thee through thy slave, * Make him forthright thy
A many serviles thou shalt find, * But life comes once and never

Then he took the slave's hand and, leading him to the Caliph, related
the story from first to last and the Caliph marvelled with extreme
astonishment, and laughed till he fell on his back and ordered that the
story be recorded and be made public amongst the people. But Ja'afar
said, "Marvel not, O Commander of the Faithful, at this adventure, for
it is not more wondrous than the History of the Wazir Núr al-Dín Ali of
Egypt and his brother Shams al-Dín Mohammed. — Quoth the Caliph, "Out
with it; but what can be stranger than this story?" And Ja'afar
answered, "O Commander of the Faithful, I will not tell it thee, save
on condition that thou pardon my slave;" and the Caliph rejoined, "If
it be indeed more wondrous than that of the three apples, I grant thee
his blood, and if not I will surely slay thy slave." So Ja'afar began
in these words the


Know, O Commander of the Faithful, that in times of yore the land of
Egypt was ruled by a Sultan endowed with justice and generosity, one
who loved the pious poor and companied with the Olema and learned men;
and he had a Wazir, a wise and an experienced, well versed in affairs
and in the art of government. This Minister, who was a very old man,
had two sons, as they were two moons; never man saw the like of them
for beauty and grace, the elder called Shams al-Din Mohammed and the
younger Nur al-Din Ali; but the younger excelled the elder in
seemliness and pleasing semblance, so that folk heard his fame in far
countries and men flocked to Egypt for the purpose of seeing him. In
course of time their father, the Wazir, died and was deeply regretted
and mourned by the Sultan, who sent for his two sons and, investing
them with dresses of honour, [FN#363] said to them, "Let not your
hearts be troubled, for ye shall stand in your father's stead and be
joint Ministers of Egypt." At this they rejoiced and kissed the ground
before him and performed the ceremonial mourning [FN#364] for their
father during a full month; after which time they entered upon the
Wazirate, and the power passed into their hands as it had been in the
hands of their father, each doing duty for a week at a time. They lived
under the same roof and their word was one; and whenever the Sultan
desired to travel they took it by turns to be in attendance on him. It
fortuned one night that the Sultan purposed setting out on a journey
next morning, and the elder, whose turn it was to accompany him, was
sitting conversing with his brother and said to him, "O my brother, it
is my wish that we both marry, I and thou, two sisters; and go in to
our wives on one and the same night." "Do, O my brother, as thou
desirest," the younger replied, "for right is thy recking and surely I
will comply with thee in whatso thou sayest." So they agreed upon this
and quoth Shams al-Din, "If Allah decree that we marry two damsels and
go in to them on the same night, and they shall conceive on their
bridenights and bear children to us on the same day, and by Allah's
will they wife bear thee a son and my wife bear me a daughter, let us
wed them either to other, for they will be cousins." Quoth Nur al-Din,
"O my brother, Shams al-Din, what dower [FN#365] wilt thou require from
my son for thy daughter?" Quoth Shams al-Din, "I will take three
thousand dinars and three pleasure gardens and three farms; and it
would not be seemly that the youth make contract for less than this."
When Nur al-Din heard such demand he said, "What manner of dower is
this thou wouldst impose upon my son? Wottest thou not that we are
brothers and both by Allah's grace Wazirs and equal in office? It
behoveth thee to offer thy daughter to my son without marriage
settlement; or if one need be, it should represent a mere nominal value
by way of show to the world: for thou knowest that the masculine is
worthier than the feminine, and my son is a male and our memory will be
preserved by him, not by thy daughter." "But what," said Shams al-Din,
"is she to have?"; and Nur al-Din continued, "Through her we shall not
be remembered among the Emirs of the earth; but I see thou wouldest do
with me according to the saying:—An thou wouldst bluff off a buyer, ask
him high price and higher; or as did a man who, they say, went to a
friend and asked something of him being in necessity and was answered,
'Bismallah, [FN#366] in the name of Allah, I will do all what thou
requirest but come to-morrow!' Whereupon the other replied in this

'When he who is asked a favour saith "To-morrow," * The wise man wots
'tis vain to beg or borrow.'"

Quoth Shams al-Din, "Basta! [FN#367] I see thee fail in respect to me
by making thy son of more account than my daughter; and 'tis plain that
thine understanding is of the meanest and that thou lackest manners.
Thou remindest me of thy partnership in the Wazirate, when I admitted
thee to share with me only in pity for thee, and not wishing to mortify
thee; and that thou mightest help me as a manner of assistant. But
since thou talkest on this wise, by Allah, I will never marry my
daughter to thy son; no, not for her weight in gold!" When Nur al-Din
heard his brother's words he waxed wroth and said, "And I too, I will
never, never marry my son to thy daughter; no, not to keep from my lips
the cup of death." Shams al-Din replied, "I would not accept him as a
husband for her, and he is not worth a paring of her nail. Were I not
about to travel I would make an example of thee; however when I return
thou shalt see, and I will show thee, how I can assert my dignity and
vindicate my honour. But Allah doeth whatso He willeth."[FN#368] When
Nur al-Din heard this speech from his brother, he was filled with fury
and lost his wits for rage; but he hid what he felt and held his peace;
and each of the brothers passed the night in a place far apart, wild
with wrath against the other. As soon as morning dawned the Sultan
fared forth in state and crossed over from Cairo [FN#369] to Jizah
[FN#370] and made for the pyramids, accompanied by the Wazir Shams
al-Din, whose turn of duty it was, whilst his brother Nur al-din, who
passed the night in sore rage, rose with the light and prayed the
dawn-prayer. Then he betook himself to his treasury and, taking a small
pair of saddle-bags, filled them with gold; and he called to mind his
brother's threats and the contempt wherewith he had treated him, and he
repeated these couplets:—

"Travel! and thou shalt find new friends for old ones left
     behind; * Toil! for the sweets of human life by toil and
     moil are found:
The stay-at-home no honour wins nor aught attains but want; * So
     leave thy place of birth [FN#371] and wander all the world
I've seen, and very oft I've seen, how standing water stinks, *
     And only flowing sweetens it and trotting makes it sound:
And were the moon forever full and ne'er to wax or wane, * Man
     would not strain his watchful eyes to see its gladsome
Except the lion leave his lair he ne'er would fell his game, *
     Except the arrow leave the bow ne'er had it reached its
Gold-dust is dust the while it lies untravelled in the mine, *
     And aloes-wood mere fuel is upon its native ground:
And gold shall win his highest worth when from his goal ungoal'd;
     * And aloes sent to foreign parts grows costlier than gold."

When he ended his verse he bade one of his pages saddle him his Nubian
mare-mule with her padded selle. Now she was a dapple- grey, [FN#372]
with ears like reed-pens and legs like columns and a back high and
strong as a dome builded on pillars; her saddle was of gold-cloth and
her stirrups of Indian steel, and her housing of Ispahan velvet; she
had trappings which would serve the Chosroes, and she was like a bride
adorned for her wedding night. Moreover he bade lay on her back a piece
of silk for a seat, and a prayer-carpet under which were his
saddle-bags. When this was done he said to his pages and slaves, "I
purpose going forth a-pleasuring outside the city on the road to
Kalyub-town, [FN#373] and I shall lie three nights abroad; so let none
of you follow me, for there is something straiteneth my breast." Then
he mounted the mule in haste; and, taking with him some provaunt for
the way, set out from Cairo and faced the open and uncultivated country
lying around it. [FN#374] About noontide he entered Bilbays-city,
[FN#375] where he dismounted and stayed awhile to rest himself and his
mule and ate some of his victual. He bought at Bilbays all he wanted
for himself and forage for his mule and then fared on the way of the
waste. Towards night-fall he entered a town called Sa'adiyah [FN#376]
where he alighted and took out somewhat of his viaticum and ate; then
he spread his strip of silk on the sand and set the saddle-bags under
his head and slept in the open air; for he was still overcome with
anger. When morning dawned he mounted and rode onward till he reached
the Holy City, [FN#377] Jerusalem, and thence he made Aleppo, where he
dismounted at one of the caravanserais and abode three days to rest
himself and the mule and to smell the air. [FN#378] Then, being
determined to travel afar and Allah having written safety in his fate,
he set out again, wending without wotting whither he was going; and,
having fallen in with certain couriers, he stinted not travelling till
he had reached Bassorah- city albeit he knew not what the place was. It
was dark night when he alighted at the Khan, so he spread out his
prayer-carpet and took down the saddle-bags from the back of his mule
and gave her with her furniture in charge of the door-keeper that he
might walk her about. The man took her and did as he was bid. Now it so
happened that the Wazir of Bassorah, a man shot in years, was sitting
at the lattice-window of his palace opposite the Khan and he saw the
porter walking the mule up and down. He was struck by her trappings of
price and thought her a nice beast fit for the riding of Wazirs or even
of royalties; and the more he looked the more was he perplexed till at
last he said to one of his pages, "Bring hither yon door-keeper," The
page went and returned to the Wazir with the porter who kissed the
ground between his hands, and the Minister asked him, "Who is the owner
of yonder mule and what manner of man is he?"; and he answered, "O my
lord, the owner of this mule is a comely young man of pleasant manners,
withal grave and dignified, and doubtless one of the sons of the
merchants." When the Wazir heard the door-keeper's words he arose
forthright; and, mounting his horse, rode to the Khan [FN#379] and went
in to Nur al-Din who, seeing the minister making towards him, rose to
his feet and advanced to meet him and saluted him. The Wazir welcomed
him to Bassorah and dis- mounting, embraced him and made him sit down
by his side and said, "O my son, whence comest thou and what dost thou
seek?" "O my lord," Nur al-Din replied, "I have come from Cairo-city of
which my father was whilome Wazir; but he hath been removed to the
grace of Allah;" and he informed him of all that had befallen him from
beginning to end, adding, "I am resolved never to return home before I
have seen all the cities and countries of the world." When the Wazir
heard this, he said to him, "O my son, hearken not to the voice of
passion lest it cast thee into the pit; for indeed many regions be
waste places and I fear for thee the turns of Time." Then he let load
the saddle-bags and the silk and prayer-carpets on the mule and carried
Nur al-Din to his own house, where he lodged him in a pleasant place
and entreated him honourably and made much of him, for he inclined to
love him with exceeding love. After a while he said to him, "O my son,
here am I left a man in years and have no male children, but Allah hath
blessed me with a daughter who eventh thee in beauty; and I have
rejected all her many suitors, men of rank and substance. But affection
for thee hath entered into my heart; say me, then, wilt thou be to her
a husband? If thou accept this, I will go up with thee to the Sultan of
Bassorah [FN#380] and will tell him that thou art my nephew, the son of
my brother, and bring thee to be appointed Wazir in my place that I may
keep the house for, by Allah, O my son, I am stricken in years and
aweary." When Nur al-Din heard the Wazir's words, he bowed his head in
modesty and said, "To hear is to obey!" At this the Wazir rejoiced and
bade his servants prepare a feast and decorate the great assembly-hall,
wherein they were wont to celebrate the marriages of Emirs and
Grandees. Then he assembled his friends and the notables of the reign
and the merchants of Bassorah and when all stood before him he said to
them, "I had a brother who was Wazir in the land of Egypt, and Allah
Almighty blessed him with two sons, whilst to me, as well ye wot, He
hath given a daughter. My brother charged me to marry my daughter to
one of his sons, whereto I assented; and, when my daughter was of age
to marry, he sent me one of his sons, the young man now present, to
whom I purpose marrying her, drawing up the contract and celebrating
the night of unveiling with due ceremony; for he is nearer and dearer
to me than a stranger and, after the wedding, if he please he shall
abide with me, or if he desire to travel I will forward him and his
wife to his father's home." Hereat one and all replied, "Right is thy
recking;" and they all looked at the bridegroom and were pleased with
him. So the Wazir sent for the Kazi and legal witnesses and they wrote
out the marriage- contract, after which the slaves perfumed the guests
with incense, [FN#381] and served them with sherbet of sugar and
sprinkled rose-water on them and all went their ways. Then the Wazir
bade his servants take Nur al-Din to the Hammam-baths and sent him a
suit of the best of his own especial raiment, and napkins and towelry
and bowls and perfume-burners and all else that was required. After the
bath, when he came out and donned the dress, he was even as the full
moon on the fourteenth night; and he mounted his mule and stayed not
till he reached the Wazir's palace. There he dismounted and went in to
the Minister and kissed his hands, and the Wazir bade him welcome.—And
Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted

              When it was the Twenty-first Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Wazir stood
up to him and welcoming him said, "Arise and go in to thy wife this
night, and on the morrow I will carry thee to the Sultan, and pray
Allah bless thee with all manner of weal." So Nur al-Din left him and
went into his wife the Wazir's daughter. Thus far concerning him, but
as regards his eldest brother, Shams al-Din, he was absent with the
Sultan a long time and when he returned from his journey he found not
his brother; and he asked of his servants and slaves who answered, "On
the day of thy departure with the Sultan, thy brother mounted his mule
fully caparisoned as for state procession saying, 'I am going towards
Kalyub-town and I shall be absent one day or at most two days; for my
breast is straitened, and let none of you follow me.' Then he fared
forth and from that time to this we have heard no tidings of him."
Shams al-Din was greatly troubled at the sudden disappearance of his
brother and grieved with exceeding grief at the loss and said to
himself, "This is only because I chided and upbraided him the night
before my departure with the Sultan; haply his feelings were hurt and
he fared forth a-travelling; but I must send after him." Then he went
in to the Sultan and acquainted him with what had happened and wrote
letters and dispatches, which he sent by running footmen to his
deputies in every province. But during the twenty days of his brother's
absence Nur al-Din had travelled far and had reached Bassorah; so after
diligent search the messengers failed to come at any news of him and
returned. Thereupon Shams al-Din despaired of finding his brother and
said, "Indeed I went beyond all bounds in what I said to him with
reference to the marriage of our children. Would that I had not done
so! This all cometh of my lack of wit and want of caution." Soon after
this he sought in marriage the daughter of a Cairene merchant, [FN#382]
and drew up the marriage contract and went in to her. And it so chanced
that, on the very same night when Shams al-Din went in to his wife, Nur
al-Din also went in to his wife the daughter of the Wazir of Bassorah;
this being in accordance with the will of Almighty Allah, that He might
deal the decrees of Destiny to His creatures. Furthermore, it was as
the two brothers had said; for their two wives became pregnant by them
on the same night and both were brought to bed on the same day; the
wife of Shams al-Din, Wazir of Egypt, of a daughter, never in Cairo was
seen a fairer; and the wife of Nur al-Din of a son, none more beautiful
was ever seen in his time, as one of the poets said concerning the like
of him:—

That jetty hair, that glossy brow,
     My slender-waisted youth, of thine,
Can darkness round creation throw,
     Or make it brightly shine.
The dusky mole that faintly shows
     Upon his cheek, ah! blame it not:
The tulip-flower never blows
     Undarkened by its spot [FN#383]

And as another also said:—

His scent was musk and his cheek was rose; * His teeth are pearls
     and his lips drop wine;
His form is a brand and his hips a hill; * His hair is night and
     his face moon-shine.

They named the boy Badr al-Din Hasan and his grandfather, the Wazir of
Bassorah, rejoiced in him and, on the seventh day after his birth, made
entertainments and spread banquets which would befit the birth of
Kings' sons and heirs. Then he took Nur al- Din and went up with him to
the Sultan, and his son-in-law, when he came before the presence of the
King, kissed the ground between his hands and repeated these verses,
for he was ready of speech, firm of sprite and good in heart as he was
goodly in form:—

"The world's best joys long be thy lot, my lord! * And last while
     darkness and the dawn o'erlap:
O thou who makest, when we greet thy gifts, * The world to dance
     and Time his palms to clap." [FN#384]

Then the Sultan rose up to honour them, and thanking Nur al-Din for his
fine compliment, asked the Wazir, "Who may be this young man?"; and the
Minister answered, "This is my brother's son," and related his tale
from first to last. Quoth the Sultan, "And how comes he to be thy
nephew and we have never heard speak of him?" Quoth the Minister, "O
our lord the Sultan, I had a brother who was Wazir in the land of Egypt
and he died, leaving two sons, whereof the elder hath taken his
father's place and the younger, whom thou seest, came to me. I had
sworn I would not marry my daughter to any but to him; so when he came
I married him to her. [FN#385] Now he is young and I am old; my hearing
is dulled and my judgement is easily fooled; wherefore I would solicit
our lord the Sultan [FN#386] to set him in my stead, for he is my
brother's son and my daughter's husband; and he is fit for the
Wazirate, being a man of good counsel and ready contrivance." The
Sultan looked at Nur al-Din and liked him, so he stablished him in
office as the Wazir had requested and formally appointed him,
presenting him with a splendid dress of honour and a she- mule from his
private stud; and assigning to him solde, stipends and supplies. Nur
al-Din kissed the Sultan's hand and went home, he and his
father-in-law, joying with exceeding joy and saying, "All this
followeth on the heels of the boy Hasan's birth!" Next day he presented
himself before the King and, kissing the ground, began repeating:—

"Grow thy weal and thy welfare day by day: * And thy luck
     prevail o'er the envier's spite;
And ne'er cease thy days to be white as day, * And thy foeman's
     day to be black as night!"

The Sultan bade him be seated on the Wazir's seat, so he sat down and
applied himself to the business of his office and went into the cases
of the lieges and their suits, as is the wont of Ministers; while the
Sultan watched him and wondered at his wit and good sense, judgement
and insight. Wherefor he loved him and took him into intimacy. When the
Divan was dismissed Nur al-Din returned to his house and related what
had passed to his father- in-law who rejoiced. And thenceforward Nur
al-Din ceased not so to administer the Wazirate that the Sultan would
not be parted from him night or day; and increased his stipend and
supplies until his means were ample and he became the owner of ships
that made trading voyages at his command, as well as of Mamelukes and
blackamoor slaves; and he laid out many estates and set up Persian
wheels and planted gardens. When his son Hasan was four years of age,
the old Wazir deceased and he made for his father- in-law a sumptuous
funeral ceremony ere he was laid in the dust. Then he occupied himself
with the education of this son and, when the boy waxed strong and came
to the age of seven, he brought him a Fakih, a doctor of law and
religion, to teach him in his own house and charged him to give him a
good education and instruct him in politeness and manners. So the tutor
made the boy read and retain all varieties of useful knowledge, after
he had spent some years in learning the Koran by heart; [FN#387] and he
ceased not to grow in beauty and stature and symmetry, even as saith
the poet:—

In his face-sky shines the fullest moon; * In his cheeks' anemone
     glows the sun:
He so conquered Beauty that he hath won * All charms of
     humanity one by one.

The professor brought him up in his father's palace teaching him
reading, writing and cyphering, theology and belles lettres. His
grandfather the old Wazir had bequeathed to him the whole of his
property when he was but four years of age. Now during all the time of
his earliest youth he had never left the house, till on a certain day
his father, the Wazir Nur al-Din, clad him in his best clothes and,
mounting him on a she-mule of the finest, went up with him to the
Sultan. The King gazed at Badr al-Din Hasan and marvelled at his
comeliness and loved him. As for the city- folk, when he first passed
before them with his father, they marvelled at his exceeding beauty and
sat down on the road expecting his return, that they might look their
fill on his beauty and loveliness and symmetry and perfect grace; even
as the poet said in these verses:—

As the sage watched the stars, the semblance clear
Of a fair youth on 's scroll he saw appear.
Those jetty locks Canopus o'er him threw,
And tinged his temple curls a musky hue;
Mars dyed his ruddy cheek; and from his eyes
The Archer-star his glittering arrow flies;
His wit from Hermes came; and Soha's care,
(The half-seen star that dimly haunts the Bear)
Kept off all evil eyes that threaten and ensnare,
The sage stood mazed to see such fortunes meet,
And Luna kissed the earth beneath his feet. [FN#388]

And they blessed him aloud as he passed and called upon Almighty Allah
to bless him. [FN#389] The Sultan entreated the lad with especial
favour and said to his father, "O Wazir, thou must needs bring him
daily to my presence;" whereupon he replied, "I hear and I obey." Then
the Wazir returned home with his son and ceased not to carry him to
court till he reached the age of twenty. At that time the Minister
sickened and, sending for Badr al-Din Hasan, said to him, "Know, O my
son, that the world of the Present is but a house of mortality, while
that of the Future is a house of eternity. I wish, before I die, to
bequeath thee certain charges and do thou take heed of what I say and
incline thy heart to my words." Then he gave him last instructions as
to the properest way of dealing with his neighbours and the due
management of his affairs; after which he called to mind his brother
and his home and his native land and wept over his separation from
those he had first loved. Then he wiped away his tears and, turning to
his son, said to him, "Before I proceed, O my son, to my last charges
and injunctions, know that I have a brother, and thou hast an uncle,
Shams al-Din hight, the Wazir of Cairo, which whom I parted, leaving
him against his will. Now take thee a sheet of paper and write upon it
whatso I say to thee." Badr al-Din took a fair leaf and set about doing
his father's bidding and he wrote thereon a full account of what had
happened to his sire first and last; the dates of his arrival at
Bassorah and of his foregathering with the Wazir; of his marriage, of
his going in to the Minister's daughter and of the birth of his son;
brief, his life of forty years from the date of his dispute with his
brother, adding the words, "And this is written at my dictation and may
Almighty Allah be with him when I am gone!" Then he folded the paper
and sealed it and said, "O Hasan, O my son, keep this paper with all
care; for it will enable thee to stablish thine origin and rank and
lineage and, if anything contrary befal thee, set out for Cairo and ask
for thine uncle and show him this paper and say to him that I died a
stranger far from mine own people and full of yearning to see him and
them." So Badr al-Din Hasan took the document and folded it; and,
wrapping it up in a piece of waxed cloth of his skull-cap and wound his
light turband [FN#390] round it. And he fell to weeping over his father
and at parting with him, and he but a boy. Then Nur al-Din lapsed into
a swoon, the forerunner of death; but presently recovering himself he
said, "O Hasan, O my son, I will now bequeath to thee five last
behests. The FIRST BEHEST is, Be over-intimate with none, nor frequent
any, nor be familiar with any; so shalt thou be safe from his mischief;
[FN#391] for security lieth in seclusion of thought and a certain
retirement from the society of thy fellows; and I have heard it said by
a poet:—

In this world there is none thou mayst count upon * To befriend
     thy case in the nick of need:
So live for thyself nursing hope of none * Such counsel I give
     thee: enow, take heed!

The SECOND BEHEST is, O my son: Deal harshly with none lest fortune
with thee deal hardly; for the fortune of this world is one day with
thee and another day against thee and all worldly goods are but a loan
to be repaid. And I have heard a poet say:- -

Take thought nor hast to win the thing thou wilt; * Have ruth on
     man for ruth thou may'st require:
No hand is there but Allah's hand is higher; * No tyrant but
     shall rue worse tyrant's ire!

The THIRD BEHEST is, Learn to be silent in society and let thine own
faults distract thine attention from the faults of other men: for it is
said:—In silence dwelleth safety, and thereon I have heard the lines
that tell us:—

Reserve's a jewel, Silence safety is; * Whenas thou speakest many
     a word withhold;
For an of Silence thou repent thee once, * Of speech thou shalt
     repent times manifold.

The FOURTH BEHEST, O my son, is Beware of wine-bibbing, for wine is the
head of all frowardness and a fine solvent of human wits. So shun, and
again I say, shun mixing strong liquor; for I have heard a poet say

From wine [FN#393] I turn and whoso wine-cups swill; *
     Becoming one of those who deem it ill:
Wine driveth man to miss salvation-way, [FN#394] * And opes the
     gateway wide to sins that kill.

The FIFTH BEHEST, O my son, is Keep thy wealth and it will keep thee;
guard thy money and it will guard thee; and waste not thy substance
lest haply thou come to want and must fare a-begging from the meanest
of mankind. Save thy dirhams and deem them the sovereignest salve for
the wounds of the world. And here again I have heard that one of the
poets said:—

When fails my wealth no friend will deign befriend: * When
     wealth abounds all friends their friendship tender:
How many friends lent aid my wealth to spend; * But friends to
     lack of wealth no friendship render.

On this wise Nur al-Din ceased not to counsel his son Badr al-Din Hasan
till his hour came and, sighing one sobbing sigh, his life went forth.
Then the voice of mourning and keening rose high in his house and the
Sultan and all the grandees grieved for him and buried him; but his son
ceased not lamenting his loss for two months, during which he never
mounted horse, nor attended the Divan nor presented himself before the
Sultan. At last the King, being wroth with him, stablished in his stead
one of the Chamberlains and made him Wazir, giving orders to seize and
set seals on all Nur al-Din's houses and goods and domains. So the new
Wazir went forth with a mighty posse of Chamberlains and people of the
Divan, and watchmen and a host of idlers to do this and to seize Badr
al-Din Hasan and carry him before the King, who would deal with him as
he deemed fit. Now there was among the crowd of followers a Mameluke of
the deceased Wazir who, when he heard this order, urged his horse and
rode at full speed to the house of Badr al-Din Hasan; for he cold not
endure to see the ruin of his old master's son. He found him sitting at
the gate with head hung down and sorrowing, as was his wont, for the
loss of his father; so he dismounted and kissing his hand said to him,
"O my lord and son of my lord, haste ere ruin come and lay waste!" When
Hasan heard this he trembled and asked, "What may be the matter?; and
the man answered, "The Sultan is angered with thee and hath issued a
warrant against thee, and evil cometh hard upon my track; so flee with
thy life!" At these words Hasan's heart flamed with the fire of bale,
and his rose-red cheek turned pale, and he said to the "Mameluke, "O my
brother, is there time for me to go in and get me some worldly gear
which may stand me in stead during my strangerhood?" But the slave
replied, "O my lord, up at once and save thyself and leave this house,
while it is yet time." And he quoted these lines:—

"Escape with thy life, if oppression betide thee, * And let the
     house of its builder's fate!
Country for country thou'lt find, if thou seek it; * Life for
     life never, early or late.
It is strange men should dwell in the house of abjection, * When
     the plain of God's earth is so wide and so great!" [FN#395]

At these words of the Mameluke, Badr al-Din covered his head with the
skirt of his garment and went forth on foot till he stood outside of
the city, where he heard folk saying, "The Sultan hath sent his new
Wazir to the house of the old Wazir, now no more, to seal his property
and seize his son Badr al-Din Hasan and take him before the presence,
that he may put him to death; " and all cried, "Alas for his beauty and
his loveliness!" When he heard this he fled forth at hazard, knowing
not whither he was going, and gave not over hurrying onwards till
Destiny drove him to his father's tomb. So he entered the cemetery and,
threading his way through the graves, at last he reached the sepulchre
where he sat down and let fall from his head the skirt of his long robe
[FN#396] which was made of brocade with a gold-embroidered hem whereon
were worked these couplets:—

O thou whose forehead, like the radiant East, * Tells of the
     stars of Heaven and bounteous dews:
Endure thine honour to the latest day, * And Time thy growth of
     glory ne'er refuse!

While he was sitting by his father's tomb behold, there came to him a
Jew as he were a Shroff, [FN#397] a money-changer, with a pair of
saddle-bags containing much gold, who accosted him and kissed his hand,
saying, "Whither bound, O my lord; 'tis late in the day and thou art
clad but lightly, and I read signs of trouble in thy face?" "I was
sleeping within this very hour," answered Hasan, "when my father
appeared to me and chid me for not having visited his tomb; so I awoke
trembling and came hither forthright lest the day should go by without
my visiting him, which would have been grievous to me." "O my lord,"
rejoined the Jew, [FN#398] "thy father had many merchantmen at sea and,
as some of them are now due, it is my wish to buy of thee the cargo of
the first ship that cometh into port with this thousand dinars of
gold." "I consent," quoth Hasan, whereupon the Jew took out a bag of
gold and counted out a thousand sequins which he gave to Hasan, the son
of the Wazir, saying, "Write me a letter of sale and seal it." So Hasan
took a pen and paper and wrote these words in duplicate, "The writer,
Hasan Badr al-Din, son of Wazir Nur al-Din, hath to Isaac the Jew all
the cargo of the first of his father's ships which cometh into port,
for a thousand dinars, and he hath received the price in advance." And
after he had taken one copy the Jew put it into his pouch and went
away; but Hasan fell a-weeping as he thought of the dignity and
prosperity which had erst been his and he began reciting:—

"This house, my lady, since you left is now a home no more * For
     me, not neighbours, since you left, prove kind and
The friend, whilere I took to heart, alas! no more to me * Is
     friend; and even Luna's self displayeth lunacy:
You left and by your going left the world a waste, a wolf, * And
     lies a gloomy murk upon the face of hill and lea:
O may the raven-bird whose cry our hapless parting croaked *
     Find ne'er a nesty home and eke shed all his plumery!
At length my patience fails me; and this absence wastes my
    flesh; * How many a veil by severance rent our eyes are
    doomed see:
Ah! shall I ever sight again our fair past nights of your; * And
     shall a single house become a home for me once more?"

Then he wept with exceeding weeping and night came upon him; so he
leant his head against his father's grave and sleep overcame him: Glory
to him who sleepeth not! He ceased not slumbering till the moon rose,
when his head slipped from off the tomb and he lay on his back, with
limbs outstretched, his face shining bright in the moonlight. Now the
cemetery was haunted day and night by Jinns who were of the True
Believers, and presently came out a Jinniyah who, seeing Hasan asleep,
marvelled at his beauty and loveliness and cried, "Glory to God! This
youth can be none other than one of the Wuldan of Paradise.[FN#399]
Then she flew firmament-wards to circle it, as was her custom, and met
an Ifrit on the wing who saluted her and she said to him, "Whence
comest thou?" "From Cairo," he replied. "Wilt thou come with me and
look upon the beauty of a youth who sleepeth in yonder burial place?"
she asked and he answered, "I will." So they flew till they lighted at
the tomb and she showed him the youth and said, "Now diddest thou ever
in thy born days see aught like this?" The Ifrit looked upon him and
exclaimed, "Praise be to Him that hath no equal! But, O my sister,
shall I tell thee what I have seen this day?" Asked she, "What is
that?" and he answered, "I have seen the counterpart of this youth in
the land of Egypt. She is the daughter of the Wazir Shams al-Din and
she is a model of beauty and loveliness, of fairest favour and formous
form, and dight with symmetry and perfect grace. When she had reached
the age of nineteen, [FN#400] the Sultan of Egypt heard of her and,
sending for the Wazir her father, said to him, 'Hear me, O Wazir: it
hath reached mine ear that thou hast a daughter and I wish to demand
her of thee in marriage." The Wazir replied, "O our lord the Sultan,
deign accept my excuses and take compassion on my sorrows, for thou
knowest that my brother, who was partner with me in the Wazirate,
disappeared from amongst us many years ago and we wot not where he is.
Now the cause of his departure was that one night, as we were sitting
together and talking of wives and children to come, we had words on the
matter and he went off in high dudgeon. But I swore that I would marry
my daughter to none save to the son of my brother on the day her mother
gave her birth, which was nigh upon nineteen years ago. I have lately
heard that my brother died at Bassorah, where he married the daughter
of the Wazir and that she bare him a son; and I will not marry my
daughter but to him in honour of my brother's memory. I recorded the
date of my marriage and the conception of my wife and the birth of my
daughter; and from her horoscope I find that her name is conjoined with
that of her cousin; [FN#401] and there are damsels in foison for our
lord the Sultan.' The King, hearing his Minister's answer and refusal,
waxed wroth with exceeding wrath and cried, 'When the like of me asketh
a girl in marriage of the like of thee, he conferreth an honour, and
thou rejectest me and puttest me off with cold [FN#402] excuses! Now,
by the life of my head I will marry her to the meanest of my men in
spite of the nose of thee! [FN#403] There was in the palace a
horse-groom which was a Gobbo with a bunch to his breast and a hunch to
his back; and the Sultan sent for him and married him to the daughter
of the Wazir, lief or loath, and hath ordered a pompous marriage
procession for him and that he go in to his bride this very night. I
have now just flown hither from Cairo, where I left the Hunchback at
the door of the Hammam-bath amidst the Sultan's white slaves who were
waving lighted flambeaux about him. As for the Minister's daughter she
sitteth among her nurses and tirewomen, weeping and wailing; for they
have forbidden her father to come near her. Never have I seen, O my
sister, more hideous being than this Hunchback [FN#404] whilest the
young lady is the likest of all folk to this young man, albeit even
fairer than he,"—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased her
permitted say.

              When it was the Twenty-second Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the Jinni
narrated to the Jinniyah how the King had caused the wedding contract
to be drawn up between the hunchbacked groom and the lovely young lady
who was heart-broken for sorrow; and how she was the fairest of created
things and even more beautiful than this youth, the Jinniyah cried at
him "Thou liest! this youth is handsomer than any one of his day." The
Ifrit gave her the lie again, adding, "By Allah, O my sister, the
damsel I speak of is fairer than this; yet none but he deserveth her,
for they resemble each other like brother and sister or at least
cousins. And, well-away! how she is wasted upon that Hunchback!" Then
said she, "O my brother, let us get under him and lift him up and carry
him to Cairo, that we may compare him with the damsel of whom thou
speakest and so determine whether of the twain is the fairer." "To hear
is to obey!" replied he, "thou speakest to the point; nor is there a
righter recking than this of thine, and I myself will carry him." So he
raised him from the ground and flew with him like a bird soaring in
upper air, the Ifritah keeping close by his side at equal speed, till
he alighted with him in the city of Cairo and set him down on a stone
bench and woke him up. He roused himself and finding that he was no
longer at his father's tomb in Bassorah-city he looked right and left
and saw that he was in a strange place; and he would have cried out;
but the Ifrit gave him a cuff which persuaded him to keep silence. Then
he brought him rich raiment and clothed him therein and, giving him a
lighted flambeau, said, "Know that I have brought thee hither, meaning
to do thee a good turn for the love of Allah: so take this torch and
mingle with the people at the Hammam-door and walk on with them without
stopping till thou reach the house of the wedding-festival; then go
boldly forward and enter the great saloon; and fear none, but take thy
stand at the right hand of the Hunchback bridegroom; and, as often as
any of the nurses and tirewomen and singing-girls come up to thee,
[FN#405] put thy hand into thy pocket which thou wilt find filled with
gold. Take it out and throw it to them and spare not; for as often as
thou thrustest fingers in pouch thou shalt find it full of coin. Give
largesse by handsful and fear nothing, but set thy trust upon Him who
created thee, for this is not by thine own strength but by that of
Allah Almighty, that His decrees may take effect upon his creatures."
When Badr al-Din Hasan heard these words from the Ifrit he said to
himself, "Would Heaven I knew what all this means and what is the cause
of such kindness!" However, he mingled with the people and, lighting
his flambeau, moved on with the bridal procession till he came to the
bath where he found the Hunchback already on horseback. Then he pushed
his way in among the crowd, a veritable beauty of a man in the finest
apparel, wearing tarbush [FN#406] and turband and a long-sleeved robe
purfled with gold; and, as often as the singing-women stopped for the
people to give them largesse, he thrust his hand into his pocket and,
finding it full of gold, took out a handful and threw it on the
tambourine [FN#407] till he had filled it with gold pieces for the
music-girls and the tirewomen. The singers were amazed by his bounty
and the people marvelled at his beauty and loveliness and the splendour
of his dress. He ceased not to do thus till he reached the mansion of
the Wazir (who was his uncle), where the Chamberlains drove back the
people and forbade them to go forward; but the singing-girls and the
tirewomen said, "By Allah we will not enter unless this young man enter
with us, for he hath given us length o' life with his largesse and we
will not display the bride unless he be present." Therewith they
carried him into the bridal hall and made him sit down defying the evil
glances of the hunchbacked bridegroom. The wives of the Emirs and
Wazirs and Chamberlains and Courtiers all stood in double line, each
holding a massy cierge ready lighted; all wore thin face-veils and the
two rows right and left extended from the bride's throne [FN#408] to
the head of the hall adjoining the chamber whence she was to come
forth. When the ladies saw Badr al-Din Hasan and noted his beauty and
loveliness and his face that shone like the new moon, their hearts
inclined to him and the singing-girls said to all that were present,
"Know that this beauty crossed our hands with naught but red gold; so
be not chary to do him womanly service and comply with all he says, no
matter what he ask. [FN#409] So all the women crowded around Hasan with
their torches and gazed upon his loveliness and envied him his beauty;
and one and all would gladly have lain on his bosom an hour or rather a
year. Their hearts were so troubled that they let fall their veils from
before their faces and said, "Happy she who belongeth to this youth or
to whom he belongeth!"; and they called down curses on the crooked
groom and on him who was the cause of his marriage to the girl-beauty;
and as often as they blessed Badr al-Din Hasan they damned the
Hunchback, saying, "Verily this youth and none else deserveth our
Bride: Ah, well-away for such a lovely one with this hideous Quasimodo;
Allah's curse light on his head and on the Sultan who commanded the
marriage!" Then the singing- girls beat their tabrets and lulliloo'd
with joy, announcing the appearing of the bride; and the Wazir's
daughter came in surrounded by her tirewomen who had made her goodly to
look upon; for they had perfumed her and incensed her and adorned her
hair; and they had robed her in raiment and ornaments befitting the
mighty Chosroes Kings. The most notable part of her dress was a loose
robe worn over her other garments; it was diapered in red gold with
figures of wild beasts, and birds whose eyes and beaks were of gems,
and claws of red rubies and green beryl; and her neck was graced with a
necklace of Yamani work, worth thousands of gold pieces, whose bezels
were great round jewels of sorts, the like of which was never owned by
Kaysar or by Tobba King. [FN#410] And the bride was as the full moon
when at fullest on fourteenth night; and as she paced into the hall she
was like one of the Houris of Heaven—praise be to Him who created her
in such splendour of beauty! The ladies encompassed her as the white
contains the black of the eye, they clustering like stars whilst she
shone amongst them like the moon when it eats up the clouds. Now Badr
al-Din Hasan of Bassorah was sitting in full gaze of the folk, when the
bride came forward with her graceful swaying and swimming gait, and her
hunchbacked groom stood up to meet [FN#411] and receive her: she,
however, turned away from the wight and walked forward till she stood
before her cousin Hasan, the son of her uncle. Whereat the people
laughed. But when the wedding-guests saw her thus attracted towards
Badr al-Din they made a mighty clamour and the singing-women shouted
their loudest; whereupon he put his hand into his pocket and, pulling
out a handful of gold, cast it into their tambourines and the girls
rejoiced and said, "Could we win our wish this bride were thine!" At
this he smiled and the folk came round him, flambeaux in hand like the
eyeball round the pupil, while the Gobbo bridegroom was left sitting
alone much like a tail-less baboon; for every time they lighted a
candle for him it went out willy- nilly, so he was left in darkness and
silence and looking at naught but himself. [FN#412] When Badr al-Din
Hasan saw the bridegroom sitting lonesome in the dark, and all the
wedding- guests with their flambeaux and wax candles crowding around
himself, he was bewildered and marvelled much; but when he looked at
his cousin, the daughter of his uncle, he rejoiced and felt an inward
delight: he longed to greet her and gazed intently on her face which
was radiant with light and brilliancy. Then the tirewomen took off her
veil and displayed her in the first bridal dress which was of scarlet
satin; and Hasan had a view of her which dazzled his sight and dazed
his wits, as she moved to and fro, swaying with graceful gait; [FN#413]
and she turned the heads of all the guests, women as well as men, for
she was even as saith the surpassing poet:—

A sun on wand in knoll of sand she showed * Clad in her
     cramoisy-hued chemisette:
Of her lips honey-dew she gave me drink, * And with her rosy
     cheeks quencht fire she set.

Then they changed that dress and displayed her in a robe of azure; and
she reappeared like the full moon when it riseth over the horizon, with
her coal-black hair and cheeks delicately fair; and teeth shown in
sweet smiling and breasts firm rising and crowning sides of the softest
and waist of the roundest. And in this second suit she was as a certain
master of high conceits saith of the like of her:—

She came apparrelled in an azure vest, * Ultramarine, as skies
     are deckt and dight;
I view'd th' unparrellel'd sight, which show'd my eyes * A moon
     of Summer on a Winter-night.

Then they changed that suit for another and, veiling her face in the
luxuriance of her hair, loosed her lovelocks, so dark, so long that
their darkness and length outvied the darkest nights, and she shot
through all hearts with the magical shaft of her eye-babes. They
displayed her in the third dress and she was as said of her the sayer:—

Veiling her cheeks with hair a-morn she comes, * And I her
     mischiefs with the cloud compare:
Saying, "Thou veilest morn with night!" "Ah, no!" * Quoth she,
     "I shroud full moon with darkling air!"

Then they displayed her in the fourth bridal dress and she came forward
shining like the rising sun and swaying to and fro with lovesome grace
and supple ease like a gazelle-fawn. And she clave all hearts with the
arrows of her eyelashes, even as saith one who described a charmer like

The sun of beauty she to sight appears * And, lovely-coy, she
     mocks all loveliness;
And when he fronts her favour and her smile * A-morn, the Sun of
     day in clouds must dress.

Then she came forth in the fifth dress, a very light of loveliness like
a wand of waving willow or a gazelle of the thirsty wold. Those locks
which stung like scorpions along her cheeks were bent, and her neck was
bowed in blandishment, and her hips quivered as she went. As saith one
of the poets describing her in verse:—

She comes like fullest moon on happy night; * Taper of waist,
     with shape of magic might:
She hath an eye whose glances quell mankind, * And Ruby on her
     cheeks reflects his light:
Enveils her hips the blackness of her hair; *Beware of curls that
     bite with viper-bite!
Her sides are silken-soft, the while the heart * Mere rock behind
     that surface lurks from sight:
From the fringed curtains of her eyne she shoots * Shafts which
     at farthest range on mark alight:
When round her neck or waist I throw my arms * Her breasts repel
     me with their hardened height.
Ah, how her beauty all excels! ah how * That shape transcends the
     graceful waving bough!

Then they adorned her with the sixth toilette, a dress which was green.
And now she shamed her slender straightness the nut-brown spear; her
radiant face dimmed the brightest beams of full moon and she outdid the
bending branches in gentle movement and flexible grace. Her loveliness
exalted the beauties of earth's four quarters and she broke men's
hearts by the significance of her semblance; for she was even as saith
one of the poets in these lines:—

A damsel 'twas the tirer's art had decked with snares and
     sleight.[FN#414] * And robed in rays as though the sun from
     her had borrowed light:
She came before us wondrous clad in chemisette of green, * As
     veiled by its leafy screen pomegranate hides from sight:
And when he said "How callest thou the manner of thy dress?" *
     She answered us in pleasant way with double meaning dight;
"We call this garment creve-coeur; and rightly is it hight, * For
     many a heart wi' this we broke [FN#415] and conquered many
     a sprite!"

Then they displayed her in the seventh dress, coloured between
safflower [FN#416] and saffron, even as one of the poets saith:—

In vest of saffron pale and safflower red * Musk'd, sandal'd
     ambergris'd, she came to front:
"Rise!" cried her youth, "go forth and show thyself!" * "Sit!"
     said her hips, "we cannot bear the brunt!"
And when I craved a bout, her Beauty said * "Do, do!" and said
     her pretty shame, "Don't, don't!"

Thus they displayed the bride in all her seven toilettes before Hasan
al-Basri, wholly neglecting the Gobbo who sat moping alone; and, when
she opened her eyes [FN#417] she said, "O Allah make this man my
goodman and deliver me from the evil of this hunchbacked groom." As
soon as they had made an end of this part of the ceremony they
dismissed the wedding guests who went forth, women, children and all,
and none remained save Hasan and the Hunchback, whilst the tirewomen
led the bride into an inner room to change her garb and gear and get
her ready for the bridegroom. Thereupon Quasimodo came up to Badr
al-Din Hasan and said, "O my lord, thou hast cheered us this night with
thy good company and overwhelmed us with thy kindness and courtesy; but
now why not get thee up and go?" "Bismallah," he answered, "In Allah's
name so be it!" and rising, he went forth by the door, where the Ifrit
met him and said, "Stay in thy stead, O Badr al-Din, and when the
Hunchback goes out to the closet of ease go in without losing time and
seat thyself in the alcove; and when the bride comes say to her, "'Tis
I am thy husband, for the King devised this trick only fearing for thee
the evil eye, and he whom thou sawest is but a Syce, a groom, one of
our stablemen.' Then walk boldly up to her and unveil her face; for
jealousy hath taken us of this matter." While Hasan was still talking
with the Ifrit behold, the groom fared forth from the hall and entering
the closet of ease sat down on the stool. Hardly had he done this when
the Ifrit came out of the tank, [FN#418] wherein the water was, in
semblance of a mouse and squeaked out "Zeek!" Quoth the Hunchback,
"What ails thee?"; and the mouse grew and grew till it became a
coal-black cat and caterwauled "Meeao! Meeao!"[FN#419] Then it grew
still more and more till it became a dog and barked out "Owh! Owh!"
When the bridegroom saw this he was frightened and exclaimed "Out with
thee, O unlucky one!" [FN#420] But the dog grew and swelled till it
became an ass-colt that brayed and snorted in his face "Hauk! Hauk!"
[FN#421] Whereupon the Hunchback quaked and cried, "Come to my aid, O
people of the house!" But behold, the ass-colt grew and became big as a
buffalo and walled the way before him and spake with the voice of the
sons of Adam, saying, "Woe to thee, O thou Bunch-back, thou stinkard, O
thou filthiest of grooms!" Hearing this the groom was seized with a
colic and he sat down on the jakes in his clothes with teeth chattering
and knocking together. Quoth the Ifrit, "Is the world so strait to thee
thou findest none to marry save my lady-love?" But as he was silent the
Ifrit continued, "Answer me or I will do thee dwell in the dust!" "By
Allah," replied the Gobbo, "O King of the Buffaloes, this is no fault
of mine, for they forced me to wed her; and verily I wot not that she
had a lover among the buffaloes; but now I repent, first before Allah
and then before thee." Said the Ifrit to him, "I swear to thee that if
thou fare forth from this place, or thou utter a word before sunrise, I
assuredly will wring thy neck. When the sun rises wend thy went and
never more return to this house." So saying, the Ifrit took up the
Gobbo bridegroom and set him head downwards and feet upwards in the
slit of the privy, [FN#422] and said to him, "I will leave thee here
but I shall be on the look-out for thee till sunrise; and, if thou stir
before then, I will seize thee by the feet and dash out thy brains
against the wall: so look out for thy life!" Thus far concerning the
Hunchback, but as regards Badr al-Din Hasan of Bassorah he left the
Gobbo and the Ifrit jangling and wrangling and, going into the house,
sat him down in the very middle of the alcove; and behold, in came the
bride attended by an old woman who stood at the door and said, "O
Father of Uprightness, [FN#423] arise and take what God giveth thee."
Then the old woman went away and the bride, Sitt al-Husn or the Lady of
Beauty hight, entered the inner part of the alcove broken-hearted and
saying in herself, "By Allah I will never yield my person to him; no,
not even were he to take my life!" But as she came to the further end
she saw Badr al-Din Hasan and she said, "Dearling! Art thou still
sitting here? By Allah I was wishing that thou wert my bridegroom or,
at least, that thou and the hunchbacked horse-groom were partners in
me." He replied, "O beautiful lady, how should the Syce have access to
thee, and how should he share in thee with me?" "Then," quoth she, "who
is my husband, thou or he?" "Sitt al- Husn," rejoined Hasan, "we have
not done this for mere fun, [FN#424] but only as a device to ward off
the evil eye from thee; for when the tirewomen and singers and wedding
guests saw they beauty being displayed to me, they feared fascination
and thy father hired the horse-groom for ten dinars and a porringer of
meat to take the evil eye off us; and now he hath received his hire and
gone his gait." When the Lady of Beauty heard these words she smiled
and rejoiced and laughed a pleasant laugh. Then she whispered him, "By
the Lord thou hast quenched a fire which tortured me and now, by Allah,
O my little dark-haired darling, take me to thee and press me to thy
bosom!" Then she began singing:—

"By Allah, set thy foot upon my soul; * Since long, long years
     for this alone I long:
And whisper tale of love in ear of me; * To me 'tis sweeter than
     the sweetest song!
No other youth upon my heart shall lie; * So do it often, dear,
     and do it long."

Then she stripped off her outer gear and she threw open her chemise
from the neck downwards and showed her parts genital and all the
rondure of her hips. When Badr al-Din saw the glorious sight his
desires were roused, and he arose and doffed her clothes, and wrapping
up in his bag-trousers [FN#425] the purse of gold which he had taken
from the Jew and which contained the thousand dinars, he laid it under
the edge of the bedding. Then he took off his turband and set it upon
the settle [FN#426] atop of his other clothes, remaining in his
skull-cap and fine shirt of blue silk laced with gold. Whereupon the
Lady of Beauty drew him to her and he did likewise. Then he took her to
his embrace and set her legs round his waist and point-blanked that
cannon [FN#427] placed where it battereth down the bulwark of
maidenhead and layeth it waste. And he found her a pearl unpierced and
unthridden and a filly by all men save himself unridden; and he abated
her virginity and had joyance of her youth in his virility and
presently he withdrew sword from sheath; and then returned to the fray
right eath; and when the battle and the siege had finished, some
fifteen assaults he had furnished and she conceived by him that very
night. Then he laid his hand under her head and she did the same and
they embraced and fell asleep in each other's arms, as a certain poet
said of such lovers in these couplets:—

Visit thy lover, spurn what envy told; * No envious churl shall
     smile on love ensoul'd.
Merciful Allah made no fairer sight * Than coupled lovers single
     couch doth hold;
Breast pressing breast and robed in joys their own, * With
     pillowed forearms cast in finest mould:
And when heart speaks to heart with tongue of love, * Folk who
     would part them hammer steel ice-cold:
If a fair friend[FN#428] thou find who cleaves to thee, * Live
     for that friend, that friend in heart enfold.
O ye who blame for love us lover kind * Say, can ye minister to
     diseasèd mind?

This much concerning Badr al-Hasan and Sitt al-Husn his cousin; but as
regards the Ifrit, as soon as he saw the twain asleep, he said to the
Ifritah, "Arise, slip thee under the youth and let us carry him back to
his place ere dawn overtake us; for the day is nearhand." Thereupon she
came forward and, getting under him as he lay asleep, took him up clad
only in his fine blue shirt, leaving the rest of his garments; and
ceased not flying (and the Ifrit vying with her in flight) till the
dawn advised them that it had come upon them mid-way, and the Muezzin
began his call from the Minaret, "Haste ye to salvation! Haste ye to
salvation!" [FN#429] Then Allah suffered his angelic host to shoot down
the Ifrit with a shooting star, [FN#430] so he was consumed, but the
Ifritah escaped and she descended with Badr al- Din at the place where
the Ifrit was burnt, and did not carry him back to Bassorah, fearing
lest he come to harm. Now by the order of Him who predestineth all
things, they alighted at Damascus of Syria, and the Ifritah set down
her burden at one of the city- gates and flew away. When day arose and
the doors were opened, the folks who came forth saw a handsome youth,
with no other raiment but his blue shirt of gold-embroidered silk and
skull- cap,[FN#431] lying upon the ground drowned in sleep after the
hard labour of the night which had not suffered him to take his rest.
So the folk looking at him said, "O her luck with whom this one spent
the night! but would he had waited to don his garments." Quoth another,
"A sorry lot are the sons of great families! Haply he but now came
forth of the tavern on some occasion of his own and his wine flew to
his head,[FN#432] whereby he hath missed the place he was making for
and strayed till he came to the gate of the city; and finding it shut
lay him down and to by-by!" As the people were bandying guesses about
him suddenly the morning breeze blew upon Badr al-Din and raising his
shirt to his middle showed a stomach and navel with something below it,
[FN#433] and legs and thighs clear as crystal and smooth as cream.
Cried the people, "By Allah he is a pretty fellow!"; and at the cry
Badr al-din awoke and found himself lying at a city-gate with a crowd
gathered around him. At this he greatly marvelled and asked, "Where am
I, O good folk; and what causeth you thus to gather round me, and what
have I had to do with you?"; and they answered, "We found thee lying
here asleep during the call to dawn-prayer and this is all we know of
the matter, but where diddest thou lie last night?" [FN#434] "By Allah,
O good people," replied he, "I lay last night in Cairo." Said somebody,
"Thou hast surely been eating Hashish," [FN#435] and another, "He is a
fool;" and a third, "He is a citrouille;" and a fourth asked him, "Art
thou out of thy mind? thou sleepest in Cairo and thou wakest in the
morning at the gate of Damascus- city!" [FN#436] Cried he, "By Allah,
my good people, one and all, I lie not to you: indeed I lay yesternight
in the land of Egypt and yesternoon I was at Bassorah." Quoth one,
"Well! well!"; and quoth another, "Ho! ho!"; and a third, "So! so!";
and a fourth cried, "This youth is mad, is possessed of the Jinni!" So
they clapped hands at him and said to one another, "Alas, the pity of
it for his youth: by Allah a madman! and madness is no respecter of
persons." Then they said to him, "Collect thy wits and return to thy
reason! How couldest thou be in Bassorah yesterday and Cairo
yesternight and withal awake in Damascus this morning?" But he
persisted, "Indeed I was a bridegroom in Cairo last night." "Belike
thou hast been dreaming," rejoined they, "and sawest all this in thy
sleep." So Hasan took thought for a while and said to them, "By Allah,
this is no dream; nor vision- like doth it seem! I certainly was in
Cairo where they displayed the bride before me, in presence of a third
person, the Hunchback groom who was sitting hard by. By Allah, O my
brother, this be no dream, and if it were a dream, where is the bag of
gold I bore with me and where are my turband and my robe, and my
trousers?" Then he rose and entered the city, threading its highways
and by- ways and bazar-streets; and the people pressed upon him and
jeered at him, crying out "Madman! madman!" till he, beside himself
with rage, took refuge in a cook's shop. Now that Cook had been a
trifle too clever, that is, a rogue and thief; but Allah had made him
repent and turn from his evil ways and open a cook-shop; and all the
people of Damascus stood in fear of his boldness and his mischief. So
when the crowd saw the youth enter his shop, they dispersed being
afraid of him, and went their ways. The Cook looked at Badr al-Din and,
noting his beauty and loveliness, fell in love with him forthright and
said, "Whence comest thou, O youth? Tell me at once thy tale, for thou
art become dearer to me than my soul." So Hasan recounted to him all
that had befallen him from beginning to end (but in repetition there is
no fruition) and the Cook said, "O my lord Badr al-Din, doubtless thou
knowest that this case is wondrous and this story marvellous;
therefore, O my son, hide what hath betided thee, till Allah dispel
what ills be thine; and tarry with me here the meanwhile, for I have no
child and I will adopt thee." Badr al- Din replied, "Be it as thou
wilt, O my uncle!" Whereupon the Cook went to the bazar and bought him
a fine suit of clothes and made him don it; then fared with him to the
Kazi, and formally declared that he was his son. So Badr al-Din Hasan
became known in Damascus-city as the Cook's son and he sat with him in
the shop to take the silver, and on this wise he sojourned there for a
time. Thus far concerning him; but as regards his cousin, the Lady of
Beauty, when morning dawned she awoke and missed Badr al- Din Hasan
from her side; but she thought that he had gone to the privy and she
sat expecting him for an hour or so; when behold, entered her father
Shams al-Din Mohammed, Wazir of Egypt. Now he was disconsolate by
reason of what had befallen him through the Sultan, who had entreated
him harshly and had married his daughter by force to the lowest of his
menials and he too a lump of a groom bunch-backed withal, and he said
to himself, "I will slay this daughter of mine if of her own free will
she have yielded her person to this acursed carle." So he came to the
door of the bride's private chamber and said, "Ho! Sitt al- Husn." She
answered him, "Here am I! here am I!" [FN#437] O my lord," and came out
unsteady of gait after the pains and pleasures of the night; and she
kissed his hand, her face showing redoubled brightness and beauty for
having lain in the arms of that gazelle, her cousin. When her father,
the Wazir, saw her in such case, he asked her, "O thou accursed, art
thou rejoicing because of this horse-groom?", and Sitt al-Husn smiled
sweetly and answered, "By Allah, don't ridicule me: enough of what
passed yesterday when folk laughed at me, and evened me with that
groom- fellow who is not worthy to bring my husband's shoes or
slippers; nay who is not worth the paring of my husband's nails! By the
Lord, never in my life have I nighted a night so sweet as yesternight!,
so don't mock by reminding me of the Gobbo." When her parent heard her
words he was filled with fury, and his eyes glared and stared, so that
little of them showed save the whites and he cried, "Fie upon thee!
What words are these? 'Twas the hunchbacked horse-groom who passed the
night with thee!" "Allah upon thee," replied the Lady of Beauty, "do
not worry me about the Gobbo, Allah damn his father; [FN#438] and leave
jesting with me; for this groom was only hired for ten dinars and a
porringer of meat and he took his wage and went his way. As for me I
entered the bridal-chamber, where I found my true bridegroom sitting,
after the singer-women had displayed me to him; the same who had
crossed their hands with red gold, till every pauper that was present
waxed wealthy; and I passed the night on the breast of my bonny man, a
most lively darling, with his black eyes and joined eyebrows." [FN#439]
When her parent heard these words the light before his face became
night, and he cried out at her saying, "O thou whore! What is this thou
tellest me? Where be thy wits?" "O my father," she rejoined, "thou
breakest my heart; enough for thee that thou hast been so hard upon me!
Indeed my husband who took my virginity is but just now gone to the
draught-house and I feel that I have conceived by him." [FN#440] The
Wazir rose in much marvel and entered the privy where he found the
hunchbacked groom with his head in the hole, and his heels in the air.
At this sight he was confounded and said, "This is none other than he,
the rascal Hunchback!" So he called to him, "Ho Hunchback!" The Gobbo
grunted out, "Taghum! Taghum!" [FN#441] thinking it was the Ifrit spoke
to him; so the Wazir shouted at him and said, "Speak out, or I'll
strike off thy pate with this sword." Then quoth the Hunchback, "By
Allah, O Shaykh of the Ifrits, ever since thou settest me in this
place, I have not lifted my head; so Allah upon thee, take pity and
entreat me kindly!" When the Wazir heard this he asked, "What is this
thou sayest? I'm bride's father and no Ifrit." "Enough for thee that
thou hast well nigh done me die, " answered Quasimodo; "now go thy ways
before he come upon thee who hath served me thus. Could ye not marry me
to any save the lady-love of buffaloes and the beloved of Ifrits? Allah
curse her and curse him who married me to her and was the cause of this
my case,"—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day, and ceased to say
her permitted say.

              When it was the Twenty-third Night,

Said she, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the hunchbacked
groom spake to the bride's father saying, "Allah curse him who was the
cause of this my case!" Then said the Wazir to him, "Up and out of this
place!" "Am I mad," cried the groom, "that I should go with thee
without leave of the Ifrit whose last words to me were:—"When the sun
rises, arise and go they gait." So hath the sun risen or no?; for I
dare not budge from this place till then." Asked the Wazir, "Who
brought thee hither?"; and he answered "I came here yesternight for a
call of nature and to do what none can do for me, when lo! a mouse came
out of the water, and squeaked at me and swelled and waxed gross till
it was big as a buffalo, and spoke to me words that entered my ears.
Then he left me here and went away, Allah curse the bride and him who
married me to her!" The Wazir walked up to him and lifted his head out
of the cesspool hole; and he fared forth running for dear life and
hardly crediting that the sun had risen; and repaired to the Sultan to
whom he told all that had befallen him with the Ifrit. But the Wazir
returned to the bride's private chamber, sore troubled in spirit about
her, and said to her, "O my daughter, explain this strange matter to
me!" Quoth she, "Tis simply this. The bridegroom to whom they displayed
me yestereve lay with me all night, and took my virginity and I am with
child by him. He is my husband and if thou believe me not, there are
his turband, twisted as it was, lying on the settle and his dagger and
his trousers beneath the bed with a something, I wot not what, wrapped
up in them." When her father heard this he entered the private chamber
and found the turband which had been left there by Badr al-Din Hasan,
his brother's son, and he took it in hand and turned it over, saying,
"This is the turband worn by Wazirs, save that it is of Mosul stuff."
[FN#442] So he opened it and, finding what seemed to be an amulet sewn
up in the Fez, he unsewed the lining and took it out; then he lifted up
the trousers wherein was the purse of the thousand gold pieces and,
opening that also, found in it a written paper. This he read and it was
the sale-receipt of the Jew in the name of Badr al-Din Hasan, son of
Nur al-Din Ali, the Egyptian; and the thousand dinars were also there.
No sooner had Shams al-Din read this than he cried out with a loud cry
and fell to the ground fainting; and as soon as he revived and
understood the gist of the matter he marvelled and said, "There is no
God, but the God, who All-might is over all things! Knowest thou, O my
daughter, who it was that became the husband of thy virginity?" "No,"
answered she, and he said, "Verily he is the son of my brother, thy
cousin, and this thousand dinars is thy dowry. Praise be to Allah! and
would I wot how this matter came about!" then opened he the amulet
which was sewn up and found therein a paper in the handwriting of his
deceased brother, Nur al-Din the Egyptian, father of Badr al-Din Hasan;
and, when he saw the hand-writing, he kissed it again and again; and he
wept and wailed over his dead brother and improvised this lines:—

"I see their traces and with pain I melt, * And on their whilome
     homes I weep and yearn:
And Him I pray who dealt this parting-blow * Some day he deign
     vouchsafe a safe return." [FN#443]

When he ceased versifying, he read the scroll and found in it recorded
the dates of his brother's marriage with the daughter of the Wazir of
Bassorah, and of his going in to her, and her conception, and the birth
of Badr al-Din Hasan and all his brother's history and doings up to his
dying day. So he marvelled much and shook with joy and, comparing the
dates with his own marriage and going in to his wife and the birth of
their daughter, Sitt al-Husn, he found that they perfectly agreed. So
he took the document and, repairing with it to the Sultan, acquainted
him with what had passed, from first to last; whereat the King
marvelled and commanded the case to be at once recorded. [FN#444] The
Wazir abode that day expecting to see his brother's son but he came
not; and he waited a second day, a third day and so on to the seventh
day, without any tidings of him. So he said, "By Allah, I will do a
deed such as none hath ever done before me!"; and he took reed-pen and
ink and drew upon a sheet of paper the plan of the whole house, showing
whereabouts was the private chamber with the curtain in such a place
and the furniture in such another and so on with all that was in the
room. Then he folded up the sketch and, causing all the furniture to be
collected, he took Badr al-Din's garments and the turband and Fez and
robe and purse, and carried the whole to his house and locked them up,
against the coming of his nephew, Badr al-Din Hasan, the son of his
lost brother, with an iron padlock on which he set his seal. As for the
Wazir's daughter, when her tale of months was fulfilled, she bare a son
like the full moon, the image of his father in beauty and loveliness
and fair proportions and perfect grace. They cut his navel-string
[FN#445] and Kohl'd his eyelids to strengthen his eyes, and gave him
over to the nurses and nursery governesses, [FN#446] naming him Ajib,
the Wonderful. His day was as a month and his month was as a year;
[FN#447] and, when seven years had passed over him, his grandfather
sent him to school, enjoining the master to teach him Koran-reading,
and to educate him well. he remained at the school four years, till he
began to bully his schoolfellows and abuse them and bash them and
thrash them and say, "Who among you is like me? I am the son of Wazir
of Egypt!" At last the boys came in a body to the Monitor [FN#448] of
what hard usage they were wont to have from Ajib, and he said to them,
"I will tell you somewhat you may do to him so that he shall leave off
coming to the school, and it is this. When he enters to-morrow, sit ye
down about him and say some one of you to some other, 'By Allah none
shall play with us at this game except he tell us the names of his
mamma and his papa; for he who knows not the names of his mother and
his father is a bastard, a son of adultery, [FN#449] and he shall not
play with us.'" When morning dawned the boys came to school, Ajib being
one of them, and all flocked around him saying, "We will play a game
wherein none can join save he can tell the name of his mamma and his
papa." And they all cried, "By Allah, good!" Then quoth one of them,
"My name is Majid and my mammy's name is Alawiyah and my daddy's Izz
al-Din." Another spoke in like guise and yet a third, till Ajid's turn
came, and he said, "MY name is Ajib, and my mother's is Sitt al- Husn,
and my father's Shams al-Din, the Wazir of Cairo." "By Allah," cried
they, "the Wazir is not thy true father." Ajib answered, "The Wazir is
my father in very deed." Then the boys all laughed and clapped their
hands at him, saying "He does not know who is his papa: get out from
among us, for none shall play with us except he know his father's
name." Thereupon they dispersed from around him and laughed him to
scorn; so his breast was straitened and he well nigh choked with tears
and hurt feelings. Then said the Monitor to him, "We know that the
Wazir is thy grandfather, the father of thy mother, Sitt al-Husn, and
not thy father. As for thy father, neither dost thou know him nor yet
do we; for the Sultan married thy mother to the hunchbacked
horse-groom; but the Jinni came and slept with her and thou hast no
known father. Leave, then, comparing thyself too advantageously with
the little ones of the school, till thou know that thou hast a lawful
father; for until then thou wilt pass for a child of adultery amongst
them. Seest thou that not even a huckster's son knoweth his own sire?
Thy grandfather is the Wazir of Egypt; but as for thy father we wot him
not and we say indeed that thou hast none. So return to thy sound
senses!" When Ajib heard these insulting words from the Monitor and the
school boys and understood the reproach they put upon him, he went out
at once and ran to his mother, Sitt al-Husn, to complain; but he was
crying so bitterly that his tears prevented his speech for a while.
When she heard his sobs and saw his tears her heart burned as though
with fire for him, and she said, "O my son, why dost thou weep? Allah
keep the tears from thine eyes! Tell me what hath betided thee?" So he
told her all that he heard from the boys and from the Monitor and ended
with asking, "And who, O my mother, is my father?" She answered, "Thy
father is the Wazir of Egypt;" but he said, "Do not lie to me. The
Wazir is thy father, not mine! who then is my father? Except thou tell
me the very truth I will kill myself with this hanger." [FN#450] When
his mother heard him speak of his father she wept, remembering her
cousin and her bridal night with him and all that occurred thereon and
then, and she repeated these couplets:—

"Love in my heart they lit and went their ways, * And all I
     love to furthest lands withdrew;
And when they left me sufferance also left, * And when we parted
     Patience bade adieu:
They fled and flying with my joys they fled, * In very
     consistency my spirit flew:
They made my eyelids flow with severance tears * And to the
     parting-pang these drops are due:
And when I long to see reunion-day, * My groans prolonging sore
     for ruth I sue:
Then in my heart of hearts their shapes I trace, * And love and
     longing care and cark renew:
O ye, whose names cling round me like a cloak, * Whose love yet
     closer than a shirt I drew,
Beloved ones! how long this hard despite? * How long this
     severance and this coy shy flight?"

Then she wailed and shrieked aloud and her son did the like; and
behold, in came the Wazir whose heart burnt within him at the sight of
their lamentations, and he said, "What makes you weep?" So the Lady of
Beauty acquainted him with what had happened between her son and the
school boys; and he also wept, calling to mind his brother and what had
past between them and what had betided his daughter and how he had
failed to find out what mystery there was in the matter. Then he rose
at once and, repairing to the audience-hall, went straight to the King
and told his tale and craved his permission [FN#451] to travel eastward
to the city of Bassorah and ask after his brother's son. Furthermore,
he besought the Sultan to write for him letters patent, authorising him
to seize upon Badr al-Din, his nephew and son-in-law, wheresoever he
might find him. And he wept before the King, who had pity on him and
wrote royal autographs to his deputies in all climes [FN#452] and
countries and cities; whereat the Wazir rejoiced and prayed for
blessings on him. Then, taking leave of his Sovereign, he returned to
his house, where he equipped himself and his daughter and his adopted
child Ajib, with all things meet for a long march; and set out and
travelled the first day and the second and the third and so forth till
he arrived at Damascus-city. He found it a fair place abounding in
trees and streams, even as the poet said of it:—

When I nighted and dayed in Damascus town, * Time sware such
     another he ne'er should view:
And careless we slept under wing of night, * Till dappled Morn
     'gan her smiles renew:
And dew-drops on branch in their beauty hung, * Like pearls to be
     dropt when the Zephyr blew:
And the Lake [FN#453] was the page where birds read and note, *
     And the clouds set points to what breezes wrote.

The Wazir encamped on the open space called Al-Hasa; [FN#454] and,
after pitching tents, said to his servants, "A halt here for two days!"
So they went into the city upon their several occasions, this to sell
and this to buy; this to go to the Hammam and that to visit the
Cathedral-mosque of the Banu Umayyah, the Ommiades, whose like is not
in this world. [FN#455] Ajib also went, with his attendant eunuch, for
solace and diversion to the city and the servant followed with a
quarter-staff [FN#456] of almond-wood so heavy that if he struck a
camel therewith the beast would never rise again. [FN#457] When the
people of Damascus saw Ajib's beauty and brilliancy and perfect grace
and symmetry (for he was a marvel of comeliness and winning loveliness,
softer than the cool breeze of the North, sweeter than limpid waters to
a man in drowth, and pleasanter than the health for which sick man
sueth), a mighty many followed him, whilest others ran on before, and
sat down on the road until he should come up, that they might gaze on
him, till, as Destiny had decreed, the Eunuch stopped opposite the shop
of Ajib's father, Badr al-Din Hasan. Now his beard had grown long and
thick and his wits had ripened during the twelve years which had passed
over him, and the Cook and ex-rogue having died, the so-called Hasan of
Bassorah had succeeded to his goods and shop, for that he had been
formally adopted before the Kazi and witnesses. When his son and the
Eunuch stepped before him he gazed on Ajib and, seeing how very
beautiful he was, his heart fluttered and throbbed, and blood drew to
blood and natural affection spake out and his bowels yearned over him.
He had just dressed a conserve of pomegranate-grains with sugar, and
Heaven-implanted love wrought within him; so he called to his son Ajib
and said, "O my lord, O thou who hast gotten the mastery of my heart
and my very vitals and to whom my bowels yearn; say me, wilt thou enter
my house and solace my soul by eating of my meat?" Then his eyes
streamed with tears which he could not stay, for he bethought him of
what he had been and what he had become. When Ajib heard his father's
words his heart also yearned himwards and he looked at the Eunuch and
said to him, "Of a truth, O my good guard, my heart yearns to this
cook; he is as one that hath a son far away from him: so let us enter
and gladden his heart by tasting of his hospitality. Perchance for our
so doing Allah may reunite me with my father." When the Eunuch heard
these words he cried, "A fine thing this, by Allah! Shall the sons of
Wazirs be seen eating in a common cook-shop? Indeed I keep off the folk
from thee with this quarter-staff lest they even look upon thee; and I
dare not suffer thee to enter this shop at all." When Hasan of Bassorah
heard his speech he marvelled and turned to the Eunuch with the tears
pouring down his cheeks; and Ajib said, "Verily my heart loves him!"
But he answered, "Leave this talk, thou shalt not go in." Thereupon the
father turned to the Eunuch and said, "O worthy sir, why wilt thou not
gladden my soul by entering my shop? O thou who art like a chestnut,
dark without but white of heart within! O thou of the like of whom a
certain poet said * * *" The Eunuch burst out a-laughing and
asked—"Said what? Speak out by Allah and be quick about it." So Hasan
the Bassorite began reciting these couplets:—

"If not master of manners or aught but discreet * In the
     household of Kings no trust could he take:
And then for the Harem! what Eunuch [FN#458] is he * Whom
     angels would serve for his service sake."

The Eunuch marvelled and was pleased at these words, so he took Ajib by
the hand and went into the cook's shop: whereupon Hasan the Bassorite
ladled into a saucer some conserve of pomegranate- grains wonderfully
good, dressed with almonds and sugar, saying, "You have honoured me
with your company: eat then and health and happiness to you!" Thereupon
Ajib said to his father, "Sit thee down and eat with us; so perchance
Allah may unite us with him we long for." Quoth Hasan, "O my son, hast
thou then been afflicted in thy tender years with parting from those
thou lovest?" Quoth Ajib, "Even so, O nuncle mine; my heart burns for
the loss of a beloved one who is non other than my father; and indeed I
come forth, I and my grandfather, [FN#459] to circle and search the
world for him. Oh, the pity of it, and how I long to meet him!" Then he
wept with exceeding for his own bereavement, which recalled to him his
long separation from dear friends and from his mother; and the Eunuch
was moved to pity for him. Then they ate together till they were
satisfied; and Ajib and the slave rose and left the shop. Hereat Hasan
the Bassorite felt as though his soul had departed his body and had
gone with them; for he could not lose sight of the boy during the
twinkling of an eye, albeit he knew not that Ajib was his son. So he
locked up his shop and hastened after them; and he walked so fast that
he came up with them before they had gone out of the western gate. The
Eunuch turned and asked him, "What ails the?"; and Badr al- Din
answered, "When ye went from me, meseemed my soul had gone with you;
and, as I had business without the city-gate, I purposed to bear you
company till my matter was ordered and so return." The Eunuch was
angered and said to Ajib, "This is just what I feared! we ate that
unlucky mouthful (which we are bound to respect), and here is the
fellow following us from place to place; for the vulgar are ever the
vulgar." Ajib, turning and seeing the Cook just behind him, was wroth
and his face reddened with rage and he said to the servant; "Let him
walk the highway of the Moslems; but, when we turn off it to our tents,
and find that he still follows us, we will send him about his business
with a flea in his ear." Then he bowed his head and walked on, the
Eunuch walking behind him. But Hasan of Bassorah followed them to the
plain Al-Hasa; and, as they drew near to the tents, they turned round
and saw him close on their heels; so Ajib was very angry, fearing that
the Eunuch might tell his grandfather what had happened. His
indignation was the hotter for apprehension lest any say that after he
had entered a cook-shop the cook had followed him. So he turned and
looked at Hasan of Bassorah and found his eyes fixed on his own, for
the father had become a body without a soul; and it seemed to Ajib that
his eye was a treacherous eye or that he was some lewd fellow. So his
rage redoubled and, stooping down, he took up a stone weighing half a
pound and threw it at his father. It struck him on the forehead,
cutting it open from eye-brow to eye-brow and causing the blood to
stream down: and Hasan fell to the ground in a swoon whilst Ajib and
the Eunuch made for the tents. When the father came to himself he wiped
away the blood and tore off a strip from his turband and bound up his
head, blaming himself the while, and saying, "I wronged the lad by
shutting up my shop and following, so that he thought I was some
evil-minded fellow." Then he returned to his place where he busied
himself with the sale of his sweetmeats; and he yearned after his
mother at Bassorah, and wept over her and broke out repeating:—

"Unjust it were to bid the World [FN#460] be just * And blame
     her not: She ne'er was made for justice:
Take what she gives thee, leave all grief aside, * For now to
     fair and then to foul her lust is."

So Hasan of Bassorah set himself steadily to sell his sweetmeats; but
the Wazir, his uncle, halted in Damascus three days and then marched
upon Emesa, and passing through that town he made enquiry there and at
every place where he rested. Thence he fared on by way of Hamah and
Aleppo and thence to Diyar Bakr and Maridin and Mosul, still enquiring,
till he arrived at Bassorah-city. Here, as soon as he had secured a
lodging, he presented himself before the Sultan, who entreated him with
high honour and the respect due to his rank, and asked the cause of his
coming. The Wazir acquainted him with his history and told him that the
Minister Nur al-Din was his brother; whereupon the Sultan exclaimed,
"Allah have mercy upon him!" and added, "My good Sahib!" [FN#461]; he
was my Wazir for fifteen years and I loved him exceedingly. Then he
died leaving a son who abode only a single month after his father's
death; since which time he has disappeared and we could gain no tidings
of him. But his mother, who is the daughter of my former Minister, is
still among us." When the Wazir Shams al-Din heard that his nephew's
mother was alive and well, he rejoiced and said, "O King I much desire
to meet her." The King on the instant gave him leave to visit her; so
he betook himself to the mansion of his brother, Nur al-Din, and cast
sorrowful glances on all things in and around it and kissed the
threshold. Then he bethought him of his brother, Nur al-Din Ali, and
how he had died in a strange land far from kith and kin and friends;
and he wept and repeated these lines:—

"I wander 'mid these walls, my Layla's walls, * And kissing this
     and other wall I roam:
'Tis not the walls or roof my heart so loves, * But those who in
     this house had made their home."

Then he passed through the gate into a courtyard and found a vaulted
doorway builded of hardest syenite [FN#462] inlaid with sundry kinds of
multi-coloured marble. Into this he walked and wandered about the house
and, throwing many a glance around, saw the name of his brother, Nur
al-Din, written in gold wash upon the walls. So he went up to the
inscription and kissed it and wept and thought of how he had been
separated from his brother and had now lost him for ever, and he
recited these couplets:—

"I ask of you from every rising sun, * And eke I ask when
     flasheth levenlight:
When I pass my nights in passion-pain, * Yet ne'er I 'plain me
     of my painful plight;
My love! if longer last this parting throe * Little by little
     shall it waste my sprite.
An thou wouldst bless these eyne with sight of thee * One day on
     earth, I crave none other sight:
Think not another could possess my mind * Nor length nor breadth
     for other love I find."

Then he walked on till he came to the apartment of his brother's widow,
the mother of Badr al-Din Hasan, the Egyptian. Now from the time of her
son's disappearance she had never ceased weeping and wailing through
the light hours and the dark; and, when the years grew longsome with
her, she built for him a tomb of marble in the midst of the saloon and
there used to weep for him day and night, never sleeping save thereby.
When the Wazir drew near her apartment, he heard her voice and stood
behind the door while she addressed the sepulchre in verse and said:—

"Answer, by Allah! Sepulchre, are all his beauties gone? * Hath
     change the power to blight his charms, that Beauty's
Thou art not earth, O Sepulchre! nor art thou sky to me; * How
     comes it, then, in thee I see conjoint the branch and moon?"

While she was bemoaning herself after this fashion, behold, the Wazir
went in to her and saluted her and informed her that he was her
husband's brother; and, telling her all that had passed between them,
laid open before her the whole story, how her son Badr al-Din Hasan had
spent a whole night with his daughter full ten years ago but had
disappeared in the morning. And he ended with saying, "My daughter
conceived by thy son and bare a male child who is now with me, and he
is thy son and thy son's son by my daughter." When she heard the
tidings that her boy, Badr al- Din, was still alive and saw her
brother-in-law, she rose up to him and threw herself at his feet and
kissed them, reciting these lines:—

"Allah be good to him that gives glad tidings of thy steps; * In
     very sooth for better news mine ears would never sue:
Were he content with worn-out robe, upon his back I'd throw * A
     heart to pieces rent and torn when heard the word Adieu."

Then the Wazir sent for Ajib and his grandmother stood up and fell on
his neck and wept; but Shams al-Din said to her, "This is no time for
weeping; this is the time to get thee ready for travelling with us to
the land of Egypt; haply Allah will reunite me and thee with thy son
and my nephew." Replied she, "Hearkening and obedience;" and, rising at
once, collected her baggage and treasures and her jewels, and equipped
herself and her slave-girls for the march, whilst the Wazir went to
take his leave of the Sultan of Bassorah, who sent by him presents and
rarities for the Soldan of Egypt. Then he set out at once upon his
homeward march and journeyed till he came to Damascus-city where he
alighted in the usual place and pitched tents, and said to his suite,
"We will halt a se'nnight here to buy presents and rare things for the
Soldan." Now Ajib bethought him of the past so he said to the Eunuch,
"O Laik, I want a little diversion; come, let us go down to the great
bazar of Damascus, [FN#463] and see what hath become of the cook whose
sweetmeats we ate and whose head we broke, for indeed he was kind to us
and we entreated him scurvily." The Eunuch answered, "Hearing is
obeying!" So they went forth from the tents; and the tie of blood drew
Ajib towards his father, and forthwith they passed through the gateway,
Bab al-Faradis [FN#464] hight, and entered the city and ceased not
walking through the streets till they reached the cookshop, where they
found Hasan of Bassorah standing at the door. It was near the time of
mid-afternoon prayer [FN#465] and it so fortuned that he had just
dressed a confection of pomegranate-grains. When the twain drew near to
him and Ajib saw him, his heart yearned towards him, and noticing the
scar of the blow, which time had darkened on his brow, he said to him,
"Peace be on thee, O man!" [FN#466] know that my heart is with thee."
But when Badr al-Din looked upon his son his vitals yearned and his
heart fluttered, and he hung his head earthwards and sought to make his
tongue give utterance to his words, but he could not. Then he raised
his head humbly and suppliant-wise towards his boy and repeated these

"I longed for my beloved but when I saw his face, * Abashed I
     held my tongue and stood with downcast eye;
And hung my head in dread and would have hid my love, * But do
     whatso I would hidden it would not lie;
Volumes of plaints I had prepared, reproach and blame, * But
     when we met, no single word remembered I."

And then said he to them, "Heal my broken heart and eat of my
sweetmeats; for, by Allah, I cannot look at thee but my heart flutters.
Indeed I should not have followed thee the other day, but that I was
beside myself." "By Allah," answered Ajib, "thou dost indeed love us!
We ate in thy house a mouthful when we were here before and thou madest
us repent of it, for that thou followedst us and wouldst have disgraced
us; so now we will not eat aught with thee save on condition that thou
make oath not to go out after us nor dog us. Otherwise we will not
visit thee again during our present stay; for we shall halt a week
here, whilst my grandfather buys certain presents for the King." Quoth
Hasan of Bassorah, "I promise you this." So Ajib and the Eunuch entered
the shop, and his father set before them a saucer-full of conserve of
pomegranate-grains. Said Ajib, "Sit thee down and eat with us, so haply
shall Allah dispel our sorrows." Hasan the Bassorite was joyful and sat
down and ate with them; but his eyes kept gazing fixedly on Ajib's
face, for his very heart and vitals clove to him; and at last the boy
said to him, "Did I not tell thee thou art a most noyous dotard?; so do
stint thy staring in my face!" But when Hasan of Bassorah heard his
son's words he repeated these lines:—

"Thou hast some art the hearts of men to clip; * Close-veiled,
     far-hidden mystery dark and deep:
O thou whose beauties sham the lustrous moon, * Wherewith the
     saffron Morn fears rivalship!
Thy beauty is a shrine shall ne'er decay; * Whose signs shall
     grow until they all outstrip; [FN#467]
Must I be thirst-burnt by that Eden-brow * And die of pine to
     taste that Kausar-lip?" [FN#468]

Hasan kept putting morsels into Ajib's mouth at one time and at another
time did the same by the Eunuch and they ate till they were satisfied
and could no more. Then all rose up and the cook poured water on their
hands; [FN#469] and, loosing a silken waist-shawl, dried them and
sprinkled them with rose-water from a casting-bottle he had by him.
Then he went out and presently returned with a gugglet of sherbet
flavoured with rose-water, scented with musk and cooled with snow; and
he set this before them saying, "Complete your kindness to me!" So Ajib
took the gugglet and drank and passed it to the Eunuch; and it went
round till their stomachs were full and they were surfeited with a meal
larger than their wont. Then they went away and made haste in walking
till they reached the tents, and Ajib went in to his grandmother, who
kissed him and, thinking of her son, Badr al-Din Hasan, groaned aloud
and wept and recited these lines:—

"I still had hoped to see thee and enjoy thy sight, * For in
     thine absence life has lost its kindly light:
I swear my vitals wot none other love but thine * By Allah, who
     can read the secrets of the sprite!"

Then she asked Ajib, "O my son! where hast thou been?"; and he
answered, "In Damascus-city;" Whereupon she rose and set before him a
bit of scone and a saucer of conserve of pomegranate-grains (which was
too little sweetened), and she said to the Eunuch, "Sit down with thy
master!" Said the servant to himself, "By Allah, we have no mind to
eat: I cannot bear the smell of bread;" but he sat down and so did
Ajib, though his stomach was full of what he had eaten already and
drunken. Nevertheless he took a bit of the bread and dipped it in the
pomegranate-conserve and made shift to eat it, but he found it too
little sweetened, for he was cloyed and surfeited, so he said, "Faugh;
what be this wild-beast [FN#470] stuff?" "O my son," cried his
grandmother, "dost thou find fault with my cookery? I cooked this
myself and none can cook it as nicely as I can save thy father, Badr
al-Din Hasan." "By Allah, O my lady, Ajib answered, "this dish is nasty
stuff; for we saw but now in the city of Bassorah a cook who so
dresseth pomegranate-grains that the very smell openeth a way to the
heart and the taste would make a full man long to eat; and, as for this
mess compared with his, 'tis not worth either much or little." When his
grandmother heard his words she waxed wroth with exceeding wrath and
looked at the servant—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and
ceased to say her permitted say.

              When it was the Twenty-fourth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Ajib's
grandmother heard his words, she waxed wroth and looked at the servant
and said, "Woe to thee! dost thou spoil my son, [FN#471] and dost take
him into common cookshops?" The Eunuch was frightened and denied,
saying, "We did not go into the shop; we only passed by it." "By
Allah," cried Ajib, "but we did go in and we ate till it came out of
our nostrils, and the dish was better than thy dish!" Then his
grandmother rose and went and told her brother-in-law, who was incensed
against the Eunuch, and sending for him asked him, "Why didst thou take
my son into a cookshop?"; and the Eunuch being frightened answered, "We
did not go in." But Ajib said, "We did go inside and ate conserve of
pomegranate-grains till we were full; and the cook gave us to drink of
iced and sugared sherbet." At this the Wazir's indignation redoubled
and he questioned the Castrato but, as he still denied, the Wazir said
to him, "If thou speak sooth, sit down and eat before us." So he came
forward and tried to eat, but could not eat and threw away the mouthful
crying "O my lord! I am surfeited since yesterday." By this the Wazir
was certified that he had eaten at the cook's and bade the slaves throw
him [FN#472] which they did. Then they came down on him with a rib-
basting which burned him till he cried for mercy and help from Allah,
saying, "O my master, beat me no more and I will tell thee the truth;"
whereupon the Wazir stopped the bastinado and said, "Now speak thou
sooth." Quoth the Eunuch, "Know then that we did enter the shop of a
cook while he was dressing conserve of pomegranate-grains and he set
some of it before us: by Allah! I never ate in my life its like, nor
tasted aught nastier than this stuff which is now before us."[FN#473]
Badr al-Din Hasan's mother was angry at this and said, "Needs thou must
go back to the cook and bring me a saucer of conserved
pomegranate-grains from that which is in his shop and show it to thy
master, that he may say which be the better and the nicer, mine or
his." Said the unsexed, "I will." So on the instant she gave him a
saucer and a half dinar and he returned to the shop and said to the
cook, "O Shaykh of all Cooks, [FN#474] we have laid a wager concerning
thy cookery in my lord's house, for they have conserve of
pomegranate-grains there also; so give me this half-dinar's worth and
look to it; for I have eaten a full meal of stick on account of thy
cookery, and so do not let me eat aught more thereof." Hasan of
Bassorah laughed and answered, "By Allah, none can dress this dish as
it should be dressed save myself and my mother, and she at this time is
in a far country." Then he ladled out a saucer-full; and, finishing it
off with musk and rose-water, put it in a cloth which he sealed
[FN#475] and gave it to the Eunuch, who hastened back with it. No
sooner had Badr al-Din Hasan's mother tasted it and perceived its fine
flavour and the excellence of the cookery, than she knew who had
dressed it, and she screamed and fell down fainting. The Wazir, sorely
started, sprinkled rose-water upon her and after a time she recovered
and said, "If my son be yet of this world, none dressed this conserve
of pomegranate-grains but he; and this Cook is my very son Badr al-Din
Hasan; there is no doubt of it nor can there be any mistake, for only I
and he knew how to prepare it and I taught him." When the Wazir heard
her words he joyed with exceeding joy and said, "O the longing of me
for a sight of my brother's son! I wonder if the days will ever unite
us with him! Yet it is to Almighty Allah alone that we look for
bringing about this meeting." Then he rose without stay or delay and,
going to his suite said to them, "Be off, some fifty of you with sticks
and staves to the Cook's shop and demolish it; then pinion his arms
behind him with his own turband, saying, 'It was thou madest that foul
mess of pomegranate-grains!' and drag him here perforce but without
doing him a harm." And they replied, "It is well." Then the Wazir rode
off without losing an instant to the Palace and, foregathering with the
Viceroy of Damascus, showed him the Sultan's orders. After careful
perusal he kissed the letter, and placing it upon his head said to his
visitor, "Who is this offender of thine?" Quoth the Wazir, "A man who
is a cook." So the Viceroy at once sent his apparitors to the shop;
which they found demolished and everything in it broken to pieces; for
whilst the Wazir was riding to the palace his men had done his bidding.
Then they awaited his return from the audience, and Hasan of Bassorah
who was their prisoner kept saying, "I wonder what they have found in
the conserve of pomegranate-grains to bring things to this pass!"
[FN#476] When the Wazir returned to them, after his visit to the
Viceroy who had given him formal permission to take up his debtor and
depart with him, on entering the tents he called for the Cook. They
brought him forward pinioned with his turband; and, when Badr al-Din
Hasan saw his uncle, he wept with excessive weeping and said, "O my
lord, what is my offence against thee?" "Art thou the man who dressed
that conserve of pomegranate-grains?"; asked the Wazir, and he answered
"Yes! didst thou find in it aught to call for the cutting off of my
head?" Quoth the Wazir, "That were the least of thy deserts!" Quoth the
cook, "O my lord, wilt thou not tell me my crime and what aileth the
conserve of pomegranate-grains?" "Presently," replied the Wazir and
called aloud to his men, "Bring hither the camels." So they struck the
tents and by the Wazir's orders the servants took Badr al-Din Hasan,
and set him in a chest which they padlocked and put on a camel. Then
they departed and stinted not journeying till nightfall, when they
halted and ate some victual, and took Badr al-Din Hasan out of his
chest and gave him a meal and locked him up again. They set out once
more and travelled till they reached Kimrah, where they took him out of
the box and brought him before the Wazir who asked him, "Art thou he
who dressed that conserve of pomegranate- grains?" He answered "Yes, O
my lord!"; and the Wazir said "Fetter him!" So they fettered him and
returned him to the chest and fared on again till they reached Cairo
and lighted at the quarter called Al-Raydaniyah.[FN#477] Then the Wazir
gave order to take Badr al-Din Hasan out of the chest and sent for a
carpenter and said to him, "Make me a cross of wood [FN#478] for this
fellow!" Cried Badr al-Din Hasan "And what wilt thou do with it?"; and
the Wazir replied, "I mean to crucify thee thereon, and nail thee
thereto and parade thee all about the city." "And why wilt thou use me
after this fashion?" "Because of thy villanous cookery of conserved
pomegranate-grains; how durst thou dress it and sell it lacking
pepper?" "And for that it lacked pepper wilt thou do all this to me? Is
it not enough that thou hast broken my shop and smashed my gear and
boxed me up in a chest and fed me only once a day?" "Too little pepper!
too little pepper! this is a crime which can be expiated only upon the
cross!" Then Badr al-Din Hasan marvelled and fell a-mourning for his
life; whereupon the Wazir asked him, "Of what thinkest thou?"; and he
answered him, "Of maggoty heads like thine; [FN#479] for an thou had
one ounce of sense thou hadst not treated me thus." Quoth the Wazir,
"It is our duty to punish thee lest thou do the like again." Quoth Badr
al-Din Hasan, "Of a truth my offense were over-punished by the least of
what thou hast already done to me; and Allah damn all conserve of
pomegranate-grains and curse the hour when I cooked it and would I had
died ere this!" But the Wazir rejoined, "There is no help for it; I
must crucify a man who sells conserve of pomegranate-grains lacking
pepper." All this time the carpenter was shaping the wood and Badr
al-Din looked on; and thus they did till night, when his uncle took him
and clapped him into the chest, saying, "The thing shall be done
to-morrow!" Then he waited until he knew Badr al-Din "Hasan to be
asleep, when he mounted; and taking the chest up before him, entered
the city and rode on to his own house, where he alighted and said to
his daughter, Sitt al-Husn, "Praised be Allah who hath reunited thee
with thy husband, the son of thine uncle! Up now, and order the house
as it was on thy bridal night." So the servants arose and lit the
candles; and the Wazir took out his plan of the nuptial chamber, and
directed them what to do till they had set everything in its stead, so
that whoever saw it would have no doubt but it was the very night of
the marriage. Then he bade them put down Badr al-Din Hasan's turband on
the settle, as he had deposited it with his own hand, and in like
manner his bag-trousers and the purse which were under the mattress:
and told daughter to undress herself and go to bed in the private
chamber as on her wedding-night, adding, "When the son of thine uncle
comes in to thee, say to him:—Thou hast loitered while going to the
privy; and call him to lie by thy side and keep him in converse till
daybreak, when we will explain the whole matter to him." Then he bade
take Badr al-Din Hasan out of the chest, after loosing the fetters from
his feet and stripping off all that was on him save the fine shirt of
blue silk in which he had slept on his wedding-night; so that he was
well-nigh naked and trouserless. All this was done whilst he was
sleeping on utterly unconscious. Then, by doom of Destiny, Badr al-Din
Hasan turned over and awoke; and, finding himself in a lighted
vestibule, said to himself, "Surely I am in the mazes of some dream."
So he rose and went on to a little to an inner door and looked in and
lo! he was in the very chamber wherein the bride had been displayed to
him; and there he saw the bridal alcove and the settle and his turband
and all his clothes. When he saw this he was confounded and kept
advancing with one foot, and retiring with the other, saying, "Am I
sleeping or waking?" And he began rubbing his forehead and saying (for
indeed he was thoroughly astounded), "By Allah, verily this is the
chamber of the bride who was displayed before me! Where am I then? I
was surely but now in a box!" Whilst he was talking with himself, Sitt
al-Husn suddenly lifted the corner of the chamber-curtain and said, "O
my lord, wilt thou not come in? Indeed thou hast loitered long in the
water-closet." When he heard her words and saw her face he burst out
laughing and said, "Of a truth this is a very nightmare among dreams!"
Then he went in sighing, and pondered what had come to pass with him
and was perplexed about his case, and his affair became yet more
obscure to him when he saw his turband and bag-trousers and when,
feeling the pocket, he found the purse containing the thousand gold
pieces. So he stood still and muttered, "Allah is all knowing!
Assuredly I am dreaming a wild waking dream!" Then said the Lady of
Beauty to him, "What ails thee to look puzzled and perplexed?"; adding,
"Thou wast a very different man during the first of the night!" He
laughed and asked her, "How long have I been away from thee?"; and she
answered him, "Allah preserve thee and His Holy Name be about thee!
Thou didst but go out an hour ago for an occasion and return. Are thy
wits clean gone?" When Badr al-Din Hasan heard this, he laughed,
[FN#480] and said, "Thou hast spoken truth; but, when I went out from
thee, I forgot myself awhile in the draught-house and dreamed that I
was a cook at Damascus and abode there ten years; and there came to me
a boy who was of the sons of the great, and with him an Eunuch." Here
he passed his hand over his forehead and, feeling the scar, cried, "By
Allah, O my lady, it must have been true, for he struck my forehead
with a stone and cut it open from eye-brow to eye-brow; and here is the
mark: so it must have been on wake." Then he added, "But perhaps I
dreamt it when we fell asleep, I and thou, in each other's arms, for
meseems it was as though I travelled to Damascus without tarbush and
trousers and set up as a cook there." Then he was perplexed and
considered for awhile, and said, "By Allah, I also fancied that I
dressed a conserve of pomegranate-grains and put too little pepper in
it. By Allah, I must have slept in the numerocent and have seen the
whole thing in a dream; but how long was that dream!" "Allah upon
thee," said Sitt al-Husn, "and what more sawest thou?" So he related
all to her; and presently said, "By Allah had I not woke up they would
have nailed me to a cross of wood!" "Wherefore?" asked she; and he
answered, "For putting too little pepper in the conserve of
pomegranate-grains, and meseemed they demolished my shop and dashed to
pieces my pots and pans, destroyed all my stuff and put me in a box;
they then sent for the carpenter to fashion a cross for me and would
have crucified me thereon. Now Alham-dolillah! thanks be to Allah, for
that all this happened to me in sleep, and not on wake." Sitt al-Husn
laughed and clasped him to her bosom and he her to his: then he thought
again and said, "By Allah, it could not be save while I was awake:
truly I know not what to think of it." Then he lay him down and all the
night he was bewildered about his case, now saying, "I was dreaming!"
and then saying, "I was awake!", till morning, when his uncle Shams
al-Din, the Wazir, came to him and saluted him. When Badr al-Din Hasan
saw him he said, "By Allah, art thou not he who bade bind my hands
behind me and smash my shop and nail me to a cross on a matter of
conserved pomegranate-grains because the dish lacked a sufficiency of
pepper?" Whereupon the Wazir said to him, "Know, O my son, that truth
hath shown it soothfast and the concealed hath been revealed! [FN#481]
Thou art the son of my brother, and I did all this with thee to certify
myself that thou wast indeed he who went in unto my daughter that
night. I could not be sure of this, till I saw that thou knewest the
chamber and thy turband and thy trousers and thy gold and the papers in
thy writing and in that of thy father, my brother; for I had never seen
thee afore that and knew thee not; and as to thy mother I have
prevailed upon her to come with me from Bassorah." So saying, he threw
himself on his nephew's breast and wept for joy; and Badr al-Din Hasan,
hearing these words from his uncle, marvelled with exceeding marvel and
fell on his neck and also shed tears for excess of delight. Then said
the Wazir to him, "O my son, the sole cause of all this is what passed
between me and thy sire;" and all that had occurred to part them.
Lastly the Wazir sent for Ajib; and when his father saw him he cried,
"And this is he who struck me with the stone!" Quoth the Wazir, "This
is thy son!" And Badr al-Din Hasan threw himself upon his boy and began

"Long have I wept o'er severance ban and bane, * Long from mine
     eyelids tear-rills rail and rain:
And vowed I if Time re-union bring * My tongue from name of
     "Severance" I'll restrain:
Joy hath o'ercome me to this stress that I * From joy's revulsion
     to shed tears am fain:
Ye are so trained to tears, O eyne of me! * You weep with
     pleasure as you weep with pain." [FN#482]

When he had ended his verse his mother came in and threw herself upon
him and began reciting:—

"When we met we complained, * Our hearts were sore wrung:
But plaint is not pleasant * Fro' messenger's tongue."

Then she wept and related to him what had befallen her since his
departure, and he told her what he had suffered, and they thanked Allah
Almighty for their reunion. Two days after his arrival the Wazir Shams
al-din went in to the Sultan and, kissing the ground between his hands,
greeted him with the greeting due to Kings. The Sultan rejoiced at his
return and his face brightened and, placing him hard by his side,
[FN#483] asked him to relate all he had seen in his wayfaring and
whatso had betided him in his going and coming. So the Wazir told him
all that had passed from first to last and the Sultan said, "Thanks be
to Allah for thy victory [FN#484] and the winning of thy wish and thy
safe return to thy children and thy people! And now I needs must see
the son of thy brother, Hasan of Bassorah, so bring him to the
audience-hall to- morrow." Shams al-Din replied, "Thy slave shall stand
in thy presence to-morrow, Inshallah, if it be God's will." Then he
saluted him and, returning to his own house, informed his nephew of the
Sultan's desire to see him, whereto replied Hasan, whilome the
Bassorite, "The slave is obedient to the orders of his lord." And the
result was that next day he accompanied his uncle, Shams al-Din, to the
Divan; and, after saluting the Sultan and doing him reverence in most
ceremonious obeisance and with most courtly obsequiousness, he began
improvising these verses:—

"The first in rank to kiss the ground shall deign * Before you,
     and all ends and aims attain:
You are Honour's fount; and all that hope of you, * Shall gain
     more honour than Hope hoped to gain."

The Sultan smiled and signed to him to sit down. So he took a seat
close to his uncle, Shams al-Din, and the King asked him his name.
Quoth Badr al-Din Hasan, "The meanest of thy slaves is known as Hasan
the Bassorite, who is instant in prayer for thee day and night." The
Sultan was pleased at his words and, being minded to test his learning
and prove his good breeding, asked him, "Dost thou remember any verses
in praise of the mole on the cheek?" He answered, "I do," and began

"When I think of my love and our parting-smart, * My groans go
     forth and my tears upstart:
He's a mole that reminds me in colour and charms * O' the black
     o' the eye and the grain [FN#485] of the heart."

The King admired and praised the two couplets and said to him, "Quote
something else; Allah bless thy sire and may thy tongue never tire!" So
he began:—

"That cheek-mole's spot they evened with a grain * Of musk, nor
     did they here the simile strain:
Nay, marvel at the face comprising all * Beauty, nor falling
     short by single grain."

The King shook with pleasure [FN#486] and said to him, "Say more:
Allah bless thy days!" So he began:—

"O you whose mole on cheek enthroned recalls * A dot of musk
     upon a stone of ruby,
Grant me your favours! Be not stone at heart! * Core of my heart
     whose only sustenance you be!"

Quoth the King, "Fair comparison, O Hasan! [FN#487] thou hast spoken
excellently well and hast proved thyself accomplished in every
accomplishment! Now explain to me how many meanings be there in the
Arabic language [FN#488] for the word Khal or mole." He replied, "Allah
keep the King! Seven and fifty and some by tradition say fifty." Said
the Sultan, "Thou sayest sooth," presently adding, "Hast thou knowledge
as to the points of excellence in beauty?" "Yes," answered Badr al-Din
Hasan, "Beauty consisteth in brightness of face, clearness of
complexion, shapeliness of nose, gentleness of eyes, sweetness of
mouth, cleverness of speech, slenderness of shape and seemliness of all
attributes. But the acme of beauty is in the hair and, indeed,
al-Shihab the Hijazi hath brought together all these items in his
doggrel verse of the metre Rajaz, [FN#489] and it is this:

Say thou to skin "Be soft," to face "Be fair," * And gaze, nor
     shall they blame howso thou stare:
Fine nose in Beauty's list is high esteemed; * Nor less an eye
     full, bright and debonnair:
Eke did they well to laud the lovely lips * (Which e'en the sleep
     of me will never spare);
A winning tongue, a stature tall and straight; [FN#490] * A
     seemly union of gifts rarest rare:
But Beauty's acme in the hair one views it; * So hear my strain
     and with some few excuse it!"

The Sultan was captivated by his converse and, regarding him as a
friend, asked, "What meaning is there in the saw 'Shurayh is foxier
than the fox'?" And he answered, "Know, O King (whom Almighty Allah
keep!) that the legist Shurayh [FN#491] was wont, during the days of
the plague, to make a visitation to Al-Najaf; and, whenever he stood up
to pray, there came a fox which would plant himself facing him and
which, by mimicking his movements, distracted him from his devotions.
Now when this became longsome to him, one day he doffed his shirt and
set it upon a cane and shook out the sleeves; then placing his turband
on the top and girding its middle with a shawl, he stuck it up in the
place where he used to pray. Presently up trotted the fox according to
his custom and stood over against the figure, whereupon Shurayh came
behind him, and took him. Hence the sayer saith, 'Shurayh foxier than
the fox.'" When the Sultan heard Badr al-Din Hasan's explanation he
said to his uncle, Shams al-Din, "Truly this the son of thy brother is
perfect in courtly breeding and I do not think that his like can be
found in Cairo." At this Hasan arose and kissed the ground before him
and sat down again as a Mameluke should sit before his master. When the
Sultan had thus assured himself of his courtly breeding and bearing and
his knowledge of the liberal arts and belles-lettres, he joyed with
exceeding joy and invested him with a splendid robe of honour and
promoted him to an office whereby he might better his condition.
[FN#492] Then Badr al-Din Hasan arose and, kissing the ground before
the King, wished him continuance of glory and asked leave to retire
with his uncle, the Wazir Shams al-Din. The Sultan gave him leave and
he issued forth and the two returned home, where food was set before
them and they ate what Allah had given them. After finishing his meal
Hasan repaired to the sitting-chamber of his wife, the Lady of Beauty,
and told her what had past between him and the Sultan; whereupon quoth
she, "He cannot fail to make thee a cup-companion and give thee largess
in excess and load thee with favours and bounties; so shalt thou, by
Allah's blessing, dispread, like the greater light, the rays of thy
perfection wherever thou be, on shore or on sea." Said he to her, "I
purpose to recite a Kasidah, an ode, in his praise, that he may
redouble in affection for me." "Thou art right in thine intent," she
answered, "so gather thy wits together and weigh thy words, and I shall
surely see my husband favoured with his highest favour." Thereupon
Hasan shut himself up and composed these couplets on a solid base and
abounding in inner grace and copies them out in a hand-writing of the
nicest taste. They are as follows:—

Mine is a Chief who reached most haught estate, * Treading the
     pathways of the good and great:
His justice makes all regions safe and sure, * And against
     froward foes bars every gate:
Bold lion, hero, saint, e'en if you call * Seraph or Sovran
     [FN#493] he with all may rate!
The poorest supplicant rich from him returns, * All words to
     praise him were inadequate.
He to the day of peace is saffron Morn, * And murky Night in
     furious warfare's bate.
Bow 'neath his gifts our necks, and by his deeds * As King of
     freeborn [FN#494] souls he 'joys his state:
Allah increase for us his term of years, * And from his lot avert
     all risks and fears!

When he had finished transcribing the lines, he despatched them, in
charge of one of his uncle's slaves, to the Sultan, who perused them
and his fancy was pleased; so he read them to those present and all
praised them with the highest praise. Thereupon he sent for the writer
to his sitting-chamber and said to him, "Thou art from this day forth
my boon-companion and I appoint to thee a monthly solde of a thousand
dirhams, over and above that I bestowed on thee aforetime." So Hasan
rose and, kissing the ground before the King several times, prayed for
the continuance of his greatness and glory and length of life and
strength. Thus Badr al-Din Hasan the Bassorite waxed high in honour and
his fame flew forth to many regions and he abode in all comfort and
solace and delight of life with his uncle and his own folk till Death
overtook him. When the Caliph Harun al-Rashid heard this story from the
mouth of his Wazir, Ja'afar the Barmecide, he marvelled much and said,
"It behoves that these stories be written in letters of liquid gold."
Then he set the slave at liberty and assigned to the youth who had
slain his wife such a monthly stipend as sufficed to make his life
easy; he also gave him a concubine from amongst his own slave-girls and
the young man became one of his cup-companions. "Yet this story,"
(continued Shahrazad) "is in no wise stranger than the tale of the
Tailor and the Hunchback and the Jew and the Reeve and the Nazarene,
and what betided them." Quoth the King, "And what may that be?" So
Shahrazad began, in these words,[FN#495]


It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that there dwelt during times of
yore, and years and ages long gone before, in a certain city of
China,[FN#496] a Tailor who was an open handed man that loved
pleasuring and merry making; and who was wont, he and his wife, to
solace themselves from time to time with public diversions and
amusements. One day they went out with the first of the light and were
returning in the evening when they fell in with a Hunchback, whose
semblance would draw a laugh from care and dispel the horrors of
despair. So they went up to enjoy looking at him and invited him to go
home with them and converse and carouse with them that night. He
consented and accompanied them afoot to their home; whereupon the
Tailor fared forth to the bazaar (night having just set in) and bought
a fried fish and bread and lemons and dry sweetmeats for dessert; and
set the victuals before the Hunchback and they ate. Presently the
Tailor's wife took a great fid of fish and gave it in a gobbet to the
Gobbo, stopping his mouth with her hand and saying, "By Allah, thou
must down with it at a single gulp; and I will not give thee time to
chew it." So he bolted it; but therein was a stiff bone which stuck in
his gullet and, his hour being come, he died.—And Shahrazad perceived
the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

              When it was the Twenty-fifth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the Tailor's
wife gave the Hunchback that mouthful of fish which ended his term of
days he died on the instant. Seeing this the Tailor cried aloud, "There
is no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah! Alas, that this poor
wretch should have died in so foolish fashion at our hands!" and the
woman rejoined, "Why this idle talk? Hast thou not heard his saying who

Why then waste I my time in grief, until I * find no friend to
     bear my weight of woe
How sleep upon a fire that flames unquenched? * Upon the flames
     to rest were hard enow!"

Asked her husband, "And what shall I do with him?"; and she answered,
"Rise and take him in thine arms and spread a silken kerchief over him;
then I will fare forth, with thee following me this very night and if
thou meet any one say, 'This is my son, and his mother and I are
carrying him to the doctor that he may look at him.'" So he rose and
taking the Hunchback in his arms bore him along the streets, preceded
by his wife who kept crying, "O my son, Allah keep thee! what part
paineth thee and where hath this small-pox[FN#497] attacked thee?" So
all who saw them said "'Tis a child sick of small-pox." [FN#498] They
went along asking for the physician's house till folk directed them to
that of a leach which was a Jew. They knocked at the door, and there
came down to them a black slave girl who opened and, seeing a man
bearing a babe, and a woman with him, said to them, "What is the
matter?" "We have a little one with us," answered the Tailor's wife,
"and we wish to show him to the physician: so take this quarter dinar
and give it to thy master and let him come down and see my son who is
sore sick." The girl went up to tell her master, whereupon the Tailor's
wife walked into the vestibule and said to her husband, "Leave the
Hunchback here and let us fly for our lives." So the Tailor carried the
dead man to the top of the stairs and propped him upright against the
wall and ran away, he and his wife. Meanwhile the girl went in to the
Jew and said to him, "At the door are a man and a woman with a sick
child and they have given me a quarter dinar for thee, that thou mayest
go down and look at the little one and prescribe for it." As soon as
the Jew saw the quarter dinar he rejoiced and rose quickly in his greed
of gain and went forth hurriedly in the dark; but hardly had he made a
step when he stumbled on the corpse and threw it over, when it rolled
to the bottom of the staircase. So he cried out to the girl to hurry up
with the light, and she brought it, whereupon he went down and
examining the Hunchback found that he was stone dead. So he cried out,
"O for Esdras![FN#499] O for Moses! O for Aaron! O for Joshua, son of
Nun! O the Ten Commandments! I have stumbled against the sick one and
he hath fallen downstairs and he is dead! How shall I get this man I
have killed out of my house? O by the hoofs of the ass of Esdras!" Then
he took up the body and, carrying it into the house, told his wife what
had happened and she said to him, "Why dost thou sit still? If thou
keep him here till day break we shall both lose our lives. Let us two
carry him to the terrace roof and throw him over into the house of our
neighbour, the Moslem, for if he abide there a night the dogs will come
down on him from the adjoining terraces and eat him up." Now his
neighbour was a Reeve, the controller of the Sultan's kitchen, and was
wont to bring back great store of oil and fat and broken meats; but the
cats and rats used to eat it, or, if the dogs scented a fat sheep's
tail they would come down from the nearest roofs and tear at it; and on
this wise the beasts had already damaged much of what he brought home.
So the Jew and his wife carried the Hunchback up to the roof; and,
letting him down by his hands and feet through the wind-shaft[FN#500]
into the Reeve's house, propped him up against the wall and went their
ways. Hardly had they done this when the Reeve, who had been passing an
evening with his friends hearing a recitation of the Koran, came home
and opened the door and, going up with a lighted candle, found a son of
Adam standing in the corner under the ventilator. When he saw this, he
said, "Wah! by Allah, very good forsooth! He who robbeth my stuff is
none other than a man." Then he turned to the Hunchback and said, "So
'tis thou that stealest the meat and the fat! I thought it was the cats
and dogs, and I kill the dogs and cats of the quarter and sin against
them by killing them. And all the while 'tis thou comest down from the
house terrace through the wind shaft. But I will avenge myself upon
thee with my own hand!" So he snatched up a heavy hammer and set upon
him and smote him full on the breast and he fell down. Then he examined
him and, finding that he was dead, cried out in horror, thinking that
he had killed him, and said, "There is no Majesty and there is no Might
save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great!" And he feared for his life,
and added "Allah curse the oil and the meat and the grease and the
sheep's tails to boot! How hath fate given this man his quietus at my
hand!" Then he looked at the body and seeing it was that of a Gobbo,
said, "Was it not enough for thee to be a hunchback,[FN#501] but thou
must likewise be a thief and prig flesh and fat! O thou Veiler,[FN#502]
deign to veil me with Thy curtain of concealment!" So he took him up on
his shoulders and, going forth with him from his house about the latter
end of the night, carried him to the nearest end of the bazaar, where
he set him up on his feet against the wall of a shop at the head of a
dark lane, and left him and went away. After a while up came a
Nazarene,[FN#503] the Sultan's broker who, much bemused with liquor,
was purposing for the Hammam bath as his drunkenness whispered in his
ear, "Verily the call to matins[FN#504] is nigh." He came plodding
along and staggering about till he drew near the Hunchback and squatted
down to make water[FN#505] over against him; when he happened to glance
around and saw a man standing against the wall. Now some person had
snatched off the Christian's turband[FN#506] in the first of the night;
so when he saw the Hunchback hard by he fancied that he also meant to
steal his headdress. Thereupon he clenched his fist and struck him on
the neck, felling him to the ground, and called aloud to the watchman
of the bazaar, and came down on the body in his drunken fury and kept
on belabouring and throttling the corpse. Presently the Charley came up
and, finding a Nazarene kneeling on a Moslem and frapping him, asked,
"What harm hath this one done?"; and the Broker answered, "The fellow
meant to snatch off my turband." "Get up from him," quoth the watch
man. So he arose and the Charley went up to the Hunchback and finding
him dead, exclaimed, "By Allah, good indeed! A Christian killing a
Mahometan!" Then he seized the Broker and, tying his hands behind his
back, carried him to the Governor's house,[FN#507] and all the while
the Nazarene kept saying to himself, "O Messiah! O Virgin! how came I
to kill this fellow? And in what a hurry he must have been to depart
this life when he died of a single blow!" Presently, as his drunkenness
fled, came dolour in its stead. So the Broker and the body were kept in
the Governor's place till morning morrowed, when the Wali came out and
gave order to hang the supposed murderer and commanded the
executioner[FN#508] make proclamation of the sentence. Forthwith they
set up a gallows under which they made the Nazarene stand and the torch
bearer, who was hangman, threw the rope round his neck and passed one
end through the pulley, and was about to hoist him up[FN#509] when lo!
the Reeve, who was passing by, saw the Broker about to be hanged; and,
making his way through the people, cried out to the executioner, "Hold!
Hold! I am he who killed the Hunchback!" Asked the Governor, "What made
thee kill him?"; and he answered, "I went home last night and there
found this man who had come down the ventilator to steal my property;
so I smote him with a hammer on the breast and he died forthright. Then
I took him up and carried him to the bazaar and set him up against the
wall in such a place near such a lane;" adding, "Is it not enough for
me to have killed a Moslem without also killing a Christian? So hang
none other but me." When the Governor heard these words he released the
Broker and said to the torch bearer, "Hang up this man on his own
confession." So he loosed the cord from the Nazarene's neck and threw
it round that of the Reeve and, making him stand under the gallows
tree, was about to string him up when behold, the Jewish physician
pushed through the people and shouted to the executioner, "Hold! Hold!
It was I and none else killed the Hunchback! Last night I was sitting
at home when a man and a woman knocked at the door carrying this Gobbo
who was sick, and gave my handmaid a quarter dinar, bidding her hand me
the fee and tell me to come down and see him. Whilst she was gone the
man and the woman brought him into the house and, setting him on the
stairs, went away; and presently I came down and not seeing him, for I
was in the dark, stumbled over him and he fell to the foot of the
staircase and died on the moment. Then we took him up, I and my wife,
and carried him on to the top terrace; and, the house of this Reeve
being next door to mine, we let the body down through the ventilator.
When he came home and found the Hunchback in his house, he fancied he
was a thief and struck him with a hammer, so that he fell to the
ground, and our neighbour made certain that he had slain him. Now is it
not enough for me to have killed one Moslem unwittingly, without
burdening myself with taking the life of another Moslem wittingly?"
When the Governor heard this he said to the hangman, "Set free the
Reeve and hang the Jew." Thereupon the torch bearer took him and slung
the cord round his neck when behold, the Tailor pushed through the
people, and shouted to the executioner, "Hold! Hold! It was I and none
else killed the Hunchback; and this was the fashion thereof. I had been
out a pleasuring yesterday and, coming back to supper, fell in with
this Gobbo, who was drunk and drumming away and singing lustily to his
tambourine. So I accosted him and carried him to my house and bought a
fish, and we sat down to eat. Presently my wife took a fid of fish and,
making a gobbet of it,[FN#510] crammed it into his mouth; but some of
it went down the wrong way or stuck in his gullet and he died on the
instant. So we lifted him up, I and my wife, and carried him to the
Jew's house where the slave girl came down and opened the door to us
and I said to her, 'Tell thy master that there are a man and a woman
and a sick person for thee to see!' I gave her a quarter dinar and she
went up to tell her master; and, whilst she was gone, I carried the
Hunchback to the head of the staircase and propped him up against the
wall, and went off with my wife. When the Jew came down he stumbled
over him and thought that he had killed him." Then he asked the Jew,
"Is this the truth?"; and the Jew answered, "Yes." Thereupon the Tailor
turned to the Governor, and said, "Leave go the Jew and hang me." When
the Governor heard the Tailor's tale he marvelled at the matter of this
Hunchback and exclaimed. "Verily this is an adventure which should be
recorded in books!" Then he said to the hangman, "Let the Jew go and
hang the Tailor on his own confession." The executioner took the Tailor
and put the rope around his neck and said, "I am tired of such slow
work: we bring out this one and change him for that other, and no one
is hanged after all!" Now the Hunchback in question was, they relate,
jester to the Sultan of China who could not bear him out of his sight;
so when the fellow got drunk and did not make his appearance that night
or the next day till noon, the Sultan asked some of his courtiers about
him and they answered, "O our lord, the Governor hath come upon him
dead and hath ordered his murderer to be hanged; but, as the hangman
was about to hoist him up there came a second and a third and a fourth
and each one said, 'It is I, and none else killed the Hunchback!' and
each gave a full and circumstantial account of the manner of the jester
being killed." When the King heard this he cried aloud to the
Chamberlain in waiting, "Go down to the Governor and bring me all four
of them." So the Chamberlain went down at once to the place of
execution, where he found the torch bearer on the point of hanging the
Tailor and shouted to him, "Hold! Hold!" Then he gave the King's
command to the Governor who took the Tailor, the Jew, the Nazarene and
the Reeve (the Hunchback's body being borne on men's shoulders) and
went up with one and all of them to the King. When he came into the
presence, he kissed the ground and acquainted the ruler with the whole
story which it is needless to relate for, as they say, There is no
avail in a thrice told tale. The Sultan hearing it marvelled and was
moved to mirth and commanded the story to be written in letters of
liquid gold, saying to those present, "Did ye ever hear a more wondrous
tale than that of my Hunchback?" Thereupon the Nazarene broker came
forward and said, "O King of the age, with thy leave I will tell thee a
thing which happened to myself and which is still more wondrous and
marvellous and pleasurable and delectable than the tale of the
Hunchback." Quoth the King "Tell us what thou hast to say!" So he began
in these words

The Nazarene Broker's Story.

O King of the age, I came to this thy country with merchandise and
Destiny stayed me here with you: but my place of birth was Cairo, in
Egypt, where I also was brought up, for I am one of the Copts and my
father was a broker before me. When I came to man's estate he departed
this life and I succeeded to his business. One day, as I was sitting in
my shop, behold, there came up to me a youth as handsome as could be,
wearing sumptuous raiment and riding a fine ass.[FN#511] When he saw me
he saluted me, and I stood up to do him honour: then he took out a
kerchief containing a sample of sesame and asked, "How much is this
worth per Ardabb?";[FN#512] whereto I answered, "An hundred dirhams."
Quoth he, "Take porters and gaugers and metesmen and come tomorrow to
the Khan al-Jawáli,[FN#513] by the Gate of Victory quarter where thou
wilt find me." Then he fared forth leaving with me the sample of sesame
in his kerchief; and I went the round of my customers and ascertained
that every Ardabb would fetch an hundred and twenty dirhams. Next day I
took four metesmen and walked with them to the Khan, where I found him
awaiting me. As soon as he saw me he rose and opened his magazine, when
we measured the grain till the store was empty; and we found the
contents fifty Ardabbs, making five thousand pieces of silver. Then
said he, "Let ten dirhams on every Ardabb be thy brokerage; so take the
price and keep in deposit four thousand and five hundred dirhams for
me; and, when I have made an end of selling the other wares in my
warehouses, I will come to thee and receive the amount." "I will well,"
replied I and kissing his hand went away, having made that day a profit
of a thousand dirhams. He was absent a month, at the end of which he
came to me and asked, "Where be the dirhams?" I rose and saluted him
and answered to him, "Wilt thou not eat somewhat in my house?" But he
refused with the remark, "Get the monies ready and I will presently
return and take them." Then he rode away. So I brought out the dirhams
and sat down to await him, but he stayed away for another month, when
he came back and said to me, "Where be the dirhams?" I rose and
saluting him asked, "Wilt thou not eat some thing in my house?" But he
again refused adding, "Get me the monies ready and I will presently
return and take them." Then he rode off. So I brought out the dirhams
and sat down to await his return; but he stayed away from me a third
month, and I said, "Verily this young man is liberality in incarnate
form." At the end of the month he came up, riding a mare mule and
wearing a suit of sumptuous raiment; he was as the moon on the night of
fullness, and he seemed as if fresh from the baths, with his cheeks
rosy bright, and his brow flower white, and a mole spot like a grain of
ambergris delighting the sight; even as was said of such an one by the

Full moon with sun in single mansion * In brightest sheen and
     fortune rose and shone,
With happy splendour changing every sprite: * Hail to what
     guerdons prayer with blissful! boon!
Their charms and grace have gained perfection's height, * All
     hearts have conquered and all wits have won.
Laud to the Lord for works so wonder strange, * And what th'
     Almighty wills His hand hath done!

When I saw him I rose to him and invoking blessings on him asked, O my
lord, wilt thou not take thy monies?" "Whence the hurry?"[FN#514] quoth
he, "Wait till I have made an end of my business and then I will come
and take them." Again he rode away and I said to myself, "By Allah,
when he comes next time needs must I make him my guest; for I have
traded with his dirhams and have gotten large gains thereby." At the
end of the year he came again, habited in a suit of clothes more
sumptuous than the former; and, when I conjured him by the Evangel to
alight at my house and eat of my guest food, he said, "I consent, on
condition that what thou expendest on me shall be of my monies still in
thy hands. I answered, "So be it," and made him sit down whilst I got
ready what was needful of meat and drink and else besides; and set the
tray before him, with the invitation "Bismillah"![FN#515] Then he drew
near the tray and put out his left hand[FN#516] and ate with me; and I
marvelled at his not using the right hand. When we had done eating, I
poured water on his hand and gave him wherewith to wipe it. Upon this
we sat down to converse after I had set before him some sweetmeats; and
I said to him, "O my master, prithee relieve me by telling me why thou
eatest with thy left hand? Perchance something aileth thy other hand?"
When he heard my words, he repeated these verses:—

"Dear friend, ask not what burneth in my breast, * Lest thou see
     fiery pangs eye never saw:
Wills not my heart to harbour Salma in stead * Of
     Layla's[FN#517] love, but need hath ne'er a law!"

And he put out his right arm from his sleeve and behold, the hand was
cut off, a wrist without a fist. I was astounded at this but he said,
"Marvel not, and think not that I ate with my left hand for conceit and
insolence, but from necessity; and the cutting off my right hand was
caused by an adventure of the strangest." Asked I, "And what caused
it?"; and he answered:—"Know that I am of the sons of Baghdad and my
father was of notables of that city. When I came to man's estate I
heard the pilgrims and wayfarers, travellers and merchants talk of the
land of Egypt and their words sank deep into my mind till my parent
died, when I took a large sum of money and furnished myself for trade
with stuffs of Baghdad and Mosul and, packing them up in bales, set out
on my wanderings; and Allah decreed me safety till I entered this your
city. Then he wept and began repeating:—

 The blear eyed 'scapes the pits    * Wherein the lynx eyed fall:
 A word the wise man slays          * And saves the natural:
 The Moslem fails of food           * The Kafir feasts in hall:
 What art or act is man's?          * God's will obligeth all!

Now when he had ended his verse he said, So I entered Cairo and took
off my loads and stored my stuffs in the Khan "Al- Masrúr."[FN#518]
Then I gave the servant a few silvers wherewith to buy me some food and
lay down to sleep awhile. When I awoke I went to the street called
"Bayn al-Kasrayn"—Between the two Palaces—and presently returned and
rested my night in the Khan. When it was morning I opened a bale and
took out some stuff saying to myself, "I will be off and go through
some of the bazaars and see the state of the market." So I loaded the
stuff on some of my slaves and fared forth till I reached the
Kaysariyah or Exchange of Jaharkas;[FN#519] where the brokers who knew
of my coming came to meet me. They took the stuffs and cried them for
sale, but could not get the prime cost of them. I was vexed at this,
however the Shaykh of the brokers said to me, "O my lord, I will tell
thee how thou mayest make a profit of thy goods. Thou shouldest do as
the merchants do and sell thy merchandise at credit for a fixed period,
on a contract drawn up by a notary and duly witnessed; and employ a
Shroff to take thy dues every Monday and Thursday. So shalt thou gain
two dirhams and more, for every one; and thou shalt solace and divert
thyself by seeing Cairo and the Nile." Quoth I, "This is sound advice,"
and carried the brokers to the Khan. They took my stuffs and went with
them on 'Change where I sold them well taking bonds for the value.
These bonds I deposited with a Shroff, a banker, who gave me a receipt
with which I returned to the Khan. Here I stayed a whole month, every
morning breaking my fast with a cup of wine and making my meals on
pigeon's meat, mutton and sweetmeats, till the time came when my
receipts began to fall due. So, every Monday and Thursday I used to go
on 'Change and sit in the shop of one or other of the merchants, whilst
the notary and money changer went round to recover the monies from the
traders, till after the time of mid afternoon prayer, when they brought
me the amount, and I counted it and, sealing the bags, returned with
them to the Khan. On a certain day which happened to be a
Monday,[FN#520] I went to the Hammam and thence back to my Khan, and
sitting in my own room[FN#521] broke my fast with a cup of wine, after
which I slept a little. When I awoke I ate a chicken and, perfuming my
person, repaired to the shop of a merchant hight Badr al-Din
al-Bostáni, or the Gardener,[FN#522] who welcomed me; and we sat
talking awhile till the bazaar should open. Presently, behold, up came
a lady of stately figure wearing a head-dress of the most magnificent,
perfumed with the sweetest of scents and walking with graceful swaying
gait; and seeing me she raised her mantilla allowing me a glimpse of
her beautiful black eyes. She saluted Badr al-Din who returned her
salutation and stood up, and talked with her; and the moment I heard
her speak, the love of her got hold of my heart. Presently she said to
Badr al-Din, "Hast thou by thee a cut piece of stuff woven with thread
of pure gold?" So he brought out to her a piece from those he had
bought of me and sold it to her for one thousand two hundred dirhams;
when she said, "I will take the piece home with me and send thee its
price." "That is impossible, O my lady," the merchant replied, "for
here is the owner of the stuff and I owe him a share of profit." "Fie
upon thee!" she cried, "Do I not use to take from thee entire rolls of
costly stuff, and give thee a greater profit than thou expectest, and
send thee the money?" "Yes," rejoined he; "but I stand in pressing need
of the price this very day." Hereupon she took up the piece and threw
it back upon his lap, saying "Out on thee! Allah confound the tribe of
you which estimates none at the right value;" and she turned to go. I
felt my very soul going with her; so I stood up and stayed her, saying,
"I conjure thee by the Lord, O my lady, favour me by retracing thy
gracious steps." She turned back with a smile and said, "For thy sake I
return," and took a seat opposite me in the shop. Then quoth I to Badr
al-Din, "What is the price they asked thee for this piece?"; and quoth
he, "Eleven hundred dirhams." I rejoined, "The odd hundred shall be thy
profit: bring me a sheet of paper and I will write thee a discharge for
it." Then I wrote him a receipt in my own handwriting and gave the
piece to the lady, saying, "Take it away with thee and, if thou wilt,
bring me its price next bazaar day; or better still, accept it as my
guest gift to thee." "Allah requite thee with good," answered she, "and
make thee my husband and lord and master of all I have!"[FN#523] And
Allah favoured her prayer. I saw the Gates of Paradise swing open
before me and said, "O my lady, let this piece of stuff be now thine
and another like it is ready for thee, only let me have one look at thy
face." So she raised her veil and I saw a face the sight of which
bequeathed to me a thousand sighs, and my heart was so captivated by
her love that I was no longer ruler of my reason. Then she let fall her
face veil and taking up the piece of stuff said, "O my lord make me not
desolate by thine absence!" and turned away and disappeared from my
sight. I remained sitting on 'Change till past the hour of after noon
prayer, lost to the world by the love which had mastered me, and the
violence of my passion compelled me to make enquiries concerning her of
the merchant, who answered me, "This is a lady and a rich: she is the
daughter of a certain Emir who lately died and left her a large
fortune." Then I took leave of him and returned home to the Khan where
they set supper before me; but I could not eat for thinking of her and
when I lay down to sleep, sleep came not near me. So I watched till
morning, when I arose and donned a change of raiment and drank a cup of
wine and, after breaking my fast on some slight matter, I went to the
merchant's shop where I saluted him and sat down by him. Presently up
came the lady as usual, followed by a slave girl and wearing a dress
more sumptuous than before; and she saluted me without noticing Badr
al-Din and said in fluent graceful speech (never heard I voice softer
or sweeter), "Send one with me to take the thousand and two hundred
dirhams, the price of the piece." "Why this hurry?" asked I and she
answered, "May we never lose thee!"[FN#524] and handed me the money.
Then I sat talking with her and presently I signed to her in dumb show,
whereby she understood that I longed to enjoy her person,[FN#525] and
she rose up in haste with a show of displeasure. My heart clung to her
and I went forth from the bazaar and followed on her track. As I was
walking suddenly a black slave girl stopped me and said, "O my master,
come speak with my mistress."[FN#526] At this I was surprised and
replied, "There is none who knows me here;" but she rejoined, "0 my
lord, how soon hast thou forgotten her! My lady is the same who was
this day at the shop of such a merchant." Then I went with her to the
Shroff's, where I found the lady who drew me to her side and said, "O
my beloved, thine image is firmly stamped upon my fancy, and love of
thee hath gotten hold of my heart: from the hour I first saw thee nor
sleep nor food nor drink hath given me aught of pleasure." I replied,
"The double of that suffering is mine and my state dispenseth me from
complaint." Then said she, "O my beloved, at thy house, or at mine?" "I
am a stranger here and have no place of reception save the Khan, so by
thy favour it shall be at thy house." "So be it; but this is
Friday[FN#527] night and nothing can be done till tomorrow after public
prayers; go to the Mosque and pray; then mount thine ass, and ask for
the Habbániyah[FN#528] quarter; and, when there, look out for the
mansion of Al-Nakib[FN#529] Barakát, popularly known as Abu Shámah the
Syndic; for I live there: so do not delay as I shall be expecting
thee." I rejoiced with still greater joy at this; and took leave of her
and returned to my Khan, where I passed a sleepless night. Hardly was I
assured that morning had dawned when I rose, changed my dress, perfumed
myself with essences and sweet scents and, taking fifty dinars in a
kerchief, went from the Khan Masrúr to the Zuwaylah[FN#530] gate, where
I mounted an ass and said to its owner, "Take me to the Habbaniyah." So
he set off with me and brought up in the twinkling of an eye at a
street known as Darb al-Munkari, where I said to him, "Go in and ask
for the Syndic's mansion." He was absent a while and then returned and
said, "Alight." "Go thou before me to the house," quoth I, adding,
"Come back with the earliest light and bring me home;" and he answered,
"In Allah's name;" whereupon I gave him a quarter dinar of gold, and he
took it and went his ways. Then I knocked at the door and out came two
white slave girls, both young; high-bosomed virgins, as they were
moons, and said to me, "Enter, for our mistress is expecting thee and
she hath not slept the night long for her delight in thee." I passed
through the vestibule into a saloon with seven doors, floored with
parti-coloured marbles and furnished with curtains and hangings of
coloured silks: the ceiling was cloisonné with gold and corniced with
inscriptions[FN#531] emblazoned in lapis lazuli; and the walls were
stuccoed with Sultání gypsum[FN#532] which mirrored the beholder's
face. Around the saloon were latticed windows overlooking a garden full
of all manner of fruits; whose streams were railing and riffling and
whose birds were trilling and shrilling; and in the heart of the hall
was a jetting fountain at whose corners stood birds fashioned in red
gold crusted with pearls and gems and spouting water crystal clear.
When I entered and took a seat.—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day
and ceased saying her permitted say.

              When it was the Twenty-sixth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the young
merchant continued, When I entered and took a seat, the lady at once
came in crowned with a diadem[FN#533] of pearls and jewels; her face
dotted with artificial moles in indigo,[FN#534] her eyebrows pencilled
with Kohl and her hands and feet reddened with Henna. When she saw me
she smiled in my face and took me to her embrace and clasped me to her
breast; then she put her mouth to my mouth and sucked my tongue[FN#535]
(and I did likewise) and said, "Can it be true, O my little darkling,
thou art come to me?" adding, "Welcome and good cheer to thee! By
Allah, from the day I saw thee sleep hath not been sweet to me nor hath
food been pleasant." Quoth I, "Such hath also been my case: and I am
thy slave, thy negro slave." Then we sat down to converse and I hung my
head earthwards in bashfulness, but she delayed not long ere she set
before me a tray of the most exquisite viands, marinated meats,
fritters soaked in bee's[FN#536] honeys and chickens stuffed with sugar
and pistachio nuts, whereof we ate till we were satisfied. Then they
brought basin and ewer and I washed my hands and we scented ourselves
with rose water musk'd and sat down again to converse. So she began
repeating these couplets[FN#537]:

"Had we wist of thy coming, thy way had been strewn
       With the blood of our heart and the balls of our sight:
Our cheek as a foot cloth to greet thee been thrown,
       That thy step on our eyelids should softly alight."

And she kept plaining of what had befallen her and I of what had
betided me; and love of her got so firm hold of my heart that all my
wealth seemed a thing of naught in comparison with her. Then we fell to
toying and groping and kissing till night fall, when the handmaidens
set before us meats and a complete wine service, and we sat carousing
till the noon of night, when we lay down and I lay with her; never in
my life saw I a night like that night. When morning morrowed I arose
and took leave of her, throwing under the carpet bed the kerchief
wherein were the dinars[FN#538] and as I went out she wept and said, "O
my lord, when shall I look upon that lovely face again?" "I will be
with thee at sunset," answered I, and going out found the donkey boy,
who had brought me the day before, awaiting at the door. So I mounted
ass and rode to the Khan of Masrur where I alighted and gave the man a
half dinar, saying, "Return at sunset;" and he said "I will." Then I
breakfasted and went out to seek the price of my stuffs; after which I
returned, and taking a roast lamb and some sweetmeats, called a porter
and put the provision in his crate, and sent it to the lady paying the
man his hire.[FN#539] I went back to my business till sunset, when the
ass driver came to me and I took fifty dinars in a kerchief and rode to
her house where I found the marble floor swept, the brasses burnisht,
the branch lights burning, the wax candles ready lighted, the meat
served up and the wine strained.[FN#540] When my lady saw me she threw
her arms about my neck, and cried, "Thou hast desolated me by thine
absence." Then she set the tables before me and we ate till we were
satisfied, when the slave girls carried off the trays and served up
wine. We gave not over drinking till half the night was past; and,
being well warmed with drink, we went to the sleeping chamber and lay
there till morning. I then arose and fared forth from her leaving the
fifty dinars with her as before; and, finding the donkey boy at the
door, rode to the Khan and slept awhile. After that I went out to make
ready the evening meal and took a brace of geese with gravy on two
platters of dressed and peppered rice, and got ready
colocasia[FN#541]-roots fried and soaked in honey, and wax candles and
fruits and conserves and nuts and almonds and sweet scented cowers; and
I sent them all to her. As soon as it was night I again tied up fifty
dinars in a kerchief and, mounting the ass as usual, rode to the
mansion where we ate and drank and lay together till morning when I
threw the kerchief and dinars to her[FN#542] and rode back to the Khan.
I ceased not doing after that fashion till, after a sweet night, I woke
one fine morning and found myself beggared, dinar-less and dirhamless.
So said I to myself "All this be Satan's work;" and began to recite
these couplets:—

"Poverty dims the sheen of man whate'er his wealth has been, *
     E'en as the sun about to set shines with a yellowing light
Absent he falls from memory, forgotten by his friends; * Present
     he shareth not their joys for none in him delight
He walks the market shunned of all, too glad to hide his head, *
     In desert places tears he sheds and moans his bitter plight
By Allah, 'mid his kith and kin a man, however good, * Waylaid
     by want and penury is but a stranger wight!"

I fared forth from the Khan and walked down "Between the Palaces"
street till I came to the Zuwaylah Porte, where I found the people
crowding and the gateway blocked for the much folk. And by the decree
of Destiny I saw there a trooper against whom I pressed
unintentionally, so that my hand came upon his bosom pocket and I felt
a purse inside it. I looked and seeing a string of green silk hanging
from the pocket knew it for a purse; and the crush grew greater every
minute and just then, a camel laden with a load of fuel happened to
jostle the trooper on the opposite side, and he turned round to fend it
off from him, lest it tear his clothes; and Satan tempted me, so I
pulled the string and drew out a little bag of blue silk, containing
something which chinked like coin. But the soldier, feeling his pocket
suddenly lightened, put his hand to it and found it empty; whereupon he
turned to me and, snatching up his mace from his saddle bow, struck me
with it on the head. I fell to the ground, whilst the people came round
us and seizing the trooper's mare by the bridle said to him, "Strikest
thou this youth such a blow as this for a mere push!" But the trooper
cried out at them, "This fellow is an accursed thief!" Whereupon I came
to myself and stood up, and the people looked at me and said, "Nay, he
is a comely youth: he would not steal anything;" and some of them took
my part and others were against me and question and answer waxed loud
and warm. The people pulled at me and would have rescued me from his
clutches; but as fate decreed behold, the Governor, the Chief of
Police, and the watch[FN#543] entered the Zuwaylah Gate at this moment
and, seeing the people gathered together around me and the soldier, the
Governor asked, "What is the matter?" "By Allah! O Emir," answered the
trooper, "this is a thief! I had in my pocket a purse of blue silk
lined with twenty good gold pieces and he took it, whilst I was in the
crush." Quoth the Governor, "Was any one by thee at the time?"; and
quoth the soldier, "No." Thereupon the Governor cried out to the Chief
of Police who seized me, and on this wise the curtain of the Lord's.
protection was withdrawn from me. Then he said "Strip him;" and, when
they stripped me, they found the purse in my clothes. The Wali took it,
opened it and counted it; and, finding in it twenty dinars as the
soldier had said, waxed exceeding wroth and bade his guard bring me
before him. Then said he to me, "Now, O youth, speak truly: didst thou
steal this purse?"[FN#544] At this I hung my head to the ground and
said to myself, "If I deny having stolen it, I shall get myself into
terrible trouble." So I raised my head and said, "Yes, I took it." When
the Governor heard these words he wondered and summoned witnesses who
came forward and attested my confession. All this happened at the
Zuwaylah Gate. Then the Governor ordered the link bearer to cut off my
right hand, and he did so; after which he would have struck off my left
foot also; but the heart of the soldier softened and he took pity on me
and interceded for me with the Governor that I should not be
slain.[FN#545] Thereupon the Wali left me, and went away and the folk
remained round me and gave me a cup of wine to drink. As for the
trooper he pressed the purse upon me, and said, "Thou art a comely
youth and it befitteth not thou be a thief." So I repeated these

"I swear by Allah's name, fair sir! no thief was I, * Nor, O thou
     best of men! was I a bandit bred:
But Fortune's change and chance o'erthrew me suddenly, * And
     cark and care and penury my course misled:
I shot it not, indeed, 'twas Allah shot the shaft * That rolled
     in dust the Kingly diadem from my head."[FN#546]

The soldier turned away after giving me the purse; and I also went my
ways having wrapped my hand in a piece of rag and thrust it into my
bosom. My whole semblance had changed, and my colour had waxed yellow
from the shame and pain which had befallen me. Yet I went on to my
mistress's house where, in extreme perturbation of spirit I threw
myself down on the carpet bed. She saw me in this state and asked me,
"What aileth thee and why do I see thee so changed in looks?"; and I
answered, "My head paineth me and I am far from well." Whereupon she
was vexed and was concerned on my account and said, "Burn not my heart,
O my lord, but sit up and raise thy head and recount to me what hath
happened to thee today, for thy face tells me a tale." "Leave this
talk," replied I. But she wept and said, "Me seems thou art tired of
me, for I see thee contrary to thy wont." But I was silent; and she
kept on talking to me albeit I gave her no answer, till night came on.
Then she set food before me, but I refused it fearing lest she see me
eating with my left hand and said to her, "I have no stomach to eat at
present." Quoth she, "Tell me what hath befallen thee to day, and why
art thou so sorrowful and broken in spirit and heart?" Quoth I, "Wait
awhile; I will tell thee all at my leisure." Then she brought me wine,
saying, "Down with it, this will dispel thy grief: thou must indeed
drink and tell me of thy tidings." I asked her, "Perforce must I tell
thee?"; and she answered, "Yes." Then said I, "If it needs must be so,
then give me to drink with thine own hand." She filled and
drank,[FN#547] and filled again and gave me the cup which I took from
her with my left hand and wiped the tears from my eyelids and began

"When Allah willeth aught befall a man * Who hath of ears and
     eyes and wits full share:
His ears He deafens and his eyes He blinds * And draws his wits
     e'en as we draw a hair[FN#548]
Till, having wrought His purpose, He restores * Man's wits, that
     warned more circumspect he fare."

When I ended my verses I wept, and she cried out with an exceeding loud
cry, "What is the cause of thy tears? Thou burnest my heart! What makes
thee take the cup with thy left hand?" Quoth I, "Truly I have on my
right hand a boil;" and quoth she, "Put it out and I will open it for
thee."[FN#549] "It is not yet time to open it," I replied, "so worry me
not with thy words, for I will not take it out of the bandage at this
hour." Then I drank off the cup, and she gave not over plying me with
drink until drunkenness overcame me and I fell asleep in the place
where I was sitting; whereupon she looked at my right hand and saw a
wrist without a fist. So she searched me closely and found with me the
purse of gold and my severed hand wrapped up in the bit of rag.[FN#550]
With this such sorrow came upon her as never overcame any and she
ceased not lamenting on my account till the morning. When I awoke I
found that she had dressed me a dish of broth of four boiled chickens,
which she brought to me together with a cup of wine. I ate and drank
and laying down the purse, would have gone out; but she said to me,
"Whither away?"; and I answered, "Where my business calleth me;" and
said she, "Thou shalt not go: sit thee down." So I sat down and she
resumed, "Hath thy love for me so overpowered thee that thou hast
wasted all thy wealth and hast lost thine hand on my account? I take
thee to witness against me and also Allah be my witness that I will
never part with thee, but will die under thy feet; and soon thou shalt
see that my words are true." Then she sent for the Kazi and witnesses
and said to them, "Write my contract of marriage with this young man,
and bear ye witness that I have received the marriage
settlement."[FN#551] When they had drawn up the document she said, "Be
witness that all my monies which are in this chest and all I have in
slaves and handmaidens and other property is given in free gift to this
young man." So they took act of this statement enabling me to assume
possession in right of marriage; and then withdrew, after receiving
their fees. Thereupon she took me by the hand and, leading me to a
closet, opened a large chest and said to me, "See what is herein;" and
I looked and behold, it was full of kerchiefs. Quoth she, "This is the
money I had from thee and every kerchief thou gavest me, containing
fifty dinars, I wrapped up and cast into this chest; so now take thine
own, for it returns to thee, and this day thou art become of high
estate. Fortune and Fate afflicted thee so that thou didst lose thy
right hand for my sake; and I can never requite thee; nay, although I
gave my life 'twere but little and I should still remain thy debtor."
Then she added, "Take charge of thy property."; so I transferred the
contents of her chest to my chest, and added my wealth to her wealth
which I had given her, and my heart was eased and my sorrow ceased. I
stood up and kissed her and thanked her; and she said, "Thou hast given
thy hand for love of me and how am I able to give thee an equivalent?
By Allah, if I offered my life for thy love, it were indeed but little
and would not do justice to thy claim upon me." Then she made over to
me by deed all that she possessed in clothes and ornaments of gold and
pearls, and goods and farms and chattels, and lay not down to sleep
that night, being sorely grieved for my grief, till I told her the
whole of what had befallen me. I passed the night with her. But before
we had lived together a month's time she fell sorely sick and illness
increased upon her, by reason of her grief for the loss of my hand, and
she endured but fifty days before she was numbered among the folk of
futurity and heirs of immortality. So I laid her out and buried her
body in mother earth and let make a pious perfection of the
Koran[FN#552] for the health of her soul, and gave much money in alms
for her; after which I turned me from the grave and returned to the
house. There I found that she had left much substance in ready money
and slaves, mansions, lands and domains, and among her store houses was
a granary of sesame seed, whereof I sold part to thee; and I had
neither time nor inclination to take count with thee till I had sold
the rest of the stock in store; nor, indeed, even now have I made an
end of receiving the price. So I desire thou baulk me not in what I am
about to say to thee: twice have I eaten of thy food and I wish to give
thee as a present the monies for the sesame which are by thee. Such is
the cause of the cutting off my right hand and my eating with my left."
"Indeed," said I, "thou hast shown me the utmost kindness and
liberality." Then he asked me, "Why shouldst thou not travel with me to
my native country whither I am about to return with Cairene and
Alexandrian stuffs? Say me, wilt thou accompany me?"; and I answered "I
will." So I agreed to go with him at the head of the month, and I sold
all I had and bought other merchandise; then we set out and travelled,
I and the young man, to this country of yours, where he sold his
venture and bought other investment of country stuffs and continued his
journey to Egypt But it was my lot to abide here, so that these things
befell me in my strangerhood which befell last night, and is not this
tale, O King of the age, more wondrous and marvellous than the story of
the Hunchback? "Not so," quoth the King, "I cannot accept it: there is
no help for it but that you be hanged, every one of you."—And Shahrazad
perceived the dawn of day, and ceased saying her permitted say.

             When it was the Twenty-seventh Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the King of
China declared "There is no help for it but that you be hanged," the
Reeve of the Sultan's Kitchen came forward and said, "If thou permit me
I will tell thee a tale of what befell me just before I found this
Gobbo, and, if it be more wondrous than his story, do thou grant us our
lives." And when the King answered "Yes" he began to recount

The Reeve's Tale.

Know, O King, that last night I was at a party where they made a
perfection of the Koran and got together doctors of law and religion
skilled in recitation and intoning; and, when the readers ended, the
table was spread and amongst other things they set before us was a
marinated ragout[FN#553] flavoured with cumin seed. So we sat down, but
one of our number held back and refused to touch it. We conjured him to
eat of it but he swore he would not; and, when we again pressed him, he
said, "Be not instant with me; sufficeth me that which hath already
befallen me through eating it", and he began reciting:

"Shoulder thy tray and go straight to thy goal; * And, if suit thee
this Kohl why,-use this Kohl!"[FN#554]

When he ended his verse we said to him, "Allah upon thee, tell us thy
reason for refusing to eat of the cumin ragout?" `'If so it be," he
replied, "and needs must I eat of it, I will not do so except I wash my
hand forty times with soap, forty times with potash and forty times
with galangale,[FN#555] the total being one hundred and twenty
washings." Thereupon the hospitable host bade his slaves bring water
and whatso he required; and the young man washed his hand as afore
mentioned. Then he sat down, as if disgusted and frightened withal, and
dipping his hand in the ragout, began eating and at the same time
showing signs of anger. And we wondered at him with extreme wonderment,
for his hand trembled and the morsel in it shook and we saw that his
thumb had been cut off and he ate with his four fingers only. So we
said to him, "Allah upon thee, what happened to thy thumb? Is thy hand
thus by the creation of God or hath some accident befallen it?" "O my
brothers," he answered, "it is not only thus with this thumb, but also
with my other thumb and with both my great toes, as you shall see." So
saying he uncovered his left hand and his feet, and we saw that the
left hand was even as the right and in like manner that each of his
feet lacked its great toe. When we saw him after this fashion, our
amazement waxed still greater and we said to him, "We have hardly
patience enough to await thy history and to hear the manner of the
cutting off of thy thumbs, and the reason of thy washing both hands one
hundred and twenty times." Know then, said he, that my father was chief
of the merchants and the wealthiest of them all in Baghdad city during
the reign of the Caliph Harun al Rashid; and he was much given to wine
drinking and listening to the lute and the other instruments of
pleasaunce; so that when he died he left nothing. I buried him and had
perlections of the Koran made for him, and mourned for him days and
nights: then I opened his shop and found that he had left in it few
goods, while his debts were many. However I compounded with his
creditors for time to settle their demands and betook myself to buying
and selling, paying them something from week to week on account; and I
gave not over doing this till I had cleared off his obligations in full
and began adding to my principal. One day, as I sat in my shop,
suddenly and unexpectedly there appeared before me a young lady, than
whom I never saw a fairer, wearing the richest raiment and ornaments
and riding a she mule, with one negro slave walking before her and
another behind her. She drew rein at the head of the exchange bazaar
and entered followed by an eunuch who said to her, "O my lady come out
and away without telling anyone, lest thou light a fire which will burn
us all up." Moreover he stood before her guarding her from view whilst
she looked at the merchants' shops. She found none open but mine; so
she came up with the eunuch behind her and sitting down in my shop
saluted me; never heard I aught fairer than her speech or sweeter than
her voice. Then she unveiled her face, and I saw that she was like the
moon and I stole a glance at her whose sight caused me a thousand
sighs, and my heart was captivated with love of her, and I kept looking
again and again upon her face repeating these verses:—

"Say to the charmer in the dove hued veil, * Death would be
     welcome to abate thy bale!
Favour me with thy favours that I live: * See, I stretch forth my
     palm to take thy vail!

When she heard my verse she answered me saying:—

"I've lost all patience by despite of you; * My heart knows
     nothing save love plight to you!
If aught I sight save charms so bright of you; * My parting end
     not in the sight of you!
I swear I'll ne'er forget the right of you; * And fain this
     breast would soar to height of you:
You made me drain the love cup, and I lief * A love cup tender
     for delight of you:
Take this my form where'er you go, and when * You die, entomb
     me in the site of you:
Call on me in my grave, and hear my bones * Sigh their responses
     to the shright of you:
And were I asked 'Of God what wouldst thou see?' * I answer,
     'first His will then Thy decree!'

When she ended her verse she asked me, "O youth, hast thou any fair
stuffs by thee?"; and I answered, "O my lady, thy slave is poor; but
have patience till the merchants open their shops, and I will suit thee
with what thou wilt." Then we sat talking, I and she (and I was drowned
in the sea of her love, dazed in the desert[FN#556] of my passion for
her), till the merchants opened their shops; when I rose and fetched
her all she sought to the tune of five thousand dirhams. She gave the
stuff to the eunuch and, going forth by the door of the Exchange, she
mounted mule and went away, without telling me whence she came, and I
was ashamed to speak of such trifle. When the merchants dunned me for
the price, I made myself answerable for five thousand dirhams and went
home, drunken with the love of her. They set supper before me and I ate
a mouthful, thinking only of her beauty and loveliness, and sought to
sleep, but sleep came not to me. And such was my condition for a whole
week, when the merchants required their monies of me, but I persuaded
them to have patience for another week, at the end of which time she
again appeared mounted on a she mule and attended by her eunuch and two
slaves. She saluted me and said, "O my master, we have been long in
bringing thee the price of the stuffs; but now fetch the Shroff and
take thy monies." So I sent for the money changer and the eunuch
counted out the coin before him and made it over to me. Then we sat
talking, I and she, till the market opened, when she said to me, "Get
me this and that." So I got her from the merchants whatso she wanted,
and she took it and went away without saying a word to me about the
price. As soon as she was out of sight, I repented me of what I had
done; for the worth of the stuffs bought for her amounted to a thousand
dinars, and I said in my soul, "What manner of love is this? She hath
brought me five thousand dirhams, and hath taken goods for a thousand
dinars."[FN#557] I feared lest I should be beggared through having to
pay the merchants their money, and I said, "They know none other but
me; this lovely lady is naught but a cheat and a swindler, who hath
diddled me with her beauty and grace; for she saw that I was a mere
youth and laughed at me for not asking her address." I ceased not to be
troubled by these doubts and fears, as she was absent more than a
month, till the merchants pestered me for their money and were so hard
upon me that I put up my property for sale and stood on the very brink
of ruin. However, as I was sitting in my shop one day, drowned in
melancholy musings, she suddenly rode up and, dismounting at the bazaar
gate, came straight towards me. When I saw her all my cares fell from
me and I forgot every trouble. She came close up to me and greeted me
with her sweet voice and pleasant speech and presently said, "Fetch me
the Shroff and weigh thy money."[FN#558] So she gave me the price of
what goods I had gotten for her and more, and fell to talking freely
with me, till I was like to die of joy and delight. Presently she asked
me, "Hast thou a wife?"; and I answered "No, indeed: I have never known
woman"; and began to shed tears. Quoth she "Why weepest thou?" Quoth I
"It is nothing!" Then giving the eunuch some of the gold pieces, I
begged him to be go between[FN#559] in the matter; but he laughed and
said, "She is more in love with thee than thou with her: she hath no
occasion for the stuffs she hath bought of thee and did all this only
for the love of thee; so ask of her what thou wilt and she will deny
thee nothing." When she saw me giving the dinars to the eunuch, she
returned and sat down again; and I said to her, "Be charitable to thy
slave and pardon him what he is about to say." Then I told her what was
in my mind and she assented and said to the eunuch, "Thou shalt carry
my message to him," adding to me, "And do thou whatso the eunuch
biddeth thee." Then she got up and went away, and I paid the merchants
their monies and they all profited; but as for me, regret at the
breaking off of our intercourse was all my gain; and I slept not the
whole of that night. However, before many days passed her eunuch came
to me, and I entreated him honourably and asked him after his mistress.
"Truly she is sick with love of thee," he replied and I rejoined, "Tell
me who and what she is." Quoth he, "The Lady Zubaydah, queen consort of
Harun al-Rashid, brought her up as a rearling[FN#560] and hath advanced
her to be stewardess of the Harim, and gave her the right of going in
and out of her own sweet will. She spoke to her lady of thee and begged
her to marry her to thee; but she said, 'I will not do this, till I see
the young man; and, if he be worthy of thee, I will marry thee to him.'
So now we look for the moment to smuggle thee into the Palace and if
thou succeed in entering privily thou wilt win thy wish to wed her; but
if the affair get wind, the Lady Zubaydah will strike off thy
head.[FN#561] What sayest thou to this?" I answered, "I will go with
thee and abide the risk whereof thou speakest." Then said he, "As soon
as it is night, go to the Mosque built by the Lady Zubaydah on the
Tigris and pray the night prayers and sleep there." "With love and
gladness," cried I. So at nightfall I repaired to the Mosque, where I
prayed and passed the night. With earliest dawn, behold, came sundry
eunuchs in a skiff with a number of empty chests which they deposited
in the Mosque; then all of them went their ways but one, and looking
curiously at him, I saw he was our go between. Presently in came the
handmaiden, my mistress, walking straight up to us; and I rose to her
and embraced her while she kissed me and shed tears.[FN#562] We talked
awhile; after which she made me get into one of the chests which she
locked upon me. Presently the other eunuchs came back with a quantity
of packages and she fell to stowing them in the chests, which she
locked down, one by one, till all were shut. When all was done the
eunuchs embarked the chests in the boat and made for the Lady
Zubaydah's palace. With this, thought began to beset me and I said to
myself, "Verily thy lust and wantonness will be the death of thee; and
the question is after all shalt thou win to thy wish or not?" And I
began to weep, boxed up as I was in the box and suffering from cramp;
and I prayed Allah that He deliver me from the dangerous strait I was
in, whilst the boat gave not over going on till it reached the Palace
gate where they lifted out the chests and amongst them that in which I
was. Then they carried them in, passing through a troop of eunuchs,
guardians of the Harim and of the ladies behind the curtain, till they
came to the post of the Eunuch in Chief[FN#563] who started up from his
slumbers and shouted to the damsel "What is in those chests?" "They are
full of wares for the Lady Zubaydah!" "Open them, one by one, that I
may see what is in them." "And wherefore wouldst thou open them?" "Give
me no words and exceed not in talk! These chests must and shall be
opened." So saying, he sprang to his feet, and the first which they
brought to him to open was that wherein I was; and, when I felt his
hands upon it, my senses failed me and I bepissed myself in my funk,
the water running out of the box. Then said she to the Eunuch in Chief,
"O steward! thou wilt cause me to be killed and thyself too, for thou
hast damaged goods worth ten thousand dinars. This chest contains
coloured dresses, and four gallon flasks of Zemzem water;[FN#564] and
now one of them hath got unstoppered and the water is running out over
the clothes and it will spoil their colours." The eunuch answered,
"Take up thy boxes and get thee gone to the curse of God!" So the
slaves carried off all the chests, including mine; and hastened on with
them till suddenly I heard the voice of one saying, "Alack, and alack!
the Caliph! the Caliph !" When that cry struck mine ears I died in my
skin and said a saying which never yet shamed the sayer, "There is no
Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great! I
and only I have brought this calamity upon myself." Presently I heard
the Caliph say to my mistress, "A plague on thee, what is in those
boxes?"; and she answered, "Dresses for the Lady Zubaydah";[FN#565]
whereupon he, "Open them before me!" When I heard this I died my death
outright and said to myself, "By Allah, today is the very last of my
days in this world: if I come safe out of this I am to marry her and no
more words, but detection stares me in the face and my head is as good
as stricken off." Then I repeated the profession of Faith, saying,
"There is no god but the God, and Mohammed is the Apostle of God!"—And
Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted

              When it was the Twenty-eighth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the young
merchant continued as follows: Now when I testified, "I bear witness
that there is no god save the God," I heard my mistress the handmaid
declare to the Caliph, "These chests, O Commander of the Faithful, have
been committed to my charge by the Lady Zubaydah, and she doth not wish
their contents to be seen by any one." "No matter!" quoth the Caliph,
"needs must they be opened, I will see what is in them"; and he cried
aloud to the eunuchs, "Bring the chests here before me." At this I made
sure of death (without benefit of a doubt) and swooned away. Then the
eunuchs brought the chests up to him one after another and he fell to
inspecting the contents, but he saw in them only otters and stuffs and
fine dresses; and they ceased not opening the chests and he ceased not
looking to see what was in them, finding only clothes and such matters,
till none remained unopened but the box in which I was boxed. They put
forth their hands to open it, but my mistress the handmaid made haste
and said to the Caliph, "This one thou shalt see only in the presence
of the Lady Zubaydah, for that which is in it is her secret." When he
heard this he gave orders to carry in the chests; so they took up that
wherein I was and bore it with the rest into the Harim and set it down
in the midst of the saloon; and indeed my spittle was dried up for very
fear.[FN#566] Then my mistress opened the box and took me out, saying,
"Fear not: no harm shall betide thee now nor dread; but broaden thy
breast and strengthen thy heart and sit thee down till the Lady
Zubaydah come, and surely thou shalt win thy wish of me." So I sat down
and, after a while, in came ten hand maidens, virgins like moons, and
ranged themselves in two rows, five facing five; and after them twenty
other damsels, high bosomed virginity, surrounding the Lady Zubaydah
who could hardly walk for the weight of her raiment and ornaments. As
she drew near, the slave girls dispersed from around her, and I
advanced and kissed the ground between her hands. She signed to me to
sit and, when I sat down before her chair, she began questioning me of
my forbears and family and condition, to which I made such answers that
pleased her, and she said to my mistress, "Our nurturing of thee, O
damsel, hath not disappointed us." Then she said to me, "Know that this
handmaiden is to us even as our own child and she is a trust committed
to thee by Allah." I again kissed the ground before her, well pleased
that I should marry my mistress, and she bade me abide ten days in the
palace. So I abode there ten days, during which time I saw not my
mistress nor anybody save one of the concubines, who brought me the
morning and evening meals. After this the Lady Zubaydah took counsel
with the Caliph on the marriage of her favourite handmaid, and he gave
leave and assigned to her a wedding portion of ten thousand gold
pieces. So the Lady Zubaydah sent for the Kazi and witnesses who wrote
our marriage contract, after which the women made ready sweetmeats and
rich viands and distributed them among all the Odahs[FN#567] of the
Harim. Thus they did other ten days, at the end of which time my
mistress went to the baths.[FN#568] Meanwhile, they set before me a
tray of food where on were various meats and among those dishes, which
were enough to daze the wits, was a bowl of cumin ragout containing
chickens breasts, fricandoed[FN#569] and flavoured with sugar,
pistachios, musk and rose water. Then, by Allah, fair sirs, I did not
long hesitate; but took my seat before the ragout and fell to and ate
of it till I could no more. After this I wiped my hands, but forgot to
wash them; and sat till it grew dark, when the wax candles were lighted
and the singing women came in with their tambourines and proceeded to
display the bride in various dresses and to carry her in procession
from room to room all round the palace, getting their palms crossed
with gold. Then they brought her to me and disrobed her. When I found
myself alone with her on the bed I embraced her, hardly believing in
our union; but she smelt the strong odours of the ragout upon my hands
and forth with cried out with an exceeding loud cry, at which the slave
girls came running to her from all sides. I trembled with alarm,
unknowing what was the matter, and the girls asked her, "What aileth
thee, O our sister?" She answered them, "Take this mad man away from
me: I had thought he was a man of sense!" Quoth I to her, "What makes
thee think me mad?" Quoth she, "Thou madman' what made thee eat of
cumin ragout and forget to wash thy hand? By Allah, I will requite thee
for thy misconduct. Shall the like of thee come to bed with the like of
me with unclean hands?"[FN#570] Then she took from her side a plaited
scourge and came down with it on my back and the place where I sit till
her forearms were benumbed and I fainted away from the much beating;
when she said to the handmaids, "Take him and carry him to the Chief of
Police, that he may strike off the hand wherewith he ate of the cumin
ragout, and which he did not wash." When I heard this I said, "There is
no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah! Wilt thou cut off my
hand, because I ate of a cumin ragout and did not wash?" The
handmaidens also interceded with her and kissed her hand saying, "O our
sister, this man is a simpleton, punish him not for what he hath done
this nonce;" but she answered, "By Allah, there is no help but that I
dock him of somewhat, especially the offending member." Then she went
away and I saw no more of her for ten days, during which time she sent
me meat and drink by a slave girl who told me that she had fallen sick
from the smell of the cumin ragout. After that time she came to me and
said, "O black of face![FN#571] I will teach thee how to eat cumin
ragout without washing thy hands!" Then she cried out to the handmaids,
who pinioned me; and she took a sharp razor and cut off my thumbs and
great toes; even as you see, O fair assembly! Thereupon I swooned away,
and she sprinkled some powder of healing herbs upon the stumps and when
the blood was stanched, I said, "Never again will I eat of cumin ragout
without washing my hands forty times with potash and forty times with
galangale and forty times with soap!" And she took of me an oath and
bound me by a covenant to that effect. When, therefore, you brought me
the cumin ragout my colour changed and I said to myself, "It was this
very dish that caused the cutting off of my thumbs and great toes;"
and, when you forced me, I said, "Needs must I fulfil the oath I have
sworn." "And what befell thee after this?" asked those present; and he
answered, "When I swore to her, her anger was appeased and I slept with
her that night. We abode thus awhile till she said to me one day,
"Verily the Palace of the Caliph is not a pleasant place for us to live
in, and none ever entered it save thyself; and thou only by grace of
the Lady Zubaydah. Now she hath given me fifty thousand dinars,"
adding, "Take this money and go out and buy us a fair dwelling house."
So I fared forth and bought a fine and spacious mansion, whither she
removed all the wealth she owned and what riches I had gained in stuffs
and costly rarities. Such is the cause of the cutting off of my thumbs
and great toes. We ate (continued the Reeve), and were returning to our
homes when there befell me with the Hunchback that thou wottest of.
This then is my story, and peace be with thee! Quoth the King; "This
story is on no wise more delectable than the story of the Hunchback;
nay, it is even less so, and there is no help for the hanging of the
whole of you." Then came forward the Jewish physician and kissing the
ground said, "O King of the age, I will tell thee an history more
wonderful than that of the Hunchback." "Tell on," said the King of
China; so he began the

Tale of the Jewish Doctor.

Right marvellous was a matter which came to pass to me in my youth. I
lived in Damascus of Syria studying my art and, one day, as I was
sitting at home behold, there came to me a Mameluke from the household
of the Sahib and said to me, "Speak with my lord!" So I followed him to
the Viceroy's house and, entering the great hall, saw at its head a
couch of cedar plated with gold whereon lay a sickly youth beautiful
withal; fairer than he one could not see. I sat down by his head and
prayed to Heaven for a cure; and he made me a sign with his eyes, so I
said to him, "O my lord! favour me with thy hand, and safety be with
thee!"[FN#572] Then he put forth his left hand and I marvelled thereat
and said, "By Allah, strange that this handsome youth, the son of a
great house, should so lack good manners. This can be nothing but pride
and conceit!" However I felt his pulse and wrote him a prescription and
continued to visit him for ten days, at the end of which time he
recovered and went to the Hammam,[FN#573] whereupon the Viceroy gave me
a handsome dress of honour and appointed me superintendent of the
hospital which is in Damascus.[FN#574] I accompanied him to the baths,
the whole of which they had kept private for his accommodation; and the
servants came in with him and took off his clothes within the bath, and
when he was stripped I saw that his right hand had been newly cut off,
and this was the cause of his weakliness. At this I was amazed and
grieved for him: then, looking at his body, I saw on it the scars of
scourge stripes whereto he had applied unguents. I was troubled at the
sight and my concern appeared in my face. The young man looked at me
and, comprehending the matter, said, "O Physician of the age, marvel
not at my case; I will tell thee my story as soon as we quit the
baths." Then we washed and, returning to his house, ate somewhat of
food and took rest awhile; after which he asked me, "What sayest thou
to solacing thee by inspecting the supper hall?"; and I answered "So
let it be." Thereupon he ordered the slaves to carry out the carpets
and cushions required and roast a lamb and bring us some fruit. They
did his bidding and we ate together, he using the left hand for the
purpose. After a while I said to him, "Now tell me thy tale." "O
Physician of the age," replied he, "hear what befell me. Know that I am
of the sons of Mosul, where my grandfather died leaving nine children
of whom my father was the eldest. All grew up and took to them wives,
but none of them was blessed with offspring except my father, to whom
Providence vouchsafed me. So I grew up amongst my uncles who rejoiced
in me with exceeding joy, till I came to man's estate. One day which
happened to be a Friday, I went to the Cathedral mosque of Mosul with
my father and my uncles, and we prayed the congregational prayers,
after which the folk went forth, except my father and uncles, who sat
talking of wondrous things in foreign parts and the marvellous sights
of strange cities. At last they mentioned Egypt, and one of my uncles
said, "Travellers tell us that there is not on earth's face aught
fairer than Cairo and her Nile;" and these words made me long to see
Cairo. Quoth my father, "Whoso hath not seen Cairo hath not seen the
world. Her dust is golden and her Nile a miracle holden; and her women
are as Houris fair; puppets, beautiful pictures; her houses are palaces
rare; her water is sweet and light[FN#575] and her mud a commodity and
a medicine beyond compare, even as said the poet in this his poetry:—

The Nile[FN#576] flood this day is the gain you own; * You alone
     in such gain and bounties wone:
The Nile is my tear flood of severance, * And here none is
     forlorn but I alone.

Moreover temperate is her air, and with fragrance blent, Which
surpasseth aloes wood in scent; and how should it be otherwise, she
being the Mother of the World? And Allah favour him who wrote these

An I quit Cairo and her pleasaunces, * Where can I wend to find
     so gladsome ways?
Shall I desert that site, whose grateful scents * Joy every soul
     and call for loudest praise?
Where every palace, as another Eden, * Carpets and cushions
     richly wrought displays;
A city wooing sight and sprite to glee, * Where Saint meets
     Sinner and each 'joys his craze;
Where friend meets friend, by Providence united * In greeny
     garden and in palmy maze:
People of Cairo, and by Allah's doom * I fare, with you in
     thoughts I wone always!
Whisper not Cairo in the ear of Zephyr, * Lest for her like of
     garden scents he reave her,[FN#577]

And if your eyes saw her earth, and the adornment thereof with bloom,
and the purfling of it with all manner blossoms, and the islands of the
Nile and how much is therein of wide spread and goodly prospect, and if
you bent your sight upon the Abyssinian Pond,[FN#578] your glance would
not revert from the scene quit of wonder; for nowhere would you behold
the fellow of that lovely view; and, indeed, the two arms of the Nile
embrace most luxuriant verdure,[FN#579] as the white of the eye
encompasseth its black or like filigreed silver surrounding
chrysolites. And divinely gifted was the poet who there anent said
these couplets:—

By th' Abyssinian Pond, O day divine!* In morning twilight and
     in sunny shine:
The water prisoned in its verdurous walls, * Like sabre flashes
     before shrinking eyne:
And in The Garden sat we while it drains * Slow draught, with
     purfled sides dyed finest fine:
The stream is rippled by the hands of clouds; * We too,
     a-rippling, on our rugs recline,
Passing pure wine, and whoso leaves us there * Shall ne'er arise
     from fall his woes design:
Draining long draughts from large and brimming bowls, *
     Administ'ring thirst's only medicine—wine.

And what is there to compare with the Rasad, the Observatory, and its
charms whereof every viewer as he approacheth saith, 'Verily this spot
is specialised with all manner of excellence!' And if thou speak of the
Night of Nile full,[FN#580] give the rainbow and distribute it![FN#581]
And if thou behold The Garden at eventide, with the cool shades sloping
far and wide, a marvel thou wouldst see and wouldst incline to Egypt in
ecstasy. And wert thou by Cairo's river side,[FN#582] when the sun is
sinking and the stream dons mail coat and habergeon[FN#583] over its
other vestments, thou wouldst be quickened to new life by its gentle
zephyrs and by its all sufficient shade." So spake he and the rest fell
to describing Egypt and her Nile. As I heard their accounts, my
thoughts dwelt upon the subject and when, after talking their fill, all
arose and went their ways, I lay down to sleep that night, but sleep
came not because of my violent longing for Egypt; and neither meat
pleased me nor drink. After a few days my uncles equipped themselves
for a trade journey to Egypt; and I wept before my father till he made
ready for me fitting merchandise, and he consented to my going with
them, saying however, "Let him not enter Cairo, but leave him to sell
his wares at Damascus." So I took leave of my father and we fared forth
from Mosul and gave not over travelling till we reached Aleppo[FN#584]
where we halted certain days. Then we marched onwards till we made
Damascus and we found her a city as though she were a Paradise,
abounding in trees and streams and birds and fruits of all kinds. We
alighted at one of the Khans, where my uncles tarried awhile selling
and buying; and they bought and sold also on my account, each dirham
turning a profit of five on prime cost, which pleased me mightily.
After this they left me alone and set their faces Egyptwards; whilst I
abode at Damascus, where I had hired from a jeweller, for two dinars a
month, a mansion[FN#585] whose beauties would beggar the tongue. Here I
remained, eating and drinking and spending what monies I had in hand
till, one day, as I was sitting at the door of my house be hold, there
came up a young lady clad in costliest raiment never saw my eyes
richer. I winked[FN#5886 at her and she stepped inside without
hesitation and stood within. I entered with her and shut the door upon
myself and her; whereupon she raised her face veil and threw off her
mantilla, when I found her like a pictured moon of rare and marvellous
loveliness; and love of her gat hold of my heart. So I rose and brought
a tray of the most delicate eatables and fruits and whatso befitted the
occasion, and we ate and played and after that we drank till the wine
turned our heads. Then I lay with her the sweetest of nights and in the
morning I offered her ten gold pieces; when her face lowered and her
eye brows wrinkled and shaking with wrath she cried, "Fie upon thee, O
my sweet companion! dost thou deem that I covet thy money?" Then she
took out from the bosom of her shift[FN#587] fifteen dinars and, laying
them before me, said, "By Allah! unless thou take them I will never
come back to thee." So I accepted them and she said to me, "O my
beloved! expect me again in three days' time, when I will be with thee
between sunset and supper tide; and do thou prepare for us with these
dinars the same entertainment as yesternight." So saying, she took
leave of me and went away and all my senses went with her. On the third
day she came again, clad in stuff weft with gold wire, and wearing
raiment and ornaments finer than before. I had prepared the place for
her ere she arrived and the repast was ready; so we ate and drank and
lay together, as we had done, till the morning, when she gave me other
fifteen gold pieces and promised to come again after three days.
Accordingly, I made ready for her and, at the appointed time, she
presented herself more richly dressed than on the first and second
occasions, and said to me, "O my lord, am I not beautiful?" "Yea, by
Allah thou art!" answered I, and she went on, "Wilt thou allow me to
bring with me a young lady fairer than I, and younger in years, that
she may play with us and thou and she may laugh and make merry and
rejoice her heart, for she hath been very sad this long time past, and
hath asked me to take her out and let her spend the night abroad with
me?" "Yea, by Allah!" I replied; and we drank till the wine turned our
heads and slept till the morning, when she gave me other fifteen
dinars, saying, "Add something to thy usual provision on account of the
young lady who will come with me." Then she went away, and on the
fourth day I made ready the house as usual, and soon after sunset
behold, she came, accompanied by another damsel carefully wrapped in
her mantilla. They entered and sat down; and when I saw them I repeated
these verses:—

"How dear is our day and how lucky our lot, * When the cynic's
     away with his tongue malign!
When love and delight and the swimming of head * Send
     cleverness trotting, the best boon of wine.
When the full moon shines from the cloudy veil, * And the
     branchlet sways in her greens that shine:
When the red rose mantles in freshest cheek, * And
     Narcissus[FN#588] opeth his love sick eyne:
When pleasure with those I love is so sweet, * When friendship
     with those I love is complete!"

I rejoiced to see them, and lighted the candles after receiving them
with gladness and delight. They doffed their heavy outer dresses and
the new damsel uncovered her face when I saw that she was like the moon
at its full never beheld I aught more beautiful. Then I rose and set
meat and drink before them, and we ate and drank; and I kept giving
mouthfuls to the new comer, crowning her cup and drinking with her till
the first damsel, waxing inwardly jealous, asked me, "By Allah, is she
not more delicious than I?"; whereto I answered, "Ay, by the Lord!" "It
is my wish that thou lie with her this night; for I am thy mistress but
she is our visitor. Upon my head be it, and my eyes." Then she rose and
spread the carpets for our bed[FN#589] and I took the young lady and
lay with her that night till morning, when I awoke and found myself
wet, as I thought, with sweat. I sat up and tried to arouse the damsel;
but when I shook her by the shoulders my hand became crimson with blood
and her head rolled off the pillow. Thereupon my senses fled and I
cried aloud, saying, "O All powerful Protector, grant me Thy
protection!" Then finding her neck had been severed, I sprung up and
the world waxed black before my eyes, and I looked for the lady, my
former love, but could not find her. So I knew that it was she who had
murdered the damsel in her jealousy,[FN#590] and said, "There is no
Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great!
What is to be done now?" I considered awhile then, doffing my clothes,
dug a hole in the middle of the court yard, wherein I laid the murdered
girl with her jewellery and golden ornaments; and, throwing back the
earth on her, replaced the slabs of the marble[FN#591] pavement. After
this I made the Ghusl or total ablution,[FN#592] and put on pure
clothes; then, taking what money I had left, locked up the house and
summoned courage and went to its owner to whom I paid a year's rent,
saying, "I am about to join my uncles in Cairo." Presently I set out
and, journeying to Egypt, foregathered with my uncles who rejoiced in
me, and I found that they had made an end of selling their merchandise.
They asked me, "What is the cause of thy coming?"; and I answered "I
longed for a sight of you;" but did not let them know that I had any
money with me. I abode with them a year, enjoying the pleasures of
Cairo and her Nile,[FN#593] and squandering the rest of my money in
feasting and carousing till the time drew near for the departure of my
uncles, when I fled from them and hid myself. They made enquiries and
sought for me, but hearing no tidings they said, "He will have gone
back to Damascus." When they departed I came forth from my hiding place
and abode in Cairo three years, until naught remained of my money. Now
every year I used to send the rent of the Damascus house to its owner,
until at last I had nothing left but enough to pay him for one year's
rent and my breast was straitened. So I travelled to Damascus and
alighted at the house whose owner, the jeweller, was glad to see me and
I found everything locked up as I had left it. I opened the closets and
took out my clothes and necessaries and came upon, beneath the carpet
bed whereon I had lain that night with the girl who had been beheaded,
a golden necklace set with ten gems of passing beauty. I took it up
and, cleansing it of the blood, sat gazing upon it and wept awhile.
Then I abode in the house two days and on the third I entered the
Hammam and changed my clothes. I had no money by me now; so Satan
whispered temptation to me that the Decree of Destiny be carried out.
Next day I took the jewelled necklace to the bazaar and handed it to a
broker who made me sit down in the shop of the jeweller, my landlord,
and bade me have patience till the market was full,[FN#594] when he
carried off the ornament and proclaimed it for sale, privily and
without my knowledge. The necklet was priced as worth two thousand
dinars, but the broker returned to me and said, "This collar is of
copper, a mere counterfeit after the fashion of the Franks[FN#595] and
a thousand dirhams have been bidden for it." "Yes," I answered, "I knew
it to be copper, as we had it made for a certain person that we might
mock her: now my wife hath inherited it and we wish to sell it; so go
and take over the thousand dirhams."—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn
of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

              When it was the Twenty-ninth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the beautiful
youth said to the broker, "Take over the thousand dirhams;" and when
the broker heard this, he knew that the case was suspicious. So he
carried the collar to the Syndic of the bazaar, and the Syndic took it
to the Governor who was also prefect of police, and said to him falsely
enough, "This necklet was stolen from my house, and we have found the
thief in traders' dress." So before I was aware of it the watch got
round me and, making me their prisoner, carried me before the Governor
who questioned me of the collar. I told him the tale I had told to the
broker; but he laughed and said, "These words are not true." Then,
before I knew what was doing, the guard stripped off my clothes and
came down with palm rods upon my ribs, till for the smart of the stick
I confessed, "It was I who stole it;" saying to myself, "'Tis better
for thee to say, I stole it, than to let them know that its owner was
murdered in thy house, for then would they slay thee to avenge her." So
they wrote down that I had stolen it and they cut off my hand and
scalded the stump in oil,[FN#596] when I swooned away for pain; but
they gave me wine to drink and I recovered and, taking up my hand, was
going to my fine house, when my landlord said to me, "Inasmuch, O my
son, as this hath befallen thee, thou must leave my house and look out
for another lodging for thee, since thou art convicted of theft. Thou
art a handsome youth, but who will pity thee after this?" "O my master"
said I, "bear with me but two days or three, till I find me another
place." He answered, "So be it." and went away and left me. I returned
to the house where I sat weeping and saying, How shall I go back to my
own people with my hand lopped off and they know not that I am
innocent? Perchance even after this Allah may order some matter for
me." And I wept with exceeding weeping, grief beset me and I remained
in sore trouble for two days; but on the third day my landlord came
suddenly in to me, and with him some of the guard and the Syndic of the
bazaar, who had falsely charged me with stealing the necklet. I went up
to them and asked, "What is the matter?" however, they pinioned me with
out further parley and threw a chain about my neck, saying, "The
necklet which was with thee hath proved to be the property of the Wazir
of Damascus who is also her Viceroy;" and they added, "It was missing
from his house three years ago at the same time as his younger
daughter." When I heard these words, my heart sank within me and I said
to myself, "Thy life is gone beyond a doubt! By Allah, needs must I
tell the Chief my story; and, if he will, let him kill me, and if he
please, let him pardon me." So they carried me to the Wazir's house and
made me stand between his hands. When he saw me, he glanced at me out
of the corner of his eye and said to those present, "Why did ye lop off
his hand? This man is unfortunate, and there is no fault in him; indeed
ye have wronged him in cutting off his hand." When I heard this, I took
heart and, my soul presaging good, I said to him, "By Allah, O my lord,
I am no thief; but they calumniated me with a vile calumny, and they
scourged me midmost the market, bidding me confess till, for the pain
of the rods, I lied against myself and confessed the theft, albeit I am
altogether innocent of it." "Fear not," quoth the Viceroy, "no harm
shall come to thee." Then he ordered the Syndic of the bazaar to be
imprisoned and said to him, "Give this man the blood money for his
hand; and, if thou delay I will hang thee and seize all thy property."
Moreover he called to his guards who took him and dragged him away,
leaving me with the Chief. Then they loosed by his command the chain
from my neck and unbound my arms; and he looked at me, and said, "O my
son, be true with me, and tell me how this necklace came to thee." And
he repeated these verses:—

"Truth best befits thee, albeit truth * Shall bring thee to burn on the
threatened fire."

"By Allah, O my lord," answered I, "I will tell thee nothing but the
truth." Then I related to him all that had passed between me and the
first lady, and how she had brought me the second and had slain her out
of jealousy, and I detailed for him the tale to its full. When he heard
my story, he shook his head and struck his right hand upon the
left,[FN#597] and putting his kerchief over his face wept awhile and
then repeated:—

"I see the woes of the world abound, * And worldings sick with
     spleen and teen;
There's One who the meeting of two shall part, * And who part not
     are few and far between!"

Then he turned to me and said, "Know, O my son, that the elder damsel
who first came to thee was my daughter whom I used to keep closely
guarded. When she grew up, I sent her to Cairo and married her to her
cousin, my brother's son. After a while he died and she came back: but
she had learnt wantonness and ungraciousness from the people of
Cairo;[FN#598] so she visited thee four times and at last brought her
younger sister. Now they were sisters-german and much attached to each
other; and, when that adventure happened to the elder, she disclosed
her secret to her sister who desired to go out with her. So she asked
thy leave and carried her to thee; after which she returned alone and,
finding her weeping, I questioned her of her sister, but she said, 'I
know nothing of her.' However, she presently told her mother privily of
what had happened and how she had cut off her sister's head and her
mother told me. Then she ceased not to weep and say, 'By Allah! I shall
cry for her till I die.' Nor did she give over mourning till her heart
broke and she died; and things fell out after that fashion. See then, O
my son, what hath come to pass; and now I desire thee not to thwart me
in what I am about to offer thee, and it is that I purpose to marry
thee to my youngest daughter; for she is a virgin and born of another
mother;[FN#599] and I will take no dower of thee but, on the contrary,
will appoint thee an allowance, and thou shalt abide with me in my
house in the stead of my son." "So be it," I answered, "and how could I
hope for such good fortune?" Then he sent at once for the Kazi and
witnesses, and let write my marriage contract with his daughter and I
went in to her. Moreover, he got me from the Syndic of the bazaar a
large sum of money and I became in high favour with him. During this
year news came to me that my father was dead and the Wazir despatched a
courier, with letters bearing the royal sign manual, to fetch me the
money which my father had left behind him, and now I am living in all
the solace of life. Such was the manner of the cutting off my right
hand." I marvelled at his story (continued the Jew), and I abode with
him three days after which he gave me much wealth, and I set out and
travelled Eastward till I reached this your city and the sojourn suited
me right well; so I took up my abode here and there befell me what thou
knowest with the Hunchback. There upon the King of China shook his
head[FN#600] and said, "This story of thine is not stranger and more
wondrous and marvellous and delectable than the tale of the Hunchback;
and so needs must I hang the whole number of you. However there yet
remains the Tailor who is the head of all the offence;" and he added,
"O Tailor, if thou canst tell me any thing more wonderful than the
story of the Hunchback, I will pardon you all your offences." Thereupon
the man came forward and began to tell the

Tale of the Tailor.

Know, O King of the age, that most marvellous was that which befell me
but yesterday, before I foregathered with the Hunch back. It so chanced
that in the early day I was at the marriage feast of one of my
companions, who had gotten together in his house some twenty of the
handicraftsmen of this city, amongst them tailors and silk spinners and
carpenters and others of the same kidney. As soon as the sun had risen,
they set food[FN#601] before us that we might eat when behold, the
master of the house entered, and with him a foreign youth and a well
favoured of the people of Baghdad, wearing clothes as handsome as
handsome could be; and he was of right comely presence save that he was
lame of one leg. He came and saluted us and we stood up to receive him;
but when he was about to sit down he espied amongst us a certain man
which was a Barber; whereupon he refused to be seated and would have
gone away. But we stopped him and our host also stayed him, making oath
that he should not leave us and asked him, "What is the reason of thy
coming in and going out again at once?"; whereto he answered, "By
Allah, O my lord, do not hinder me; for the cause of my turning back is
yon Barber of bad omen,[FN#602] yon black o'face, yon ne'er do well!"
When the housemaster heard these words he marvelled with extreme marvel
and said, "How cometh this young man, who haileth from Baghdad, to be
so troubled and perplexed about this Barber?" Then we looked at the
stranger and said, "Explain the cause of thine anger against the
Barber." "O fair company," quoth the youth, "there befell me a strange
adventure with this Barber in Baghdad (which is my native city); he was
the cause of the breaking of my leg and of my lameness, and I have
sworn never to sit in the same place with him, nor even tarry in any
town where he happens to abide; and I have bidden adieu to Baghdad and
travelled far from it and came to stay in this your city; yet I have
hardly passed one night before I meet him again. But not another day
shall go by ere I fare forth from here." Said we to him, "Allah upon
thee, tell us the tale;" and the youth replied (the Barber changing
colour from brown to yellow as he spoke): Know, O fair company, that my
father was one of the chief merchants of Baghdad, and Almighty Allah
had blessed him with no son but myself. When I grew up and reached
man's estate, my father was received into the mercy of Allah (whose
Name be exalted!) and left me money and eunuchs, servants and slaves;
and I used to dress well and diet well. Now Allah had made me a hater
of women kind and one day, as I was walking along a street in Baghdad,
a party of females met me face to face in the footway; so I fled from
them and, entering an alley which was no thoroughfare, sat down upon a
stone bench at its other end. I had not sat there long before the
latticed window of one of the houses opposite was thrown open, and
there appeared at it a young lady, as she were the full moon at its
fullest; never in my life saw I her like; and she began to water some
flowers on the window sill.[FN#603] She turned right and left and,
seeing me watching her, shut the window and went away. Thereupon fire
was suddenly enkindled in my heart; my mind was possessed with her and
my woman hate turned to woman love. I continued sitting there, lost to
the world, till sunset when lo! the Kazi of the city came riding by
with his slaves before him and his eunuchs behind him, and dismounting
entered the house in which the damsel had appeared. By this I knew that
he was her father; so I went home sorrowful and cast myself upon my
carpet bed in grief. Then my handmaids flocked in and sat about me,
unknowing what ailed me; but I addressed no speech to them, and they
wept and wailed over me. Presently in came an old woman who looked at
me and saw with a glance what was the matter with me: so she by my head
spoke me fair, saying, "O my son, tell me all about it and I will be
the means of thy union with her."[FN#604] So I related to her what had
happened and she answered, "O my son, this one is the daughter of the
Kazi of Baghdad who keepeth her in the closest seclusion; and the
window where thou sawest her is her floor, whilst her father occupies
the large saloon in the lower story. She is often there alone and I am
wont to visit at the house; so thou shalt not win to her save through
me. Now set thy wits to work and be of good cheer." With these words
she went away and I took heart at what she said and my people rejoiced
that day, seeing me rise in the morning safe and sound. By and by the
old woman returned looking chopfallen,[FN#605] and said, "O my son, do
not ask me how I fared with her! When I told her that, she cried at me,
'If thou hold not thy peace, O hag of ill omen, and leave not such
talk, I will entreat thee as thou deservest and do thee die by the
foulest of deaths.' But needs must I have at her a second
time."[FN#606] When I heard this it added ailment to my ailment and the
neighbours visited me and judged that I was not long for this world;
but after some days, the old woman came to me and, putting her mouth
close to my ear, whispered, "O my son; I claim from thee the gift of
good news." With this my soul returned to me and I said, "Whatever thou
wilt shall be thine." Thereupon she began, "Yesterday I went to the
young lady who, seeing me broken in spirit and shedding tears from
reddened eyes, asked me, 'O naunty[FN#607] mine, what ails thee, that I
see thy breast so straitened?'; and I answered her, weeping bitterly,
'O my lady, I am just come from the house of a youth who loves thee and
who is about to die for sake of thee!' Quoth she (and her heart was
softened), 'And who is this youth of whom thou speakest?'; and quoth I,
'He is to me as a son and the fruit of my vitals. He saw thee, some
days ago, at the window watering thy flowers and espying thy face and
wrists he fell in love at first sight. I let him know what happened to
me the last time I was with thee, whereupon his ailment increased, he
took to the pillow and he is naught now but a dead man, and no doubt
what ever of it.' At this she turned pale and asked, 'All this for my
sake?'; and I answered, 'Ay, by Allah![FN#608] what wouldst thou have
me do?' Said she, 'Go back to him and greet him for me and tell him
that I am twice more heartsick than he is. And on Friday, before the
hour of public prayer, bid him here to the house, and I will come down
and open the door for him. Then I will carry him up to my chamber and
foregather with him for a while, and let him depart before my father
return from the Mosque.'" When I heard the old woman's words, all my
sickness suddenly fell from me, my anguish ceased and my heart was
comforted; I took off what clothes were on me and gave them to her and,
as she turned to go, she said, "Keep a good heart!" "I have not a jot
of sorrow left." I replied. My household and intimates rejoiced in my
recovery and I abode thus till Friday, when behold, the old woman came
in and asked me how I did, to which I answered that I was well and in
good case. Then I donned my clothes and perfumed myself and sat down to
await the congregation going in to prayers, that I might betake myself
to her. But the old woman said to me, "Thou hast time and to spare: so
thou wouldst do well to go to the Hammam and have thy hair shaven off
(especially after thy ailment), so as not to show traces of sickness."
"This were the best way," answered I, "I have just now bathed in hot
water, but I will have my head shaved." Then I said to my page, "Go to
the bazaar and bring me a barber, a discreet fellow and one not
inclined to meddling or impertinent curiosity or likely to split my
head with his excessive talk."[FN#609] The boy went out at once and
brought back with him this wretched old man, this Shaykh of ill omen.
When he came in he saluted me and I returned his salutation; then quoth
he, "Of a truth I see thee thin of body;" and quoth I, "I have been
ailing." He continued, "Allah drive far away from thee thy woe and thy
sorrow and thy trouble and thy distress." "Allah grant thy prayer!"
said I. He pursued, "All gladness to thee, O my master, for indeed
recovery is come to thee. Dost thou wish to be polled or to be blooded?
Indeed it was a tradition of Ibn Abbas[FN#610] (Allah accept of him!)
that the Apostle said, 'Whoso cutteth his hair on a Friday, the Lord
shall avert from him threescore and ten calamities;' and again is
related of him also that he said, 'Cupping on a Friday keepeth from
loss of sight and a host of diseases.'" "Leave this talk," I cried;
"come, shave me my head at once for I can't stand it." So he rose and
put forth his hand in most leisurely way and took out a kerchief and
unfolded it, and lo! it contained an astrolabe[FN#611] with seven
parallel plates mounted in silver. Then he went to the middle of the
court and raised head and instrument towards the sun's rays and looked
for a long while. When this was over, he came back and said to me,
"Know that there have elapsed of this our day, which be Friday, and
this Friday be the tenth of the month Safar in the six hundred and
fifty- third year since the Hegira or Flight of the Apostle (on whom be
the bestest of blessings and peace!) and the seven thousand three
hundred and twentieth year of the era of Alexander, eight degrees and
six minutes. Furthermore the ascendant of this our day is, according to
the exactest science of computation, the planet Mars; and it so
happeneth that Mercury is in conjunction with him, denoting an
auspicious moment for hair cutting; and this also maketh manifest to me
that thou desires union with a certain person and that your intercourse
will not be propitious. But after this there occurreth a sign
respecting a matter which will befall thee and whereof I will not
speak." "O thou," cried I, "by Allah, thou weariest me and scatterest
my wits and thy forecast is other than good; I sent for thee to poll my
head and naught else: so up and shave me and prolong not thy speech."
"By Allah," replied he, "if thou but knew what is about to befall thee,
thou wouldst do nothing this day, and I counsel thee to act as I tell
thee by computation of the constellations." "By Allah," said I, "never
did I see a barber who excelled in judicial astrology save thyself: but
I think and I know that thou art most prodigal of frivolous talk. I
sent for thee only to shave my head, but thou comest and pesterest me
with this sorry prattle." "What more wouldst thou have?" replied he.
"Allah hath bounteously bestowed on thee a Barber who is an astrologer,
one learned in alchemy and white magic;[FN#612] syntax, grammar, and
lexicology; the arts of logic, rhetoric and elocution; mathematics,
arithmetic and algebra; astronomy, astromancy and geometry; theology,
the Traditions of the Apostle and the Commentaries on the Koran.
Furthermore, I have read books galore and digested them and have had
experience of affairs and comprehended them. In short I have learned
the theorick and the practick of all the arts and sciences; I know
everything of them by rote and I am a past master in tota re scibili.
Thy father loved me for my lack of officiousness, argal, to serve thee
is a religious duty incumbent on me. I am no busy body as thou seemest
to suppose, and on this account I am known as The Silent Man, also, The
Modest Man. Wherefore it behoveth thee to render thanks to Allah
Almighty and not cross me, for I am a true counsellor to thee and
benevolently minded towards thee. Would that I were in thy service a
whole year that thou mightest do me justice; and I would ask thee no
wage for all this." When I heard his flow of words, I said to him,
"Doubtless thou wilt be my death this day!"—And Shahrazad perceived the
dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

                When it was the Thirtieth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the young man
said to the Barber, "Thou certainly will be the death of me this very
day!" "O master mine," replied he, "I am he, The Silent Man hight, by
reason of the fewness of my words, to distinguish me from my six
brothers. For the eldest is called Al-Bakbúk, the prattler; the second
Al-Haddár, the babbler; the third Al-Fakík, the gabbler; the fourth,
his name is Al-Kuz al-aswáni, the long necked Gugglet, from his eternal
chattering; the fifth is Al- Nashshár, the tattler and tale teller; the
sixth Shakáshik, or many clamours; and the seventh is famous as
Al-Sámit, The Silent Man, and this is my noble self!" Whilst he
redoubled his talk, I thought my gall bladder would have burst; so I
said to the servant, "Give him a quarter dinar and dismiss him and let
him go from me in the name of God who made him. I won't have my head
shaved to day." "What words be these, O my lord?" cried he. "By Allah!
I will accept no hire of thee till I have served thee and have
ministered to thy wants; and I care not if I never take money of thee.
If thou know not my quality, I know thine; and I owe thy father, an
honest man, on whom Allah Almighty have mercy! many a kindness, for he
was a liberal soul and a generous. By Allah, he sent for me one day, as
it were this blessed day, and I went in to him and found a party of his
intimates about him. Quoth he to me, 'Let me blood;' so I pulled out my
astrolabe and, taking the sun's altitude for him, I ascertained that
the ascendant was inauspicious and the hour unfavourable for brooding.
I told him of this, and he did according to my bidding and awaited a
better opportunity. So I made these lines in honour of him:—

I went to my patron some blood to let him, * But found that the
     moment was far from good:
So I sat and I talked of all strangenesses, * And with jests and
     jokes his good will I wooed:
They pleased him and cried he, 'O man of wit, * Thou hast proved
     thee perfect in merry mood!'
Quoth I, 'O thou Lord of men, save thou * Lend me art and
     wisdom I'm fou and wood
In thee gather grace, boon, bounty, suavity, * And I guerdon the
     world with lore, science and gravity.'

Thy father was delighted and cried out to the servant, 'Give him an
hundred and three gold pieces with a robe of honour!' The man obeyed
his orders, and I awaited an auspicious moment, when I blooded him; and
he did not baulk me; nay he thanked me and I was also thanked and
praised by all present. When the blood-letting was over I had no power
to keep silence and asked him, 'By Allah, O my lord, what made thee say
to the servant, Give him an hundred and three dinars?'; and he
answered, 'One dinar was for the astrological observation, another for
thy pleasant conversation, the third for the phlebotomisation, and the
remaining hundred and the dress were for thy verses in my
commendation.'" "May Allah show small mercy to my father," exclaimed I,
"for knowing the like of thee." He laughed and ejaculated, "There is no
god but the God and Mohammed is the Apostle of God! Glory to Him that
changeth and is changed not! I took thee for a man of sense, but I see
thou babblest and dotest for illness. Allah hath said in the Blessed
Book,[FN#613] 'Paradise is prepared for the goodly who bridle their
anger and forgive men.' and so forth; and in any case thou art excused.
Yet I cannot conceive the cause of thy hurry and flurry; and thou must
know that thy father and thy grandfather did nothing without consulting
me, and indeed it hath been said truly enough, 'Let the adviser be
prized'; and, 'There is no vice in advice'; and it is also said in
certain saws, 'Whoso hath no counsellor elder than he, will never
himself an elder be';[FN#614] and the poet says:—

Whatever needful thing thou undertake, * Consult th' experienced and
contraire him not!

And indeed thou shalt never find a man better versed in affairs than I,
and I am here standing on my feet to serve thee. I am not vexed with
thee: why shouldest thou be vexed with me? But whatever happen I will
bear patiently with thee in memory of the much kindness thy father
shewed me." "By Allah," cried I, "O thou with tongue long as the tail
of a jackass, thou persistest in pestering me with thy prate and thou
becomest more longsome in thy long speeches, when all I want of thee is
to shave my head and wend thy way!" Then he lathered my head saying, "I
perceive thou art vexed with me, but I will not take it ill of thee,
for thy wit is weak and thou art but a laddy: it was only yesterday I
used to take thee on my shoulder[FN#615] and carry thee to school.' "O
my brother," said I, "for Allah's sake do what I want and go thy gait!"
And I rent my garments.[FN#616] When he saw me do this he took the
razor and fell to sharpening it and gave not over stropping it until my
senses were well nigh leaving me. Then he came up to me and shaved part
of my head; then he held his hand and then he said, "O my lord, haste
is Satan's gait whilst patience is of Allah the Compassionate. But
thou, O my master, I ken thou knowest not my rank; for verily this hand
alighteth upon the heads of Kings and Emirs and Wazirs, and sages and
doctors learned in the law, and the poet said of one like me:—

All crafts are like necklaces strung on a string, * But this
     Barber's the union pear of the band:
High over all craftsmen he ranketh, and why? * The heads of the
     Kings are under his hand!"[FN#617]

Then said I, "Do leave off talking about what concerneth thee not:
indeed thou hast straitened my breast and distracted my mind." Quoth
he, "Meseems thou art a hasty man;" and quoth I, "Yes ! yes! yes!" and
he, "I rede thee practice restraint of self, for haste is Satan's pelf
which bequeatheth only repentance and ban and bane, and He (upon whom
be blessings and peace!) hath said, 'The best of works is that wherein
deliberation lurks;' but I, by Allah! have some doubt about thine
affair; and so I should like thee to let me know what it is thou art in
such haste to do, for I fear me it is other than good." Then he
continued, "It wanteth three hours yet to prayer time; but I do not
wish to be in doubt upon this matter; nay, I must know the moment
exactly, for truly, 'A guess shot in times of doubt, oft brings harm
about;' especially in the like of me, a superior person whose merits
are famous amongst mankind at large; and it doth not befit me to talk
at random, as do the common sort of astrologers." So saying, he threw
down the razor and taking up the astrolabe, went forth under the sun
and stood there a long time; after which he returned and counting on
his fingers said to me, "There remain still to prayer time three full
hours and complete, neither more nor yet less, according to the most
learned astronomicals and the wisest makers of almanacks." "Allah upon
thee," cried I, "hold thy tongue with me, for thou breakest my liver in
pieces." So he took the razor and, after sharpening it as before and
shaving other two hairs of my head, he again held his hand and said, "I
am concerned about thy hastiness and indeed thou wouldst do well to let
me into the cause of it; 't were the better for thee, as thou knowest
that neither thy father nor thy grandfather ever did a single thing
save by my advice." When I saw that there was no escape from him I said
to myself, "The time for prayer draws near and I wish to go to her
before the folk come out of the mosque. If I am delayed much longer, I
know not how to come at her." Then said I aloud, "Be quick and stint
this talk and impertinence, for I have to go to a party at the house of
some of my intimates." When he heard me speak of the party, he said,
"This thy day is a blessed day for me! In very sooth it was but
yesterday I invited a company of my friends and I have forgotten to
provide anything for them to eat. This very moment I was thinking of
it: Alas, how I shall be disgraced in their eyes!" "Be not distressed
about this matter," answered I; "have I not told thee that I am bidden
to an entertainment this day? So every thing in my house, eatable and
drinkable, shall be thine, if thou wilt only get through thy work and
make haste to shave my head." He replied, "Allah requite thee with
good! Specify to me what is in thy house for my guests that I may be
ware of it." Quoth I, "Five dishes of meat and ten chickens with
reddened breasts[FN#618] and a roasted lamb." "Set them before me,"
quoth he "that I may see them." So I told my people to buy, borrow or
steal them and bring them in anywise, And had all this set before him.
When he saw it he cried, "The wine is wanting," and I replied, "I have
a flagon or two of good old grape- juice in the house," and he said,
"Have it brought out!" So I sent for it and he exclaimed, "Allah bless
thee for a generous disposition! But there are still the essences and
perfumes." So I bade them set before him a box containing Nadd,[FN#619]
the best of compound perfumes, together with fine lign-aloes, ambergris
and musk unmixed, the whole worth fifty dinars. Now the time waxed
strait and my heart straitened with it; so I said to him, "Take it all
and finish shaving my head by the life of Mohammed (whom Allah bless
and keep!)." "By Allah," said he, "I will not take it till I see all
that is in it." So I bade the page open the box and the Barber laid
down the astrolabe, leaving the greater part of my head unpolled; and,
sitting on the ground, turned over the scents and incense and aloes
wood and essences till I was well nigh distraught. Then he took the
razor and coming up to me shaved off some few hairs and repeated these

"The boy like his father shall surely show, * As the tree from its
parent root shall grow."[FN#620]

Then said he, "By Allah, O my son, I know not whether to thank thee or
thy father; for my entertainment this day is all due to thy bounty and
beneficence; and, although none of my company be worthy of it, yet I
have a set of honourable men, to wit Zantut the bath-keeper and Sali'a
the corn-chandler; and Silat the bean- seller; and Akrashah the
greengrocer; and Humayd the scavenger; and Sa'id the camel-man; and
Suwayd the porter; and Abu Makarish the bathman;[FN#621] and Kasim the
watchman; and Karim the groom. There is not among the whole of them a
bore or a bully in his cups; nor a meddler nor a miser of his money,
and each and every hath some dance which he danceth and some of his own
couplets which he caroleth; and the best of them is that, like thy
servant, thy slave here, they know not what much talking is nor what
forwardness means. The bath keeper sings to the tom- tom[FN#622] a song
which enchants; and he stands up and dances and chants,

    'I am going, O mammy, to fill up my pot.'

As for the corn-chandler he brings more skill to it than any; he dances
and sings,

    'O Keener,[FN#623] 0 sweetheart, thou fallest not short'

and he leaves no one's vitals sound for laughing at him. But the
scavenger sings so that the birds stop to listen to him and dances and

    'News my wife wots is not locked in a box!'[FN#624]

And he hath privilege, for 'tis a shrewd rogue[FN#625] and a witty; and
speaking of his excellence I am wont to say,

My life for the scavenger! right well I love him, * Like a waving
     bough he is sweet to my sight:
Fate joined us one night, when to him quoth I * (The while I grew
     weak and love gained more might)
'Thy love burns my heart!' 'And no wonder,' quoth he * 'When the
     drawer of dung turns a stoker wight.'[FN#626]

And indeed each is perfect in whatso can charm the wit with joy and
jollity;" adding presently, "But hearing is not seeing; and indeed if
thou make up thy mind to join us and put off going to thy friends,
'twill be better for us and for thee. The traces of illness are yet
upon thee and haply thou art going among folk who be mighty talkers,
men who commune together of what concerneth them not; or there may be
amongst them some forward fellow who will split thy head, and thou half
thy size from sickness." "This shall be for some other day," answered
I, and laughed with heart angered: "finish thy work and go, in Allah
Almighty's guard, to thy friends, for they will be expecting thy
coming." "O my lord," replied he, "I seek only to introduce thee to
these fellows of infinite mirth, the sons of men of worth, amongst whom
there is neither procacity nor dicacity nor loquacity; for never, since
I grew to years of discretion, could I endure to consort with one who
asketh questions concerning what concerneth him not, nor have I ever
frequented any save those who are, like myself, men of few words. In
sooth if thou were to company with them or even to see them once, thou
wouldst forsake all thy intimates." "Allah fulfil thy joyance with
them," said I, "needs must I come amongst them some day or other." But
he said, "Would it were this very day, for I had set my heart upon thy
making one of us; yet if thou must go to thy friends to day, I will
take these good things, wherewith thou hast honoured and favoured me,
to my guests and leave them to eat and drink and not wait for me;
whilst I will return to thee in haste and accompany thee to thy little
party; for there is no ceremony between me and my intimates to prevent
my leaving them. Fear not, I will soon be back with thee and wend with
thee whithersoever thou wendest. There is no Majesty and there is no
Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great!" I shouted, "Go thou to
thy friends and make merry with them; and do let me go to mine and be
with them this day, for they expect me." But the Barber cried, "I will
not let thee go alone;" and I replied, "The truth is none can enter
where I am going save myself." He rejoined, "I suspect that to day thou
art for an assignation with some woman, else thou hadst taken me with
thee; yet am I the right man to take, one who could aid thee to the end
thou wishest. But I fear me thou art running after strange women and
thou wilt lose thy life; for in this our city of Baghdad one cannot do
any thing in this line, especially on a day like Friday: our Governor
is an angry man and a mighty sharp blade." "Shame on thee, thou wicked,
bad, old man!" cried I, "Be off! what words are these thou givest me?"
"O cold of wit,"[FN#627] cried he, "thou sayest to me what is not true
and thou hidest thy mind from me, but I know the whole business for
certain and I seek only to help thee this day with my best endeavour."
I was fearful lest my people or my neighbours should hear the Barber's
talk, so I kept silence for a long time whilst he finished shaving my
head; by which time the hour of prayer was come and the Khutbah, or
sermon, was about to follow. When he had done, I said to him, "Go to
thy friends with their meat and drink, and I will await thy return.
Then we will fare together." In this way I hoped to pour oil on
troubled waters and to trick the accursed loon, so haply I might get
quit of him; but he said, "Thou art cozening me and thou wouldst go
alone to thy appointment and cast thyself into jeopardy, whence there
will be no escape for thee. Now by Allah! and again by Allah! do not go
till I return, that I may accompany thee and watch the issue of thine
affair." "So be it," I replied, "do not be long absent." Then he took
all the meat and drink I had given him and the rest of it and went out
of my house; but the accursed carle gave it in charge of a porter to
carry to his home but hid himself in one of the alleys. As for me I
rose on the instant, for the Muezzins had already called the Salam of
Friday, the salute to the Apostle;[FN#628] and I dressed in haste and
went out alone and, hurrying to the street, took my stand by the house
wherein I had seen the young lady. I found the old woman on guard at
the door awaiting me, and went up with her to the upper story, the
damsel's apartment. Hardly had I reached it when behold, the master of
the house returned from prayers and entering the great saloon, closed
the door. I looked down from the window and saw this Barber (Allah's
curse upon him!) sitting over against the door and said, "How did this
devil find me out?" At this very moment, as Allah had decreed it for
rending my veil of secrecy, it so happened that a handmaid of the house
master committed some offence for which he beat her. She shrieked out
and his slave ran in to intercede for her, whereupon the Kazi beat him
to boot, and he also roared out. The damned Barber fancied that it was
I who was being beaten; so he also fell to shouting and tore his
garments and scattered dust on his head and kept on shrieking and
crying "Help ! Help !" So the people came round about him and he went
on yelling, "My master is being murdered in the Kazi's house!" Then he
ran clamouring to my place with the folk after him, and told my people
and servants and slaves; and, before I knew what was doing, up they
came tearing their clothes and letting loose their hair[FN#629] and
shouting, "Alas, our master!"; and this Barber leading the rout with
his clothes rent and in sorriest plight; and he also shouting like a
madman and saying, "Alas for our murdered master!" And they all made an
assault upon the house in which I was. The Kazi, hearing the yells and
the uproar at his door, said to one of his servants, "See what is the
matter"; and the man went forth and returned and said, "O my master, at
the gate there are more than ten thousand souls what with men and
women, and all crying out, 'Alas for our murdered master!'; and they
keep pointing to our house." When the Kazi heard this, the matter
seemed serious and he waxed wroth; so he rose and opening the door saw
a great crowd of people; whereat he was astounded and said, "O folk!
what is there to do?" "O accursed! O dog! O hog!" my servants replied;
"'Tis thou who hast killed our master!" Quoth he, "O good folk, and
what hath your master done to me that I should kill him?"— And
Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted

              When it was the Thirty-first Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Kazi said to
the servants, "What hath your master done to me that I should kill him?
This is my house and it is open to you all." Then quoth the Barber,
"Thou didst beat him and I heard him cry out;" and quoth the Kazi, "But
what was he doing that I should beat him, and what brought him in to my
house; and whence came he and whither went he?" "Be not a wicked,
perverse old man!" cried the Barber, "for I know the whole story; and
the long and short of it is that thy daughter is in love with him and
he loves her; and when thou knewest that he had entered the house, thou
badest thy servants beat him and they did so: by Allah, none shall
judge between us and thee but the Caliph; or else do thou bring out our
master that his folk may take him, before they go in and save him
perforce from thy house, and thou be put to shame." Then said the Kazi
(and his tongue was bridled and his mouth was stopped by confusion
before the people), "An thou say sooth, do thou come in and fetch him
out." Whereupon the Barber pushed forward and entered the house. When I
saw this I looked about for a means of escape and flight, but saw no
hiding place except a great chest in the upper chamber where I was. So
I got into it and pulled the lid down upon myself and held my breath.
The Barber was hardly in the room before he began to look about for me,
then turned him right and left and came straight to the place where I
was, and stepped up to the chest and, lifting it on his head, made off
as fast as he could. At this, my reason forsook me, for I knew that he
would not let me be; so I took courage and opening the chest threw
myself to the ground. My leg was broken in the fall, and the door being
open I saw a great concourse of people looking in. Now I carried in my
sleeve much gold and some silver, which I had provided for an ill day
like this and the like of such occasion; so I kept scattering it
amongst the folk to divert their attention from me and, whilst they
were busy scrambling for it, I set off, hopping as fast as I could,
through the by streets of Baghdad, shifting and turning right and left.
But whithersoever I went this damned Barber would go in after me,
crying aloud, "They would have bereft me of my master! They would have
slain him who was a benefactor to me and my family and my friends!
Praised be Allah who made me prevail against them and delivered my lord
from their hands!" Then to me, "Where wilt thou go now? Thou wouldst
persist in following thine own evil devices, till thou broughtest
thyself to this ill pass; and, had not Allah vouchsafed me to thee,
ne'er hadst thou escaped this strait into which thou hast fallen, for
they would have cast thee into a calamity whence thou never couldest
have won free. But I will not call thee to account for thine ignorance,
as thou art so little of wit and inconsequential and addicted to
hastiness!" Said I to him, "Doth not what thou hast brought upon me
suffice thee, but thou must run after me and talk me such talk in the
bazaar streets?" And I well nigh gave up the ghost for excess of rage
against him. Then I took refuge in the shop of a weaver amiddlemost of
the market and sought protection of the owner who drove the Barber
away; and, sitting in the back room,[FN#630] I said to myself, "If I
return home I shall never be able to get rid of this curse of a Barber,
who will be with me night and day; and I cannot endure the sight of him
even for a breathing space." So I sent out at once for witnesses and
made a will, dividing the greater part of my property among my people,
and appointed a guardian over them, to whom I committed the charge of
great and small, directing him to sell my houses and domains. Then I
set out on my travels that I might be free of this pimp;[FN#631] and I
came to settle in your town where I have lived some time. When you
invited me and I came hither, the first thing I saw was this accursed
pander seated in the place of honour. How then can my heart be glad and
my stay be pleasant in company with this fellow who brought all this
upon me, and who was the cause of the breaking of my leg and of my
exile from home and native land. And the youth refused to sit down and
went away. When we heard his story (continued the Tailor) we were
amazed beyond measure and amused and said to the Barber, "By Allah, is
it true what this young man saith of thee?" "By Allah," replied he, "I
dealt thus by him of my courtesy and sound sense and generosity. Had it
not been for me he had perished and none but I was the cause of his
escape. Well it was for him that he suffered in his leg and not in his
life! Had I been a man of many words, a meddler, a busy body, I had not
acted thus kindly by him; but now I will tell you a tale which befell
me, that you may be well assured I am a man sparing of speech in whom
is no forwardness and a very different person from those six Brothers
of mine; and this it is."

The Barber's Tale of Himself.

I was living in Baghdad during the times of Al-Mustansir
bi'llah,[FN#632] Son of Al-Mustazi bi'llah the then Caliph, a prince
who loved the poor and needy and companied with the learned and pious.
One day it happened to him that he was wroth with ten persons,
highwaymen who robbed on the Caliph's highway, and he ordered the
Prefect of Baghdad to bring them into the presence on the anniversary
of the Great Festival.[FN#633] So the Prefect sallied out and, making
them His prisoners, embarked with them in a boat. I caught sight of
them as they were embarking and said to myself, "These are surely
assembled for a marriage feast; methinks they are spending their day in
that boat eating and drinking, and none shall be companion of their
cups but I myself." So I rose, O fair assembly; and, of the excess of
my courtesy and the gravity of my understanding, I embarked with them
and entered into conversation with them. They rowed across to the
opposite bank, where they landed and there came up the watch and
guardians of the peace with chains, which they put round the robbers'
necks. They chained me among the rest of them; and, O people, is it not
a proof of my courtesy and spareness of speech, that I held my peace
and did not please to speak? Then they took us away in bilbos and next
morning carried us all before Al- Mustansir bi'llah, Commander of the
Faithful, who bade smite the necks of the ten robbers. So the Sworder
came forward after they were seated on the leather of blood;[FN#634]
then drawing his blade, struck off one head after another until he had
smitten the neck of the tenth; and I alone remained. The Caliph looked
at me and asked the Heads man, saying, "What ails thee that thou hast
struck off only nine heads?"; and he answered, "Allah forbid that I
should behead only nine, when thou biddest me behead ten!" Quoth the
Caliph, "Meseems thou hast smitten the necks of only nine, and this man
before thee is the tenth." "By thy beneficence!" replied the Headsman,
"I have beheaded ten." "Count them!" cried the Caliph and whenas they
counted heads, lo! there were ten. The Caliph looked at me and said,
"What made thee keep silence at a time like this and how camest thou to
company with these men of blood? Tell me the cause of all this, for
albeit thou art a very old man, assuredly thy wits are weak." Now when
I heard these words from the Caliph I sprang to my feet and replied,
"Know, O Prince of the Faithful, that I am the Silent Shaykh and am
thus called to distinguish me from my six brothers. I am a man of
immense learning whilst, as for the gravity of my understanding, the
wiliness of my wits and the spareness of my speech, there is no end of
them; and my calling is that of a barber. I went out early on yesterday
morning and saw these men making for a skiff; and, fancying they were
bound for a marriage feast, I joined them and mixed with them. After a
while up came the watch and guardians of the peace, who put chains
round their necks and round mine with the rest; but, in the excess of
my courtesy, I held my peace and spake not a word; nor was this other
but generosity on my part. They brought us into thy presence, and thou
gavest an order to smite the necks of the ten; yet did I not make
myself known to thee and remained silent before the Sworder, purely of
my great generosity and courtesy which led me to share with them in
their death. But all my life long have I dealt thus nobly with mankind,
and they requite me the foulest and evillest requital!" When the Caliph
heard my words and knew that I was a man of exceeding generosity and of
very few words, one in whom is no forwardness (as this youth would have
it whom I rescued from mortal risk and who hath so scurvily repaid me),
he laughed with excessive laughter till he fell upon his back. Then
said he to me, "O Silent Man, do thy six brothers favour thee in wisdom
and knowledge and spareness of speech?" I replied, "Never were they
like me! Thou puttest reproach upon me, O Commander of the Faithful,
and it becomes thee not to even my brothers with me; for, of the
abundance of their speech and their deficiency of courtesy and gravity,
each one of them hath gotten some maim or other. One is a monocular,
another palsied, a third stone blind, a fourth cropped of ears and nose
and a fifth shorn of both lips, while the sixth is a hunchback and a
cripple. And conceive not, O Commander of the Faithful, that I am
prodigal of speech; but I must perforce explain to thee that I am a man
of greater worth and fewer words than any of them. From each one of my
brothers hangs a tale of how he came by his bodily defect and these I
will relate to thee." So the Caliph gave ear to

The Barber's Tale of his First Brother.

Know then, O Commander of the Faithful, that my first brother, Al
Bakbuk, the Prattler, is a Hunchback who took to tailoring in Baghdad,
and he used to sew in a shop hired from a man of much wealth, who dwelt
over the shop,[FN#635] and there was also a flour-mill in the basement.
One day as my brother, the Hunchback, was sitting in his shop a
tailoring, he chanced to raise his head and saw a lady like the rising
full moon at a balconied window of his landlord's house, engaged in
looking out at the passers by.[FN#636] When my brother beheld her, his
heart was taken with love of her and he passed his whole day gazing at
her and neglected his tailoring till eventide. Next morning he opened
his shop and sat him down to sew; but, as often as he stitched a
stitch, he looked to the window and saw her as before; and his passion
and infatuation for her increased. On the third day as he was sitting
in his usual place gazing on her, she caught sight of him and,
perceiving that he had been captivated with love of her, laughed in his
face[FN#637] and he smiled back at her. Then she disappeared and
presently sent her slave girl to him with a bundle containing a piece
of red cowered silk. The handmaid accosted him and said, "My lady
salameth to thee and desireth thee, of thy skill and good will, to
fashion for her a shift of this piece and to sew it handsomely with thy
best sewing. He replied, "Hearkening and obedience"; and shaped for her
a chemise and finished sewing it the same day. When the morning
morrowed the girl came back and said to him, "My lady salameth to thee
and asks how thou hast passed yesternight; for she hath not tasted
sleep by reason of her heart being taken up with thee. Then she laid
before him a piece of yellow satin and said, My lady biddeth thee cut
her two pair of petticoat trousers out of this piece and sew them this
very day." "Hearkening and obedience!' replied he, "greet her for me
with many greetings and say to her, Thy slave is obedient to thine
order; so command him as thou wilt." Then he applied himself to cutting
out and worked hard at sewing the trousers; and after an hour the lady
appeared at the lattice and saluted him by signs, now casting down her
eyes, then smiling in his face, and he began to assure himself that he
would soon make a conquest. She did not let him stir till he had
finished the two pair of trousers, when she with drew and sent the
handmaid to whom he delivered them; and she took them and went her
ways. When it was night, he threw himself on his carpet bed, and lay
tossing about from side to side till morning, when he rose and sat down
in his place. Presently the damsel came to him and said, "My master
calleth for thee." Hearing these words he feared with exceeding fear;
but the slave girl, seeing his affright, said to him, "No evil is meant
to thee: naught but good awaiteth thee. My lady would have thee make
acquaintance with my lord." So my brother the tailor, rejoicing with
great joy, went with her; and when he came into the presence of his
landlord, the lady's husband, he kissed the ground before him, and the
master of the house returned his greeting and gave him a great piece of
linen saying, "Shape me shirts out of this stuff and sew them well;"
and my brother answered, "To hear is to obey." Thereupon he fell to
work at once, snipping, shaping and sewing till he had finished twenty
shirts by supper time, without stopping to taste food. The house master
asked him, "How much the wage for this?"; and he answered, "Twenty
dirhams." So the gentleman cried out to the slave girl, "Bring me
twenty dirhams," and my brother spake not a word; but the lady signed,
"Take nothing from him;' whereupon my brother said, "By Allah I will
take naught from thy hand. And he carried off his tailor's gear and
returned to his shop, although he was destitute even to a red
cent.[FN#638] Then he applied himself to do their work; eating, in his
zeal and diligence, but a bit of bread and drinking only a little water
for three days. At the end of this time came the handmaid and said to
him, "What hast thou done?" Quoth he, "They are finished," and carried
the shirts to the lady's husband, who would have paid him his hire: but
he said, "I will take nothing," for fear of her and, returning to his
shop, passed the night without sleep because of his hunger. Now the
dame had informed her husband how the case stood (my brother knowing
naught of this); and the two had agreed to make him tailor for nothing,
the better to mock and laugh at him. Next morning he went to his shop,
and, as he sat there, the handmaid came to him and said, "Speak with my
master." So he accompanied her to the husband who said to him, "I wish
thee to cut out for me five long sleeved robes."[FN#639] So he cut them
out[FN#640] and took the stuff and went away. Then he sewed them and
carried them to the gentleman, who praised his sewing and offered him a
purse of silver. He put out his hand to take it, but the lady signed to
him from behind her husband not to do so, and he replied, "O my lord,
there is no hurry, we have time enough for this." Then he went forth
from the house meaner and meeker than a donkey, for verily five things
were gathered together in him viz.: love, beggary, hunger, nakedness
and hard labour. Nevertheless he heartened himself with the hope of
gaining the lady's favours. When he had made an end of all their jobs,
they played him another trick and married him to their slave girl; but,
on the night when he thought to go in to her, they said to him, "Lie
this night in the mill; and to morrow all will go well." My brother
concluded that there was some good cause for this and nighted alone in
the mill. Now the husband had set on the miller to make the tailor turn
the mill: so when night was half spent the man came in to him and began
to say, "This bull of ours hath be come useless and standeth still
instead of going round: he will not turn the mill this night, and yet
we have great store of corn to be ground. However, I'll yoke him
perforce and make him finish grinding it before morning, as the folk
are impatient for their flour." So he filled the hoppers with grain
and, going up to my brother with a rope in his hand, tied it round his
neck and said to him, "Gee up! Round with the mill! thou, O bull,
wouldst do nothing but grub and stale and dung!" Then he took a whip
and laid it on the shoulders and calves of my brother, who began to
howl and bellow; but none came to help him; and he was forced to grind
the wheat till hard upon dawn, when the house master came in and,
seeing my brother still tethered to the yoke and the man flogging him,
went away. At day break the miller returned home and left him still
yoked and half dead; and soon after in came the slave girl who unbound
him, and said to him, "I and my lady are right sorry for what hath
happened and we have borne thy grief with thee." But he had no tongue
wherewith to answer her from excess of beating and mill turning. Then
he retired to his lodging and behold, the clerk who had drawn up the
marriage deed came to him[FN#641] and saluted him, saying, "Allah give
thee long life! May thy espousal be blessed! This face telleth of
pleasant doings and dalliance and kissing and clipping from dusk to
dawn." "Allah grant the liar no peace, O thou thousandfold cuckold!",
my brother replied, "by Allah, I did nothing but turn the mill in the
place of the bull all night till morning!" "Tell me thy tale," quoth
he; and my brother recounted what had befallen him and he said, "Thy
star agrees not with her star; but an thou wilt I can alter the
contract for thee," adding, "'Ware lest another cheat be not in store
for thee." And my brother answered him, "See if thou have not another
contrivance." Then the clerk left him and he sat in his shop, looking
for some one to bring him a job whereby he might earn his day's bread.
Presently the handmaid came to him and said, "Speak with my lady."
"Begone, O my good girl," replied he, "there shall be no more dealings
between me and thy lady." The handmaid returned to her mistress and
told her what my brother had said and presently she put her head out of
the window, weeping and saying, "Why, O my beloved, are there to be no
more dealings 'twixt me and thee?" But he made her no answer. Then she
wept and conjured him, swearing that all which had befallen him in the
mill was not sanctioned by her and that she was innocent of the whole
matter. When he looked upon her beauty and loveliness and heard the
sweetness of her speech, the sorrow which had possessed him passed from
his heart; he accepted her excuse and he rejoiced in her sight. So he
saluted her and talked with her and sat tailoring awhile, after which
the handmaid came to him and said, "My mistress greeteth thee and
informeth thee that her husband purposeth to lie abroad this night in
the house of some intimate friends of his; so, when he is gone, do thou
come to us and spend the night with my lady in delightsomest joyance
till the morning." Now her husband had asked her, "How shall we manage
to turn him away from thee?"; and she answered, "Leave me to play him
another trick and make him a laughing stock for all the town." But my
brother knew naught of the malice of women. As soon as it was dusk, the
slave girl came to him and carried him to the house, and when the lady
saw him she said to him, "By Allah, O my lord, I have been longing
exceedingly for thee." "By Allah," cried he, "kiss me quick before thou
give me aught else."[FN#642] Hardly had he spoken, when the lady's
husband came in from the next room[FN#643] and seized him, saying, "By
Allah, I will not let thee go, till I deliver thee to the chief of the
town watch." My brother humbled himself to him; but he would not listen
to him and carried him before the Prefect who gave him an hundred
lashes with a whip and, mounting him on a camel, promenaded him round
about the city, whilst the guards proclaimed aloud, "This is his reward
who violateth the Harims of honourable men!" Moreover, he fell off the
camel and broke his leg and so became lame. Then the Prefect banished
him from the city; and he went forth unknowing whither he should wend;
but I heard of him and fearing for him went out after him and brought
him back secretly to the city and restored him to health and took him
into my house where he still liveth. The Caliph laughed at my story and
said, "Thou hast done well, O Samit, O Silent Man, O spare of speech!";
and he bade me take a present and go away. But I said, "I will accept
naught of thee except I tell thee what befell all my other brothers;
and do not think me a man of many words." So the Caliph gave ear to

The Barber's Tale of his Second Brother.

Know, O Commander of the Faithful, that my second brother's name was
Al-Haddar, that is the Babbler, and he was the paralytic. Now it
happened to him one day, as he was going about his business, that an
old woman accosted him and said, "Stop a little, my good man, that I
may tell thee of somewhat which, if it be to thy liking, thou shalt do
for me and I will pray Allah to give thee good of it!" My brother
stopped and she went on, "I will put thee in the way of a certain
thing, so thou not be prodigal of speech." "On with thy talk," quoth
he; and she, "What sayest thou to handsome quarters and a fair garden
with flowing waters, flowers blooming, and fruit growing, and old wine
going and a pretty young face whose owner thou mayest embrace from dark
till dawn? If thou do whatso I bid thee thou shalt see something
greatly to thy advantage." "And is all this in the world?" asked my
brother; and she answered, "Yes, and it shall be thine, so thou be
reasonable and leave idle curiosity and many words, and do my bidding."
"I will indeed, O my lady," said he, "how is it thou hast preferred me
in this matter before all men and what is it that so much pleaseth thee
in me?" Quoth she, "Did I not bid thee be spare of speech? Hold thy
peace and follow me. Know, that the young lady, to whom I shall carry
thee, loveth to have her own way and hateth being thwarted and all who
gainsay; so, if thou humour her, thou shalt come to thy desire of her."
And my brother said, "I will not cross her in anything." Then she went
on and my brother followed her, an hungering after what she described
to him till they entered a fine large house, handsome and choicely
furnished, full of eunuchs and servants and showing signs of prosperity
from top to bottom. And she was carrying him to the upper story when
the people of the house said to him, "What dost thou here?" But the old
woman answered them, "Hold your peace and trouble him not: he is a
workman and we have occasion for him." Then she brought him into a fine
great pavilion, with a garden in its midst, never eyes saw a fairer;
and made him sit upon a handsome couch. He had not sat long, be fore he
heard a loud noise and in came a troop of slave girls surrounding a
lady like the moon on the night of its fullest. When he saw her, he
rose up and made an obeisance to her, whereupon she welcomed him and
bade him be seated. So he sat down and she said to him, "Allah advance
thee to honour! Is all well with thee?" "O my lady," he answered, "all
with me is right well." Then she bade bring in food, and they set
before her delicate viands; so she sat down to eat, making a show of
affection to my brother and jesting with him, though all the while she
could not refrain from laughing; but as often as he looked at her, she
signed towards her handmaidens as though she were laughing at them. My
brother (the ass!) understood nothing; but, in the excess of his
ridiculous passion, he fancied that the lady was in love with him and
that she would soon grant him his desire. When they had done eating,
they set on the wine and there came in ten maidens like moons, with
lutes ready strung in their hands, and fell to singing with full
voices, sweet and sad, whereupon delight gat hold upon him and he took
the cup from the lady's hands and drank it standing. Then she drank a
cup of wine and my brother (still standing) said to her "Health," and
bowed to her. She handed him another cup and he drank it off, when she
slapped him hard on the nape of his neck.[FN#644] Upon this my brother
would have gone out of the house in anger; but the old woman followed
him and winked to him to return. So he came back and the lady bade him
sit and he sat down without a word. Then she again slapped him on the
nape of his neck; and the second slapping did not suffice her, she must
needs make all her handmaidens also slap and cuff him, while he kept
saying to the old woman, "I never saw aught nicer than this." She on
her side ceased not exclaiming, "Enough, enough, I conjure thee, O my
mistress!"; but the women slapped him till he well nigh swooned away.
Presently my brother rose and went out to obey a call of nature, but
the old woman overtook him, and said, "Be patient a little and thou
shalt win to thy wish." "How much longer have I to wait," my brother
replied, "this slapping hath made me feel faint." "As soon as she is
warm with wine," answered she, "thou shalt have thy desire." So he
returned to his place and sat down, where upon all the handmaidens
stood up and the lady bade them perfume him with pastiles and
besprinkle his face with rose- water. Then said she to him, "Allah
advance thee to honour! Thou hast entered my house and hast borne with
my conditions, for whoso thwarteth me I turn him away, and whoso is
patient hath his desire." "O mistress mine," said he, "I am thy slave
and in the hollow of thine hand!" "Know, then," continued she, "that
Allah hath made me passionately fond of frolic; and whoso falleth in
with my humour cometh by whatso he wisheth." Then she ordered her
maidens to sing with loud voices till the whole company was delighted;
after which she said to one of them, "Take thy lord, and do what is
needful for him and bring him back to me forthright." So the damsel
took my brother (and he not knowing what she would do with him); but
the old woman overtook him and said, "Be patient; there remaineth but
little to do." At this his face brightened and he stood up before the
lady while the old woman kept saying, "Be patient; thou wilt now at
once win to thy wish!"; till he said, "Tell me what she would have the
maiden do with me?" "Nothing but good," replied she, "as I am thy
sacrifice! She wisheth only to dye thy eyebrows and pluck out thy
mustachios." Quoth he, "As for the dyeing of my eye brows, that will
come off with washing,[FN#645] but for the plucking out of my
mustachios, that indeed is a somewhat painful process." "Be cautious
how thou cross her," cried the old woman; "for she hath set her heart
on thee." So my brother patiently suffered her to dye his eyebrows and
pluck out his mustachios, after which the maiden returned to her
mistress and told her. Quoth she "Remaineth now only one other thing to
be done; thou must shave his beard and make him a smooth o'
face."[FN#646] So the maiden went back and told him what her mistress
had bidden her do; and my brother (the blockhead!) said to her, "How
shall I do what will disgrace me before the folk?" But the old woman
said, "She would do on this wise only that thou mayst be as a beardless
youth and that no hair be left on thy face to scratch and prick her
delicate cheeks; for indeed she is passionately in love with thee. So
be patient and thou shalt attain thine object." My brother was patient
and did her bidding and let shave off his beard and, when he was
brought back to the lady, lo! he appeared dyed red as to his eyebrows,
plucked of both mustachios, shorn of his beard, rouged on both cheeks.
At first she was affrighted at him; then she made mockery of him and,
laughing till she fell upon her back, said, "O my lord, thou hast
indeed won my heart by thy good nature!" Then she conjured him, by her
life, to stand up and dance, and he arose, and capered about, and there
was not a cushion in the house but she threw it at his head, and in
like manner did all her women who also kept pelting him with oranges
and lemons and citrons till he fell down senseless from the cuffing on
the nape of the neck, the pillowing and the fruit pelting. "Now thou
hast attained thy wish," said the old woman when he came round; "there
are no more blows in store for thee and there remaineth but one little
thing to do. It is her wont, when she is in her cups, to let no one
have her until she put off her dress and trousers and remain stark
naked.[FN#647] Then she will bid thee doff thy clothes and run; and she
will run before thee as if she were flying from thee; and do thou
follow her from place to place till thy prickle stands at fullest
point, when she will yield to thee;"[FN#648] adding, "Strip off thy
clothes at once." So he rose, well nigh lost in ecstasy and, doffing
his raiment, showed himself mother naked.—And Shahrazad perceived the
dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

              When it was the Thirty-second Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the old
woman said to the Barber's second brother, "Doff thy clothes," he rose,
well nigh lost in ecstasy; and, stripping off his raiment, showed
himself mother naked. Whereupon the lady stripped also and said to my
brother, "If thou want anything run after me till thou catch me." Then
she set out at a run and he ran after her while she rushed into room
after room and rushed out of room after room, my brother scampering
after her in a rage of desire like a veritable madman, with yard
standing terribly tall. After much of this kind she dashed into a
darkened place, and he dashed after her; but suddenly he trod upon a
yielding spot, which gave way under his weight; and, before he was
aware where he was, he found himself in the midst of a crowded market,
part of the bazaar of the leather sellers who were crying the prices of
skins and hides and buying and selling. When they saw him in his
plight, naked, with standing yard, shorn of beard and mustachios, with
eyebrows dyed red, and cheeks ruddied with rouge, they shouted and
clapped their hands at him, and set to flogging him with skins upon his
bare body till a swoon came over him. Then they threw him on the back
of an ass and carried him to the Chief of Police. Quoth the Chief,
"What is this?" Quoth they, "This fellow fell suddenly upon us out of
the Wazir's house[FN#649] in this state." So the Prefect gave him an
hundred lashes and then banished him from Baghdad. However I went out
after him and brought him back secretly into the city and made him a
daily allowance for his living: although, were it not for my generous
humour, I could not have put up with the like of him. Then the Caliph
gave ear to

The Barber's Tale of his Third Brother.

My third brother's name was Al-Fakík, the Gabbler, who was blind. One
day Fate and Fortune drove him to a fine large house, and he knocked at
the door, desiring speech of its owner that he might beg somewhat of
him. Quoth the master of the house, "Who is at the door?" But my
brother spake not a word and presently he heard him repeat with a loud
voice, "Who is this?" Still he made no answer and immediately heard the
master walk to the door and open it and say, "What dost thou want?" My
brother answered "Something for Allah Almighty's sake."[FN#650] "Art
thou blind?" asked the man, and my brother answered "Yes." Quoth the
other, "Stretch me out thy hand." So my brother put out his hand
thinking that he would give him something; but he took it and, drawing
him into the house, carried him up from stair to stair till they
reached the terrace on the house top, my brother thinking the while
that he would surely give him something of food or money. Then he asked
my brother, "What dost thou want, O blind man?" and he answered,
"Something for the Almighty's sake." "Allah open for thee some other
door!" "O thou! why not say so when I was below stairs?" "O cadger, why
not answer me when I first called to thee?" "And what meanest thou to
do for me now?" "There is nothing in the house to give thee." "Then
take me down the stair." "The path is before thee." So my brother rose
and made his way downstairs, till he came within twenty steps of the
door, when his foot slipped and he rolled to the bottom and broke his
head. Then he went out, unknowing whither to turn, and presently fell
in with two other blind men, companions of his, who said to him, "What
didst thou gain to day?" He told them what had befallen him and added,
"O my brothers, I wish to take some of the money in my hands and
provide myself with it." Now the master of the house had followed him
and was listening to what they said; but neither my brother nor his
comrades knew of this. So my brother went to his lodging and sat down
to await his companions, and the house owner entered after him without
being perceived. When the other blind men arrived, my brother said to
them, "Bolt the door and search the house lest any stranger have
followed us." The man, hearing this, caught hold of a cord that hung
from the ceiling and clung to it, whilst they went round about the
house and searched but found no one. So they came back, and, sitting
beside my brother, brought out their money which they counted and lo!
it was twelve thousand dirhams. Each took what he wanted and they
buried the rest in a corner of the room. Then they set on food and sat
down, to eat. Presently my brother, hearing a strange pair of jaws
munching by his side,[FN#651] said to his friends, "There is a stranger
amongst us;" and, putting forth his hand, caught hold of that of the
house master. Thereupon all fell on him and beat him;[FN#652] and when
tired of belabouring him they shouted, "O ye Moslems! a thief is come
in to us, seeking to take our money!" A crowd gathered around them,
whereupon the intruder hung on to them; and complained with them as
they complained, and, shutting his eyes like them, so that none might
doubt his blindness, cried out, "O Moslems, I take refuge with Allah
and the Governor, for I have a matter to make known to him!" Suddenly
up came the watch and, laying hands on the whole lot (my brother being
amongst them), drove them[FN#653] to the Governor's who set them before
him and asked, "What news with you?" Quoth the intruder, "Look and find
out for thyself, not a word shall be wrung from us save by torture, so
begin by beating me and after me beat this man our leader."[FN#654] And
he pointed to my brother. So they threw the man at full length and gave
him four hundred sticks on his backside. The beating pained him,
whereupon he opened one eye and, as they redoubled their blows, he
opened the other eye. When the Governor saw this he said to him, "What
have we here, O accursed?"; whereto he replied, "Give me the seal-ring
of pardon! We four have shammed blind, and we impose upon people that
we may enter houses and look upon the unveiled faces of the women and
contrive for their corruption. In this way we have gotten great gain
and our store amounts to twelve thousand dirhams. Said I to my company,
'Give me my share, three thousand;' but they rose and beat me and took
away my money, and I seek refuge with Allah and with thee; better thou
have my share than they. So, if thou wouldst know the truth of my
words, beat one and every of the others more than thou hast beaten me,
and he will surely open his eyes." The Governor gave orders for the
question to begin with my brother, and they bound him to the whipping
post,[FN#655] and the Governor said, "O scum of the earth, do ye abuse
the gracious gifts of Allah and make as if ye were blind!" "Allah!
Allah!" cried my brother, "by Allah, there is none among us who can
see." Then they beat him till he swooned away and the Governor cried,
"Leave him till he come to and then beat him again." After this he
caused each of the companions to receive more than three hundred
sticks, whilst the sham Abraham kept saying to them "Open your eyes or
you will be beaten afresh." At last the man said to the Governor,
"Dispatch some one with me to bring thee the money; for these fellows
will not open their eyes, lest they incur disgrace before the folk." So
the Governor sent to fetch the money and gave the man his pretended
share, three thousand dirhams; and, keeping the rest for himself,
banished the three blind men from the city. But I, O Commander of the
Faithful, went out and overtaking my brother questioned him of his
case; whereupon he told me of what I have told thee; so I brought him
secretly into the city, and appointed him (in the strictest privacy) an
allowance for meat and drink! The Caliph laughed at my story and said,
"Give him a gift and let him go;" but I said, "By Allah! I will take
naught till I have made known to the Commander of the Faithful what
came to pass with the rest of my brothers; for truly I am a man of few
words and spare of speech." Then the Caliph gave ear to

The Barber's Tale of his Fourth Brother.

Now as for my fourth brother, O Commander of the Faithful, Al-Kuz
al-aswáni, or the long necked Gugglet hight, from his brimming over
with words, the same who was blind of one eye, he became a butcher in
Baghdad and he sold flesh and fattened rams; and great men and rich
bought their meat of him, so that he amassed much wealth and got him
cattle and houses. He fared thus a long while, till one day, as he was
sitting in his shop, there came up an old man and long o' the beard,
who laid down some silver and said, "Give me meat for this." He gave
him his money s worth of flesh and the oldster went his ways. My
brother examined the Shaykh's silver, and, seeing that the dirhams were
white and bright, he set them in a place apart. The greybeard continued
to return to the shop regularly for five months, and my brother ceased
not to lay up all the coin he received from him in its own box. At last
he thought to take out the money to buy sheep; so he opened the box and
found in it nothing, save bits of white paper cut round to look like
coin;[FN#656] so he buffeted his face and cried aloud till the folk
gathered about him, whereupon he told them his tale which made them
marvel exceedingly. Then he rose as was his wont, and slaughtering a
ram hung it up inside his shop; after which he cut off some of the
flesh, and hanging it outside kept saying to himself, "O Allah, would
the ill omened old fellow but come!" And an hour had not passed before
the Shaykh came with his silver in hand; where upon my brother rose and
caught hold of him calling out, "Come aid me, O Moslems, and learn my
story with this villain!" When the old man heard this, he quietly said
to him, "Which will be the better for thee, to let go of me or to be
disgraced by me amidst the folk?" "In what wilt thou disgrace me?" "In
that thou sellest man's flesh for mutton!" "Thou liest, thou accursed!"
"Nay, he is the accursed who hath a man hanging up by way of meat in
his shop. If the matter be as thou sayest, I give thee lawful leave to
take my money and my life." Then the old man cried out aloud, "Ho, ye
people! if you would prove the truth of my words, enter this man's
shop." The folk rushed in and found that the ram was become a dead
man[FN#657] hung up for sale. So they set upon my brother crying out,
"O Infidel! O villain!"; and his best friends fell to cuffing and
kicking him and kept saying, "Dost thou make us eat flesh of the sons
of Adam?" Furthermore, the old man struck him on the eye and put it
out. Then they carried the carcass, with the throat cut, before the
Chief of the city watch, to whom the old man said, "O Emir, this fellow
butchers men and sells their flesh for mutton and we have brought him
to thee; so arise and execute the judgments of Allah (to whom be honour
and glory!)." My brother would have defended himself, but the Chief
refused to hear him and sentenced him to receive five hundred sticks
and to forfeit the whole of his property. And, indeed, had it not been
for that same property which he expended in bribes, they would have
surely slain him. Then the Chief banished him from Baghdad; and my
brother fared forth at a venture, till he came to a great town, where
he thought it best to set up as a cobbler; so he opened a shop and sat
there doing what he could for his livelihood. One day, as he went forth
on his business, he heard the distant tramp of horses and, asking the
cause, was told that the King was going out to hunt and course; so my
brother stopped to look at the fine suite. It so fortuned that the
King's eye met my brother's; whereupon the King hung down his head and
said, "I seek refuge with Allah from the evil of this day!";[FN#658]
and turned the reins of his steed and returned home with all his
retinue. Then he gave orders to his guards, who seized my brother and
beat him with a beating so painful that he was well nigh dead; and my
brother knew not what could be the cause of his maltreatment, after
which he returned to his place in sorriest plight. Soon afterwards he
went to one of the King's household and related what had happened to
him; and the man laughed till he fell upon his back and cried, "O
brother mine, know that the King cannot bear to look at a monocular,
especially if he be blind of the right eye, in which case he doth not
let him go without killing him." When my brother heard this, he
resolved to fly from that city; so he went forth from it to another
wherein none knew him and there he abode a long while. One day, being
full of sorrowful thought for what had befallen him, he sallied out to
solace himself; and, as he was walking along, he heard the distant
tramp of horses behind him and said, "The judgement of Allah is upon
me!" and looked about for a hiding place but found none. At last he saw
a closed door which he pushed hard: it yielded. and he entered a long
gallery in which he took refuge, but hardly had he done so, when two
men set upon him crying out, "Allah be thanked for having delivered
thee into our hands, O enemy of God! These three nights thou hast
robbed us of our rest and sleep, and verily thou hast made us taste of
the death cup." My brother asked, "O folk, what ails you?"; and they
answered, "Thou givest us the change and goest about to disgrace us and
plannest some plot to cut the throat of the house master! Is it not
enough that thou hast brought him to beggary, thou and thy fellows? But
now give us up the knife wherewith thou threatenest us every night."
Then they searched him and found in his waist belt the knife used for
his shoe leather; and he said, "O people, have the fear of Allah before
your eyes and maltreat me not, for know that my story is a right
strange!" "And what is thy story?" said they: so he told them what had
befallen him, hoping they would let him go; however they paid no heed
to what he said and, instead of showing some regard, beat him
grievously and tore off his clothes: then, finding on his sides the
scars of beating with rods, they said, "O accursed! these marks are the
manifest signs of thy guilt!" They carried him before the Governor,
whilst he said to himself, "I am now punished for my sins and none can
deliver me save Allah Almighty!" The Governor addressing my brother
asked him, "O villain, what led thee to enter their house with
intention to murther?"; and my brother answered, "I conjure thee by
Allah, O Emir, hear my words and be not hasty in condemning me!" But
the Governor cried, "Shall we listen to the words of a robber who hath
beggared these people, and who beareth on his back the scar of his
stripes?" adding, "They surely had not done this to thee, save for some
great crime." So he sentenced him to receive an hundred cuts with the
scourge, after which they set him on a camel and paraded him about the
city, proclaiming, "This is the requital and only too little to requite
him who breaketh into people's houses." Then they thrust him out of the
city, and my brother wandered at random, till I heard what had befallen
him; and, going in search of him, questioned him of his case; so he
acquainted me with his story and all his mischances, and I carried him
secretly to the city where I made him an allowance for his meat and
drink. Then the Caliph gave ear to

The Barber's Tale of his Fifth Brother.

My fifth brother, Al-Nashshár,[FN#659] the Babbler, the same who was
cropped of both ears, O Commander of the Faithful, was an asker wont to
beg of folk by night and live on their alms by day. Now when our
father, who was an old man well stricken in years sickened and died, he
left us seven hundred dirhams whereof each son took his hundred; but,
as my fifth brother received his portion, he was perplexed and knew not
what to do with it. While in this uncertainty he bethought him to lay
it out on glass ware of all sorts and turn an honest penny on its
price. So he bought an hundred dirhams worth of verroterie and, putting
it into a big tray, sat down to sell it on a bench at the foot of a
wall against which he leant back. As he sat with the tray before him he
fell to musing and said to himself, "Know, O my good Self, that the
head of my wealth, my principal invested in this glass ware, is an
hundred dirhams. I will assuredly sell it for two hundred with which I
will forthright buy other glass and make by it four hundred; nor will I
cease to sell and buy on this wise, till I have gotten four thousand
and soon find myself the master of much money. With these coins I will
buy merchandise and jewels and ottars[FN#660] and gain great profit on
them; till, Allah willing, I will make my capital an hundred thousand
dirhams. Then I will purchase a fine house with white slaves and
eunuchs and horses; and I will eat and drink and disport myself; nor
will I leave a singing man or a singing woman in the city, but I will
summon them to my palace and make them perform before me." All this he
counted over in his mind, while the tray of glass ware,: worth an
hundred dirhams, stood on the bench before him, and, after looking at
it, he continued, "And when, Inshallah! my capital shall have become
one hundred thousand[FN#661] dinars, I will send out marriage
brokeresses to require for me in wedlock the daughters of Kings and
Wazirs; and I will demand to wife the eldest daughter of the Prime
Minister; for it hath reached me that she is perfect in beauty and
prime in loveliness and rare in accomplishments. I will give a marriage
settlement of one thousand dinars; and, if her father consent, well:
but if not I will take her by force from under his very nose. When she
is safely homed in my house, I will buy ten little eunuchs[FN#662] and
for myself a robe of the robes of Kings and Sultans; and get me a
saddle of gold and a bridle set thick with gems of price. Then I will
mount with the Mamelukes preceding me and surrounding me, and I will
make the round of the city whilst the folk salute me and bless me;
after which I will repair to the Wazir (he that is father of the girl)
with armed white slaves before and behind me and on my right and on my
left. When he sees me, the Wazir stands up, and seating me in his own
place sits down much below me; for that I am to be his son in law. Now
I have with me two eunuchs carrying purses, each containing a thousand
dinars; and of these I deliver to him the thousand, his daughter's
marriage settlement, and make him a free gift of the other thousand,
that he may have reason to know my generosity and liberality and my
greatness of spirit and the littleness of the world in my eyes. And for
ten words he addresses to me I answer him two. Then back I go to my
house, and if one come to me on the bride's part, I make him a present
of money and throw on him a dress of honour; but if he bring me a gift,
I give it back to him and refuse to accept it,[FN#663] that they may
learn what a proud spirit is mine which never condescends to derogate.
Thus I establish my rank and status. When this is done I appoint her
wedding night and adorn my house showily! gloriously! And as the time
for parading the bride is come, I don my finest attire and sit down on
a mattress of gold brocade, propping up my elbow with a pillow, and
turning neither to the right nor to the left; but looking only straight
in front for the haughtiness of my mind and the gravity of my
understanding. And there before me stands my wife in her raiment and
ornaments, lovely as the full moon; and I, in my loftiness and dread
lordliness,[FN#664] will not glance at her till those present say to
me, 'O our lord and our master, thy wife, thy handmaid, standeth before
thee; vouchsafe her one look, for standing wearieth her.' Then they
kiss the ground before me many times; whereupon I raise my eyes and
cast at her one single glance and turn my face earthwards again. Then
they bear her off to the bride chamber,[FN#665] and I arise and change
my clothes for a far finer suit; and, when they bring in the bride a
second time, I deign not to throw her a look till they have begged me
many times; after which I glance at her out of the corner of one eye,
and then bend down my head. I continue acting after this fashion till
the parading and displaying are completed[FN#666]"—And Shahrazad
perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her per misted say.

              When It was the Thirty-third Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Barber's
fifth brother proceeded: - "Then I bend down my head and continue
acting after this fashion till her parading and displaying are
completed. Thereupon I order one of my eunuchs to bring me a bag of
five hundred dinars which I give as largesse to the tire women present
and bid them one and all lead me to the bride chamber. When they leave
me alone with her I neither look at her nor speak to her, but
lie[FN#667] by her side with my face to the wall showing my contempt,
that each and every may again remark how high and haughty I am.
Presently her mother comes in to me, and kissing[FN#668] my head and
hand, says to me, 'O my lord, look upon thine handmaid who longs for
thy favour; so heal her broken spirit!' I give her no answer; and when
she sees this she rises and busses my feet many times and says, 'O my
lord, in very sooth my daughter is a beautiful maid, who hath never
known man; and if thou show her this backwardness and aversion, her
heart will break; so do thou incline to her and speak to her and soothe
her mind and spirit.' Then she rises and fetches a cup of wine; and
says to her daughter, 'Take it and hand it to thy lord.' But as e
approaches me I leave her standing between my hands and sit, propping
my elbow on a round cushion purfled with gold thread, leaning lazily
back, and without looking at her in the majesty of my spirit, so that
she may deem me indeed a Sultan and a mighty man. Then she says to me,
'O my lord, Allah upon thee, do not refuse to take the cup from the
hand of thine hand maid, for verily I am thy bondswoman.' But I do not
speak to her and she presses me, saying, 'There is no help but that
thou drink it;' and she puts it to my lips. Then I shake my fist in her
face and kick her with my foot thus." So he let out with his toe an
knocked over the tray of glass ware which fell to the ground and,
falling from the bench, all that was on it was broken to bits. 'O
foulest of pimps,[FN#669] this comes from the pride of my spirit'"
cried my brother; and then, O Commander of the Faithful, he buffeted
his face and rent his garments and kept on weeping and beating himself.
The folk who were flocking to their Friday prayers saw him; and some of
them looked at him and pitied him, whilst others paid no heed to him,
and in this way my bother lost both capital and profit. He remained
weeping a long while, and at last up came a beautiful lady, the scent
of musk exhaling from her, who was going to Friday prayers riding a
mule with a gold saddle and followed by several eunuchs. When she saw
the broken glass and my brother weeping, her kind heart was moved to
pity for him, and she asked what ailed him and was told that he had a
tray full of glass ware by the sale of which he hoped to gain his
living, but it was broken, and (said they), "there befell him what thou
seest." Thereupon she called up one of her eunuchs and said to him,
Give what thou hast with thee to this poor fellow!". And he gave my
brother a purse in which he found five hundred dinars; and when it
touched his hand he was well nigh dying for excess of joy and he
offered up blessings for her. Then he returned to his abode a
substantial man; and, as he sat considering, some one rapped at the
door. So he rose and opened and saw an old woman whom he had never
seen. "O my son," said she, "know that prayer tide is near and I have
not yet made my Wuzu-ablution;[FN#670] so kindly allow me the use of
thy lodging for the purpose." My brother answered, "To hear is to
comply;" and going in bade her follow him. So she entered and he
brought her an ewer wherewith to wash, and sat down like to fly with
joy because of the dinars which he had tied up in his belt for a purse.
When the old woman had made an end of her ablution, she came up to
where he sat, and prayed a two bow prayer; after which she blessed my
brother with a godly benediction, and he while thanking her put his
hand to the dinars and gave her two, saying to himself "These are my
voluntaries."[FN#671] When she saw the gold she cried, "Praise be to
Allah! why dost thou look on one who loveth thee as if she were a
beggar? Take back thy money: I have no need of it; or, if thou want it
not, return it to her who gave it thee when thy glass ware was broken.
Moreover, if thou wish to be united with her, I can manage the matter,
for she is my mistress." "O my mother," asked my brother, "by what
manner of means can I get at her?"; and she answered, "O my son! she
hath an inclination for thee, but she is the wife of a wealthy man; so
take the whole of thy money with thee and follow me, that I may guide
thee to thy desire: and when thou art in her company spare neither
persuasion nor fair words, but bring them all to bear upon her; so
shalt thou enjoy her beauty and wealth to thy heart's content." My
brother took all his gold and rose and followed the old woman, hardly
believing in his luck. She ceased not faring on, and my brother
following her, till they came to a tall gate at which she knocked and a
Roumi slave-girl[FN#672] came out and opened to them. Then the old
woman led my brother into a great sitting room spread with wondrous
fine carpets and hung with curtains, where he sat down with his gold
before him, and his turband on his knee.[FN#673] He had scarcely taken
seat before there came to him a young lady (never eye saw fairer) clad
in garments of the most sumptuous; whereupon my brother rose to his
feet, and she smiled in his face and welcomed him, signing to him to be
seated. Then she bade shut the door and, when it was shut, she turned
to my brother, and taking his hand conducted him to a private chamber
furnished with various kinds of brocades and gold cloths. Here he sat
down and she sat by his side and toyed with him awhile; after which she
rose and saying, "Stir not from thy seat till I come back to thee;"
disappeared. Meanwhile as he was on this wise, lo! there came in to him
a black slave big of body and bulk and holding a drawn sword in hand,
who said to him, "Woe to thee! Who brought thee hither and what dost
thou want here?" My brother could not return him a reply, being tongue
tied for terror; so the blackamoor seized him and stripped him of his
clothes and bashed him with the flat of his sword blade till he fell to
the ground, swooning from excess of belabouring. The ill omened nigger
fancied that there was an end of him and my brother heard him cry,
"Where is the salt wench?"[FN#674] Where upon in came a handmaid
holding in hand a large tray of salt, and the slave kept rubbing it
into my brother's wounds;[FN#675] but he did not stir fearing lest the
slave might find out that he was not dead and kill him outright. Then
the salt girl went away, and the slave cried Where is the
souterrain[FN#676] guardianess?" Hereupon in came the old woman and
dragged my brother by his feet to a souterrain and threw him down upon
a heap of dead bodies. In this place he lay two full days, but Allah
made the salt the means of preserving his life by staunching the blood
and staying its flow Presently, feeling himself able to move,
Al-Nashshar rose and opened the trap door in fear and trembling and
crept out into the open; and Allah protected him, so that he went on in
the darkness and hid himself in the vestibule till dawn, when he saw
the accursed beldam sally forth in quest of other quarry. He followed
in her wake without her knowing it, and made for his own lodging where
he dressed his wounds and medicined himself till he was whole.
Meanwhile he used to watch the old woman, tracking her at all times and
seasons, and saw her accost one man after another and carry them to the
house. However he uttered not a word; but, as soon as he waxed hale and
hearty, he took a piece of stuff and made it into a bag which he filled
with broken glass and bound about his middle. He also disguised himself
as a Persian that none might know him, and hid a sword under his
clothes of foreign cut. Then he went out and presently, falling in with
the old woman, said to her, speaking Arabic with a Persian accent,
"Venerable lady,[FN#677] I am a stranger arrived but this day here
where I know no one. Hast thou a pair of scales wherein I may weigh
eleven hundred dinars? I will give thee somewhat of them for thy
pains." "I have a son, a money changer, who keepeth all kinds of
scales," she answered, "so come with me to him before he goeth out and
he will weigh thy gold." My brother answered "Lead the way!" She led
him to the house and the young lady herself came out and opened it,
whereupon the old woman smiled in her face and said, "I bring thee fat
meat today."[FN#678] Then the damsel took my brother by the hand, and
led him to the same chamber as before; where she sat with him awhile
then rose and went forth saying, "Stir not from thy seat till I come
back to thee." Presently in came the accursed slave with the drawn
sword and cried to my brother, "Up and be damned to thee." So he rose,
and as the slave walked on before him he drew the sword from under his
clothes and smote him with it, making head fly from body. Then he
dragged the corpse by the feet to the souterrain and called out, "Where
is the salt wench?" Up came the girl carrying the tray of salt and,
seeing my brother sword in hand, turned to fly; but he followed her and
struck off her head. Then he called out, "Where is the souterrain
guardianess? , and in came the old woman to whom he said, "Dost know me
again, ill omened hag?" "No my lord," she replied, and he said, "I am
the owner of the five hundred gold pieces, whose house thou enteredst
to make the ablution and to pray, and whom thou didst snare hither and
betray." "Fear Allah and spare me," cried she; but he regarded her not
and struck her with the sword till he had cut her in four. Then he went
to look for the young lady; and when she saw him her reason fled and
she cried out piteously "Aman![FN#679] Mercy!" So he spared her and
asked, "What made thee consort with this blackamoor?", and she
answered, "I was slave to a certain merchant, and the old woman used to
visit me till I took a liking to her. One day she said to me, 'We have
a marriage festival at our house the like of which was never seen and I
wish thee to enjoy the sight.' 'To hear is to obey,' answered I, and
rising arrayed myself in my finest raiment and ornaments, and took with
me a purse containing an hundred gold pieces. Then she brought me
hither and hardly had I entered the house when the black seized on me,
and I have remained in this case three whole years through the perfidy
of the accursed beldam." Then my brother asked her, "Is there anything
of his in the house?"; whereto she answered, "Great store of wealth,
and if thou art able to carry it away, do so and Allah give thee good
of it" My brother went with her and she opened to him sundry chests
wherein were money bags, at which he was astounded; then she said to
him, "Go now and leave me here, and fetch men to remove the money.", He
went out and hired ten men, but when he returned he found the door wide
open, the damsel gone and nothing left but some small matter of coin
and the household stuffs.[FN#680] By this he knew that the girl had
overreached him; so he opened the store rooms and seized what was in
them, together with the rest of the money, leaving nothing in the
house. He passed the night rejoicing, but when morning dawned he found
at the door some twenty troopers who laid hands on him saying, "The
Governor wants thee!" My brother implored them hard to let him return
to his house; and even offered them a large sum of money; but they
refused and, binding him fast with cords, carried him off. On the way
they met a friend of my brother who clung to his skirt and implored his
protection, begging him to stand by him and help to deliver him out of
their hands. The man stopped, and asked them what was the matter, and
they answered, "The Governor hath ordered us to bring this fellow
before him and, look ye, we are doing so." My brother's friend urged
them to release him, and offered them five hundred dinars to let him
go, saying, "When ye return to the Governor tell him that you were
unable to find him." But they would not listen to his words and took my
brother, dragging him along on his face, and set him before the
Governor who asked him, "Whence gottest thou these stuffs and monies?";
and he answered, "I pray for mercy!" So the Governor gave him the
kerchief of mercy;[FN#681] and he told him all that had befallen him
from first to last with the old woman and the flight of the damsel;
ending with, "Whatso I have taken, take of it what thou wilt, so thou
leave me sufficient to support life."[FN#682] But the Governor took the
whole of the stuffs and all the money for himself; and, fearing lest
the affair come to the Sultan's ears, he summoned my brother and said,
"Depart from this city, else I will hang thee." "Hearing and obedience"
quoth my brother and set out for another town. On the way thieves fell
foul of him and stripped and beat him and docked his ears; but I heard
tidings of his misfortunes and went out after him taking him clothes;
and brought him secretly into the city where I assigned to him an
allowance for meat and drink. And presently the Caliph gave ear to

The Barber's Tale of his Sixth Brother.

My sixth brother, O Commander of the Faithful, Shakashik,[FN#683] or
Many clamours, the shorn of both lips, was once rich and became poor,
so one day he went out to beg somewhat to keep life in him. As he was
on the road he suddenly caught sight of a large and handsome mansion,
with a detached building wide and lofty at the entrance, where sat
sundry eunuchs bidding and forbidding.[FN#684] My brother enquired of
one of those idling there and he replied "The palace belongs to a scion
of the Barmaki house;" so he stepped up to the door keepers and asked
an alms of them "Enter," said they, "by the great gate and thou shalt
get what thou seekest from the Wazir our master." Accordingly he went
in and, passing through the outer entrance, walked on a while and
presently came to a mansion of the utmost beauty and elegance, paved
with marble, hung with curtains and having in the midst of it a flower
garden whose like he had never seen.[FN#685] My brother stood awhile as
one bewildered not knowing whither to turn his steps; then, seeing the
farther end of the sitting chamber tenanted, he walked up to it and
there found a man of handsome presence and comely beard. When this
personage saw my brother he stood up to him and welcomed him and asked
him of his case; whereto he replied that he was in want and needed
charity. Hearing these words the grandee showed great concern and,
putting his hand to his fine robe, rent it exclaiming, "What! am I in a
City, and thou here an hungered? I have not patience to bear such
disgrace!" Then he promised him all manner of good cheer and said,
"There is no help but that thou stay with me and eat of my
salt."[FN#686] "O my lord," answered my brother, "I can wait no longer;
for I am indeed dying of hunger." So he cried, "Ho boy! bring basin and
ewer;" and, turning to my brother, said, "O my guest come forward and
wash thy hands." My brother rose to do so but he saw neither ewer nor
basin; yet his host kept washing his hands with invisible soap in
imperceptible water and cried, "Bring the table!" But my brother again
saw nothing. Then said the host, "Honour me by eating of this meat and
be not ashamed." And he kept moving his hand to and fro as if he ate
and saying to my brother, "I wonder to see thee eating thus sparely: do
not stint thyself for I am sure thou art famished." So my brother began
to make as though he were eating whilst his host kept saying to him,
"Fall to, and note especially the excellence of this bread and its
whiteness!" But still my brother saw nothing. Then said he to himself,
"This man is fond of poking fun at people;" and replied, "O my lord, in
all my days I never knew aught more winsome than its whiteness or
sweeter than its savour." The Barmecide said, "This bread was baked by
a hand maid of mine whom I bought for five hundred dinars." Then he
called out, "Ho boy, bring in the meat pudding[FN#687] for our first
dish, and let there be plenty of fat in it;" and, turning to my brother
said, "O my guest, Allah upon thee, hast ever seen anything better than
this meat pudding? Now by my life, eat and be not abashed." Presently
he cried out again, "Ho boy, serve up the marinated stew[FN#688] with
the fatted sand grouse in it;" and he said to my brother, "Up and eat,
O my guest, for truly thou art hungry and needest food." So my brother
began wagging his jaws and made as if champing and chewing,[FN#689]
whilst the host continued calling for one dish after another and yet
produced nothing save orders to eat. Presently he cried out, "Ho boy,
bring us the chickens stuffed with pistachio nuts;" and said to my
brother, "By thy life, O my guest, I have fattened these chickens upon
pistachios; eat, for thou hast never eaten their like." "O my lord,"
replied my brother, "they are indeed first rate." Then the host began
motioning with his hand as though he were giving my brother a mouthful;
and ceased not to enumerate and expatiate upon the various dishes to
the hungry man whose hunger waxt still more violent, so that his soul
lusted after a bit of bread, even a barley scone.[FN#690] Quoth the
Barmecide, "Didst thou ever taste anything more delicious than the
seasoning of these dishes?"; and quoth my brother, "Never, O my lord!"
"Eat heartily and be not ashamed," said the host, and the guest, "I
have eaten my fill of meat;" So the entertainer cried, "Take away and
bring in the sweets;" and turning to my brother said, "Eat of this
almond conserve for it is prime and of these honey fritters; take this
one, by my life, the syrup runs out of it." "May I never be bereaved of
thee, O my lord," replied the hungry one and began to ask him about the
abundance of musk in the fritters. "Such is my custom," he answered:
"they put me a dinar weight of musk in every honey fritter and half
that quantity of ambergris." All this time my brother kept wagging head
and jaws till the master cried, "Enough of this. Bring us the dessert!"
Then said he to him,' "Eat of these almonds and walnuts and raisins;
and of this and that (naming divers kinds of dried fruits), and be not
abashed." But my brother replied, "O my lord, indeed I am full: I can
eat no more." "O my guest," repeated the host, "if thou have a mind to
these good things eat: Allah! Allah![FN#691] do not remain hungry;" but
my brother rejoined, "O my lord, he who hath eaten of all these dishes
how can he be hungry?" Then he considered and said to himself, "I will
do that shall make him repent of these pranks." Presently the
entertainer called out "Bring me the wine;" and, moving his hands in
the air, as though they had set it before them, he gave my brother a
cup and said, "Take this cup and, if it please thee, let me know." "O
my lord," he replied, "it is notable good as to nose but I am wont to
drink wine some twenty years old." "Knock then at this door,"[FN#692]
quoth the host "for thou canst not drink of aught better." "By thy
kindness," said my brother, motioning with his hand as though he were
drinking. "Health and joy to thee," exclaimed the house master and
feigned to fill a cup and drink it off; then he handed another to my
brother who quaffed it and made as if he were drunken. Presently he
took the host unawares; and, raising his arm till the white of his
armpit appeared, dealt him such a cuff on the nape of his neck that the
palace echoed to it. Then he came down upon him with a second cuff and
the entertainer cried aloud "What is this, O thou scum of the earth?"
"O my lord," replied my brother, "thou hast shown much kindness to thy
slave, and admitted him into thine abode and given him to eat of thy
victual; then thou madest him drink of thine old wine till he became
drunken and boisterous; but thou art too noble not to bear with his
ignorance and pardon his offence." When the Barmaki heard my brother's
words he laughed his loudest and said, "Long have I been wont to make
mock of men and play the madcap among my intimates, but never yet have
I come across a single one who had the patience and the wit to enter
into all my humours save thyself: so I forgive thee, and thou shalt be
my boon companion in very sooth and never leave me." Then he ordered
the servants to lay the table in earnest and they set on all the dishes
of which he had spoken in sport; and he and my brother ate till they
were satisfied; after which they removed to the drinking chamber, where
they found damsels like moons who sang all manner songs and played on
all manner instruments. There they remained drinking till their wine
got the better of them and the host treated my brother like a familiar
friend, so that he became as it were his brother, and bestowed on him a
robe of honour and loved him with exceeding love. Next morning the two
fell again to feasting and carousing, and ceased not to lead this life
for a term of twenty years; at the end of which the Barmecide died and
the Sultan took possession of all his wealth and squeezed my brother of
his savings, till he was left a pauper without a penny to handle. So he
quitted the city and fled forth following his face;[FN#693] but, when
he was half way between two towns, the wild Arabs fell on him and bound
him and carried him to their camp, where his captor proceeded to
torture him, saying, "Buy thy life of me with thy money, else I will
slay thee!" My brother began to weep and replied, "By Allah, I have
nothing, neither gold nor silver; but I am thy prisoner; so do with me
what thou wilt." Then the Badawi drew a knife, broad bladed and so
sharp grinded that if plunged into a camel's throat it would sever it
clean across from one jugular to the other,[FN#694] and cut off my
brother's lips and waxed more instant in requiring money. Now this
Badawi had a fair wife who in her husband's absence used to make
advances to my brother and offer him her favours, but he held off from
her. One day she began to tempt him as usual and he played with her and
made her sit on his lap, when behold, in came the Badawi who, seeing
this, cried out, "Woe to thee, O accursed villain, wouldest thou
debauch my wife for me?" Then he took out a knife and cut off my
brother's yard, after which he bound him on the back of a camel and,
carrying him to a mountain, left him there. He was at last found by
some who recognised him and gave him meat and drink and acquainted me
with his condition; whereupon I went forth to him and brought him back
to Baghdad where I made him an allowance sufficient to live on. This,
then, O Commander of the Faithful, is the history of my six brothers,
and I feared to go away without relating it all to thee and leave thee
in the error of judging me to be like them. And now thou knowest that I
have six brothers upon my hands and, being more upright than they, I
support the whole family. When the Caliph heard my story and all I told
him concerning my brothers, he laughed and said, "Thou sayest sooth, O
Silent Man! thou art indeed spare of speech nor is there aught of
forwardness in thee; but now go forth out of this city and settle in
some other." And he banished me under edict. I left Baghdad and
travelled in foreign parts till I heard of his death and the accession
of another to the Caliphate. Then I returned to Baghdad where I found
all my brothers dead and chanced upon this young man, to whom I
rendered the kindliest service, for without me he had surely been
killed. Indeed he slanders me and accuses me of a fault which is not in
my nature; and what he reports concerning impudence and meddling and
forwardness is idle and false; for verily on his account I left Baghdad
and travelled about full many a country till I came to this city and
met him here in your company. And was not this, O worthy assemblage, of
the generosity of my nature?

The End of the Tailor's Tale.

Then quoth the Tailor to the King of China: When we heard the Barber's
tale and saw the excess of his loquacity and the way in which he had
wronged this young man, we laid hands on him and shut him up, after
which we sat down in peace, and ate and drank and enjoyed the good
things of the marriage feast till the time of the call to mid afternoon
prayer, when I left the party and returned home. My wife received me
with sour looks and said, "Thou goest a pleasuring among thy friends
and thou leavest me to sit sorrowing here alone. So now, unless thou
take me abroad and let me have some amusement for the rest of the day,
I will cut the rope[FN#695] and it will be the cause of my separation
from thee." So I took her out and we amused ourselves till supper time,
when we returned home and fell in with this Hunchback who was brimful
of drink and trolling out these rhymes:

"Clear's the wine, the cup's fine;   * Like to like they combine:
It is wine and not cup!              * 'Tis a cup and not wine!"

So I invited him to sup with us and went out to buy fried fish; after
which we sat down to eat; and presently my wife took a piece of bread
and a fid of fish and stuffed them into his mouth and he choked; and,
though I slapped him long and hard between the shoulders, he died. Then
I carried him off and contrived to throw him into the house of this
leach, the Jew; and the leach contrived to throw him into the house of
the Reeve; and the Reeve contrived to throw him on the way of the
Nazarene broker. This, then, is my adventure which befell me but
yesterday. Is not it more wondrous than the story of the Hunchback?
When the King of China heard the Tailor's tale he shook his head for
pleasure; and, showing great surprise, said, "This that passed between
the young man and the busy-body of a Barber is indeed more pleasant and
wonderful than the story of my lying knave of a Hunchback." Then he
bade one of his Chamberlains go with the Tailor and bring the Barber
out of jail, saying, "I wish to hear the talk of this Silent Man and it
shall be the cause of your deliverance one and all: then we will bury
the Hunchback, for that he is dead since yesterday, and set up a tomb
over him."—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say
her per misted say.

              When it was the Thirty-fourth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the King of China
bade, "Bring me the Barber who shall be the cause of your deliverance;
then we will bury this Hunchback, for that he is dead since yesterday
and set up a tomb over him." So the Chamberlain and the Tailor went to
the jail and, releasing the Barber, presently returned with him to the
King. The Sultan of China looked at him and considered him carefully
and lo and behold! he was an ancient man, past his ninetieth year;
swart of face, white of beard, and hoar of eyebrows; lop eared and
proboscis-nosed,[FN#696] with a vacant, silly and conceited expression
of countenance. The King laughed at this figure o' fun and said to him,
"O Silent Man, I desire thee to tell me somewhat of thy history." Quoth
the Barber, "O King of the age, allow me first to ask thee what is the
tale of this Nazarene and this Jew and this Moslem and this Hunchback
(the corpse) I see among you? And prithee what may be the object of
this assemblage?" Quoth the King of China, "And why dost thou ask?" "I
ask," he replied, "in order that the King's majesty may know that I am
no forward fellow or busy body or impertinent meddler; and that I am
innocent of their calumnious charges of overmuch talk; for I am he
whose name is the Silent Man, and indeed peculiarly happy is my
sobriquet, as saith the poet:

When a nickname or little name men design, * Know that nature with name
shall full oft combine."

Then said the King, "Explain to the Barber the case of this Hunchback
and what befell him at supper time; also repeat to him the stories told
by the Nazarene, the Jew, the Reeve, and the Tailor; and of no avail to
me is a twice told tale." They did his bidding, and the Barber shook
his head and said, "By Allah, this is a marvel of marvels! Now uncover
me the corpse of yonder Hunchback. They undid the winding sheet and he
sat down and, taking the Hunchback's head in his lap, looked at his
face and laughed and guffaw'd[FN#697] till he fell upon his back and
said, "There is wonder in every death,[FN#698] but the death of this
Hunchback is worthy to be written and recorded in letters of liquid
gold!" The bystanders were astounded at his words and the King
marvelled and said to him, "What ails thee, O Silent Man? Explain to us
thy words !" "O King of the age," said the Barber, "I swear by thy
beneficence that there is still life in this Gobbo Golightly!"
Thereupon he pulled out of his waist belt a barber's budget, whence he
took a pot of ointment and anointed therewith the neck of the Hunchback
and its arteries. Then he took a pair of iron tweezers and, inserting
them into the Hunchback's throat, drew out the fid of fish with its
bone; and, when it came to sight, behold, it was soaked in blood.
Thereupon the Hunchback sneezed a hearty sneeze and jumped up as if
nothing had happened and passing his hand over his face said, "I
testify that there is no god, but the God, and I testify that Mohammed
is the Apostle of God." At this sight all present wondered; the King of
China laughed till he fainted and in like manner did the others. Then
said the Sultan, "By Allah, of a truth this is the most marvellous
thing I ever saw! O Moslems, O soldiers all, did you ever in the lives
of you see a man die and be quickened again? Verily had not Allah
vouchsafed to him this Barber, he had been a dead man!" Quoth they, "By
Allah, 'tis a marvel of marvels." Then the King of China bade record
this tale, so they recorded it and placed it in the royal
muniment-rooms; after which he bestowed costly robes of honour upon the
Jew, the Nazarene and the Reeve, and bade them depart in all esteem.
Then he gave the Tailor a sumptuous dress and appointed him his own
tailor, with suitable pay and allowances; and made peace between him
and the Hunchback, to whom also he presented a splendid and expensive
suit with a suitable stipend. He did as generously with the Barber,
giving him a gift and a dress of honour; moreover he settled on him a
handsome solde and created him Barber surgeon[FN#699] of state and made
him one of his cup companions. So they ceased not to live the most
pleasurable life and the most delectable, till there came to them the
Destroyer of all delights and the Sunderer of all societies, the
Depopulator of palaces and the Garnerer for graves. Yet, O most
auspicious King! (continued Shahrazad) this tale is by no means more
wonderful than that of the two Wazirs and Anís al-Jalís. Quoth her
sister Dunyazad, "And what may that be?", whereupon she began to relate
the following tale of

End of Vol. 1.

                    Arabian Nights, Volume 1

[FN#1] Allaho A'alam, a deprecatory formula, used because the writer is
going to indulge in a series of what may possibly be untruths.

[FN#2] The "Sons of Sásán" are the famous Sassanides whose dynasty
ended with the Arabian Conquest (A.D. 641). "Island" Jazírah) in Arabic
also means "Peninsula," and causes much confusion in geographical

[FN#3] Shahryár not Shahriyar (Persian) = "City-friend." The Bulak
edition corrupts it to Shahrbáz (City-hawk), and the Breslau to
Shahrbán or "Defender of the City," like Marz-ban=Warden of the
Marshes. Shah Zamán (Persian)="King of the Age:" Galland prefers Shah
Zenan, or "King of women," and the Bull edit. changes it to Shah
Rummán, "Pomegranate King." Al-Ajam denotes all regions not Arab
(Gentiles opposed to Jews, Mlechchhas to Hindus, Tajiks to Turks, etc.,
etc.), and especially Persia; Ajami (a man of Ajam) being an equivalent
of the Gr. {Greek Letters}. See Vol.. ii., p. 1.

[FN#4] Galland writes "Vizier," a wretched frenchification of a mincing
Turkish mispronunciation; Torrens, "Wuzeer" (Anglo- Indian and
Gilchristian); Lane, "Wezeer"; (Egyptian or rather Cairene); Payne,
"Vizier," according to his system; Burckhardt (Proverbs), "Vizír;" and
Mr. Keith-Falconer, "Vizir." The root is popularly supposed to be
"wizr" (burden) and the meaning "Minister;" Wazir al-Wuzará being
"Premier." In the Koran (chaps. xx., 30) Moses says, "Give me a Wazir
of my family, Harun (Aaron) my brother." Sale, followed by the
excellent version of the Rev. J. M. Rodwell, translates a "Counsellor,"
and explains by "One who has the chief administration of affairs under
a prince." But both learned Koranists learnt their Orientalism in
London, and, like such students generally, fail only upon the easiest
points, familiar to all old dwellers in the East.

[FN#5] This three-days term (rest-day, drest-day and departure day)
seems to be an instinct-made rule in hospitality. Among Moslems it is a
Sunnat or practice of the Prophet.)

[FN#6] i.e., I am sick at heart.

[FN#7] Debauched women prefer negroes on account of the size of their
parts. I measured one man in Somali-land who, when quiescent, numbered
nearly six inches. This is a characteristic of the negro race and of
African animals; e.g. the horse; whereas the pure Arab, man and beast,
is below the average of Europe; one of the best proofs by the by, that
the Egyptian is not an Asiatic, but a negro partially white-washed.
Moreover, these imposing parts do not increase proportionally during
erection; consequently, the "deed of kind" takes a much longer time and
adds greatly to the woman's enjoyment. In my time no honest Hindi
Moslem would take his women-folk to Zanzibar on account of the huge
attractions and enormous temptations there and thereby offered to them.
Upon the subject of Imsák = retention of semen and "prolongation of
pleasure," I shall find it necessary to say more.

[FN#8] The very same words were lately spoken in England proving the
eternal truth of The Nights which the ignorant call "downright lies."

[FN#9] The Arab's Tue la!

[FN#10] Arab. "Sayd wa kanas": the former usually applied to fishing;
hence Sayda (Sidon) = fish-town. But noble Arabs (except the Caliph
Al-Amin) do not fish; so here it means simply "sport," chasing,
coursing, birding (oiseler), and so forth.

[FN#11] In the Mac. Edit. the negro is called "Mas'úd"; here he utters
a kind of war-cry and plays upon the name, "Sa'ád, Sa'íd, Sa'úd," and
"Mas'ud", all being derived from one root, "Sa'ad" = auspiciousness,

[FN#12] The Arab. singular (whence the French "génie"), fem. Jinniyah;
the Div and Rakshah of old Guebre-land and the "Rakshasa," or "Yaksha,"
of Hinduism. It would be interesting to trace the evident connection,
by no means "accidental," of "Jinn" with the "Genius" who came to the
Romans through the Asiatic Etruscans, and whose name I cannot derive
from "gignomai" or "genitus." He was unknown to the Greeks, who had the
Daimon {Greek Letters}, a family which separated, like the Jinn and the
Genius, into two categories, the good (Agatho-dæmons) and the bad
(Kako-dæmons). We know nothing concerning the status of the Jinn
amongst the pre-Moslemitic or pagan Arabs: the Moslems made him a
supernatural anthropoid being, created of subtile fire (Koran chapts.
xv. 27; lv. 14), not of earth like man, propagating his kind, ruled by
mighty kings, the last being Ján bin Ján, missionarised by Prophets and
subject to death and Judgment. From the same root are "Junún" = madness
(i.e., possession or obsession by the Jinn) and "Majnún"=a madman.
According to R. Jeremiah bin Eliazar in Psalm xii. 5, Adam was
excommunicated for one hundred and thirty years, during which he begat
children in his own image (Gen. v. 3) and these were Mazikeen or
Shedeem- Jinns. Further details anent the Jinn will presently occur.

[FN#13] Arab. "Amsár" (cities): in Bull Edit. "Amtár" (rains), as in
Mac. Edit. So Mr. Payne (I., 5) translates: And when she flashes forth
the lightning of her glance, She maketh eyes to rain, like showers,
with many a tear. I would render it, "She makes whole cities shed
tears," and prefer it for a reason which will generally influence
merits superior exaggeration and impossibility.

[FN#14] Not "A-frit," pronounced Aye-frit, as our poets have it. This
variety of the Jinn, who, as will be shown, are divided into two races
like mankind, is generally, but not always, a malignant being, hostile
and injurious to mankind (Koran xxvii. 39).

[FN#15] i.e., "I conjure thee by Allah;" the formula is technically
called "Inshád."

[FN#16] This introducing the name of Allah into an indecent tale is
essentially Egyptian and Cairene. But see Boccaccio ii. 6, and vii. 9.

[FN#17] So in the Mac. Edit.; in others "ninety." I prefer the greater
number as exaggeration is a part of the humour. In the Hindu "Kathá
Sárit Ságara" (Sea of the Streams of Story), the rings are one hundred
and the catastrophe is more moral, the good youth Yashodhara rejects
the wicked one's advances; she awakes the water-sprite, who is about to
slay him, but the rings are brought as testimony and the improper young
person's nose is duly cut off. (Chap. Ixiii.; p. 80, of the excellent
translation by Prof. C. H. Tawney: for the Bibliotheca Indica:
Calcutta, 1881.) The Kathá, etc., by Somadeva (century xi), is a
poetical version of the prose compendium, the "Vrihat Kathá" (Great
Story) by Gunadhya (cent. vi).

[FN#18] The Joseph of the Koran, very different from him of
Genesis. We shall meet him often enough in The Nights.

[FN#19] "Iblis," vulgarly written "Eblis," from a root meaning The
Despairer, with a suspicious likeness to Diabolos; possibly from
"Bales," a profligate. Some translate it The Calumniator, as Satan is
the Hater. Iblis (who appears in the Arab. version of the N. Testament)
succeeded another revolting angel Al-Haris; and his story of pride
refusing to worship Adam, is told four times in the Koran from the
Talmud (Sanhedrim 29). He caused Adam and Eve to lose Paradise (ii.
34); he still betrays mankind (xxv. 31), and at the end of time he,
with the other devils, will be "gathered together on their knees round
Hell" (xix. 69). He has evidently had the worst of the game, and we
wonder, with Origen, Tillotson, Burns and many others, that he does not
throw up the cards.

[FN#20] A similar tale is still told at Akká (St. John d'Acre)
concerning the terrible "butcher"—Jazzár (Djezzar) Pasha. One can
hardly pity women who are fools enough to run such risks. According to
Frizzi, Niccolò, Marquis of Este, after beheading Parisina, ordered all
the faithless wives of Ferrara to be treated in like manner.

[FN#21] "Shahrázád" (Persian) = City-freer, in the older version
Scheherazade (probably both from Shirzád=lion-born).
"Dunyázád"=World-freer. The Bres. Edit. corrupts former to
Sháhrzád or Sháhrazád, and the Mac. and Calc. to Shahrzád or
Shehrzád. I have ventured to restore the name as it should be.
Galland for the second prefers Dinarzade (?) and Richardson
Dinazade (Dinázád = Religion-freer): here I have followed Lane
and Payne; though in "First Footsteps" I was misled by Galland.
See Vol. ii. p. 1.

[FN#22] Probably she proposed to "Judith" the King. These learned and
clever young ladies are very dangerous in the East.

[FN#23] In Egypt, etc., the bull takes the place of the Western ox. The
Arab. word is "Taur" (Thaur, Saur); in old Persian "Tore" and Lat.
"Taurus," a venerable remnant of the days before the "Semitic" and
"Aryan" families of speech had split into two distinct growths. "Taur"
ends in the Saxon "Steor" and the English "Steer "

[FN#24] Arab. "Abú Yakzán" = the Wakener, because the ass brays at

[FN#25] Arab. "Tibn"; straw crushed under the sledge: the hay of Egypt,
Arabia, Syria, etc. The old country custom is to pull up the corn by
handfuls from the roots, leaving the land perfectly bare: hence the
"plucking up" of Hebrew Holy Writ. The object is to preserve every atom
of "Tibn."

[FN#26] Arab. "Yá Aftah": Al-Aftah is an epithet of the bull, also of
the chameleon.

[FN#27] Arab. "Balíd," a favourite Egyptianism often pleasantly
confounded with "Wali" (a Santon), hence the latter comes to mean "an
innocent," a "ninny."

[FN#28] From the Calc. Edit., Vol. 1., p. 29.

[FN#29] Arab. "Abu Yakzán" is hardly equivalent with "Père l'Eveillé."

[FN#30] In Arab. the wa (x) is the sign of parenthesis.

[FN#31] In the nearer East the light little plough is carried afield by
the bull or ass.

[FN#32] Ocymum basilicum, the "royal herb," so much prized all over the
East, especially in India, where, under the name of "Tulsi," it is a
shrub sacred to the merry god Krishna. I found the verses in a MS. copy
of The Nights.

[FN#33] Arab. "Sadaf," the Kauri, or cowrie, brought from the Maldive
and Lakdive Archipelago. The Kámús describes this "Wada'" or Concha
Veneris as "a white shell (whence to "shell out") which is taken out of
the sea, the fissure of which is white like that of the date-stone. It
is hung about the neck to avert the evil eye." The pearl in Arab. is
"Murwarid," hence evidently "Margarita" and Margaris (woman's name).

[FN#34] Arab. "Kat'a" (bit of leather): some read "Nat'a;" a leather
used by way of table-cloth, and forming a bag for victuals; but it is
never made of bull's hide.

[FN#35] The older "Cadi," a judge in religious matters. The
Shuhúd, or Assessors, are officers of the Mahkamah or Kazi's

[FN#36] Of which more in a future page. He thus purified himself
ceremonially before death.

[FN#37] This is Christian rather than Moslem: a favourite Maltese curse
is "Yahrak Kiddisak man rabba-k!" = burn the Saint who brought thee up!

[FN#38] A popular Egyptian phrase: the dog and the cock speak like

[FN#39] i. e. between the last sleep and dawn when they would rise to
wash and pray.

[FN#40] Travellers tell of a peculiar knack of jerking the date-stone,
which makes it strike with great force: I never saw this "Inwá"
practised, but it reminds me of the water splashing with one hand in
the German baths.

[FN#41] i.e., sorely against his will.

[FN#42] Arab. "Shaykh"=an old man (primarily), an elder, a chief (of
the tribe, guild, etc.), and honourably addressed to any man. Comp.
among the neo Latins "Sieur," "Signora," "Señor," "Senhor," etc. from
Lat. "Senior," which gave our "Sire" and "Sir." Like many in Arabic the
word has a host of different meanings and most of them will occur in
the course of The Nights. Ibrahim (Abraham) was the first Shaykh or man
who became grey. Seeing his hairs whiten he cried, "O Allah what is
this?" and the answer came that it was a sign of dignified gravity.
Hereupon he exclaimed, "O Lord increase this to me!" and so it happened
till his locks waxed snowy white at the age of one hundred and fifty.
He was the first who parted his hair, trimmed his mustachios, cleaned
his teeth with the Miswák (tooth-stick), pared his nails, shaved his
pecten, snuffed up water, used ablution after stool and wore a shirt

[FN#43] The word is mostly plural = Jinnís: it is also singular = a
demon; and Ján bin Ján has been noticed.

[FN#44] With us moderns "liver" suggests nothing but malady: in Arabic
and Persian as in the classic literature of Europe it is the seat of
passion, the heart being that of affection. Of this more presently.

[FN#45] Originally in Al-Islam the concubine (Surriyat, etc.) was a
captive taken in war and the Koran says nothing about buying
slave-girls. But if the captives were true believers the Moslem was
ordered to marry not to keep them. In modern days concubinage has
become an extensive subject. Practically the disadvantage is that the
slave-girls, knowing themselves to be the master's property, consider
him bound to sleep with them; which is by no means the mistress's view.
Some wives, however, when old and childless, insist, after the fashion
of Sarah, upon the husband taking a young concubine and treating her
like a daughter—which is rare. The Nights abound in tales of
concubines, but these are chiefly owned by the Caliphs and high
officials who did much as they pleased. The only redeeming point in the
system is that it obviated the necessity of prostitution which is,
perhaps, the greatest evil known to modern society.

[FN#46] Arab. "Al-Kahánah"=the craft of a "Káhin" (Heb. Cohen) a
diviner, soothsayer, etc.

[FN#47] Arab. "Id al-kabír = The Great Festival; the Turkish Bayrám and
Indian Bakar-eed (Kine-fête), the pilgrimage-time, also termed
"Festival of the Kurbán" (sacrifice) because victims are slain, Al-Zuha
(of Undurn or forenoon), Al-Azhá (of serene night) and Al-Nahr (of
throat-cutting). For full details I must refer readers to my "Personal
Narrative of a Pilgrimage to El-Medinah and Meccah" (3 vols. 8vo,
London, Longmans, 1855). I shall have often to refer to it.

[FN#48] Arab. "Kalám al-mubáh," i.e., that allowed or permitted to her
by the King, her husband.

[FN#49] Moslem Kings are expected, like the old Gabble Monarchs, to
hold "Darbar" (i.e., give public audience) at least twice a day,
morning and evening. Neglect of this practice caused the ruin of the
Caliphate and of the Persian and Moghul Empires: the great lords were
left uncontrolled and the lieges revolted to obtain justice. The Guebre
Kings had two levée places, the Rozistan (day station) and the
Shabistan (night-station - istán or stán being a nominal form of
istádan, to stand, as Hindo-stán). Moreover one day in the week the
sovereign acted as "Mufti" or Supreme Judge.

[FN#50] Arab. "Al-Bashárah," the gift everywhere claimed in the East
and in Boccaccio's Italy by one who brings good news. Those who do the
reverse expose themselves to a sound strappado.

[FN#51] A euphemistic formula, to avoid mentioning unpleasant matters.
I shall note these for the benefit of students who would honestly
prepare for the public service in Moslem lands.

[FN#52] Arab. "Dínár," from the Latin denarius (a silver coin worth ten
ounces of brass) through the Greek {Greek Letters}: it is a Koranic
word (chaps. iii.) though its Arab equivalent is "Miskál." It also
occurs in the Kathá before quoted, clearly showing the derivation. In
the "Book of Kalilah and Dimnah" it is represented by the Daric or
Persian Dinár, {Greek Letters}, from Dárá= a King (whence Darius). The
Dinar, sequin or ducat, contained at different times from 10 and 12
(Abu Hanifah's day) to 20 and even 25 dirhams or drachmas, and, as a
weight, represented a drachma and a half. Its value greatly varied, but
we may assume it here at nine shillings or ten francs to half a
sovereign. For an elaborate article on the Dinar see Yule's "Cathay and
the Way Thither" (ii., pp. 439-443).

[FN#53] The formula used in refusing alms to an "asker" or in rejecting
an insufficient offer: "Allah will open to thee!" (some door of gain -
not mine)! Another favourite ejaculation is "Allah Karim" (which Turks
pronounce "Kyereem") = Allah is All-beneficent! meaning Ask Him, not

[FN#54] The public bath. London knows the word through "The

[FN#55] Arab. "Dirham" (Plur. diráhim, also used in the sense of money,
"siller"), the drachuma of Plautus (Trin. 2, 4, 23). The word occurs in
the Panchatantra also showing the derivation; and in the Syriac Kalilah
wa Dimnah it is "Zúz." This silver piece was = 6 obols (9 3/4d.) and as
a weight = 66 1/2 grains. The Dirham of The Nights was worth six
"Dánik," each of these being a fraction over a penny. The modern Greek
Drachma is=one franc.

[FN#56] In Arabic the speaker always puts himself first, even if he
address the King, without intending incivility.

[FN#57] A she-Ifrit, not necessarily an evil spirit.

[FN#58] Arab. "Kullah" (in Egypt pron. "gulleh"), the wide mouthed jug,
called in the Hijaz "baradlyah," "daurak" being the narrow. They are
used either for water or sherbet and, being made of porous clay,
"sweat," and keep the contents cool; hence all old Anglo Egyptians
drink from them, not from bottles. Sometimes they are perfumed with
smoke of incense, mastich or Kafal (Amyris Kafal). For their graceful
shapes see Lane's "Account of the Manners and Customs of the Modern
Egyptians" (chaps. v) I quote, here and elsewhere, from the fifth
edition, London, Murray, 1860.

[FN#59] "And what is?" etc. A popular way of expressing great
difference. So in India: - "Where is Rajah Bhoj (the great King) and
where is Gangá the oilman?"

[FN#60] Here, as in other places, I have not preserved the monorhyme,
but have ended like the English sonnet with a couplet; as a rule the
last two lines contain a "Husn makta'" or climax.

[FN#61] Lit. "he began to say (or speak) poetry," such improvising
being still common amongst the Badawin as I shall afterwards note. And
although Mohammed severely censured profane poets, who "rove as bereft
of their senses through every valley" and were directly inspired by
devils (Koran xxvi.), it is not a little curious to note that he
himself spoke in "Rajaz" (which see) and that the four first Caliphs
all "spoke poetry." In early ages the verse would not be written, if
written at all, till after the maker's death. I translate "inshád" by
"versifying" or "repeating" or "reciting," leaving it doubtful if the
composition be or be not original. In places, however, it is clearly
improvised and then as a rule it is model doggrel.

[FN#62] Arab. "Allahumma"=Yá Allah (O Allah) but with emphasis the Fath
being a substitute for the voc. part. Some connect it with the Heb.
"Alihím," but that fancy is not Arab. In Al-Hariri and the rhetoricians
it sometimes means to be sure; of course; unless indeed; unless

[FN#63] Probably in consequence of a vow. These superstitious
practices, which have many a parallel amongst ourselves, are not
confined to the lower orders in the East.

[FN#64] i.e., saying "Bismillah!" the pious ejaculation which should
precede every act. In Boccaccio (viii., 9) it is "remembering Iddio e'

[FN#65] Arab. Nahás asfar = brass, opposed to "Nahás" and "Nahás
ahmar," = copper.

[FN#66] This alludes to the legend of Sakhr al-Jinn), a famous fiend
cast by Solomon David son into Lake Tiberias whose storms make it a
suitable place. Hence the "Bottle imp," a world-wide fiction of
folk-lore: we shall find it in the "Book of Sindibad," and I need
hardly remind the reader of Le Sage's "Diable Boiteux," borrowed from
"El Diablo Cojuelo," the Spanish novel by Luiz Velez de Guevara.

[FN#67] Márid (lit. "contumacious" from the Heb. root Marad to rebel,
whence "Nimrod" in late Semitic) is one of the tribes of the Jinn,
generally but not always hostile to man. His female is "Máridah."

[FN#68] As Solomon began to reign (according to vulgar chronometry) in
B.C. 1015, the text would place the tale circ. A.D. 785, = A.H. 169.
But we can lay no stress on this date which may be merely fanciful.
Professor Tawney very justly compares this Moslem Solomon with the
Hindu King, Vikramáditya, who ruled over the seven divisions of the
world and who had as many devils to serve him as he wanted.

[FN#69] Arab. "Yá Ba'íd:" a euphemism here adopted to prevent using
grossly abusive language. Others will occur in the course of these

[FN#70] i. e. about to fly out; "My heart is in my mouth." The
Fisherman speaks with the dry humour of a Fellah.

[FN#71] "Sulayman," when going out to ease himself, entrusted his
seal-ring upon which his kingdom depended to a concubine "Amínah" (the
"Faithful"), when Sakhr, transformed to the King's likeness, came in
and took it. The prophet was reduced to beggary, but after forty days
the demon fled throwing into the sea the ring which was swallowed by a
fish and eventually returned to Sulayman. This Talmudic fable is hinted
at in the Koran (chaps. xxxviii.), and commentators have extensively
embroidered it. Asaf, son of Barkhiya, was Wazir to Sulayman and is
supposed to be the "one with whom was the knowledge of the Scriptures"
(Koran, chaps. xxxvii.), i.e. who knew the Ineffable Name of Allah. See
the manifest descendant of the Talmudic Koranic fiction in the "Tale of
the Emperor Jovinian" (No. lix.) of the Gesta Romanorum, the most
popular book of mediæval Europe composed in England (or Germany) about
the end of the thirteenth century.

[FN#72] Arab. "Kumkam," a gourd-shaped bottle of metal, china or glass,
still used for sprinkling scents. Lane gives an illustration (chaps.
viii., Mod. Egypt.).

[FN#73] Arab. meaning "the Mother of Amir," a nickname for the hyena,
which bites the hand that feeds it.

[FN#74] The intellect of man is stronger than that of the Jinni; the
Ifrit, however, enters the jar because he has been adjured by the Most
Great Name and not from mere stupidity. The seal-ring of Solomon
according to the Rabbis contained a chased stone which told him
everything he wanted to know.

[FN#75] The Mesmerist will notice this shudder which is familiar to him
as preceding the "magnetic" trance.

[FN#76] Arab. "Bahr" which means a sea, a large river, a sheet of
water, etc., lit. water cut or trenched in the earth. Bahri in
Egypt means Northern; so Yamm (Sea, Mediterranean) in Hebrew is

[FN#77] In the Bull Edit. "Ruyán," evidently a clerical error.
The name is fanciful not significant.

[FN#78] The geography is ultra-Shakespearean. "Fárs" (whence "Persia")
is the central Province of the grand old Empire now a mere wreck, "Rúm"
(which I write Roum, in order to avoid Jamaica) is the neo-Roman or
Byzantine Empire, while "Yunan" is the classical Arab term for Greece
(Ionia) which unlearned Moslems believe to be now under water.

[FN#79] The Sun greets Mohammed every morning even as it dances on
Easter Day for Christendom. Risum teneatis?

[FN#80] Arab. "Nadím," a term often occurring. It denotes one who was
intimate enough to drink with the Caliph, a very high honour and a
dangerous. The last who sat with "Nudamá" was Al-Razi bi'llah A.H. 329
= 940. See Al-Siyuti's famous "History of the Caliphs" translated and
admirably annotated by Major H. S. Jarrett, for the Bibliotheca Indica,
Calcutta, 1880.

[FN#81]Arab. Maydán (from Persian); Lane generally translates it "horse
course ' and Payne "tilting yard." It is both and something more; an
open space, in or near the city, used for reviewing troops, races,
playing the Jeríd (cane-spear) and other sports and exercises: thus
Al-Maydan=Gr. hippodrome. The game here alluded to is our -'polo," or
hockey on horseback, a favourite with the Persian Kings, as all old
illustrations of the Shahnamah show. Maydan is also a natural plain for
which copious Arabic has many terms, Fayhah or Sath (a plain
generally), Khabt (a low-lying plain), Bat'há (a low sandy flat),
Mahattah (a plain fit for halting) and so forth. (Pilgrimage iii., 11.)

[FN#82] For details concerning the "Ghusl" see Night xliv.

[FN#83] A popular idiom and highly expressive, contrasting the upright
bearing of the self-satisfied man with the slouch of the miserable and
the skirt-trailing of the woman in grief. I do not see the necessity of
such Latinisms as "dilated" or "expanded."

[FN#84] All these highest signs of favour foreshow, in Eastern tales
and in Eastern life, an approaching downfall of the heaviest; they are
so great that they arouse general jealousy. Many of us have seen this
at native courts.

[FN#85] This phrase is contained in the word "ihdák" =encompassing, as
the conjunctive does the pupil.

[FN#86] I have noted this formula, which is used even in conversation
when about to relate some great unfact.

[FN#87] We are obliged to English the word by "valley," which is about
as correct as the "brook Kedron," applied to the grisliest of ravines.
The Wady (in old Coptic wah, oah, whence "Oasis") is the bed of a
watercourse which flows only after rains. I have rendered it by
"Fiumara" (Pilgrimage i., 5, and ii., 196, etc.), an Italian or rather
a Sicilian word which exactly describes the "wady."

[FN#88] I have described this scene which Mr. T. Wolf illustrated by an
excellent lithograph in "Falconry, etc." (London, Van Voorst,

[FN#89] Arab. "Kaylúlah," mid-day sleep; called siesta from the sixth
canonical hour.

[FN#90] This parrot-story is world-wide in folk-lore and the belief in
metempsychosis, which prevails more or less over all the East, there
lends it probability. The "Book of Sindibad" (see Night dlxxix. and
"The Academy," Sept. 20, 1884, No. 646) converts it into the "Story of
the Confectioner, his Wife and the Parrot," and it is the base of the
Hindostani text- book, "Tota-Kaháni" (Parrot-chat), an abridgement of
the Tutinámah (Parrot-book) of Nakhshabi (circ. A.D. 1300), a congener
of the Sanskrit "Suka Saptati," or Seventy Parrot-stories. The tale is
not in the Bull. or Mac. Edits. but occurs in the Bresl. (i., pp. 90,
91) much mutilated; and better in the Calc. Edit I cannot here refrain
from noticing how vilely the twelve vols. of the Breslau Edit have been
edited; even a table of contents being absent from the first four

[FN#91] The young "Turk" is probably a late addition, as it does not
appear in many of the MSS., e. g. the Bresl. Edit. The wife usually
spreads a cloth over the cage; this in the Turkish translation becomes
a piece of leather.

[FN#92] The Hebrew-Syrian month July used to express the height of
summer. As Herodotus tells us (ii. 4) the Egyptians claimed to be the
discoverers of the solar year and the portioners of its course into
twelve parts.

[FN#93] This proceeding is thoroughly characteristic of the servile
class; they conscientiously conceal everything from the master till he
finds a clew; after which they tell him everything and something more.

[FN#94] Until late years, merchants and shopkeepers in the nearer East
all carried and held it a disgrace to leave the house unarmed.

[FN#95] The Bresl. Edit. absurdly has Jazírah (an island).

[FN#96] The Ghúlah (fem. of Ghúl) is the Heb. Lilith or Lilis; the
classical Lamia; the Hindu Yogini and Dakini, the Chaldean Utug and
Gigim (desert-demons) as opposed to the Mas (hill-demon) and Telal (who
steal into towns); the Ogress of our tales and the Bala yaga
(Granny-witch) of Russian folk-lore. Etymologically "Ghul" is a
calamity, a panic fear; and the monster is evidently the embodied
horror of the grave and the graveyard.

[FN#97] Arab. "Shább" (Lat. juvenis) between puberty and forty or
according to some fifty; when the patient becomes a "Rajul ikhtiyár"
(man of free will) politely termed, and then a Shaykh or Shaybah
(gray-beard, oldster).

[FN#98] Some proverbial name now forgotten. Torrens (p. 48) translates
it "the giglot" (Fortune?) but "cannot discover the drift."

[FN#99] Arab. "Ihtizáz," that natural and instinctive movement caused
by good news suddenly given, etc.

[FN#100] Arab. "Kohl," in India, Surmah, not a "collyrium," but
powdered antimony for the eyelids. That sold in the bazars is not the
real grey ore of antimony but a galena or sulphuret of lead. Its use
arose as follows. When Allah showed Himself to Moses on Sinai through
an opening the size of a needle, the Prophet fainted and the Mount took
fire: thereupon Allah said, "Henceforth shalt thou and thy seed grind
the earth of this mountain and apply it to your eyes!" The powder is
kept in an étui called Makhalah and applied with a thick blunt needle
to the inside of the eyelid, drawing it along the rim; hence etui and
probe denote the sexual rem in re and in cases of adultery the question
will be asked, "Didst thou see the needle in the Kohl-pot ?" Women
mostly use a preparation of soot or lamp-black (Hind. Kajala, Kajjal)
whose colour is easily distinguished from that of Kohl. The latter
word, with the article (Al-Kohl) is the origin of our "alcohol;" though
even M. Littré fails to show how "fine powder" became "spirits of
wine." I found this powder (wherewith Jezebel "painted" her eyes) a
great preservative from ophthalmia in desert-travelling: the use in
India was universal, but now European example is gradually abolishing

[FN#101] The tale of these two women is now forgotten.

[FN#102] Arab. "Atadakhkhal." When danger threatens it is customary to
seize a man's skirt and cry "Dakhíl-ak!" ( = under thy protection).
Among noble tribes the Badawi thus invoked will defend the stranger
with his life. Foreigners have brought themselves into contempt by thus
applying to women or to mere youths.

[FN#103] The formula of quoting from the Koran.

[FN#104] Lit. "Allah not desolate me" (by thine absence). This is still
a popular phrase - Lá tawáhishná = Do not make me desolate, i.e. by
staying away too long, and friends meeting after a term of days exclaim
"Auhashtani!"=thou hast made me desolate, Je suis desole.

[FN#105] Charming simplicity of manners when the Prime Minister carries
the fish (shade of Vattel!)!) to the cookmaid. The "Gesta Romanorum" is
nowhere more naïve.

[FN#106] Arab. "Kahílat al-taraf" = lit. eyelids lined with Kohl; and
figuratively "with black lashes and languorous look." This is a phrase
which frequently occurs in The Nights and which, as will appear,
applies to the "lower animals" as well as to men. Moslems in Central
Africa apply Kohl not to the thickness of the eyelid but upon both
outer lids, fixing it with some greasy substance. The peculiar Egyptian
(and Syrian) eye with its thick fringes of jet-black lashes, looking
like lines of black drawn with soot, easily suggests the simile. In
England I have seen the same appearance amongst miners fresh from the

[FN#107] Of course applying to her own case.

[FN#108] Prehistoric Arabs who measured from 60 to 100 cubits high:
Koran, chaps. xxvi., etc. They will often be mentioned in The Nights.

[FN#109] I Arab. "Dastúr" (from Persian) = leave, permission. The word
has two meanings (see Burckhardt, Arab. Prov. No. 609) and is much
used, ea. before walking up stairs or entering a room where strange
women might be met. So "Tarík" = Clear the way (Pilgrimage, iii., 319).
The old Persian occupation of Egypt, not to speak of the Persian
speaking Circassians and other rulers has left many such traces in
popular language. One of them is that horror of travelers - "Bakhshísh"
pron. bakh-sheesh and shortened to shísh from the Pers. "bakhshish."
Our "Christmas box" has been most unnecessarily derived from the same,
despite our reading:—

     Gladly the boy, with Christmas box in hand.

And, as will be seen, Persians have bequeathed to the outer world worse
things than bad language, e.g. heresy and sodomy.

[FN#110] He speaks of his wife but euphemistically in the masculine.

[FN#111] A popular saying throughout Al-Islam.

[FN#112] Arab. "Fata": lit.=a youth; a generous man, one of noble mind
(as youth-tide should be). It corresponds with the Lat. "vir," and has
much the meaning of the Ital. "Giovane," the Germ. "Junker" and our

[FN#113] From the Bul. Edit.

[FN#114] The vagueness of his statement is euphemistic.

[FN#115] This readiness of shedding tears contrasts strongly with the
external stoicism of modern civilization; but it is true to Arab
character, and Easterns, like the heroes of Homer and Italians of
Boccacio, are not ashamed of what we look upon as the result of
feminine hysteria - "a good cry."

[FN#116] The formula (constantly used by Moslems) here denotes
displeasure, doubt how to act and so forth. Pronounce, "Lá haula wa lá
kuwwata illá bi 'lláhi 'I-Aliyyi 'I-Azim." As a rule mistakes are
marvellous: Mandeville (chaps. xii.) for "Lá iláha illa 'lláhu wa
Muhammadun Rasúlu 'llah" writes "La ellec sila, Machomete rores alla."
The former (lá haula, etc.), on account of the four peculiar Arabic
letters, is everywhere pronounced differently. and the exclamation is
called "Haulak" or "Haukal."

[FN#117] An Arab holds that he has a right to marry his first cousin,
the daughter of his father's brother, and if any win her from him a
death and a blood-feud may result. It was the same in a modified form
amongst the Jews and in both races the consanguineous marriage was not
attended by the evil results (idiotcy, congenital deafness, etc.)
observed in mixed races like the English and the Anglo-American. When a
Badawi speaks of "the daughter of my uncle" he means wife; and the
former is the dearer title, as a wife can be divorced, but blood is
thicker than water.

[FN#118] Arab. "Kahbah;" the coarsest possible term. Hence the unhappy
"Cave" of Don Roderick the Goth, which simply means The Whore.

[FN#119] The Arab "Banj" and Hindú "Bhang" (which I use as most
familiar) both derive from the old Coptic "Nibanj" meaning a
preparation of hemp (Cannabis sativa seu Indica); and here it is easy
to recognise the Homeric "Nepenthe." Al- Kazwini explains the term by
"garden hemp (Kinnab bostáni or Sháhdánaj). On the other hand not a few
apply the word to the henbane (hyoscyamus niger) so much used in
mediæval Europe. The Kámús evidently means henbane distinguishing it
from Hashish al haráfísh" = rascals' grass, i.e. the herb
Pantagruelion. The "Alfáz Adwiya" (French translation) explains
"Tabannuj" by "Endormir quelqu'un en lui faisant avaler de la
jusquiame." In modern parlance Tabannuj is = our anæsthetic
administered before an operation, a deadener of pain like myrrh and a
number of other drugs. For this purpose hemp is always used (at least I
never heard of henbane); and various preparations of the drug are sold
at an especial bazar in Cairo. See the "powder of marvellous virtue" in
Boccaccio, iii., 8; and iv., 10. Of these intoxicants, properly so
termed, I shall have something to say in a future page.

The use of Bhang doubtless dates from the dawn of civilisation, whose
earliest social pleasures would be inebriants. Herodotus (iv. c. 75)
shows the Scythians burning the seeds (leaves and capsules) in worship
and becoming drunken with the fumes, as do the S. African Bushmen of
the present day. This would be the earliest form of smoking: it is
still doubtful whether the pipe was used or not. Galen also mentions
intoxication by hemp. Amongst Moslems, the Persians adopted the drink
as an ecstatic, and about our thirteenth century Egypt, which began the
practice, introduced a number of preparations to be noticed in the
course of The Nights.

[FN#120] The rubbish heaps which outlie Eastern cities, some (near
Cairo) are over a hundred feet high.

[FN#121] Arab. "Kurrat al-aye;" coolness of eyes as opposed to a hot
eye ("sakhin") one red with tears. The term is true and picturesque so
I translate it literally. All coolness is pleasant to dwellers in
burning lands: thus in Al-Hariri Abu Z yd says of Bassorah, "I found
there whatever could fill the eye with coolness." And a "cool booty"
(or prize) is one which has been secured without plunging into the
flames of war, or imply a pleasant prize.

[FN#122] Popularly rendered Caucasus (see Night cdxcvi): it corresponds
so far with the Hindu "Udaya" that the sun rises behind it; and the
"false dawn" is caused by a hole or gap. It is also the Persian Alborz,
the Indian Meru (Sumeru), the Greek Olympus and the Rhiphæan Range
(Veliki Camenypoys) or great starry girdle of the world, etc.

[FN#123] Arab. "Mizr" or "Mizar;" vulg. Búzah; hence the medical Lat.
Buza, the Russian Buza (millet beer), our booze, the O. Dutch "buyzen"
and the German "busen." This is the old of negro and negroid Africa,
the beer of Osiris, of which dried remains have been found in jars
amongst Egyptian tombs. In Equatorial Africa it known as Pombe; on the
Upper Nile "Merissa" or "Mirisi" and amongst the Kafirs (Caffers)
"Tshuala," "Oala" or "Boyala:" I have also heard of "Buswa"in Central
Africa which may be the origin of "Buzah." In the West it became      ,
(Romaic ), Xythum and cerevisia or cervisia, the humor ex hordeo, long
before the days of King Gambrinus. Central Africans drink it in immense
quantities: in Unyamwezi the standing bedsteads, covered with
bark-slabs, are all made sloping so as to drain off the liquor. A chief
lives wholly on beef and Pombe which is thick as gruel below. Hops are
unknown: the grain, mostly Holcus, is made to germinate, then pounded,
boiled and left to ferment. In Egypt the drink is affected chiefly by
Berbers, Nubians and slaves from the Upper Nile, but it is a superior
article and more like that of Europe than the "Pombe." I have given an
account of the manufacture in The Lake Regions of Central Africa, vol.
ii., p. 286. There are other preparations, Umm-bulbul (mother nightie
gale), Dinzáyah and Súbiyah, for which I must refer to the Shaykh

[FN#124] There is a terrible truth in this satire, which reminds us of
the noble dame who preferred to her handsome husband the palefrenier
laid, ord et infâme of Queen Margaret of Navarre (Heptameron No. xx.).
We have all known women who sacrificed everything despite themselves,
as it were, for the most worthless of men. The world stares and scoffs
and blames and understands nothing. There is for every woman one man
and one only in whose slavery she is "ready to sweep the floor." Fate
is mostly opposed to her meeting him but, when she does, adieu husband
and children, honour and religion, life and "soul." Moreover Nature
(human) commands the union of contrasts, such as fair and foul, dark
and light, tall and short; otherwise mankind would be like the canines,
a race of extremes, dwarf as toy-terriers, giants like mastiffs, bald
as Chinese "remedy dogs," or hairy as Newfoundlands. The famous Wilkes
said only a half truth when he backed himself, with an hour s start,
against the handsomest man in England; his uncommon and remarkable
ugliness (he was, as the Italians say, un bel brutto) was the highest
recommendation in the eyes of very beautiful women.

[FN#125] Every Moslem burial-ground has a place of the kind where
honourable women may sit and weep unseen by the multitude. These visits
are enjoined by the Apostle:—Frequent the cemetery, 'twill make you
think of futurity! Also:—Whoever visiteth the graves of his parents (or
one of them) every Friday, he shall be written a pious son, even though
he might have been in the world, before that, a disobedient.
(Pilgrimage, ii., 71.) The buildings resemble our European "mortuary
chapels." Said, Pasha of Egypt, was kind enough to erect one on the
island off Suez, for the "use of English ladies who would like shelter
whilst weeping and wailing for their dead." But I never heard that any
of the ladles went there.

[FN#126] Arab. "Ajal"=the period of life, the appointed time of death:
the word is of constant recurrence and is also applied to sudden death.
See Lane's Dictionary, s.v.

[FN#127] "The dying Badawi to his tribe" (and lover) appears to me
highly pathetic. The wild people love to be buried upon hill slopes
whence they can look down upon the camp; and they still call out the
names of kinsmen and friends as they pass by the grave-yards. A similar
piece occurs in Wetzstein (p. 27, "Reisebericht ueber Hauran," etc.):—

     O bear with you my bones where the camel bears his load
       And bury me before you, if buried I must be;
     And let me not be burled 'neath the burden of the vine
       But high upon the hill whence your sight I ever see!
     As you pass along my grave cry aloud and name your names
       The crying of your names shall revive the bones of me:
     I have fasted through my life with my friends, and in my
       death, I will feast when we meet, on that day of joy and

[FN#128] The Akásirah (plur. of Kasrá=Chosroës) is here a title of the
four great dynasties of Persian Kings. 1. The Peshdadian or Assyrian
race, proto-historics for whom dates fail, 2. The Káyánián (Medes and
Persians) who ended with the Alexandrian invasion in B. C. 331. 3. The
Ashkánián (Parthenians or Arsacides) who ruled till A. D. 202; and 4.
The Sassanides which have already been mentioned. But strictly speaking
"Kisri" and "Kasra" are titles applied only to the latter dynasty and
especially to the great King Anushirwan. They must not be confounded
with "Khusrau" (P. N. Cyrus, Ahasuerus? Chosroës?), and yet the three
seem to have combined in "Cæsar," Kaysar and Czar. For details
especially connected with Zoroaster see vol. I, p. 380 of the Dabistan
or School of Manners, translated by David Shea and Anthony Troyer,
Paris, 1843. The book is most valuable, but the proper names are so
carelessly and incorrectly printed that the student is led into
perpetual error.

[FN#129] The words are the very lowest and coarsest; but the scene is
true to Arab life.

[FN#130] Arab."Hayhát:" the word, written in a variety of ways is
onomatopoetic, like our "heigh-ho!" it sometimes means "far from me (or
you) be it!" but in popular usage it is simply "Alas."

[FN#131] Lane (i., 134) finds a date for the book in this passage. The
Soldan of Egypt, Mohammed ibn Kala'ún, in the early eighth century
(Hijrah = our fourteenth), issued a sumptuary law compelling Christians
and Jews to wear indigo-blue and saffron-yellow turbans, the white
being reserved for Moslems. But the custom was much older and
Mandeville (chaps. ix.) describes it in A. D. 1322 when it had become
the rule. And it still endures; although abolished in the cities it is
the rule for Christians, at least in the country parts of Egypt and
Syria. I may here remark that such detached passages as these are
absolutely useless for chronology: they may be simply the additions of
editors or mere copyists.

[FN#132] The ancient "Mustaphá" = the Chosen (prophet, i. e. Mohammed),
also titled Al-Mujtaba, the Accepted (Pilgrimage, ii., 309).
"Murtaza"=the Elect, i.e. the Caliph Ali is the older "Mortada" or
"Mortadi" of Ockley and his day, meaning "one pleasing to (or
acceptable to) Allah." Still older writers corrupted it to "Mortis Ali"
and readers supposed this to be the Caliph's name.

[FN#133] The gleam (zodiacal light) preceding the true dawn; the
Persians call the former Subh-i-kázib (false or lying dawn) opposed to
Subh-i-sádik (true dawn) and suppose that it is caused by the sun
shining through a hole in the world- encircling Mount Kaf.

[FN#134] So the Heb. "Arún" = naked, means wearing the lower robe only;
= our "in his shirt."

[FN#135] Here we have the vulgar Egyptian colloquialism "Aysh"
(—Ayyu shayyin) for the classical "Má" = what.

[FN#136] "In the name of Allah!" here said before taking action.

[FN#137] Arab. "Mamlúk" (plur. Mamálik) lit. a chattel; and in
The Nights a white slave trained to arms. The "Mameluke Beys" of
Egypt were locally called the "Ghuzz," I use the convenient word
in its old popular sense;

     'Tis sung, there's a valiant Mameluke
     In foreign lands ycleped (Sir Luke)-

And hence, probably, Molière's "Mamamouchi"; and the modern
French use "Mamalue." See Savary's Letters, No. xl.

[FN#138] The name of this celebrated succesor of Nineveh, where some
suppose The Nights were written, is orig.           (middle- gates)
because it stood on the way where four great highways meet. The Arab.
form "Mausil" (the vulgar "Mosul") is also significant, alluding to the
"junction" of Assyria and Babylonis. Hence our "muslin."

[FN#139] This is Mr. Thackeray's "nose-bag." I translate by
"walking-shoes" the Arab "Khuff" which are a manner of loose boot
covering the ankle; they are not usually embroidered, the ornament
being reserved for the inner shoe.

[FN#140] i.e. Syria (says Abulfeda) the "land on the left" (of one
facing the east) as opposed to Al-Yaman the "land on the right." Osmani
would mean Turkish, Ottoman. When Bernard the Wise (Bohn, p. 24) speaks
of "Bagada and Axiam" (Mabillon's text) or "Axinarri" (still worse), he
means Baghdad and Ash-Shám (Syria, Damascus), the latter word puzzling
his Editor. Richardson (Dissert, lxxii.) seems to support a hideous
attempt to derive Shám from Shámat, a mole or wart, because the country
is studded with hillocks! Al-Shám is often applied to Damascus-city
whose proper name Dimishk belongs to books: this term is generally
derived from Damáshik b. Káli b. Málik b. Sham (Shem). Lee (Ibn
Batùtah, 29) denies that ha-Dimishki means "Eliezer of Damascus."

[FN#141] From Oman = Eastern Arabia.

[FN#142] Arab. "Tamar Hannà" lit. date of Henna, but applied to the
flower of the eastern privet (Lawsonia inermis) which has the sweet
scent of freshly mown hay. The use of Henna as a dye is known even in
Enland. The "myrtle" alluded to may either have been for a perfume (as
it is held an anti-intoxicant) or for eating, the bitter aromatic
berries of the "Ás" being supposed to flavour wine and especially Raki
(raw brandy).

[FN#143] Lane. (i. 211) pleasantly remarks, "A list of these sweets is
given in my original, but I have thought it better to omit the names"
(!) Dozy does not shirk his duty, but he is not much more satisfactory
in explaining words interesting to students because they are unfound in
dictionaries and forgotten by the people. "Akrás (cakes) Laymunìyah (of
limes) wa Maymunìyah" appears in the Bresl. Edit. as "Ma'amuniyah"
which may mean "Ma'amun's cakes" or "delectable cakes." "Amshát" =
(combs) perhaps refers to a fine kind of Kunàfah (vermicelli) known in
Egypt and Syria as "Ghazl al-banát" = girl's spinning.

[FN#144] The new moon carefully looked for by all Moslems because it
begins the Ramazán-fast.

[FN#145] Solomon's signet ring has before been noticed.

[FN#146] The "high-bosomed" damsel, with breasts firm as a cube, is a
favourite with Arab tale tellers. Fanno baruffa is the Italian term for
hard breasts pointing outwards.

[FN#147] A large hollow navel is looked upon not only as a beauty, but
in children it is held a promise of good growth.

[FN#148] Arab. "Ka'ah," a high hall opening upon the central court: we
shall find the word used for a mansion, barrack, men's quarters, etc.

[FN#149] Babel = Gate of God (El), or Gate of Ilu (P. N. of God), which
the Jews ironically interpreted "Confusion." The tradition of Babylonia
being the very centre of witchcraft and enchantment by means of its
Seven Deadly Spirits, has survived in Al-Islam; the two fallen angels
(whose names will occur) being confined in a well; Nimrod attempting to
reach Heaven from the Tower in a magical car drawn by monstrous birds
and so forth. See p. 114, Francois Fenormant's "Chaldean Magic,"
London, Bagsters.

[FN#150] Arab. "Kámat Alfíyyah" = like the letter Alif, a straight
perpendicular stroke. In the Egyptian hieroglyphs, the origin of every
alphabet (not syllabarium) known to man, one form was a flag or leaf of
water-plant standing upright. Hence probably the Arabic Alif-shape;
while other nations preferred other modifications of the letter (ox's
head, etc), which in Egyptian number some thirty-six varieties, simple
and compound.

[FN#151] I have not attempted to order this marvellous confusion of
metaphors so characteristic of The Nights and the exigencies of Al-
Saj'a = rhymed prose.

[FN#152] Here and elsewhere I omit the "kála (dice Turpino)" of the
original: Torrens preserves "Thus goes the tale" (which it only
interrupts). This is simply letter-wise and sense-foolish.

[FN#153] Of this worthy more at a future time.

[FN#154] i.e., sealed with the Kazi or legal authority's seal of

[FN#155] "Nothing for nothing" is a fixed idea with the Eastern woman:
not so much for greed as for a sexual point d' honneur when dealing
with the adversary—man.

[FN#156] She drinks first, the custom of the universal East, to show
that the wine she had bought was unpoisoned. Easterns, who utterly
ignore the "social glass" of Western civilisation drink honestly to get
drunk; and, when far gone are addicted to horse- play (in Pers.
"Badmasti" = le vin mauvais) which leads to quarrels and bloodshed.
Hence it is held highly irreverent to assert of patriarchs, prophets
and saints that they "drank wine;" and Moslems agree with our
"Teatotallers" in denying that, except in the case of Noah,
inebriatives are anywhere mentioned in Holy Writ.

[FN#157] Arab. "Húr al-Ayn," lit. (maids) with eyes of lively white and
black, applied to the virgins of Paradise who will wive with the happy
Faithful. I retain our vulgar "Houri," warning the reader that it is a
masc. for a fem. ("Huríyah") in Arab, although accepted in Persian, a
genderless speach.

[FN#158] Arab. "Zambúr," whose head is amputated in female
circumcision. See Night cccclxxiv.

[FN#159] Ocymum basilicum noticed in Introduction, the bassilico of
Boccaccio iv. 5. The Book of Kalilah and Dimnah represents it as
"sprouting with something also whose smell is foul and disgusting and
the sower at once sets to gather it and burn it with fire." (The Fables
of Bidpai translated from the later Syriac version by I. G. N.
Keith-Falconer, etc., etc., etc., Cambridge University Press, 1885).
Here, however, Habk is a pennyroyal (mentha puligium), and probably
alludes to the pecten.

[FN#160] i. e. common property for all to beat.

[FN#161] "A digit of the moon" is the Hindú equivalent.

[FN#162] Better known to us as Caravanserai, the "Travellers' Bungalow"
of India: in the Khan, however, shelter is to be had, but neither bed
nor board.

[FN#163] Arab. "Zubb." I would again note that this and its synonyms
are the equivalents of the Arabic, which is of the lowest. The
tale-teller's evident object is to accentuate the contrast with the
tragical stories to follow.

[FN#164] "ln the name of Allah," is here a civil form of dismissal.

[FN#165] Lane (i. 124) is scandalised and naturally enough by this
scene, which is the only blot in an admirable tale admirably told. Yet
even here the grossness is but little more pronounced than what we find
in our old drama (e. g., Shakespeare's King Henry V.) written for the
stage, whereas tales like The Nights are not read or recited before
both sexes. Lastly "nothing follows all this palming work:" in Europe
the orgie would end very differently. These "nuns of Theleme" are
physically pure: their debauchery is of the mind, not the body. Galland
makes them five, including the two doggesses.

[FN#166] So Sir Francis Walsingham's "They which do that they should
not, should hear that they would not."

[FN#167] The old "Calendar," pleasantly associated with that form of
almanac. The Mac. Edit. has Karandaliyah," a vile corruption, like Ibn
Batutah's "Karandar" and Torrens' "Kurundul:" so in English we have the
accepted vulgarism of "Kernel" for Colonel. The Bull Edit. uses for
synonym "Su'ulúk"=an asker, a beggar. Of these mendicant monks, for
such they are, much like the Sarabaites of mediæval Europe, I have
treated and of their institutions and its founder, Shaykh Sharif Bu Ali
Kalandar (ob. A. H. 724 =1323-24), at some length in my "History of
Sindh," chaps. viii. See also the Dabistan (i. 136) where the good
Kalandar exclaims:—

     If the thorn break in my body, how trifling the pain!
     But how sorely I feel for the poor broken thorn!

D'Herbelot is right when he says that the Kalandar is not generally
approved by Moslems: he labours to win free from every form and
observance and he approaches the Malámati who conceals all his good
deeds and boasts of his evil doings—our "Devil's hypocrite."

[FN#168] The "Kalandar" disfigures himself in this manner to show

[FN#169] Arab. "Gharíb:" the porter is offended because the word
implies "poor devil;" esp. one out of his own country.

[FN#170] A religious mendicant generally.

[FN#171] Very scandalous to Moslem "respectability" Mohammed said the
house was accursed when the voices of women could be heard out of
doors. Moreover the neighbours have a right to interfere and abate the

[FN#172] I need hardly say that these are both historical personages;
they will often be mentioned, and Ja'afar will be noticed in the
Terminal Essay.

[FN#173] Arab. "Same 'an wa tá'atan"; a popular phrase of assent
generally translated "to hear is to obey;" but this formula may be and
must be greatly varied. In places it means "Hearing (the word of Allah)
and obeying" (His prophet, viceregent, etc.)

[FN#174] Arab. "Sawáb"=reward in Heaven. This word for which we have no
equivalent has been naturalized in all tongues (e. g. Hindostani)
spoken by Moslems.

[FN#175] Wine-drinking, at all times forbidden to Moslems, vitiates the
Pilgrimage rite: the Pilgrim is vowed to a strict observance of the
ceremonial law and many men date their "reformation" from the "Hajj."
Pilgrimage, iii., 126.

[FN#176] Here some change has been necessary; as the original text
confuses the three "ladies."

[FN#177] In Arab. the plural masc. is used by way of modesty when a
girl addresses her lover and for the same reason she speaks of herself
as a man.

[FN#178] Arab. "Al-Na'ím", in ful "Jannat-al-Na'ím" = the Garden of
Delights, i.e. the fifth Heaven made of white silver. The generic name
of Heaven (the place of reward) is "Jannat," lit. a garden; "Firdaus"
being evidently derived from the Persian through the Greek {Greek
Letters}, and meaning a chase, a hunting park. Writers on this subject
should bear in mind Mandeville's modesty, "Of Paradise I cannot speak
properly, for I was not there."

[FN#179] Arab. "Mikra'ah," the dried mid-rib of a date-frond used for
many purposes, especially the bastinado.

[FN#180] According to Lane (i., 229) these and the immediately
following verses are from an ode by Ibn Sahl al-Ishbili. They are in
the Bull Edit. not the Mac. Edit.

[FN#181] The original is full of conceits and plays on words which are
not easily rendered in English.

[FN#182] Arab. "Tarjumán," same root as Chald. Targum ( = a
translation), the old "Truchman," and through the Ital. "tergomano" our
"Dragoman," here a messenger.

[FN#183] Lit. the "person of the eyes," our "babe of the eyes," a
favourite poetical conceit in all tongues; much used by the
Elizabethans, but now neglected as a silly kind of conceit. See
Night ccix.

[FN#184] Arab. "Sár" (Thár) the revenge-right recognised by law and
custom (Pilgrimage, iii., 69).

[FN#185] That is "We all swim in the same boat."

[FN#186] Ja'afar ever acts, on such occasions, the part of a wise and
sensible man compelled to join in a foolish frolic. He contrasts
strongly with the Caliph, a headstrong despot who will not be gainsaid,
whatever be the whim of the moment. But Easterns would look upon this
as a proof of his "kingliness."

[FN#187] Arab. "Wa'l- Salám" (pronounced Was-Salám); meaning "and here
ends the matter." In our slang we say "All right, and the child's name
is Antony."

[FN#188] This is a favourite jingle, the play being upon "ibrat" (a
needle-graver) and " 'ibrat" (an example, a warning).

[FN#189] That is "make his bow," as the English peasant pulls his
forelock. Lane (i., 249) suggests, as an afterthought, that it
means:—"Recover thy senses; in allusion to a person's drawing his hand
over his head after sleep or a fit." But it occurs elsewhere in the
sense of "cut thy stick."

[FN#190] This would be a separate building like our family tomb and
probably domed, resembling that mentioned in "The King of the Black
Islands." Europeans usually call it "a little Wali;" or, as they write
it, "Wely," the contained for the container; the "Santon" for the
"Santon's tomb." I have noticed this curious confusion (which begins
with Robinson, i. 322) in "Unexplored Syria," i. 161.

[FN#191] Arab. "Wiswás," = diabolical temptation or suggestion. The
"Wiswásí" is a man with scruples (scrupulus, a pebble in the shoe),
e.g. one who fears that his ablutions were deficient, etc.

[FN#192] Arab. "Katf" = pinioning by tying the arms behind the back and
shoulders (Kitf) a dire disgrace to free-born men.

[FN#193] Arab. "Nafs."=Hebr. Nephesh (Nafash) =soul, life as opposed to
"Ruach"= spirit and breath. In these places it is equivalent to "I said
to myself." Another form of the root is "Nafas," breath, with an idea
of inspiration: so 'Sáhib Nafas" (=master of breath) is a minor saint
who heals by expiration, a matter familiar to mesmerists (Pilgrimage,
i., 86).

[FN#194] Arab. "Kaus al-Banduk;" the "pellet bow" of modern India; with
two strings joined by a bit of cloth which supports a ball of dry clay
or stone. It is chiefly used for birding.

[FN#195] In the East blinding was a common practice, especially in the
case of junior princes not required as heirs. A deep perpendicular
incision was made down each corner of the eyes; the lids were lifted
and the balls removed by cutting the optic nerve and the muscles. The
later Caliphs blinded their victims by passing a red-hot sword blade
close to the orbit or a needle over the eye-ball. About the same time
in Europe the operation was performed with a heated metal basin—the
well known bacinare (used by Ariosto), as happened to Pier delle Vigne
(Petrus de Vineâ), the "godfather of modern Italian."

[FN#196] Arab. "Khinzír" (by Europeans pronounced "Hanzír"), prop. a
wild-boar, but popularly used like our "you pig!"

[FN#197] Striking with the shoe, the pipe-stick and similar articles is
highly insulting, because they are not made, like whips and scourges,
for such purpose. Here the East and the West differ diametrically.
"Wounds which are given by instruments which are in one's hands by
chance do not disgrace a man," says Cervantes (D. Q. i., chaps. 15),
and goes on to prove that if a Zapatero (cobbler) cudgel another with
his form or last, the latter must not consider himself cudgelled. The
reverse in the East where a blow of a pipe stick cost Mahommed Ali
Pasha's son his life: Ishmail Pasha was burned to death by Malik Nimr,
chief of Shendy (Pilgrimage, i., 203). Moreover, the actual wound is
less considered in Moslem law than the instrument which caused it: so
sticks and stones are venial weapons, whilst sword and dagger, gun and
pistol are felonious. See ibid. (i., 336) for a note upon the weapons
with which nations are policed.

[FN#198] Incest is now abominable everywhere except amongst the
overcrowded poor of great and civilised cities. Yet such unions were
common and lawful amongst ancient and highly cultivated peoples, as the
Egyptians (Isis and Osiris), Assyrians and ancient Persians.
Physiologically they are injurious only when the parents have
constitutional defects: if both are sound, the issue, as amongst the
so-called "lower animals " is viable and healthy.

[FN#199] Dwellers in the Northern Temperates can hardly imagine what a
dust-storm is in sun parched tropical lands. In Sind we were often
obliged to use candles at mid-day, while above the dust was a sun that
would roast an egg.

[FN#200] Arab. " 'Urban," now always used of the wild people, whom the
French have taught us to call les Bedouins; "Badw" being a waste or
desert, and Badawi (fem. Badawíyah, plur. Badáwi and Bidwán), a man of
the waste. Europeans have also learnt to miscall the Egyptians "Arabs":
the difference is as great as between an Englishman and a Spaniard.
Arabs proper divide their race into sundry successive families. "The
Arab al-Arabá" (or al- Aribah, or al-Urubíyat) are the autochthones,
prehistoric, proto-historic and extinct tribes; for instance, a few of
the Adites who being at Meccah escaped the destruction of their wicked
nation, but mingled with other classes. The "Arab al-Muta'arribah,"
(Arabised Arabs) are the first advenæ represented by such noble strains
as the Koraysh (Koreish), some still surviving. The "Arab
al-Musta'aribah" (insititious, naturalized or instituted Arabs, men who
claim to be Arabs) are Arabs like the Sinaites, the Egyptians and the
Maroccans descended by intermarriage with other races. Hence our
"Mosarabians" and the "Marrabais" of Rabelais (not, "a word compounded
of Maurus and Arabs"). Some genealogists, however, make the
Muta'arribah descendants of Kahtan (possibly the Joktan of Genesis x.,
a comparatively modern document, B.C. 700?); and the Musta'aribah those
descended from Adnán the origin of Arab genealogy. And, lastly, are the
"Arab al-Musta'ajimah," barbarised Arabs, like the present population
of Meccah and Al-Medinah. Besides these there are other tribes whose
origin is still unknown, such as the Mahrah tribes of Hazramaut, the
"Akhdám" (=serviles) of Oman (Maskat); and the "Ebná" of Al-Yaman: Ibn
Ishak supposes the latter to be descended from the Persian soldiers of
Anushirwan who expelled the Abyssinian invader from Southern Arabia.
(Pilgrimage, m., 31, etc.)

[FN#201] Arab. "Amír al-Muuminín." The title was assumed by the Caliph
Omar to obviate the inconvenience of calling himself "Khalífah"
(successor) of the Khalífah of the Apostle of Allah (i.e. Abu Bakr);
which after a few generations would become impossible. It means "Emir
(chief or prince) of the Muumins," men who hold to the (true Moslem)
Faith, the "Imán" (theory, fundamental articles) as opposed to the
"Dín," ordinance or practice of the religion. It once became a Wazirial
time conferred by Sultan Malikshah (King King- king) on his Nizám
al-Murk. (Richardson's Dissert. [viii.)

[FN#202] This may also mean "according to the seven editions of the
Koran " the old revisions and so forth (Sale, Sect. iii. and D'Herbelot
"Alcoran.") The schools of the "Mukri," who teach the right
pronunciation wherein a mistake might be sinful, are seven, Harnzah,
Ibn Katír, Ya'akúb, Ibn Amir, Kisái, Asim and Hafs, the latter being
the favourite with the Hanafis and the only one now generally known in

[FN#203] Arab. "Sadd"=wall, dyke, etc. the "bund" or "band" of
Anglo-India. Hence the "Sadd" on the Nile, the banks of grass and
floating islands which "wall" the stream. There are few sights more
appalling than a sandstorm in the desert, the "Zauba'ah" as the Arabs
call it. Devils, or pillars of sand, vertical and inclined, measuring a
thousand feet high, rush over the plain lashing the sand at their base
like a sea surging under a furious whirlwind; shearing the grass clean
away from the roots, tearing up trees, which are whirled like leaves
and sticks in air and sweeping away tents and houses as if they were
bits of paper. At last the columns join at the top and form, perhaps
three thousand feet above the earth, a gigantic cloud of yellow sand
which obliterates not only the horizon but even the mid-day sun. These
sand-spouts are the terror of travellers. In Sind and the Punjab we
have the dust- storm which for darkness, I have said, beats the
blackest London fog.

[FN#204] Arab. Sár = the vendetta, before mentioned, as dreaded in
Arabia as in Corsica.

[FN#205] Arab. "Ghútah," usually a place where irrigation is abundant.
It especially applies (in books) to the Damascus-plain because "it
abounds with water and fruit trees." The Ghutah is one of the four
earthly paradises, the others being Basrah (Bassorah), Shiraz and
Samarcand. Its peculiarity is the likeness to a seaport the Desert
which rolls up almost to its doors being the sea and its ships being
the camels. The first Arab to whom we owe this admirable term for the
"Companion of Job" is "Tarafah" one of the poets of the Suspended
Poems: he likens (v. v. 3, 4) the camels which bore away his beloved to
ships sailing from Aduli. But "ships of the desert" is doubtless a term
of the highest antiquity.

[FN#206] The exigencies of the "Saj'a," or rhymed prose, disjoint this
and many similar pas. sages.

[FN#207] The "Ebony" Islands; Scott's "Isle of Ebene," i., 217.

[FN#208] "Jarjarís" in the Bul. Edit.

[FN#209] Arab. "Takbís." Many Easterns can hardly sleep without this
kneading of the muscles, this "rubbing" whose hygienic properties
England is now learning.

[FN#210] The converse of the breast being broadened, the drooping,
"draggle-tail" gait compared with the head held high and the chest

[FN#211] This penalty is mentioned in the Koran (chaps. v.) as fit for
those who fight against Allah and his Apostle, but commentators are not
agreed if the sinners are first to be put to death or to hang on the
cross till they die. Pharaoh (chaps. xx.) threatens to crucify his
magicians on palm-trees, and is held to be the first crucifier.

[FN#212] Arab. "'Ajami"=foreigner, esp. a Persian: the latter in The
Nights is mostly a villain. I must here remark that the contemptible
condition of Persians in Al-Hijáz (which I noted in 1852, Pilgrimage,
i., 327) has completely changed. They are no longer, "The slippers of
All and hounds of Omar:" they have learned the force of union and now,
instead of being bullied, they bully.

[FN#213] The Calc. Edit. turns into Tailors (Khayyátín) and Torrens
does not see the misprint.

[FN#214] i.e. Axe and sandals.

[FN#215] Lit. "Strike his neck."

[FN#216] A phrase which will frequently recur; meaning the situation
suggested such words a these.

[FN#217] The smiter with the evil eye is called "A'in" and the person
smitten "Ma'ím" or "Ma'ún."

[FN#218] Arab. "Sákiyah," the well-known Persian wheel with pots and
buckets attached to the tire. It is of many kinds, the boxed, etc.,
etc., and it is possibly alluded to in the "pitcher broken at the
fountain" (Eccleslastes xii. 6) an accident often occurring to the
modern "Noria." Travellers mostly abuse its "dismal creaking" and
"mournful monotony": I have defended the music of the water-wheel in
Pilgrimage ii. 198.

[FN#219] Arab. "Zikr" lit. remembering, mentioning (i. c. the names of
Allah), here refers to the meetings of religious for devotional
exercises; the "Zikkirs," as they are called, mostly standing or
sitting in a circle while they ejaculate the Holy Name. These
"rogations" are much affected by Darwayshes, or begging friars, whom
Europe politely divides Unto "dancing" and "howling"; and, on one
occasion, greatly to the scandal of certain Engländerinns to whom I was
showing the Ezbekiyah I joined the ring of "howlers." Lane (Mod. Egypt,
see index) is profuse upon the subject of "Zikrs" and Zikkíts. It must
not be supposed that they are uneducated men: the better class,
however, prefers more privacy.

[FN#220] As they thought he had been there for prayer or penance.

[FN#221] Arab. "Ziyárat," a visit to a pious person or place.

[FN#222] This is a paternal salute in the East where they are
particular about the part kissed. A witty and not unusually gross
Persian book, called the "Al-Námah" because all questions begin with
"Al" (the Arab article) contains one "Al-Wajib al-busidan?" (what best
deserves bussing?) and the answer is "Kus-i-nau-pashm," (a bobadilla
with a young bush).

[FN#223] A weight of 71-72 English grains in gold; here equivalent to
the diner.

[FN#224] Compare the tale of The Three Crows in Gammer Grethel,
Evening ix.

[FN#225] The comparison is peculiarly apposite; the earth seen from
above appears hollow with a raised rim.

[FN#226] A hundred years old.

[FN#227] "Bahr" in Arab. means sea, river, piece of water; hence the
adjective is needed.

[FN#228] The Captain or Master of the ship (not the owner). In
Al-Yaman the word also means a "barber," in virtue of the root,
Rass, a head.

[FN#229] The text has "in the character Ruká'í,"," or Riká'í,, the

[FN#230] A curved character supposed to be like the basil-leaf
(rayhán). Richardson calls it "Rohani."

[FN#231] I need hardly say that Easterns use a reed, a Calamus (Kalam
applied only to the cut reed) for our quills and steel pens.

[FN#232] Famous for being inscribed on the Kiswah (cover) of Mohammed's
tomb; a large and more formal hand still used for engrossing and for
mural inscriptions. Only seventy two varieties of it are known
(Pilgrimage, ii., 82).

[FN#233] The copying and transcribing hand which is either Arabi or
Ajami. A great discovery has been lately made which upsets all our old
ideas of Cufic, etc. Mr. Löytved of Bayrut has found, amongst the
Hauranic inscriptions, one in pure Naskhi, dating A. D. 568, or fifty
years before the Hijrah; and it is accepted as authentic by my learned
friend M. Ch. Clermont-Ganneau (p. 193, Pal. Explor. Fund. July 1884).
In D'Herbelot and Sale's day the Koran was supposed to have been
written in rude characters, like those subsequently called "Cufic,"
invented shortly before Mohammed's birth by Murámir ibn Murrah of Anbar
in Irák, introduced into Meccah by Bashar the Kindian, and perfected by
Ibn Muklah (Al-Wazir, ob. A. H. 328=940). We must now change all that.
See Catalogue of Oriental Caligraphs, etc., by G. P, Badger, London,
Whiteley, 1885.

[FN#234] Capital and uncial letters; the hand in which the Ka'abah veil
is inscribed (Pilgrimage iii. 299, 300).

[FN#235] A "Court hand" says Mr. Payne (i. 112): I know nothing of it.
Other hands are: the Ta'alík; hanging or oblique, used for finer MSS.
and having, according to Richardson, "the same analogy to the Naskhi as
our Italic has to the Roman." The Nasta' lík (not Naskh-Ta'alik) much
used in India, is, as the name suggests, a mixture of the Naskhi
(writing of transactions) and the Ta'alik. The Shikastah (broken hand)
everywhere represents our running hand and becomes a hard task to the
reader. The Kirmá is another cursive character, mostly confined to the
receipts and disbursements of the Turkish treasury. The Diváni, or
Court (of Justice) is the official hand, bold and round. a business
character, the lines often rising with a sweep or curve towards the
(left) end. The Jáli or polished has a variety, the Jali-Ta'alik: the
Sulsi (known in many books) is adopted for titles of volumes, royal
edicts, diplomas and so forth; "answering much the same purpose as
capitals with us, or the flourished letters in illuminated manuscripts"
(Richardson) The Tughrái is that of the Tughrá, the Prince's cypher or
flourishing signature in ceremonial writings, and containing some such
sentence as: Let this be executed. There are others e. g. Yákuti and
Sirenkil known only by name. Finally the Maghribi (Moorish) hand
differs in form and diacritical points from the characters used further
east almost as much as German running hand does from English. It is
curious that Richardson omits the Jali (intricate and convoluted) and
the divisions of the Sulusí, Sulsi or Sulus (Thuluth) character, the
Sulus al-Khafíf, etc.

[FN#236] Arab. "Baghlah"; the male (Bagful) is used only for loads.
This is everywhere the rule: nothing is more unmanageable than a
restive "Macho", and he knows that he can always get you off his back
when so minded. From "Baghlah" is derived the name of the native craft
Anglo-Indicè a "Buggalow."

[FN#237] In Heb. ""Ben-Adam" is any man opp. to "Beni ish"
(Psalm iv. 3) =filii viri, not homines.

[FN#238] This posture is terribly trying to European legs; and few
white men (unless brought up to it) can squat for any time on their
heels. The ``tailor-fashion," with crossed legs, is held to be free and

[FN#239] Arab. "Katá"=Pterocles Alchata, the well-known sand-grouse of
the desert. It is very poor white flesh.

[FN#240] Arab. "Khubz" which I do not translate "cake" or ``bread,'' as
thee would suggest the idea of our loaf. The staff of life in the East
is a thin flat circle of dough baked in the oven or on the griddle, and
corresponding with the Scotch "scone," the Spanish tortilla and the
Australian "flap-jack."

[FN#241] Arab. "Harísah," a favourite dish of wheat (or rice) boiled
and reduced to a paste with shredded meat, spices and condiments. The
"bangles" is a pretty girl eating with him.

[FN#242] These lines are repeated with a difference in Night cccxxx.
They affect Rims cars, out of the way, heavy rhymes: e. g. here Sakáríj
(plur. of Sakrúj, platters, porringers); Tayáhíj (plur. of Tayhúj, the
smaller caccabis-partridge); Tabáhíj (Persian Tabahjah, an me et or a
stew of meat, onions, eggs, etc.) Ma'áríj ("in stepped piles" like the
pyramids Lane ii 495, renders "on the stairs"); Makáríj (plur. of
Makraj, a small pot); Damálíj (plur. of dumlúj, a bracelet, a bangle);
Dayábíj (brocades) and Tafáríj (openings, enjoyments). In Night cccxxx.
we find also Sikábíj (plur. of Sikbáj, marinated meat elsewhere
explained); Faráríj (plur. of farrúj, a chicken, vulg. farkh) and
Dakákíj (plur. of Gr. dakújah,, a small Jar). In the first line we have
also (though not a rhyme) Gharánik Gr.        , a crane, preserved in
Romaic. The weeping and wailing are caused by the remembrance that all
these delicacies have been demolished like a Badawi camp.

[FN#243] This is the vinum coctum, the boiled wine, still a favourite
in Southern Italy and Greece.

[FN#244] Eastern topers delight in drinking at dawn: upon this subject
I shall have more to say in other Nights.

[FN#245] Arab. "Adab," a crux to translators, meaning anything between
good education and good manners. In mod. Turk. "Edibiyyet" (Adabiyat) =
belles lettres and "Edebi' or "Edíb" = a littérateur.

[FN#246] The Caliph Al-Maamún, who was a bad player, used to say, "I
have the administration of the world and am equal to it, whereas I am
straitened in the ordering of a space of two spans by two spans." The
"board" was then "a square field of well-dressed leather."

[FN#247] The Rabbis (after Matth. xix. 12) count three kinds of
Eunuchs; (1) Seris chammah=of the sun, i.e. natural, (2) Seris
Adam=manufactured per homines; and (3) Seris Chammayim—of God (i.e..
religious abstainer). Seris (castrated) or Abd (slave) is the general
Hebrew name.

[FN#248] The "Lady of Beauty."

[FN#249] "Káf" has been noticed as the mountain which surrounds earth
as a ring does the finger:: it is popularly used like our Alp and
Alpine. The "circumambient Ocean" (Bahr al-muhit) is the Homeric

[FN#250] The pomegranate is probably chosen here because each fruit is
supposed to contain one seed from Eden-garden. Hence a host of
superstitions (Pilgrimage iii., 104) possibly connected with the
Chaldaic-Babylonian god Rimmon or Ramanu. Hence Persephone or Ishtar
tasted the "rich pomegranate's seed." Lenormant, loc. cit. pp. 166,

[FN#251] i.e. for the love of God—a favourite Moslem phrase.

[FN#252] Arab. "Báb," also meaning a chapter (of magic, of war, etc.),
corresponding with the Persian "Dar" as in Sad-dar, the Hundred Doors.
Here, however, it is figurative "I tried a new mode." This scene is in
the Mabinogion.

[FN#253] I use this Irish term = crying for the dead, as English wants
the word for the præfica, or myrialogist. The practice is not
encouraged in Al-Islam; and Caliph Abu Bakr said, ; "Verily a corpse is
sprinkled with boiling water by reason of the lamentations of the
living, i.e. punished for not having taken measures to prevent their
profitless lamentations. But the practice is from Negroland whence it
reached Egypt, and the people have there developed a curious system in
the "weeping-song" I have noted this in "The Lake Regions of Central
Africa." In Zoroastrianism (Dabistan, chaps. xcvii.) tears shed for the
dead form a river in hell, black and frigid.

[FN#254] These lines are hardly translatable. Arab. "Sabr" means
"patience" as well as "aloes," hereby lending itself to a host of puns
and double entendres more or less vile. The aloe, according to
Burckhardt, is planted in graveyards as a lesson of patience: it is
also slung, like the dried crocodile, over house doors to prevent evil
spirits entering: "thus hung without earth and water," says Lane (M.E.,
chaps. xi.), "it will live for several years and even blossom. Hence
(?) it is called Sabr, which signifies patience. But Sibr as well as
Sabr (a root) means "long sufferance." I hold the practice to be one of
the many Inner African superstitions. The wild Gallas to the present
day plant aloes on graves, and suppose that when the plant sprouts the
deceased has been admitted to the gardens of Wák, the Creator.
(Pilgrimage iii. 350.)

[FN#255] Every city in the East has its specific title: this was given
to Baghdad either on account of its superior police or simply because
it was the Capital of the Caliphate. The Tigris was also called the
"River of Peace (or Security)."

[FN#256] This is very characteristic: the passengers finding
themselves in difficulties at once take command. See in my
Pilgrimage (I. chaps. xi.) how we beat and otherwise maltreated the
Captain of the "Golden Wire."

[FN#257] The fable is probably based on the currents which, as in
Eastern Africa, will carry a ship fifty miles a day out of her course.
We first find it in Ptolemy (vii. 2) whose Maniólai Islands, of India
extra Gangem, cause iron nails to fly out of ships, the effect of the
Lapis Herculeus (Loadstone). Rabelais (v. c. 37) alludes to it and to
the vulgar idea of magnetism being counteracted by Skordon (Scordon or
garlic). Hence too the Adamant (Loadstone) Mountains of Mandeville
(chaps. xxvii.) and the "Magnetic Rock" in Mr Puttock's clever "Peter
Wilkins." I presume that the myth also arose from seeing craft built,
as on the East African Coast, without iron nails. We shall meet with
the legend again. The word Jabal ("Jebel" in Egypt) often occurs in
these pages. The Arabs apply it to any rising ground or heap of rocks;
so it is not always = our mountain. It has found its way to Europe e.
g. Gibraltar and Monte Gibello (or Mongibel in poetry) "Mt. Ethne that
men clepen Mounte Gybelle." Other special senses of Jabal will occur.

[FN#258] As we learn from the Nubian Geographer the Arabs in early ages
explored the Fortunate Islands (Jazírát al-Khálidát=Eternal Isles), or
Canaries, on one of which were reported a horse and horseman in bronze
with his spear pointing west. Ibn al-Ward) notes two images of hard
stone, each an hundred cubits high, and upon the top of each a figure
of copper pointing with its hand backwards, as though it would
say:—Return for there is nothing behind me!" But this legend attaches
to older doings. The 23rd Tobba (who succeeded Bilkis), Malik bin
Sharhabíl, (or Sharabíl or Sharahíl) surnamed Náshir al-Ní'am=scatterer
of blessings, lost an army in attempting the Western sands and set up a
statue of copper upon whose breast was inscribed in antique

     There is no access behind me,
     Nothing beyond,
     (Saith) The Son of Sharabíl.

[FN#259] i.e. I exclaimed "Bismillah!"

[FN#260] The lesser ablution of hands, face and feet; a kind of
"washing the points." More in Night ccccxl.

[FN#261] Arab. "Ruka'tayn"; the number of these bows which are followed
by the prostrations distinguishes the five daily prayers.

[FN#262] The "Beth Kol" of the Hebrews; also called by the Moslems
"Hátif"; for which ask the Spiritualists. It is the Hindu "voice
divine" or "voice from heaven."

[FN#263] These formulae are technically called Tasmiyah, Tahlil (before
noted) and Takbír: i.e. "testifying" is Tashhíd.

[FN#264] Arab. "Samn," (Pers. "Raughan" Hind. "Ghi") the "single sauce"
of the East; fresh butter set upon the fire, skimmed and kept (for a
century if required) in leather bottles and demijohns. Then it becomes
a hard black mass, considered a panacea for wounds and diseases. It is
very "filling": you say jocosely to an Eastern threatened with a sudden
inroad of guests, "Go, swamp thy rice with Raughan." I once tried
training, like a Hindu Pahlawan or athlete, on Gur (raw sugar), milk
and Ghi; and the result was being blinded by bile before the week

[FN#265] These handsome youths are always described in the terms we
should apply to women.

[FN#266] The Bull Edit. (i. 43) reads otherwise:—I found a garden and a
second and a third and so on till they numbered thirty and nine; and,
in each garden, I saw what praise will not express, of trees and rills
and fruits and treasures. At the end of the last I sighted a door and
said to myself, "What may be in this place?; needs must I open it and
look in!" I did so accordingly and saw a courser ready saddled and
bridled and picketed; so I loosed and mounted him, and he flew with me
like a bird till he set me down on a terrace-roof; and, having landed
me, he struck me a whisk with his tail and put out mine eye and fled
from me. Thereupon I descended from the roof and found ten youths all
blind of one eye who, when they saw me exclaimed, "No welcome to thee,
and no good cheer!" I asked them, "Do ye admit me to your home and
society?" and they answered, "No, by Allah' thou shalt not live amongst
us." So I went forth with weeping eyes and grieving heart, but Allah
had written my safety on the Guarded Tablet so I reached Baghdad in
safety, etc. This is a fair specimen of how the work has been curtailed
in that issue.

[FN#267] Arabs date pregnancy from the stopping of the menses, upon
which the foetus is supposed to feed. Kalilah wa Dimnah says, "The
child's navel adheres to that of his mother and thereby he sucks" (i.

[FN#268] This is contrary to the commands of Al-Islam, Mohammed
expressly said "The Astrologers are liars, by the Lord of the
Ka'abah!"; and his saying is known to almost all Moslems, lettered or
unlettered. Yet, the further we go East (Indiawards) the more we find
these practices held in honour. Turning westwards we have:

     Iuridicis, Erebo, Fisco, fas vivere rapto:
     Militibus, Medicis, Tortori occidere ludo est;
     Mentiri Astronomis, Pictoribus atque Poetis.

[FN#269] He does not perform the Wuzu or lesser ablution because he
neglects his dawn prayers.

[FN#270] For this game see Lane (M. E. Chapt. xvii.) It is usually
played on a checked cloth not on a board like our draughts; and
Easterns are fond of eating, drinking and smoking between and even
during the games. Torrens (p. 142) translates "I made up some dessert,"
confounding "Mankalah" with "Nukl" (dried fruit, quatre-mendiants).

[FN#271] Quoted from Mohammed whose saying has been given.

[FN#272] We should say "the night of the thirty-ninth."

[FN#273] The bath first taken after sickness.

[FN#274] Arab. "Dikák" used by way of soap or rather to soften the
skin: the meal is usually of lupins, "Adas"="Revalenta Arabica," which
costs a penny in Egypt and half-a-crown in England.

[FN#275] Arab. "Sukkar-nabát." During my day (1842-49) we had no other
sugar in the Bombay Presidency.

[FN#276] This is one of the myriad Arab instances that the decrees of
"Anagké," Fate, Destiny, Weird, are inevitable. The situation is highly
dramatic; and indeed The Nights, as will appear in the Terminal Essay,
have already suggested a national drama.

[FN#277] Having lately been moved by Ajib.

[FN#278] Mr. Payne (i. 131) omits these lines which appear out of
place; but this mode of inappropriate quotation is a characteristic of
Eastern tales.

[FN#279] Anglicè "him."

[FN#280] This march of the tribe is a lieu commun of Arab verse e.g.
the poet Labid's noble elegy on the "Deserted Camp." We shall find
scores of instances in The Nights.

[FN#281] I have heard of such sands in the Desert east of Damascus
which can be crossed only on boards or camel furniture; and the same is
reported of the infamous Region "Al-Ahkláf" ("Unexplored Syria").

[FN#282] Hence the Arab. saying "The bark of a dog and not the gleam of
a fire;" the tired traveller knows from the former that the camp is
near, whereas the latter shows from great distances.

[FN#283] Dark blue is the colour of mourning in Egypt as it was of the
Roman Republic. The Persians hold that this tint was introduced by Kay
Kawús (B. C. 600) when mourning for his son Siyáwush. It was continued
till the death of Husayn on the 10th of Muharram (the first month, then
representing the vernal equinox) when it was changed for black. As a
rule Moslems do not adopt this symbol of sorrow (called "Hidád")
looking upon the practice as somewhat idolatrous and foreign to Arab
manners. In Egypt and especially on the Upper Nile women dye their
hands with indigo and stair. their faces black or blacker.

[FN#284] The older Roc, of which more in the Tale of Sindbad. Meanwhile
the reader curious about the Persian Símurgh (thirty bird) will consult
the Dabistan, i., 55,191 and iii., 237, and Richardson's Diss. p.
xlviii. For the Anka (Enka or Unka—long necked bird) see Dab. iii., 249
and for the Humá (bird of Paradise) Richardson lxix. We still lack
details concerning the Ben or Bennu (nycticorax) of Egypt which with
the Article pi gave rise to the Greek "phoenix."

[FN#285] Probably the Haledj of Forskal (p. xcvi. Flor. Ægypt. Arab.),
"lignum tenax, durum, obscuri generic." The Bres. Edit. has "ákúl"=teak
wood, vulg. "Sáj."

[FN#286] The knocker ring is an invention well known to the

[FN#287] Arab. "Sadr"; the place of honour; hence the "Sudder
Adawlut" (Supreme Court) in the Anglo-Indian jargon.

[FN#288] Arab. "Ahlan wa sahlan wa marhabá," the words still popularly
addressed to a guest.

[FN#289] This may mean "liquid black eyes"; but also, as I have
noticed, that the lashes were long and thick enough to make the eyelids
appear as if Kohl-powder had been applied to the inner rims.

[FN#290] A slight parting between the two front incisors, the upper
only, is considered a beauty by Arabs; why it as hard to say except for
the racial love of variety. "Sugar" (Thug) in the text means,
primarily, the opening of the mouth, the gape: hence the front teeth.

[FN#291] i.e. makes me taste the bitterness of death, "bursting the
gall-bladder" (Marárah) being our "breaking the heart."

[FN#292] Almost needless to say that forbidden doors and rooms form a
lieu-commun in Fairie: they are found in the Hindu Katha Sarit Sagara
and became familiar to our childhood by "Bluebeard."

[FN#293] Lit. "apply Kohl to my eyes," even as Jezebel "painted her
face," in Heb. put her eyes in painting (2 Kings ix. 30).

[FN#294] Arab. "Al-Barkúk," whence our older "Apricock." Classically it
is "Burkúk" and Pers. for Arab. "Mishrnish," and it also denotes a
small plum or damson. In Syria the side next the sun" shows a glowing
red flush.

[FN#295] Arab. "Hazár" (in Persian, a thousand) = a kind of mocking

[FN#296] Some Edits. make the doors number a hundred, but the
Princesses were forty and these coincidences, which seem to have
significance and have none save for Arab symmetromania, are common in
Arab stories.

[FN#297] Arab. "Májur": hence possibly our "mazer," which is popularly
derived from Masarn, a maple.

[FN#298] A compound scent of ambergris, musk and aloes.

[FN#299] The ends of the bridle-reins forming the whip.

[FN#300] The flying horse is Pegasus which is a Greek travesty of an
Egyptian myth developed India.

[FN#301] The Bres. Edit. wrongly says "the seventh."

[FN#302] Arab. "Sharmutah" (plur. Sharámít) from the root Sharmat, to
shred, a favourite Egyptian word also applied in vulgar speech to a
strumpet, a punk, a piece. It is also the popular term for strips of
jerked or boucaned meat hung up m the sun to dry, and classically
called "Kadíd."

[FN#303] Arab. "Izár," the man's waistcloth opposed to the Ridá or
shoulder-cloth, is also the sheet of white calico worn by the poorer
Egyptian women out of doors and covering head and hands. See Lane (M.
E., chaps. i.). The rich prefer a "Habárah" of black silk, and the
poor, when they have nothing else, use a bed-sheet.

[FN#304] i.e. "My clears."

[FN#305] Arab. "Lá tawákhizná:" lit. "do not chastise (or blame) us;"
the pop. expression for, "excuse (or pardon) us."

[FN#306] Arab. "Maskhút," mostly applied to change of shape as man
enchanted to monkey, and in vulgar parlance applied to a statue (of
stone, etc.). The list of metamorphoses in Al-Islam is longer than that
known to Ovid. Those who have seen Petra, the Greek town of the Haurán
and the Roman ruins in Northern Africa will readily detect the bests
upon which these stories are built. I shall return to this subject in
The City of Iram (Night cclxxvi.) and The City of Brass (dlxvii.).

[FN#307] A picturesque phrase enough to express a deserted site, a
spectacle familiar to the Nomades and always abounding in pathos to the

[FN#308] The olden "Harem" (or gynæceum, Pers. Zenanah, Serraglio):
Harím is also used by synecdoche for the inmates; especially the wife.

[FN#309] The pearl is supposed in the East to lose 1% per ann. of its
splendour and value.

[FN#310] Arab. "Fass," properly the bezel of a ring; also a gem cut en
cabochon and generally the contenant for the contenu.

[FN#311] Arab. "Mihráb" = the arch-headed niche in the Mosque-wall
facing Meccah-wards. Here, with his back to the people and fronting the
Ka'abah or Square House of Meccah (hence called the "Kiblah" =
direction of prayer), stations himself the Imám, artistes or fugleman,
lit. "one who stands before others;" and his bows and prostrations give
the time to the congregation. I have derived the Mihrab from the niche
in which the Egyptian God was shrined: the Jews ignored it, but the
Christians preserved it for their statues and altars. Maundrell
suggests that the empty niche denotes an invisible God. As the niche
(symbol of Venus) and the minaret (symbol of Priapus) date only from
the days of the tenth Caliph, Al-Walid (A.H. 86-96=105-115), the Hindus
charge the Moslems with having borrowed the two from their favourite
idols—The Linga-Yoni or Cunnus phallus (Pilgrimage ii. 140), and
plainly call the Mihrab a Bhaga= Cunnus (Dabistan ii. 152). The Guebres
further term Meccah "Mah-gah," locus Lunæ, and Al-Medinah, "Mahdinah,"
= Moon of religion. See Dabistan i., 49, etc.

[FN#312] Arab "Kursi," a stool of palm-fronds, etc., X-shaped (see
Lane's illustration, Nights i., 197), before which the reader sits.
Good Moslems will not hold the Holy Volume below the waist nor open it
except when ceremonially pure. Englishmen in the East should remember
this, for to neglect the "Adab al-Kúran" (respect due to Holy Writ)
gives great scandal.

[FN#313] Mr. Payne (i. 148) quotes the German Zuckerpüppchen.

[FN#314] The Persian poets have a thousand conceits in praise of the
"mole," (Khál or Shámah) for which Hafiz offered "Samarkand and
Bokhara" (they not being his, as his friends remarked). Another "topic"
is the flight of arrows shot by eyelashes.

[FN#315] Arab. "Suhá" a star in the Great Bear introduced only to
balance "wushát" = spies, enviers, enemies, whose "evil eye" it will
ward off.

[FN#316] In Arab tales beauty is always "soft-sided," and a smooth skin
is valued in proportion to its rarity.

[FN#317] The myrtle is the young hair upon the side face

[FN#318] In other copies of these verses the fourth couplet swears "by
the scorpions of his brow" i.e. the accroche-cæurs, the beau-catchers,
bell-ropes or aggravators," as the B.P. calls them. In couplet eight
the poet alludes to his love's "Unsur," or element his nature made up
of the four classicals, and in the last couplet he makes the nail
paring refer to the moon not the sun.

[FN#319] This is regular formula when speaking of Guebres.

[FN#320] Arab. "Faráiz"; the orders expressly given in the Koran which
the reader will remember, is Uncreate and Eternal. In India "Farz" is
applied to injunctions thrice repeated; and "Wájíb" to those given
twice over. Elsewhere scanty difference is made between them.

[FN#321] Arab. "Kufr" = rejecting the True Religion, i.e. Al-Islam,
such rejection being "Tughyán" or rebellion against the Lord. The
"terrible sound" is taken from the legend of the prophet Sálih and the
proto-historic tribe of Thámúd which for its impiety was struck dead by
an earthquake and a noise from heaven. The latter, according to some
commentators, was the voice of the Archangel Gabriel crying "Die all of
you" (Koran, chapts. vii., xviii., etc.). We shall hear more of it in
the "City of many-columned Iram." According to some, Salih, a
mysterious Badawi prophet, is buried in the Wady al-Shaykh of the
so-called Sinaitic Peninsula.

[FN#322] Yet they kept the semblance of man, showing that the idea
arose from the basaltic statues found in Hauranic ruins. Mohammed in
his various marches to Syria must have seen remnants of Greek and Roman
settlements; and as has been noticed "Sesostris"

[FN#323] Arab. "Shuhadá"; highly respected by Moslems as by other
religionists; although their principal if not only merit seems as a
rule to have been intense obstinacy and devotion to one idea for which
they were ready to sacrifice even life. The Martyrs-category is
extensive including those killed by falling walls; victims to the
plague, pleurisy and pregnancy, travellers drowned or otherwise lost
when journeying honestly, and chaste lovers who die of "broken hearts"
i.e. impaired digestion. Their souls are at once stowed away in the
crops of green birds where they remain till Resurrection Day, "eating
of the fruits and drinking of the streams of Paradise," a place
however, whose topography is wholly uncertain. Thus the young Prince
was rewarded with a manner of anti-Purgatory, a preparatory heaven.

[FN#324] Arab. "Su'ubán:" the Badawin give the name to a variety of
serpents all held to be venomous; but m tales the word, like "Tannín,"
expresses our "dragon" or "cockatrice."

[FN#325] She was ashamed to see the lady doing servile duty by rubbing
her feet. This massage, which B. de la Brocquière describes in 1452 as
"kneading and pinching," has already been noticed. The French term is
apparently derived from the Arab. "Mas-h."

[FN#326] Alluding to the Most High Name, the hundredth name of God, the
Heb. Shem hamphorash, unknown save to a favoured few who by using it
perform all manner of miracles.

[FN#327] i e. the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean.

[FN#328] i.e. Settled by the Koran.

[FN#329] The uglier the old woman the better procuress she is
supposed to make. See the Santa Verdiana in Boccaccio v., 10. In
Arab. "Ajuz" (old woman) is highly insulting and if addressed to an
Egyptian, whatever be her age she will turn fiercely and resent it.
The polite term is Shaybah (Pilgrimage hi., 200).

[FN#330] The four ages of woman, considered after Demosthenes in her
three-fold character, prostitute for pleasure, concubine for service
and wife for breeding.

[FN#331] Arab. "Jilá" (the Hindostani Julwa) = the displaying of the
bride before the bridegroom for the first time, in different dresses,
to the number of seven which are often borrowed for the occasion. The
happy man must pay a fee called "the tax of face-unveiling" before he
can see her features. Amongst Syrian Christians he sometimes tries to
lift the veil by a sharp movement of the sword which is parried by the
women present, and the blade remains entangled in the cloth. At last he
succeeds, the bride sinks to the ground covering her face with her
hands and the robes of her friends: presently she is raised up, her
veil is readjusted and her face is left bare.

[FN#332] Arab. "Ishá"= the first watch of the night, twilight,
supper-time, supper. Moslems have borrowed the four watches of the
Romans from 6 (a.m. or p.m.) to 6, and ignore the three original
watches of the Jews, even, midnight and cockcrow (Sam. ii. 19, Judges
vii. 19, and Exodus xiv. 24).

[FN#333] A popular Arab hyperbole.

[FN#334] Arab. "Shakáik al-Nu'uman," lit. the fissures of Nu'uman, the
beautiful anemone, which a tyrannical King of Hirah, Nu'uman Al-Munzir,
a contemporary of Mohammed, attempted to monopolize.

[FN#335] Arab. "Andam"=here the gum called dragon's blood; in other
places the dye-wood known as brazil.

[FN#336] I need hardly say that in the East, where bells are unused,
clapping the hands summons the servants. In India men cry "Quy hye"
(Koi hái?) and in Brazil whistle "Pst!" after the fashion of Spain and

[FN#337] The moles are here compared with pearls; a simile by no means
common or appropriate.

[FN#338] A parody on the testification of Allah's Unity.

[FN#339] Arab. "Simát" (prop. "Sumát"); the "dinner-table," composed of
a round wooden stool supporting a large metal tray, the two being
called "Sufrah" (or "Simat"): thus "Sufrah házirah!" means dinner is on
the table. After the meal they are at once removed.

[FN#340] In the text "Dastúr," the Persian word before noticed;
"Izn" would be the proper Arabic equivalent.

[FN#341] In the Moslem East a young woman, single or married, is not
allowed to appear alone in the streets; and the police have a right to
arrest delinquents. As a preventive of intrigues the precaution is
excellent. During the Crimean war hundreds of officers, English, French
and Italian, became familiar with Constantinople; and not a few
flattered themselves on their success with Turkish women. I do not
believe that a single bona fide case occurred: the "conquests" were all
Greeks, Wallachians, Armenians or Jewesses.

[FN#342] Arab. "Azím": translators do not seem to know that this word
in The Nights often bears its Egyptian and slang sense, somewhat
equivalent to our "deuced" or "mighty" or "awfully fine."

[FN#343] This is a very serious thing amongst Moslems and scrupulous
men often make great sacrifices to avoid taking an oath.

[FN#344] We should say "into the noose."

[FN#345] The man had fallen in love with her and determined to mark her
so that she might be his.

[FN#346] Arab. "Dajlah," in which we find the Heb. Hid-dekel.

[FN#347] Such an execution would be contrary to Moslem law: but people
would look leniently upon the peccadillo of beheading or sacking a
faithless wife. Moreover the youth was of the blood royal and A quoi
bon être prince? as was said by a boy of viceroyal family in Egypt to
his tutor who reproached him for unnecessarily shooting down a poor old

[FN#348] Arab. "Shirk," partnership, evening or associating gods with
God; polytheism: especially levelled at the Hindu triadism, Guebre
dualism and Christian Trinitarianism.

[FN#349] Arab. "Shatm"—abuse, generally couched in foulest language
with especial reference to the privy parts of female relatives.

[FN#350] When a woman is bastinadoed in the East they leave her some
portion of dress and pour over her sundry buckets of water for a
delicate consideration. When the hands are beaten they are passed
through holes in the curtain separating the sufferer from mankind, and
made fast to a "falakah" or pole.

[FN#351] Arab. "Khalifah," Caliph. The word is also used for the
successor of a Santon or holy man.

[FN#352] Arab. "Sár," here the Koranic word for carrying out the
venerable and undying lex talionis the original basis of all criminal
jurisprudence. Its main fault is that justice repeats the offence.

[FN#353] Both these sons of Harun became Caliphs, as we shall see in
The Nights.

[FN#354] "Dog" and "hog" are still highly popular terms of abuse. The
Rabbis will not defile their lips with "pig;" but say "Dabhar
akhir"="another thing."

[FN#355] The "hero eponymus" of the Abbaside dynasty, Abbas having been
the brother of Abdullah the father of Mohammed. He is a famous
personage in AI-Islam (D'Herbelot).

[FN#356] Europe translates the word "Barmecides. It is Persian from bar
(up) and makidan (to suck). The vulgar legend is that Ja'afar, the
first of the name, appeared before the Caliph Abd al-Malik with a ring
poisoned for his own need; and that the Caliph, warned of it by the
clapping of two stones which he wore ad hoc, charged the visitor with
intention to murder him. He excused himself and in his speech occurred
the Persian word "Barmakam," which may mean "I shall sup it up," or "I
am a Barmak," that is, a high priest among the Guebres. See D'Herbelot

[FN#357] Arab."Zulm," the deadliest of monarch's sins. One of the
sayings of Mohammed, popularly quoted, is, "Kingdom endureth with Kufr
or infidelity (i. e. without accepting AI-Islam) but endureth not with
Zulm or injustice." Hence the good Moslem will not complain of the rule
of Kafirs or Unbelievers, like the English, so long as they rule him
righteously and according to his own law.]

[FN#358] All this aggravates his crime: had she been a widow she would
not have had upon him "the claims of maidenhead," the premio della
verginita of Boccaccio, x. 10.

[FN#359] It is supposed that slaves cannot help telling these fatal
lies. Arab story-books are full of ancient and modern instances and
some have become "Joe Millers." Moreover it is held unworthy of a
free-born man to take over-notice of these servile villanies; hence the
scoundrel in the story escapes unpunished. I have already noticed the
predilection of debauched women for these "skunks of the human race;"
and the young man in the text evidently suspected that his wife had
passed herself this "little caprice." The excuse which the Caliph would
find for him is the pundonor shown in killing one he loved so fondly.

[FN#360] The Arab equivalent of our pitcher and well.

[FN#361] i.e. Where the dress sits loosely about the bust.

[FN#362] He had trusted in Allah and his trust was justified.

[FN#363] Arab. "Khila'ah" prop. What a man strips from his person: gen.
An honorary gift. It is something more than the "robe of honour" of our
chivalrous romances, as it includes a horse, a sword (often
gold-hilted), a black turban (amongst the Abbasides) embroidered with
gold, a violet-mantle, a waist-shawl and a gold neck-chain and

[FN#364] Arab. "Izá," i.e. the visits of condolence and so forth which
are long and terribly wearisome in the Moslem East.

[FN#365] Arab. "Mahr," the money settled by the man before marriage on
the woman and without which the contract is not valid. Usually half of
it is paid down on the marriage-day and the other half when the husband
dies or divorces his wife. But if she take a divorce she forfeits her
right to it, and obscene fellows, especially Persians, often compel her
to demand divorce by unnatural and preposterous use of her person.

[FN#366] Bismillah here means "Thou art welcome to it."

[FN#367] Arab. "Bassak," half Pers. (bas = enough) and—ak = thou; for
thee. "Bas" sounds like our "buss" (to kiss) and there are sundry good
old Anglo-Indian jokes of feminine mistakes on the subject.

[FN#368] This saving clause makes the threat worse. The scene between
the two brothers is written with characteristic Arab humour; and it is
true to nature. In England we have heard of a man who separated from
his wife because he wished to dine at six and she preferred half-past

[FN#369] Arab. "Misr." (vulg. Masr). The word, which comes of a very
ancient house, was applied to the present capital about the time of its
conquest by the Osmanli Turks A.H. 923 = 1517.

[FN#370] The Arab. "Jízah," = skirt, edge; the modern village is the
site of an ancient Egyptian city, as the "Ghizah inscription" proves
(Brugsch, History of Egypt, ii. 415)

[FN#371] Arab. "Watan" literally meaning "birth-place" but also used
for "patria, native country"; thus "Hubb al-Watan" = patriotism. The
Turks pronounce it "Vatan," which the French have turned it into

[FN#372] Arab. "Zarzariyah" = the colour of a stare or starling

[FN#373] Now a Railway Station on the Alexandria-Cairo line.

[FN#374] Even as late as 1852, when I first saw Cairo, the city was
girt by waste lands and the climate was excellent. Now cultivation
comes up to the house walls; while the Mahmudiyah Canal, the planting
the streets with avenues and over-watering have seriously injured it;
those who want the air of former Cairo must go to Thebes. Gout,
rheumatism and hydrophobia (before unknown) have become common of late

[FN#375] This is the popular pronunciation: Yakút calls it

[FN#376] An outlying village on the "Long Desert," between Cairo and

[FN#377] Arab. "Al-Kuds" = holiness. There are few cities which in our
day have less claim to this title than Jerusalem; and, curious to say,
the "Holy Land" shows Jews, Christians and Moslems all in their worst
form. The only religion (if it can be called one) which produces men in
Syria is the Druse. "Heiligen- landes Jüden" are proverbial and nothing
can be meaner than the Christians while the Moslems are famed for

[FN#378] Arab. "Shamm al-hawá." In vulgar parlance to "smell the air"
is to take a walk, especially out of town. There is a peculiar Egyptian
festival called "Shamm al-Nasím" (smelling the Zephyr) which begins on
Easter-Monday (O.S.), thus corresponding with the Persian Nau-roz,
vernal equinox and introducing the fifty days of "Khammasín" or
"Mirísi" (hot desert winds). On awakening, the people smell and bathe
their temples with vinegar in which an onion has been soaked and break
their fast with a "fisikh" or dried "búri" = mullet from Lake Menzalah:
the late Hekekiyan Bey had the fish-heads counted in one public garden
and found 70,000. The rest of the day is spent out of doors "Gypsying,"
and families greatly enjoy themselves on these occasions. For a longer
description, see a paper by my excellent friend Yacoub Artin Pasha, in
the Bulletin de l'Institut Égyptien, 2nd series, No. 4, Cairo, 1884. I
have noticed the Mirísi (south-wester) and other winds in the Land of
Midian, i., 23.

[FN#379] So in the days of the "Mameluke Beys" in Egypt a man of rank
would not cross the street on foot.

[FN#380] Arab. Basrah. The city is now in decay and not to flourish
again till the advent of the Euphrates Valley R.R., is a modern place,
founded in A.H. 15, by the Caliph Omar upon the Aylah, a feeder of the
Tigris. Here, according to Al-Haríri, the "whales and the lizards
meet," and, as the tide affects the river,

     Its stream shows prodigy, ebbing and flowing.

In its far-famed market-place, Al-Marbad, poems used to be recited; and
the city was famous for its mosques and Saint- shrines, fair women and
school of Grammar which rivalled that of Kúfah. But already in
Al-Hariri's day (nat. A.H. 446 = A.D. 1030) Baghdad had drawn off much
of its population.

[FN#381] This fumigation (Bukhúr) is still used. A little incense or
perfumed wood is burnt upon an open censor (Mibkharah) of earthenware
or metal, and passed round, each guest holding it for a few moments
under his beard. In the Somali County, the very home of incense, both
sexes fumigate the whole person after carnal intercourse. Lane (Mod.
Egypt, chapt. viii) gives an illustration of the Mibkharah).

[FN#382] The reader of The Nights will remark that the merchant is
often a merchant-prince, consorting and mating with the highest
dignitaries. Even amongst the Romans, a race of soldiers, statesmen and
lawyers, "mercatura" on a large scale was "not to be vituperated." In
Boccacio (x. 19) they are netti e delicati uomini. England is perhaps
the only country which has made her fortune by trade, and much of it
illicit trade, like that in slaves which built Liverpool and Bristol,
and which yet disdains or affects to disdain the trader. But the
unworthy prejudice is disappearing with the last generation, and men
who formerly would have half starved as curates and ensigns, barristers
and carabins are now only too glad to become merchants.

[FN#383] These lines in the Calc. And Bul. Edits. Have already occurred
(Night vii.) but such carelessness is characteristic despite the
proverb, "In repetition is no fruition." I quote Torrens (p. 60) by way
of variety. As regards the anemone (here called a tulip) being named
"Shakík" = fissure, I would conjecture that it derives from the flower
often forming long lines of red like stripes of blood in the landscape.
Travellers in Syria always observe this.

[FN#384] Such an address to a royalty (Eastern) even in the present
day, would be a passport to future favours.

[FN#385] In England the man marries and the woman is married: there is
no such distinction in Arabia.

[FN#386] "Sultan" (and its corruption "Soldan") etymologically means
lord, victorious, ruler, ruling over. In Arabia it is a not uncommon
proper name; and as a title it is taken by a host of petty kinglets.
The Abbaside Caliphs (as Al-Wásik who has been noticed) formally
created these Sultans as their regents. Al-Tá'i bi'llah (regn. A.H. 363
= 974), invested the famous Sabuktagin with the office; and as
Alexander-Sikander was wont to do, fashioned for him two flags, one of
silver, after the fashion of nobles, and the other of gold, as
Viceroy-designate. Sabuktagin's son, the famous Mahmúd of the
Ghaznavite dynasty in A.H. 393 = 1002, was the first to adopt "Sultan"
as an independent title some two hundred years after the death of Harun
al-Rashid. In old writers we have the Soldan of Egypt, the Soudan of
Persia, and the Sowdan of Babylon; three modifications of one word.

[FN#387] i.e. he was a "Háfiz," one who commits to memory the whole of
the Koran. It is a serious task and must be begun early. I learnt by
rote the last "Juzw" (or thirtieth part) and found that quite enough.
This is the vulgar use of "Hafiz": technically and theologically it
means the third order of Traditionists (the total being five) who know
by heart 300,000 traditions of the Prophet with their ascriptions. A
curious "spiritualist" book calls itself "Hafed, Prince of Persia,"
proving by the very title that the Spirits are equally ignorant of
Arabic and Persian.

[FN#388] Here again the Cairo Edit. repeats the six couplets already
given in Night xvii. I take them from Torrens (p. 163).

[FN#389] This naïve admiration of beauty in either sex characterised
our chivalrous times. Now it is mostly confined to "professional
beauties" or what is conventionally called the "fair sex"; as if there
could be any comparison between the beauty of man and the beauty of
woman, the Apollo Belvidere with the Venus de Medici.

[FN#390] Arab. "Shásh" (in Pers. urine) a light turband generally of

[FN#391] This is a lieu commun of Eastern worldly wisdom. Quite true!
Very unadvisable to dive below the surface of one's acquaintances, but
such intimacy is like marriage of which Johnson said, "Without it there
is no pleasure in life."

[FN#392] The lines are attributed to the famous Al-Mutanabbi = the
claimant to "Prophecy," of whom I have given a few details in my
Pilgrimage iii. 60, 62. He led the life of a true poet, somewhat
Chauvinistic withal; and, rather than run away, was killed in A.H. 354
= 965.

[FN#393] Arab. "Nabíz" = wine of raisins or dates; any fermented
liquor; from a root to "press out" in Syriac, like the word "Talmiz"
(or Tilmiz says the Kashf al-Ghurrah) a pupil, student. Date-wine
(ferment from the fruit, not the Tádi, or juice of the stem, our
"toddy") is called Fazikh. Hence the Masjid al-Fazikh at Al-Medinah
where the Ansar or Auxiliaries of that city were sitting cup in hand
when they heard of the revelation forbidding inebriants and poured the
liquor upon the ground (Pilgrimage ii. 322).

[FN#394] Arab. "Huda" = direction (to the right way), salvation, a word
occurring in the Opening Chapter of the Koran. Hence to a Kafir who
offers the Salam-salutation many Moslems reply "Allah- yahdík" = Allah
direct thee! (i.e. make thee a Moslem), instead of Allah yusallimak =
Allah lead thee to salvation. It is the root word of the Mahdi and

[FN#395] These lines have already occurred in The First Kalandar's
Story (Night xi.) I quote by way of change and with permission Mr.
Payne's version (i. 93).

[FN#396] Arab. "Farajíyah," a long-sleeved robe worn by the learned
(Lane, M.E., chapt. i.).

[FN#397] Arab. "Sarráf" (vulg. Sayrafi), whence the Anglo-Indian
"Shroff," a familiar corruption.

[FN#398] Arab. "Yahúdi" which is less polite than "Banú Isráil" =
Children of Israel. So in Christendom "Israelite" when in favour and
"Jew" (with an adjective or a participle) when nothing is wanted of

[FN#399] Also called "Ghilmán" = the beautiful youths appointed to
serve the True Believers in Paradise. The Koran says (chapt. lvi. 9
etc.) "Youths, which shall continue in their bloom for ever, shall go
round about to attend them, with goblets, and beakers, and a cup of
flowing wine," etc. Mohammed was an Arab (not a Persian, a born
pederast) and he was too fond of women to be charged with love of boys:
even Tristam Shandy (vol. vii. chapt. 7; "No, quoth a third; the
gentleman has been committing— —") knew that the two tastes are
incompatibles. But this and other passages in the Koran have given the
Chevaliers de la Pallie a hint that the use of boys, like that of wine,
here forbidden, will be permitted in Paradise.

[FN#400] Which, by the by, is the age of an oldish old maid in Egypt. I
much doubt puberty being there earlier than in England where our
grandmothers married at fourteen. But Orientals are aware that the
period of especial feminine devilry is between the first menstruation
and twenty when, according to some, every girl is a "possible
murderess." So they wisely marry her and get rid of what is called the
"lump of grief," the "domestic calamity"—a daughter. Amongst them we
never hear of the abominable egotism and cruelty of the English mother,
who disappoints her daughter's womanly cravings in order to keep her at
home for her own comfort; and an "old maid" in the house, especially a
stout, plump old maid, is considered not "respectable." The ancient
virgin is known by being lean and scraggy; and perhaps this diagnosis
is correct.

[FN#401] This prognostication of destiny by the stars and a host of
follies that end in -mancy is an intricate and extensive subject. Those
who would study it are referred to chapt. xiv. of the "Qanoon-e-Islam,
or the Customs of the Mussulmans of India; etc., etc., by Jaffur
Shurreeff and translated by G. A. Herklots, M. D. of Madras." This
excellent work first appeared in 1832 (Allen and Co., London) and thus
it showed the way to Lane's "Modern Egyptians" (1833-35). The name was
unfortunate as "Kuzzilbash" (which rhymed to guzzle and hash), and kept
the book back till a second edition appeared in 1863 (Madras: J.

[FN#402] Arab. "Bárid," lit. cold: metaph. vain, foolish, insipid.

[FN#403] Not to "spite thee" but "in spite of thee." The phrase is
still used by high and low.

[FN#404] Arab. "Ahdab," the common hunchback; in classical language the
Gobbo in the text would be termed "Ak'as" from "Ka'as," one with
protruding back and breast; sometimes used for hollow back and
protruding breast.

[FN#405] This is the custom with such gentry, who, when they see a
likely man sitting, are allowed by custom to ride astraddle upon his
knees with most suggestive movements, till he buys them off. These
Ghawázi are mostly Gypsies who pretend to be Moslems; and they have
been confused with the Almahs or Moslem dancing- girls proper (Awálim,
plur. of Alimah, a learned feminine) by a host of travellers. They call
themselves Barámikah or Barmecides only to affect Persian origin. Under
native rule they were perpetually being banished from and returning to
Cairo (Pilgrimage i., 202). Lane (M.E., chapts. xviii. and xix.)
discusses the subject, and would derive Al'mah, often so pronounced,
from Heb. Almah, girl, virgin, singing-girl, hence he would translate
Al-Alamoth shir (Psalm xlvi.) and Nebalim al- alamoth (I. Chron., xv.
20) by a "song for singing-girls" and "harps for singing-girls." He
quotes also St. Jerome as authority that Alma in Punic (Phoenician)
signified a virgin, not a common article, I may observe, amongst
singing-girls. I shall notice in a future page Burckhardt's description
of the Ghawazi, p. 173, "Arabic Proverbs;" etc., etc. Second Edition.
London: Quaritch, 1875.

[FN#406] I need hardly describe the tarbúsh, a corruption of the Per.
"Sar-púsh" (headcover) also called "Fez" from its old home; and
"tarbrush" by the travelling Briton. In old days it was a calotte worn
under the turban; and it was protected by scalp- perspiration by an
"Arakiyah" (Pers. Arak-chin) a white skull- cap. Now it is worn without
either and as a head-dress nothing can be worse (Pilgrimage ii. 275).

[FN#407] Arab. "Tár.": the custom still prevails. Lane (M.E., chapt.
xviii.) describes and figures this hoop-drum.

[FN#408] The couch on which she sits while being displayed. It is her
throne, for she is the Queen of the occasion, with all the Majesty of

[FN#409] This is a solemn "chaff;" such liberties being permitted at
weddings and festive occasions.

[FN#410] The pre-Islamític dynasty of Al-Yaman in Arabia Felix, a
region formerly famed for wealth and luxury. Hence the mention of
Yamani work. The caravans from Sana'á, the capital, used to carry
patterns of vases to be made in China and bring back the porcelains at
the end of the third year: these are the Arabic inscriptions which have
puzzled so many collectors. The Tobba, or Successors, were the old
Himyarite Kings, a dynastic name like Pharaoh, Kisra (Persia), Negush
(Abyssinia), Khakan or Khan (Tartary), etc., who claimed to have
extended their conquests to Samarcand and made war on China. Any
history of Arabia (as Crichton I., chapt. iv.) may be consulted for
their names and annals. I have been told by Arabs that "Tobba" (or
Tubba) is still used in the old Himvarland = the Great or the Chief.

[FN#411] Lane and Payne (as well as the Bres. Edit.) both render the
word "to kiss her," but this would be clean contrary to Moslem usage.

[FN#412] i.e. he was full of rage which he concealed.

[FN#413] The Hindus (as the Katha shows) compare this swimming gait
with an elephant's roll.

[FN#414] Arab. "Fitnah," a word almost as troublesome as "Adab."
Primarily, revolt, seduction, mischief: then a beautiful girl (or boy),
and lastly a certain aphrodisiac perfume extracted from mimosa-flowers
(Pilgrimage i., 118).

[FN#415] Lit. burst the "gall-bladder:" In this and in the "liver"
allusions I dare not be baldly literal.

[FN#416] Arab. "Usfur" the seeds of Carthamus tinctorius = Safflower
(Forskal, Flora, etc. lv.). The seeds are crushed for oil and the
flowers, which must be gathered by virgins or the colour will fail, are
extensively used for dying in Southern Arabia and Eastern Africa.

[FN#417] On such occasions Miss Modesty shuts her eye and looks as if
about to faint.

[FN#418] After either evacuation the Moslem is bound to wash or sand
the part; first however he should apply three pebbles, or potsherds or
clods of earth. Hence the allusion in the Koran (chapt. ix), "men who
love to be purified." When the Prophet was questioning the men of Kuba,
where he founded a mosque (Pilgrimage ii., 215), he asked them about
their legal ablutions, especially after evacuation; and they told him
that they used three stones before washing. Moslems and Hindus (who
prefer water mixed with earth) abhor the unclean and unhealthy use of
paper without ablution; and the people of India call European draught-
houses, by way of opprobrium, "Kághaz-khánah" = paper closets. Most old
Anglo-Indians, however, learn to use water.

[FN#419] "Miao" or "Mau" is the generic name of the cat in the
Egyptian of the hieroglyphs.

[FN#420] Arab. "Ya Mah'úm" addressed to an evil spirit.

[FN#421] "Heehaw!" as we should say. The Bresl. Edit. makes the cat cry
"Nauh! Nauh!" and the ass-colt "Manu! Manu!" I leave these
onomatopoeics as they are in Arabic; they are curious, showing the
unity in variety of hearing inarticulate sounds. The bird which is
called "Whip poor Will" in the U.S. is known to the Brazilians as "Joam
corta páo" (John cut wood); so differently do they hear the same notes.

[FN#422] It is usually a slab of marble with a long slit in front and a
round hole behind. The text speaks of a Kursi (= stool); but this is
now unknown to native houses which have not adopted European fashions.

[FN#423] This again is chaff as she addresses the Hunchback. The
Bul. Edit. has "O Abu Shiháb" (Father of the shooting-star = evil
spirit); the Bresl. Edit. "O son of a heap! O son of a
Something!" (al-afsh, a vulgarism).

[FN#424] As the reader will see, Arab ideas of "fun" and practical
jokes are of the largest, putting the Hibernian to utter rout, and
comparing favourably with those recorded in Don Quixote.

[FN#425] Arab. "Saráwil" a corruption of the Pers. "Sharwál"; popularly
called "libás" which, however, may also mean clothing in general and
especially outer-clothing. I translate "bag- trousers" and
"petticoat-trousers," the latter being the divided skirt of our future.
In the East, where Common Sense, not Fashion, rules dress, men, who
have a protuberance to be concealed, wear petticoats and women wear
trousers. The feminine article is mostly baggy but sometimes, as in
India, collant- tight. A quasi-sacred part of it is the inkle, tape or
string, often a most magnificent affair, with tassels of pearl and
precious stones; and "laxity in the trouser-string" is equivalent to
the loosest conduct. Upon the subject of "libás," "sarwál" and its
variants the curious reader will consult Dr. Dozy's "Dictionnaire
Détaillé des Noms des Vêtements chez les Arabes," a most valuable work.

[FN#426] The turban out of respect is not put upon the ground
(Lane, M. E., chapt. i.).

[FN#427] Arab. "Madfa" showing the modern date or the modernization of
the tale. In Lebid "Madáfi" (plur. of Madfa') means water-courses or

[FN#428] In Arab. the "he" is a "she;" and Habíb ("friend") is the
Attic {Greek Letters}, a euphemism for lover. This will occur
throughout The Nights. So the Arabs use a phrase corresponding with the
Stoic {Greek Letters}, i.e. is wont, is fain.

[FN#429] Part of the Azán, or call to prayer.

[FN#430] Arab. "Shiháb," these mentors being the flying shafts shot at
evil spirits who approach too near heaven. The idea doubtless arose
from the showers of August and November meteors (The Perseides and
Taurides) which suggest a battle raging in upper air. Christendom also
has its superstition concerning these and called those of August the
"fiery tears of Saint Lawrence," whose festival was on August 10.

[FN#431] Arab. "Tákiyah" = Pers. Arak-chin; the calotte worn under the
Fez. It is, I have said, now obsolete and the red woollen cap (mostly
made in Europe) is worn over the hair; an unclean practice.

[FN#432] Often the effect of cold air after a heated room.

[FN#433] i.e. He was not a Eunuch, as the people guessed.

[FN#434] In Arab. "this night" for the reason before given.

[FN#435] Meaning especially the drink prepared of the young leaves and
florets of Cannabis Sativa. The word literally means "day grass" or
"herbage." This intoxicant was much used by magicians to produce
ecstasy and thus to "deify themselves and receive the homage of the
genii and spirits of nature."

[FN#436] Torrens, being an Irishman, translates "and woke in the
morning sleeping at Damascus."

[FN#437] Arab. "Labbayka," the cry technically called "Talbiyah" and
used by those entering Meccah (Pilgrimage iii. 125-232). I shall also
translate it by "Adsum." The full cry is:—

     Here am I, O Allah, here am I!
     No partner hast Thou, here am I:
     Verily the praise and the grace and the kingdom are thine:
     No partner hast Thou: here am I!

A single Talbiyah is a "Shart" or positive condition: and its
repetition is a Sunnat or Custom of the Prophet. See Night xci.

[FN#438] The staple abuse of the vulgar is curing parents and
relatives, especially feminine, with specific allusions to their
"shame." And when dames of high degree are angry, Nature, in the East
as in the West, sometimes speaks out clearly enough, despite Mistress
Chapone and all artificial restrictions.

[FN#439] A great beauty in Arabia and the reverse in Denmark, Germany
and Slav-land, where it is a sign of being a were-wolf or a vampire. In
Greece also it denotes a "Brukolak" or vampire.

[FN#440] This is not physiologically true: a bride rarely conceives the
first night, and certainly would not know that she had conceived.
Moreover the number of courses furnished by the bridegroom would be
against conception. It is popularly said that a young couple often
undoes in the morning what it has done during the night.

[FN#441] Torrens (Notes, xxiv.) quotes "Fleisher" upon the word
"Ghamghama" (Diss. Crit. De Glossis Habichtionis), which he compares
with "Dumbuma" and Humbuma," determining them to be onomatopoeics, "an
incomplete and an obscure murmur of a sentence as it were lingering
between the teeth and lips and therefore difficult to be understood."
Of this family is "Taghúm"; not used in modern days. In my Pilgrimage
(i. 313) I have noticed another, "Khyas', Khyas'!" occurring in a Hizb
al-Bahr (Spell of the Sea). Herklots gives a host of them; and their
sole characteristics are harshness and strangeness of sound, uniting
consonants which are not joined in Arabic. The old Egyptians and
Chaldeans had many such words composed at will for theurgic operations.

[FN#442] This may mean either "it is of Mosul fashion" or, it is of

[FN#443] To the English reader these lines would appear the reverse of
apposite; but Orientals have their own ways of application, and all
allusions to Badawi partings are effective and affecting. The civilised
poets of Arab cities throw the charm of the Desert over their verse by
images borrowed from its scenery, the dromedary, the mirage and the
well as naturally as certain of our bards who hated the country,
babbled of purling rills, etc. thoroughly to feel Arabic poetry one
must know the Desert (Pilgrimage iii., 63).

[FN#444] In those days the Arabs and the Portuguese recorded everything
which struck them, as the Chinese and Japanese in our times. And yet we
complain of the amount of our modern writing!

[FN#445] This is mentioned because it is the act preliminary to naming
the babe.

[FN#446] Arab. "Kahramánát" from Kahramán, an old Persian hero who
conversed with the Simurgh-Griffon. Usually the word is applied to
women-at-arms who defend the Harem, like the Urdu- begani of India,
whose services were lately offered to England (1885), or the "Amazons"
of Dahome.

[FN#447] Meaning he grew as fast in one day as other children in a

[FN#448] Arab. Al-Aríf; the tutor, the assistant-master.

[FN#449] Arab. "Ibn harám," a common term of abuse; and not a factual
reflection on the parent. I have heard a mother apply the term to her
own son.

[FN#450] Arab. "Khanjar" from the Persian, a syn. with the Arab.
"Jambiyah." It is noted in my Pilgrimage iii., pp. 72,75. To "silver
the dagger" means to become a rich man. From "Khanjar," not from its
fringed loop or strap, I derive our silly word "hanger." Dr. Steingass
would connect it with Germ. Fänger, e.g. Hirschfänger.

[FN#451] Again we have "Dastur" for Izn."

[FN#452] Arab. "Iklím"; the seven climates of Ptolemy.

[FN#453] Arab. "Al-Ghadir," lit. a place where water sinks, a
lowland: here the drainage-lakes east of Damascus into which the
Baradah (Abana?) discharges. The higher eastern plain is "Al-
Ghutah" before noticed.

[FN#454] The "Plain of Pebbles" still so termed at Damascus; an open
space west of the city.

[FN#455] Every Guide-book, even the Reverend Porter's "Murray," gives a
long account of this Christian Church 'verted to a Mosque.

[FN#456] Arab. "Nabút"; Pilgrimage i. 336.

[FN#457] The Bres. Edit. says, "would have knocked him into Al- Yaman,"
(Southern Arabia), something like our slang phrase "into the middle of
next week."

[FN#458] Arab. "Khádim": lit. a servant, politely applied (like Aghá =
master) to a castrato. These gentry wax furious if baldly called
"Tawáshi" = Eunuch. A mauvais plaisant in Egypt used to call me The
Agha because a friend had placed his wife under my charge.

[FN#459] This sounds absurd enough in English, but Easterns always put
themselves first for respect.

[FN#460] In Arabic the World is feminine.

[FN#461] Arab. "Sáhib" = lit. a companion; also a friend and especially
applied to the Companions of Mohammed. Hence the Sunnis claim for them
the honour of "friendship" with the Apostle; but the Shia'hs reply that
the Arab says "Sahaba-hu'l- himár" (the Ass was his Sahib or
companion). In the text it is a Wazirial title, in modern India it is =
gentleman, e.g. "Sahib log" (the Sahib people) means their white
conquerors, who, by the by, mostly mispronounce the word "Sáb."

[FN#462] Arab. "Suwán," prop. Syenite, from Syene (Al-Suwan) but
applied to flint and any hard stone.

[FN#463] It was famous in the middle ages, and even now it is, perhaps,
the most interesting to travellers after that "Sentina Gentium," the
"Bhendi Bazar" of unromantic Bombay.

[FN#464] "The Gate of the Gardens," in the northern wall, a Roman
archway of the usual solid construction shaming not only our modern
shams, but our finest masonry.

[FN#465] Arab. "Al-Asr," which may mean either the hour or the prayer.
It is also the moment at which the Guardian Angels relieve each other
(Sale's Koran, chapt. v.).

[FN#466] Arab. "Ya házá" = O this (one)! a somewhat slighting
address equivalent to "Heus tu! O thou, whoever thou art."
Another form is "Yá hú" = O he! Can this have originated Swift's

[FN#467] Alluding to the {Greek Letters} ("minor miracles which cause
surprise") performed by Saints' tombs, the mildest form of thaumaturgy.
One of them gravely recorded in the Dabistan (ii. 226) is that of the
holy Jamen, who opened the Sámran or bead- bracelet from the arm of the
beautiful Chistápá with member erect, "thus evincing his manly strength
and his command over himself"(!)

[FN#468] The River of Paradise, a lieu commun of poets (Koran, chapt.
cviii.): the water is whiter than milk or silver, sweeter than honey,
smoother than cream, more odorous than musk; its banks are of
chrysolite and it is drunk out of silver cups set around it thick as
stars. Two pipes conduct it to the Prophet's Pond which is an exact
square, one month's journey in compass. Kausar is spirituous like wine;
Salsabil sweet like clarified honey; the Fount of Mildness is like milk
and the Fount of Mercy like liquid crystal.

[FN#469] The Moslem does not use the European basin because water which
has touched an impure skin becomes impure. Hence it is poured out from
a ewer ("ibrík" Pers. Abríz) upon the hands and falls into a basin
("tisht") with an open-worked cover.

[FN#470] Arab. "Wahsh," a word of many meanings; nasty, insipid,
savage, etc. The offside of a horse is called Wahshi opposed to Insi,
the near side. The Amir Taymur ("Lord Iron") whom Europeans unwittingly
call after his Persian enemies' nickname, "Tamerlane," i.e.
Taymur-I-lang, or limping Taymur, is still known as "Al-Wahsh" (the
wild beast) at Damascus, where his Tartars used to bury men up to their
necks and play at bowls with their heads for ninepins.

[FN#471] For "grandson" as being more affectionate. Easterns have not
yet learned that clever Western saying:—The enemies of our enemies are
our friends.

[FN#472] This was a simple bastinado on the back, not the more
ceremonious affair of beating the feet-soles. But it is surprising what
the Egyptians can bear; some of the rods used in the time of the
Mameluke Beys are nearly as thick as a man's wrist.

[FN#473] The woman-like spite of the eunuch intended to hurt the
grandmother's feelings.

[FN#474] The usual Cairene "chaff."

[FN#475] A necessary precaution against poison (Pilgrimage i. 84, and
iii. 43).

[FN#476] The Bresl. Edit. (ii. 108) describes the scene at greater

[FN#477] The Bul. Edit. gives by mistake of diacritical points,
"Zabdaniyah:" Raydaniyah is or rather was a camping ground to the
North of Cairo.

[FN#478] Arab. "La'abat" = a plaything, a puppet, a lay figure. Lane
(i. 326) conjectures that the cross is so called because it resembles a
man with arms extended. But Moslems never heard of the fanciful ideas
of mediæval Christian divines who saw the cross everywhere and in
everything. The former hold that Pharaoh invented the painful and
ignominious punishment. (Koran, chapt. vii.).

[FN#479] Here good blood, driven to bay, speaks out boldly. But, as a
rule, the humblest and mildest Eastern when in despair turns round upon
his oppressors like a wild cat. Some of the criminals whom Fath Ali
Shah of Persia put to death by chopping down the fork, beginning at the
scrotum, abused his mother till the knife reached their vitals and they
could no longer speak.

[FN#480] These repeated "laughs" prove the trouble of his spirit. Noble
Arabs "show their back-teeth" so rarely that their laughter is held
worthy of being recorded by their biographers.

[FN#481] A popular phrase, derived from the Koranic "Truth is come, and
falsehood is vanished: for falsehood is of short continuance" (chapt.
xvii.). It is an equivalent of our adaptation from 1 Esdras iv. 41,
"Magna est veritas et prævalebit." But the great question still
remains, What is Truth?

[FN#482] In Night lxxv. these lines will occur with variants.

[FN#483] This is always mentioned: the nearer seat the higher the

[FN#484] Alluding to the phrase "Al-safar zafar" = voyaging is victory
(Pilgrimage i., 127).

[FN#485] Arab. "Habb;" alluding to the black drop in the human heart
which the Archangel Gabriel removed from Mohammed by opening his

[FN#486] This phrase, I have said, often occurs: it alludes to the
horripilation (Arab. Kush'arírah), horror or gooseflesh which, in Arab
as in Hindu fables, is a symptom of great joy. So Boccaccio's "pelo
arriciato" v., 8: Germ. Gänsehaut.

[FN#487] Arab. "Hasanta ya Hasan" = Bene detto, Benedetto! the usual
word-play vulgarly called "pun": Hasan (not Hassan, as we will write
it) meaning "beautiful."

[FN#488] Arab. "Loghah" also = a vocabulary, a dictionary; the
Arabs had them by camel-loads.

[FN#489] The seventh of the sixteen "Bahr" (metres) in Arabic prosody;
the easiest because allowing the most license and, consequently, a
favourite for didactic, homiletic and gnomic themes. It means literally
"agitated" and was originally applied to the rude song of the Cameleer.
De Sacy calls this doggrel "the poet's ass" (Torrens, Notes xxvi.). It
was the only metre in which Mohammed the Apostle ever spoke: he was no
poet (Koran xxxvi., 69) but he occasionally recited a verse and recited
it wrongly (Dabistan iii., 212). In Persian prosody Rajaz is the
seventh of nineteen and has six distinct varieties (pp. 79-81),
"Gladwin's Dissertations on Rhetoric," etc. Calcutta, 1801). I shall
have more to say about it in the Terminal Essay.

[FN#490] "Her stature tall—I hate a dumpy woman" (Don Juan).

[FN#491] A worthy who was Kazi of Kufah (Cufa) in the seventh century.
Al-Najaf, generally entitled "Najaf al-Ashraf" (the Venerand) is the
place where Ali, the son-in-law of Mohammed, lies or is supposed to lie
buried, and has ever been a holy place to the Shi'ahs. I am not certain
whether to translate "Sa'alab" by fox or jackal; the Arabs make scant
distinction between them. "Abu Hosayn" (Father of the Fortlet) is
certainly the fox, and as certainly "Sha'arhar" is the jackal from the
Pehlevi Shagál or Shaghál.

[FN#492] Usually by all manner of extortions and robbery, corruption
and bribery, the ruler's motto being

                  Fiat injustitia ruat Coelum.

There is no more honest man than the Turkish peasant or the private
soldier; but the process of deterioration begins when he is made a
corporal and culminates in the Pasha. Moreover official dishonesty is
permitted by public opinion, because it belongs to the condition of
society. A man buys a place (as in England two centuries ago) and
retains it by presents to the heads of offices. Consequently he must
recoup himself in some way, and he mostly does so by grinding the faces
of the poor and by spoiling the widow and the orphan. The radical cure
is high pay; but that phase of society refuses to afford it.

[FN#493] Arab. "Malik" (King) and "Malak" (angel) the words being
written the same when lacking vowels and justifying the jingle.

[FN #494] Arab. "Hurr"; the Latin "ingenuus," lit. freeborn; metaph.
noble as opp. to a slave who is not expected to do great or good deeds.
In pop. use it corresponds, like "Fatá," with our "gentleman."

[FN#495] This is one of the best tales for humour and movement, and
Douce and Madden show what a rich crop of fabliaux, whose leading
incident was the disposal of a dead body, it produced.

[FN#496] Other editions read, "at Bassorah" and the Bresl. (ii. 123)
"at Bassorah and Kájkár" (Káshghár): somewhat like in Dover and
Sebastopol. I prefer China because further off and making the
improbabilities more notable.

[FN#497] Arab. "Judri," lit. "small stones" from the hard gravelly
feeling of the pustules (Rodwell, p. 20). The disease is generally
supposed to be the growth of Central Africa where it is still a plague
and passed over to Arabia about the birth-time of Mohammed. Thus is
usually explained the "war of the elephant" (Koran, chaps. cv.) when
the Abyssinian army of Abrahah, the Christian, was destroyed by
swallows (Abábíl which Major Price makes the plural of Abilah = a
vesicle) which dropped upon them "stones of baked clay," like vetches
(Pilgrimage ii. 175). See for details Sale (in loco) who seems to
accept the miraculous defence of the Ka'abah. For the horrors of
small-pox in Central Intertropical Africa the inoculation, known also
to the Badawin of Al-Hijáz and other details, readers will consult "The
Lake Regions of Central Africa" (ii. 318). The Hindus "take the bull by
the horns" and boldly make "Sítlá" (small-pox) a goddess, an
incarnation of Bhawáni, deëss of destruction-reproduction. In China
small-pox is believed to date from B.C. 1200; but the chronology of the
Middle Kingdom still awaits the sceptic.

[FN#498] In Europe we should add "and all fled, especially the women."
But the fatalism inherent in the Eastern mind makes the great

[FN#499] Arab. "Uzayr." Esdras was a manner of Ripp van Winkle. He was
riding over the ruins of Jerusalem when it had been destroyed by the
Chaldeans and he doubted by what means Allah would restore it;
whereupon he died and at the end of a hundred years he revived. He
found his basket of figs and cruse of wine as they were; but of his ass
only the bones remained. These were raised to life as Ezra looked on
and the ass began at once to bray. Which was a lesson to Esdras.
(Koran, chaps. ii.) The oath by the ass's hoofs is to ridicule the Jew.
Mohammed seems to have had an idée fixe that "the Jews say, Ezra is the
son of God" (Koran ix.); it may have arisen from the heterodox Jewish
belief that Ezra, when the Law was utterly lost, dictated the whole
anew to the scribes of his own memory. His tomb with the huge green
dome is still visited by the Jews of Baghdad.

[FN#500] Arab. "Bádhanj," the Pers. Bád. (wind) -gír (catcher): a
wooden pent-house on the terrace-roof universal in the nearer East.

[FN#501] The hunchback, in Arabia as in Southern Europe, is looked upon
by the vulgar with fear and aversion. The reason is that he is usually
sharper-witted than his neighbours.

[FN#502]Arab. "Yá Sattár" = Thou who veilest the discreditable secrets
of Thy creatures.

[FN#503] Arab. "Nasráni," a follower of Him of Nazareth and an older
name than "Christian" which (Acts xi., 26) was first given at Antioch
about A.D. 43. The cry in Alexandria used to be "Ya Nasráni, Kalb
awáni!"=O Nazarene! O dog obscene! (Pilgrimage i., 160).). "Christian"
in Arabic can be expressed only by "Masíhi" = follower of the Messiah.

[FN#504] Arab. "Tasbíh," = Saluting in the Subh (morning).

[FN#505] In the East women stand on minor occasions while men squat on
their hunkers in a way hardly possible to an untrained European. The
custom is old. Herodotus (ii., 35) says, "The women stand up when they
make water, but the men sit down." Will it be believed that Canon
Rawlinson was too modest to leave this passage in his translation? The
custom was perpetuated by Al-Islam because the position prevents the
ejection touching the clothes and making them ceremonially impure;
possibly they borrowed it from the Guebres. Dabistan, Gate xvi. says,
"It is improper, whilst in an erect posture, to make water, it is
therefore necessary to sit at squat and force it to some distance,
repeating the Avesta mentally."

[FN#506] This is still a popular form of the "Kinchin lay," and as the
turbands are often of fine stuff, the petite industrie pays well.

[FN#507]Arab. "Wali" =Governor; the term still in use for the Governor
General of a Province as opposed to the "Muháfiz," or
district-governor. In Eastern Arabia the Wali is the Civil Governor
opposed to the Amir or Military Commandant. Under the Caliphate the
Wali acted also as Prefect of Police (the Indian Fanjdár), who is now
called "Zábit." The older name for the latter was "Sáhib al-Shartah"
(=chief of the watch) or "Mutawalli"; and it was his duty to go the
rounds in person. The old "Charley," with his lantern and cudgel, still
guards the bazaars in Damascus.

[FN#508] Arab. "Al-Mashá ilí" = the bearer of a cresses (Mash'al) who
was also Jack Ketch. In Anglo-India the name is given to a lower
body-servant. The "Mash'al" which Lane (M. E., chaps. vi.) calls
"Mesh'al" and illustrates, must not be confounded with its congener the
"Sha'ilah" or link (also lamp, wick, etc.).

[FN#509] I need hardly say that the civilised "drop" is unknown to the
East where men are strung up as to a yardarm. This greatly prolongs the

[FN#510] Arab. "Lukmah"; = a mouthful. It is still the fashion amongst
Easterns of primitive manners to take up a handful of rice, etc., ball
it and put it into a friend's mouth honoris causâ. When the friend is a
European the expression of his face is generally a study.

[FN#511] I need hardly note that this is an old Biblical practice. The
ass is used for city-work as the horse for fighting and travelling, the
mule for burdens and the dromedary for the desert. But the Badawi, like
the Indian, despises the monture and sings:—

     The back of the steed is a noble place
     But the mule's dishonour, the ass disgrace!

The fine white asses, often thirteen hands high, sold by the Banu Salíb
and other Badawi tribes, will fetch £100, and more. I rode a little
brute from Meccah to Jedda (42 miles) in one night and it came in with
me cantering.

[FN#512] A dry measure of about five bushels (Cairo). The classical
pronunciation is Irdabb and it measured 24 sa'a (gallons) each filling
four outstretched hands.

[FN#513] "Al-Jawáli" should be Al-Jáwali (Al-Makrizi) and the Bab
al-Nasr (Gate of Victory) is that leading to Suez. I lived in that
quarter as shown by my Pilgrimage (i. 62).

[FN#514] Arab. "Al-'ajalah," referring to a saying in every Moslem
mouth, "Patience is from the Protector (Allah): Hurry is from Hell."
That and "Inshallah bukra!" (Please God tomorrow.) are the traveller's
bêtes noires.

[FN#515] Here it is a polite equivalent for "fall to!"

[FN#516] The left hand is used throughout the East for purposes of
ablution and is considered unclean. To offer the left hand would be
most insulting and no man ever strokes his beard with it or eats with
it: hence, probably, one never sees a left handed man throughout the
Moslem east. In the Brazil for the same reason old-fashioned people
will not take snuff with the right hand. And it is related of the
Khataians that they prefer the left hand, "Because the heart, which is
the Sultan of the city of the Body, hath his mansion on that side"
(Rauzat al-Safá).

[FN#517] Two feminine names as we might say Mary and Martha.

[FN#518] It was near the Caliph's two Palaces (Al Kasrayn); and was
famous in the 15th century A. D. The Kazi's Mahkamah (Court house) now
occupies the place of the Two Palaces

[FN#519] A Kaysariah is a superior kind of bazaar, a "bezestein."
That in the text stood to the east of the principal street in
Cairo and was built in A. H. 502 (=1108-9) by a Circassian Emir,
known as Fakhr al-Din Jahárkas, a corruption of the Persian
"Chehárkas" = four persons (Lane, i. 422, from Al-Makrizi and Ibn
Khallikan). For Jahárkas the Mac. Edit. has Jirjís (George) a
common Christian name. I once lodged in a 'Wakálah (the modern
Khan) Jirjis." Pilgrimage, i. 255.

[FN#520]Arab. "Second Day," i.e. after Saturday, the true
Sabbath, so marvellously ignored by Christendom.

[FN#521] Readers who wish to know how a traveller is lodged in a
Wakálah, Khan, or Caravanserai, will consult my Pilgrimage, i. 60.

[FN#522] The original occupation of the family had given it a name, as
amongst us.

[FN#523] The usual "chaff" or banter allowed even to modest women when
shopping, and—many a true word is spoken in jest.

[FN#524] "La adamnák" = Heaven deprive us not of thee, i.e. grant
I see thee often!

[FN#525] This is a somewhat cavalier style of advance; but Easterns
under such circumstances go straight to the point, hating to filer the
parfait amour.

[FN#526] The peremptory formula of a slave delivering such a message.

[FN#527] This would be our Thursday night, preceding the day of public
prayers which can be performed only when in a state of ceremonial
purity. Hence many Moslems go to the Hammam on Thursday and have no
connection with their wives.

[FN#528] Lane (i. 423) gives ample details concerning the
Habbániyah, or grain-sellers' quarter in the southern part of
Cairo; and shows that when this tale was written (or
transcribed?) the city was almost as extensive as it is now.

[FN#529] Nakíb is a caravan-leader, a chief, a syndic; and "Abú
Shámah"= Father of a cheek mole, while "Abú Shámmah" = Father of a
smeller, a nose, a snout. The "Kuniyah," bye-name, patronymic or
matronymic, is necessary amongst Moslems whose list of names, all
connected more or less with religion, is so scanty. Hence Buckingham
the traveller was known as Abu Kidr, the Father of a Cooking-pot and
Haj Abdullah as Abu Shawárib, Father of Mustachios (Pilgrimage, iii.,

[FN#530] More correctly Bab Zawilah from the name of a tribe in
Northern Africa. This gate dates from the same age as the Eastern or
Desert gate, Bab al-Nasr (A.D. 1087) and is still much admired. M.
Jomard describes it (Description, etc., ii. 670) and lately my good
friend Yacoub Artin Pasha has drawn attention to it in the Bulletin de
l'Inst. Egypt., Deuxième Série, No. 4, 1883.

[FN#531] This ornament is still seen in the older saloons of Damascus:
the inscriptions are usually religious sentences, extracts from the
Koran, etc., in uncial characters. They take the place of our frescos;
and, as a work of art, are generally far superior.

[FN#532] Arab. "Bayáz al-Sultání," the best kind of gypsum which shines
like polished marble. The stucco on the walls of Alexandria, built by
Alexander of the two Horns, was so exquisitely tempered and beautifully
polished that men had to wear masks for fear of blindness.

[FN#533] This Iklíl, a complicated affair, is now obsolete, its place
having been taken by the "Kurs," a gold plate, some five inches in
diameter, set with jewels, etc. Lane (M. E. Appendix A) figures it.

[FN#534] The woman-artist who applies the dye is called

[FN#535] "Kissing with th' inner lip," as Shakespeare calls it; the
French langue fourrée: and Sanskrit "Samputa." The subject of kissing
is extensive in the East. Ten different varieties are duly enumerated
in the "Ananga-Ranga;" or, The Hindu Art of Love (Ars Amoris Indica)
translated from the Sanskrit, and annotated by A. F. F. and B. F. R It
is also connected with unguiculation, or impressing the nails, of which
there are seven kinds; morsication (seven kinds); handling the hair and
lappings or pattings with the fingers and palm (eight kinds).

[FN#536] Arab. "asal-nahl," to distinguish it from "honey" i.e. syrup
of sugar-cane and fruits

[FN#537] The lines have occurred in Night xii. By way of variety
I give Torrens' version p. 273.

[FN#538] The way of carrying money in the corner of a
pocket-handkerchief is still common.

[FN#539] He sent the provisions not to be under an obligation to her in
this matter. And she received them to judge thereby of his liberality

[FN#540] Those who have seen the process of wine-making in the
Libanus will readily understand why it is always strained.

[FN#541] Arab. "Kulkasá," a kind of arum or yam, eaten boiled like our

[FN#542]At first he slipped the money into the bed-clothes: now he
gives it openly and she accepts it for a reason.

[FN#543] Arab. Al-Zalamah lit. = tyrants, oppressors, applied to the
police and generally to employés of Government. It is a word which
tells a history.

[FN#544] Moslem law is never completely satisfied till the criminal
confess. It also utterly ignores circumstantial evidence and for the
best of reasons: amongst so sharp-witted a people the admission would
lead to endless abuses. I greatly surprised a certain Governor-General
of India by giving him this simple information

[FN#545] Cutting off the right hand is the Koranic punishment (chaps.
v.) for one who robs an article worth four dinars, about forty francs
to shillings. The left foot is to be cut off at the ankle for a second
offence and so on; but death is reserved for a hardened criminal. The
practice is now obsolete and theft is punished by the bastinado, fine
or imprisonment. The old Guebres were as severe. For stealing one
dirham's worth they took a fine of two, cut off the ear-lobes, gave ten
stick-blows and dismissed the criminal who had been subjected to an
hour's imprisonment. A second theft caused the penalties to be doubled;
and after that the right hand was cut off or death was inflicted
according to the proportion stolen.

[FN#546] Koran viii. 17.

[FN#547] A universal custom in the East, the object being originally to
show that the draught was not poisoned.

[FN#548] Out of paste or pudding.

[FN#549] Boils and pimples are supposed to be caused by broken
hair-roots and in Hindostani are called Bál-tor.

[FN#550] He intended to bury it decently, a respect which Moslems
always show even to the exuviæ of the body, as hair and nail parings.
Amongst Guebres the latter were collected and carried to some mountain.
The practice was intensified by fear of demons or wizards getting
possession of the spoils.

[FN#551] Without which the marriage was not valid. The minimum is ten
dirhams (drachmas) now valued at about five francs to shillings; and if
a man marry without naming the sum, the woman, after consummation, can
compel him to pay this minimum.

[FN#552] Arab. "Khatmah" = reading or reciting the whole Koran, by one
or more persons, usually in the house, not over the tomb. Like the
"Zikr," Litany or Rogation, it is a pious act confined to certain

[FN#553] Arab. "Zirbájah" = meat dressed with vinegar, cumin-seed
(Pers. Zír) and hot spices. More of it in the sequel of the tale.

[FN#554] A saying not uncommon meaning, let each man do as he seems
fit; also = "age quad agis": and at times corresponding with our saw
about the cap fitting.

 [FN#555] Arab. "Su'úd," an Alpinia with pungent rhizome like ginger;
 here used as a counter-odour.

[FN#556] Arab. "Tá'ih" = lost in the "Tíh," a desert wherein man may
lose himself, translated in our maps 'The Desert of the Wanderings,"
scil. of the children of Israel. "Credat Judæus."

[FN#557] ie. £125 and £500.

[FN#558] A large sum was weighed by a professional instead of being
counted, the reason being that the coin is mostly old and worn: hence
our words "pound" and "pension" (or what is weighed out).

[FN#559] The eunuch is the best possible go-between on account of his
almost unlimited power over the Harem.

[FN#560] i.e., a slave-girl brought up in the house and never sold
except for some especial reason, as habitual drunkenness, etc.

[FN#561] Smuggling men into the Harem is a stock "topic" of eastern
tales. "By means of their female attendants, the ladies of the royal
harem generally get men into their apartments in the disguise of
women," says Vatsyayana in The Kama Sutra, Part V. London: Printed for
the Hindoo Kamashastra Society. 1883. For private circulation.

[FN#562] These tears are shed over past separation. So the "Indians" of
the New World never meet after long parting without beweeping mutual
friends they have lost.

[FN#563] A most important Jack in office whom one can see with his
smooth chin and blubber lips, starting up from his lazy snooze in the
shade and delivering his orders more peremptorily than any Dogberry.
These epicenes are as curious and exceptional in character as in
external conformation. Disconnected, after a fashion, with humanity,
they are brave, fierce and capable of any villainy or barbarity (as
Agha Mohammed Khan in Persia 1795-98). The frame is unnaturally long
and lean, especially the arms and legs; with high, flat, thin
shoulders, big protruding joints and a face by contrast extraordinarily
large, a veritable mask; the Castrato is expert in the use of weapons
and sits his horse admirably, riding well "home" in the saddle for the
best of reasons; and his hoarse, thick voice, which apparently does not
break, as in the European "Cáppone," invests him with all the
circumstance of command.

[FN#564] From the Meccan well used by Moslems much like Eau de
Lourdes by Christians: the water is saltish, hence the touch of
Arab humour (Pilgrimage iii., 201-202).

[FN#565] Such articles would be sacred from Moslem eyes.

[FN#566] Physiologically true, but not generally mentioned in
describing the emotions.

[FN#567] Properly "Uta," the different rooms, each "Odalisque," or
concubine, having her own.

[FN#568] Showing that her monthly ailment was over.

[FN#569] Arab "Muhammarah" = either browned before the fire or
artificially reddened.

[FN#570] The insolence and licence of these palace-girls was (and is)
unlimited, especially when, as in the present case, they have to deal
with a "lofty." On this subject numberless stories are current
throughout the East.

[FN#571] i.e., blackened by the fires of Jehannam.

[FN#572] Arab. "Bi'l-Salámah" = in safety (to avert the evil eye). When
visiting the sick it is usual to say something civil; "The Lord heal
thee! No evil befall thee!" etc.

[FN#573] Washing during sickness is held dangerous by Arabs; and "going
to the Hammam" is, I have said, equivalent to convalescence.

[FN#574] Arab. "Máristán" (pronounced Múristan) a corruption of the
Pers. "Bímáristán" = place of sickness, a hospital much affected by the
old Guebres (Dabistan, i., 165, 166). That of Damascus was the first
Moslem hospital, founded by Al-Walid Son of Abd al-Malik the Ommiade in
A. H. 88 = 706-7. Benjamin of Tudela (A. D. 1164) calls it "Dar-al
Maraphtan" which his latest Editor explains by "Dar-al-Morabittan"
(abode of those who require being chained). Al-Makrizi (Khitat)
ascribes the invention of "Spitals" to Hippocrates; another historian
to an early Pharaoh "Manákiyush;" thus ignoring the Persian Kings,
Saint Ephrem (or Ephraim), Syru, etc. In modern parlance "Maristan" is
a madhouse where the maniacs are treated with all the horrors which
were universal in Europe till within a few years and of which
occasional traces occur to this day. In A.D. 1399 Katherine de la Court
held a "hospital in the Court called Robert de Paris," but the first
madhouse in Christendom was built by the legate Ortiz in Toledo A. D.
1483, and was therefore called Casa del Nuncio. The Damascus "Maristan"
was described by every traveller of the last century: and it showed a
curious contrast between the treatment of the maniac and the idiot or
omadhaun, who is humanely allowed to wander about unharmed, if not held
a Saint. When I saw it last (1870) it was all but empty and mostly in
ruins. As far as my experience goes, the United States is the only
country where the insane are rationally treated by the sane.

[FN#575] Hence the trite saying "Whoso drinks the water of the Nile
will ever long to drink it again." "Light" means easily digested water;
and the great test is being able to drink it at night between the
sleeps, without indigestion

[FN#576] "Níl" in popular parlance is the Nile in flood; although also
used for the River as a proper name. Egyptians (modern as well as
ancient) have three seasons, Al-Shitá (winter), Al-Sayf (summer) and
Al-Níl (the Nile i.e. flood season' our mid-summer); corresponding with
the Growth months; Housing (or granary)-months and Flood-months of the
older race.

[FN#577] These lines are in the Mac. Edit.

[FN#587] Arab. "Birkat al-Habash," a tank formerly existing in Southern
Cairo: Galland (Night 128) says "en remontant vers l'Ethiopie."

[FN#579] The Bres. Edit. (ii., 190), from which I borrow this
description, here alludes to the well-known Island, Al-Rauzah (Rodah) =
The Garden.

[FN#580] Arab. "Laylat al-Wafá," the night of the completion or
abundance of the Nile (-flood), usually between August 6th and 16th,
when the government proclaims that the Nilometer shows a rise of 16
cubits. Of course it is a great festival and a high ceremony, for Egypt
is still the gift of the Nile (Lane M. E. chaps. xxvi—a work which
would be much improved by a better index).

[FN#581] i.e., admiration will be complete.

[FN#582] Arab. "Sáhil Masr" (Misr): hence I suppose Galland's villes

[FN#583] A favourite simile, suggested by the broken glitter and
shimmer of the stream under the level rays and the breeze of eventide.

[FN#584] Arab. "Halab," derived by Moslems from "He (Abraham) milked
(halaba) the white and dun cow." But the name of the city occurs in the
Cuneiforms as Halbun or Khalbun, and the classics knew it as {Greek
Letters}, Beroca, written with variants.

[FN#585] Arab. "Ká'ah," usually a saloon; but also applied to a fine
house here and elsewhere in The Nights.

[FN#586] Arab. "Ghamz" = winking, signing with the eye which, amongst
Moslems, is not held "vulgar."

[FN#587] Arab. "Kamís" from low Lat. "Camicia," first found in
St. Jerome:— "Solent militantes habere lineas, quas Camicias
vocant." Our shirt, chemise, chemisette, etc., was unknown to the
Ancients of Europe.

[FN#588] Arab. "Narjís." The Arabs borrowed nothing, but the Persians
much, from Greek Mythology. Hence the eye of Narcissus, an idea hardly
suggested by the look of the daffodil (or asphodel)-flower, is at times
the glance of a spy and at times the die-away look of a mistress. Some
scholars explain it by the form of the flower, the internal calyx
resembling the iris, and the stalk being bent just below the petals
suggesting drooping eyelids and languid eyes. Hence a poet addresses
the Narcissus:—

O Narjis, look away! Before those eyes       * I may not kiss her as
a-breast she lies. What! Shall the lover close his eyes in sleep *
While thine watch all things between earth and skies?

The fashionable lover in the East must affect a frantic jealousy if he
does not feel it.

[FN#589] In Egypt there are neither bedsteads nor bedrooms: the carpets
and mattresses, pillows and cushions (sheets being unknown), are spread
out when wanted, and during the day are put into chests or cupboards,
or only rolled up in a corner of the room (Pilgrimage i. 53).

[FN#590] The women of Damascus have always been famed for the
sanguinary jealousy with which European story-books and novels credit
the "Spanish lady." The men were as celebrated for intolerance and
fanaticism, which we first read of in the days of Bertrandon de la
Brocquière and which culminated in the massacre of 1860. Yet they are a
notoriously timid race and make, physically and morally, the worst of
soldiers: we proved that under my late friend Fred. Walpole in the
Bashi-Buzuks during the old Crimean war. The men looked very fine
fellows and after a month in camp fell off to the condition of old

[FN#591] Arab. "Rukhám," properly = alabaster and "Marmar" = marble;
but the two are often confounded.

[FN#592] He was ceremonially impure after touching a corpse.

[FN#593] The phrase is perfectly appropriate: Cairo without "her
Nile" would be nothing.

[FN#594] "The market was hot" say the Hindustanis. This would begin
between 7 and 8 a.m.

[FN#595] Arab. Al-Faranj, Europeans generally. It is derived from "Gens
Francorum," and dates from Crusading days when the French played the
leading part. Hence the Lingua Franca, the Levantine jargon, of which
Molière has left such a witty specimen.

[FN#596] A process familiar to European surgery of the same date.

[FN#597] In sign of disappointment, regret, vexation; a gesture still
common amongst Moslems and corresponding in significance to a certain
extent with our stamping, wringing the hands and so forth. It is not
mentioned in the Koran where, however, we find "biting fingers' ends
out of wrath" against a man (chaps. iii.).

[FN#598] This is no unmerited scandal. The Cairenes, especially the
feminine half (for reasons elsewhere given), have always been held
exceedingly debauched. Even the modest Lane gives a "shocking" story of
a woman enjoying her lover under the nose of her husband and confining
the latter in a madhouse (chaps. xiii.). With civilisation, which
objects to the good old remedy, the sword, they become worse: and the
Kazi's court is crowded with would-be divorcees. Under English rule the
evil has reached its acme because it goes unpunished: in the avenues of
the new Isma'iliyah Quarter, inhabited by Europeans, women, even young
women, will threaten to expose their persons unless they receive
"bakhshísh." It was the same in Sind when husbands were assured that
they would be hanged for cutting down adulterous wives: at once after
its conquest the women broke loose; and in 1843-50, if a young officer
sent to the bazaar for a girl, half-a-dozen would troop to his
quarters. Indeed more than once the professional prostitutes threatened
to memorialise Sir Charles Napier because the "modest women," the
"ladies" were taking the bread out of their mouths. The same was the
case at Kabul (Caboul) of Afghanistan in the old war of 1840; and here
the women had more excuse, the husbands being notable sodomites as the
song has it.

     The worth of slit the Afghan knows;
     The worth of hole the Kábul-man.

[FN#599] So that he might not have to do with three sisters-german.
Moreover amongst Moslems a girl's conduct is presaged by that of her
mother; and if one sister go wrong, the other is expected to follow
suit. Practically the rule applies everywhere, "like mother like

[FN#600] In sign of dissent; as opposed to nodding the head which
signifies assent. These are two items, apparently instinctive and
universal, of man's gesture-language which has been so highly
cultivated by sundry North American tribes and by the surdo-mute
establishments of Europe.

[FN#601] This "Futur" is the real "breakfast" of the East, the "Chhoti
házri" (petit déjeûner) of India, a bit of bread, a cup of coffee or
tea and a pipe on rising. In the text, however, it is a ceremonious

[FN#602] Arab. "Nahs," a word of many meanings; a sinister aspect of
the stars (as in Hebr. end Aram.) or, adjectivally, sinister, of
ill-omen. Vulgarly it is used as the reverse of nice and corresponds,
after a fashion, with our "nasty."

[FN#603] "Window-gardening," new in England, is an old practice in the

[FN#604] Her pimping instinct at once revealed the case to her.

[FN#605] The usual "pander-dodge" to get more money.

[FN#606] The writer means that the old woman's account was all false,
to increase apparent difficulties and pour se faire valoir.

[FN#607] Arab. "Yá Khálati" =mother's sister; a familiar address to the
old, as uncle or nuncle (father's brother) to a man. The Arabs also
hold that as a girl resembles her mother so a boy follows his uncle
(mother's brother): hence the address "Ya tayyib al-Khál!" = 0 thou
nephew of a good uncle. I have noted that physically this is often

[FN#608] "Ay w' Alláhi," contracted popularly to Aywa, a word in every
Moslem mouth and shunned by Christians because against orders Hebrew
and Christian. The better educated Turks now eschew that eternal
reference to Allah which appears in The Nights and which is still the
custom of the vulgar throughout the world of Al-Islam.

[FN#609] The "Muzayyin" or barber in the East brings his basin and
budget under his arm: he is not content only to shave, he must scrape
the forehead, trim the eyebrows, pass the blade lightly over the nose
and correct the upper and lower lines of the mustachios, opening the
central parting and so forth. He is not a whit less a tattler and a
scandal monger than the old Roman tonsor or Figaro, his confrère in
Southern Europe. The whole scene of the Barber is admirable, an
excellent specimen of Arab humour and not over-caricatured. We all have
met him.

[FN#610] Abdullah ibn Abbas was a cousin and a companion of the
Apostle, also a well known Commentator on the Koran and conserver of
the traditions of Mohammed.

[FN#611] I have noticed the antiquity of this father of our sextant, a
fragment of which was found in the Palace of Sennacherib. More
concerning the "Arstable" (as Chaucer calls it) is given in my
"Camoens: his Life and his Lusiads," p. 381.

[FN#612] Arab. "Simiyá" to rhyme with Kímiyá (alchemy proper). It is a
subordinate branch of the Ilm al-Ruháni which I would translate
"Spiritualism," and which is divided into two great branches, "Ilwí or
Rahmáni" (the high or related to the Deity) and Siflí or Shaytáni (low,
Satanic). To the latter belongs Al-Sahr, magic or the black art proper,
gramarye, egromancy, while Al- Simiyá is white magic, electro-biology,
a kind of natural and deceptive magic, in which drugs and perfumes
exercise an important action. One of its principal branches is the Darb
al-Mandal or magic mirror, of which more in a future page. See
Boccaccio's Day x. Novel 5.

[FN#613] Chap. iii., 128. See Sale (in loco) for the noble application
of this text by the Imam Hasan, son of the Caliph Ali.

[FN#614] These proverbs at once remind us of our old friend
Sancho Panza and are equally true to nature in the mouth of the
Arab and of the Spaniard.

[FN#615] Our nurses always carry in the arms: Arabs place the children
astraddle upon the hip and when older on the shoulder.

[FN#616] Eastern clothes allow this biblical display of sorrow and
vexation, which with our European garb would look absurd: we must
satisfy ourselves with maltreating our hats

[FN#617] Koran xlviii., 8. It may be observed that according to the
Ahádis (sayings of the Prophet) and the Sunnat (sayings and doings of
Mahommed), all the hair should be allowed to grow or the whole head be
clean shaven. Hence the "Shúshah," or topknot, supposed to be left as a
handle for drawing the wearer into Paradise, and the Zulf, or
side-locks, somewhat like the ringlets of the Polish Jews, are both
vain "Bida'at," or innovations, and therefore technically termed
"Makrúh," a practice not laudable, neither "Halál" (perfectly lawful)
nor "Harám" (forbidden by the law). When boys are first shaved
generally in the second or third year, a tuft is left on the crown and
another over the forehead; but this is not the fashion amongst adults.
Abu Hanifah, if I am rightly informed, wrote a treatise on the Shushah
or long lock growing from the Násiyah (head-poll) which is also a
precaution lest the decapitated Moslem's mouth be defiled by an impure
hand; and thus it would resemble the chivalry lock by which the Redskin
brave (and even the "cowboy" of better times) facilitated the removal
of his own scalp. Possibly the Turks had learned the practice from the
Chinese and introduced it into Baghdad (Pilgrimage i., 240). The Badawi
plait their locks in Kurún (horns) or Jadáil (ringlets) which are
undone only to be washed with the water of the she-camel. The wild
Sherifs wear Haffah, long elf-locks hanging down both sides of the
throat, and shaved away about a finger's breadth round the forehead and
behind the neck (Pilgrimage iii., 35-36). I have elsewhere noted the
accroche-coeurs, the "idiot fringe," etc.

[FN#618] Meats are rarely coloured in modern days; but Persian cooks
are great adepts in staining rice for the "Puláo (which we call after
its Turkish corruption "pilaff"): it sometimes appears in
rainbow-colours, red, yellow and blue; and in India is covered with
gold and silver leaf. Europe retains the practice in tinting Pasch
(Easter) eggs, the survival of the mundane ovum which was hatched at
Easter-tide; and they are dyed red in allusion to the Blood of

[FN#619] As I have noticed, this is a mixture.

[FN#620] We say:—

     Tis rare the father in the son we see:
     He sometimes rises in the third degree.

[FN#621] Arab. "Ballán" i.e. the body-servant: "Ballánah" is a

[FN#622] Arab. "Darabukkah" a drum made of wood or earthen-ware
(Lane, M. E., xviii.), and used by all in Egypt.

[FN#623] Arab. "Naihah" more generally "Naddábah" Lat. præfica or
carina, a hired mourner, the Irish "Keener" at the conclamatio or
coronach, where the Hullabaloo, Hulululu or Ululoo showed the
survivors' sorrow.

[FN#624] These doggerels, which are like our street melodies, are now
forgotten and others have taken their place. A few years ago one often
heard, "Dus ya lalli" (Tread, O my joy) and "Názil il'al-Ganínah" (Down
into the garden) and these in due turn became obsolete. Lane (M. E.
chaps. xviii.) gives the former e.g.

     Tread, O my joy! Tread, O my joy!
     Love of my love brings sore annoy,

A chorus to such stanzas as:—

Alexandrian damsels rare! * Daintily o'er the floor ye fare: Your lips
are sweet, are sugar-sweet, * And purfled Cashmere shawls ye wear!

It may be noted that "humming" is not a favourite practice with
Moslems; if one of the company begin, another will say, "Go to the
Kahwah" (the coffee-house, the proper music-hall) "and sing there!" I
have elsewhere observed their dislike to Al-sifr or whistling.

[FN#625] Arab. Khalí'a = worn out, crafty, an outlaw; used like
Span. "Perdido."

[FN#626] "Zabbál" is the scavenger, lit. a dung-drawer, especially for
the use of the Hammam which is heated with the droppings of animals.
"Wakkád" (stoker) is the servant who turns the fire. The verses are
mere nonsense to suit the Barber's humour.

[FN#627] Arab. "Yá bárid" = O fool.

[FN#628] This form of blessing is chanted from the Minaret about
half-an-hour before midday, when the worshippers take their places in
the mosque. At noon there is the usual Azán or prayer-call, and each
man performs a two-bow, in honour of the mosque and its gathering, as
it were. The Prophet is then blessed and a second Salám is called from
the raised ambo or platform (dikkah) by the divines who repeat the
midday-call. Then an Imam recites the first Khutbah, or sermon "of
praise"; and the congregation worships in silence. This is followed by
the second exhortation "of Wa'az," dispensing the words of wisdom. The
Imam now stands up before the Mihráb (prayer niche) and recites the
Ikámah which is the common Azan with one only difference: after "Hie ye
to salvation" it adds "Come is the time of supplication;" whence the
name, "causing" (prayer) "to stand" (i.e., to begin). Hereupon the
worshippers recite the Farz or Koran commanded noon-prayer of Friday;
and the unco' guid add a host of superogatories Those who would study
the subject may consult Lane (M. E. chaps. iii. and its abstract in his
"Arabian Nights," I, p. 430, or note 69 to chaps. v.).

[FN#629] i.e., the women loosed their hair; an immodesty sanctioned
only by a great calamity.

[FN#630] These small shops are composed of a "but" and a "ben."
(Pilgrimage i., 99.)

[FN#631] Arab. "Kawwád," a popular term of abuse; hence the Span. and
Port. "Alco-viteiro." The Italian "Galeotto" is from Galahalt, not

[FN#632] i.e., "one seeking assistance in Allah." He was the son of
Al-Záhir bi'lláh (one pre-eminent by the decree of Allah). Lane says
(i. 430), "great- grandson of Harun al-Rashid," alluding to the first
Mustansir son of Al-Mutawakkil (regn. A.H. 247-248 =861-862). But this
is the 56th Abbaside and regn. A. H. 623-640 (= 1226-1242).

[FN#633] Arab. "Yaum al-Id," the Kurban Bairam of the Turks, the
Pilgrimage festival. The story is historical. In the "Akd," a
miscellany compiled by Ibn Abd Rabbuh (vulg. Rabbi-hi) of Cordova, who
ob. A. H. 328 = 940 we read:—A sponger found ten criminals and followed
them, imagining they were going to a feast; but lo, they were going to
their deaths! And when they were slain and he remained, he was brought
before the Khalifah (Al Maamun) and Ibrahim son of Al- Mahdi related a
tale to procure pardon for the man, whereupon the Khalifah pardoned
him. (Lane ii., 506.)

[FN#634] Arab. "Nate' al-Dam"; the former word was noticed in the Tale
of the Bull and the Ass. The leather of blood was not unlike the Sufrah
and could be folded into a bag by a string running through rings round
the edges. Moslem executioners were very expert and seldom failed to
strike off the head with a single blow of the thin narrow blade with
razor-edge, hard as diamond withal, which contrasted so strongly with
the great coarse chopper of the European headsman.

[FN#635] The ground floor, which in all hot countries is held, and
rightly so, unwholesome during sleep, is usually let for shops. This is
also the case throughout Southern Europe, and extends to the Canary
Islands and the Brazil.

[FN#636] This serious contemplation of street-scenery is one of the
pleasures of the Harems.

[FN#637] We should say "smiled at him": the laugh was not intended as
an affront.

[FN#638] Arab. "Fals ahmar." Fals is a fish-scale, also the smaller
coin and the plural "Fulús" is the vulgar term for money (= Ital.
quattrini ) without specifying the coin. It must not be confounded with
the "Fazzah," alias "Nuss," alias "Páráh" (Turk.); the latter being
made, not of "red copper" but of a vile alloy containing, like the
Greek "Asper," some silver; and representing, when at par, the fortieth
of a piastre, the latter=2d. 2/5ths.

[FN#639] Arab "Farajiyah " a long-sleeved robe; Lane's
"Farageeyeh," (M. E., chaps. i)

[FN#640] The tailor in the East, as in Southern Europe, is made to cut
out the cloth in presence of its owner, to prevent "cabbaging."

[FN#641] Expecting a present.

[FN#642] Alluding to the saying, "Kiss is the key to Kitty."

[FN#643] The "panel-dodge" is fatally common throughout the East, where
a man found in the house of another is helpless.

[FN#644] This was the beginning of horseplay which often ends in a

[FN#645] Hair-dyes, in the East, are all of vegetable matter, henna,
indigo-leaves, galls, etc.: our mineral dyes are, happily for them,
unknown. Herklots will supply a host of recipes The Egyptian mixture
which I quoted in Pilgrimage (ii., 274) is sulphate of iron and
ammoniure of iron one part and gall nuts two parts, infused in eight
parts of distilled water. It is innocuous but very poor as a dye.

[FN#646] Arab. Amrad, etymologically "beardless and handsome," but
often used in a bad sense, to denote an effeminate, a catamite.

[FN#647] The Hindus prefer "having the cardinal points as her sole
garment." "Vêtu de climat," says Madame de Stael. In Paris nude statues
are "draped in cerulean blue." Rabelais (iv.,29) robes King Shrovetide
in grey and gold of a comical cut, nothing before, nothing behind, with
sleeves of the same.

[FN#648] This scene used to be enacted a few years ago in Paris for the
benefit of concealed spectators, a young American being the victim. It
was put down when one of the lookers-on lost his eye by a pen-knife
thrust into the "crevice."

[FN#649] Meaning that the trick had been played by the Wazir's wife or
daughter. I could mention sundry names at Cairo whose charming owners
have done worse things than this unseemly frolic.

[FN#650] Arab. "Shayyun li'lláhi," a beggar's formula = per amor di

[FN#651] Noting how sharp-eared the blind become.

[FN#652] The blind in Egypt are notorious for insolence and violence,
fanaticism and rapacity. Not a few foreigners have suffered from them
(Pilgrimage i., 148). In former times many were blinded in infancy by
their mothers, and others blinded themselves to escape conscription or
honest hard work. They could always obtain food, especially as
Mu'ezzins and were preferred because they could not take advantage of
the minaret by spying into their neighbours' households. The Egyptian
race is chronically weak-eyed, the effect of the damp hot climate of
the valley, where ophthalmia prevailed even during the pre-Pharaohnic
days. The great Sesostris died stone-blind and his successor lost his
sight for ten years (Pilgrimage ii., 176). That the Fellahs are now
congenitally weak-eyed, may be seen by comparing them with negroes
imported from Central Africa. Ophthalmia rages, especially during the
damp season, in the lower Nile-valley; and the best cure for it is a
fortnight's trip to the Desert where, despite glare, sand and wind, the
eye readily recovers tone.

[FN#653] i.e., with kicks and cuffs and blows, as is the custom.
(Pilgrimage i., 174.)

[FN#654] Arab. Káid (whence "Alcayde") a word still much used in
North Western Africa.

[FN#655] Arab. "Sullam" = lit. a ladder; a frame-work of sticks, used
by way of our triangles or whipping-posts.

[FN#656] This is one of the feats of Al-Símiyá = white magic;
fascinating the eyes. In Europe it has lately taken the name of

[FN#657] again by means of the "Símiyá" or power of fascination
possessed by the old scoundrel.

[FN#658] A formula for averting "Al-Ayn," the evil eye. It is always
unlucky to meet a one-eyed man, especially the first thing in the
morning and when setting out on any errand. The idea is that the
fascinated one will suffer from some action of the physical eye.
Monoculars also are held to be rogues: so the Sanskrit saying "Few
one-eyed men be honest men."

[FN#659] Al-Nashshár from Nashr = sawing: so the fiddler in Italian is
called the "village-saw" (Sega del villaggio). He is the Alnaschar of
the Englished Galland and Richardson. The tale is very old. It appears
as the Brahman and the Pot of Rice in the Panchatantra; and Professor
Benfey believes (as usual with him) that this, with many others,
derives from a Buddhist source. But I would distinctly derive it from
Æsop's market-woman who kicked over her eggs, whence the Lat. prov.
Ante victoriam canere triumphum = to sell the skin before you have
caught the bear. In the "Kalilah and Dimnah" and its numerous offspring
it is the "Ascetic with his Jar of oil and honey;" in Rabelais (i., 33)
Echephron's shoemaker spills his milk, and so La Perette in La
Fontaine. See M. Max Muller's "Chips," (vol. iii., appendix) The
curious reader will compare my version with that which appears at the
end of Richardson's Arabic Grammar (Edit. Of 1811): he had a better, or
rather a fuller MS. (p. 199) than any yet printed.

[FN#660] Arab. "Atr" = any perfume, especially oil of roses; whence our
word "Otter,' through the Turkish corruption.

[FN#661] The texts give "dirhams" (100,000 = 5,000 dinars) for
"dinars," a clerical error as the sequel shows.

[FN#662] "Young slaves," says Richardson, losing "colour."

[FN#663] Nothing more calculated to give affront than such a refusal.
Richardson (p. 204) who, however, doubts his own version (p. 208), here
translates, "and I will not give liberty to my soul (spouse) but in her
apartments." The Arabic, or rather Cairene, is, "wa lá akhalli rúhi" I
will not let myself go, i.e., be my everyday self, etc.

[FN#664] "Whilst she is in astonishment and terror."

[FN#665] "Chamber of robes," Richardson, whose text has "Nám" for

[FN#666] "Till I compleat her distress," Richardson, whose text is

[FN#667] "Sleep by her side," R. the word "Name" bearing both senses.

[FN#668] "Will take my hand," R. "takabbal" being also ambiguous.

[FN#669] Arab. "Mu'arras" one who brings about "'Ars," marriages, etc.
So the Germ. = "Kupplerinn" a Coupleress. It is one of the many
synonyms for a pimp, and a word in general use (Pilgrimage i., 276).The
most insulting term, like Dayyús, insinuates that the man panders for
his own wife.

[FN#670] Of hands and face, etc. See Night cccclxiv.

[FN#671] Arab. "Sadakah" (sincerity), voluntary or superogatory alms,
opposed to "Zakát" (purification), legal alms which are indispensable.
"Prayer carries us half way to Allah, fasting brings us to the door of
His palace and alms deeds (Sadakah) cause us to enter." For "Zakát" no
especial rate is fixed, but it should not be less than one-fortieth of
property or two and a half per cent. Thus Al-lslam is, as far as I
know, the only faith which makes a poor-rate (Zakát) obligatory and
which has invented a property-tax, as opposed the unjust and unfair
income-tax upon which England prides herself.

[FN#672] A Greek girl.

[FN#673] This was making himself very easy; and the idea is the gold in
the pouch caused him to be so bold. Lane's explanation (in loco) is all
wrong. The pride engendered by sudden possession of money is a lieu
commun amongst Eastern story tellers; even in the beast-fables the
mouse which has stolen a few gold pieces becomes confident and

[FN#674] Arab. "al-Málihah" also means the beautiful (fem.) from
Milh=salt, splendour, etc., the Mac edit. has "Mumallihah" = a

[FN#675] i.e., to see if he felt the smart.

[FN#676] Arab. "Sardábeh" (Persian)=an underground room used for
coolness in the hot season. It is unknown in Cairo but every house in
Baghdad, in fact throughout the Mesopotamian cities, has one. It is on
the principle of the underground cellar without which wine will not
keep: Lane (i., 406) calls it a "vault".

[FN#677] In the orig. "O old woman!" which is insulting.

[FN#678] So the Italians say "a quail to skin."

[FN#679] "Amen" is the word used for quarter on the battle-field; and
there are Joe Millers about our soldiers in India mistaking it for "a
man" or (Scottice) "a mon."

[FN#680] Illustrating the Persian saying "Allah himself cannot help a

[FN#681] Any article taken from the person and given to a criminal is a
promise of pardon, of course on the implied condition of plenary
confession and of becoming "King's evidence."

[FN#682] A naïve proposal to share the plunder.

[FN#683] In popular literature "Schacabac.", And from this tale comes
our saying "A Barmecide's Feast," i.e., an illusion.

[FN#684] The Castrato at the door is still (I have said) the fashion of
Cairo and he acts "Suisse" with a witness.

[FN#685] As usual in the East, the mansion was a hollow square
surrounding what in Spain is called Patio: the outer entrance was far
from the inner, showing the extent of the grounds.

[FN#686] "Nahnu málihín" = we are on terms of salt, said and say the
Arabs. But the traveller must not trust in these days to the once
sacred tie; there are tribes which will give bread with one hand and
stab with the other. The Eastern use of salt is a curious contrast with
that of Westerns, who made it an invidious and inhospitable
distinction, e.g., to sit above the salt-cellar and below the salt.
Amongst the ancients, however, "he took bread and salt" means he swore,
the food being eaten when an oath was taken. Hence the "Bride cake" of
salt, water and flour.

[FN#687] Arab. "Harísah," the meat-pudding before explained.

[FN#688] Arab. "Sikbáj," before explained; it is held to be a lordly
dish, invented by Khusraw Parwiz. "Fatted duck" says the Bresl. Edit.
ii., 308, with more reason.

[FN#689] I was reproved in Southern Abyssinia for eating without this
champing, "Thou feedest like a beggar who muncheth silently in his
corner;" and presently found that it was a sign of good breeding to eat
as noisily as possible.

[FN#690] Barley in Arabia is, like our oats, food for horses: it
fattens at the same time that it cools them. Had this been known to our
cavalry when we first occupied Egypt in 1883-4 our losses in
horse-flesh would have been far less; but official ignorance persisted
in feeding the cattle upon heating oats and the riders upon beef, which
is indigestible, instead of mutton, which is wholesome.

[FN#691] i.e. "I conjure thee by God."

[FN#692] i.e. "This is the very thing for thee."

[FN#693] i.e., at random.

[FN#694] This is the way of slaughtering the camel, whose throat is
never cut on account of the thickness of the muscles. "Égorger un
chameau" is a mistake often made in French books.

[FN#695] i.e. I will break bounds.

[FN#696] The Arabs have a saying corresponding with the dictum of the
Salernitan school:—

     Noscitur a labiis quantum sit virginis antrum:
     Noscitur a naso quanta sit haste viro;
     (A maiden's mouth shows what's the make of her chose;
     And man's mentule one knows by the length of his nose.)

Whereto I would add:—

     And the eyebrows disclose how the lower wig grows.

The observations are purely empirical but, as far as my experience
extends, correct.

[FN#697] Arab. "Kahkahah," a very low proceeding.

[FN#698] Or "for every death there is a cause;" but the older
Arabs had a saying corresponding with "Deus non fecit mortem."

[FN#699] The King's barber is usually a man of rank for the best of
reasons, that he holds his Sovereign's life between his fingers. One of
these noble Figaros in India married an English lady who was, they say,
unpleasantly surprised to find out what were her husband's official

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