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Title: The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night — Volume 04
Author: Richard F. Burton, - To be updated
Language: English
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A Plain and Literal Translation

of the Arabian Nights Entertainments

Translated and Annotated by Richard F. Burton


To Foster Fitzgerald Arbuthnot.

My Dear Arbuthnot,

I have no fear that a friend, whose friendship has lasted nearly a
third of a century, will misunderstand my reasons for inscribing his
name upon these pages. You have lived long enough in the East and, as
your writings show, observantly enough, to detect the pearl which lurks
in the kitchen-midden, and to note that its lustre is not dimmed nor
its value diminished by its unclean surroundings.

                    Ever yours sincerely,

                    Richard F. Burton.

Athenжum Club, October 1, 1885

Contents of the Fourth Volume


 Tale of Kamar Al-Zaman (continued) a.   Ni'amar Bin Al-Rabi'a and
 Naomi His Slave-girl b.   Conclusion of the Tale of Kamar Al-Zaman 22.
  Ala Al-Din Abu Al-Shamat 23.  Hatim of the Trive of Tayy 24.  Ma'an
 the Son of Zaidah 25.  Ma'an the Son of Zaidah and the Badawi 26.  The
 City of Labtayt 27.  The Caliph Hisham and the Arab Youth 28.  Ibrahim
 Bin Al-Mahdi and the Barber-Surgeon 29.  The City of Many-Columned
 Iram and Abdullah Son of Abi Kilabah 30.  Isaac of Mosul 31.  The
 Sweep and the Noble Lady 32.  The Mock Caliph 33.  Ali the Persian 34.
  Haru Al-Rashid and the Slave-Girl and the Iman Abu Yusuf 35.  The
 Lover Who Feigned Himself A Thief 36.  Ja'afar the Barmecide and the
 Bean-Seller 37.  Abu Mohammed Hight Lazybones 38.  Generous Dealing of
 Yahya Bin Khбlid The Barmecide with Mansur 39.  Generous Dealing of
 Yahya Son of Khбlid with a Man Who Forged a Letter in his Name 40. 
 Caliph Al-Maamum and the Strange Scholar 41.  Ali Shar and Zumurrud
 42.  The Loves of Jubayr Bin Umayr and the Lady Budur 43.  The Man of
 Al-Yaman and His Six Slave-Girls 44.  Harun Al-Rashid and the Damsel
 and Abu Nowas 45.  The Man Who Stole the Dish of Gold Wherein The Dog
 Ate 46.  The Sharper of Alexandria and the Chief of Police 47. 
 Al-Malik Al-Nasir and the Three Chiefs of Police a.   Story of the
 Chief of Police of Cairo b.   Story of the Chief of the Bulak Police
 c.   Story of the Chief of the Old Cairo Police 48.  The Thief and the
 Shroff 49.  The Chief of the Kus Police and the Sharper 50.  Ibrahim
 Bin Al-Mahdi and the Merchant's Sister 51.  The Woman Whose Hands were
 Cut Off For Giving Alms to the Poor 52.  The Devout Israelite 53.  Abu
 Hassan Al-Ziyadi and the Khorasan 54.  The Poor Man and His Friend in
 Need 55.  The Ruined Man Who became Rich Again Through A Dream 56. 
 Caliph Al-Mutawakkil and His Concubine Mahbubah 57.  Wardan the
 Butcher; His Adventure With the Lady and the Bear 58.  The King's
 Daughter and the Ape

The Book of the Thousand Nights and A Night

Ni'amah bin al-Rabi'a and Naomi his Slave-girl.

There lived once in the city of Cufa[FN#1] a man called Al-Rabн'a bin
Hбtim, who was one of the chief men of the town, a wealthy and a
healthy, and Heaven had vouchsafed him a son, whom he named Ni'amah
Allah.[FN#2] One day, being in the slave-brokers' mart, he saw a woman
exposed for sale with a little maid of wonderful beauty and grace on
her arm. So he beckoned to the broker and asked him, "How much for this
woman and her daughter?" He answered "Fifty dinars." Quoth Al-Rabi'a
"Write the contract of sale and take the money and give it to her
owner." Then he gave the broker the price and his brokerage and taking
the woman and her child, carried them to his house. Now when the
daughter of his uncle who was his wife saw the slave, she said to her
husband, "O my cousin, what is this damsel?" He replied, "Of a truth, I
bought her for the sake of the little one on her arm; for know that,
when she groweth up, there will not be her like for beauty, either in
the land of the Arabs or the Ajams." His wife remarked, "Right was thy
rede", and said to the woman "What is thy name?" She replied, "O my
lady, my name is Tauflнk.[FN#3]" "And what is thy daughter's name?"
asked she? Answered the slave, "Sa'ad, the happy." Rejoined her
mistress; "Thou sayst sooth, thou art indeed happy, and happy is he who
hath bought thee." Then quoth she to her husband, "O my cousin, what
wilt thou call her?"; and quoth he, "Whatso thou chooses"; so she said,
"Then let us call her Naomi," and he rejoined "Good is thy device." The
little Naomi was reared with Al-Rabi'a's son Ni'amah in one cradle, so
to speak, till the twain reached the age of ten and each grew handsomer
than the other; and the boy used to address her, "O my sister!" and
she, "O my brother!", till they came to that age when Al-Rabi'a said to
Ni'amah, "O my son, Naomi is not thy sister but thy slave. I bought her
in thy name whilst thou wast yet in the cradle; so call her no more
sister from this day forth." Quoth Ni'amah, "If that be so, I will take
her to wife." Then he went to his mother and told her of this, and she
said to him, "O my son, she is thy handmaid." So he wedded and went in
unto Naomi and loved her; and two[FN#4] years passed over them whilst
in this condition, nor was there in all Cufa a fairer girl than Naomi,
or a sweeter or a more graceful. As she grew up she learnt the Koran
and read works of science and excelled in music and playing upon all
kinds of instruments; and in the beauty of her singing she surpassed
all the folk of her time. Now one day as she sat with her husband in
the wine chamber, she took the lute, tightened the strings, and sang
these two couplets,

"While thou'rt my lord whose bounty's my estate, * A sword

     whereby my woes to annihilate,

Recourse I never need to Amru or Zayd,[FN#5] * Nor aught save

     thee if way to me grow strait!"

Ni'amah was charmed with these verses and said to her, "By my life, O
Naomi, sing to us with the tambourine and other instruments!" So she
sang these couplets to a lively measure,

"By His life who holds my guiding rein, I swear * I'll meet on

     love ground parlous foe nor care:

Good sooth I'll vex revilers, thee obey * And quit my slumbers

     and all joy forswear:

And for thy love I'll dig in vitals mine * A grave, nor shall my

     vitals weet 'tis there!"

And Ni'amah exclaimed, "Heaven favoured art thou, O Naomi!" But whilst
they led thus the most joyous life, behold! Al-Hajjбj,[FN#6] the
Viceroy of Cufa said to himself, "Needs must I contrive to take this
girl named Naomi and send her to the Commander of the Faithful, Abd
al-Malik bin Marwбn, for he hath not in his palace her like for beauty
and sweet singing." So he summoned an old woman of the duennas of his
wives and said to her, "Go to the house of Al-Rabi'a and foregather
with the girl Naomi and combine means to carry her off; for her like is
not to be found on the face of the earth." She promised to do his
bidding; the next morning she donned the woollen clothes of a devotee
and hung around her neck a rosary of beads by the thousand; and,
henting in hand a staff and a leather water bottle of Yamani
manufacture.— And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say
her permitted say.

When it was the Two Hundred and Thirty-eighth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the old woman
promised to do the bidding of Al-Hajjaj, and whenas it was morning she
donned the woollen clothes of a devotee[FN#7] and hung around her neck
a rosary of beads by the thousand and hent in hand a staff and a
leather water bottle of Yamani manufacture and fared forth crying,
"Glory be to Allah! Praised be Allah! There is no god but the God!
Allah is Most Great! There is no Majesty and there is no Might save in
Allah, the Glorious, the Great!" Nor did she leave off her lauds and
her groaning in prayer whilst her heart was full of guile and wiles,
till she came to the house of Ni'amah bin al-Rabi'a at the hour of noon
prayer, and knocked at the door. The doorkeeper opened and said to her,
"What dost thou want?" Quoth she, "I am a poor pious woman, whom the
time of noon prayer hath overtaken, and fief would I pray in this
blessed place." Answered the porter, "O old woman, this is no mosque
nor oratory, but the house of Ni'amah son of al Rabi'a." She replied,
"I know there is neither cathedral-mosque nor oratory like the house of
Ni'amah bin al-Rabi'a. I am a chamberwoman of the palace of the Prince
of True Believers and am come out for worship and the visitation of
Holy Places." But the porter rejoined, "Thou canst not enter;" and many
words passed between them, till at last she caught hold and hung to him
saying, "Shall the like of me be denied admission to the house of
Ni'amah bin al-Rabi'a, I who have free access to the houses of Emirs
and Grandees?" Anon, out came Ni'amah and, hearing their loud language,
laughed and bade the old woman enter after him. So she followed him
into the presence of Naomi, whom she saluted after the godliest and
goodliest fashion, and, when she looked on her, she was confounded at
her exceeding seemliness and said to her, "O my lady, I commend thee to
the safeguard of Allah, who made thee and thy lord fellows in beauty
and loveliness!" Then she stood up in the prayer niche and betook
herself to inclination and prostration and prayer, till day departed
and night darkened and starkened, when Naomi said to her, "O my mother,
rest thy legs and feet awhile." Replied the old woman "O my lady, whoso
seeketh the world to come let him weary him in this world, and whoso
wearieth not himself in this world shall not attain the dwellings of
the just in the world to come." Then Naomi brought her food and said to
her, "Eat of my bread and pray Heaven to accept my penitence and to
have mercy on me." But she cried, "O my lady, I am fasting. As for
thee, thou art but a girl and it befitteth thee to eat and drink and
make merry; Allah be indulgent to thee!; for the Almighty saith: All
shall be punished except him who shall repent and believe and shall
work a righteous work."[FN#8] So Naomi continued sitting with the old
woman in talk and presently said to Ni'amah, "O my lord, conjure this
ancient dame to sojourn with us awhile, for piety and devotion are
imprinted on her countenance." Quoth he, "Set apart for her a chamber
where she may say her prayers; and suffer no one to go in to her:
peradventure, Allah (extolled and exalted be He!) shall prosper us by
the blessing of her presence and never separate us." So the old woman
passed her night in praying and reciting the Koran; and when Allah
caused the morn to dawn, she went in to Ni'amah and Naomi and, giving
them good morning, said to them, "I pray Allah have you in His holy
keeping!" Quoth Naomi, "Whither away, O my mother? My lord hath bidden
me set apart for thee a chamber, where thou mayst seclude thee for thy
devotions." Replied the old woman, "Allah give him long life, and
continue His favour to you both! But I would have you charge the
doorkeeper not to stay my coming in to you; and, Inshallah! I will go
the round of the Holy Places and pray for you two at the end of my
devotions every day and night." Then she went out (whilst Naomi wept
for parting with her knowing not the cause of her coming), and returned
to Al-Hajjaj who said to her, "As thou do my bidding soon, thou shalt
have of me abundant good." Quoth she, "I ask of thee a full month;" and
quoth he "Take the month." Thereupon the old hag fell to daily visiting
Ni'amah's house and frequented his slave-wife, Naomi.— And Shahrazad
perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Two Hundred and Thirty-ninth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the old hag fell
to visiting daily Ni'amah's house and frequenting his slave wife,
Naomi; and both ceased not to honour her, and she used to go in to them
morning and evening and all in the house respected her till, one day,
being alone with Naomi, she said to her, "O my lady! by Allah, when I
go to the Holy Places, I will pray for thee; and I only wish thou wert
with me, that thou mightest look on the Elders of the Faith who resort
thither, and they should pray for thee, according to thy desire." Naomi
cried, "I conjure thee by Allah take me with thee!"; and she replied,
"Ask leave of thy mother in law, and I will take thee." So Naomi said
to her husband's mother, "O my lady, ask my master to let us go forth,
me and thee, one day with this my old mother, to prayer and worship
with the Fakirs in the Holy Places." Now when Ni'amah came in and sat
down, the old woman went up to him and would have kissed his hand, but
he forbade her; so she invoked blessings[FN#9] on him and left the
house. Next day she came again, in the absence of Ni'amah, and she
addressed Naomi, saying, "We prayed for thee yesterday; but arise now
and divert thyself and return ere thy lord come home." So Naomi said to
her mother-in-law, "I beseech thee, for Allah's sake, give me leave to
go with this pious woman, that I may sight the saints of Allah in the
Holy Places, and return speedily ere my lord come back." Quoth
Ni'amah's mother, "I fear lest thy lord know;" but said the old woman,
"By Allah, I will not let her take seat on the floor; no, she shall
look, standing on her feet, and not tarry." So she took the damsel by
guile and, carrying her to Al-Hajjaj's palace, told him of her coming,
after placing her in a lonely chamber; whereupon he went in to her and,
looking upon her, saw her to be the loveliest of the people of the day,
never had he beheld her like. Now when Naomi caught sight of him she
veiled her face from him; but he left her not till he had called his
Chamberlain, whom he commanded to take fifty horsemen; and he bade him
mount the damsel on a swift dromedary, and bear her to Damascus and
there deliver her to the Commander of the Faithful, Abd al-Malik bin
Marwan. Moreover, he gave him a letter for the Caliph, saying, "Bear
him this letter and bring me his answer and hasten thy return to me."
So the Chamberlain, without losing time, took the damsel (and she
tearful for separation from her lord) and, setting out with her on a
dromedary, gave not over journeying till he reached Damascus. There he
sought audience of the Commander of the Faithful and, when it was
granted, the Chamberlain delivered the damsel and reported the
circumstance. The Caliph appointed her a separate apartment and going
into his Harim, said to his wife, "Al Hajjaj hath bought me a
slave-girl of the daughters of the Kings of Cufa[FN#10] for ten
thousand dinars, and hath sent me this letter."— And Shahrazad
perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Two Hundred and Fortieth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the Caliph
acquainted his wife with the story of the slave-girl, she said to him,
"Allah increase to thee His favour!" Then the Caliph's sister went in
to the supposed slave-girl and, when she saw her, she said, "By Allah,
not unlucky is the man who hath thee in his house, were thy cost an
hundred thousand dinars!" And Naomi replied, "O fair of face, what
King's palace is this, and what is the city?" She answered, "This is
the city of Damascus, and this is the palace of my brother, the
Commander of the Faithful, Abd al-Malik bin Marwan.[FN#11]" Then she
resumed, "Didst thou not know all this?" Naomi said, "By Allah, O my
lady, I had no knowledge of it!"; when the other asked, "And he who
sold thee and took thy price did he not tell thee that the Caliph had
bought thee?" Now when Naomi heard these words, she shed tears and said
to herself, "Verily, I have been tricked and the trick hath succeeded,"
adding to herself, "If I speak, none will credit me; so I will hold my
peace and take patience, for I know that the relief of Allah is near."
Then she bent her head for shame, and indeed her cheeks were tanned by
the journey and the sun. So the Caliph's sister left her that day and
returned to her on the morrow with clothes and necklaces of jewels, and
dressed her; after which the Caliph came in to her and sat down by her
side, and his sister said to him, "Look on this handmaid in whom Allah
hath conjoined every perfection of beauty and loveliness." So he said
to Naomi, "Draw back the veil from thy face;" but she would not unveil,
and he beheld not her face. However, he saw her wrists and love of her
entered his heart; and he said to his sister, "I will not go in unto
her for three days, till she be cheered by thy converse." Then he arose
and left her, but Naomi ceased not to brood over her case and sigh for
her separation from her master, Ni'amah, till she fell sick of a fever
during the night and ate not nor drank; and her favour faded and her
charms were changed. They told the Caliph of this and her condition
grieved him; so he visited her with physicians and men of skill, but
none could come at a cure for her. This is how it fared with her; but
as regards Ni'amah, when he returned home he sat down on his bed and
cried, "Ho, Naomi!" But she answered not; so he rose in haste and
called out, yet none came to him, as all the women in the house had
hidden themselves for fear of him. Then he went out to his mother, whom
he found sitting with her cheek on her hand, and said to her, "O my
mother, where is Naomi?" She answered, "O my son, she is with one who
is worthier than I to be trusted with her, namely, the devout old
woman; she went forth with her to visit devotionally the Fakirs and
return." Quoth Ni'amah, "Since when hath this been her habit and at
what hour went she forth?" Quoth his mother, "She went out early in the
morning." He asked, "And how camest thou to give her leave for this?";
and she answered, "O my son, 'twas she persuaded me." "There is no
Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great!"
exclaimed Ni'amah and, going forth from his home in a state of
distraction, he repaired to the Captain of the Watch to whom said he,
"Doss thou play tricks upon me and steal-my slave-girl away from my
house? I will assuredly complain of thee to the Commander of the
Faithful." Said the Chief of Police, "Who hath taken her?" and Ni'amah
replied, "An old woman of such and such a mien, clad in woollen raiment
and carrying a rosary of beads numbered by thousands." Rejoined the
other, "Find me the old woman and I will get thee back thy slave-girl."
"And who knows the old woman?" retorted Ni'amah. "And who knows the
hidden things save Allah (may He be extolled and exalted!)?" cried the
Chief, who knew her for Al-Hajjaj's procuress. Cried Ni'amah, "I look
to thee for my slave-girl, and Al-Hajjaj shall judge between thee and
me;" and the Master of Police answered, "Go to whom thou wilt." So
Ni'amah went to the palace of Al-Hajjaj, for his father was one of the
chief men of Cufa; and, when he arrived there, the Chamberlain went in
to the Governor and told him the case; whereupon Al-Hajjaj said,
"Hither with him!" and when he stood before him enquired, "What be thy
business?" Said Ni'amah, "Such and such things have befallen me;" and
the Governor said, "Bring me the Chief of Police, and we will commend
him to seek for the old woman." Now he knew that the Chief of Police
was acquainted with her; so, when he came, he said to him, "I wish thee
to make search for the slave-girl of Ni'amah son of Al-Rabi'a." And he
answered, "None knoweth the hidden things save Almighty Allah."
Rejoined Al-Hajjaj, "There is no help for it but thou send out horsemen
and look for the damsel in all the roads, and seek for her in the
towns."—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her
permitted say.

When it was the Two Hundred and Forty-First Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Al-Hajjaj said to
the Captain of the Watch, "There is no help for it but thou send out
horsemen, and look for the damsel on all the roads and seek for her in
the towns." Then he turned to Ni'amah and said to him, "And thy
slave-girl return not, I will give thee ten slave-girls from my house
and ten from that of the Chief of Police." And he again bade the
Captain of the Watch, "Go and seek for the girl." So he went out, and
Ni'amah returned home full of trouble and despairing of life; for he
had now reached the age of fourteen and there was yet no hair on his
side cheeks. So he wept and lamented and shut himself up from his
household; and ceased not to weep and lament, he and his mother, till
the morning, when his father came in to him and said, "O my son, of a
truth, Al-Hajjaj hath put a cheat upon the damsel and hath taken her;
but from hour to hour Allah giveth relief." However grief redoubled on
Ni'amah, so that he knew not what he said nor knew he who came in to
him, and he fell sick for three months his charms were changed, his
father despaired of him and the physicians visited him and said, "There
is no remedy for him save the damsel." Now as his father was sitting
one day, behold he heard tell of a skillful Persian physician, whom the
folk gave out for perfect in medicine and astrology and geomancy. So
Al-Rabi'a sent for him and, seating him by his side, entreated him with
honour and said to him, "Look into my son's case." Thereupon quoth he
to Ni'amah, "Give me thy hand." The young man gave him his hand and he
felt his pulse and his joints and looked in his face; then he laughed
and, turning to his father, said, "Thy son's sole ailment is one of the
heart."[FN#12] He replied, Thou sayest sooth, O sage, but apply thy
skill to his state and case, and acquaint me with the whole thereof and
hide naught from me of his condition." Quoth the Persian, "Of a truth
he is enamoured of a slave-girl and this slave-girl is either in
Bassorah or Damascus; and there is no remedy for him but reunion with
her." Said Al-Rabi'a, "An thou bring them together, thou shalt live all
thy life in wealth and delight." Answered the Persian, "In good sooth
this be an easy matter and soon brought about," and he turned to
Ni'amah and said to him, "No hurt shall befall thee; so be of good
cheer and keep thine eyes cool and clear." Then quoth he to Al-Rabi'a,
"Bring me out four thousand dinars of your money;" so he gave them to
him, and he added, "I wish to carry thy son with me to Damascus; and
Almighty Allah willing, I will not return thence but with the damsel."
Then he turned to the youth and asked, "What is thy name?"; and he
answered "Ni'amah." Quoth the Persian, "O Ni'amah, sit up and be of
good heart, for Allah will reunite thee with the damsel." And when he
sat up the leach continued, "Be of good cheer for we set out for
Damascus this very day: put thy trust in the Lord and eat and drink and
be cheerful so as to fortify thyself for travel." Upon this the Persian
began making preparation of all things needed, such as presents and
rarities; and he took of Al-Rabi'a in all the sum of ten thousand
dinars, together with horses and camels and beasts of burden and other
requisites. Then Ni'amah farewelled his father and mother and journeyed
with the physician to Aleppo. They could find no news of Naomi there so
they fared on to Damascus, where they abode three days, after which the
Persian took a shop and he adorned even the shelves with vessels of
costly porcelain, with covers of silver, and with gildings and stuffs
of price. Moreover, he set before himself vases and flagons of glass
full of all manner of ointments and ups, and he surrounded them with
cups of crystal—and, placing astrolabe and geomantic tablet facing him,
he donned a physician's habit and took his seat in the shop. Then he
set Ni'amah standing before him clad in a shirt and gown of silk and,
girding his middle with a silken kerchief gold-embroidered, said to
him, "O Ni'amah, henceforth thou art my son; so call me naught but
sire, and I will call thee naught but son." And he replied, "I hear and
I obey." Thereupon the people of Damascus flocked to the Persian's shop
that they might gaze on the youth's goodliness and the beauty of the
shop and its contents, whilst the physician spoke to Ni'amah in Persian
and he answered him in the same tongue, for he knew the language, after
the wont of the sons of the notables. So that Persian doctor soon
became known among the townsfolk and they began to acquaint him with
their ailments, and he to prescribe for them remedies. Moreover, they
brought him the water of the sick in phials,[FN#13] and he would test
it and say, "He, whose water this is, is suffering from such and such a
disease," and the patient would declare, "Verily this physician sayeth
sooth." So he continued to do the occasions of the folk and they to
flock to him, till his fame spread throughout the city and into the
houses of the great. Now, one day as he sat in his-shop, behold, there
came up an old woman riding on an ass with a stuffed saddle of brocade
embroidered with jewels; and, stopping before the Persian's shop, drew
rein and beckoned him, saying, "Take my hand." He took her hand, and
she alighted and asked him "Art thou the Persian physician from Irak?"
"Yes," answered he, and she said, "Know that I have a sick daughter."
Then she brought out to him a phial—and the Persian looked at it and
said to her, "O my mistress, tell me thy daughter's name, that I may
calculate her horoscope and learn the hour in which it will befit her
to drink medicine." She replied, "O my brother the Persian,[FN#14] her
name is Naomi."— And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased
saying her permitted say.

When it was the Two Hundred and Forty-second Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the Persian
heard the name of Naomi, he fell to calculating and writing on his hand
and presently said, "O my lady, I cannot prescribe a medicine for her
till I know what country woman she is, because of the difference of
climate: so tell me in what land she was brought up and what is her
age." The old woman replied "She is fourteen years old and she was
brought up in Cufa of Irak." He asked, "And how long hath she sojourned
in this country?" "But a few months," answered she. Now when Ni'amah
heard the old woman's words and recognised the name of his slave- girl,
his heart fluttered and he was like to faint. Then said the Persian,
"Such and such medicines will suit her case;" and the old woman
rejoined, "Then make them up and give me what thou hast mentioned, with
the blessing of Almighty Allah." So saying, she threw upon the shop
board ten gold pieces, and he looked at Ni'amah and bade him prepare
the necessary drugs; whereupon she also looked at the youth and
exclaimed, "Allah have thee in his keeping, O my son! Verily, she
favoureth thee in age and mien." Then said she to the physician, "O my
brother the Persian, is this thy slave or thy son?" "He is my son,"
answered he. So Ni'amah put up the medicine and, placing it in a little
box, took a piece of paper and wrote thereon these two couplets,[FN#15]

"If Naomi bless me with a single glance, * Let Su'adб sue and

     Juml joy to

They said, "Forget her: twenty such thou'lt find." * But none is

     like her—I will not forget!"

He pressed the paper into the box and, sealing it up, wrote upon the
cover the following words in Cufic characters, "I am Ni'amah of
al-Rabi'a of Cufa." Then he set it before the old woman who took it and
bade them farewell and returned to the Caliph's palace, and when she
went up with the drugs to the damsel she placed the little box of
medicine at her feet, saying, "O my lady, know that there is lately
come to our town a Persian physician, than whom I never saw a more
skilful nor a better versed in matters of malady. I told him thy name,
after showing him the water-bottle, and forthwith he knew thine ailment
and prescribed a remedy. Then he bade his son make thee up this
medicine; and there is not in Damascus a comelier or a seemlier youth
than this lad of his, nor hath anyone a shop the like of his shop." So
Naomi took the box and, seeing the names of her lord and his father
written on the cover, changed colour and said to herself, "Doubtless,
the owner of this shop is come in search of me." So she said to the old
woman, "Describe to me this youth." Answered the old woman, "His name
is Ni'amah, he hath a mole on his right eyebrow, is richly clad and is
perfectly handsome." Cried Naomi, "Give me the medicine, whereon be the
blessing and help of Almighty Allah!" So she drank off the potion (and
she laughing) and said, "Indeed, it is a blessed medicine!" Then she
sought in the box and, finding the paper, opened it, read it,
understood it and knew that this was indeed her lord, whereas her heart
was solaced and she rejoiced. Now when the old woman saw her laughing,
she exclaimed, "This is indeed a blessed day!"; and Naomi said, "O
nurse, I have a mind for something to eat and drink." The old woman
said to the serving women, "Bring a tray of dainty viands for your
mistress;" whereupon they set food before her and she sat down to eat.
And behold in came the Caliph who, seeing her sitting at meat,
rejoiced; and the old woman said to him, "O Commander of the Faithful,
I give thee joy of thy hand maid Naomi's recovery! And the cause is
that there is lately come to this our city a physician than whom I
never saw a better versed in diseases and their remedies. I fetched her
medicine from him and she hath drunken of it but once and is restored
to health." Quoth he, "Take a thousand dinars and apply thyself to her
treatment, till she be completely recovered." And he went away,
rejoicing in the damsel's recovery, whilst the old woman betook herself
to the Persian's house and delivered the thousand dinars, giving him to
know that she was become the Caliph's slave and also handing him a
letter which Naomi had written. He took it and gave the letter to
Ni'amah, who at first sight knew her hand and fell down in a swoon.
When he revived he opened the letter and found these words written
therein: "From the slave despoiled of her Ni'amah, her delight; her
whose reason hath been beguiled and who is parted from the core of her
heart. But afterwards of a truth thy letter hath reached me and hath
broadened my breast, and solaced my soul, even as saith the poet,

"Thy note came: long lost hungers wrote that note, * Till drop

     they sweetest scents for what they wrote:

Twas Moses to his mother's arms restored; * 'Twas Jacob's eye-

     sight cured by Joseph's coat!"[FN#16]

When Ni'amah read these verses, his eyes ran over with tears and the
old woman said to him, "What maketh thee to weep, O my son? Allah never
cause thine eye to shed tears!" Cried the Persian, "O my lady, how
should my son not weep, seeing that this is his slave-girl and he her
lord, Ni'amah son of al-Rabi'a of Cufa; and her health dependeth on her
seeing him, for naught aileth her but loving him.—And Shahrazad
perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Two Hundred and Forty-third Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Persian cried
out to the old woman, "How shall my son not weep, seeing that this is
his slave-girl and he her lord, Ni'amah son of al-Rabi'a of Cufa; and
the health of this damsel dependeth on her seeing him and naught aileth
her but loving him. So, do thou, O my lady, take these thousand dinars
to thyself and thou shalt have of me yet more than this; only look on
us with eyes of rush; for we know not how to bring this affair to a
happy end save through thee." Then she said to Ni'amah, "Say, art thou
indeed her lord?" He replied, "Yes," and she rejoined, "Thou sayest
sooth; for she ceaseth not continually to name thee." Then he told her
all that had passed from first to last, and she said, "O youth, thou
shalt owe thy reunion with her to none but myself." So she mounted and,
at once returning to Naomi, looked in her face and laughed saying, "It
is just, O my daughter, that thou weep and fall sick for thy separation
from thy master, Ni'amah, son of Al-Rabi'a of Cufa." Quoth Naomi,
"Verily, the veil hath been withdrawn for thee and the truth revealed
to thee." Rejoined the old woman, "Be of good cheer and take heart, for
I will assuredly bring you together, though it cost me my life." Then
she returned to Ni'amah and said to him, "I went to thy slave- girl and
conversed with her, and I find that she longeth for thee yet more than
thou for her; for although the Commander of the Faithful is minded to
become intimate with her, she refuseth herself to him. But if thou be
stout of purpose and firm of heart, I will bring you together and
venture my life for you, and play some trick and make shift to carry
thee into the Caliph's palace, where thou shalt meet her, for she
cannot come forth." And Ni'amah answered, "Allah requite thee with
good!" Then she took leave of him and went back to Naomi and said, "Thy
lord is indeed dying of love for thee and would fain see thee and
foregather with thee. What sayest thou?" Naomi replied, "And I too am
longing for his sight and dying for his love." Whereupon the old woman
took a parcel of women's clothes and ornaments and, repairing to
Ni'amah, said to him, "Come with me into some place apart." So he
brought her into the room behind the shop where she stained his hands
and decked his wrists and plaited his hair, after which she clad him in
a slave-girl's habit and adorned him after the fairest fashion of
woman's adornment, till he was as one of the Houris of the Garden of
Heaven, and when she saw him thus she exclaimed, "Blessed be Allah,
best of Creators! By Allah, thou art handsomer than the damsel.[FN#17]
Now, walk with thy left shoulder forwards and thy right well behind,
and sway thy hips from side to side."[FN#18] So he walked before her,
as she bade him; and, when she saw he had caught the trick of woman's
gait, she said to him, "Expect me tomorrow night, and Allah willing, I
will take and carry thee to the palace. But when thou seest the
Chamberlains and the Eunuchs be bold, and bow thy head and speak not
with any, for I will prevent their speech; and with Allah is success!"
Accordingly, when the morning dawned, she returned and, carrying him to
the palace, entered before him and he after her step by step. The
Chamberlain would have stopped his entering, but the old woman said to
him, "O most ill omened of slaves, this is the handmaid of Naomi, the
Caliph's favourite. How durst thou stay her when she would enter?" Then
said she, "Come in, O damsel!"; and the old woman went in and they
ceased not faring on, till they drew near the door leading to the inner
piazza of the palace, when she said to him, "O Ni'amah, hearten thyself
and take courage and enter and turn to the left: then count five doors
and pass through the sixth, for it is that of the place prepared for
thee. Fear nothing, and if any speak to thee, answer not, neither
stop." Then she went up with him to the door, and the Chamberlain there
on guard accosted her, saying "What damsel is this?"—And Shahrazad
perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Two Hundred and Forty-fourth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the
Chamberlain accosted the old woman, saying, "What damsel is this?";
quoth the ancient dame, "Our lady hath a mind to buy her;" and he
rejoined, "None may enter save by leave of the Commander of the
Faithful; so do thou go back with her. I can not let her pass for thus
am I commanded." Replied the old woman, "O Chief Chamberlain, use thy
reason. Thou knowest that Naomi, the Caliph's slave-girl, of whom he is
enamoured, is but now restored to health and the Commander of the
Faithful hardly yet crediteth her recovery. She is minded to buy this
hand maid; so oppose thou not her entrance, lest haply it come to
Naomi's knowledge and she be wroth with thee and suffer a relapse and
this cause thy head to be cut off." Then said she to Ni'amah, "Enter, O
damsel; pay no heed to what he saith and tell not the Queen-consort
that her Chamberlain opposed thine entrance." So Ni'amah bowed his head
and entered the palace, and would have turned to the left, but mistook
the direction and walked to his right; and, meaning to count five doors
and enter the sixth, he counted six and entering the seventh, found
himself in a place whose floor was carpeted with brocade and whose
walls were hung with curtains of gold- embroidered silk. And therein
stood censers of aloes-wood and ambergris and strong-scented musk, and
at the upper end was a couch bespread with cloth of gold on which he
seated himself, marvelling at the magnificence he saw and knowing not
what was written for him in the Secret Purpose. As he sat musing on his
case, the Caliph's sister, followed by her handmaid, came in upon him;
and, seeing the youth seated there took him for a slave-girl and
accosted him and said, "Who art thou O damsel? and what is thy case and
who brought thee hither?" He made no reply, and was silent, when she
continued, "O damsel! if thou be one of my brother's concubines and he
be wroth with thee, I will intercede with him for thee and get thee
grace." But he answered her not a word; so she said to her slave-girl,
"Stand at the door and let none enter." Then she went up to Ni'amah and
looking at him was amazed at his beauty and said to him, "O lady, tell
me who thou art and what is thy name and how thou camest here; for I
have never seen thee in our palace." Still he answered not, whereat she
was angered and, putting her hand to his bosom, found no breasts and
would have unveiled him, that she might know who he was; but he said to
her, "O my lady, I am thy slave and I cast myself on thy protection: do
thou protect me." She said, "No harm shall come to thee, but tell me
who thou art and who brought thee into this my apartment." Answered he,
"O Princess, I am known as Ni'amah bin al-Rabi'a of Cufa and I have
ventured my life for the sake of my slave-girl, Naomi, whom Al-Hajjaj
took by sleight and sent hither." Said she, "Fear not: no harm shall
befall thee;" then, calling her maid, she said to her, "Go to Naomi's
chamber and send her to me." Meanwhile the old woman went to Naomi's
bedroom and said to her, "Hath thy lord come to thee?" "No, by Allah!"
answered Naomi, and the other said, "Belike he hath gone astray and
entered some chamber other than thine and lost himself." So Naomi
cried, "There is no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah, the
Glorious, the Great! Our last hour is come and we are all lost." And
while they were sitting and sadly enough pondering their case, in came
the Princess's handmaid and saluting Naomi said to her, "My lady
biddeth thee to her banquet." "I hear and I obey," answered the damsel
and the old woman said, "Belike thy lord is with the Caliph's sister
and the veil of secrecy hath been rent." So Naomi at once sprang up and
betook herself to the Princess, who said to her, "Here is thy lord
sitting with me; it seemeth he hath mistaken the place; but, please
Allah, neither thou nor he has any cause for fear." When Naomi heard
these words, she took heart of grace and went up to Ni'amah; and her
lord when he saw her.—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and
ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Two Hundred and Forty-fifth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Ni'amah saw
his handmaid Naomi, he rose to meet her and strained her to his bosom
and both fell to the ground fainting. As soon as they came to
themselves, the Caliph's sister said to them, "Sit ye down and take we
counsel for your deliverance from this your strait." And they answered,
"O our lady, we hear and obey: it is thine to command." Quoth she, "By
Allah, no harm shall befall you from us!" Then she bade her handmaids
bring meat and drink which was done, and they sat down and ate till
they had enough, after which they sat drinking. Then the cup went round
amongst them and their cares ceased from them; but Ni'amah said, "Would
I knew how this will end." The Princess asked, "O Ni'amah, dost thou
love thy slave Naomi?"; and he answered, "Of a truth it is my passion
for her which hath brought me to this state of peril for my life." Then
said she to the damsel, "O Naomi, dost thou love thy lord Ni'amah?";
and she replied, "O my lady, it is the love of him which hath wasted my
body and brought me to evil case." Rejoined the Princess, "By Allah,
since ye love each other thus, may he not be who would part you! Be of
good cheer and keep your eyes cool and clear." At this they both
rejoiced and Naomi called for a lute and, when they brought it, she
took it and tuned it and played a lively measure which enchanted the
hearers, and after the prelude sang these couplets,

"When the slanderers cared but to part us twain, * We owed no

     blood-debt could raise their ire

And they poured in our ears all the din of war, * And aid failed

     and friends, when my want was dire:

I fought them hard with mine eyes and tears; * With breath and

     sword, with the stream and fire!"

Then Naomi gave the lute to her master, Ni'amah, saying, "Sing thou to
us some verse." So he took it and playing a lively measure, intoned
these couplets,

"Full Moon if unfreckled would favour thee, * And Sun uneclipsed

     would reflect thy blee:

I wonder (but love is of wonders full * And ardour and passion

     and ecstasy)

How short the way to my love I fare, * Which, from her faring, so

     long I see."

Now when he had made an end of his song, Naomi filled the cup and gave
it to him, and he took it and drank it off; then she filled again and
gave the cup to the Caliph's sister who also emptied it; after which
the Princess in her turn took the lute and tightened the strings and
tuned it and sang these two couplets,

"Grief, cark and care in my heart reside, * And the fires of love

     in my breast

My wasted form to all eyes shows clear; * For Desire my body hath


Then she filled the cup and gave it to Naomi, who drank it off and
taking the lute, sang these two couplets,

"O to whom I gave soul which thou tortures", * And in vain I'd

     recover from fair Unfaith

Do grant thy favours my care to cure * Ere I die, for this be my

     latest breath."

And they ceased not to sing verses and drink to the sweet sound of the
strings, full of mirth and merriment and joy and jollity till behold!
in came the Commander of the Faithful. Now when they saw him, they rose
and kissed the ground before him; and he, seeing Naomi with the lute in
her hand, said to her, "O Naomi, praised be Allah who hath done away
from thee sickness and suffering!" Then he looked at Ni'amah (who was
still disguised as a woman), and said to the Princess, "O my sister,
what damsel is this by Naomi's side?" She replied, "O Commander of the
Faithful, thou hast here a handmaid, one of thy concubines and the
bosom friend of Naomi who will neither eat nor drink without her." And
she repeated the words of the poet,

"Two contraries, and both concur in opposite charms, * And charms so
contraried by contrast lovelier show."

Quoth the Caliph, "By Allah Omnipotent, verily she is as handsome as
Naomi, and to-morrow I will appoint her a separate chamber beside that
of her friend and send her furniture and stuffs and all that befitteth
her, in honour of Naomi." Then the Princess called for food and set it
before her brother, who ate and made himself at home in their place and
company. Then filling a cup he signed to Naomi to sing; so she took the
lute, after draining two of them and sang these two couplets,

"Since my toper-friend in my hand hath given * Three cups that

     brim and bubble, e'er since

I've trailed my skirts throughout night for pride * As tho',

     Prince of the Faithful, I were thy Prince!"

The Prince of True Believers was delighted and filling another cup,
gave it to Naomi and bade her sing again; so after draining the cup and
sweeping the strings, she sang as follows:—

"O most noble of men in this time and stound, * Of whom none may

     boast he is equal-found!

O matchless in greatness of soul and gifts, * O thou Chief, O

     thou King amongst all renowned:

Lord, who dealest large boons to the Lords of Earth, * Whom thou

     vexest not nor dost hold them bound

The Lord preserve thee, and spoil thy foes, * And ne'er cease thy

     lot with good Fortune crowned!"

Now when the Caliph heard these couplets, he exclaimed, "By Allah,
good! By Allah, excellent! Verily the Lord hath been copious[FN#19] to
thee, O Naomi! How clever is thy tongue and how dear is thy speech!"
And they ceased not their mirth and good cheer till midnight, when the
Caliph's sister said to him, "Give ear, O Commander of the Faithful to
a tale I have read in books of a certain man of rank." "And what is
this tale?" quoth he. Quoth she "Know, O Prince of the Faithful that
there lived once in the city of Cufa a youth called Ni'amah, son of
Al-Rabi'a, and he had a slave-girl whom he loved and who loved him.
They had been reared in one bed; but when they grew up and mutual-love
get hold of them, Fortune smote them with her calamities and Time, the
tyrant, brought upon them his adversity and decreed separation unto
them. Thereupon designing and slanderous folk enticed her by sleight
forth of his house and, stealing her away from his home, sold her to
one of the Kings for ten thousand dinars. Now the girl loved her lord
even as he loved her, so he left kith and kin and house and home and
the gifts of fortune, and set out to search for her and when she was
found he devised means to gain access to her".—And Shahrazad perceived
the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Two Hundred and Forty-sixth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Caliph's
sister said, "And Ni'amah ceased not absenting himself from his kith
and kin and patrial-stead, that he might gain access to his handmaid,
and he incurred every peril and lavished his life till he gained access
to her, and her name was Naomi, like this slave-girl. But the interview
was short; they had not been long in company when in came the King, who
had bought her of her kidnapper, and hastily ordered them to be slain,
without doing justice by his own soul and delaying to enquire into the
matter before the command was carried out. Now what sayest thou, O
Commander of the Faithful, of this King's wrongous conduct?" Answered
the Caliph; "This was indeed a strange thing: it behoved that King to
pardon when he had the power to punish; and he ought to have regarded
three things in their favour. The first was that they loved each other;
the second that they were in his house and in his grasp; and the third
that it befitteth a King to be deliberate in judging and ordering
between folk, and how much more so in cases where he himself is
concerned! Wherefore this King thus did an unkingly deed." Then said
his sister, "O my brother, by the King of the heavens and the earth, I
conjure thee, bid Naomi sing and hearken to that she shall sing!" So he
said "O Naomi, sing to me;" whereupon she played a lively measure and
sang these couplets,

"Beguiled us Fortune who her guile displays, * Smiting the heart,

     bequeathing thoughts that craze

And parting lovers whom she made to meet, * Till tears in torrent

     either cheek displays:

They were and I was and my life was glad, * While Fortune often

     joyed to join our ways;

I will pour tear flood, will rain gouts of blood, * Thy loss

     bemoaning through the nights and days!"

Now when the Commander of the Faithful heard this verse, he was moved
to great delight and his sister said to him, "O my brother, whoso
decideth in aught against himself, him it behoveth to abide by it and
do according to his word; and thou hast judged against thyself by this
judgement." Then said she, "O Ni'amah, stand up and do thou likewise up
stand, O Naomi!" So they stood up and she continued, "O Prince of True
Believers, she who standeth before thee is Naomi the stolen, whom
Al-Hajjaj bin Yusuf al-Sakafi kidnapped and sent to thee, falsely
pretending in his letter to thee that he had bought her for ten
thousand gold pieces. And this other who standeth before thee is her
lord, Ni'amah, son of Al-Rabi'a; and I beseech thee, by the honour of
thy pious forebears and by Hamzah and Ukayl and Abbas,[FN#20] to pardon
them both and overlook their offence and bestow them one on the other,
that thou mayst win rich reward in the next world of thy just dealing
with them; for they are under thy hand and verily they have eaten of
thy meat and drunken of thy drink; and behold, I make intercession for
them and beg of thee the boon of their blood." Thereupon quoth the
Caliph, "Thou speakest sooth: I did indeed give judgement as thou
sayst, and I am not one to pass sentence and to revoke it." Then said
he, "O Naomi, say, be this thy lord?" And she answered "Even so, O
Commander of the Faithful." Then quoth he, "No harm shall befall you, I
give you each to other;" adding to the young man, "O Ni'amah, who told
thee where she was and taught thee how to get at this place?" He
replied, "O Commander of the Faithful, hearken to my tale and give ear
to my history; for, by the virtue of thy pious forefathers, I will hide
nothing from thee!" And he told him all that had passed between himself
and the Persian physician and the old nurse, and how she had brought
him into the palace and he had mistaken the doors; whereat the Caliph
wondered with exceeding wonder and said, "Fetch me the Persian." So
they brought him into the presence and he was made one of his chief
officers. Moreover the King bestowed on him robes of honour and ordered
him a handsome present, saying, "When a man hath shown like this man
such artful management, it behoveth us to make him one of our chief
officers." The Caliph also loaded Ni'amah and Naomi with gifts and
honours and rewarded the old nurse; and they abode with him seven days
in joy and content and all delight of life, when Ni'amah craved leave
to return to Cufa with his slave-girl. The Caliph gave them permission
and they departed and arrived in due course at Cufa, where Ni'amah was
restored to his father and mother, and they abode in all the joys and
jollities of life, till there came to them the Destroyer of delights
and the Sunderer of societies. Now when Amjad and As'ad heard from
Bahram this story, they marvelled with extreme marvel and said, "By
Allah, this is indeed a rare tale!"—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of
day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Two Hundred and Forty-seventh Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Amjad and
As'ad heard this story from Bahram the Magian who had become a Moslem,
they marvelled with extreme marvel and thus passed that night; and when
the next morning dawned, they mounted and riding to the palace, sought
an audience of the King who granted it and received them with high
honour. Now as they were sitting together talking, of a sudden they
heard the towns folk crying aloud and shouting to one another and
calling for help; and the Chamberlain came in to the King and said to
him, "Some King hath encamped before the city, he and his host, with
arms and weapons displayed, and we know not their object and aim." The
King took counsel with his Wazir Amjad and his brother As'ad; and Amjad
said, "I will go out to him and learn the cause of his coming." So he
took horse and, riding forth from the city, repaired to the stranger's
camp, where he found the King and with him a mighty many and mounted
Mamelukes. When the guards saw him, they knew him for an envoy from the
King of the city; so they took him and brought him before their Sultan.
Then Amjad kissed the ground before him; but lo! the King was a Queen,
who was veiled with a mouth-veil, and she said to Amjad, "Know that I
have no design on this your city and that I am come hither only in
quest of a beardless slave of mine, whom if I find with you, I will do
you no harm, but if I find him not, then shall there befall sore
onslaught between me and you." Asked Amjad, "O Queen, what like is thy
slave and what is his story and what may be his name?" Said she, "His
name is As'ad and my name is Marjanah, and this slave came to my town
in company of Bahram, a Magian, who refused to sell him to me; so I
took him by force, but his master fell upon him by night and bore him
away by stealth and he is of such and such a favour." When Amjad heard
that, he knew it was indeed his brother As'ad whom she sought and said
to her, "O Queen of the age, Alhamdolillah, praised be Allah, who hath
brought us relief! Verily this slave whom thou seekest is my brother."
Then he told her their story and all that had befallen them in the land
of exile, and acquainted her with the cause of their departure from the
Islands of Ebony, whereat she marvelled and rejoiced to have found
As'ad. So she bestowed a dress of honour upon Amjad and he returned
forthright to the King and told him what had passed, at which they all
rejoiced and the King went forth with Amjad and As'ad to meet Queen
Marjanah. When they were admitted to her presence and sat down to
converse with her and were thus pleasantly engaged, behold, a dust
cloud rose and flew and grew, till it walled the view. And after a
while it lifted and showed beneath it an army dight for victory, in
numbers like the swelling sea, armed and armoured cap-а-pie who, making
for the city, encompassed it around as the ring encompasseth the little
finger;[FN#21] and a bared brand was in every hand. When Amjad and
As'ad saw this, they exclaimed, "Verily to Allah we belong and to Him
we shall return! What is this mighty host? Doubtless, these are
enemies, and except we agree with this Queen Marjanah to fight them,
they will take the town from us and slay us. There is no resource for
us but to go out to them and see who they are." So Amjad arose and took
horse and passed through the city gate to Queen Marjanah's camp; but
when he reached the approaching army he found it to be that of his
grand sire, King Ghayur, father of his mother Queen Budur.—And
Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted

When it was the Two Hundred and Forty-eighth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Amjad
reached the approaching host, he found it to be that of his grandsire,
Lord of the Isles and the Seas and the Seven Castles; and when he went
into the presence, he kissed the ground between his hands and delivered
to him the message. Quoth the King, "My name is King Ghayur and I come
wayfaring in quest of my daughter Budur whom fortune hath taken from
me, for she left me and returned not to me, nor have I heard any
tidings of her or of her husband Kamar al-Zaman. Have ye any news of
them?" When Amjad heard this, he hung his head towards the ground for a
while in thought till he felt assured that this King was none other
than his grandfather, his mother's father; where upon he raised his
head and, kissing ground before him, told him that he was the son of
his daughter Budur; on hearing which Ghayur threw himself upon him and
they both fell a weeping.[FN#22] Then said Ghayur, "Praised be Allah, O
my son, for safety, since I have foregathered with thee," and Amjad
told him that his daughter Budur was safe and sound, and her husband
Kamar al-Zaman likewise, and acquainted him that both abode in a city
called the City of Ebony. Moreover, he related to him how his father,
being wroth with him and his brother, had commended that both be put to
death, but that his treasurer had taken pity on them and let them go
with their lives. Quoth King Ghayur, "I will go back with thee and thy
brother to your father and make your peace with him." So Amjad kissed
the ground before him in huge delight and the King bestowed a dress of
honour upon him, after which he returned, smiling, to the King of the
City of the Magians and told him what he had learnt from King Ghayur,
whereat he wondered with exceeding wonder. Then he despatched
guest-gifts of sheep and horses and camels and forage and so forth to
King Ghayur, and did the like by Queen Marjanah; and both of them told
her what chanced; whereupon quoth she, "I too will accompany you with
my troops and will do my endeavour to make this peace." Meanwhile
behold, there arose another dust cloud and flew and grew till it walled
the view and blackened the day's bright hue; and under it they heard
shouts and cries and neighing of steeds and beheld sword glance and the
glint of levelled lance. When this new host drew near the city and saw
the two other armies, they beat their drums and the King of the Magians
exclaimed, "This is indeed naught but a blessed day. Praised be Allah
who hath made us of accord with these two armies; and if it be His
will, He shall give us peace with yon other as well." Then said he to
Amjad and As'ad, "Fare forth and fetch us news of these troops, for
they are a mighty host, never saw I a mightier." So they opened the
city gates, which the King had shut for fear of the beleaguering
armies, and Amjad and As'ad went forth and, coming to the new host,
found that it was indeed a mighty many. But as soon as they came to it
behold, they knew that it was the army of the King of the Ebony
Islands, wherein was their father, King Kamar al-Zaman in person. Now
when they looked upon him, they kissed ground and wept; but, when he
beheld them, he threw himself upon them weeping, with sore weeping, and
strained them to his breast for a full hour. Then he excused himself to
them and told them what desolation he had suffered for their loss and
exile; and they acquainted him with King Ghayur's arrival, whereupon he
mounted with his chief officers and taking with him his two sons,
proceeded to that King's camp. As they drew near, one of the Princes
rode forward and informed King Ghayur of Kamar al-Zaman's coming,
whereupon he came out to meet him and they joined company, marvelling
at these things and how they had chanced to foregather in that place.
Then the townsfolk made them banquets of all manner of meats and
sweetmeats and presented to them horses and camels and fodder and other
guest-gifts and all that the troops needed. And while this was doing,
behold, yet another cloud of dust arose and flew till it walled the
view, whilst earth trembled with the tramp of steed and tabors sounded
like stormy winds. After a while, the dust lifted and discovered an
army clad in coats of mail and armed cap-а-pie; but all were in black
garb, and in their midst rode a very old man whose beard flowed down
over his breast and he also was clad in black. When the King of the
city and the city folk saw this great host, he said to the other Kings,
"Praised be Allah by whose omnipotent command ye are met here, all in
one day, and have proved all known one to the other! But what vast and
victorious army is this which hemmeth in the whole land like a wall?"
They answered, "Have no fear of them; we are three Kings, each with a
great army, and if they be enemies, we will join thee in doing battle
with them, were they three times as many as they now are." Meanwhile,
up came an envoy from the approaching host, making for the city. So
they brought him before Kamar al-Zaman, King Ghayur, Queen Marjanah and
the King of the city; and he kissed the ground and said, "My liege lord
cometh from Persia-land; for many years ago he lost his son and he is
seeking him in all countries. If he find him with you, well and good;
but if he find him not, there will be war between him and you and he
will waste your city." Rejoined Kamar al-Zaman, "It shall not come to
that; but how is thy master called in Ajam land?" Answered the envoy,
"He is called King Shahriman, lord of the Khбlidan Islands; and he hath
levied these troops in the lands traversed by him, whilst seeking his
son." No-vv when Kamar al-Zaman heard these words, he cried out with a
great cry and fell down in a fainting fit which lasted a long while;
and anon coming to himself he wept bitter tears and said to Amjad and
As'ad, "Go ye, O my sons, with the herald, salute your grandfather and
my father, King Shahriman and give him glad tidings of me, for he
mourneth my loss and even to the present time he weareth black raiment
for my sake." Then he told the other Kings all that had befallen him in
the days of his youth, at which they wondered and, going down with him
from the city, repaired to his father, whom he saluted, and they
embraced and fell to the ground senseless for excess of joy. And when
they revived after a while, Kamar al-Zaman acquainted his father with
all his adventures and the other Kings saluted Shahriman. Then, after
having married Marjanah to As'ad, they sent her back to her kingdom,
charging her not to cease correspondence with them; so she took leave
and went her way. Moreover they married Amjad to Bostan, Bahram's
daughter, and they all set out for the City of Ebony. And when they
arrived there, Kamar al-Zaman went in to his father-in-law, King
Armanus, and told him all that had befallen him and how he had found
his sons; whereat Armanus rejoiced and gave him joy of his safe return.
Then King Ghayur went in to his daughter, Queen Budur,[FN#23] and
saluted her and quenched his longing for her company, and they all
abode a full month's space in the City of Ebony; after which the King
and his daughter returned to their own country.—And Shahrazad perceived
the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say,

When it was the Two Hundred and Forty-ninth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that King Ghayur set
out with his daughter and his host for his own land, and they took with
them Amjad and returned home by easy marches. And when Ghayur was
settled again in his kingdom, he made his grandson King in his stead;
and as to Kamar al-Zaman he also made As'ad king in his room over the
capital of the Ebony Islands, with the consent of his grandfather, King
Armanus and set out himself, with his father, King Shahriman, till the
two made the Islands of Khбlidan. Then the lieges decorated the city in
their honour and they ceased not to beat the drums for glad tidings a
whole month; nor did Kamar al-Zaman leave to govern in his father's
place, till there overtook them the Destroyer of delights and the
Sunderer of societies; and Allah knoweth all things! Quoth King
Shahryar, "O Shahrazad, this is indeed a most wonderful tale!" And she
answered, "O King, it is not more wonderful than that of


"What is that?" asked he, and she said, It hath reached me that there
lived, in times of yore and years and ages long gone before, a merchant
of Cairo[FN#25] named Shams al-Din, who was of the best and truest
spoken of the traders of the city; and he had eunuchs and servants and
negro-slaves and handmaids and Mame lukes and great store of money.
Moreover, he was Consul[FN#26] of the Merchants of Cairo and owned a
wife, whom he loved and who loved him; except that he had lived with
her forty years, yet had not been blessed with a son or even a
daughter. One day, as he sat in his shop, he noted that the merchants,
each and every, had a son or two sons or more sitting in their shops
like their sires. Now the day being Friday, he entered the Hammam-bath
and made the total-ablution: after which he came out and took the
barber's glass and looked in it, saying, "I testify that there is no
god but the God and I testify that Mohammed is the Messenger of God!"
Then he considered his beard and, seeing that the white hairs in it
covered the black, bethought himself that hoariness is the harbinger of
death. Now his wife knew the time of his coming home and had washed and
made herself ready for him, so when he came in to her, she said, "Good
evening," but he replied "I see no good." Then she called to the
handmaid, "Spread the supper-tray;" and when this was done quoth she to
her husband "Sup, O my lord." Quoth he, "I will eat nothing," and
pushing the tray away with his foot, turned his back upon her. She
asked, "Why dost thou thus? and what hath vexed thee?"; and he
answered, "Thou art the cause of my vexation."—And Shahrazed perceived
the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say,

When it was the Two Hundred and Fiftieth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Shams al-Din said
to his wife, "Thou art the cause of my vexation." She asked,
"Wherefore?" and he answered, "When I opened my shop this morning, I
saw that each and every of the merchants had with him a son or two sons
or more, sitting in their shops like their fathers; and I said to
myself:—He who took thy sire will not spare thee. Now the night I first
visited thee,[FN#27] thou madest me swear that I would never take a
second wife over thee nor a concubine, Abyssinian or Greek or handmaid
of other race; nor would lie a single night away from thee: and behold,
thou art barren, and having thee is like boring into the rock."
Rejoined she, "Allah is my witness that the fault lies with thee, for
that thy seed is thin." He asked, "And what showeth the man whose semen
is thin?" And she answered, "He cannot get women with child, nor beget
children." Quoth he, "What thickeneth the seed? tell me and I will buy
it: haply, it will thicken mine." Quoth she, "Enquire for it of the
druggists." So he slept with her that night and arose on the morrow,
repenting of having spoken angrily to her; and she also regretted her
cross words. Then he went to the market and, finding a druggist,
saluted him; and when his salutation was returned said to him, "Say,
hast thou with thee a seed-thickener?" He replied, "I had it, but am
out of it: enquire thou of my neighbour." Then Shams al-Din made the
round till he had asked every one, but they all laughed at him, and
presently he returned to his shop and sat down, sore troubled. Now
there was in the bazar a man who was Deputy Syndic of the brokers and
was given to the use of opium and electuary and green hashish.[FN#28]
He was called Shaykh Mohammed Samsam and being poor he used to wish
Shams al-Din good morrow every day. So he came to him according to his
custom and saluted him. The merchant returned his salute, but in
ill-temper, and the other, seeing him vexed, said, "O my lord, what
hath crossed thee?" Thereupon Shams al-Din told him all that occurred
between himself and his wife, adding, "These forty years have I been
married to her yet hath she borne me neither son nor daughter; and they
say:—The cause of thy failure to get her with child is the thinness of
thy seed; so I have been seeking a some thing wherewith to thicken my
semen but found it not." Quoth Shaykh Mohammed, "O my lord, I have a
seed-thickener, but what wilt thou say to him who causeth thy wife to
conceive by thee after these forty years have passed?" Answered the
merchant, "If thou do this, I will work thy weal—and reward thee."
"Then give me a dinar," rejoined the broker, and Shams al-Din said,
"Take these two dinars." He took them and said, "Give me also yonder
big bowl of porcelain." So he gave it to him and the broker betook
himself to a hashish-seller, of whom he bought two ounces of
concentrated Roumi opium and equal-parts of Chinese cubebs, cinnamon,
cloves, cardamoms, ginger, white pepper and mountain skink[FN#29]; and,
pounding them all together, boiled them in sweet olive-oil; after which
he added three ounces of male frankincense in fragments and a cupful of
coriander-seed; and, macerating the whole, made it into an electuary
with Roumi bee honey. Then he put the confection in the bowl and
carried it to the merchant, to whom he delivered it, saying, "Here is
the seed-thickener, and the manner of using it is this. Take of my
electuary with a spoon after supping, and wash it down with a sherbet
made of rose conserve; but first sup off mutton and house pigeon
plentifully seasoned and hotly spiced." So the merchant bought all this
and sent the meat and pigeons to his wife, saying, "Dress them deftly
and lay up the seed-thickener until I want it and call for it." She did
his bidding and, when she served up the meats, he ate the evening meal,
after which he called for the bowl and ate of the electuary. It pleased
him well, so he ate the rest and knew his wife. That very night she
conceived by him and, after three months, her courses ceased, no blood
came from her and she knew that she was with child. When the days of
her pregnancy were accomplished, the pangs of labour took her and they
raised loud lullilooings and cries of joy. The midwife delivered her
with difficulty, by pronouncing over the boy at his birth the names of
Mohammed and Ali, and said, "Allah is Most Great!"; and she called in
his ear the call to prayer. Then she wrapped him up and passed him to
his mother, who took him and gave him the breast; and he sucked and was
full and slept. The midwife abode with them three days, till they had
made the mothering-cakes of sugared bread and sweetmeats; and they
distributed them on the seventh day. Then they sprinkled salt against
the evil eye and the merchant, going in to his wife, gave her joy of
her safe delivery, and said, "Where is Allah's deposit?" So they
brought him a babe of surpassing beauty, the handiwork of the Orderer
who is ever present and, though he was but seven days old, those who
saw him would have deemed him a yearling child. So the merchant looked
on his face and, seeing it like a shining full moon, with moles on
either cheek, said he to his wife, "What hast thou named him?" Answered
she, "If it were a girl I had named her; but this is a boy, so none
shall name him but thou." Now the people of that time used to name
their children by omens; and, whilst the merchant and his wife were
taking counsel of the name, behold, one said to his friend, "Ho my
lord, Ala al-Din!" So the merchant said, "We will call him Ala al-Din
Abъ al-Shбmбt."[FN#30] Then he committed the child to the nurse, and he
drank milk two years, after which they weaned him and he grew up and
throve and walked upon the floor. When he came to seven years old, they
put him in a chamber under a trap-door, for fear of the evil eye, and
his father said, "He shall not come out, till his beard grow." So he
gave him in charge to a handmaid and a blackamoor; the girl dressed him
his meals and the slave carried them to him. Then his father
circumcised him and made him a great feast; after which he brought him
a doctor of the law, who taught him to write and read and repeat the
Koran, and other arts and sciences, till he became a good scholar and
an accomplished. One day it so came to pass that the slave, after
bringing him the tray of food went away and left the trap door open: so
Ala al-Din came forth from the vault and went in to his mother, with
whom was a company of women of rank. As they sat talking, behold, in
came upon them the youth as he were a white slave drunken[FN#31] for
the excess of his beauty; and when they saw him, they veiled their
faces and said to his mother, "Allah requite thee, O such an one! How
canst thou let this strange Mameluke in upon us? Knowest thou not that
modesty is a point of the Faith?" She replied, "Pronounce Allah's
name[FN#32] and cry Bismillah! this is my son, the fruit of my vitals
and the heir of Consul Shams al-Din, the child of the nurse and the
collar and the crust and the crumb."[FN#33] Quoth they, "Never in our
days knew we that thou hadst a son"; and quoth she, "Verily his father
feared for him the evil eye and reared him in an under-ground
chamber;"—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her
permitted say.

When it was the Two Hundred and Fifty-first Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Ala al-Din's
mother said to her lady-friends, "Verily his father feared for him the
evil eye and reared him in an underground chamber; and haply the slave
forgot to shut the door and he fared forth; but we did not mean that he
should come out, before his beard was grown." The women gave her joy of
him, and the youth went out from them into the court yard where he
seated himself in the open sitting room; and behold, in came the slaves
with his father's she mule, and he said to them, "Whence cometh this
mule?" Quoth they, "We escorted thy father when riding her to the shop,
and we have brought her back." He asked, "What may be my father's
trade?"; and they answered, "Thy father is Consul of the merchants in
the land of Egypt and Sultan of the Sons of the Arabs." Then he went in
to his mother and said to her, "O my mother, what is my father's
trade?" Said she, "O my son, thy sire is a merchant and Consul of the
merchants in the land of Egypt and Sultan of the Sons of the Arabs. His
slaves consult him not in selling aught whose price is less than one
thousand gold pieces, but merchandise worth him an hundred and less
they sell at their own discretion; nor cloth any merchandise whatever,
little or much, leave the country without passing through his hands and
he disposeth of it as he pleaseth; nor is a bale packed and sent abroad
amongst folk but what is under his disposal. And "Almighty Allah, O my
son, hath given thy father monies past compt." He rejoined, "O my
mother, praised be Allah, that I am son of the Sultan of the Sons of
the Arabs and that my father is Consul of the merchants! But why, O my
mother, do ye put me in the underground chamber and leave me prisoner
there?" Quoth she, "O my son, we imprisoned thee not save for fear of
folks' eyes: 'the evil eye is a truth,'[FN#34] and most of those in
their long homes are its victims." Quoth he, "O my mother, and where is
a refuge-place against Fate? Verily care never made Destiny forbear;
nor is there flight from what is written for every wight. He who took
my grandfather will not spare myself nor my father; for, though he live
to day he shall not live tomorrow. And when my father dieth and I come
forth and say, 'I am Ala al-Din, son of Shams al-Din the merchant',
none of the people will believe me, but men of years and standing will
say, 'In our lives never saw we a son or a daughter of Shams al-Din.'
Then the public Treasury will come down and take my father's estate,
and Allah have mercy on him who said, 'The noble dieth and his wealth
passeth away, and the meanest of men take his women.' Therefore, O my
mother, speak thou to my father, that he carry me with him to the bazar
and open for me a shop; so may I sit there with my merchandise, and
teach me to buy and sell and take and give." Answered his mother, "O my
son, as soon as thy sire returneth I will tell him this." So when the
merchant came home, he found his son Ala al-Din Abu al-Shamat sitting
with his mother and said to her, "Why hast thou brought him forth of
the underground chamber?" She replied, "O son of my uncle, it was not I
that brought him out; but the servants forgot to shut the door and left
it open; so, as I sat with a company of women of rank, behold, he came
forth and walked in to me." Then she went on to repeat to him his son's
words; so he said, "O my son, to-morrow, Inshallah! I will take thee
with me to the bazar; but, my boy, sitting in markets and shops
demandeth good manners and courteous carriage in all conditions." Ala
al-Din passed the night rejoicing in his father's promise and, when the
morrow came, the merchant carried him to the Hammam and clad him in a
suit worth a mint of money. As soon as they had broken their fast and
drunk their sherbets, Shams al-Din mounted his she mule and putting his
son upon another, rode to the market, followed by his boy. But when the
market folk saw their Consul making towards them, foregoing a youth as
he were a slice of the full moon on the fourteenth night, they said,
one to other, "See thou yonder boy behind the Consul of the merchants;
verily, we thought well of him, but he is, like the leek, gray of head
and green at heart."[FN#35] And Shaykh Mohammed Samsam, Deputy Syndic
of the market, the man before mentioned, said to the dealers, "O
merchants, we will not keep the like of him for our Shaykh; no, never!"
Now it was the custom anent the Consul when he came from his house of a
morning and sat down in his shop, for the Deputy Syndic of the market
to go and recite to him and to all the merchants assembled around him
the Fбtihah or opening chapter of the Koran,[FN#36] after which they
accosted him one by one and wished him good morrow and went away, each
to his business place. But when Shams al-Din seated himself in his shop
that day as usual, the traders came not to him as accustomed; so he
called the Deputy and said to him, "Why come not the merchants together
as usual?" Answered Mohammed Samsam, "I know not how to tell thee these
troubles, for they have agreed to depose thee from the Shaykh ship of
the market and to recite the Fatihah to thee no more." Asked Shams
al-Din, "What may be their reason?"; and asked the Deputy, "What boy is
this that sitteth by thy side and thou a man of years and chief of the
merchants? Is this lad a Mameluke or akin to thy wife? Verily, I think
thou lovest him and inclines lewdly to the boy." Thereupon the Consul
cried out at him, saying, "Silence, Allah curse thee, genus and
species! This is my son." Rejoined the Deputy, "Never in our born days
have we seen thee with a son," and Shams al-Din answered, "When thou
gavest me the seed-thickener, my wife conceived and bare this youth;
but I reared him in a souterrain for fear of the evil eye, nor was it
my purpose that he should come forth, till he could take his beard in
his hand.[FN#37] However, his mother would not agree to this, and he on
his part begged I would stock him a shop and teach him to sell and
buy." So the Deputy Syndic returned to the other traders and acquainted
them with the truth of the case, whereupon they all arose to accompany
him; and, going in a body to Shams al-Din's shop, stood before him and
recited the "Opener" of the Koran; after which they gave him joy of his
son and said to him, "The Lord prosper root and branch! But even the
poorest of us, when son or daughter is born to him, needs must cook a
pan-full of custard[FN#38] and bid his friends and kith and kin; yet
hast thou not done this." Quoth he, "This I owe you; be our meeting in
the garden."—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say
her permitted say.

When it was the Two Hundred and Fifty-second Night,

Her sister Dunyazad said to her, "Pray continue thy story for us, as
thou be awake and not inclined to sleep." Quoth she:—With pleasure and
goodwill: it hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Consul of the
merchants promised them a banquet and said "Be our meeting in the
garden." So when morning dawned he despatched the carpet layer to the
saloon of the garden-pavilion and bade him furnish the two. Moreover,
he sent thither all that was needful for cooking, such as sheep and
clarified butter and so forth, according to the requirements of the
case; and spread two tables, one in the pavilion and another in the
saloon. Then Shams al-Din and his boy girded themselves, and he said to
Ala al-Din "O my son, whenas a greybeard entereth, I will meet him and
seat him at the table in the pavilion; and do thou, in like manner,
receive the beardless youths and seat them at the table in the saloon."
He asked, "O my father, why dost thou spread two tables, one for men
and another for youths?"; and he answered, "O my son, the beardless is
ashamed to eat with the bearded." And his son thought this his answer
full and sufficient. So when the merchants arrived, Shams al-Din
received the men and seated them in the pavilion, whilst Ala al-Din
received the youths and seated them in the saloon. Then the food was
set on and the guests ate and drank and made merry and sat over their
wine, whilst the attendants perfumed them with the smoke of scented
woods, and the elders fell to conversing of matters of science and
traditions of the Prophet. Now there was amongst them a merchant called
Mahmъd of Balkh, a professing Moslem but at heart a Magian, a man of
lewd and mischievous life who loved boys. And when he saw Ala al-Din
from whose father he used to buy stuffs and merchandise, one sight of
his face sent him a thousand sighs and Satan dangled the jewel before
his eyes, so that he was taken with love-longing and desire and
affection and his heart was filled with mad passion for him. Presently
he arose and made for the youths, who stood up to receive him; and at
this moment Ala Al-Din being taken with an urgent call of Nature,
withdrew to make water; whereupon Mahmud turned to the other youths and
said to them, "If ye will incline Ala al-Din's mind to journeying with
me, I will give each of you a dress worth a power of money." Then he
returned from them to the men's party; and, as the youths were sitting,
Ala al-Din suddenly came back, when all rose to receive him and seated
him in the place of highest honour. Presently, one of them said to his
neighbour, "O my lord Hasan, tell me whence came to thee the
capital—whereon thou trades"." He replied, "When I grew up and came to
man's estate, I said to my sire, 'O my father, give me merchandise.'
Quoth he, 'O my son, I have none by me; but go thou to some merchant
and take of him money and traffic with it; and so learn to buy and
sell, give and take.' So I went to one of the traders and borrowed of
him a thousand dinars, wherewith I bought stuffs and carrying them to
Damascus, sold them there at a profit of two for one. Then I bought
Syrian stuffs and carrying them to Aleppo, made a similar gain of them;
after which I bought stuffs of Aleppo and repaired with them to
Baghdad, where I sold them with like result, two for one; nor did I
cease trading upon my capital till I was worth nigh ten thousand
ducats." Then each of the others told his friend some such tale, till
it came to Ala al-Din's turn to speak, when they said to him, "And
thou, O my lord Ala al-Din?" Quoth he, "I was brought up in a chamber
underground and came forth from it only this week; and I do but go to
the shop and return home from the shop." They remarked, "Thou art used
to wone at home and wottest not the joys of travel, for travel is for
men only." He replied, "I reck not of voyaging and wayfaring cloth not
tempt me." Whereupon quoth one to the other, "This one is like the
fish: when he leaveth the water he dieth." Then they said to him, "O
Ala al Din, the glory of the sons of the merchants is not but in travel
for the sake of gain." Their talk angered him; so he left them
weeping-eyed and heavy-hearted and mounting his mule returned home. Now
his mother saw him in tears and in bad temper and asked him, "What hath
made thee weep, O my son?"; and he answered, "Of a truth, all the sons
of the merchants put me to shame and said, 'Naught is more glorious for
a merchant's son than travel for gain and to get him gold.'"—And
Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted

When it was the Two Hundred and Fifty-third Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Ala al-Din said
to his mother, "Of a truth all the sons of the merchants put me to
shame and said, 'Naught is more honourable for a merchant's son than
travel for gain.'" "O my son, hast thou a mind to travel?" "Even so!"
"And whither wilt thou go?" "To the city of Baghdad; for there folk
make double the cost price on their goods." "O my son, thy father is a
very rich man and, if he provide thee not with merchandise, I will
supply it out of my own monies." "The best favour is that which is
soonest bestowed; if this kindness is to be, now is the time." So she
called the slaves and sent them for cloth packers, then, opening a
store house, brought out ten loads of stuffs, which they made up into
bales for him. Such was his case; but as regards his father, Shams
al-Din, he looked about and failed to find Ala al-Din in the garden and
enquiring after him, was told that he had mounted mule and gone home;
so he too mounted and followed him. Now when he entered the house, he
saw the bales ready bound and asked what they were; whereupon his wife
told him what had chanced between Ala al-Din and the sons of the
merchants; and he cried, "O my son, Allah's malison on travel and
stranger-hood! Verily Allah's Apostle (whom the Lord bless and
preserve!) hath said, 'It is of a man's happy fortune that he eat his
daily bread in his own land', and it was said of the ancients, 'Leave
travel, though but for a mile.'" Then quoth he to his son, "Say, art
thou indeed resolved to travel and wilt thou not turn back from it?"
Quoth the other, "There is no help for it but that I journey to Baghdad
with merchandise, else will I doff clothes and don dervish gear and
fare a-wandering over the world." Shams al-Din rejoined, "I am no
penniless pauper but have great plenty of wealth;" then he showed him
all he owned of monies and stuffs and stock-in-trade and observed,
"With me are stuffs and merchandise befitting every country in the
world." Then he showed him among the rest, forty bales ready bound,
with the price, a thousand dinars, written on each, and said, "O my son
take these forty loads, together with the ten which thy mother gave
thee, and set out under the safeguard of Almighty Allah. But, O my
child, I fear for thee a certain wood in thy way, called the Lion's
Copse,[FN#39] and a valley highs the Vale of Dogs, for there lives are
lost without mercy." He said, "How so, O my father?"; and he replied,
"Because of a Badawi bandit named Ajlan." Quoth Ala al-Din, "Such is
Allah's luck; if any share of it be mine, no harm shall hap to me."
Then they rode to the cattle bazar, where behold, a cameleer[FN#40]
alighted from his she mule and kissing the Consul's hand, said to him,
"O my lord, it is long, by Allah, since thou hast employed us in the
way of business." He replied, "Every time hath its fortune and its
men,[FN#41] and Allah have truth on him who said,

'And the old man crept o'er the worldly ways * So bowed, his

     beard o'er his knees down flow'th:

Quoth I, 'What gars thee so doubled go?' * Quoth he (as to me his

     hands he show'th)

'My youth is lost, in the dust it lieth; * And see, I bend me to

     find my youth.'"[FN#42]

Now when he had ended his verses, he said, "O chief of the caravan, it
is not I who am minded to travel, but this my son." Quoth the cameleer,
"Allah save him for thee." Then the Consul made a contract between Ala
al-Din and the man, appointing that the youth should be to him as a
son, and gave him into his charge, saying, "Take these hundred gold
pieces for thy people." More-over he bought his son threescore mules
and a lamp and a tomb-covering for the Sayyid Abd al-Kadir of
Gнlбn[FN#43] and said to him, "O my son, while I am absent, this is thy
sire in my stead: whatsoever he biddeth thee, do thou obey him." So
saying, he returned home with the mules and servants and that night
they made a Khitmah or perfection of the Koran and held a festival—in
honour of the Shaykh Abd al-Kadir al-Jilбni. And when the morrow
dawned, the Consul gave his son ten thousand dinars, saying, "O my son,
when thou comest to Baghdad, if thou find stuffs easy of sale, sell
them; but if they be dull, spend of these dinars." Then they loaded the
mules and, taking leave of one another, all the wayfarers setting out
on their journey, marched forth from the city. Now Mahmud of Balkh had
made ready his own venture for Baghdad and had moved his bales and set
up his tents without the walls, saying to himself, "Thou shalt not
enjoy this youth but in the desert, where there is neither spy nor
marplot to trouble thee." It chanced that he had in hand a thousand
dinars which he owed to the youth's father, the balance of a
business-transaction between them; so he went and bade farewell to the
Consul, who charged him, "Give the thousand dinars to my son Ala
al-Din;" and commended the lad to his care, saying, "He is as it were
thy son." Accordingly, Ala al-Din joined company with Mahmud of
Balkh.—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her
permitted say.

When it was the Two Hundred and Fifty-fourth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Ala al-Din joined
company with Mahmud of Balkh who, before beginning the march, charged
the youth's cook to dress nothing for him, but himself provided him and
his company with meat and drink. Now he had four houses, one in Cairo,
another in Damascus, a third in Aleppo and a fourth in Baghdad. So they
set out and ceased not journeying over waste and wold till they drew
near Damascus when Mahmud sent his slave to Ala al-Din, whom he found
sitting and reading. He went up to him and kissed his hands, and Ala
al-Din having asked him what he wanted, he answered, "My master
saluteth thee and craveth thy company to a banquet at his place." Quoth
the youth, "Not till I consult my father Kamal al-Din, the captain of
the caravan." So he asked advice of the Makaddam,[FN#44] who said, "Do
not go." Then they left Damascus and journeyed on till they came to
Aleppo, where Mahmud made a second entertainment and sent to invite Ala
al-Din; but he consulted the Chief Cameleer who again forbade him. Then
they marched from Aleppo and fared on, till there remained between them
and Baghdad only a single stage. Here Mahmud prepared a third feast and
sent to bid Ala al-Din to it: Kamal-al-Din once more forbade his
accepting it, but he said, "I must needs go." So he rose and, slinging
a sword over his shoulder, under his clothes, repaired to the tent of
Mahmud of Balkh, who came to meet him and saluted him. Then he set
before him a sumptuous repast and they ate and drank and washed hands.
At last Mahmud bent towards Ala al-Din to snatch a kiss from him, but
the youth received the kiss on the palm of his hand and said to him,
"What wouldest thou be at?" Quoth Mahmud, "In very sooth I brought thee
hither that I might take my pleasure with thee in this jousting ground,
and we will comment upon the words of him who saith,

'Say, canst not come to us one momentling, * Like milk of ewekin

     or aught glistening

And eat what liketh thee of dainty cake, * And take thy due of

     fee in silverling,

And bear whatso thou wilt, without mislike, * Of spanling,

     fistling or a span long thing?'"

Then Mahmud of Balkh would have laid hands on Ala al-Din to ravish him;
but he rose and baring his brand, said to him, "Shame on thy gray
hairs! Hast thou no fear of Allah, and He of exceeding awe?[FN#45] May
He have mercy on him who saith,

'Preserve thy hoary hairs from soil and stain, * For whitest colours
are the easiest stained!'"

And when he ended his verses he said to Mahmud of Balkh, "Verily this
merchandise[FN#46] is a trust from Allah and may not be sold. If I sold
this property to other than thee for gold, I would sell it to thee for
silver; but by Allah, O filthy villain, I will never again company with
thee; no, never!" Then he returned to Kamal-Al-Din the guide and said
to him, "Yonder man is a lewd fellow, and I will no longer consort with
him nor suffer his company by the way." He replied, "O my son, did I
not say to thee, 'Go not near him'? But if we part company with him, I
fear destruction for ourselves; so let us still make one caravan." But
Ala al-Din cried, "It may not be that I ever again travel with him." So
he loaded his beasts and journeyed onwards, he and his company, till
they came to a valley, where Ala al-Din would have halted, but the
Cameleer said to him, "Do not halt here; rather let us fare forwards
and press our pace, so haply we make Baghdad before the gates are
closed, for they open and shut them with the sun, in fear lest the
Rejectors[FN#47] should take the city and throw the books of religious
learning into the Tigris." But Ala al Din replied to him, "O my father,
I came not forth from home with this merchandise, or travelled hither
for the sake of traffic, but to divert myself with the sight of foreign
lands and folks;" and he rejoined, "O my son, we fear for thee and for
thy goods from the wild Arabs." Whereupon the youth answered "Harkye,
fellow, art thou master or man? I will not enter Baghdad till the
morning, that the sons of the city may see my merchandise and know me."
"Do as thou wilt," said the other "I have given thee the wisest advice,
but thou art the best judge of thine own case." Then Ala al-Din bade
them unload the mule; and pitch the tent; so they did his bidding and
abode there till the middle of the night, when he went out to obey a
call of nature and suddenly saw something gleaming afar off. So he said
to Kamal-al-Din, "O captain, what is yonder glittering?" The Cameleer
sat up and, considering it straitly, knew it for the glint of spear
heads and the steel of Badawi weapons and swords. And lo and behold!
this was a troop of wild Arabs under a chief called Ajlбn Abъ Nбib,
Shaykh of the Arabs, and when they neared the camp and saw the bales
and baggage, they said one to another, "O night of loot!" Now when
Kamal-al-Din heard these their words he cried, "Avaunt, O vilest of
Arabs!" But Abu Naib so smote him with his throw spear in the breast,
that the point came out gleaming from his back, and he fell down dead
at the tent door. Then cried the water carrier,[FN#48] "Avaunt, O
foulest of Arabs!" and one of them smote him with a sword upon the
shoulder, that it issued shining from the tendons of the throat, and he
also fell down dead. (And all this while Ala Al-Din stood looking on.)
Then the Badawin surrounded and charged the caravan from every side and
slew all Ala al-Din's company without sparing a man: after which they
loaded the mules with the spoil and made off. Quoth Ala al-Din to
himself, "Nothing will slay thee save thy mule and thy dress!"; so he
arose and put off his gown and threw it over the back of a mule,
remaining in his shirt and bag trousers only; after which he looked
towards the tent door and, seeing there a pool of gore flowing from the
slaughtered, wallowed in it with his remaining clothes till he was as a
slain man drowned in his own blood. Thus it fared with him; but as
regards the Shaykh of the wild Arabs, Ajlan, he said to his banditti,
"O Arabs, was this caravan bound from Egypt for Baghdad or from Baghdad
for Egypt?"—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying
her permitted say.

When it was the Two Hundred and Fifty-fifth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the Badawi
asked his banditti, "O Arabs, was this caravan bound from Egypt for
Baghdad or from Baghdad for Egypt?"; they answered, "'Twas bound from
Egypt for Baghdad;" and he said, "Return ye to the slain, for methinks
the owner of this caravan is not dead." So they turned back to the
slain and fell to prodding and slashing them with lance and sword till
they came to Ala al-Din, who had thrown himself down among the corpses.
And when they came to him, quoth they, "Thou dost but feign thyself
dead, but we will make an end of thee," and one of the Badawin levelled
his javelin and would have plunged it into his breast when he cried
out, "Save me, O my lord Abd al-Kadir, O Saint of Gilan!" and behold,
he saw a hand turn the lance away from his breast to that of
Kamal-al-Din the cameleer, so that it pierced him and spared
himself.[FN#49] Then the Arabs made off; and, when Ala al-Din saw that
the birds were flown with their god send, he sat up and finding no one,
rose and set off running; but, behold! Abu Nбib the Badawi looked back
and said to his troop, "I see somewhat moving afar off, O Arabs!" So
one of the bandits turned back and, spying Ala al-Din running, called
out to him, saying, "Flight shall not forward thee and we after thee;"
and he smote his mare with his heel and she hastened after him. Then
Ala al-Din seeing before him a watering tank and a cistern beside it,
climbed up into a niche in the cistern and, stretching himself at full
length, feigned to be asleep and said, "O gracious Protector, cover me
with the veil of Thy protection which may not be torn away!" And lo!
the Badawi came up to the cistern and, standing in his stirrup irons
put out his hand to lay hold of Ala al-Din; but he said, "O my lady
Nafнsah[FN#50]! Now is thy time!" And behold, a scorpion stung the
Badawi in the palm and he cried out, saying, "Help, O Arabs! I am
stung;" and he alighted from his mare's back. So his comrades came up
to him and mounted him again, asking, "What hath befallen thee?"
whereto he answered, "A young scorpion[FN#51] stung me." So they
departed, with the caravan. Such was their case; but as regards Ala
al-Din, he tarried in the niche, and Mahmud of Balkh bade load his
beasts and fared forwards till he came to the Lion's Copse where he
found Ala al-Din's attendants all lying slain. At this he rejoiced and
went on till he reached the cistern and the reservoir. Now his mule was
athirst and turned aside to drink, but she saw Ala al-Din's shadow in
the water and shied and started; whereupon Mahmud raised his eyes and,
seeing Ala al-Din lying in the niche, stripped to his shirt and bag
trousers, said to him, "What man this deed to thee hath dight and left
thee in this evil plight?" Answered Ala alDin, "The Arabs," and Mahmud
said, "O my son, the mules and the baggage were thy ransom; so do thou
comfort thyself with his saying who said,

'If thereby man can save his head from death, * His good is worth him
but a slice of nail!'

But now, O my son, come down and fear no hurt." Thereupon he descended
from the cistern-niche and Mahmud mounted him on a mule, and they fared
on till they reached Baghdad, where he brought him to his own house and
carried him to the bath, saying to him, "The goods and money were the
ransom of thy life, O my son; but, if thou wilt hearken to me, I will
give thee the worth of that thou hast lost, twice told." When he came
out of the bath, Mahmud carried him into a saloon decorated with gold
with four raised floors, and bade them bring a tray with all manner of
meats. So they ate and drank and Mahmud bent towards Ala al-Din to
snatch a kiss from him; but he received it upon the palm of his hand
and said, "What, dost thou persist in thy evil designs upon me? Did I
not tell thee that, were I wont to sell this merchandise to other than
thee for gold, I would sell it thee for silver?" Quoth Mahmud, "I will
give thee neither merchandise nor mule nor clothes save at this price;
for I am gone mad for love of thee, and bless him who said,

'Told us, ascribing to his Shaykhs, our Shaykh * Abъ Bilбl, these

     words they wont to utter:[FN#52]

Unhealed the lover wones of love desire, * By kiss and clip, his

     only cure's to futter!'"

Ala al-Din replied, "Of a truth this may never be, take back thy dress
and thy mule and open the door that I may go out." So he opened the
door, and Ala al-Din fared forth and walked on, with the dogs barking
at his heels, and he went forwards through the dark when behold, he saw
the door of a mosque standing open and, entering the vestibule, there
took shelter and concealment; and suddenly a light approached him and
on examining it he saw that it came from a pair of lanthorns borne by
two slaves before two merchants. Now one was an old man of comely face
and the other a youth; and he heard the younger say to the elder, "O my
uncle,, I conjure thee by Allah, give me back my cousin!" The old man
replied, "Did I not forbid thee, many a time, when the oath of divorce
was always in thy mouth, as it were Holy Writ?" Then he turned to his
right and, seeing Ala al-Din as he were a slice of the full moon, said
to him, "Peace be with thee! who art thou, O my son?" Quoth he,
returning the salutation of peace, "I am Ala al-Din, son of Shams
al-Din, Consul of the merchants for Egypt. I besought my father for
merchandise; so he packed me fifty loads of stuffs and goods."—And
Shahrazed perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted

When it was the Two Hundred and Fifty-sixth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Ala al-Din
continued, "So he packed me fifty loads of goods and gave me ten
thousand dinars, wherewith I set out for Baghdad; but when I reached
the Lion's Copse, the wild Arabs came out against me and took all my
goods and monies. So I entered the city knowing not where to pass the
night and, seeing this place, I took shelter here." Quoth the old man,
"O my son, what sayest thou to my giving thee a thousand dinars and a
suit of clothes and a mule worth other two thousand?" Ala al-Din asked,
"To what end wilt thou give me these things, O my uncle?" and the other
answered, 'This young man who accompanieth me is the son of my brother
and an only son; and I have a daughter called Zubaydah[FN#53] the
lutist, an only child who is a model of beauty and loveliness, so I
married her to him. Now he loveth her, but she loatheth him; and when
he chanced to take an oath of triple divorcement and broke it,
forthright she left him. Whereupon he egged on all the folk to
intercede with me to restore her to him; but I told him that this could
not lawfully be save by an intermediate marriage, and we have agreed to
make some stranger the intermediary[FN#54] in order that none may taunt
and shame him with this affair. So, as thou art a stranger, come with
us and we will marry thee to her; thou shalt lie with her to-night and
on the morrow divorce her and we will give thee what I said." Quoth Ala
al-Din to himself, "By Allah, to bide the night with a bride on a bed
in a house is far better than sleeping in the streets and vestibules!"
So he went with them to the Kazi whose heart, as soon as he saw Ala
al-Din, was moved to love him, and who said to the old man, "What is
your will?" He replied, "We wish to make this young man an intermediary
husband for my daughter; but we will write a bond against him binding
him to pay down by way of marriage-settlement ten thousand gold pieces.
Now if after passing the night with her he divorce her in the morning,
we will give him a mule and dress each worth a thousand dinars, and a
third thousand of ready money; but if he divorce her not, he shall pay
down the ten thousand dinars according to contract." So they agreed to
the agreement and the father of the bride-to-be received his bond for
the marriage-settlement. Then he took Ala al-Din and, clothing him
anew, carried him to his daughter's house and there he left him
standing at the door, whilst he himself went in to the young lady and
said, "Take the bond of thy marriage-settlement, for I have wedded thee
to a handsome youth by name Ala al-Din Abu al-Shamat: so do thou use
him with the best of usage." Then he put the bond into her hands and
left her and went to his own lodging. Now the lady's cousin had an old
duenna who used to visit Zubaydah, and he had done many a kindness to
this woman, so he said to her, "O my mother, if my cousin Zubaydah see
this handsome young man, she will never after accept my offer; so I
would fain have thee contrive some trick to keep her and him apart."
She answered, "By the life of thy youth,[FN#55] I will not suffer him
to approach her!" Then she went to Ala al-Din and said to him, "O my
son, I have a word of advice to give thee, for the love of Almighty
Allah and do thou accept my counsel, as I fear for thee from this young
woman: better thou let her lie alone and feel not her person nor draw
thee near to her." He asked, "Why so?"; and she answered, "Because her
body is full of leprosy and I dread lest she infect thy fair and seemly
youth." Quoth he, "I have no need of her." Thereupon she went to the
lady and said the like to her of Ala al-Din, and she replied, "I have
no need of him, but will let him lie alone, and on the morrow he shall
gang his gait." Then she called a slave-girl and said to her, "Take the
tray of food and set it before him that he may sup." So the handmaid
carried him the tray of food and set it before him and he ate his fill:
after which he sat down and raised his charming voice and fell to
reciting the chapter called Y. S.[FN#56] The lady listened to him and
found his voice as melodious as the psalms of David sung by David
himself,[FN#57] which when she heard, she exclaimed, "Allah disappoint
the old hag who told me that he was affected with leprosy! Surely this
is not the voice of one who hath such a disease; and all was a lie
against him."[FN#58] Then she took a lute of India-land workmanship
and, tuning the strings, sang to it in a voice so sweet its music would
stay the birds in the heart of heaven; and began these two couplets,

"I love a fawn with gentle white black eyes, * Whose walk the

     willow-wand with envy kills:

Forbidding me he bids for rival-mine, * 'Tis Allah's grace who

     grants to whom He wills!"

And when he heard her chant these lines he ended his recitation of the
chapter, and began also to sing and repeated the following couplet,

"My Salбm to the Fawn in the garments concealed, * And to roses in
gardens of cheek revealed."

The lady rose up when she heard this, her inclination for him redoubled
and she lifted the curtain; and Ala al-Din, seeing her, recited these
two couplets,

"She shineth forth, a moon, and bends, a willow wand, * And

     breathes out ambergris, and gazes, a gazelle.

Meseems as if grief loved my heart and when from her *

     Estrangement I abide possession to it fell."[FN#59]

Thereupon she came forward, swinging her haunches and gracefully
swaying a shape the handiwork of Him whose boons are hidden; and each
of them stole one glance of the eyes that cost them a thousand sighs.
And when the shafts of the two regards which met rankled in his heart,
he repeated these two couplets,

"She 'spied the moon of Heaven, reminding me * Of nights when met

     we in the meadows li'en:

True, both saw moons, but sooth to say, it was * Her very eyes I

     saw, and she my eyne."

And when she drew near him, and there remained but two paces between
them, he recited these two couplets,

"She spread three tresses of unplaited hair * One night, and

     showed me nights not one but four;

And faced the moon of Heaven with her brow, * And showed me two-

    fold moons in single hour."

And as she was hard by him he said to her, "Keep away from me, lest
thou infect me." Whereupon she uncovered her wrist[FN#60] to him, and
he saw that it was cleft, as it were in two halves, by its veins and
sinews and its whiteness was as the whiteness of virgin silver. Then
said she, "Keep away from me, thou! for thou art stricken with leprosy,
and maybe thou wilt infect me." He asked, "Who told thee I was a
leper?" and she answered, "The old woman so told me." Quoth he, "'Twas
she told me also that thou wast afflicted with white scurvy;" and so
saying, he bared his forearms and showed her that his skin was also
like virgin silver. Thereupon she pressed him to her bosom and he
pressed her to his bosom and the twain embraced with closest embrace,
then she took him and, lying down on her back, let down her petticoat
trousers, and in an instant that which his father had left him rose up
in rebellion against him and he said, "Go it, O Shayth Zachary[FN#61]
of shaggery, O father of veins!"; and putting both hands to her flanks,
he set the sugar-stick[FN#62] to the mouth of the cleft and thrust on
till he came to the wicket called "Pecten." His passage was by the Gate
of Victories[FN#63] and therefrom he entered the Monday market, and
those of Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday,[FN#64] and, finding the
carpet after the measure of the dais floor,[FN#65] he plied the box
within its cover till he came to the end of it. And when morning dawned
he cried to her, "Alas for delight which is not fulfilled! The
raven[FN#66] taketh it and flieth away!" She asked, "What meaneth this
saying?"; and he answered, "O my lady, I have but this hour to abide
with thee." Quoth she "Who saith so?" and quoth he, "Thy father made me
give him a written bond to pay ten thousand dinars to thy
wedding-settlement; and, except I pay it this very day, they will
imprison me for debt in the Kazi's house; and now my hand lacketh
one-half dirham of the sum." She asked, "O my lord, is the
marriage-bond in thy hand or in theirs?"; and he answered, "O my lady,
in mine, but I have nothing." She rejoined, "The matter is easy; fear
thou nothing. Take these hundred dinars: an I had more, I would give
thee what thou lackest; but of a truth my father, of his love for my
cousin, hath transported all his goods, even to my jewellery from my
lodging to his. But when they send thee a serjeant of the
Ecclesiastical Court,"—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and
ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Two Hundred and Fifty-seventh Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the young lady
rejoined to Ala al-Din, "And when they send thee at an early hour a
serjeant of the Ecclesiastical-Court, and the Kazi and my father bid
thee divorce me, do thou reply, By what law is it lawful and right that
I should marry at nightfall and divorce in the morning? Then kiss the
Kazi's hand and give him a present, and in like manner kiss the
Assessors' hands and give each of them ten gold pieces. So they will
all speak with thee, and if they ask thee, 'Why dost thou not divorce
her and take the thousand dinars and the mule and suit of clothes,
according to contract duly contracted?' do thou answer, 'Every hair of
her head is worth a thousand ducats to me and I will never put her
away, neither will I take a suit of clothes nor aught else.' And if the
Kazi say to thee, 'Then pay down the marriage-settlement,' do thou
reply, 'I am short of cash at this present;' whereupon he and the
Assessors will deal in friendly fashion with thee and allow thee time
to pay." Now whilst they were talking, behold, the Kazi's officer
knocked at the door; so Ala al-Din went down and the man said to him,
"Come, speak the Efendi,[FN#67] for thy fatherinlaw summoneth thee." So
Ala al-Din gave him five dinars and said to him, "O Summoner, by what
law am I bound to marry at nightfall and divorce next morning?" The
serjeant answered, "By no law of ours at all, at all; and if thou be
ignorant of the religious law, I will act as thine advocate." Then they
went to the divorce court and the Kazi said to Ala al-Din, "Why dost
thou not put away the woman and take what falleth to thee by the
contract?" Hearing this he went up to the Kazi; and, kissing his hand,
put fifty dinars in it and said, "O our lord the Kazi, by what law is
it lawful and right that I should marry at nightfall and divorce in the
morning in my own despite?" The Kazi, answered, "Divorce as a
compulsion and by force is sanctioned by no school of the Moslems."
Then said the young lady's father, "If thou wilt not divorce, pay me
the ten thousand dinars, her marriage-settlement." Quoth Ala al-Din,
"Give me a delay of three days;" but the Kazi, said, "Three days is not
time enough; he shall give thee ten." So they agreed to this and bound
him after ten days either to pay the dowry or to divorce her. And after
consenting he left them and taking meat and rice and clarified
butter[FN#68] and what else of food he needed, returned to the house
and told the young woman all that had passed; whereupon she said,
"'Twixt night and day, wonders may display; and Allah bless him for his

'Be mild when rage shall come to afflict thy soul; * Be patient

     when calamity breeds ire;

Lookye, the Nights are big with child by Time, * Whose pregnancy

     bears wondrous things and dire.'"

Then she rose and made ready food and brought the tray, and they two
ate and drank and were merry and mirthful. Presently Ala al-Din
besought her to let him hear a little music; so she took the lute and
played a melody that had made the hardest stone dance for glee, and the
strings cried out in present ecstacy, "O Loving One!'';[FN#69] after
which she passed from the adagio into the presto and a livelier
measure. As they thus spent their leisure in joy and jollity and mirth
and merriment, behold, there came a knocking at the door and she said
to him; "Go see who is at the door." So he went down and opened it and
finding four Dervishes standing without, said to them, "What want ye?"
They replied, "O my lord, we are foreign and wandering religious
mendicants, the viands of whose souls are music and dainty verse, and
we would fain take our pleasure with thee this night till morning cloth
appear, when we will wend our way, and with Almighty Allah be thy
reward; for we adore music and there is not one of us but knoweth by
heart store of odes and songs and ritornellos."[FN#70] He answered,
"There is one I must consult;" and he returned and told Zubaydah who
said, "Open the door to them." So he brought them up and made them sit
down and welcomed them; then he fetched them food, but they would not
eat and said, "O our lord, our meat is to repeat Allah's name in our
hearts and to hear music with our ears: and bless him who saith,

'Our aim is only converse to enjoy, * And eating joyeth only

And just now we heard pleasant music in thy house, but when we entered,
it ceased; and fain would we know whether the player was a slave-girl,
white or black, or a maiden of good family." He answered, "It was this
my wife," and told them all that had befallen him, adding, "Verily my
father-in-law hath bound me to pay a marriage-settlement of ten
thousand dinars for her, and they have given me ten days' time." Said
one of the Dervishes, "Have no care and think of naught but good; for I
am Shaykh of the Convent and have forty Dervishes under my orders. I
will presently collect from them the ten thousand dinars and thou shalt
pay thy father-in-law the wedding settlement. But now bid thy wife make
us music that we may be gladdened and pleasured; for to some folk music
is meat, to others medicine and to others refreshing as a fan." Now
these four Dervishes were none other than the Caliph Harun al-Rashid,
his Wazir Ja'afar the Barmecide, Abu al-Nowбs al-Hasan son of
Hбni[FN#72] and Masrur the sworder; and the reason of their coming to
the house was that the Caliph, being heavy at heart, had summoned his
Minister and said, "O Wazir! it is our will to go down to the city and
pace its streets, for my breast is sore straitened." So they all four
donned dervish dress and went down and walked about, till they came to
that house where, hearing music, they were minded to know the cause.
They spent the night in joyance and harmony and telling tale after tale
until morning dawned, when the Caliph laid an hundred gold pieces under
the prayer-carpet and all taking leave of Ala al-Din, went their way.
Now when Zubaydah lifted the carpet she found beneath it the hundred
dinars and she said to her husband, "Take these hundred dinars which I
have found under the prayer-carpet; assuredly the Dervishes when about
to leave us laid them there, without our knowledge." So Ala al-Din took
the money and, repairing to the market, bought therewith meat and rice
and clarified butter and all they required. And when it was night, he
lit the wax-candles and said to his wife, "The mendicants, it is true,
have not brought the ten thousand dinars which they promised me; but
indeed they are poor men." As they were talking, behold, the Dervishes
knocked at the door and she said, "Go down and open to them." So he did
her bidding and bringing them up, said to them, "Have you brought me
the ten thousand dinars you promised me?" They answered, "We have not
been able to collect aught thereof as yet; but fear nothing: Inshallah,
tomorrow we will compound for thee some alchemical-cookery. But now bid
thy wife play us her very best pieces and gladden our hearts for we
love music." So she took her lute and made them such melody that had
caused the hardest rocks to dance with glee; and they passed the night
in mirth and merriment, converse and good cheer, till morn appeared
with its sheen and shone, when the Caliph laid an hundred gold pieces
under the prayer-carpet and all, after taking leave of Ala al-Din, went
their way. And they ceased not to visit him thus every night for nine
nights; and each morning the Caliph put an hundred dinars under the
prayer carpet, till the tenth night, when they came not. Now the reason
of their failure to come was that the Caliph had sent to a great
merchant, saying to him, "Bring me fifty loads of stuffs, such as come
from Cairo,"—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying
her permitted say.

When it was the Two Hundred and Fifty-eighth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Prince of
True Believers said to that merchant, "Bring me fifty loads of stuffs
such as come from Cairo, and let each one be worth a thousand dinars,
and write on each bale its price; and bring me also a male Abyssinian
slave." The merchant did the bidding of the Caliph who committed to the
slave a basin and ewer of gold and other presents, together with the
fifty loads; and wrote a letter to Ala al-Din as from his father Shams
al-Din and said to him, "Take these bales and what else is with them,
and go to such and such a quarter wherein dwelleth the Provost of the
merchants and say, 'Where be Ala al-Din Abu al Shamat?' till folk
direct thee to his quarter and his house." So the slave took the letter
and the goods and what else and fared forth on his errand. Such was his
case; but as regards Zubaydah's cousin and first husband, he went to
her father and said to him, "Come let us go to Ala al-Din and make him
divorce the daughter of my uncle." So they set out both together and,
when they came to the street in which the house stood, they found fifty
he mules laden with bales of stuffs, and a blackamoor riding on a she
mule. So they said to him, "Whose loads are these?" He replied, "They
belong to my lord Ala al-Din Abu al-Shamat; for his father equipped him
with merchandise and sent him on a journey to Baghdad-city; but the
wild Arabs came forth against him and took his money and goods and all
he had. So when the ill news reached his father, he despatched me to
him with these loads, in lieu of those he had lost; besides a mule
laden with fifty thousand dinars, a parcel of clothes worth a power of
money, a robe of sables[FN#73] and a basin and ewer of gold." Whereupon
the lady's father said, "He whom thou seekest is my son-in-law and I
will show thee his house." Meanwhile Ala al-Din was sitting at home in
huge concern, when lo! one knocked at the door and he said, "O
Zubaydah, Allah is all-knowing! but I fear thy father hath sent me an
officer from the Kazi or the Chief of Police." Quoth she, "Go down and
see what it is." So he went down; and, opening the door, found his
father-in-law, the Provost of the merchants with an Abyssinian slave,
dusky complexioned and pleasant of favour, riding on a mule. When the
slave saw him he dismounted and kissed his hands, and Ala al-Din said,
"What dost thou want?" He replied, "I am the slave of my lord Ala
al-Din Abu al-Shamat, son of Shams al-Din, Consul of the merchants for
the land of Egypt, who hath sent me to him with this charge." Then he
gave him the letter and Ala al-Din opening it found written what

"Ho thou my letter! when my friend shall see thee, * Kiss thou

     the ground and buss his sandal-shoon:

Look thou hie softly and thou hasten not, * My life and rest are

     in those hands so boon.

"After hearty salutations and congratulations and high estimation from
Shams al-Din to his son, Abu al-Shamat. Know, O my son, that news hath
reached me of the slaughter of thy men and the plunder of thy monies
and goods; so I send thee herewith fifty loads of Egyptian stuffs,
together with a suit of clothes and a robe of sables and a basin and
ewer of gold. Fear thou no evil, and the goods thou hast lost were the
ransom of thy life; so regret them not and may no further grief befall
thee. Thy mother and the people of the house are doing well in health
and happiness and all greet thee with abundant greetings. Moreover, O
my son, it hath reached me that they have married thee, by way of
intermediary, to the lady Zubaydah the lutist and they have imposed on
thee a marriage-settlement of ten thousand dinars; wherefore I send
thee also fifty thousand dinars by the slave Salнm."[FN#75] Now when
Ala al-Din had made an end of reading the letter, he took possession of
the loads and, turning to the Provost, said to him, "O my
father-in-law, take the ten thousand dinars, the marriage-settlement of
thy daughter Zubaydah, and take also the loads of goods and dispose of
them, and thine be the profit; only return me the cost price." He
answered, "Nay, by Allah, I will take nothing; and, as for thy wife's
settlement, do thou settle the matter with her." Then, after the goods
had been brought in, they went to Zuhaydah and she said to her sire, "O
my father, whose loads be these?" He said, "These belong to thy
husband, Ala al-Din: his father hath sent them to him instead of those
whereof the wild Arabs spoiled him. Moreover, he hath sent him fifty
thousand dinars with a parcel of clothes, a robe of sables, a she mule
for riding and a basin and ewer of gold. As for the marriage-settlement
that is for thy recking." Thereupon Ala al-Din rose and, opening the
money box, gave her her settlement and the lady's cousin said, "O my
uncle, let him divorce to me my wife;" but the old man replied, "This
may never be now; for the marriage tie is in his hand." Thereupon the
young man went out, sore afflicted and sadly vexed and, returning home,
fell sick, for his heart had received its death blow; so he presently
died. But as for Ala al-Din, after receiving his goods he went to the
bazar and buying what meats and drinks he needed, made a banquet as
usual—against the night, saying to Zubaydah, "See these lying
Dervishes; they promised us and broke their promises." Quoth she, "Thou
art the son of a Consul of the merchants, yet was thy hand short of
half a dirham; how then should it be with poor Dervishes?" Quoth he,
"Almighty Allah hath enabled us to do without them; but if they come to
us never again will I open the door to them." She asked, "Why so,
whenas their coming footsteps brought us good luck; and, moreover, they
put an hundred dinars under the prayer carpet for us every night?
Perforce must thou open the door to them an they come." So when day
departed with its light and in gloom came night, they lighted the wax
candles and he said to her, "Rise, Zubaydah, make us music;" and
behold, at this moment some one knocked at the door, and she said, "Go
and look who is at the door." So he went down and opened it and seeing
the Dervishes, said, "Oh, fair welcome to the liars! Come up."
Accordingly they went up with him and he seated them and brought them
the tray of food; and they ate and drank and became merry and mirthful,
and presently said to him, "O my lord, our hearts have been troubled
for thee: what hath passed between thee and thy father-in-law?" He
answered, "Allah compensated us beyond and above our desire." Rejoined
they, "By Allah, we were in fear for thee".—And Shahrazad perceived the
dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Two Hundred and and Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Dervishes
thus addressed Ala al-Din, "By Allah, we were in fear for thee and
naught kept us from thee but our lack of cash and coin." Quoth he,
"Speedy relief hath come to me from my Lord; for my father hath sent me
fifty thousand dinars and fifty loads of stuffs, each load worth a
thousand dinars; besides a riding-mule, a robe of sables, an Abyssinian
slave and a basin and ewer of gold. Moreover, I have made my peace with
my father-in-law and my wife hath become my lawful wife by my paying
her settlement; so laud to Allah for that!" Presently the Caliph rose
to do a necessity; whereupon Ja'afar bent him towards Ala al-Din and
said, "Look to thy manners, for thou art in the presence of the
Commander of the Faithful " Asked he, "How have I failed in good
breeding before the Commander of the Faithful, and which of you is he?"
Quoth Ja'afar, "He who went out but now to make water is the Commander
of the Faithful, Harun al-Rashid, and I am the Wazir Ja'afar; and this
is Masrur the executioner and this other is Abu Nowas Hasan bin Hani..
And now, O Ala al-Din, use thy reason and bethink thee how many days'
journey it is between Cairo and Baghdad." He replied, "Five and forty
days' journey;" and Ja'afar rejoined, "Thy baggage was stolen only ten
days ago; so how could the news have reached thy father, and how could
he pack thee up other goods and send them to thee five-and-forty days'
journey in ten days' time?" Quoth Ala al-Din, "O my lord and whence
then came they?" "From the Commander of the Faithful," replied Ja'afar,
"of his great affection for thee." As they were speaking, lo! the
Caliph entered and Ala al-Din rising, kissed the ground before him and
said, "Allah keep thee, O Prince of the Faithful, and give thee long
life; and may the lieges never lack thy bounty and beneficence!"
Replied the Caliph, "O Ala al-Din, let Zubaydah play us an air, by way
of house-warming[FN#76] for thy deliverance." Thereupon she played him
on the lute so rare a melody that the very stones shook for glee, and
the strings cried out for present ecstasy, "O Loving One!" They spent
the night after the merriest fashion, and in the morning the Caliph
said to Ala al-Din, "Come to the Divan to-morrow." He answered,
"Hearkening and obedience, O Commander of the Faithful; so Allah will
and thou be well and in good case!" On the morrow he took ten trays
and, putting on each a costly present, went up with them to the palace;
and the Caliph was sitting on the throne when, behold, Ala al-Din
appeared at the door of the Divan, repeating these two couplets,

"Honour and Glory wait on thee each morn! * Thine enviers' noses

     in the dust be set!

Ne'er cease thy days to be as white as snow; * Thy foeman's days

     to be as black as jet!"

"Welcome, O Ala Al-Din!" said the Caliph, and he replied, "O Commander
of the Faithful, the Prophet (whom Allah bless and assain!)[FN#77] was
wont to accept presents; and these ten trays, with what is on them, are
my offering to thee." The Caliph accepted his gift and, ordering him a
robe of honour, made him Provost of the merchants and gave him a seat
in the Divan. And as he was sitting behold, his father-in-law came in
and, seeing Ala al-Din seated in his place and clad in a robe of
honour, said to the Caliph, "O King of the age, why is this man sitting
in my place and wearing this robe of honour?" Quoth the Caliph, "I have
made him Provost of the merchants, for offices are by investiture and
not in perpetuity, and thou art deposed." Answered the merchant, "Thou
hast done well, O Commander of the Faithful, for he is ours and one of
us. Allah make the best of us the managers of our affairs! How many a
little one hath become great!" Then the Caliph wrote Ala al-Din a
Firman[FN#78] of investiture and gave it to the Governor who gave it to
the crier,[FN#79] and the crier made proclamation in the Divan saying,
"None is Provost of the merchants but Ala al-Din Abu al-Shamat, and his
word is to be heard, and he must be obeyed with due respect paid, and
he meriteth homage and honour and high degree!" Moreover, when the
Divan broke up, the Governor went down with the crier before Ala
Al-Din!" and the crier repeated the proclamation and they carried Ala
al-Din through the thoroughfares of Baghdad, making proclamation of his
dignity. Next day, Ala al-Din opened a shop for his slave Salim and set
him therein, to buy and sell, whilst he himself rode to the palace and
took his place in the Caliph's Divan.—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn
of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Two Hundred and Sixtieth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Ala al-Din rode
to the palace and took his place in the Caliph's Divan. Now it came to
pass one day, when he sat in his stead as was his wont, behold, one
said to the Caliph, "O Commander of the Faithful, may thy head survive
such an one the cup-companion!; for he is gone to the mercy of Almighty
Allah, but be thy life prolonged!"[FN#80] Quoth the Caliph, "Where is
Ala al-Din Abu al-al-Shamat?" So he went up to the Commander of the
Faithful, who at once clad him in a splendid dress of honour and made
him his boon-companion; appointing him a monthly pay and allowance of a
thousand dinars. He continued to keep him company till, one day, as he
sat in the Divan, according to his custom attending upon the Caliph, lo
and behold! an Emir came up with sword and shield in hand and said, "O
Commander of the Faithful, may thy head long outlive the Head of the
Sixty, for he is dead this day;" whereupon the Caliph ordered Ala
al-Din a dress of honour and made him Chief of the Sixty, in place of
the other who had neither wife nor son nor daughter. So Ala al-Din laid
hands on his estate and the Caliph said to him, "Bury him in the earth
and take all he hath left of wealth and slaves and handmaids."[FN#81]
Then he shook the handkerchief[FN#82] and dismissed the Divan,
whereupon Ala al-Din went forth, attended by Ahmad al-Danaf, captain of
the right, and Hasan Shъmбn, captain of the left, riding at his either
stirrup, each with his forty men.[FN#83] Presently, he turned to Hasan
Shuman and his men and said to them, "Plead ye for me with the Captain
Ahmad al-Danaf that he please to accept me as his son by covenant
before Allah." And Ahmad assented, saying, "I and my forty men will go
before thee to the Divan every morning." Now after this Ala al-Din
continued in the Caliph's service many days; till one day it chanced
that he left the Divan and returning home, dismissed Ahmad al-Danaf and
his men and sat down with his wife Zubaydab, the lute-player, who
lighted the wax candles and went out of the room upon an occasion.
Suddenly he heard a loud shriek; so he rose up and running in haste to
see what was the matter, found that it was his wife who had cried out.
She was lying at full length on the ground and, when he put his hand to
her breast, he found her dead. Now her father's house faced that of Ala
al-Din, and he, hearing the shriek, came in and said, "What is the
matter, O my lord Ala al-Din?" He replied, "O my father, may thy head
outlive thy daughter Zubaydah! But, O my father, honour to the dead is
burying them." So when the morning dawned, they buried her in the earth
and her husband and father condoled with and mutually consoled each
other. Thus far concerning her; but as regards Ala al-Din he donned
mourning dress and declined the Divan, abiding tearful-eyed and
heavy-hearted at home. After a while, the Caliph said to Ja'afar, "O
Watir, what is the cause of Ala al-Din's absence from the Divan?" The
Minister answered, "O Commander of the Faithful, he is in mourning for
his wife Zubaydah; and is occupied in receiving those who come to
console him;" and the Caliph said, "It behoveth us to pay him a visit
of condolence." "I hear and I obey," replied Ja'afar. So they took
horse, the Caliph and the Minister and a few attendants, and rode to
Ala al-Din's house and, as he was sitting at home, behold, the party
came in upon him; whereupon he rose to receive them and kissed the
ground before the Caliph, who said to him, "Allah make good thy loss to
thee!" Answered Ala Al-Din, "May Allah preserve thee to us, O Commander
of the Faithful!" Then said the Caliph, "O Ala al-Din, why hast thou
absented thyself from the Divan?" And he replied, "Because of my
mourning for my wife, Zubaydah, O Commander of the Faithful." The
Caliph rejoined, "Put away grief from thee: verily she is dead and gone
to the mercy of Almighty Allah and mourning will avail thee nothing;
no, nothing." But Ala al-Din said "O Commander of the Faithful, I shall
never leave mourning for her till I die and they bury me by her side."
Quoth the Caliph, "In Allah is compensation for every decease, and
neither device nor riches can deliver from death; and divinely gifted
was he who said,

'All sons of woman, albe long preserved, * Are borne upon the

     bulging bier some day.[FN#84]

How then shall 'joy man joy or taste delight, * Upon whose cheeks

     shall rest the dust and clay?'"

When the Caliph had made an end of condoling with him, he charged him
not to absent himself from the Divan and returned to his palace. And
Ala Al-Din, after a last sorrowful night, mounted early in the morning
and, riding to the court, kissed the ground before the Commander of the
Faithful who made a movement if rising from the throne[FN#85] to greet
and welcome him; and bade him take his appointed place in the Divan,
saying, "O Ala al-Din, thou art my guest to-night." So presently he
carried him into his serraglio and calling a slave-girl named Kъt
al-Kulъb, said to her, "Ala al-Din had a wife called Zubaydah, who used
to sing to him and solace him of cark and care; but she is gone to the
mercy of Almighty Allah, and now I would have thee play him an air upon
the lute,"—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying
her permitted say.

When it was the Two Hundred and Sixty-first Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Caliph said
to the damsel Kut al-Kulub, "I would have thee play him upon the lute
an air, of fashion sweet and rare, that he may be solaced of his cark
and care." So she rose and made sweet music; and the Caliph said to Ala
al-Din, "What sayst thou of this damsel's voice?" He replied, "Verily,
O Commander of the Faithful, Zubaydah's voice was the finer; but she is
skilled in touching the lute cunningly and her playing would make a
rock dance with glee." The Caliph asked, "Doth she please thee?'' and
he answered, "She doth, O Commander of the Faithful;" whereupon the
King said, "By the life of my head and the tombs of my forefathers, she
is a gift from me to thee, she and her waiting- women!" Ala al-Din
fancied that the Caliph was jesting with him; but, on the morrow, the
King went in to Kut al-Kulub and said to her, "I have given thee to Ala
Al-Din, whereat she rejoiced, for she had seen and loved him. Then the
Caliph returned from his serraglio palace to the Divan; and, calling
porters, said to them, "Set all the goods of Kut al-Kulub and her
waiting-women in a litter, and carry them to Ala al-Din's home." So
they conducted her to the house and showed her into the pavilion,
whilst the Caliph sat in the hall of audience till the dose of day,
when the Divan broke up and he retired to his harem. Such was his case;
but as regards Kut al-Kulub, when she had taken up her lodging in Ala
al-Din's mansion, she and her women, forty in all, besides the
eunuchry, she called two of these caponised slaves and said to them,
"Sit ye on stools, one on the right and another on the left hand of the
door; and, when Ala al-Din cometh home, both of you kiss his hands and
say to him, "Our mistress Kut al-Kulub requesteth thy presence in the
pavilion, for the Caliph hath given her to thee, her and her women."
They answered, "We hear and obey;" and did as she bade them. So, when
Ala al-Din returned, he found two of the Caliph's eunuchs sitting at
the door and was amazed at the matter and said to himself, "Surely,
this is not my own house; or else what can have happened?" Now when the
eunuchs saw him, they rose to him and, kissing his hands, said to him,
"We are of the Caliph's household and slaves to Kut al-Kulub, who
saluteth thee, giving thee to know that the Caliph hath bestowed her on
thee, her and her women, and requesteth thy presence." Quoth Ala
al-Din, "Say ye to her, 'Thou art welcome; but so long as thou shalt
abide with me, I will not enter the pavilion wherein thou art, for what
was the master's should not become the man's;' and furthermore ask her,
'What was the sum of thy day's expenditure in the Caliph's palace?'" So
they went in and did his errand to her, and she answered, "An hundred
dinars a day;" whereupon quoth he to himself, "There was no need for
the Caliph to give me Kut al-Kulub, that I should be put to such
expense for her; but there is no help for it." So she abode with him
awhile and he assigned her daily an hundred dinars for her maintenance;
till, one day, he absented himself from the Divan and the Caliph said
to Ja'afar, "O Watir, I gave not Kut al-Kulub unto Ala al-Din but that
she might console him for his wife; why, then, doth he still hold aloof
from us?" Answered Ja'afar, "O Commander of the Faithful, he spake
sooth who said, 'Whoso findeth his fere, forgetteth his friends.'"
Rejoined the Caliph, "Haply he hath not absented himself without
excuse, but we will pay him a visit." Now some days before this, Ala
al-Din had said to Ja'afar, "I complained to the Caliph of my grief and
mourning for the loss of my wife Zubaydah and he gave me Kut al-Kulub;"
and the Minister replied, "Except he loved thee, he had not given her
to thee. Say hast thou gone in unto her, O Ala al-Din?" He rejoined,
"No, by Allah! I know not her length from her breadth." He asked "And
why?" and he answered, "O Wazir, what befitteth the lord befitteth not
the liege." Then the Caliph and Ja'afar disguised themselves and went
privily to visit Ala al-Din; but he knew them and rising to them kissed
the hands of the Caliph, who looked at him and saw signs of sorrow in
his face. So he said to him, "O Al-Din, whence cometh this sorrow
wherein I see thee? Hast thou not gone in unto Kut al-Kulub?" He
replied, "O Commander of the Faithful, what befitteth the lord
befitteth not the thrall. No, as yet I have not gone in to visit her
nor do I know her length from her breadth; so pray quit me of her."
Quoth the Caliph, "I would fain see her and question her of her case;"
and quoth Ala al-Din, "I hear and I obey, O Commander of the Faithful."
So the Caliph went in,—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and
ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Two Hundred and Sixty-second Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Caliph went
in to Kut al-Kulub, who rose to him on sighting him and kissed the
ground between his hands; when he said to her, "Hath Ala al-Din gone in
unto thee?" and she answered, "No, O Commander of the Faithful, I sent
to bid him come, but he would not." So the Caliph bade carry her back
to the Harim and saying to Ala Al-Din, "Do not absent thyself from us,"
returned to his palace. Accordingly, next morning, Ala Al-Din, mounted
and rode to the Divan, where he took his seat as Chief of the Sixty.
Presently the Caliph ordered his treasurer to give the Wazir Ja'afar
ten thousand dinars and said when his order was obeyed, "I charge thee
to go down to the bazar where handmaidens are sold and buy Ala Al-Din,
a slave-girl with this sum." So in obedience to the King, Ja'afar took
Ala al-Din and went down with him to the bazar. Now as chance would
have it, that very day, the Emir Khбlid, whom the Caliph had made
Governor of Baghdad, went down to the market to buy a slave-girl for
his son and the cause of his going was that his wife, Khбtъn by name,
had borne him a son called Habzalam Bazбzah,[FN#86] and the same was
foul of favour and had reached the age of twenty, without learning to
mount horse; albeit his father was brave and bold, a doughty rider
ready to plunge into the Sea of Darkness.[FN#87] And it happened that
on a certain night he had a dream which caused nocturnal-pollution
whereof he told his mother, who rejoiced and said to his father, "I
want to find him a wife, as he is now ripe for wedlock." Quoth Khбlid,
"The fellow is so foul of favour and withal-so rank of odour, so sordid
and beastly that no woman would take him as a gift." And she answered,
"We will buy him a slave-girl." So it befell, for the accomplishing of
what Allah Almighty had decreed, that on the same day, Ja'afar and Ala
al-Din, the Governor Khбlid and his son went down to the market and
behold, they saw in the hands of a broker a beautiful girl, lovely
faced and of perfect shape, and the Wazir said to him, "O broker, ask
her owner if he will take a thousand dinars for her." And as the broker
passed by the Governor with the slave, Hahzalam Bazazah cast at her one
glance of the eyes which entailed for himself one thousand sighs; and
he fell in love with her and passion got hold of him and he said, "O my
father, buy me yonder slave-girl." So the Emir called the broker, who
brought the girl to him, and asked her her name. She replied, "My name
is Jessamine;" and he said to Hahzalam Bazazah, "O my son, as she
please thee, do thou bid higher for her." Then he asked the broker,
"What hath been bidden for her?" and he replied, "A thousand dinars."
Said the Governor's son, "She is mine for a thousand pieces of gold and
one more;" and the broker passed on to Ala al-Din who bid two thousand
dinars for her; and as often as the Emir's son bid another dinar, Ala
al-Din bid a thousand. The ugly youth was vexed at this and said, "O
broker! who is it that outbiddeth me for the slave-girl?" Answered the
broker, "It is the Wazir Ja'afar who is minded to buy her for Ala
al-Din Abu al-Shamat." And Ala al-Din continued till he brought her
price up to ten thousand dinars, and her owner was satisfied to sell
her for that sum. Then he took the girl and said to her, "I give thee
thy freedom for the love of Almighty Allah;" and forthwith wrote his
contract of marriage with her and carried her to his house. Now when
the broker returned, after having received his brokerage, the Emir's
son summoned him and said to him, "Where is the girl?" Quoth he, "She
was bought for ten thousand dinars by Ala al-Din, who hath set her free
and married her." At this the young man was greatly vexed and cast down
and, sighing many a sigh, returned home, sick for love of the damsel;
and he threw himself on his bed and refused food, for love and longing
were sore upon him. Now when his mother saw him in this plight, she
said to him, "Heaven assain thee, O my son! What aileth thee?" And he
answered, "Buy me Jessamine, O my mother." Quoth she, "When the
flower-seller passeth I will buy thee a basketful of jessamine." Quoth
he, "It is not the jessamine one smells, but a slave-girl named
Jessamine, whom my father would not buy for me." So she said to her
husband, "Why and wherefore didest thou not buy him the girl?" and he
replied, "What is fit for the lord is not fit for the liege and I have
no power to take her: no less a man bought her than Ala Al-Din, Chief
of the Sixty." Then the youth's weakness redoubled upon him, till he
gave up sleeping and eating, and his mother bound her head with the
fillets of mourning. And while in her sadness she sat at home,
lamenting over her son, behold, came in to her an old woman, known as
the mother of Ahmad Kamбkim[FN#88] the arch-thief, a knave who would
bore through a middle wall and scale the tallest of the tall and steal
the very kohl off the eye-ball.[FN#89] From his earliest years he had
been given to these malpractices, till they made him Captain of the
Watch, when he stole a sum of money; and the Chief of Police, coming
upon him in the act, carried him to the Caliph, who bade put him to
death on the common execution-ground.[FN#90] But he implored protection
of the Wazir whose intercession the Caliph never rejected, so he
pleaded for him with the Commander of the Faithful who said, "How canst
thou intercede for this pest of the human race?" Ja'afar answered, "O
Commander of the Faithful, do thou imprison him; whoso built the first
jail was a sage, seeing that a jail is the grave of the living and a
joy for the foe." So the Caliph bade lay him in bilboes and write
thereon, "Appointed to remain here until death and not to be loosed but
on the corpse washer's bench;" and they cast him fettered into limbo.
Now his mother was a frequent visitor to the house of the Emir Khбlid,
who was Governor and Chief of Police; and she used to go in to her son
in jail and say to him, "Did I not warn thee to turn from thy wicked
ways?''[FN#91] And he would always answer her, "Allah decreed this to
me; but, O my mother, when thou visitest the Emir's wife make her
intercede for me with her husband." So when the old woman came into the
Lady Khatun, she found her bound with the fillets of mourning and said
to her, "Wherefore dost thou mourn?" She replied, "For my son Habzalam
Bazazah;" and the old woman exclaimed, "Heaven assain thy son!; what
hath befallen him?" So the mother told her the whole story, and she
said, "What thou say of him who should achieve such a feat as would
save thy son?" Asked the lady, "And what feat wilt thou do?" Quoth the
old woman, "I have a son called Ahmad Kamakim, the arch-thief, who
lieth chained in jail and on his bilboes is written, 'Appointed to
remain till death'; so do thou don thy richest clothes and trick thee
out with thy finest jewels and present thyself to thy husband with an
open face and smiling mien; and when he seeketh of thee what men seek
of women, put him off and baulk him of his will and say, 'By Allah,
'tis a strange thing! When a man desireth aught of his wife he dunneth
her till she doeth it; but if a wife desire aught of her husband, he
will not grant it to her.' Then he will say, 'What dost thou want?';
and do thou answer, 'First swear to grant my request.' If he swear to
thee by his head or by Allah, say to him, 'Swear to me the oath of
divorce', and do not yield to him, except he do this. And whenas he
hath sworn to thee the oath of divorce, say to him, 'Thou keepest in
prison a man called Ahmad Kamakim, and he hath a poor old mother, who
hath set upon me and who urgeth me in the matter and who saith, 'Let
thy husband intercede for him with the Caliph, that my son may repent
and thou gain heavenly guerdon.'" And the Lady Khatun replied, "I hear
and obey." So when her husband came into her—And Shahrazad perceived
the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Two Hundred and Sixty-third Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Governor came
in to his wife, who spoke to him as she had been taught and made him
swear the divorce-oath before she would yield to his wishes. He lay
with her that night and, when morning dawned, after he had made the
Ghusl-ablution and prayed the dawn- prayer, he repaired to the prison
and said, "O Ahmad Kamakim, O thou arch-thief, dost thou repent of thy
works?"; whereto he replied, "I do indeed repent and turn to Allah and
say with heart and tongue, 'I ask pardon of Allah.'" So the Governor
took him out of jail and carried him to the Court (he being still in
bilboes) and, approaching the Caliph, kissed ground before him. Quoth
the King, "O Emir Khбlid, what seekest thou?"; whereupon he brought
forward Ahmad Kamakim, shuffling and tripping in his fetters, and the
Caliph said to him, "What! art thou yet alive, O Kamakim?" He replied,
"O Commander of the Faithful, the miserable are long-lived." Quoth the
Caliph to the Emir, "Why hast thou brought him hither?"; and quoth he,
"O Commander of the Faithful, he hath a poor old mother cut off from
the world who hath none but this son and she hath had recourse to thy
slave, imploring him to intercede with thee to strike off his chains,
for he repenteth of his evil courses; and to make him Captain of the
Watch as before." The Caliph asked Ahmad Kamakim, "Doss thou repent of
thy sins?" "I do indeed repent me to Allah, O Commander of the
Faithful," answered he; whereupon the Caliph called for the blacksmith
and made him strike off his irons on the corpse- washer's bench.[FN#92]
Moreover, he restored him to his former office and charged him to walk
in the ways of godliness and righteousness. So he kissed the Caliph's
hands and, being invested with the uniform of Captain of the Watch, he
went forth, whilst they made proclamation of his appointment. Now for a
long time he abode in the exercise of his office, till one day his
mother went in to the Governor's wife, who said to her, "Praised be
Allah who hath delivered thy son from prison and restored him to health
and safety! But why dost thou not bid him contrive some trick to get
the girl Jessamine for my son Hahzalam Bazazah?" "That will I,"
answered she and, going out from her, repaired to her son. She found
him drunk with wine and said to him, "O my son, no one caused thy
release from jail but the wife of the Governor, and she would have thee
find some means to slay Ala al-Din Abu al-Shamat and get his slave-girl
Jessamine for her son Habzalam Bazazah." He answered, "That will be the
easiest of things; and I must needs set about it this very night." Now
this was the first night of the new month, and it was the custom of the
Caliph to spend that night with the Lady Zubaydah, for the setting free
of a slave-girl or a Mameluke or something of the sort. Moreover, on
such occasions he used to doff his royal-habit, together with his
rosary and dagger-sword and royal-signet, and set them all upon a chair
in the sitting- saloon: and he had also a golden lanthorn, adorned with
three jewels strung on a wire of gold, by which he set great store; and
he would commit all these things to the charge of the eunuchry, whilst
he went into the Lady Zubaydah's apartment. So arch-thief Ahmad Kamakin
waited till midnight, when Canopus shone bright, and all creatures to
sleep were dight whilst the Creator veiled them with the veil of night.
Then he took his drawn sword in his right and his grappling hook in his
left and, repairing to the Caliph's sitting-saloon planted his scaling
ladder and cast his grapnel on to the side of the terrace-roof; then,
raising the trap-door, let himself down into the saloon, where he found
the eunuchs asleep. He drugged them with hemp-fumes;[FN#93] and, taking
the Caliph's dress; dagger, rosary, kerchief, signet-ring and the
lanthorn whereupon were the pearls, returned whence he came and betook
himself to the house of Ala al-Din, who had that night celebrated his
wedding festivities with Jessamine and had gone in unto her and gotten
her with child. So arch-thief Ahmad Kamakim climbed over into his
saloon and, raising one of the marble slabs from the sunken part of the
floor,[FN#94] dug a hole under it and laid the stolen things therein,
all save the lanthorn, which he kept for himself. Then he plastered
down the marble slab as it before was, and returning whence he came,
went back to his own house, saying, "I will now tackle my drink and set
this lanthorn before me and quaff the cup to its light."[FN#95] Now as
soon as it was dawn of day, the Caliph went out into the
sitting-chamber; and, seeing the eunuchs drugged with hemp, aroused
them. Then he put his hand to the chair and found neither dress nor
signet nor rosary nor dagger-sword nor kerchief nor lanthorn; whereat
he was exceeding wroth and donning the dress of anger, which was a
scarlet suit,[FN#96] sat down in the Divan. So the Wazir Ja'afar came
forward and kissing the ground before him, said, "Allah avert all evil
from the Commander of the Faithful!" Answered the Caliph, "O Wazir, the
evil is passing great!" Ja'afar asked, "What has happened?" so he told
him what had occurred; and, behold, the Chief of Police appeared with
Ahmad Kamakim the robber at his stirrup, when he found the Commander of
the Faithful sore enraged. As soon as the Caliph saw him, he said to
him, "O Emir Khбlid, how goes Baghdad?" And he answered, "Safe and
secure." Cried he "Thou liest!" "How so, O Prince of True Believers?"
asked the Emir. So he told him the case and added, "I charge thee to
bring me back all the stolen things." Replied the Emir, "O Commander of
the Faithful, the vinegar worm is of and in the vinegar, and no
stranger can get at this place."[FN#97] But the Caliph said, "Except
thou bring me these things, I will put thee to death." Quoth he, "Ere
thou slay me, slay Ahmad Kamakim, for none should know the robber and
the traitor but the Captain of the Watch." Then came forward Ahmad
Kamakim and said to the Caliph, "Accept my intercession for the Chief
of Police, and I will be responsible to thee for the thief and will
track his trail till I find him; but give me two Kazis and two
Assessors for he who did this thing feareth thee not, nor cloth he fear
the Governor nor any other." Answered the Caliph, "Thou shalt have what
thou wantest; but let search be made first in my palace and then in
those of the Wazir and the Chief of the Sixty." Rejoined Ahmad Kamakim,
"Thou sayest well, O Commander of the Faith ful; belike the man that
did this ill deed be one who hath been reared in the King's household
or in that of one of his officers." Cried the Caliph, "As my head
liveth, whosoever shall have done the deed I will assuredly put him to
death, be it mine own son!" Then Ahmad Kamakim received a written
warrant to enter and perforce search the houses;—And Shahrazad
perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Two Hundred and Sixty-fourth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Ahmad Kamakim got
what he wanted, and received a written warrant to enter and perforce
search the houses; so he fared forth, taking in his hand a rod[FN#98]
made of bronze and copper, iron and steel, of each three equal-parts.
He first searched the palace of the Caliph, then that of the Wazir
Ja'afar; after which he went the round of the houses of the
Chamberlains and the Viceroys till he came to that of Ala al-Din. Now
when the Chief of the Sixty heard the clamour before his house, he left
his wife Jessamine and went down and, opening the door, found the
Master of Police without in the midst of a tumultuous crowd. So he
said, "What is the matter, O Emir Khбlid?" Thereupon the Chief told him
the case and Ala al-Din said, "Enter my house and search it." The
Governor replied, "Pardon, O my lord; thou art a man in whom trust is
reposed and Allah forfend that the trusty turn traitor!" Quoth Ala
al-Din, "There is no help for it but that my house be searched." So the
Chief of Police entered, attended by the Kazi and his Assessors;
whereupon Ahmad Kamakim went straight to the depressed floor of the
saloon and came to the slab, under which he had buried the stolen goods
and let the rod fall upon it with such violence that the marble broke
in sunder and behold something glittered underneath. Then said he,
"Bismillah; in the name of Allah! Mashallah; whatso Allah willeth! By
the blessing of our coming a hoard hath been hit upon, wait while we go
down into this hiding-place and see what is therein." So the Kazi and
Assessors looked into the hole and finding there the stolen goods, drew
up a statement[FN#99] of how they had discovered them in Ala al-Din's
house, to which they set their seals. Then, they bade seize upon Ala
al-Din and took his turban from his head, and officially registered all
his monies and effects which were in the mansion. Meanwhile, arch-thief
Ahmad Kamakim laid hands on Jessamine, who was with child by Ala
al-Din, and committed her to his mother, saying, "Deliver her to
Khatun, the Governor's lady:" so the old woman took her and carried her
to the wife of the Master of Police. Now as soon as Habzalam Bazazah
saw her, health and heart returned to him and he arose without stay or
delay and joyed with exceeding joy and would have drawn near her; but
she plucks a dagger from her girdle and said, "Keep off from me, or I
will kill thee and kill myself after." Exclaimed his mother, "O
strumpet, let my son have his will of thee!" But Jessamine answered "O
bitch, by what law is it lawful for a woman to marry two men; and how
shall the dog be admitted to the place of the lion?" With this, the
ugly youth's love-longing redoubled and he sickened for yearning and
unfulfilled desire; and refusing food returned to his pillow. Then said
his mother to her, "O harlot, how canst thou make me thus to sorrow for
my son? Needs must I punish thee with torture, and as for Ala al-Din,
he will assuredly be hanged." "And I will die for love of him,"
answered Jessamine. Then the Governor's wife arose and stripped her of
her jewels and silken raiment and, clothing her in petticoat-trousers
of sack-cloth and a shift of hair-cloth, sent her down into the kitchen
and made her a scullery-wench, saying, "The reward for thy constancy
shall be to break up fire-wood and peel onions and set fire under the
cooking-pots." Quoth she, "I am willing to suffer all manner of
hardships and servitude, but I will not suffer the sight of thy son."
However, Allah inclined the hearts of the slave-girls to her and they
used to do her service in the kitchen. Such was the case with
Jessamine; but as regards Ala al-Din they carried him, together with
the stolen goods, to the Divan where the Caliph still sat upon his
throne. And behold, the King looked upon his effects and said, "Where
did ye find them?" They replied, "In the very middle of the house
belonging to Ala al-Din Abu al-Shamat;" whereat the Caliph was filled
with wrath and took the things, but found not the lanthorn among them
and said, "O Ala al-Din, where is the lanthorn?" He answered "I stole
it not, I know naught of it; I never saw it; I can give no information
about it!" Said the Caliph, "O traitor, how cometh it that I brought
thee near unto me and thou hast cast me out afar, and I trusted in thee
and thou betrayest me?" And he commanded to hang him. So the Chief of
Police took him and went down with him into the city, whilst the crier
preceded them proclaiming aloud and saying, "This is the reward and the
least of the reward he shall receive who doth treason against the
Caliphs of True Belief!" And the folk flocked to the place where the
gallows stood. Thus far concerning him; but as regards Ahmad al-Danaf,
Ala al-Din's adopted father, he was sitting making merry with his
followers in a garden, and carousing and pleasuring when lo! in came
one of the water-carriers of the Divan and, kissing the hand of Ahmad
al-Danaf, said to him, "O Captain Ahmad, O Danaf! thou sittest at thine
ease with water flowing at thy feet,[FN#100] and thou knowest not what
hath happened." Asked Ahmad, "What is it?" and the other answered,
"They have gone down to the gallows with thy son Ala al-Din, adopted by
a covenant before Allah!" Quoth Ahmad, "What is the remedy here, O
Hasan Shuuman, and what sayst thou of this?" He replied, "Assuredly Ala
al-Din is innocent and this blame hath come to him from some one
enemy."[FN#101] Quoth Ahmad, "What counsellest thou?" and Hasan said,
"We must rescue him, Inshallah!" Then he went to the jail and said to
the gaolor, "Give us some one who deserveth death." So he gave him one
that was likest of men to Ala al-Din Abu al-Shamat; and they covered
his head and carried him to the place of execution between Ahmad
al-Danaf and Ali al-Zaybak of Cairo.[FN#102] Now they had brought Ala
al-Din to the gibbet, to hang him, but Ahmad al-Danaf came forward and
set his foot on that of the hangman, who said, "Give me room to do my
duty." He replied, "O accursed, take this man and hang him in Ala
al-Din's stead; for he is innocent and we will ransom him with this
fellow, even as Abraham ransomed Ishmael with the ram."[FN#103] So the
hangman seized the man and hanged him in lieu of Ala al-Din; whereupon
Ahmad and Ali took Ala al-Din and carried him to Ahmad's quarters and,
when there, Ala al-Din turned to him and said, "O my sire and chief,
Allah requite thee with the best of good!" Quoth he, "O Ala al-Din"—
And Shahrazed perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted

When it was the Two Hundred and Sixty-fifth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Calamity Ahmad
cried, "O Ala al-Din, what is this deed thou hast done? The mercy of
Allah be on him who said, 'Whoso trusteth thee betray him not, e'en if
thou be a traitor.' Now the Caliph set thee in high place about him and
styled thee 'Trusty' and 'Faithful'; how then couldst thou deal thus
with him and steal his goods?" "By the Most Great Name, O my father and
chief," replied Ala al-Din, "I had no hand in this, nor did I such
deed, nor know I who did it." Quoth Ahmad, "Of a surety none did this
but a manifest enemy and whoso doth aught shall be requited for his
deed; but, O Ala al-Din, thou canst sojourn no longer in Baghdad, for
Kings, O my son, may not pass from one thing to another, and when they
go in quest of a man, ah! longsome is his travail." "Whither shall I
go, O my chief?" asked Ala al-Din; and he answered, "O my son, I will
bring thee to Alexandria, for it is a blessed place; its threshold is
green and its sojourn is agreeable." And Ala al-Din rejoined, "I hear
and I obey, O my chief." So Ahmad said to Hasan Shuuman, "Be mindful
and, when the Caliph asketh for me, say, 'He is gone touring about the
provinces'." Then, taking Ala al-Din, he went forth of Baghdad and
stayed not going till they came to the outlying vineyards and gardens,
where they met two Jews of the Caliph's tax-gatherers, riding on mules.
Quoth Ahmad Al-Danaf to these, "Give me the black-mail."[FN#104] and
quoth they, "Why should we pay thee black mail?" whereto he replied,
"Because I am the watchman of this valley." So they gave him each an
hundred gold pieces, after which he slew them and took their mules, one
of which he mounted, whilst Ala al-Din bestrode the other. Then they
rode on till they came to the city of Ayбs[FN#105] and put up their
beasts for the night at the Khan. And when morning dawned, Ala al-Din
sold his own mule and committed that of Ahmad to the charge of the
door-keeper of the caravanserai, after which they took ship from Ayas
port and sailed to Alexandria. Here they landed and walked up to the
bazar and behold, there was a broker crying a shop and a chamber behind
it for nine hundred and fifty dinars. Upon this Ala al-Din bid a
thousand which the broker accepted, for the premises belonged to the
Treasury; and the seller handed over to him the keys and the buyer
opened the shop and found the inner parlour furnished with carpets and
cushions. Moreover, he found there a store-room full of sails and
masts, cordage and seamen's chests, bags of beads and cowrie[FN#106]-
shells, stirrups, battle-axes, maces, knives, scissors and such
matters, for the last owner of the shop had been a dealer in
second-hand goods.[FN#107]ook his seat in the shop and Ahmad al-Danaf
said to him, "O my son, the shop and the room and that which is therein
are become thine; so tarry thou here and buy and sell; and repine not
at thy lot for Almighty Allah blesseth trade." After this he abode with
him three days and on the fourth he took leave of him, saying, "Abide
here till I go back and bring thee the Caliph's pardon and learn who
hath played thee this trick." Then he shipped for Ayas, where he took
the mule from the inn and, returning to Baghdad met Pestilence Hasan
and his followers, to whom said he, "Hath the Caliph asked after me?";
and he replied, "No, nor hast thou come to his thought." So he resumed
his service about the Caliph's person and set himself to sniff about
for news of Ala al-Din's case, till one day he heard the Caliph say to
the Watir, "See, O Ja'afar, how Ala al-Din dealt with me!" Replied the
Minister, "O Commander of the Faithful, thou hast requited him with
hanging and hath he not met with his reward?" Quoth he, "O Wazir, I
have a mind to go down and see him hanging;" and the Wazir answered,
"Do what thou wilt, O Commander of the Faithful." So the Caliph,
accompanied by Ja'afar, went down to the place of execution and,
raising his eyes, saw the hanged man to be other than Ala al-Din Abu
al-Shamat, surnamed the Trusty, and said, "O Wazir, this is not Ala
al-Din!" "How knowest thou that it is not he?" asked the Minister, and
the Caliph answered, "Ala al-Din was short and this one is tall " Quoth
Ja'afar, "Hanging stretcheth." Quoth the Caliph, "Ala al-Din was fair
and this one's face is black." Said Ja'afar "Knowest thou not, O
Commander of the Faithful, that death is followed by blackness?" Then
the Caliph bade take down the body from the gallows tree and they found
the names of the two Shaykhs, Abu Bakr and Omar, written on its
heels[FN#108] whereupon cried the Caliph, "O Wazir, Ala al Din was a
Sunnite, and this fellow is a Rejecter, a Shi'ah." He answered, "Glory
be to Allah who knoweth the hidden things, while we know not whether
this was Ala al-Din or other than he." Then the Caliph bade bury the
body and they buried it; and Ala al-Din was forgotten as though he
never had been. Such was his case; but as regards Habzalam Bazazah, the
Emir Khбlid's son, he ceased not to languish for love and longing till
he died and they joined him to the dust. And as for the young wife
Jessamine, she accomplished the months of her pregnancy and, being
taken with labour-pains, gave birth to a boy-child like unto the moon.
And when her fellow slave-girls said to her, "What wilt thou name him?"
she answered, "Were his father well he had named him; but now I will
name him Aslбn."[FN#109] She gave him suck for two successive years,
then weaned him, and he crawled and walked. Now it so came to pass that
one day, whilst his mother was busied with the service of the kitchen,
the boy went out and, seeing the stairs, mounted to the
guest-chamber.[FN#110] And the Emir Khбlid who was sitting there took
him upon his lap and glorified his Lord for that which he had created
and fashioned then closely eyeing his face, the Governor saw that he
was the likest of all creatures to Ala al-Din Abu al-Shamat. Presently,
his mother Jessamine sought for him and finding him not, mounted to the
guest-chamber, where she saw the Emir seated, with the child playing in
his lap, for Allah had inclined his heart to the boy. And when the
child espied his mother, he would have thrown himself upon her; but the
Emir held him tight to his bosom and said to Jessamine, "Come hither, O
damsel." So she came to him, when he said to her, "Whose son is this?";
and she replied, "He is my son and the fruit of my vitals." "And who is
his father?" asked the Emir; and she answered, "His father was Ala
al-Din Abu al-Shamat, but now he is become thy son." Quoth Khбlid, "In
very sooth Ala al-Din was a traitor." Quoth she, "Allah deliver him
from treason! the Heavens forfend and forbid that the 'Trusty' should
be a traitor!" Then said he, "When this boy shall grow up and reach
man's estate and say to thee, 'Who is my father?' say to him, 'Thou art
the son of the Emir Khбlid, Governor and Chief of Police.'" And she
answered, "I hear and I obey." Then he circumcised the boy and reared
him with the goodliest rearing, and engaged for him a professor of law
and religious science, and an expert penman who taught him to read and
write; so he read the Koran twice and learnt it by heart and he grew
up, saying to the Emir, "O my father!" Moreover, the Governor used to
go down with him to the tilting-ground and assemble horsemen and teach
the lad the fashion of fight and fray, and the place to plant
lance-thrust and sabre-stroke; so that by the time he was fourteen
years old, he became a valiant wight and accomplished knight and gained
the rank of Emir. Now it chanced one day that Aslan fell in with Ahmad
Kamakim, the arch-thief, and accompanied him as cup- companion to the
tavern[FN#111] and behold, Ahmad took out the jewelled lanthorn he had
stolen from the Caliph and, setting it before him, pledged the wine cup
to its light, till he became drunken. So Aslan said to him, "O Captain,
give me this lanthorn;" but he replied, "I cannot give it to thee."
Asked Aslan, "Why not?"; and Ahmad answered, "Because lives have been
lost for it." "Whose life?" enquired Aslan; and Ahmad rejoined, "There
came hither a man who was made Chief of the Sixty; he was named Ala
al-Din Abu al-Shamat and he lost his life through this lanthorn." Quoth
Aslan, "And what was that story, and what brought about his death?"
Quoth Ahmad Kamakim, "Thou hadst an elder brother by name Hahzalam
Bazazah, and when he reached the age of sixteen and was ripe for
marriage, thy father would have bought him a slave-girl named
Jessamine." And he went on to tell him the whole story from first to
last of Habzalam Bazazah's illness and what befell Ala al-Din in his
innocence. When Aslan heard this, he said in thought, "Haply this
slave-girl was my mother Jessamine, and my father was none other than
Ala al-Din Abu al-Shamat." So the boy went out from him sorrowful, and
met Calamity Ahmad, who at sight of him exclaimed, "Glory be to Him
unto whom none is like!" Asked Hasan the Pestilence, "Whereat dost thou
marvel, O my chief?" and Ahmad the Calamity replied, "At the make of
yonder boy Aslan, for he is the likest of human creatures to Ala al-Din
Abu al-Shamat." Then he called the lad and said to him, "O Aslan what
is thy mother's name?"; to which he replied, "She is called the damsel
Jessamine;" and the other said, "Harkye, Aslan, be of good cheer and
keep thine eyes cool and clear; for thy father was none other than Ala
al-Din Abu al-Shamat: but, O my son, go thou in to thy mother and
question her of thy father." He said, "Hearkening and obedience," and,
going in to his mother put the question; whereupon quoth she, "Thy sire
is the Emir Khбlid!" "Not so," rejoined he, "my father was none other
than Ala al-Din Abu al Shamat." At this the mother wept and said, "Who
acquainted thee with this, O my son?" And he answered "Ahmad al-Danaf,
Captain of the Guard." So she told him the whole story, saying, "O my
son, the True hath prevailed and the False hath failed:[FN#112] know
that Ala al-Din Abu al-Shamat was indeed thy sire, but it was none save
the Emir Khбlid who reared thee and adopted thee as his son. And now, O
my child, when thou seest Ahmad al-Danaf the captain, do thou say to
him, 'I conjure thee, by Allah, O my chief, take my blood-revenge on
the murderer of my father Ala al-Din Abu al-Shamat!'" So he went out
from his mother,—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to
say her permitted say.

When it was the Two Hundred and Sixty-sixth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Aslan went out
from his mother and, betaking himself to Calamity Ahmad, kissed his
hand. Quoth the captain, "What aileth thee, O Aslan?" and quoth he, "I
know now for certain that my father was Ali al-Din Abu al-Shamat and I
would have thee take my blood-revenge on his murderer." He asked, "And
who was thy father's murderer?" whereto Aslan answered, "Ahmad Kamakim
the arch-thief." "Who told thee this?" enquired he, and Aslan rejoined,
"I saw in his hand the jewelled lanthorn which was lost with the rest
of the Caliph's gear, and I said to him, 'Give me this lanthorn!' but
he refused, saying, 'Lives have been lost on account of this'; and told
me it was he who had broken into the palace and stolen the articles and
deposited them in my father's house." Then said Ahmad al-Danaf, "When
thou seest the Emir Khбlid don his harness of war, say to him, 'Equip
me like thyself and take me with thee.' Then do thou go forth and
perform some feat of prowess before the Commander of the Faithful, and
he will say to thee, 'Ask a boon of me, O Aslan!' And do thou make
answer, 'I ask of thee this boon, that thou take my blood-revenge on my
father's murderer.' If he say, 'Thy father is yet alive and is the Emir
Khбlid, the Chief of the Police'; answer thou, 'My father was Ala
al-Din Abu al-Shamat, and the Emir Khбlid hath a claim upon me only as
the foster-father who adopted me.' Then tell him all that passed
between thee and Ahmad Kamakim and say, 'O Prince of True Believers,
order him to be searched and I will bring the lanthorn forth from his
bosom.'" Thereupon said Aslan to him, "I hear and obey;" and, returning
to the Emir Khбlid, found him making ready to repair to the Caliph's
court and said to him, "I would fain have thee arm and harness me like
thyself and take me with thee to the Divan." So he equipped him and
carried him thither. Then the Caliph sallied forth of Baghdad with his
troops and they pitched tents and pavilions without the city; whereupon
the host divided into two parties and forming ranks fell to playing
Polo, one striking the ball with the mall, and another striking it back
to him. Now there was among the troops a spy, who had been hired to
slay the Caliph; so he took the ball and smiting it with the bat drove
it straight at the Caliph's face, when behold, Aslan fended it off and
catching it drove it back at him who smote it, so that it struck him
between the shoulders and he fell to the ground. The Caliph exclaimed,
"Allah bless thee, O Aslan!" and they all dismounted and sat on chairs.
Then the Caliph bade them bring the smiter of the ball before him and
said, "Who tempted thee to do this thing and art thou friend or foe?"
Quoth he, "I am thy foe and it was my purpose to kill thee." Asked the
Caliph "And wherefore? Art not a Moslem?" Replied the spy; "No' I am a
Rejecter.''[FN#113] So the Caliph bade them put him to death and said
to Aslan, "Ask a boon of me." Quoth he, "I ask of thee this boon, that
thou take my blood-revenge on my father's murderer." He said, "Thy
father is alive and there he stands on his two feet." "And who is he?"
asked Aslan, and the Caliph answered, "He is the Emir Khбlid, Chief of
Police." Rejoined Aslan, "O Commander of the Faithful, he is no father
of mine, save by right of fosterage; my father was none other than Ala
al-Din Abu al Shamat." "Then thy father was a traitor," cried the
Caliph. "Allah forbid, O Commander of the Faithful," rejoined Aslan,
"that the 'Trusty' should be a traitor! But how did he betray thee?"
Quoth the Caliph, "He stole my habit and what was therewith." Aslan
retorted, "O Commander of the Faithful, Allah forfend that my father
should be a traitor! But, O my lord, when thy habit was lost and found
didst thou likewise recover the lanthorn which was stolen from thee?"
Answered the Caliph, "We never got it back," and Aslan said, "I saw it
in the hands of Ahmad Kamakim and begged it of him; but he refused to
give it me, saying, 'Lives have been lost on account of this.' Then he
told me of the sickness of Habzalam Bazazah, son of the Emir Khбlid, by
reason of his passion for the damsel Jessamine, and how he himself was
released from bonds and that it was he who stole the habit and the
lamp: so do thou, O Commander of the Faithful, take my blood-revenge
for my father on him who murdered him." At once the Caliph cried,
"Seize ye Ahmad Kamakim!" and they seized him, whereupon he asked,
"Where be the Captain, Ahmad al-Danaf?" And when he was summoned the
Caliph bade him search Kamakim; so he put his hand into the thief's
bosom and pulled out the lanthorn. Said the Caliph, "Come hither, thou
traitor: whence hadst thou this lanthorn?" and Kamakim replied, "I
bought it, O Commander of the Faithful!" The Caliph rejoined, "Where
didst thou buy it?" Then they beat him till he owned that he had stolen
the lanthorn, the habit and the rest, and the Caliph said "What moved
thee to do this thing O traitor, and ruin Ala al-Din Abu al-Shamat, the
Trusty and Faithful?" Then he bade them lay hands on him and on the
Chief of Police, but the Chief said, "O Commander of the Faithful,
indeed I am unjustly treated thou badest me hang him, and I had no
knowledge of this trick, for the plot was contrived between the old
woman and Ahmad Kamakim and my wife. I crave thine
intercession,[FN#114] O Aslan." So Aslan interceded for him with the
Caliph, who said, "What hath Allah done with this youngster's mother?"
Answered Khбlid, "She is with me," and the Caliph continued, "I command
that thou order thy wife to dress her in her own clothes and ornaments
and restore her to her former degree, a lady of rank; and do thou
remove the seals from Ala al-Din's house and give his son possession of
his estate." "I hear and obey," answered Khбlid; and, going forth, gave
the order to his wife who clad Jessamine in her own apparel; whilst he
himself removed the seals from Ala al-Din's house and gave Aslan the
keys. Then said the Caliph, "Ask a boon of me, O Aslan;" and he
replied, "I beg of thee the boon to unite me with my father." Whereat
the Caliph wept and said, "Most like thy sire was he that was hanged
and is dead; but by the life of my forefathers, whoso bringeth me the
glad news that he is yet in the bondage of this life, I will give him
all he seeketh!" Then came forward Ahmad al-Danaf and, kissing the
ground between his hands, said, "Grant me indemnity, O Commander of the
Faithful!" "Thou hast it," answered the Caliph; and Calamity Ahmad
said, "I give thee the good news that Ala al-Din Abu al-Shamat, the
Trusty, the Faithful, is alive and well." Quoth the Caliph "What is
this thou sayest?" Quoth Al-Danaf, "As thy head liveth I say sooth; for
I ransomed him with another, of those who deserved death; and carried
him to Alexandria, where I opened for him a shop and set him up as a
dealer in second hand goods." Then said the Prince of True
Believers,—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying
her permitted say.

When it was the Two Hundred and Sixty-seventh Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Caliph
ordered Calamity Ahmad, saying, "I charge thee fetch him to me;" and
the other replied, "To hear is to obey;" whereupon the Caliph bade them
give him ten thousand gold pieces and he fared forth for Alexandria. On
this wise it happed with Aslan; but as regards his father, Ala al-Din
Abu al-Shamat, he sold in course of time all that was in his shop
excepting a few things and amongst them a long bag of leather. And
happening to shake the bag there fell out a jewel which filled the palm
of the hand, hanging to a chain of gold and having many facets but
especially five, whereon were names and talismanic characters, as they
were ant-tracks. So he rubbed each face; but none answered him[FN#115]
and he said to himself, "Doubtless it is a piece of variegated onyx;"
and then hung it up in the shop. And behold, a Consul[FN#116] passed
along the street; and, raising his eyes, saw the jewel hanging up; so
he seated himself over against the shop and said to Ala al-Din, "O my
lord, is the jewel for sale?" He answered, "All I have is for sale."
Thereupon the Frank said, "Wilt thou sell me that same for eighty
thousand dinars?" "Allah open!" replied Ala al-Din. The Frank asked,
"Wilt thou sell it for an hundred thousand dinars?", and he answered,
"I sell it to thee for a hundred thousand dinars; pay me down the
monies." Quoth the Consul, "I cannot carry about such sum as its price,
for there be robbers and sharpers in Alexandria; but come with me to my
ship and I will pay thee the price and give thee to boot a bale of
Angora wool, a bale of satin, a bale of velvet and a bale of
broadcloth." So Ala al-Din rose and locked up his shop, after giving
the jewel to the Frank, and committed the keys to his neighbour,
saying, "Keep these keys in trust for me, whilst I go with this Consul
to his ship and return with the price of my jewel. If I be long absent
and there come to thee Ahmad al-Danaf, the Captain who stablished me in
this shop, give him the keys and tell him where I am." Then he went
with the Consul to his ship and no sooner had he boarded it than the
Prank set him a stool and, making him sit down, said to his men, "Bring
the money." So they brought it and he paid him the price of the jewel
and gave him the four bales he had promised him and one over; after
which he said to him, "O my lord, honour me by accepting a bite or a
sup." And Ala al-Din answered, "If thou have any water, give me to
drink." So the Frank called for sherbets and they brought drink drugged
with Bhang, of which no sooner had Ala al-Din drunk, than he fell over
on his back; whereupon they stowed away the chairs and shipped the
shoving-poles and made sail. Now the wind blew fair for them till it
drove them into blue water, and when they were beyond sight of land the
Kaptбn[FN#117] bade bring Ala al-Din up out of the hold and made him
smell the counter-drug of Bhang; whereupon he opened his eyes and said,
"Where am I?" He replied, "Thou art bound and in my power and if thou
hadst said, Allah open! to an hundred thousand dinars for the jewel, I
would have bidden thee more." "What art thou?" asked Ala al-Din, and
the other answered, "I am a sea-captain and mean to carry thee to my
sweetheart." Now as they were talking, behold, a strip hove in sight
carrying forty Moslem merchants; so the Frank captain attacked the
vessel and made fast to it with grappling-irons; then he boarded it
with his men and took it and plundered it; after which he sailed on
with his prize, till he reached the city of Genoa. There the Kaptan,
who was carrying off Ala al-Din, landed and repaired to a palace whose
pastern gave upon the sea, and behold, there came down to him a damsel
in a chin-veil who said, "Hast thou brought the jewel and the owner?"
"I have brought them both," answered he; and she said, "Then give me
the jewel." So he gave it to her; and, returning to the port, fired his
cannon to announce his safe return; whereupon the King of the city,
being notified of that Kaptan's arrival, came down to receive him and
asked him, "How hath been this voyage?" He answered, "A right
prosperous one, and while voyaging I have made prize of a ship with
one-and-forty Moslem merchants." Said the King, "Land them at the
port:" so he landed the merchants in irons and Ala al-Din among the
rest; and the King and the Kaptan mounted and made the captives walk
before them till they reached the audience-chamber, when the Franks
seated themselves and caused the prisoners to pass in parade order, one
by one before the King who said to the first, "O Moslem, whence comest
thou?" He answered, "From Alexandria;" whereupon the King said, "O
headsman, put him to death." So the sworder smote him with the sword
and cut off his head: and thus it fared with the second and the third,
till forty were dead and there remained but Ala al-Din, who drank the
cup of his comrades' sighs and agony and said to himself, "Allah have
mercy on thee, O Ala al-Din Thou art a dead man." Then said the King to
him, "And thou, what countryman art thou?" He answered, "I am of
Alexandria," and the King said, "O headsman, strike off his head." So
the sworder raised arm and sword, and was about to strike when behold,
an old woman of venerable aspect presented herself before the King, who
rose to do her honour, and said to him, "O King, did I not bid thee
remember, when the Captain came back with captives, to keep one or two
for the convent, to serve in the church?" The King replied, "O my
mother, would thou hadst come a while earlier! But take this one that
is left." So she turned to Ala al-Din and said to him, "Say, wilt thou
serve in the church, or shall I let the King slay thee?" Quoth he, "I
will serve in the church." So she took him and carried him forth of the
court and went to the church, where he said to her, "What service must
I do?" She replied, "Thou must rise with the dawn and take five mules
and go with them to the forest and there cut dry fire-wood and saw it
short and bring it to the convent-kitchen. Then must thou take up the
carpets and sweep and wipe the stone and marble pavements and lay the
carpets down again, as they were; after which thou must take two
bushels and a half of wheat and bolt it and grind it and knead it and
make it into cracknels[FN#118] for the convent; and thou must take also
a bushel of lentils[FN#119] and sift and crush and cook them. Then must
thou fetch water in barrels and fill the four fountains; after which
thou must take three hundred and threescore and six wooden bowls and
crumble the cracknels therein and pour of the lentil-pottage over each
and carry every monk and patriarch his bowl." Said Ala al-Din,[FN#120]
"Take me back to the King and let him kill me, it were easier to me
than this service." Replied the old woman, "If thou do truly and
rightly the service that is due from thee thou shalt escape death; but,
if thou do it not, I will let the King kill thee." And with these words
Ala al-Din was left sitting heavy at heart. Now there were in the
church ten blind cripples, and one of them said to him, "Bring me a
pot." So he brought it him and he cacked and eased himself therein and
said, "Throw away the ordure." He did so, and the blind man said, "The
Messiah's blessing be upon thee, O servant of the church!" Presently
behold, the old woman came in and said to him, "Why hast thou not done
thy service in the church?" Answered he, "How many hands have I, that I
should suffice for all this work?" She rejoined, 'Thou fool, I brought
thee not hither except to work;" and she added, "Take, O my son, this
rod (which was of copper capped with a cross) and go forth into the
highway and, when thou meetest the governor of the city, say to him, 'I
summon thee to the service of the church, in the name of our Lord the
Messiah.' And he will not disobey thee. Then make him take the wheat,
sift, grind, bolt, knead, and bake it into cracknels; and if any
gainsay thee, beat him and fear none." "To hear is to obey," answered
he and did as she said, and never ceased pressing great and small into
his service; nor did he leave to do thus for the space of seventeen
years. Now one day as he sat in church, lo! the old woman came to him
and said, "Go forth of the convent." He asked, "Whither shall I go?"
and she answered, "Thou canst pass the night in a tavern or with one of
thy comrades." Quoth he, "Why dost thou send me forth of the church?"
and quote she, "The Princess Husn Maryam, daughter of Yohannб,[FN#121]
King of this city, purposeth to visit the church and it befitteth not
that any abide in her way." So he made a show of obeying her orders and
rose up and pretended that he was leaving the church; but he said in
his mind, "I wonder whether the Princess is like our women or fairer
than they! At any rate I will not go till I have had a look at her." So
he hid himself in a closet with a window looking into the church and,
as he watched, behold, in came the King's daughter. He cast at her one
glance of eyes that cost him a thousand sighs, for he found her like
the full moon when it cometh swimming out of the clouds; and he saw
with her a young lady,—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and
ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Two Hundred and Sixty-eighth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Ala al-Din
looked at the King's daughter, he saw with her a young lady to whom he
heard her say, "Thy company hath cheered me, O Zubaydah." So he looked
straitly at the damsel and found her to be none other than his dead
wife, Zubaydah the Lutist. Then the Princess said to Zubaydah, "Come,
play us an air on the lute." But she answered, "I will make no music
for thee, till thou grant my wish and keep thy word to me." Asked the
Princess, "And what did I promise thee?"; and Zubaydah answered, "That
thou wouldst reunite me with my husband Ala al-Din Abu al-Shamat, the
Trusty, the Faithful." Rejoined the Princess, "O Zubaydah, be of good
cheer and keep thine eyes cool and clear; play us a piece as a
thank-offering and an ear-feast for reunion with thy husband Ala
al-Din." "Where is he?" asked Zubaydah, and Maryam answered, "He is in
yonder closet listening to our words." So Zubaydah played on the lute a
melody which had made a rock dance for glee; and when Ala al-Din heard
it, his bowels yearned towards her and he came forth from the closet
and, throwing himself upon his wife Zubaydah, strained her to his
bosom. She also knew him and the twain embraced and fell to the ground
in a swoon. Then came forward the Princess Husn Maryam and sprinkled
rose water on them, till they revived when she said to them, "Allah
hath reunited you." Replied Ala al-Din, "By thy kind of offices, O
lady." Then, turning to his wife, he said to her, "O Zubaydah, thou
didst surely die and we tombed thee in the tomb: how then returnedst
thou to life and camest thou to this place?" She answered, "O my lord,
I did not die; but an Aun[FN#122] of the Jinn snatched me up and dew
with me hither. She whom thou buriedst was a Jinniyah, who shaped
herself to my shape and feigned herself dead; but when you entombed her
she broke open the tomb and came forth from it and returned to the
service of this her mistress, the Princess Husn Maryam. As for me I was
possessed[FN#123] and, when I opened my eyes, I found myself with this
Princess thou seest; so I said to her, 'Why hast thou brought me
hither?' Replied she, 'I am predestined to marry thy husband, Ala
al-Din Abu al-Shamat: wilt thou then, O Zubaydah, accept me to
co-consort, a night for me and a night for thee?' Rejoined I, 'To hear
is to obey, O my lady, but where is my husband?' Quoth she, 'Upon his
forehead is written what Allah hath decreed to him; as soon as the
writing which is there writ is fulfilled to him, there is no help for
it but he come hither, and we will beguile the time of our separation
from him with songs and playing upon instruments of music, till it
please Allah to unite us with him.' So I abode all these days with her
till Allah brought us together in this church." Then Husn Maryam turned
to him and said, "O my lord, Ala al-Din, wilt thou be to me baron and I
be to thee femme?" Quoth he, "O my lady, I am a Moslem and thou art a
Nazarene; so how can I intermarry with thee?" Quoth she, "Allah forbid
that I should be an infidel! Nay, I am a Moslemah; for these eighteen
years I have held fast the Faith of Al-Islam and I am pure of any creed
other than that of the Islamite." Then said he, "O my lady, I desire a
return to my native land;" and she replied, "Know that I see written on
thy forehead things which thou must needs accomplish, and then thou
shalt win to thy will. Moreover, be fief and fain, O Ala al-Din, that
there hath been born to thee a son named Aslan; who now being arrived
at age of discretion, sitteth in thy place with the Caliph. Know also
that Truth hath prevailed and that Falsehood naught availed; and that
the Lord hath withdrawn the curtain of secrecy from him who stole the
Caliph's goods, that is, Ahmad Kamakim the arch-thief and traitor; and
he now lieth bound and in jail. And know further 'twas I who sent thee
the jewel and had it put in the bag where thou foundest it, and 'twas I
who sent the captain that brought thee and the jewel; for thou must
know that the man is enamoured of me and seeketh my favours and would
possess me; but I refused to yield to his wishes or let him have his
will of me; and I said him, 'Thou shalt never have me till thou bring
me the jewel and its owner.' So I gave him an hundred purses and
despatched him to thee, in the habit of a merchant, whereas he is a
captain and a war-man; and when they led thee to thy death after
slaying the forty captives, I also sent thee this old woman to save
thee from slaughter." Said he, "Allah requite thee for us with all
good! Indeed thou hast done well." Then Husn Maryam renewed at his
hands her profession of Al-Islam; and, when he was assured of the truth
of her speech, he said to her, O my lady, tell me what are the virtues
of this jewel and whence cometh it?" She answered, "This jewel came
from an enchanted hoard, and it hath five virtues which will profit us
in time of need. Now my lady grandmother, the mother of my father, was
an enchantress and skilled in solving secrets and finding hidden
treasures from one of which came the jewel into her hands. And as I
grew up and reached the age of fourteen, I read the Evangel and other
books and I found the name of Mohammed (whom Allah bless and preserve!)
in the four books, namely the Evangel, the Pentateuch, the Psalms and
the Koran;[FN#124] so I believed in Mohammed and became a Moslemah,
being certain and assured that none is worship worth save Allah
Almighty, and that to the Lord of all mankind no faith is acceptable
save that of Al-Islam. Now when my lady-grandmother fell sick, she gave
me this jewel and taught me its five virtues. Moreover, before she
died, my father said to her, 'Take thy tablets of geomancy and throw a
figure, and tell us the issue of my affair and what will befal-me.' And
she foretold him that the far off one[FN#125] should die, slain by the
hand of a captive from Alexandria. So he swore to kill every prisoner
from that place and told the Kaptan of this, saying, 'There is no help
for it but thou fall on the ships of the Moslems and seize them and
whomsoever thou findest of Alexandria, kill him or bring him to me.'
The Captain did his bidding until he had slain as many in number as the
hairs of his head. Then my grandmother died and I took a geomantic
tablet, being minded and determined to know the future, and I said to
myself, 'Let me see who will wed me!' Whereupon I threw a figure and
found that none should be my husband save one called Ala al-Din Abu
al-Shamat, the Trusty, the Faithful. At this I marvelled and waited
till the times were accomplished and I foregathered with thee." So Ala
al-Din took her to wife and said to her, "I desire to return to my own
country." Quoth she, "If it be so, rise up and come with me." Then she
took him and, hiding him in a closet of her palace, went in to her
father, who said to her, "O my daughter, my heart is exceeding heavy
this day; sit down and let us make merry with wine, I and thou." So she
sat down with him and he called for a table of wine; and she plied him
till he lost his wits, when she drugged a cup with Bhang and he drank
it off and fell upon his back. Then she brought Ala al-Din out of the
closet and said to him, "Come; verily thine enemy lieth prostrate, for
I made him drunk and drugged him; so do thou with him as thou wilt."
Accordingly Ala al-Din went to the King and, finding him lying drugged
and helpless, pinioned him fast and manacled and fettered him with
chains. Then he gave him the counter-drug and he came to himself,—And
Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted

When it was the Two Hundred and Sixty-ninth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Ala al-Din gave
the antidote of Bhang to King Yohanna, father of Husn Maryam, and he
came to himself and found Ala al-Din and his daughter sitting on his
breast. So he said to her, "O my daughter, dost thou deal thus with
me?" She answered "If I be indeed thy daughter, become a Moslem, even
as I became a Moslemah, for the truth was shown to me and I attested
it; and the false, and I deserted it. I have submitted myself unto
Allah, The Lord of the Three Worlds, and am pure of all faiths contrary
to that of Al-Islam in this world and in the next world. Wherefore, if
thou wilt become a Moslem, well and good; if not, thy death were better
than thy life." Ala al-Din also exhorted him to embrace the True Faith;
but he refused and was contumacious; so Ala al-Din drew a dagger and
cut his throat from ear to ear.[FN#126] Then he wrote a scroll, setting
forth what had happened and laid it on the brow of the dead, after
which they took what was light of load and weighty of worth and turned
from the palace and returned to the church. Here the Princess drew
forth the jewel and, placing her hand upon the facet where was figured
a couch, rubbed it; and behold, a couch appeared before her and she
mounted upon it with Ala al-Din and his wife Zubaydah, the lutist,
saying, "I conjure thee by the virtue of the names and talismans and
characts engraver on this jewel, rise up with us, O Couch!" And it rose
with them into the air and flew, till it came to a Wady wholly bare of
growth, when the Princess turned earthwards the facet on which the
couch was figured, and it sank with them to the ground. Then she turned
up the face where on was fashioned a pavilion and tapping it said, "Let
a pavilion be pitched in this valley;" and there appeared a pavilion,
wherein they seated themselves. Now this Wady was a desert waste,
without grass or water; so she turned a third face of the jewel towards
the sky, and said, "By the virtue of the names of Allah, let trees
upgrow here and a river flow beside them!" And forthwith trees sprang
up and by their side ran a river plashing and dashing. They made the
ablution and prayed and drank of the stream; after which the Princess
turned up the three other facets till she came to the fourth, whereon
was portrayed a table of good, and said, "By the virtue of the names of
Allah, let the table be spread!" And behold, there appeared before them
a table, spread with all manner of rich meats, and they ate and drank
and made merry and were full of joy. Such was their case; but as
regards Husn Maryam's father, his son went in to waken him and found
him slain; and, seeing Ala al-Din's scroll, took it and read it, and
readily understood it. Then he sought his sister and finding her not,
betook himself to the old woman in the church, of whom he enquired for
her, but she said, "Since yesterday I have not seen her." So he
returned to the troops and cried out, saying, "To horse, ye horsemen!"
Then he told them what had happened, so they mounted and rode after the
fugitives, till they drew near the pavilion. Presently Husn Maryam
arose and looked up and saw a cloud of dust which spread till it walled
the view, then it lifted and flew, and lo! stood disclosed her brother
and his troops, crying aloud, "Whither will ye fly, and we on your
track!" Then said she to Ala al-Din, "Are thy feet firm in fight?" He
replied, "Even as the stake in bran, I know not war nor battle, nor
swords nor spears." So she pulled out the jewel and rubbed the fifth
face, that on which were graven a horse and his rider, and behold,
straightway a cavalier appeared out of the desert and ceased not to do
battle with the pursuing host and smite them with the sword, till he
routed them and put them to flight. Then the Princess asked Ala al-Din,
"Wilt thou go to Cairo or to Alexandria?"; and he answered, "To
Alexandria." So they mounted the couch and she pronounced over it the
conjuration, whereupon it set off with them and, in the twinkling of an
eye, brought them to Alexandria. They alighted without the city and Ala
al-Din hid the women in a cavern, whilst he went into Alexandria and
fetched them outer clothing, wherewith he covered them. Then he carried
them to his shop and, leaving them in the "ben"[FN#127] walked forth to
fetch them the morning-meal, and behold he met Calamity Ahmad who
chanced to be coming from Baghdad. He saw him in the street and
received him with open arms, saluting him and welcoming him. Whereupon
Ahmad al-Danaf gave him the good news of his son Aslan and how he was
now come to the age of twenty: and Ala al-Din, in his turn, told the
Captain of the Guard all that had befallen him from first to last,
whereat he marvelled with exceeding marvel. Then he brought him to his
shop and sitting room where they passed the night; and next day he sold
his place of business and laid its price with other monies. Now Ahmad
al-Danaf had told him that the Caliph sought him; but he said, "I am
bound first for Cairo, to salute my father and mother and the people of
my house." So they all mounted the couch and it carried them to Cairo
the God-guarded; and here they alighted in the street called
Yellow,[FN#128] where stood the house of Shams al-Din. Then Ala al-Din
knocked at the door, and his mother said, "Who is at the door, now that
we have lost our beloved for evermore?" He replied, " 'Tis I! Ala
al-Din!" whereupon they came down and embraced him. Then he sent his
wives and baggage into the house and entering himself with Ahmad
al-Danaf, rested there three days, after which he was minded to set out
for Baghdad. His father said, "Abide with me, O my son;" but he
answered; "I cannot bear to be parted from my child Aslan." So he took
his father and mother and fared forth for Baghdad. Now when they came
thither, Ahmad al-Danaf went in to the Caliph and gave him the glad
tidings of Ala al-Din's arrival—and told him his story whereupon the
King went forth to greet him taking the youth Aslan, and they met and
embraced each other. Then the Commander of the Faithful summoned the
arch-thief Ahmad Kamakim and said to Ala al-Din, "Up and at thy foe!"
So he drew his sword and smote off Ahmad Kamakim's head. Then the
Caliph held festival for Ala al-Din and, summoning the Kazis and
witnesses, wrote the contract and married him to the Princess Husn
Maryam; and he went in unto her and found her an unpierced pearl.
Moreover, the Caliph made Aslan Chief of the Sixty and bestowed upon
him and his father sumptuous dresses of honour; and they abode in the
enjoyment of all joys and joyance of life, till there came to them the
Destroyer of delights and the Sunderer of societies. But the tales of
generous men are manifold and amongst them is the story of


It is told of Hбtim of the tribe of Tayy,[FN#129] that when he died,
they buried him on the top of a mountain and set over his grave two
troughs hewn out of two rocks and stone girls with dishevelled hair. At
the foot of the hill was a stream of running water, and when wayfarers
camped there, they heard loud crying and keening in the night, from
dark till daybreak; but when they arose in the morning, they found
nothing but the girls carved in stone. Now when Zъ 'l-Kurб'a,[FN#130]
King of Himyar, going forth of his tribe, came to that valley, he
halted to pass the night there,—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day
and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Two Hundred and Seventieth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Zu 'l-
Kura'a passed by the valley he righted there, and, when he drew near
the mountain, he heard the keening and said, "What lamenting is that on
yonder hill?" They answered him, saying, "Verily this be the tomb of
Hatim al-Tбyy, over which are two troughs of stone and stone figures of
girls with dishevelled hair; and all who camp in this place by night
hear this crying and keening." So he said jestingly, "O Hatim of Tayy!
we are thy guests this night, and we are lank with hunger." Then sleep
overcame him, but presently he awoke in affright and cried out, saying,
"Help, O Arabs! Look to my beast!" So they came to him, and finding his
she-camel struggling and struck down, they stabbed her in the throat
and roasted her flesh and ate. Then they asked him what had happened
and he said, "When I closed my eyes, I saw in my sleep Hatim of Tayy
who came to me sword in hand and cried, 'Thou comest to us and we have
nothing by us.' Then he smote my she- camel with his sword, and she had
surely died even though ye had not come to her and slaughtered
her."[FN#131] Now when morning dawned the King mounted the beast of one
of his companions and, taking the owner up behind him, set out and
fared on till midday, when they saw a man coming towards them, mounted
on a camel and leading another, and said to him, "Who art thou?" He
answered, "I am Adi,[FN#132] son of Hatim of Tayy; where is Zu
'l-Kura'a, Emir of Himyar?" Replied they, "This is he;" and he said to
the prince, "Take this she-camel in place of thy beast which my father
slaughtered for thee." Asked Zu 'l Kura'a, "Who told thee of this?" and
Adi answered, "My father appeared to me in a dream last night and said
to me, 'Harkye, Adi; Zu 'l Kura'a King of Himyar, sought the guest-rite
of me and I, having naught to give him, slaughtered his she-camel, that
he might eat: so do thou carry him a she-camel to ride, for I have
nothing.'" And Zu 'l-Kura'a took her, marvelling at the generosity of
Hatim of Tayy alive and dead. And amongst instances of generosity is


It is told of Ma'an bin Zбidah that, being out one day a-chasing and
a-hunting, he became athirst but his men had no water with them; and
while thus suffering behold, three damsels met him bearing three skins
of water;—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her
permitted say.

When it was the Two Hundred and Seventy-first Night,[FN#134]

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that three girls met
him bearing three skins of water; so he begged drink of them, and they
gave him to drink. Then he sought of his men somewhat to give the
damsels but they had no money; so he presented to each girl ten golden
piled arrows from his quiver. Whereupon quoth one of them to her
friend, "Well-a-day! These fashions pertain to none but Ma'an bin
Zaidah! so let each one of us say somewhat of verse in his praise."
Then quoth the first,

"He heads his arrows with piles of gold, * And while shooting his

     foes is his bounty doled:

Affording the wounded a means of cure, * And a sheet for the

     bider beneath the mould!"

And quoth the second,

"A warrior showing such open hand, * His boons all friends and

     all foes enfold:

The piles of his arrows of or are made, * So that battle his

     bounty may not withhold!"

And quoth the third,

"From that liberal-hand on his foes he rains * Shafts aureate-

    headed and manifold:

Wherewith the hurt shall chirurgeon pay, * And for slain the

     shrouds round their corpses roll'd."[FN#135]

And there is also told a tale of


Now Ma'an bin Zбidah went forth one day to the chase with his company,
and they came upon a herd of gazelles; so they separated in pursuit and
Ma'an was left alone to chase one of them. When he had made prize of it
he alighted and slaughtered it; and as he was thus engaged, he espied a
person[FN#136] coming forth out of the desert on an ass. So he
remounted and riding up to the new- comer, saluted him and asked him,
"Whence comest thou?" Quoth he, "I come from the land of Kuzб'ah, where
we have had a two years' dearth; but this year it was a season of
plenty and I sowed early cucumbers.[FN#137] They came up before their
time, so I gathered what seemed the best of them and set out to carry
them to the Emir Ma'an bin Zaidah, because of his well-known
beneficence and notorious munificence." Asked Ma'an, "How much dost
thou hope to get of him?"; and the Badawi answered, "A thousand
dinars." Quoth the Emir, "What if he say this is too much?" Said the
Badawi, "Then I will ask five hundred dinars." "And if he say, too
much?" "Then three hundred!" "And if he say yet, too much?" "Then two
hundred!" "And if he say yet, too much?" "Then one hundred!" "And if he
say yet, too much?" "Then, fifty!" "And if he say yet, too much?" "Then
thirty!" "And if he say still, too much?" asked Ma'an bin Zaidah.
Answered the Badawi, "I will make my ass set his four feet in his
Honour's home[FN#138] and return to my people, disappointed and empty-
handed." So Ma'an laughed at him and urged his steed till he came up
with his suite and returned to his place, when he said to his
chamberlain, "An there come to thee a man with cucumbers and riding on
an ass admit him to me." Presently up came the Badawi and was admitted
to Ma'an's presence; but knew not the Emir for the man he had met in
the desert, by reason of the gravity and majesty of his semblance and
the multitude of his eunuchs and attendants, for he was seated on his
chair of state with his officers ranged in lines before him and on
either side. So he saluted him and Ma'an said to him "What bringeth
thee, O brother of the Arabs?" Answered the Badawi, "I hoped in the
Emir, and have brought him curly cucumbers out of season." Asked Ma'an,
"And how much dost thou expect of us?" "A thousand dinars," answered
the Badawi. "This is far too much," quoth Ma'an. Quoth he, "Five
hundred." "Too much!" "Then three hundred." "Too much!" "Two hundred."
"Too much!" "One hundred." "Too much!" "Fifty." "Too much!" At last the
Badawi came down to thirty dinars; but Ma'an still replied, "Too much!"
So the Badawi cried, "By Allah, the man who met me in the desert
brought me bad luck! But I will not go lower than thirty dinars." The
Emir laughed and said nothing; whereupon the wild Arab knew that it was
he whom he had met and said, "O my lord, except thou bring the thirty
dinars, see ye, there is the ass tied ready at the door and here sits
Ma'an, his honour, at home." So Ma'an laughed, till he fell on his
back; and, calling his steward, said to him, "Give him a thousand
dinars and five hundred and three hundred and two hundred and one
hundred and fifty and thirty; and leave the ass tied up where he is."
So the Arab to his amazement, received two thousand one hundred and
eighty dinars, and Allah have mercy on them both and on all generous
men! And I have also heard, O auspicious King, a tale of


There was once a royal-city in the land of Roum, called the City of
Labtayt wherein stood a tower which was always shut. And whenever a
King died and another King of the Greeks took the Kingship after him,
he set on the tower a new and strong lock, till there were
four-and-twenty locks upon the gate, according to the number of the
Kings. After this time, there came to the throne a man who was not of
the old royal-house, and he had a mind to open these locks, that he
might see what was within the tower. The grandees of his kingdom
forbade him this and pressed him to desist and reproved him and blamed
him; but he persisted saying, "Needs must this place be opened." Then
they offered him all that their hands possessed of monies and treasures
and things of price, if he would but refrain; still he would not be
baulked,—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her
permitted say.

When it was the Two Hundred and Seventy-second Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the grandees
offered that King all their hands possessed of monies and treasures if
he would but refrain; still he would not be baulked and said "There is
no help for it but I open this tower." So he pulled off the locks and
entering, found within the tower figures of Arabs on their horses and
camels, habited in turbands[FN#140] hanging down at the ends, with
swords in baldrick-belts thrown over their shoulders and bearing long
lances in their hands. He found there also a scroll which he greedily
took and read, and these words were written therein, "Whenas this door
is opened will conquer this country a raid of the Arabs, after the
likeness of the figures here depicted; wherefore beware, and again
beware of opening it." Now this city was in Andalusia; and that very
year Tбrik ibn Ziyбd conquered it, during the Caliphate of Al-Walнd son
of Abd al-Malik[FN#141] of the sons of Umayyah; and slew this King
after the sorriest fashion and sacked the city and made prisoners of
the women and boys therein and got great loot. Moreover, he found there
immense treasures; amongst the rest more than an hundred and seventy
crowns of pearls and jacinths and other gems of price; and he found a
saloon, wherein horsemen might throw the spears, full of vessels of
gold and silver, such as no description can comprise. Moreover, he
found there the table of food for the Prophet of Allah, Solomon, son of
David (peace with both of them!), which is extant even now in a city of
the Greeks, it is told that it was of grass-green emerald with vessels
of gold and platters of jasper. Likewise he found the Psalms written in
the old Ionian[FN#142] characters on leaves of gold bezel'd with
jewels; together with a book setting forth the properties of stones and
herbs and minerals, as well as the use of characts and talismans and
the canons of the art of alchymy; and he found a third volume which
treated of the art of cutting and setting rubies and other precious
stones and of the preparation of poisons and theriacks. There found he
also a mappa mundi figuring the earth and the seas and the different
cities and countries and villages of the world; and he found a vast
saloon full of hermetic powder, one drachm of which elixir would turn a
thousand drachms of silver into fine gold; likewise a marvellous
mirror, great and round, of mixed metals, which had been made for
Solomon, son of David (on the twain be peace!) wherein whoso looked
might see the counterfeit presentment of the seven climates of the
world; and he beheld a chamber full of Brahmini[FN#143] jacinths for
which no words can suffice. So he despatched all these things to Walid
bin Abd al-Malik, and the Arabs spread all over the cities of Andalusia
which is one of the finest of lands. This is the end of the story of
the City of Labtayt. And a tale is also told of


The Caliph Hishбm bin Abd al-Malik bin Marwan, was hunting one day,
when he sighted an antelope and pursued it with his dogs. As he was
following the quarry, he saw an Arab youth pasturing sheep and said to
him, "Ho boy, up and after yonder antelope, for it escapeth me!" The
youth raised his head to him and replied, "O ignorant of what to the
deserving is due, thou lookest on me with disdain and speakest to me
with contempt; thy speaking is that of a tyrant true and thy doing what
an ass would do." Quoth Hisham, "Woe to thee, dost thou not know me?"
Rejoined the youth, "Verily thine unmannerliness hath made thee known
to me, in that thou spakest to me, without beginning by the
salutation."[FN#144] Repeated the Caliph, "Fie upon thee! I am Hisham
bin Abd al-Malik." "May Allah not favour thy dwelling-place," replied
the Arab, "nor guard thine abiding place! How many are thy words and
how few thy generous deeds!" Hardly had he ended speaking, when up came
the troop from all sides and surrounded him as the white encircleth the
black of the eye, all and each saying, "Peace be with thee, O Commander
of the Faithful!" Quoth Hisham, "Cut short this talk and seize me
yonder boy." So they laid hands on him; and when he saw the multitude
of Chamberlains and Wazirs and Lords of State, he was in nowise
concerned and questioned not of them, but let his chin drop on his
breast and looked where his feet fell, till they brought him to the
Caliph[FN#145] when he stood before him, with head bowed groundwards
and saluted him not and spoke him not. So one of the eunuchs said to
him, "O dog of the Arabs, what hindereth thy saluting the Commander of
the Faithful?" The youth turned to him angrily and replied, "O
packsaddle of an ass, it was the length of the way that hindered me
from this and the steepness of the steps and the profuseness of my
sweat." Then said Hisham (and indeed he was exceeding wroth), "O boy,
verily thy days are come to their latest hour; thy hope is gone from
thee and thy life is past out of thee." He answered, "By Allah, O
Hisham, verily an my life-term be prolonged and Fate ordain not its
cutting short, thy words irk me not, be they long or short." Then said
the Chief Chamberlain to him, "Doth it befit thy degree, O vilest of
the Arabs, to bandy words with the Commander of the Faithful?" He
answered promptly, "Mayest thou meet with adversity and may woe and
wailing never leave thee! Hast thou not heard the saying of Almighty
Allah?, 'One day, every soul shall come to defend itself.'"[FN#146]
Hereupon Hisham rose, in great wrath, and said, "O headsman, bring me
the head of this lad; for indeed he exceedeth in talk, such as passeth
conception." So the sworder took him and, making him kneel on the
carpet of blood, drew his sword above him and said to the Caliph, "O
Commander of the Faithful, this thy slave is misguided and is on the
way to his grave; shall I smite off his head and be quit of his blood?"
"Yes," replied Hisham. He repeated his question and the Caliph again
answered in the affirmative. Then he asked leave a third time; and the
youth, knowing that, if the Caliph assented yet once more, it would be
the signal of his death, laughed till his wisdom-teeth showed;
whereupon Hisham's wrath redoubled and he said to him, "O boy, meseems
thou art mad; seest thou not that thou art about to depart the world?
Why then dost thou laugh in mockery of thyself?" He replied, "O
Commander of the Faithful, if a larger life-term befell me, none can
hurt me, great or small; but I have bethought me of some couplets,
which do thou hear, for my death cannot escape thee." Quoth Hisham,
"Say on and be brief;" so the Arab repeated these couplets,

"It happed one day a hawk pounced on a bird, * A wildling sparrow

     driven by destiny;

And held in pounces spake the sparrow thus, * E'en as the hawk

     rose ready home to hie:—

'Scant flesh have I to fill the maw of thee * And for thy lordly

     food poor morsel I.

Then smiled the hawk in flattered vanity * And pride, so set the

     sparrow free to fly.

At this Hisham smiled and said, "By the truth of my kinship to the
Apostle of Allah (whom Allah bless and keep!), had he spoken this
speech at first and asked for aught except the Caliphase, verily I
would have given it to him. Stuff his mouth with jewels,[FN#147] O
eunuch and entreat him courteously;" so they did as he bade them and
the Arab went his way. And amongst pleasant tales is that of


They relate that Ibrahнm, son of al-Mahdн,[FN#148] brother of Harun
al-Rashid, when the Caliphate devolved to Al-Maamun, the son of his
brother Harun, refused to acknowledge his nephew and betook himself to
Rayy[FN#149]; where he claimed the throne and abode thus a year and
eleven months and twelve days. Meanwhile his nephew, Al-Maamun, awaited
his return to allegiance and his accepting a dependent position till,
at last, despairing of this, he mounted with his horsemen and footmen
and repaired to Rayy in quest of him. Now when the news came to
Ibrahim, he found nothing for it but to flee to Baghdad and hide there,
fearing for his life; and Maamun set a price of a hundred thousand gold
pieces upon his head, to be paid to whoso might betray him. (Quoth
Ibrahim) "When I heard of this price I feared for my head"—And
Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted

When it was the Two Hundred and Seventy-third Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Ibrahim
continued, "Now when I heard of this price I feared for my head and
knew not what to do: so I went forth of my house in disguise at
mid-day, knowing not whither I should go. Presently I entered a broad
street which was no thoroughfare and said in my mind, 'Verily, we are
Allah's and unto Him we are returning! I have exposed my life to
destruction. If I retrace my steps, I shall arouse suspicion.' Then,
being still in disguise I espied, at the upper end of the street, a
negro-slave standing at his door; so I went up to him and said to him,
'Hast thou a place where I may abide for an hour of the day?' 'Yes,'
answered he, and opening the door admitted me into a decent house,
furnished with carpets and mats and cushions of leather. Then he shut
the door on me and went away; and I misdoubted me he had heard of the
reward offered for me, and said to myself, 'He hath gone to inform
against me.' But, as I sat pondering my case and boiling like cauldron
over fire, behold, my host came back, accompanied by a porter loaded
with bread and meat and new cooking-pots and gear and a new jar and new
gugglets and other needfuls. He made the porter set them down and,
dismissing him, said to me, 'I offer my life for thy ransom! I am a
barber-surgeon, and I know it would disgust thee to eat with me'
because of the way in which I get my livelihood;[FN#150] so do thou
shift for thyself and do what thou please with these things whereon no
hand hath fallen.' (Quoth Ibrahim), Now I was in sore need of food so I
cooked me a pot of meat whose like I remember not ever to have eaten;
and, when I had satisfied my want, he said to me, 'O my lord, Allah
make me thy ransom! Art thou for wine?; for indeed it gladdeneth the
soul and doeth away care.' 'I have no dislike to it,' replied I, being
desirous of the barber's company; so he brought me new flagons of glass
which no hand had touched and a jar of excellent wine, and said to me,
'Strain for thyself, to thy liking;' whereupon I cleared the wine and
mixed me a most delectable draught. Then he brought me a new cup and
fruits and flowers in new vessels of earthenware; after which he said
to me, 'Wilt thou give me leave to sit apart and drink of my own wine
by myself, of my joy in thee and for thee?' 'Do so,' answered I. So I
drank and he drank till the wine began to take effect upon us, when the
barber rose and, going to a closet, took out a lute of polished wood
and said to me, 'O my lord, it is not for the like of me to ask the
like of thee to sing, but it behoveth thine exceeding generosity to
render my respect its due; so, if thou see fit to honour thy slave,
thine is the high decision.' Quoth I (and indeed I thought not that he
knew me), 'How knowest thou that I excel in song?' He replied, 'Glory
be to Allah, our lord is too well renowned for that! Thou art my lord
Ibrahim, son of Al-Mahdi, our Caliph of yesterday, he on whose head
Al-Maamun hath set a price of an hundred thousand dinars to be paid to
thy betrayer: but thou art in safety with me.' (Quoth Ibrahim), When I
heard him say this, he was magnified in my eyes and his loyalty and
noble nature were certified to me; so I complied with his wish and took
the lute and tuned it, and sang. Then I bethought me of my severance
from my children and my family and I began to say,

'Belike Who Yъsuf to his kin restored * And honoured him in goal,

     a captive wight,

May grant our prayer to reunite our lots, * For Allah, Lord of

     Worlds, hath all of might.'

When the barber heard this, exceeding joy took possession of him. and
he was of great good cheer; for it is said that when Ibrahim's
neighbours heard him only sing out, 'Ho, boy, saddle the mule!' they
were filled with delight. Then, being overborne by mirth, he said to
me, 'O my lord, wilt thou give me leave to say what is come to my mind,
albeit I am not of the folk of this craft?' I answered, 'Do so; this is
of thy great courtesy and kindness.' So he took the lute and sang these

'To our beloveds we moaned our length of night; * Quoth they,

     'How short the nights that us benight!'

'Tis for that sleep like hood enveils their eyes * Right soon,

     but from our eyes is fair of flight:

When night-falls, dread and drear to those who love, * We mourn;

     they joy to see departing light:

Had they but dree'd the weird, the bitter dole * We dree, their

     beds like ours had bred them blight.'

(Quoth Ibrahim), So I said to him, 'By Allah, thou hast shown me a
kindness, O my friend, and hast done away from me the pangs of sorrow.
Let me hear more trifles of thy fashion.' So he sang these couplets,

'When man keeps honour bright without a stain, * Pair sits

     whatever robe to robe he's fain!

She jeered at me because so few we are; * Quoth I:—'There's ever

     dearth of noble men!'

Naught irks us we are few, while neighbour tribes * Count many;

     neighbours oft are base-born strain:

We are a clan which holds not Death reproach, * Which A'mir and

     Samъl[FN#151] hold illest bane:

Leads us our love of death to fated end; * They hate that ending

     and delay would gain:

We to our neighbours' speech aye give the lie, * But when we

     speak none dare give lie again.'

(Quoth Ibrahim), When I heard these lines, I was filled with huge
delight and marvelled with exceeding marvel. Then I slept and awoke not
till past night-fall, when I washed my face, with a mind full of the
high worth of this barber-surgeon and his passing courtesy; after which
I wakened him and, taking out a purse I had by me containing a number
of gold pieces, threw it to him, saying, 'I commend thee to Allah, for
I am about to go forth from thee, and pray thee to expend what is in
this purse on thine requirements; and thou shalt have an abounding
reward of me, when I am quit of my fear.' (Quoth Ibrahim), But he
resumed the bag to me, saying, 'O my lord, paupers like myself are of
no value in thine eyes; but how, with due respect to my own generosity,
can I take a price for the boon which fortune hath vouchsafed me of thy
favour and thy visit to my poor abode? Nay, if thou repeat thy words
and throw the purse to me again I will slay myself.' So I put in my
sleeve[FN#152] the purse whose weight was irksome to me."—And Shahrazad
perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Two Hundred and Seventy-fourth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Ibrahim son of
Al-Mahdi continued, "So I put in my sleeve the purse whose weight was
irksome to me; and turned to depart, but when I came to the house door
he said, 'O my lord, of a truth this is a safer hiding-place for thee
than any other, and thy keep is no burden to me; so do thou abide with
me, till Allah be pleased grant thee relief.' Accordingly, I turned
back, saying, 'On condition that thou spend of the money in this
purse.' He made me think that he consented to this arrangement, and I
abode with him some days in the utmost comfort; but, perceiving that he
spent none of the contents of the purse, I revolted at the idea of
abiding at his charge and thought it shame to be a burthen on him; so I
left the house disguised in women's apparel, donning short yellow
walking- boots[FN#153] and veil. Now as soon as I found myself in the
street, I was seized with excessive fear, and going to pass the bridge
behold, I came to a place sprinkled with water,[FN#154] where a
trooper, who been in my service, looked at me and knowing me, cried
out, saying, 'This is he whom Al-Maamun wanteth.' Then he laid hold of
me but the love of sweet life lent me strength and I gave him and his
horse a push which threw them down in that slippery place, so that he
became an example to those who will take example; and the folk hastened
to him. Meanwhile, I hurried my pace over the bridge and entered a main
street, where I saw the door of a house open and a woman standing upon
the threshold. So I said to her, 'O my lady, have pity on me and save
my life; for I am a man in fear.' Quoth she, 'Enter and welcome;' and
carried me into an upper dining-room, where she spread me a bed and
brought me food, saying 'Calm thy fear, for not a soul shall know of
thee.' As she spoke lo! there came a loud knocking at the door; so she
went and opened, and suddenly, my friend, whom I had thrown down on the
bridge, appeared with his head bound up, the blood running down upon
his clothes and without his horse. She asked, 'O so and so, what
accident hath befallen thee?'; and he answered, 'I made prize of the
young man whom the Caliph seeketh and he escaped from me;' whereupon he
told her the whole story. So she brought out tinder[FN#155] and,
putting it into a piece of rag bandaged his head; after which she
spread him a bed and he lay sick. Then she came up to me and said,
'Methinks thou art the man in question?' 'Even so,' answered I, and she
said, 'Fear not: no harm shall befall thee,' and redoubled in kindness
to me. So I tarried with her three days, at the end of which time she
said to me, 'I am in fear for thee, lest yonder man happen upon thee
and betray thee to what thou dreadest; so save thyself by flight.' I
besought her to let me stay till nightfall, and she said, 'There is no
harm in that.' So, when the night came, I put on my woman's gear and
betook me to the house of a freed-woman who had once been our slave.
When she saw me she wept and made a show of affliction and praised
Almighty Allah for my safety. Then she went forth, as if she would go
to market intent on hospitable thoughts, and I fancied all was right;
but, ere long, suddenly I espied Ibrahim al-Mosili[FN#156] for the
house amongst his troopers and servants, and led by a woman on foot;
and looking narrowly at her behold, she was the freed-woman, the
mistress of the house, wherein I had taken refuge. So she delivered me
into their hands, and I saw death face to face. They carried me, in my
woman's attire, to Al-Maamun who called a general-council and had me
brought before him. When I entered I saluted him by the title of
Caliph, saying, 'Peace be on thee, O Commander of the Faithful!' and he
replied, 'Allah give thee neither peace nor long life.' I rejoined,
'According to thy good pleasure, O Commander of the Faithful!; it is
for the claimant of blood- revenge[FN#157] to decree punishment or
pardon; but mercy is nigher to piety; and Allah hath set thy pardon
above all other pardon, even as He made my sin to excel all other sin.
So, if thou punish, it is of thine equity, and if thou pardon, it is of
thy bounty.' And I repeated these couplets,

'My sin to thee is great, * But greater thy degree:

So take revenge, or else * Remit in clemency:

An I in deeds have not* Been generous, generous be!

(Quoth Ibrahim), At this Al-Maamun raised his head to me and I hastened
to add these two couplets,

'I've sinned enormous sin, * But pardon in thee lies:

If pardon thou, 'tis grace; * Justice an thou chastise!'

Then Al-Maamun bowed his head and repeated,

'I am (when friend would raise a rage that mote * Make spittle

     choke me, sticking in my throat)

His pardoner, and pardon his offense, * Fearing lest I should

     live a friend without.'

(Quoth Ibrahim), Now when I heard these words I scented mercy, knowing
his disposition to clemency.[FN#158] Then he turned to his son Al Abbas
and his brother Abu Ishak and all his chief officers there present and
said to them, 'What deem ye of his case?' They all counselled him to do
me dead, but they differed as to the manner of my death. Then said he
to his Wazir Ahmad bin al-Khбlid, 'And what sayest thou, O Ahmad?' He
answered, 'O Commander of the Faithful, an thou slay him, we find the
like of thee who hath slain the like of him; but an thou pardon him, we
find not the like of thee that hath pardoned the like of him.'"— And
Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted

When it was the Two Hundred and Seventy-fifth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Al Maamun,
Prince of the Faithful, heard the words of Ahmad bin al-Khбlid, he
bowed his head and began repeating,

"My tribe have slain that brother mine, Umaym, * Yet would shoot

     back what shafts at them I aim:

If I deal-pardon, noble pardon 'tis; * And if I shoot, my bones

     'twill only maim."[FN#159]

And he also recited,

"Be mild to brother mingling * What is wrong with what is right:

Kindness to him continue * Whether good or graceless wight:

Abstain from all reproaching, * An he joy or vex thy sprite:

Seest not that what thou lovest * And what hatest go unite?

That joys of longer life-tide * Ever fade with hair turned


That thorns on branches growing * For the plucks fruit catch thy


Who never hath done evil,* Doing good for sole delight?

When tried the sons of worldli-* ness they mostly work upright."

Quoth Ibrahim, "Now when I heard these couplets, I withdrew my woman's
veil from my head and cried out, with my loudest voice, 'Allah is Most
Great! By Allah, the Commander of the Faithful pardoneth me!' Quoth he,
'No harm shall come to thee, O uncle;' and I rejoined, 'O Commander of
the Faithful, my sin is too sore for me to excuse it and thy mercy is
too much for me to speak thanks for it.' And I chanted these couplets
to a lively motive,

'Who made all graces all collected He * In Adam's loins, our

     Seventh Imam, for thee,[FN#160]

Thou hast the hearts of men with reverence filled, * Enguarding

     all with heart-humility

Rebelled I never by delusion whelmed * For object other than thy

     clemency ;[FN#161]

And thou hast pardoned me whose like was ne'er * Pardoned before,

     though no man pled my plea:

Hast pitied little ones like Katб's[FN#162] young, * And mother's

     yearning heart a son to see.'

Quoth Maamun, 'I say, following our lord Joseph (on whom and on our
Prophet be blessing and peace!) let there be no reproach cast on you
this day. Allah forgiveth you; for He is the most merciful of those who
show mercy.[FN#163] Indeed I pardon thee, and restore to thee thy goods
and lands, O uncle, and no harm shall befall thee.' So I offered up
devout prayers for him and repeated these couplets,

'Thou hast restored my wealth sans greed, and ere * So didst,

     thou deignиdest my blood to spare:

Then if I shed my blood and wealth, to gain * Thy grace, till

     even shoon from foot I tear,

Twere but repaying what thou lentest me, * And what unloaned no

     man to blame would care:

Were I ungrateful for thy lavish boons, * Baser than thou'rt

     beneficent I were!'

Then Al-Maamun showed me honour and favour and said to me, 'O uncle,
Abu Ishak and Al-Abbas counselled me to put thee to death.' So I
answered, 'And they both counselled thee right, O Commander of the
Faithful, but thou hast done after thine own nature and hast put away
what I feared with what I hoped.' Rejoined Al Maamun, 'O uncle, thou
didst extinguish my rancour with the modesty of thine excuse, and I
have pardoned thee without making thee drink the bitterness of
obligation to intercessors.' Then he prostrated himself in prayer a
long while, after which he raised his head and said to me, 'O uncle,
knowest thou why I prostrated myself?' Answered I, 'Haply thou didst
this in thanksgiving to Allah, for that He hath given thee the mastery
over thine enemy.' He replied, 'Such was not my design, but rather to
thank Allah for having inspired me to pardon thee and for having
cleared my mind towards thee. Now tell me thy tale.' So I told him all
that had befallen me with the barber, the trooper and his wife and with
my freed-woman who had betrayed me. So he summoned the freed-woman, who
was in her house, expecting the reward to be sent to her, and when she
came before him he said to her, 'What moved thee to deal thus with thy
lord?' Quoth she, 'Lust of money.' Asked the Caliph 'Hast thou a child
or a husband?'; and she answered 'No;' whereupon he bade them give her
an hundred stripes with a whip and imprisoned her for life. Then he
sent for the trooper and his wife and the barber-surgeon and asked the
soldier what had moved him to do thus. 'Lust of money,' quoth he;
whereupon quoth the Caliph, 'It befitteth thee to be a
barber-cupper,'[FN#164] and committed him to one whom he charged to
place him in a barber-cupper's shop, where he might learn the craft.
But he showed honour to the trooper's wife and lodged her in his
palace, saying, 'This is a woman of sound sense and fit for matters of
moment.' Then said he to the barber-cupper, 'Verily, thou hast shown
worth and generosity which call for extraordinary honour.' So he
commanded the trooper's house and all that was therein to be given him
and bestowed on him a dress of honour and in addition fifteen thousand
dinars to be paid annually. And men tell the following tale concerning


It is related that Abdullah bin Abi Kilбbah went forth in quest of a
she-camel which had strayed from him; and, as he was wandering in the
deserts of Al-Yaman and the district of Sabб,[FN#166] behold, he came
upon a great city girt by a vast castle around which were palaces and
pavilions that rose high into middle air. He made for the place
thinking to find there folk of whom he might ask concerning his
she-camel; but, when he reached it, he found it desolate, without a
living soul in it. So (quoth he) "I alighted and, hobbling my
dromedary,"—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say
her permitted say.

When it was the Two Hundred and Seventy-sixth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Abdullah bin Abi
Kilabah continued, "I dismounted and hobbling my dromedary, and
composing my mind, entered into the city. Now when I came to the
castle, I found it had two vast gates (never in the world was seen
their like for size height) inlaid with all manner of jewels and
jacinths, white and red, yellow and green. Beholding this I marvelled
with great marvel and thought the case mighty wondrous; then entering
the citadel in a flutter of fear and dazed with surprise and affright,
I found it long and wide, about equalling Al-Medinah[FN#167] in point
of size; and therein were lofty palaces laid out in pavilions all built
of gold and silver and inlaid with many-coloured jewels and jacinths
and chrysolites and pearls. And the door-leaves in the pavilions were
like those of the castle for beauty; and their floors were strewn with
great pearls and balls, no smaller than hazel nuts, of musk and
ambergris and saffron. Now when I came within the heart of the city and
saw therein no created beings of the Sons of Adam I was near swooning
and dying for fear. Moreover, I looked down from the great roofs of the
pavilion-chambers and their balconies and saw rivers running under
them; and in the main streets were fruit-laden trees and tall palms;
and the manner of their building was one brick of gold and one of
silver. So I said in myself, 'Doubtless this is the Paradise promised
for the world to come.' Then I loaded me with the jewels of its gravel
and the musk of its dust as much as I could carry and returned to my
own country, where I told the folk what I had seen. After a time the
news reached Mu'бwiyah, son of Abu Sufyбn, who was then Caliph in
Al-Hijaz; so he wrote to his lieutenant in San'б of Al-Yaman to send
for the teller of the story and question him of the truth of the case.
Accordingly the lieutenant summoned me and questioned me of my
adventure and of all appertaining to it; and I told him what I had
seen, whereupon he despatched me to Mu'awiyah, before whom I repeated
the story of the strange sights; but he would not credit it. So I
brought out to him some of the pearls and balls of musk and ambergris
and saffron, in which latter there was still some sweet savour; but the
pearls were grown yellow and had lost pearly colour."—And Shahrazad
perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Two Hundred and Seventy-seventh Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Abdullah son of
Abu Kilabah continued, "But the pearls were grown yellow and had lost
pearly colour. Now Mu'awiyah wondered at this and, sending for Ka'ab
al-Ahbar[FN#168] said to him, 'O Ka'ab, I have sent for thee to
ascertain the truth of a certain matter and hope that thou wilt be able
to certify me thereof.' Asked Ka'ab, 'What is it, O Commander of the
Faithful?'; and Mu'awiyah answered, 'Wottest thou of any city founded
by man which is builded of gold and silver, the pillars whereof are of
chrysolite and rubies and its gravel pearls and balls of musk and
ambergris and saffron?' He replied, 'Yes, O Commander of the Faithful,
this is 'Iram with pillars decked and dight, the like of which was
never made in the lands,'[FN#169] and the builder was Shaddad son of Ad
the Greater.' Quoth the Caliph, 'Tell us something of its history,' and
Ka'ab said, 'Ad the Greater[FN#170] had two sons, Shadнd and Shaddбd
who, when their father died, ruled conjointly in his stead, and there
was no King of the Kings of the earth but was subject to them. After
awhile Shadid died and his brother Shaddad reigned over the earth
alone. Now he was fond of reading in antique books; and, happening upon
the description of the world to come and of Paradise, with its
pavilions and galleries and trees and fruits and so forth, his soul
moved him to build the like thereof in this world, after the fashion
aforesaid. Now under his hand were an hundred thousand Kings, each
ruling over an hundred thousand chiefs, commanding each an hundred
thousand warriors; so he called these all before him and said to them,
'I find in ancient books and annals a description of Paradise, as it is
to be in the next world, and I desire to build me its like in this
world. Go ye forth therefore to the goodliest tract on earth and the
most spacious and build me there a city of gold and silver, whose
gravel shall be chrysolite and rubies and pearls; and for support of
its vaults make pillars of jasper. Fill it with palaces, whereon ye
shall set galleries and balconies and plant its lanes and thoroughfares
with all manner trees bearing yellow-ripe fruits and make rivers to run
through it in channels of gold and silver.' Whereat said one and all,
'How are we able to do this thing thou hast commanded, and whence shall
we get the chrysolites and rubies and pearls whereof thou speakest?'
Quoth he, 'What! weet ye not that the Kings of the world are subject to
me and under my hand and that none therein dare gainsay my word?'
Answered they, 'Yes, we know that.'"—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn
of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Two Hundred and Seventy-eighth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the lieges
answered, "Yes, we know that;" whereupon the King rejoined, "Fare ye
then to the mines of chrysolites and rubies and pearls and gold and
silver and collect their produce and gather together all of value that
is in the world and spare no pains and leave naught; and take also for
me such of these things as be in men's hands and let nothing escape
you: be diligent and beware of disobedience." And thereupon he wrote
letters to all the Kings of the world and bade them gather together
whatso of these things was in their subjects' hands, and get them to
the mines of precious stones and metals, and bring forth all that was
therein, even from the abysses of the seas. This they accomplished in
the space of 20 years, for the number of rulers then reigning over the
earth was three hundred and sixty Kings, and Shaddad presently
assembled from all lands and countries architects and engineers and men
of art and labourers and handicraftsmen, who dispersed over the world
and explored all the wastes and words and tracts and holds. At last
they came to an uninhabited spot, a vast and fair open plain clear of
sand-hills and mountains, with founts flushing and rivers rushing, and
they said, "This is the manner of place the King commanded us to seek
and ordered us to find." So they busied themselves in building the city
even as bade them Shaddad, King of the whole earth in its length and
breadth; leading the fountains in channels and laying the foundations
after the prescribed fashion. Moreover, all the Kings of earth's
several-reigns sent thither jewels and precious stones and pearls large
and small and carnelian and refined gold and virgin silver upon camels
by land, and in great ships over the waters, and there came to the
builders' hands of all these materials so great a quantity as may
neither be told nor counted nor conceived. So they laboured at the work
three hundred years; and, when they had brought it to end, they went to
King Shaddad and acquainted him therewith. Then said he, "Depart and
make thereon an impregnable castle, rising and towering high in air,
and build around it a thousand pavilions, each upon a thousand columns
of chrysolite and ruby and vaulted with gold, that in each pavilion a
Wazir may dwell." So they returned forthwith and did this in other
twenty years; after which they again presented themselves before King
Shaddad and informed him of the accomplishment of his will. Then he
commanded his Wazirs, who were a thousand in number, and his Chief
Officers and such of his troops and others as he put trust in, to
prepare for departure and removal to Many-columned Iram, in the suite
and at the stirrup of Shaddad, son of Ad, King of the World; and he
bade also such as he would of his women and his Harim and of his
handmaids and eunuchs make them ready for the journey. They spent
twenty years in preparing for departure, at the end of which time
Shaddad set out with his host.—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day
and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Two Hundred and Seventy-ninth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Shaddad bin Ad
fared forth, he and his host, rejoicing in the attainment of his desire
till there remained but one day's journey between him and Iram of the
Pillars. Then Allah sent down on him and on the stubborn unbelievers
with him a mighty rushing sound from the Heavens of His power, which
destroyed them all with its vehement clamour, and neither Shaddad nor
any of his company set eyes on the city.[FN#171] Moreover, Allah
blotted out the road which led to the city, and it stands in its stead
unchanged until the Resurrection Day and the Hour of Judgement." So
Mu'awiyah wondered greatly at Ka'ab al-Ahbar's story and said to him,
"Hath any mortal ever made his way to that city?" He replied, "Yes; one
of the companions of Mohammed (on whom be blessing and peace!) reached
it, doubtless and forsure after the same fashion as this man here
seated." "And (quoth Al-Sha'abi[FN#172]) it is related, on the
authority of learned men of Himyar in Al-Yaman that Shaddad, when
destroyed with all his host by the sound, was succeeded in his Kingship
by his son Shaddad the Less, whom he left vice-regent in
Hazramaut[FN#173] and Saba, when he and his marched upon Many-columned
Iram. Now as soon as he heard of his father's death on the road, he
caused his body to be brought back from the desert to Hazramaut and
bade them hew him out a tomb in a cave, where he laid the body on a
throne of gold and threw over the corpse threescore and ten robes of
cloth of gold, purfled with precious stones. Lastly at his sire's head
he set up a tablet of gold whereon were graven these verses,

     'Take warning O proud, * And in length o' life vain!

     I'm Shaddбd son of Ad, * Of the forts castellain;

     Lord of pillars and power,* Lord of tried might and main,

     Whom all earth-sons obeyed* For my mischief and bane

     And who held East and West* In mine awfullest reign.

     He preached me salvation * Whom God did assain,[FN#174]

     But we crossed him and asked * 'Can no refuge be ta'en?'

     When a Cry on us cried * From th' horizon plain,

     And we fell on the field * Like the harvested grain,

     And the Fixt Day await * We, in earth's bosom lain!'"

Al-Sa'alibi also relateth, "It chanced that two men once entered this
cave and found steps at its upper end; so they descended and came to an
underground chamber, an hundred cubits long by forty wide and an
hundred high. In the midst stood a throne of gold, whereon lay a man of
huge bulk, filling the whole length and breadth of the throne. He was
covered with jewels and raiment gold-and-silver wrought, and at his
head was a tablet of gold bearing an inscription. So they took the
tablet and carried it off, together with as many bars of gold and
silver and so forth as they could bear away." And men also relate the
tale of


Quoth Isaac of Mosul,[FN#175] "I went out one night from Al Maamun's
presence, on my way to my house; and, being taken with a pressing need
to make water, I turned aside into a by-street and stood in the middle
fearing lest something might hurt me, if I squatted against a
wall.[FN#176] Presently, I espied something hanging down from one of
the houses; so I felt it to find out what it might be and found that it
was a great four-handled basket,[FN#177] covered with brocade. Said I
to myself, 'There must be some reason for this,' and knew not what to
think; then drunkenness led me to seat myself in the basket, and
behold, the people of the house pulled me up, thinking me to be the
person they expected. Now when I came to the top of the wall; lo! four
damsels were there, who said to me, 'Descend and welcome and joy to
thee!' Then one of them went before me with a wax candle and brought me
down into a mansion, wherein were furnished sitting- chambers, whose
like I had never seen save in the palace of the Caliphate. So I sat
down and, after a while, the curtains were suddenly drawn from one side
of the room and, behold, in came damsels walking in procession and
hending hand lighted flambeaux of wax and censers full of Sumatran
aloes-wood, and amongst them a young lady as she were the rising full
moon. So I stood up to her and she said, 'Welcome to thee for a
visitor!' and then she made me sit down again and asked me how I came
thither. Quoth I, 'I was returning home from the house of an intimate
friend and went astray in the dark; then, being taken in the street
with an urgent call to make water, I turned aside into this lane, where
I found a basket let down. The strong wine which I had drunk led me to
seat myself in it and it was drawn up with me into this house, and this
is my story.' She rejoined, 'No harm shall befall thee, and I hope thou
wilt have cause to praise the issue of thine adventure.' Then she
added, 'But what is thy condition?' I said, 'A merchant in the Baghdad
bazar' and she, 'Canst thou repeat any verses?' 'Some small matter,'
quoth I. Quoth she 'Then call a few to mind and let us hear some of
them.' But I said, 'A visitor is bashful and timid; do thou begin.'
'True,' replied she and recited some verses of the poets, past and
present, choosing their choicest pieces; and I listened not knowing
whether more to marvel at her beauty and loveliness or at the charm of
her style of declamation. Then said she, 'Is that bashfulness of thine
gone?' and I said, 'Yes, by Allah!' so she rejoined, 'Then, if thou
wilt, recite us somewhat.' So I repeated to her a number of poems by
old writers, and she applauded, saying, 'By Allah, I did not think to
find such culture among the trade folk, the sons of the bazar!' Then
she called for food" Whereupon quoth Shahrazad's sister Dunyazad, "How
pleasant is this tale and enjoyable and sweet to the ear and sound to
the sense!" But she answered, "And what is this story compared with
that which thou shalt hear on the morrow's night, if I be alive and the
King deign spare me!" Then Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and
ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Two Hundred and Eightieth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Isaac of Mosul
continued, "Then the damsel called for food and, when it was served to
her, she fell to eating it and setting it before me; and the sitting
room was full of all manner sweet-scented flowers and rare fruits, such
as are never found save in Kings' houses. Presently, she called for
wine and drank a cup, after which she filled another and gave it to me,
saying, 'Now is the time for converse and story-telling.' So I
bethought myself and began to say, 'It hath reached me that such and
such things happened and there was a man who said so and so,' till I
had told her a number of pleasing tales and adventures with which she
was delighted and cried, ''Tis marvellous that a merchant should bear
in memory such store of stories like these, for they are fit for
Kings.' Quoth I, 'I had a neighbour who used to consort with Kings and
carouse with them; so, when he was at leisure, I visited his house and
he hath often told me what thou hast heard.' Thereupon she exclaimed
'By my life, but thou hast a good memory!' So we continued to converse
thus, and as often as I was silent, she would begin, till in this way
we passed the most part of the night, whilst the burning aloes-wood
diffused its fragrance and I was in such case that if Al-Maamun had
suspected it, he would have flown like a bird with longing for it. Then
said she to me, 'Verily, thou art one of the most pleasant of men,
polished, passing well-bred and polite; but there lacketh one thing.'
'What is that?' asked I, and she answered, If thou only knew how to
sing verses to the lute!' I answered, 'I was passionately fond of this
art aforetime, but finding I had no taste for it, I abandoned it,
though at times my heart yearneth after it. Indeed, I should love to
sing somewhat well at this moment and fulfil my night's enjoyment.'
Then said she, 'Meseemeth thou hintest a wish for the lute to be
brought?' and I, 'It is thine to decide, if thou wilt so far favour me,
and to thee be the thanks.' So she called for a lute and sang a song in
a voice whose like I never heard, both for sweetness of tone and skill
in playing, and perfection of art. Then said she, Knowest thou who
composed this air and whose are the words of this song?'"No," answered
I; and she said, The words are so and so's and the air is Isaac's.' I
asked 'And hath Isaac then (may I be thy sacrifice!) such a talent?'
She replied, 'Bravo![FN#178] Bravo, Isaac! indeed, he excelleth in this
art.' I rejoined, 'Glory be to Allah who hath given this man what he
hath vouchsafed unto none other!' Then she said 'And how would it be,
an thou heard this song from himself?' This wise we went on till break
of day dawn, when there came to her an old woman, as she were her
nurse, and said to her, 'Verily, the time is come.' So she rose in
haste and said to me, 'Keep what hath passed between us to thyself; for
such meetings are in confidence;'"—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of
day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Two Hundred and Eighty-first Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the damsel
whispered, "'Keep what hath passed between us to thyself, for such
meetings are in confidence;' and I replied, 'May I be thy ransom! I
needed no charge to this.' Then I took leave of her and she sent a
handmaid to show me the way and open the house door; so I went forth
and returned to my own place, where I prayed the morning prayer and
slept. Now after a time there came to me a messenger from Al-Maamun, so
I went to him and passed the day in his company. And when the night
fell I called to mind my yesternight's pleasure, a thing from which
none but an ignoramus would abstain, and betook myself to the street,
where I found the basket, and seating myself therein, was drawn up to
the place in which I had passed the previous night. When the lady saw
me, she said, 'Indeed, thou hast been assiduous;' and I answered,
'Meseemeth rather that I am neglectful.' Then we fell to discoursing
and passed the night as before in general-conversation and reciting
verses and telling rare tales, each in turn, till daybreak, when I
wended me home; and I prayed the dawn prayer and slept. Presently there
came to me a messenger from Al-Maamun; so I went to him and spent my
day with him till nightfall, when the Commander of the Faithful said to
me, 'I conjure thee to sit here, whilst I go out for a want and come
back.' As soon as the Caliph was gone, and quite gone, my thoughts
began to tempt and try me and, calling to mind my late delight, I
recked little what might befal me from the Prince of True Believers. So
I sprang up and turning my back upon the sitting-room, ran to the
street aforesaid, where I sat down in the basket and was drawn up as
before. When the lady saw me, she said, 'I begin to think thou art a
sincere friend to us.' Quoth I, 'Yea, by Allah!' and quoth she, 'Hast
thou made our house thine abiding-place?' I replied, 'May I be thy
ransom! A guest claimeth guest right for three days and if I return
after this, ye are free to spill my blood.' Then we passed the night as
before; and when the time of departure drew near, I bethought me that
Al Maamun would assuredly question me nor would ever be content save
with a full explanation: so I said to her, 'I see thee to be of those
who delight in singing. Now I have a cousin, the son of my father's
brother, who is fairer than I in face and higher of rank and better of
breeding; and he is the most intimate of Allah's creatures with Isaac.'
Quoth she, 'Art thou a parasite[FN#179] and an importunate one?' Quoth
I, 'It is for thee to decide in this matter;' and she, 'If thy cousin
be as thou hast described him, it would not mislike us to make
acquaintance with him.' Then, as the time was come, I left her and
returned to my house, but hardly had I reached it, ere the Caliph's
runners came down on me and carried me before him by main force and
roughly enough."—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to
say her permitted say.

When it was the Two Hundred and Eighty-second Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Isaac of Mosul
continued, "And hardly had I reached my house ere the Caliph's runners
came down upon me and carried me before him by main force and roughly
enough. I found him seated on a chair, wroth with me, and he said to
me, 'O Isaac, art thou a traitor to thine allegiance?' replied I, 'No,
by Allah, O Commander of the Faithful!' and he rejoined, 'What hast
thou then to say? tell me the whole truth;' and I, 'Yes, I will, but in
private.' So he signed to his attendants, who withdrew to a distance,
and I told him the case, adding, 'I promised her to bring thee,' and he
said, 'Thou didst well.' Then we spent the day in our usual-pleasures,
but Al-Maamun's heart was taken up with her, and hardly was the
appointed time come, when we set out. As we went along, I cautioned
him, saying, 'Look that thou call me not by my name before her; and I
will demean myself like thine attendant.' And having agreed upon this,
we fared forth till we came to the place, where we found two baskets
hanging ready. So we sat down in them and were drawn up to the
usual-place, where the damsel came forward and saluted us. Now when Al
Maamun saw her, he was amazed at her beauty and loveliness; and she
began to entertain him with stories and verses. Presently, she called
for wine and we fell to drinking she paying him special attention and
he repaying her in kind. Then she took the lute and sang these verses,

'My lover came in at the close of night, * I rose till he sat and

     remained upright;

And said 'Sweet heart, hast thou come this hour? * Nor feared on

     the watch and ward to 'light:'

Quoth he 'The lover had cause to fear, * But Love deprived him of

     wits and fright.'

And when she ended her song she said to me, 'And is thy cousin also a
merchant?' I answered, 'Yes,' and she said, 'Indeed, ye resemble each
other nearly.' But when Al-Maamun had drunk three pints,[FN#180] he
grew merry with wine and called out, saying, 'Ho, Isaac!' And I
replied, 'Labbayk, Adsum, O Commander of the Faithful,' whereupon quoth
he, 'Sing me this air.' Now when the young lady learned that he was the
Caliph, she withdrew to another place and disappeared; and, as I had
made an end of my song, Al-Maamun said to me, 'See who is the master of
this house', whereupon an old woman hastened to make answer, saying,
'It belongs to Hasan bin Sahl.'[FN#181] 'Fetch him to me,' said the
Caliph. So she went away and after a while behold, in came Hasan, to
whom said Al-Maamun 'Hast thou a daughter?' He said, 'Yes, and her name
is Khadijah.' Asked the Caliph, 'Is she married?' Answered Hasan, 'No,
by Allah!' Said Al-Maamun, Then I ask her of thee in marriage.' Replied
her father, 'O Commander of the Faithful, she is thy handmaid and at
thy commandment.' Quoth Al-Maamun, 'I take her to wife at a present
settlement of thirty thousand dinars, which thou shalt receive this
very morning, and, when the money has been paid thee, do thou bring her
to us this night.' And Hasan answered, 'I hear and I obey.' Thereupon
we went forth and the Caliph said to me, 'O Isaac, tell this story to
no one.' So I kept it secret till Al-Maamun's death. Surely never did
man's life gather such pleasures as were mine these four days' time,
whenas I companied with Al-Maamun by day and Khadijah by night; and, by
Allah, never saw I among men the like of Al-Maamun nor among women have
I ever set eyes on the like of Khadijah; no, nor on any that came near
her in lively wit and pleasant speech! And Allah is All knowing. But
amongst stories is that of


During the season of the Meccan pilgrimage, whilst the people were
making circuit about the Holy House and the place of compassing was
crowded, behold, a man laid hold of the covering of the Ka'abah[FN#182]
and cried out, from the bottom of his heart, saying, 'I beseech thee, O
Allah, that she may once again be wroth with her husband and that I may
know her!' A company of the pilgrims heard him and seized him and
carried him to the Emir of the pilgrims, after a sufficiency of blows;
and, said they, 'O Emir, we found this fellow in the Holy Places,
saying thus and thus.' So the Emir commanded to hang him; but he cried,
'O Emir, I conjure thee, by the virtue of the Apostle (whom Allah bless
and preserve!), hear my story and then do with me as thou wilt.' Quoth
the Emir, 'Tell thy tale forthright.' 'Know then, O Emir,' quoth the
man, 'that I am a sweep who works in the sheep- slaughterhouses and
carries off the blood and the offal to the rubbish-heaps outside the
gates. And it came to pass as I went along one day with my ass loaded,
I saw the people running away and one of them said to me, 'Enter this
alley, lest haply they slay thee.' Quoth I, 'What aileth the folk
running away?' and one of the eunuchs, who were passing, said to me,
'This is the Harim[FN#183] of one of the notables and her eunuchs drive
the people out of her way and beat them all, without respect to
persons.' So I turned aside with the donkey'"—And Shahrazad perceived
the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Two Hundred and Eighty-third Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that quoth the man,
"So I turned aside with the donkey and stood still awaiting the
dispersal of the crowd; and I saw a number of eunuchs with staves in
their hands, followed by nigh thirty women slaves, and amongst them a
lady as she were a willow-wand or a thirsty gazelle, perfect in beauty
and grace and amorous languor, and all were attending upon her. Now
when she came to the mouth of the passage where I stood, she turned
right and left and, calling one of the Castratos, whispered in his ear;
and behold, he came up to me and laid hold of me, whilst another eunuch
took my ass and made off with it. And when the spectators fled, the
first eunuch bound me with a rope and dragged me after him till I knew
not what to do; and the people followed us and cried out, saying, 'This
is not allowed of Allah! What hath this poor scavenger done that he
should be bound with ropes?' and praying the eunuchs, 'Have pity on him
and let him go, so Allah have pity on you!' And I the while said in my
mind, 'Doubtless the eunuchry seized me, because their mistress smelt
the stink of the offal and it sickened her. Belike she is with child or
ailing; but there is no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah,
the Glorious, the Great!' So I continued walking on behind them, till
they stopped at the door of a great house; and, entering before me,
brought me into a big hall—I know not how I shall describe its
magnificence—furnished with the finest furniture. And the women also
entered the hall; and I bound and held by the eunuch and saying to
myself, 'Doubtless they will torture me here till I die and none know
of my death.' However, after a while, they carried me into a neat
bath-room leading out of the hall; and as I sat there, behold, in came
three slave-girls who seated themselves round me and said to me, 'Strip
off thy rags and tatters.' So I pulled off my threadbare clothes and
one of them fell a-rubbing my legs and feet whilst another scrubbed my
head and a third shampooed my body. When they had made an end of
washing me, they brought me a parcel of clothes and said to me, 'Put
these on'; and I answered, 'By Allah, I know not how!' So they came up
to me and dressed me, laughing together at me the while; after which
they brought casting-bottles full of rose-water, and sprinkled me
therewith. Then I went out with them into another saloon; by Allah, I
know not how to praise its splendour for the wealth of paintings and
furniture therein; and entering it, I saw a person seated on a couch of
Indian rattan"—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to
say her permitted say.

When it was the Two Hundred and Eighty-fourth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the sweep
continued, "When I entered that saloon I saw a person seated on a couch
of Indian rattan, with ivory feet and before her a number of damsels.
When she saw me she rose to me and called me; so I went up to her and
she seated me by her side. Then she bade her slave-girls bring food,
and they brought all manner of rich meats, such as I never saw in all
my life; I do not even know the names of the dishes, much less their
nature. So I ate my fill and when the dishes had been taken away and we
had washed our hands, she called for fruits which came without stay or
delay and ordered me eat of them; and when we had ended eating she bade
one of the waiting-women bring the wine furniture. So they set on
flagons of divers kinds of wine and burned perfumes in all the censers,
what while a damsel like the moon rose and served us with wine to the
sound of the smitten strings; and I drank, and the lady drank, till we
were seized with wine and the whole time I doubted not but that all
this was an illusion of sleep. Presently, she signed to one of the
damsels to spread us a bed in such a place, which being done, she rose
and took me by the hand and led me thither, and lay down and I lay with
her till the morning, and as often as I pressed her to my breast I
smelt the delicious fragrance of musk and other perfumes that exhaled
from her and could not think otherwise but that I was in Paradise or in
the vain phantasies of a dream. Now when it was day, she asked me where
I lodged and I told her, 'In such a place;' whereupon she gave me leave
to depart, handing to me a kerchief worked with gold and silver and
containing somewhat tied in it, and took leave of me, saying, 'Go to
the bath with this.' I rejoiced and said to myself, 'If there be but
five coppers here, it will buy me this day my morning meal.' Then I
left her, as though I were leaving Paradise, and returned to my poor
crib where I opened the kerchief and found in it fifty miskals of gold.
So I buried them in the ground and, buying two farthings' worth of
bread and 'kitchen,'[FN#184] seated me at the door and broke my fast;
after which I sat pondering my case and continued so doing till the
time of afternoon, prayer, when lo! a slave-girl accosted me saying,
'My mistress calleth for thee.' I followed her to the house aforesaid
and, after asking permission, she carried me into the lady, before whom
I kissed the ground, and she commanded me to sit and called for meat
and wine as on the previous day; after which I again lay with her all
night. On the morrow, she gave me a second kerchief, with other fifty
dinars therein, and I took it and going home, buried this also. In such
pleasant condition I continued eight days running, going in to her at
the hour of afternoon prayer and leaving her at daybreak; but, on the
eighth night, as I lay with her, behold, one of her slave-girls came
running in and said to me, 'Arise, go up into yonder closet.' So I rose
and went into the closet, which was over the gate, and presently I
heard a great clamour and tramp of horse; and, looking out of the
window which gave on the street in front of the house, I saw a young
man as he were the rising moon on the night of fulness come riding up
attended by a number of servants and soldiers who were about him on
foot. He alighted at the door and entering the saloon found the lady
seated on the couch; so he kissed the ground between her hands then
came up to her and kissed her hands; but she would not speak to him.
However, he continued patiently to humble himself, and soothe her and
speak her fair, till he made his peace with her, and they lay together
that night."—And Shahrazed perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying
her permitted say.

When it was the Two Hundred and Eighty-fifth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the scavenger
continued, "Now when her husband had made his peace with the young
lady, he lay with her that night; and next morning, the soldiers came
for him and he mounted and rode away; whereupon she drew near to me and
said, 'Sawst thou yonder man?' I answered, 'Yes;' and she said, 'He is
my husband, and I will tell thee what befell me with him. It came to
pass one day that we were sitting, he and I, in the garden within the
house, and behold, he rose from my side and was absent a long while,
till I grew tired of waiting and said to myself: Most like, he is in
the privy. So I arose and went to the water-closet, but not finding him
there, went down to the kitchen, where I saw a slave-girl; and when I
enquired for him, she showed him to me lying with one of the cookmaids.
Hereupon, I swore a great oath that I assuredly would do adultery with
the foulest and filthiest man in Baghdad; and the day the eunuch laid
hands on thee, I had been four days going round about the city in quest
of one who should answer to this description, but found none fouler nor
filthier than thy good self. So I took thee and there passed between us
that which Allah fore ordained to us; and now I am quit of my oath.'
Then she added, 'If, however, my husband return yet again to the
cookmaid and lie with her, I will restore thee to thy lost place in my
favours.' Now when I heard these words from her lips, what while she
pierced my heart with the shafts of her glances, my tears streamed
forth, till my eyelids were chafed sore with weeping, and I repeated
the saying of the poet,

'Grant me the kiss of that left hand ten times; * And learn it

hath than right hand higher grade;[FN#185]

For 'tis but little since that same left hand * Washed off Sir

Reverence when ablution made.'

Then she made them give me other fifty dinars (making in all four
hundred gold pieces I had of her) and bade me depart. So I went out
from her and came hither, that I might pray Allah (extolled and exalted
be He!) to make her husband return to the cookmaid, that haply I might
be again admitted to her favours.' When the Emir of the pilgrims heard
the man's story, he set him free and said to the bystanders, 'Allah
upon you, pray for him, for indeed he is excusable.'" And men also tell
the tale of


It is related that the Caliph Harun al-Rashid, was one night restless
with extreme restlessness, so he summoned his Wazir Ja'afar the
Barmecide, and said to him, "My breast is straitened and I have a
desire to divert myself to-night by walking about the streets of
Baghdad and looking into folks' affairs; but with this precaution that
we disguise ourselves in merchants' gear, so none shall know us." He
answered, "Hearkening and obedience." They rose at once and doffing the
rich raiment they wore, donned merchants' habits and sallied forth
three in number, the Caliph, Ja'afar and Masrur the sworder. Then they
walked from place to place, till they came to the Tigris and saw an old
man sitting in a boat; so they went up to him and saluting him, said,
"O Shaykh, we desire thee of thy kindness and favour to carry us a-
pleasuring down the river, in this thy boat, and take this dinar to thy
hire."—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her
permitted say.

When it was the Two Hundred and Eighty-sixth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when they said to
the old man, "We desire thee to carry us a-pleasuring in this thy boat
and take this dinar;" he answered, "Who may go a- pleasuring on the
Tigris? The Caliph Harun al-Rashid every night cometh down Tigris
stream in his state-barge[FN#186] and with him one crying aloud: 'Ho,
ye people all, great and small, gentle and simple, men and boys, whoso
is found in a boat on the Tigris by night, I will strike off his head
or hang him to the mast of his craft!' And ye had well nigh met him;
for here cometh his carrack." But the Caliph and Ja'afar said, "O
Shaykh, take these two dinars, and run us under one of yonder arches,
that we may hide there till the Caliph's barge have passed." The old
man replied, "Hand over your gold and rely we on Allah, the Almighty!"
So he took the two dinars and embarked them in the boat; and he put off
and rowed about with them awhile, when behold, the barge came down the
river in mid-stream, with lighted flambeaux and cressets flaming
therein. Quoth the old man, "Did not I tell you that the Caliph passed
along the river every night?"; and ceased not muttering, "O Protector,
remove not the veils of Thy protection!" Then he ran the boat under an
arch and threw a piece of black cloth over the Caliph and his
companions, who looked out from under the covering and saw, in the bows
of the barge, a man holding in hand a cresset of red gold which he fed
with Sumatran lign-aloes and the figure was clad in a robe of red
satin, with a narrow turband of Mosul shape round on his head, and over
one of his shoulders hung a sleeved cloak[FN#187] of cramoisy satin,
and on the other was a green silk bag full of the aloes-wood, with
which he fed the cresset by way of firewood. And they sighted in the
stern another man, clad like the first and bearing a like cresset, and
in the barge were two hundred white slaves, standing ranged to the
right and left; and in the middle a throne of red gold, whereon sat a
handsome young man, like the moon, clad in a dress of black,
embroidered with yellow gold. Before him they beheld a man, as he were
the Wazir Ja'afar, and at his head stood an eunuch, as he were Masrur,
with a drawn sword in his hand; besides a score of cup-companions. Now
when the Caliph saw this, he turned and said, "O Ja'afar," and the
Minister replied, "At thy service, O Prince of True Believers." Then
quoth the Caliph, "Belike this is one of my sons, Al Amin or
Al-Maamun." Then he examined the young man who sat on the throne and
finding him perfect in beauty and loveliness and stature and symmetric
grace, said to Ja'afar, "Verily, this young man abateth nor jot nor
tittle of the state of the Caliphate! See, there standeth before him
one as he were thyself, O Ja'afar; yonder eunuch who standeth at his
head is as he were Masrur and those courtiers as they were my own. By
Allah, O Ja'afar, my reason is confounded and I am filled with
amazement this matter!"—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and
ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Two Hundred and Eighty-seventh Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the Caliph
saw this spectacle his reason was confounded and he cried, "By Allah, I
am filled with amazement at this matter!" and Ja'afar replied, "And I
also, by Allah, O Commander of the Faithful." Then the barge passed on
and disappeared from sight whereupon the boatman pushed out again into
the stream, saying, "Praised be Allah for safety, since none hath
fallen in with us!" Quoth the Caliph, "O old man, doth the Caliph come
down the Tigris-river every night?" The boatman answered, "Yes, O my
lord; and on such wise hath he done every night this year past." "O
Shaykh," rejoined Al-Rashid, "we wish thee of thy favour to await us
here to-morrow night and we will give thee five golden dinars, for we
are stranger folk, lodging in the quarter Al-Khandak, and we have a
mind to divert ourselves." Said the oldster, "With joy and good will!"
Then the Caliph and Ja'afar and Masrur left the boatman and returned to
the palace; where they doffed their merchants' habits and, donning
their apparel of state, sat down each in his several-stead; and came
the Emirs and Wazirs and Chamberlains and Officers, and the Divan
assembled and was crowded as of custom. But when day ended and all the
folk had dispersed and wended each his own way, the Caliph said to his
Wazir, "Rise, O Ja'afar, let us go and amuse ourselves by looking on
the second Caliph." At this, Ja'afar and Masrur laughed, and the three,
donning merchants' habits, went forth by a secret pastern and made
their way through the city, in great glee, till they came to the
Tigris, where they found the graybeard sitting and awaiting them. They
embarked with him in the boat and hardly had they sat down before up
came the mock Caliph's barge; and, when they looked at it attentively,
they saw therein two hundred Mamelukes other than those of the previous
night, while the link- bearers cried aloud as of wont. Quoth the
Caliph, "O Wazir, had I heard tell of this, I had not believed it; but
I have seen it with my own sight." Then said he to the boatman, "Take,
O Shaykh' these ten dinars and row us along abreast of them, for they
are in the light and we in the shade, and we can see them and amuse
ourselves by looking on them, but they cannot see us." So the man took
the money and pushing off ran abreast of them in the shadow of the
barge,—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her
permitted say.

When it was the Two Hundred and Eighty-eighth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Caliph Harun
al-Rashid said to the old man, "Take these ten dinars and row us
abreast of them;" to which he replied, "I hear and I obey." And he
fared with them and ceased not going in the blackness of the barge,
till they came amongst the gardens that lay alongside of them and
sighted a large walled enclosure; and presently, the barge cast anchor
before a postern door, where they saw servants standing with a she mule
saddled and bridled. Here the mock Caliph landed and, mounting the
mule, rode away with his courtiers and his cup-companions preceded by
the cresset-bearers crying aloud, and followed by his household which
busied itself in his service. Then Harun al-Rashid, Ja'afar and Masrur
landed also and, making their way through the press of servants, walked
on before them. Presently, the cresset-bearers espied them and seeing
three persons in merchants' habits, and strangers to the country, took
offense at them; so they pointed them out and brought them before the
other Caliph, who looked at them and asked, "How came ye to this place
and who brought you at this tide?" They answered, "O our lord, we are
foreign merchants and far from our homes, who arrived here this day and
were out a- walking to-night, and behold, ye came up and these men laid
hands on us and brought us to thy presence; and this is all our story."
Quoth the mock Caliph, "Since ye be stranger folk no harm shall befall
you; but had ye been of Baghdad, I had struck off your heads." Then he
turned to his Wazir and said to him, "Take these men with thee; for
they are our guests to-night." "To hear is to obey, O our lord,"
answered he; and they companied him till they came to a lofty and
splendid palace set upon the firmest base; no Sultan possesseth such a
place; rising from the dusty mould and upon the merges of the clouds
laying hold. Its door was of Indian teak-wood inlaid with gold that
glowed; and through it one passed into a royal-hall in whose midst was
a jetting fount girt by a raised estrade. It was provided with carpets
and cushions of brocade and small pillows and long settees and hanging
curtains; it was furnished with a splendour that dazed the mind and
dumbed the tongue, and upon the door were written these two couplets,

"A Palace whereon be blessings and praise! * Which with all their

     beauty have robed the Days:

Where marvels and miracle-sights abound, * And to write its

     honours the pen affrays."

The false Caliph entered with his company, and sat down on a throne of
gold set with jewels and covered with a prayer carpet of yellow silk;
whilst the boon-companions took their seats and the sword bearer of
high works stood before him. Then the tables were laid and they ate;
after which the dishes were removed and they washed their hands and the
wine-service was set on with flagons and bowls in due order. The cup
went round till it came to the Caliph, Harun al-Rashid, who refused the
draught, and the mock Caliph said to Ja'afar, "What mattereth thy
friend that he drinketh not?" He replied, "O my lord, indeed 'tis a
long while he hath drunk naught of this." Quoth the sham Caliph, "I
have drink other than this, a kind of apple-wine,[FN#188] that will
suit thy companion." So he bade them bring the cider which they did
forthright; when the false Caliph, coming up to Harun al-Rashid, said
to him, "As often as it cometh to thy turn drink thou of this." Then
they continued to drink and make merry and pass the cup till the wine
rose to their brains and mastered their wits;—And Shahrazad perceived
the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Two Hundred and Eighty-ninth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the false Caliph
and his co sitters sat at their cups and gave not over drinking till
the wine rose to their brains and mastered their wits; and Harun
al-Rashid said to the Minister, "O Ja'afar, by Allah, we have no such
vessels as these. Would to Heaven I knew what manner of man this youth
is!" But while they were talking privily the young man cast a glance
upon them and seeing the Wazir whisper the Caliph said, "'Tis rude to
whisper." He replied, "No rudeness was meant: this my friend did but
say to me, 'Verily I have travelled in most countries and have caroused
with the greatest of Kings and I have companied with noble captains;
yet never saw I a goodlier ordering than this entertainment nor passed
a more delightful night; save that the people of Baghdad are wont to
say, Wine without music often leaves you sick.'"When the second Caliph
heard this, he smiled pleasantly and struck with a rod he had in his
hand a round gong;[FN#189] and behold, a door opened and out came a
eunuch, bearing a chair of ivory, inlaid with gold glittering fiery red
and followed by a damsel of passing beauty and loveliness, symmetry and
grace. He set down the chair and the damsel seated herself on it, as
she were the sun shining sheen in a sky serene. In her hand she had a
lute of Hindu make, which she laid in her lap and bent down over it as
a mother bendeth over her little one, and sang to it, after a prelude
in four-and-twenty modes, amazing all wits. Then she returned to the
first mode and to a lively measure chanted these couplets,

"Love's tongue within my heart speaks plain to thee, * Telling

     thee clearly I am fain of thee

Witness the fevers of a tortured heart, * And ulcered eyelid

     tear-flood rains for thee

God's fate o'ertaketh all created things! * I knew not love till

     learnt Love's pain of thee."

Now when the mock Caliph heard these lines sung by the damsel, he cried
with a great cry and rent his raiment to the very skirt, whereupon they
let down a curtain over him and brought him a fresh robe, handsomer
than the first. He put it on and sat as before, till the cup came round
to him, when he struck the gong a second time and lo! a door opened and
out of it came a eunuch with a chair of gold, followed by a damsel
fairer than the first, bearing a lute, such as would strike the envious
mute. She sat down on the chair and sang to her instrument these two

"How patient bide, with love in sprite of me, * And tears in

     tempest[FN#190] blinding sight of me?

By Allah, life has no delight of me! * How gladden heart whose

     core is blight of me?"

No sooner had the youth heard this poetry than he cried out with a loud
cry and rent his raiment to the skirt: whereupon they let down the
curtain over him and brought him another suit of clothes. He put it on
and, sitting up as before, fell again to cheerful talk, till the cup
came round to him, when he smote once more upon the gong and out came a
eunuch with a chair, followed by a damsel fairer than she who forewent
her. So she sat down on the chair, with a lute in her hand, and sang
thereto these couplets,

"Cease ye this farness; 'bate this pride of you, * To whom my

     heart clings, by life-tide of you!

Have ruth on hapless, mourning, lover-wretch, * Desire-full,

     pining, passion-tried of you:

Sickness hath wasted him, whose ecstasy * Prays Heaven it may be

     satisfied of you:

Oh fullest moons[FN#191] that dwell in deepest heart! * How can I

     think of aught by side of you?"

Now when the young man heard these couplets, he cried out with a great
cry and rent his raiment, whereupon they let fall the curtain over him
and brought him other robes. Then he returned to his former case with
his boon-companions and the bowl went round as before, till the cup
came to him, when he struck the gong a fourth time and the door
opening, out came a page-boy bearing a chair followed by a damsel. He
set the chair for her and she sat down thereon and taking the lute,
tuned it and sang to it these couplets,

"When shall disunion and estrangement end? * When shall my bygone

     joys again be kenned?

Yesterday we were joined in same abode; * Conversing heedless of

     each envious friend:[FN#192]

Trickt us that traitor Time, disjoined our lot * And our waste

     home to desert fate condemned:

Wouldst have me, Grumbler! from my dearling fly? * I find my

     vitals blame will not perpend:

Cease thou to censure; leave me to repine; * My mind e'er findeth

     thoughts that pleasure lend.

O Lords[FN#193] of me who brake our troth and plight, * Deem not

     to lose your hold of heart and sprite!"

When the false Caliph heard the girl's song, he cried out with a loud
outcry and rent his raiment,—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day
and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Two Hundred and Ninetieth Night,

She said, When the false Caliph heard the girl's song, he cried with a
loud outcry and rent his raiment and fell to the ground fainting;
whereupon they would have let down the curtain over him, as of custom;
but its cords stuck fast and Harun al-Rashid, after considering him
carefully, saw on his body the marks of beating with palm-rods and said
to Ja'afar, "By Allah, he is a handsome youth, but a foul thief!"
"Whence knowest thou that, O Commander of the Faithful?" asked Ja'afar,
and the Caliph answered, "Sawest thou not the whip-scars on his ribs?"
Then they let fall the curtain over him and brought him a fresh dress,
which he put on and sat up as before with his courtiers and cup-
companions. Presently he saw the Caliph and Ja'afar whispering together
and said to them, "What is the matter, fair sirs?" Quoth Ja'afar, "O my
lord, all is well,[FN#194] save that this my comrade, who (as is not
unknown to thee) is of the merchant company and hath visited all the
great cities and countries of the world and hath consorted with kings
and men of highest consideration, saith to me: 'Verily, that which our
lord the Caliph hath done this night is beyond measure extravagant,
never saw I any do the like doings in any country; for he hath rent
such and such dresses, each worth a thousand dinars and this is surely
excessive unthriftiness.'" Replied the second Caliph, "Ho thou, the
money is my money and the stuff my stuff, and this is by way of
largesse to my suite and servants; for each suit that is rent belongeth
to one of my cup-companions here present, and I assign to them with
each suit of clothes the sum of five hundred dinars." The Wazir Ja'afar
replied, "Well is whatso thou doest, O our lord," and recited these two

"Virtue in hand of thee hath built a house, * And to mankind thou

     dost thy wealth expose:

If an the virtues ever close their doors, * That hand would be a

     key the lock to unclose."

Now when the young man heard these verses recited by the Minister
Ja'afar, he ordered him to be gifted with a thousand dinars and a dress
of honour. Then the cup went round among them and the wine was sweet to
them; but, after a while quoth the Caliph to Ja'afar, "Ask him of the
marks on his sides, that we may see what he will say by way of reply."
Answered Ja'afar, "Softly, O my lord, be not hasty and soothe thy mind,
for patience is more becoming." Rejoined the Caliph, "By the life of my
head and by the revered tomb of Al Abbas,[FN#195] except thou ask him,
I will assuredly stop thy breath!" With this the young man turned
towards the Minister and said to him, "What aileth thee and thy friend
to be whispering together? Tell me what is the matter with you." "It is
nothing save good," replied Ja'afar; but the mock Caliph rejoined, "I
conjure thee, by Allah, tell me what aileth you and hide from me
nothing of your case." Answered the Wazir "O my lord, verily this one
here saw on thy sides the marks of beating with whips and palm-fronds
and marvelled thereat with exceeding marvel, saying, 'How came the
Caliph to be beaten?'; and he would fain know the cause of this." Now
when the youth heard this, he smiled and said, "Know ye that my story
is wondrous and my case marvellous; were it graven with needles on the
eye corners, it would serve as a warner to whoso would be warned." And
he sighed and repeated these couplets,

"Strange is my story, passing prodigy; * By Love I swear, my ways

     wax strait on me!

An ye desire to hear me, listen, and * Let all in this assembly

     silent be.

Heed ye my words which are of meaning deep, * Nor lies my speech;

     'tis truest verity.

I'm slain[FN#196] by longing and by ardent love; * My slayer's

     the pearl of fair virginity.

She hath a jet black eye like Hindi blade, * And bowиd eyebrows

     shoot her archery

My heart assures me our Imam is here, * This age's Caliph, old


Your second, Ja'afar highs, is his Wazir; * A Sahib,[FN#197]

     Sahib-son of high degree:

The third is called Masrur who wields the sword: * Now, if in

     words of mine some truth you see

I have won every wish by this event * Which fills my heart with

     joy and gladdest greet"

When they heard these words Ja'afar swore to him an ambiguous oath that
they were not those he named, whereupon he laughed and said: "Know, O
my lords, that I am not the Commander of the Faithful and that I do but
style myself thus, to win my will of the sons of the city. My true name
is Mohammed Ali, son of Ali the Jeweller, and my father was one of the
notables of Baghdad, who left me great store of gold and silver and
pearls and coral and rubies and chrysolites and other jewels, besides
messuages and lands, Hammam-baths and brickeries, orchards and flower-
gardens. Now as I sat in my shop one day surrounded by my eunuchs and
dependents, behold, there came up a young lady, mounted on a she-mule
and attended by three damsels like moons. Riding up to my shop she
alighted and seated herself by my side and said 'Art thou Mohammed the
Jeweller?' Replied I, 'Even so! I am he, thy Mameluke, thy chattel.'
She asked, 'Hast thou a necklace of jewels fit for me?' and I answered,
'O my lady, I will show thee what I have; and lay all before thee and,
if any please thee, it will be of thy slave's good luck; if they please
thee not, of his ill fortune.' Now I had by me an hundred necklaces and
showed them all to her; but none of them pleased her and she said, 'I
want a better than those I have seen.' I had a small necklace which my
father had bought at an hundred thousand dinars and whose like was not
to be found with any of the great kings; so I said to her, 'O my lady,
I have yet one necklace of fine stones fit for bezels, the like of
which none possesseth, great or small. Said she, Show it to me,' so I
showed it to her, and she said, 'This is what I wanted and what I have
wished for all my life;' adding, 'What is its price?' Quoth I, 'It cost
my father an hundred thousand dinars;' and she said, 'I will give thee
five thousand dinars to thy profit.' I answered, 'O my lady, the
necklace and its owner are at thy service and I cannot gainsay thee.'
But she rejoined, 'Needs must thou have the profit, and I am still most
grateful to thee.' Then she rose without stay or delay; and, mounting
the mule in haste, said to me, 'O my lord, in Allah's name, favour us
with thy company to receive the money; for this thy day with us is
white as milk.'[FN#198] So I shut the shop and accompanied her, in all
security, till we came to a house, on which were manifest the signs of
wealth and rank; for its door was wrought with gold and silver and
ultramarine, and thereon were written these two couplets,

'Hole, thou mansion! woe ne'er enter thee; * Nor be thine owner

     e'er misused of Fate

Excellent mansion to all guests art thou, * When other mansions

     to the guest are strait.'

The young lady dismounted and entered the house, bidding me sit down on
the bench at the gate, till the money-changer should arrive. So I sat
awhile, when behold, a damsel came out to me and said, 'O my lord,
enter the vestibule; for it is a dishonour that thou shouldst sit at
the gate.' Thereupon I arose and entered the vestibule and sat down on
the settle there, and, as I sat, lo! another damsel came out and said
to me, 'O my lord my mistress biddeth thee enter and sit down at the
door of the saloon, to receive thy money.' I entered and sat down, nor
had I sat a moment when behold, a curtain of silk which concealed a
throne of gold was drawn aside, and I saw seated thereon the lady who
had made the purchase, and round her neck she wore the necklace which
looked pale and wan by the side of a face as it were the rounded moon;
At her sight, my wit was troubled and my mind confounded, by reason of
her exceeding beauty and loveliness, but when she saw me she rose from
her throne and coming close up to me, said, 'O light of mine eyes, is
every handsome one like thee pitiless to his mistress?' I answered, 'O
my lady, beauty, all of it, is in thee and is but one of thy hidden
charms.' And she rejoined, 'O Jeweller, know that I love thee and can
hardly credit that I have brought thee hither.' Then she bent towards
me and I kissed her and she kissed me and, as she caressed me, drew me
towards her and to her breast she pressed me."—And Shahrazad perceived
the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Two Hundred and Ninety-first Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Jeweller
continued: "Then she bent towards me and kissed and caressed me; and,
as she caressed me, drew me towards her and to her breast she pressed
me. Now she knew by my condition that I had a mind to enjoy her; so she
said to me, 'O my lord, wouldst thou foregather with me unlawfully? By
Allah, may he not live who would do the like of this sin and who takes
pleasure in talk unclean! I am a maid, a virgin whom no man hath
approached, nor am I unknown in the city. Knowest thou who I am?' Quoth
I, 'No, by Allah, O my lady!'; and quoth she, 'I am the Lady Dunyб,
daughter of Yбhyб bin Khбlid the Barmecide and sister of Ja'afar, Wazir
to the Caliph.' Now as I heard this, I drew back from her, saying, 'O
my lady, it is no fault of mine if I have been over- bold with thee; it
was thou didst encourage me to aspire to thy love, by giving me access
to thee.' She answered, 'No harm shall befal-thee, and needs must thou
attain thy desire in the only way pleasing to Allah. I am my own
mistress and the Kazi shall act as my guardian in consenting to the
marriage contract; for it is my will that I be to thee wife and thou be
to me man.' Then she sent for the Kazi and the witnesses and busied
herself with making ready; and, when they came, she said to them,
'Mohammed Ali, bin Ali the Jeweller, seeketh me in wedlock and hath
given me the necklace to my marriage-settlement; and I accept and
consent.' So they wrote out the contract of marriage between us; and
ere I went in to her the servants brought the wine-furniture and the
cups passed round after the fairest fashion and the goodliest ordering;
and, when the wine mounted to our heads, she ordered a damsel, a
lute-player,[FN#199] to sing. So she took the lute and sang to a
pleasing and stirring motive these couplets,

'He comes; and fawn and branch and moon delight these eyne *

     Fie[FN#200] on his heart who sleeps o' nights without repine

Pair youth, for whom Heaven willed to quench in cheek one light,

     * And left another light on other cheek bright li'en:

I fain finesse my chiders when they mention him, * As though the

     hearing of his name I would decline;

And willing ear I lend when they of other speak; * Yet would my

     soul within outflow in foods of brine:

Beauty's own prophet, he is all a miracle * Of heavenly grace,

     and greatest shows his face for sign.[FN#201]

To prayer Bilбl-like cries that Mole upon his cheek * To ward

     from pearly brow all eyes of ill design:[FN#202]

The censors of their ignorance would my love dispel * But after

     Faith I can't at once turn Infidel.'

We were ravished by the sweet music she made striking the strings, and
the beauty of the verses she sang; and the other damsels went on to
sing and to recite one after another, till ten had so done; when the
Lady Dunya took the lute and playing a lively measure, chanted these

'I swear by swayings of that form so fair, * Aye from thy parting


Pity a heart which burneth in thy love, * O bright as fullest

     moon in blackest air!

Vouchsafe thy boons to him who ne'er will cease * In light of

     wine-cup all thy charms declare,

Amid the roses which with varied hues * Are to the myrtle-

    bush[FN#203] a mere despair.'

When she had finished her verse I took the lute from her hands and,
playing a quaint and not vulgar prelude sang the following verses,

'Laud to my Lord who gave thee all of loveliness; * Myself amid

     thy thralls I willingly confess:

O thou, whose eyes and glances captivate mankind, * Pray that I

     'scape those arrows shot with all thy stress!

Two hostile rivals water and enflaming fire * Thy cheek hath

     married, which for marvel I profess:

Thou art Sa'нr in heart of me and eke Na'нm;[FN#204] * Thou agro-

    dolce, eke heart's sweetest bitterness.'

When she heard this my song she rejoiced with exceeding joy; then,
dismissing her slave women, she brought me to a most goodly place,
where they had spread us a bed of various colours. She did off her
clothes and I had a lover's privacy of her and found her a pearl
unpierced and a filly unridden. So I rejoiced in her and never in my
born days spent I a more delicious night."—And Shahrazad perceived the
dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Two Hundred and Ninety-second Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Mohammed bin Ali
the Jeweller continued: "So I went in unto the Lady Dunya, daughter of
Yahya bin Khбlid the Barmecide, and I found her a pearl unthridden and
a filly unridden. So I rejoiced in her and repeated these couplets,

'O Night here stay! I want no morning light; * My lover's face to

     me is lamp and light:[FN#205]

As ring of ring-dove round his necks my arm; * And made my palm

     his mouth-veil, and, twas right.

This be the crown of bliss, and ne'er we'll cease * To clip, nor

     care to be in other plight.'

And I abode with her a whole month, forsaking shop and family and home,
till one day she said to me, 'O light of my eyes, O my lord Mohammed, I
have determined to go to the Hammam to day; so sit thou on this couch
and rise not from thy place, till I return to thee.' 'I hear and I
obey,' answered I, and she made me swear to this; after which she took
her women and went off to the bath. But by Allah, O my brothers, she
had not reached the head of the street ere the door opened and in came
an old woman, who said to me, 'O my lord Mohammed, the Lady Zubaydah
biddeth thee to her, for she hath heard of thy fine manners and
accomplishments and skill in singing.' I answered, 'By Allah, I will
not rise from my place till the Lady Dunya come back.' Rejoined the old
woman, 'O my lord, do not anger the Lady Zubaydah with thee and vex her
so as to make her thy foe: nay, rise up and speak with her and return
to thy place.' So I rose at once and followed her into the presence of
the Lady Zubaydah and, when I entered her presence she said to me, 'O
light of the eye, art thou the Lady Dunya's beloved?' 'I am thy
Mameluke, thy chattel,' replied I. Quoth she, 'Sooth spake he who
reported thee possessed of beauty and grace and good breeding and every
fine quality; indeed, thou surpassest all praise and all report. But
now sing to me, that I may hear thee.' Quoth I, 'Hearkening and
obedience;' so she brought me a lute, and I sang to it these couplets,

'The hapless lover's heart is of his wooing weary grown, * And

     hand of sickness wasted him till naught but skin and bone

Who should be amid the riders which the haltered camels urge, *

     But that same lover whose beloved cloth in the litters wone:

To Allah's charge I leave that moon-like Beauty in your tents *

     Whom my heart loves, albe my glance on her may ne'er be


Now she is fain; then she is fierce: how sweet her coyness shows;

     * Yea sweet whatever cloth or saith to lover loved one!'

When I had finished my song she said to me, 'Allah assain thy body and
thy voice! Verily, thou art perfect in beauty and good breeding and
singing. But now rise and return to thy place, ere the Lady Dunya come
back, lest she find thee not and be wroth with thee.' Then I kissed the
ground before her and the old woman forewent me till I reached the door
whence I came. So I entered and, going up to the couch, found that my
wife had come back from the bath and was lying asleep there. Seeing
this I sat down at her feet and rubbed them; whereupon she opened her
eyes and seeing me, drew up both her feet and gave me a kick that threw
me off the couch,[FN#206] saying, 'O traitor, thou hast been false to
thine oath and hast perjured thyself. Thou swarest to me that thou
wouldst not rise from thy place; yet didst thou break thy promise and
go to the Lady Zubaydah. By Allah, but that I fear public scandal, I
would pull down her palace over her head!' Then said she to her black
slave, 'O Sawбb, arise and strike off this lying traitor's head, for we
have no further need of him.' So the slave came up to me and, tearing a
strip from his skirt, bandaged with it my eyes[FN#207] and would have
struck off my head;"—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased
to say her permitted say.

When it was the Two Hundred and Ninety-third Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Mohammed the
Jeweller continued: "So the slave came up to me and, tearing a strip
from his skirt, bandaged with it my eyes and would have struck off my
head, but all her women, great and small, rose and came up to her and
said to her, 'O our lady, this is not the first who hath erred: indeed,
he knew not thy humour and hath done thee no offence deserving death.'
Replied she, 'By Allah, I must needs set my mark on him.' And she bade
them bash me; so they beat me on my ribs and the marks ye saw are the
scars of that fustigation. Then she ordered them to cast me out, and
they carried me to a distance from the house and threw me down like a
log. After a time I rose and dragged myself little by little to my own
place, where I sent for a surgeon and showed him my hurts; and he
comforted me and did his best to cure me. As soon as I was recovered I
went to the Hammam and, as my pains and sickness had left me, I
repaired to my shop and took and sold all that was therein. With the
proceeds, I bought me four hundred white slaves, such as no King ever
got together, and caused two hundred of them to ride out with me every
day. Then I made me yonder barge whereon I spent five thousand gold
pieces; and styled myself Caliph and appointed each of my servants to
the charge of some one of the Caliph's officers and clad him in
official habit. Moreover, I made proclamation, 'Whoso goeth
a-pleasuring on the Tigris by night, I will strike off his head,
without ruth or delay;' and on such wise have I done this whole year
past, during which time I have heard no news of the lady neither
happened upon any trace of her." Then wept he copiously and repeated
these couplets,

"By Allah! while the days endure ne'er shall forget her I, * Nor

     draw to any nigh save those who draw her to me nigh

Like to the fullest moon her form and favour show to me, * Laud

     to her All-creating Lord, laud to the Lord on high,

She left me full of mourning, sleepless, sick with pine and pain

     * And ceaseth not my heart to yearn her mystery[FN#208] to


Now when Harun al-Rashid heard the young man's story and knew the
passion and transport and love lowe that afflicted him, he was moved to
compassion and wonder and said, "Glory be to Allah, who hath appointed
to every effect a cause!" Then they craved the young man's permission
to depart; which being granted, they took leave of him, the Caliph
purposing to do him justice meet, and him with the utmost munificence
entreat; and they returned to the palace of the Caliphate, where they
changed clothes for others befitting their state and sat down, whilst
Masrur the Sworder of High Justice stood before them. After awhile,
quoth the Caliph to Ja'afar, "O Wazir, bring me the young man'—And
Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted

When it was the Two hundred and Ninety-fourth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that quoth the Caliph
to his Minister, "Bring me the young man with whom we were last night."
"I hear and obey," answered Ja'afar and, going to the youth, saluted
him, saying, "Obey the summons of the Commander of the Faithful, the
Caliph Harun al-Rashid." So he returned with him to the palace, in
great anxiety by reason of the summons; and, going in to the King,
kissed ground before him; and offered up a prayer for the endurance of
his glory and prosperity, for the accomplishment of his desires, for
the continuance of his beneficence and for the cessation of evil and
punishment; ordering his speech as best he might and ending by saying,
"Peace be on thee, O Prince of True Believers and Protector of the folk
of the Faith!" Then he repeated these two couplets,

"Kiss thou his fingers which no fingers are; * Keys of our daily

     bread those fingers ken:

And praise his actions which no actions are, * But precious

     necklaces round necks of men."

So the Caliph smiled in his face and returned his salute, looking on
him with the eye of favour; then he bade him draw near and sit down
before him and said to him, "O Mohammed Ali, I wish thee to tell me
what befel thee last night, for it was strange and passing strange."
Quoth the youth, "Pardon, O Commander of the Faithful, give me the
kerchief of immunity, that my dread may be appeased and my heart
eased." Replied the Caliph, "I promise thee safety from fear and woes."
So the young man told him his story from first to last, whereby the
Caliph knew him to be a lover and severed from his beloved and said to
him, "Desirest thou that I restore her to thee?" "This were of the
bounty of the Commander of the Faithful," answered the youth and
repeated these two couplets.

"Ne'er cease thy gate be Ka'abah to mankind; * Long may its

     threshold dust man's brow beseem!

That o'er all countries it may be proclaimed, * This is the Place

     and thou art Ibrahim."[FN#209]

Thereupon the Caliph turned to his Minister and said to him, "O
Ja'afar, bring me thy sister, the Lady Dunya, daughter of the Wazir
Yahya bin Khбlid!" "I hear and I obey," answered he and fetched her
without let or delay. Now when she stood before the Caliph he said to
her, "Doss thou know who this is?"; and she replied, "O Commander of
the Faithful, how should women have knowledge of men?"[FN#210] So the
Caliph smiled and said, "O Dunya this is thy beloved, Mohammed bin Ali
the Jeweller. We are acquainted with his case, for we have heard the
whole story from beginning to end, and have apprehended its inward and
its outward; and it is no more hidden from me, for all it was kept in
secrecy." Replied she, "O Commander of the Faithful, this was written
in the Book of Destiny; I crave the forgiveness of Almighty Allah for
the wrong I have wrought, and pray thee to pardon me of thy favour." At
this the Caliph laughed and, summoning the Kazi and witnesses, renewed
the marriage-contract between the Lady Dunya and her husband, Mohammed
Ali son of the Jeweller, whereby there betided them, both her and him
the utmost felicity, and to their enviers mortification and misery.
Moreover, he made Mohammed Ali one of his boon-companions, and they
abode in joy and cheer and gladness, till there came to them the
Destroyer of delights and the Sunderer of societies. And men also
relate the pleasant tale of


It is said that the Caliph Harun al-Rashid, being restless one night,
sent for his Wazir and said to him, "O Ja'afar, I am sore wakeful and
heavy-hearted this night, and I desire of thee what may solace my
spirit and cause my breast to broaden with amuse meet." Quoth Ja'afar,
"O Commander of the Faithful, I have a friend, by name Ali the Persian,
who hath store of tales and plea sent stories, such as lighten the
heart and make care depart." Quoth the Caliph, "Fetch him to me," and
quoth Ja'afar, "Hearkening and obedience;" and, going out from before
him, sent to seek Ali the Persian and when he came said to him, "Answer
the summons of the Commander of the Faithful." "To hear is to obey,"
answered Ali;—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say
her permitted say.

When it was the Two Hundred and Ninety-fifth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Persian
replied, "To hear is to obey;" and at once followed the Wazir into the
presence of the Caliph who bade him be seated and said to him, "O Ali,
my heart is heavy within me this night and it hath come to my ear that
thou hast great store of tales and anecdotes; so I desire of thee that
thou let me hear what will relieve my despondency and brighten my
melancholy." Said he, "O Commander of the Faithful, shall I tell thee
what I have seen with my eyes or what I have heard with my ears?" He
replied, "An thou have seen aught worth the telling, let me hear that."
Replied Ali: "Hearkening and obedience. Know thou, O Commander of the
Faithful, that some years ago I left this my native city of Baghdad on
a journey, having with me a lad who carried a light leathern bag.
Presently we came to a certain city, where, as I was buying and
selling, behold, a rascally Kurd fell on me and seized my wallet
perforce, saying, 'This is my bag, and all which is in it is my
property.' Thereupon, I cried aloud 'Ho Moslems,[FN#211] one and all,
deliver me from the hand of the vilest of oppressors!' But the folk
said, 'Come, both of you, to the Kazi and abide ye by his judgment with
joint consent.' So I agreed to submit myself to such decision and we
both presented ourselves before the Kazi, who said, 'What bringeth you
hither and what is your case and your quarrel?' Quoth I, 'We are men at
difference, who appeal to thee and make complaint and submit ourselves
to thy judgment.' Asked the Kazi, 'Which of you is the complainant?';
so the Kurd came forward[FN#212] and said, 'Allah preserve our lord the
Kazi! Verily, this bag is my bag and all that is in it is my swag. It
was lost from me and I found it with this man mine enemy.' The Kazi
asked, 'When didst thou lose it?'; and the Kurd answered, 'But
yesterday, and I passed a sleepless night by reason of its loss.' 'An
it be thy bag,' quoth the Kazi, 'tell me what is in it.' Quoth the
Kurd, 'There were in my bag two silver styles for eye-powder and
antimony for the eyes and a kerchief for the hands, wherein I had laid
two gilt cups and two candlesticks. Moreover it contained two tents and
two platters and two spoons and a cushion and two leather rugs and two
ewers and a brass tray and two basins and a cooking-pot and two water-
jars and a ladle and a sacking-needle and a she-cat and two bitches and
a wooden trencher and two sacks and two saddles and a gown and two fur
pelisses and a cow and two calves and a she-goat and two sheep and an
ewe and two lambs and two green pavilions and a camel and two
she-camels and a lioness and two lions and a she-bear and two jackals
and a mattress and two sofas and an upper chamber and two saloons and a
portico and two sitting-rooms and a kitchen with two doors and a
company of Kurds who will bear witness that the bag is my bag.' Then
said the Kazi to me, 'And thou, sirrah, what sayest thou?' So I came
forward, O Commander of the Faithful (and indeed the Kurd's speech had
bewildered me) and said, 'Allah advance our lord the Kazi! Verily,
there was naught in this my wallet, save a little ruined tenement and
another without a door and a dog house and a boys' school and youths
playing dice and tents and tent-ropes and the cities of Bassorah and
Baghdad and the palace of Shaddad bin Ad and an ironsmith's forge and a
fishing-net and cudgels and pickets and girls and boys and a thousand
pimps who will testify that the bag is my bag.' Now when the Kurd heard
my words, he wept and wailed and said, 'O my lord the Kazi, this my bag
is known and what is in it is a matter of renown; for in this bag there
be castles and citadels and cranes and beasts of prey and men playing
chess and draughts. Furthermore, in this my bag is a brood-mare and two
colts and a stallion and two blood-steeds and two long lances; and it
containeth eke a lion and two hares and a city and two villages and a
whore and two sharking panders and an hermaphrodite and two gallows
birds and a blind man and two wights with good sight and a limping
cripple and two lameters and a Christian ecclesiastic and two deacons
and a patriarch and two monks and a Kazi and two assessors, who will be
evidence that the bag is my bag.' Quoth the Kazi to me, 'And what sayst
thou, O Ali?' So, O Commander of the Faithful, being filled with rage,
I came forward and said, 'Allah keep our lord the Kazi!'"—And Shahrazad
perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Two Hundred and Ninety-sixth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Persian
continued: "So being filled with rage, O Commander of the Faithful, I
came forward and said, 'Allah keep our lord the Kazi I had in this my
wallet a coat of mail and a broadsword and armouries and a thousand
fighting rams and a sheep-fold with its pasturage and a thousand
barking dogs and gardens and vines and flowers and sweet smelling herbs
and figs and apples and statues and pictures and flagons and goblets
and fair-faced slave-girls and singing-women and marriage-feasts and
tumult and clamour and great tracts of land and brothers of success,
which were robbers, and a company of daybreak-raiders with swords and
spears and bows and arrows and true friends and dear ones and Intimates
and comrades and men imprisoned for punishment and cup-companions and a
drum and flutes and flags and banners and boys and girls and brides (in
all their wedding bravery), and singing-girls and five Abyssinian women
and three Hindi maidens and four damsels of Al-Medinah and a score of
Greek girls and eighty Kurdish dames and seventy Georgian ladies and
Tigris and Euphrates and a fowling net and a flint and steel and
Many-columned Iram and a thousand rogues and pimps and horse-courses
and stables and mosques and baths and a builder and a carpenter and a
plank and a nail and a black slave with his flageolet and a captain and
a caravan leader and towns and cities and an hundred thousand dinars
and Cufa and Anbбr[FN#213] and twenty chests full of stuffs and twenty
storehouses for victuals and Gaza and Askalon and from Damietta to
Al-Sawбn[FN#214]; and the palace of Kisra Anushirwan and the kingdom of
Solomon and from Wadi Nu'umбn to the land of Khorasбn and Balkh and
Ispahбn and from India to the Sudбn. Therein also (may Allah prolong
the life of our lord the Kazi!) are doublets and cloths and a thousand
sharp razors to shave off the Kazi's beard, except he fear my
resentment and adjudge the bag to be my bag.' Now when the Kazi heard
what I and the Kurd avouched, he was confounded and said, 'I see ye
twain be none other than two pestilent fellows, atheistical-villains
who make sport of Kazis and magistrates and stand not in fear of
reproach. Never did tongue tell nor ear hear aught more extraordinary
than that which ye pretend. By Allah, from China to Shajarat Umm
Ghaylбn, nor from Fars to Sudan nor from Wadi Nu'uman to Khorasan, was
ever heard the like of what ye avouch or credited the like of what ye
affirm. Say, fellows, be this bag a bottomless sea or the Day of
Resurrection that shall gather together the just and unjust?' Then the
Kazi bade them open the bag; so I opened it and behold, there was in it
bread and a lemon and cheese and olives. So I threw the bag down before
the Kurd and ganged my gait." Now when the Caliph heard this tale from
Ali the Persian, he laughed till he fell on his back and made him a
handsome present.[FN#215] And men also relate a


It is said that Ja'afar the Barmecide was one night carousing with Al
Rashid, who said, "O Ja'afar, it hath reached me that thou hast bought
such and such a slave-girl. Now I have long sought her for she is
passing fair; and my heart is taken up with love of her, so do thou
sell her to me." He replied, "I will not sell her, O Commander of the
Faithful." Quoth he, "Then give her to me." Quoth the other, "Nor will
I give her." Then Al-Rashid exclaimed, "Be Zubaydah triply divorced an
thou shall not either sell or give her to me!" Then Ja'afar exclaimed,
"Be my wife triply divorced an I either sell or give her to thee!"
After awhile they recovered from their tipsiness and were aware of
having fallen into a grave dilemma, but knew not by what device to
extricate themselves. Then said Al-Rashid, "None can help us in this
strait but Abъ Yъsuf."[FN#216] So they sent for him, and this was in
the middle of the night; and when the messenger reached him, he arose
in alarm, saying to himself, "I should not be sent for at this tide and
time, save by reason of some question of moment to Al-Islam." So he
went out in haste and mounted his she-mule, saying to his servant,
"Take the mule's nose-bag with thee; it may be she hath not finished
her feed; and when we come to the Caliph's palace, put the bag on her,
that she may eat what is left of her fodder, during the last of the
night." And the man replied, "I hear and obey." Now when the Imam was
admitted to the presence, Al-Rashid rose to receive him and seated him
on the couch beside himself (where he was wont to seat none save the
Kazi), and said to him, "We have not sent for thee at this untimely
time and tide save to advise us upon a grave matter, which is such and
such and wherewith we know not how to deal." And he expounded to him
the case. Abu Yusuf answered, "O Commander of the Faithful, this is the
easiest of things." Then he turned to Ja'afar and said, "O Ja'afar,
sell half of her to the Commander of the Faithful and give him the
other half; so shall ye both be quit of your oaths." The Caliph was
delighted with this and both did as he prescribed. Then said Al-Rashid,
"Bring me the girl at once,"—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day
and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Two Hundred and Ninety-seventh Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Caliph Harun
al-Rashid commanded, "Bring me the girl at once, for I long for her
exceedingly." So they brought her and the Caliph said to Abu Yusuf, I
have a mind to have her forthright, for I cannot bear to abstain from
her during the prescribed period of purification; now how is this to be
done?" Abu Yusuf replied, "Bring me one of thine own male slaves who
hath never been manumitted." So they brought one and Abu Yusuf said,
"Give me leave to marry her to him; then let him divorce her before
consummation; and thus shall it be lawful for thee to lie with her
before purification." This second expedient pleased the Caliph yet more
than the first; he sent for the Mameluke and, whenas he came, said to
the Kazi "I authorise thee to marry her to him." So the Imam proposed
the marriage to the slave, who accepted it, and performed the ceremony;
after which he said to the slave, "Divorce her, and thou shalt have an
hundred dinars." But he replied, "I won't do this;" and the Imam went
on to increase his offer, and the slave to refuse till he bid him a
thousand dinars. Then the man asked him, "Doth it rest with me to
divorce her, or with thee or with the Commander of the Faithful?" He
answered, "It is in thy hand." "Then by Allah," quoth the slave, "I
will never do it; no, never!" Hearing these words the Caliph was
exceeding wroth and said to the Imam, "What is to be done, O Abu
Yusuf?" Replied he, "Be not concerned, O Commander of the Faithful; the
thing is easy. Make this slave the damsel's chattel." Quoth Al-Rashid,
"I give him to her;" and the Imam said to the girl, "Say: I accept." So
she said, I accept;" whereon quoth Abu Yusuf, "I pronounce separation
from bed and board and divorce between them, for that he hath become
her property, and so the marriage is annulled." With this, Al-Rashid
rose to his feet and exclaimed, "It is the like of thee that shall be
Kazi in my time." Then he called for sundry trays of gold and emptied
them before Abu Yusuf, to whom he said, "Hast thou wherein to put
this?" The Imam bethought him of the mule's nose-bag; so he sent for it
and, filling it with gold, took it and went home. And on the morrow, he
said to his friends, "There is no easier nor shorter road to the goods
of this world and the next, than that of religious learning; for, see,
I have gotten all this money by answering two or three questions." So
consider thou, O polite reader,[FN#217] the pleasantness of this
anecdote, for it compriseth divers goodly features, amongst which are
the complaisance of Ja'afar to Al Rashid, and the wisdom of the Caliph
who chose such a Kazi and the excellent learning of Abu Yusuf, may
Almighty Allah have mercy on their souls one and all! And they also
tell the


When Khбlid bin Abdallah al-Kasri[FN#218] was Emir of Bassorah, there
came to him one day a company of men dragging a youth of exceeding
beauty and lofty bearing and perfumed attire; whose aspect expressed
good breeding, abundant wit and dignity of the gravest. They brought
him before the Governor, who asked what it was and they replied, "This
fellow is a thief, whom we caught last night in our dwelling-house."
Whereupon Khбlid looked at him and was pleased with his
well-favouredness and elegant aspect; so he said to the others, "Loose
him," and going up to the young man, asked what he had to say for
himself. He replied, "Verily the folk have spoken truly and the case is
as they have said." Quoth Khбlid, "And what moved thee to this and thou
so noble of port and comely of mien?" Quoth the other "The lust after
worldly goods, and the ordinance of Allah (extolled exalted be He!)."
Rejoined Khбlid, "Be thy mother bereaved of thee![FN#219] Hadst thou
not, in thy fair face and sound sense and good breeding, what should
restrain thee from thieving?" Answered the young man, "O Emir, leave
this talk and proceed to what Almighty Allah hath ordained; this is
what my hands have earned, and, 'God is not unjust towards
mankind.'"[FN#220] So Khбlid was silent awhile considering the matter
then he bade the young man draw near him and said, "Verily, thy
confession before witnesses perplexeth me, for I cannot believe thee to
be a thief: haply thou hast some story that is other than one of theft;
and if so tell it me." Replied the youth "O Emir, imagine naught other
than what I have confessed to in thy presence; for I have no tale to
tell save that verily I entered these folks' house and stole what I
could lay hands on and they caught me and took the stuff from me and
carried me before thee." Then Khalid bade clap him in gaol and
commended a crier to cry throughout Bassorah, "O yes! O yes! Whoso be
minded to look upon the punishment of such an one, the thief, and the
cutting-off of his hand, let him be present to- morrow morning at such
a place!" Now when the young man found himself in prison, with irons on
his feet, he sighed heavily and with tears streaming from his eyes
extemporized these couplets,

"When Khбlid menaced off to strike my hand * If I refuse to tell

     him of her case;

Quoth I, 'Far, far fro' me that I should tell * A love, which

     ever shall my heart engrace;

Loss of my hand for sin I have confessed * To me were easier than

     to shame her face.'"

The warders heard him and went and told Khбlid who, when it was dark
night, sent for the youth and conversed with him. He found him clever
and well-bred, intelligent, lively and a pleasant companion; so he
ordered him food and he ate. Then after an hour's talk said Khбlid, "I
know indeed thou hast a story to tell that is no thief's; so when the
Kazi shall come to-morrow morning and shall question thee about this
robbery, do thou deny the charge of theft and avouch what may avert the
pain and penalty of cutting off thy hand; for the Apostle (whom Allah
bless and keep!) saith, 'In cases of doubt, eschew punishment.'" Then
he sent him back to prison,—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and
ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Two Hundred and Ninety-eighth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Khбlid, after
conversing with the youth, sent him back to prison, where he passed the
night. And when morning dawned the folk assembled to see his hand cut
off, nor was there a soul in Bassorah, man or woman, but was present to
look upon the punishment of that handsome youth. Then Khбlid mounted in
company of the notables of the city and others; and, summoning all four
Kazis, sent for the young man, who came hobbling and stumbling in his
fetters. There was none saw him but wept over him and the women all
lifted up their voices in lamentation as for the dead. Then the Kazi
bade silence the women and said to the prisoner, "These folk avouch
that thou didst enter their dwelling-house and steal their goods:
belike thou stolest less than a quarter dinar[FN#221]?" Replied he,
"Nay, I stole that and more." "Peradventure," rejoined the Kazi "thou
art partner with the folk in some of the goods?" Quoth the young man;
"Not so: it was all theirs, and I had no right in it." At this the
Khбlid was wroth and rose and smote him on the face with his whip,
applying to his own case this couplet,

"Man wills his wish to him accorded be; * But Allah naught accords save
what He wills."

Then he called for the butcher to do the work, who came and drew forth
his knife and taking the prisoner's hand set the blade to it, when,
behold, a damsel pressed through the crowd of women, clad in tattered
clothes,[FN#222] and cried out and threw herself on the young man. Then
she unveiled and showed a face like the moon whereupon the people
raised a mighty clamour and there was like to have been a riot amongst
them and a violent scene. But she cried out her loudest, saying, "I
conjure thee, by Allah, O Emir, hasten not to cut off this man's hand,
till thou have read what is in this scroll!" So saying, she gave him a
scroll, and Khбlid took it and opened it and read therein these

"Ah Khбlid! this one is a slave of love distraught, * And these

     bowed eye-lashes sent shaft that caused his grief:

Shot him an arrow sped by eyes of mine, for he, * Wedded to

     burning love of ills hath no relief:

He hath avowed a deed he never did, the while * Deeming this

     better than disgrace of lover fief:

Bear then, I pray, with this distracted lover mine * Whose noble

     nature falsely calls himself a thief!"

When Khбlid had read these lines he withdrew himself from the people
and summoned the girl and questioned her; and she told him that the
young man was her lover and she his mistress; and that thinking to
visit her he came to the dwelling of her people and threw a stone into
the house, to warn her of his coming. Her father and brothers heard the
noise of the stone and sallied out on him; but he, hearing them coming,
caught up all the household stuff and made himself appear a robber to
cover his mistress's honour. "Now when they saw him they seized him
(continued she), crying:—A thief! and brought him before thee,
whereupon he confessed to the robbery and persisted in his confession,
that he might spare me disgrace; and this he did, making himself a
thief, of the exceeding nobility and generosity of his nature." Khбlid
answered, "He is indeed worthy to have his desire;" and, calling the
young man to him, kissed him between the eyes. Then he sent for the
girl's father and bespoke him, saying, "O Shaykh, we thought to carry
out the law of mutilation in the case of this young man; but Allah (to
whom be Honour and Glory!) hath preserved us from this, and I now
adjudge him the sum of ten thousand dirhams, for that he would have
given his hand for the preservation of thine honour and that of thy
daughter and for the sparing of shame to you both. Moreover, I adjudge
other ten thousand dirhams to thy daughter, for that she made known to
me the truth of the case; and I ask thy leave to marry her to him."
Rejoined the old man, "O Emir, thou hast my consent." So Khбlid praised
Allah and thanked Him and improved the occasion by preaching a goodly
sermon and a prayerful;—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and
ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Two Hundred and Ninety-ninth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Khбlid praised
Allah and thanked Him and improved the occasion by preaching a goodly
sermon and a prayerful; after which he said to the young man, "I give
thee to wife the damsel, such an one here present, with her own
permission and her father's consent; and her wedding settlement shall
be this money, to wit, ten thousand dirhams." "I accept this marriage
at thy hands," replied the youth; and Khбlid bade them carry the money
on brass trays in procession to the young man's house, whilst the
people dispersed, fully satisfied. "And surely (quoth he who tells the
tale[FN#223]) never saw I a rarer day than this, for that it began with
tears and annoy; and it ended with smiles and joy." And in contrast of
this story is this piteous tale of


When Harun al-Rashid crucified Ja'afar the Barmecide[FN#224] he
commended that all who wept or made moan for him should also be
crucified; so the folk abstained from that. Now it chanced that a wild
Arab, who dwelt in a distant word, used every year to bring to the
aforesaid Ja'afar an ode[FN#225] in his honour, for which he rewarded
him with a thousand dinars; and the Badawi took them and, returning to
his own country, lived upon them, he and his family, for the rest of
the year. Accordingly, he came with his ode at the wonted time and,
finding that Ja'afar had been crucified, betook himself to the place
where his body was hanging, and there made his camel kneel down and
wept with sore weeping and mourned with grievous mourning; and he
recited his ode and fell asleep. Presently Ja'afar the Barmecide
appeared to him in a vision and said, "Verily thou hast wearied thyself
to come to us and findest us as thou seest; but go to Bassorah and ask
for a man there whose name is such and such, one of the merchants of
the town, and say to him, 'Ja'afar, the Barmecide, saluteth thee and
biddeth thee give me a thousand dinars, by the token of the bean.'" Now
when the wild Arab awoke, he repaired to Bassorah, where he sought out
the merchant and found him and repeated to him what Ja'afar had said in
the dream; whereupon he wept with weeping so sore that he was like to
depart the world. Then he welcomed the Badawi and seated him by his
side and made his stay pleasant and entertained him three days as an
honoured guest; and when he was minded to depart he gave him a thousand
and five hundred dinars, saying, "The thousand are what is commanded to
thee, and the five hundred are a gift from me to thee; and every year
thou shalt have of me a thousand gold pieces." Now when the Arab was
about to take leave, he said to the merchant, "Allah upon thee, tell me
the story of the bean, that I may know the origin of all this." He
answered: "In the early part of my life I was poor and hawked hot
beans[FN#226] about the streets of Baghdad to keep me alive. So I went
out one raw and rainy day, without clothes enough on my body to protect
me from the weather; now shivering for excess of cold and now stumbling
into the pools of rain-water, and altogether in so piteous a plight as
would make one shudder with goose-skin to look upon. But it chanced
that Ja'afar that day was seated with his officers and his concubines,
in an upper chamber overlooking the street when his eyes fell on me; so
he took pity on my case and, sending one of his dependents to fetch me
to him, said as soon as he saw me, 'Sell thy beans to my people.' So I
began to mete out the beans with a measure I had by me; and each who
took a measure of beans filled the measure with gold pieces till all my
store was gone and my basket was clean empty. Then I gathered together
the gold I had gotten, and Ja'afar said to me, 'Hast thou any beans
left?' 'I know not,' answered I, and then sought in the basket, but
found only one bean. So Ja'afar took from me the single bean and,
splitting it in twain, kept one half himself and gave the other to one
of his concubines, saying, 'For how much wilt thou buy this half bean?'
She replied, 'For the tale of all this gold twice-told;' whereat I was
confounded and said to myself, 'This is impossible.' But, as I stood
wondering, behold, she gave an order to one of her hand-maids and the
girl brought me the sum of the collected monies twice-told. Then said
Ja'afar, 'And I will buy the half I have by me for double the sum of
the whole,' presently adding, 'Now take the price of thy bean.' And he
gave an order to one of his servants, who gathered together the whole
of the money and laid it in my basket; and I took it and went my ways.
Then I betook myself to Bassorah, where I traded with the monies and
Allah prospered me amply, to Him be the praise and the thanks! So, if I
give thee every year a thousand dinars of the bounty of Ja'afar, it
will in no wise injure me. Consider then the munificence of Ja'afar's
nature and how he was praised both alive and dead, the mercy of Allah
Almighty be upon him! And men also recount the tale of


It is told that Harun al-Rashid was sitting one day on the throne of
the Caliphate, when there came in to him a youth of his eunuchry,
bearing a crown of red gold, set with pearls and rubies and all manner
of other gems and jewels, such as money might not buy; and, bussing the
ground between his hands, said, "O Commander of the Faithful, the Lady
Zubaydah kisseth the earth before thee"—And Shahrazad perceived the
dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say. Whereupon quoth her
sister Dunyazad, "How pleasant is thy tale and profitable; and how
sweet is thy speech and how delectable!" "And where is this," replied
Shahrazad, "compared with what I shall tell you next night an I live
and the King grant me leave!" Thereupon quoth the King to himself, "By
Allah, I will not slay her until I hear the end of her tale."

When it was the Three Hundredth Night,

Quoth Dunyazad, "favour us, O my sister, with thy tale," and she
replied, 'With joy and good will, if the King accord me leave;"
whereupon the King said, "Tell thy tale, O Shahrazad." So she pursued:
It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the youth said to the
Caliph, "The Lady Zubaydah kisseth the earth before thee and saith to
thee, Thou knowest she hath bidden make this crown, which lacketh a
great jewel for its dome-top; and she hath made search among her
treasures, but cannot find a jewel of size to suit her mind." Quoth the
Caliph to his Chamberlains and Viceregents, Make search for a great
jewel, such as Zubaydah desireth." So they sought, but found nothing
befitting her and told the Caliph who, vexed and annoyed thereat,
exclaimed, "How am I Caliph and King of the Kings of the earth and
cannot find so small a matter as a jewel? Woe to you! Ask of the
merchants." So they enquired of the traders, who replied, "Our lord the
Caliph will not find a jewel such as he requireth save with a man of
Bassorah, by name Abъ Mohammed highs Lazybones." Thereupon they
acquainted the Caliph with this and he bade his Wazir Ja'afar send a
note to the Emir Mohammed al-Zubaydн, Governor of Bassorah, commanding
him to equip Abu Mohammed Lazybones and bring him into the presence of
the Commander of the Faithful. The Minister accordingly wrote a note to
that effect and despatched it by Masrur, who set out forthright for the
city of Bassorah, and went in to the Emir Mohammed al-Zubaydi, who
rejoiced in him and treated him with the high-most honour. Then Masrur
read him the mandate of the Prince of True Believers, Harun al-Rashid,
to which he replied, "I hear and I obey," and forthwith despatched him,
with a company of his followers, to Abu Mohammed's house. When they
reached it, they knocked at the door, whereupon a page came out and
Masrur said to him, "Tell thy lord, The Commander of the Faithful
summoneth thee." The servant went in and told his master, who came out
and found Masrur, the Caliph's Chamberlain, and a company of the
Governor's men at the door. So he kissed ground before Masrur and said,
"I hear and obey the summons of the Commander of the Faithful; but
first enter ye my house." They replied, "We cannot do that, save in
haste; even as the Prince of True Believers commanded us, for he
awaiteth thy coming." But he said, "Have patience with me a little,
till I set my affairs in order." So after much pressure and abundant
persuasion, they entered the house with him and found the vestibule
hung with curtains of azure brocade, purfled with red gold, and Abu
Mohammed Lazybones bade one of his servants carry Masrur to the private
Hammam. Now this bath was in the house and Masrur found its walls and
floors of rare and precious marbles, wrought with gold and silver, and
its waters mingled with rose-water. Then the servants served Masrur and
his company with the perfection of service; and, on their going forth
of the Hammam, clad them in robes of honour, brocade-work interwoven
with gold. And after leaving the bath Masrur and his men went in to Abu
Mohammed Lazybones and found him seated in his upper chamber; and over
his head hung curtains of gold-brocade, wrought with pearls and jewels,
and the pavilion was spread with cushions, embroidered in red gold. Now
the owner was sitting softly upon a quilted cloth covering a settee
inlaid with stones of price; and, when he saw Masrur, he went forward
to meet him and bidding him welcome, seated him by his side. Then he
called for the food-trays; so they brought them, and when Masrur saw
the tables, he exclaimed, "By Allah, never did I behold the like of
these appointments in the palace of the Commander of the Faithful!" For
indeed the trays contained every manner of meat all served in dishes of
gilded porcelain.[FN#227] "So we ate and drank and made merry till the
end of the day (quoth Masrur) when the host gave to each and every of
us five thousand dinars, and on the morrow he clad us in dresses of
honour of green and gold and entreated us with the utmost worship."
Then said Masrur to him, "We can tarry no longer for fear of the
Caliph's displeasure." Answered Abu Mohammed Lazybones, "O my lord,
have patience with us till the morrow, that we may equip ourselves, and
we will then depart with you." So they tarried with him that day and
slept the night; and next morning Abu Mohammed's servants saddled him a
she mule with selle and trappings of gold, set with all manner of
pearls and stones of price; whereupon quoth Masrur to himself, "I
wonder, when Abu Mohammed shall present himself in such equipage, if
the Caliph will ask him how he came by all this wealth." Thereupon they
took leave of Al-Zubaydi and, setting out from Bassorah, fared on,
without ceasing to fare till they reached Baghdad-city and presented
themselves before the Caliph, who bade Abu Mohammed be seated. He sat
down and addressed the Caliph in courtly phrase, saying, "O Commander
of the Faithful, I have brought with me an humble offering by way of
homage: have I thy gracious permission to produce it?" Al-Rashid
replied, "There is no harm in that,"[FN#228] whereupon Abu Mohammed
bade his men bring in a chest, from which he took a number of rarities,
and amongst the rest, trees of gold with leaves of white
emeraid,[FN#229] and fruits of pigeon blood rubies and topazes and new
pearls and bright. And as the Caliph was struck with admiration he
fetched a second chest and brought out of it a tent of brocade, crowned
with pearls and jacinths and emeralds and jaspers and other precious
stones; its poles were of freshly cut Hindi aloes-wood, and its skirts
were set with the greenest smaragds. Thereon were depicted all manner
of animals such as beasts and birds, spangled with precious stones,
rubies, emeralds, chrysolites and balasses and every kind of precious
metal. Now when Al-Rashid saw these things, he rejoiced with exceeding
joy and Abu Mohammed Lazybones said to him, "O Commander of the
Faithful, deem not that I have brought these to thee, fearing aught or
coveting anything; but I knew myself to be but a man of the people and
that such things befitted none save the Commander of the Faithful. And
now, with thy leave, I will show thee, for thy diversion, something of
what I can do." Al-Rashid replied, "Do what thou wilt, that we may
see." "To hear is to obey," said Abu Mohammed and, moving his lips,
beckoned the palace battlements,[FN#230] whereupon they inclined to
him; then he made another sign to them, and they returned to their
place. Presently he made a sign with his eye, and there appeared before
him closets with closed doors, to which he spoke, and lo! the voices of
birds answered him from within. The Caliph marvelled with passing
marvel at this and said to him, "How camest thou by all this, seeing
that thou art known only as Abu Mohammed Lazybones, and they tell me
that thy father was a cupper serving in a public Hammam, who left thee
nothing?" Whereupon he answered, "Listen to my story" And Shahrazed
perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Three Hundred and First Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Abu Mohammed
Lazybones thus spake to the Caliph: "O Prince of True Believers, listen
to my story, for it is a marvellous and its particulars are wondrous;
were it graven with graver-needles upon the eye-corners it were a
warner to whose would be warned." Quoth Al-Rashid, "Let us hear all
thou hast to say, O Abu Mohammed!" So he began "Know then, O Commander
of the Faithful (Allah prolong to thee glory and dominion!), the report
of the folk; that I am known as the Lazybones and that my father left
me nothing, is true; for he was, as thou hast said, nothing but a
barber-cupper in a Hammam. And I throughout my youth was the idlest
wight on the face of the earth; indeed, so great was my sluggishness
that, if I lay at full length in the sultry season and the sun came
round upon me, I was too lazy to rise and remove from the sun to the
shade. And thus I abode till I reached my fifteenth year, when my
father deceased in the mercy of Allah Almighty and left me nothing.
However, my mother used to go out a-charing and feed me and give me to
drink, whilst I lay on my side. Now it came to pass that one day she
came in to me with five silver dirhams, and said to me, 'O my son, I
hear that Shaykh Abъ al-Muzaffar[FN#231] is about to go a voyage to
China.' (Now this Shaykh was a good and charitable man who loved the
poor.) 'So come, my son, take these five silver bits; and let us both
carry them to him and beg him to buy thee therewith somewhat from the
land of China; so haply thou mayst make a profit of it by the bounty of
Allah, whose name be exalted!' I was too idle to move for her; but she
swore by the Almighty that, except I rose and went with her, she would
bring me neither meat nor drink nor come in to me, but would leave me
to die of hunger and thirst. Now when I heard her words, O Commander of
the Faithful, I knew she would do as she threatened for her knowledge
of my sluggishness; so I said to her, 'Help me to sit up.' She did so,
and I wept the while and said to her, 'Bring me my shoes.' Accordingly,
she brought them and I said, 'Put them on my feet.' She put them on my
feet and I said, 'Lift me up off the ground.' So she lifted me up and I
said, 'Support me, that I may walk.' So she supported me and I
continued to fare a foot, at times stumbling over my skirts, till we
came to the river bank, where we saluted the Shaykh and I said to him,
'O my uncle, art thou Abu al-Muzaffar?' 'At thy service,' answered he,
and I, 'Take these dirhams and with them buy me somewhat from the land
of China: haply Allah may vouchsafe me a profit of it.' Quoth the
Shaykh to his companions, 'Do ye know this youth?' They answered, 'Yes,
he is known as Abu Mohammed Lazybones, and we never saw him stir from
his house till this moment.' Then said he to me, 'O my son, give me the
silver with the blessing of Almighty Allah!' So he took the money,
saying, 'Bismillah in the name of Allah!' and I returned home with my
mother. Presently Shaykh Abu al-Muzaffar set sail, with a company of
merchants, and stayed not till they reached the land of China, where he
and his bought and sold; and, having won what they wished, set out on
their homeward voyage. When they had been three days at sea, the Shaykh
said to his company, 'Stay the vessel!' They asked, 'What dost thou
want?' and he answered, 'Know that I have forgotten the commission
wherewith Abu Mohammed Lazybones charged me; so let us turn back that
we may lay out his money on somewhat whereby he may profit.' They
cried, 'We conjure thee, by Allah Almighty turn not back with us; for
we have traversed a long distance and a sore, and while so doing we
have endured sad hardship and many terrors.' Quoth he, 'There is no
help for it but we return;' and they said, 'Take from us double the
profit of the five dirhams, and turn us not back.' He agreed to this
and they collected for him an ample sum of money. Thereupon they sailed
on, till they came to an island wherein was much people; when they
moored thereto and the merchants went ashore, to buy thence a stock of
precious metals and pearls and jewels and so forth. Presently Abu
al-Muzaffar saw a man seated, with many apes before him, and amongst
them one whose hair had been plucked off; and as often as their owner's
attention was diverted from them, the other apes fell upon the plucked
one and beat him and threw him on their master; whereupon the man rose
and bashed them and bound them and punished them for this; and all the
apes were wroth with the plucked ape on this account and funded him the
more. When Shaykh Abu al-Muzaffar saw this, he felt for and took
compassion upon the plucked ape and said to his master, 'Wilt thou sell
me yonder monkey?' Replied the man, 'Buy,' and Abu al-Muzaffar
rejoined, 'I have with me five dirhams, belonging to an orphan lad.
Wilt thou sell it me for that sum?' Answered the monkey-merchant, 'It
is a bargain; and Allah give thee a blessing of him!' So he made over
the beast and received his money; and the Shaykh's slaves took the ape
and tied him up in the ship. Then they loosed sail and made for another
island, where they cast anchor; and there came down divers, who plunged
for precious stones, pearls and other gems; so the merchants hired them
to dive for money and they dived. Now when the ape saw them doing this,
he loosed himself from his bonds and, jumping off the ship's side,
plunged with them, whereupon quoth Abu al-Muzaffar, 'There is no
Majesty and there is no Might, save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great!
The monkey is lost to us with the luck of the poor fellow for whom we
bought him.' And they despaired of him; but, after a while, the company
of divers rose to the surface, and behold, among them was the ape, with
his hands full of jewels of price, which he threw down before Abu
al-Muzaffar. The Shaykh marvelled at this and said, 'There is much
mystery in this monkey!' Then they cast off and sailed till they came
to a third island, called the Isle of the Zunъj,[FN#232] who are a
people of the blacks, which eat the flesh of the sons of Adam. When the
blacks saw them, they boarded them in dug-outs[FN#233] and, taking all
in the vessel, pinioned them and carried them to their King, who bade
slaughter certain of the merchants. So they slaughtered them by cutting
their throats and ate their flesh; and the rest of the traders passed
the night in bonds and were in sore concern. But when it was midnight,
the ape arose and going up to Abu al-Muzaffar, loosed his bonds; and,
as the others saw him free, they said, 'Allah grant our deliverance may
be at thy hands, O Abu al-Muzaffar!' But he replied, 'Know that he who
delivered me, by leave of Allah Almighty, was none other than this
monkey'"—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her
permitted say.

When it was the Three Hundred and Second Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Abu al-Muzaffar
declared, "None loosed me, by leave of Allah Al-mighty, save this
monkey and I buy my release of him at a thousand dinars!" whereupon the
merchants rejoined, 'And we likewise, each and every, will pay him a
thousand dinars if he release us.' With this the ape arose and went up
to them and loosed their bonds one by one, till he had freed them all,
when they made for the vessel and boarding her, found all safe and
nothing missing from her. So they cast off and set sail; and presently
Abu al-Muzaffar said to them, 'O merchants, fulfil your promise to the
monkey.' 'We hear and we obey,' answered they; and each one paid him
one thousand dinars, whilst Abu al-Muzaffar brought out to him the like
sum of his own monies, so that a great heap of coin was collected for
the ape. Then they fared on till they reached Bassorah-city where their
friends came out to meet them; and when they had landed, the Shaykh
said, 'Where is Abu Mohammed Lazybones?' The news reached my mother,
who came to me as I lay asleep and said to me, 'O my son, verily the
Shaykh Abu al-Muzaffar hath come back and is now in the city; so rise
and go thou to him and salute him and enquire what he hath brought
thee; it may be Allah Almighty have opened to thee the door of fortune
with somewhat.' Quoth I, 'Lift me from the ground and prop me up,
whilst I go forth and walk to the river bank.' After which I went out
and walked on, stumbling over my skirts, till I met the Shaykh, who
exclaimed at sight of me, 'Welcome to him whose money hath been the
means of my release and that of these merchants, by the will of
Almighty Allah.' Then he continued, 'Take this monkey I bought for thee
and carry him home and wait till I come to thee.' So I took the ape and
went off, saying in my mind, 'By Allah, this is naught but rare
merchandise!' and led it home, where I said to my mother, 'Whenever I
lie down to sleep, thou biddest me rise and trade; see now this
merchandise with thine own eyes.' Then I sat me down and as I sat, up
came the slaves of Abu al-Muzaffar and said to me, 'Art thou Abu
Mohammed Lazybones?' 'Yes' answered I; and behold, Abu al-Muzaffar
appeared behind them. So I rose up to him and kissed his hands: and he
said, 'Come with me to my home.' 'Hearkening and obedience,' answered I
and accompanied him to his house, where he bade his servants bring me
what money the monkey had earned for me. So they brought it and he said
to me, 'O my son, Allah hath blessed thee with this wealth, by way of
profit on thy five dirhams.' Then the slaves set down the treasure in
chests, which they had carried on their heads, and Abu al-Muzaffar gave
me the keys saying, 'Go before the slaves to thy house; for in sooth
all this wealth is thine.' So I returned to my mother, who rejoiced in
this and said to me, 'O my son, Allah hath blessed thee with all these
riches; so put off thy laziness and go down to the bazar and sell and
buy.' At once I shook off my dull sloth, and opened a shop in the
bazar, where the ape used to sit on the same divan with me eating with
me when I ate and drinking when I drank. But, every day, he was absent
from dawn till noon, when he came back bringing with him a purse of a
thousand dinars, which he laid by my side, and sat down; and he ceased
not so doing for a great while, till I amassed much wealth, wherewith,
O Commander of the Faithful, I purchased houses and lands, and I
planted gardens and I bought me white slaves and negroes and
concubines. Now it came to pass one day, as I sat in my shop, with the
ape sitting at my side on the same carpet, behold, he began to turn
right and left, and I said to myself, 'What aileth the beast?' Then
Allah made the ape speak with a ready tongue, and he said to me, 'O Abu
Mohammed!' Now when I heard him speak, I was sore afraid; but he said
to me, 'Fear not; I will tell thee my case. I am a Marid of the Jinn
and came to thee because of thy poor estate; but today thou knowest not
the amount of thy wealth; and now I have need of thee and if thou do my
will, it shall be well for thee.' I asked, 'What is it?' and he
answered, 'I have a mind to marry thee to a girl like the full moon.'
Quoth I, 'How so?'; and quoth he, 'Tomorrow don thou thy richest dress
and mount thy mule, with the saddle of gold and ride to the Haymarket.
There enquire for the shop of the Sharif[FN#234] and sit down beside
him and say to him, 'I come to thee as a suitor craving thy daughter's
hand.' 'If he say to thee, 'Thou hast neither cash nor rank nor
family'; pull out a thousand dinars and give them to him, and if he ask
more, give him more and tempt him with money.' Whereto I replied, 'To
hear is to obey; I will do thy bidding, Inshallah!' So on the next
morning I donned my richest clothes, mounted my she mule with trappings
of gold and rode to the Haymarket where I asked for the Sharif's shop,
and finding him there seated, alighted and saluted him and seated
myself beside him"—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased
saying her permitted say.

When it was the Three Hundred and Third Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Abu Mohammed
Lazybones continued: "So I alighted and, saluting him, seated myself
beside him, and my Mamelukes and negro-slaves stood before me. Said the
Sharif, 'Haply, thou hast some business with us which we may have
pleasure of transacting?' Replied I, 'Yes, I have business with thee.'
Asked he, 'And what is it?'; and I answered, 'I come to thee as a
suitor for thy daughter's hand.' So he said, 'Thou hast neither cash
nor rank nor family;' whereupon I pulled him out a purse of a thousand
dinars, red gold, and said to him, 'This is my rank[FN#235] and my
family; and he (whom Allah bless and keep!) hath said, The best of
ranks is wealth. And how well quoth the poet,

'Whoso two dithams hath, his lips have learnt * Speech of all

     kinds with eloquence bedight:

Draw near[FN#236] his brethren and crave ear of him, * And him

     thou seest haught in pride-full height:

Were 't not for dirhams wherein glories he, * Hadst found him

     'mid man kind in sorry plight.

When richard errs in words they all reply, * "Sooth thou hast

     spoken and hast said aright!"

When pauper speaketh truly all reply * 'Thou liest;' and they

     hold his sayings light.[FN#237]

Verily dirhams in earth's every stead * Clothe men with rank and

     make them fair to sight

Gold is the very tongue of eloquence; * Gold is the best of arms

     for might who'd fight!'

Now when the Sharif heard these my words and understood my verse, he
bowed his head awhile groundwards then raising it, said, 'If it must be
so, I will have of thee other three thousand gold pieces.' 'I hear and
I obey,' answered I, and sent one of my Mamelukes home for the money.
As soon as he came back with it, I handed it to the Sharif who, when he
saw it in his hands, rose, and bidding his servants shut his shop,
invited his brother merchants of the bazar the wedding; after which he
carried me to his house and wrote out my contract of marriage with his
daughter saying to me, 'After ten days, I will bring thee to pay her
the first visit.' So I went home rejoicing and, shutting myself up with
the ape, told him what had passed; and he said 'Thou hast done well.'
Now when the time appointed by the Sharif drew near, the ape said to
me, 'There is a thing I would have thee do for me; and thou shalt have
of me (when it is done) whatso thou wilt.' I asked, 'What is that?' and
he answered, 'At the upper end of the chamber wherein thou shalt meet
thy bride, the Sharif's daughter, stands a cabinet, on whose door is a
ring-padlock of copper and the keys under it. Take the keys and open
the cabinet in which thou shalt find a coffer of iron with four flags,
which are talismans, at its corners; and in its midst stands a brazen
basin full of money, wherein is tied a white cock with a cleft comb;
while on one side of the coffer are eleven serpents and on the other a
knife. Take the knife and slaughter the cock; cut away the flags and
upset the chest, then go back to the bride and do away her maidenhead.
This is what I have to ask of thee.' 'Hearkening and obedience,'
answered I, and betook myself to the house of the Sharif. So as soon as
I entered the bride-chamber, I looked for the cabinet and found it even
as the ape had described it. Then I went in unto the bride and
marvelled at her beauty and loveliness and stature and
symmetrical-grace, for indeed they were such as no tongue can set
forth. I rejoiced in her with exceeding joy; and in the middle of the
night, when my bride slept, I rose and, taking the keys, opened the
cabinet. Then I seized the knife and slew the cock and threw down the
flags and upset the coffer, whereupon the girl awoke and, seeing the
closet open and the cock with cut throat, exclaimed, 'There is no
Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great!
The Marid hath got hold of me!' Hardly had she made an end of speaking,
when the Marid swooped down upon the house and, snatching up the bride,
flew away with her; whereupon there arose a mighty clamour and behold,
in came the Sharif, buffetting his face and crying, 'O Abu Mohammed,
what is this deed thou hast done? Is it thus thou requiitest us? I made
this talisman in the cabinet fearing for my daughter from this accursed
one who, for these six years, hath sought to steal-away the girl, but
could not. But now there is no more abiding for thee with us, so wend
thy ways.' Thereupon I went forth and returned to my own house, where I
made search for the ape but could not find him nor any trace of him;
whereby I knew that it was he who was the Marid, and that he had
carried off my wife and had tricked me into destroying the talisman and
the cock, the two things which hindered him from taking her, and I
repented, rending my raiment and cuffing my face. And there was no land
but was straitened upon me; so I made for the desert forthright and
ceased not wandering on till night overtook me, for I knew not whither
I was going. And whilst I was deep in sad thought behold, I met two
serpents, one tawny and the other white, and they were fighting to kill
each other. So I took up a stone and with one cast slew the tawny
serpent, which was the aggressor; whereupon the white serpent glided
away and was absent for a while, but presently she returned accompanied
by ten other white serpents which glided up to the dead serpent and
tore her in pieces, so that only the head was left. Then they went
their ways and I fell prostrate for weariness on the ground where I
stood; but as I lay, pondering my case lo! I heard a Voice though I saw
no one and the Voice versified with these two couplets,

'Let Fate with slackened bridle fare her pace, * Nor pass the

     night with mind which cares an ace

Between eye-closing and its opening, * Allah can foulest change

     to fairest case.'

Now when I heard this, O Commander of the Faithful, great concern get
hold of me and I was beyond measure troubled, and behold, I heard a
Voice from behind me extemporise these couplets,

'O Moslem! thou whose guide is Alcorбn, * Joy in what brought

     safe peace to thee, O man.

Fear not what Satan haply whispered thee, * And in us see a


Then said I, 'I conjure thee, by the truth of Him thou wore shippest,
let me know who thou art!' Thereupon the Invisible Speaker assumed the
form of a man and said, 'Fear not; for the report of thy good deed hath
reached us, and we are a people of the true-believing Jinn. So, if thou
lack aught, let us know it that we may have the pleasure of fulfilling
thy want.' Quoth I, 'Indeed I am in sore need, for I am afflicted with
a grievous affliction and no one was ever afflicted as I am!' Quoth he,
'Perchance thou art Abu Mohammed Lazybones?' and I replied, 'Yes.' He
rejoined, 'I, O Abu Mohammed, am the brother of the white serpent,
whose foe thou slewest, we are four brothers by one father and mother,
and we are all indebted to thee for thy kindness. And know thou that he
who played this trick on thee in the likeness of an ape, is a Marid of
the Marids of the Jinn; and had he not used this artifice, he had never
been able to get the girl; for he hath loved her and had a mind to take
her this long while, but he was hindered of that talisman; and had it
remained as it was, he could never have found access to her. However,
fret not thyself for that; we will bring thee to her and kill the
Marid; for thy kindness is not lost upon us.' Then he cried out with a
terrible outcry"—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to
say her permitted say.

When it was the Three Hundred and fourth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Ifrit
continued, "'Verily thy kindness is not lost upon us.' Then he cried
out with a terrible outcry in a horrible voice, and behold, there
appeared a troop of the Jinn, of whom he enquired concerning the ape;
and one of them said, 'I know his abiding- place;' and the other asked
'Where abideth he?' Said the speaker 'He is in the City of Brass
whereon sun riseth not.' Then said the first Jinni to me, 'O Abu
Mohammed, take one of these our slaves, and he will carry thee on his
back and teach thee how thou shalt get back the girl; but know that
this slave is a Marid of the Marids and beware, whilst he is carrying
thee, lest thou utter the name of Allah, or he will flee from thee and
thou wilt fall and be destroyed.' 'I hear and obey,' answered I and
chose out one of the slaves, who bent down and said to me, 'Mount.' So
I mounted on his back, and he flew up with me into the firmament, till
I lost sight of the earth and saw the stars as they were the mountains
of earth fixed and firm[FN#238] and heard the angels crying, 'Praise be
to Allah,' in heaven while the Marid held me in converse, diverting me
and hindering me from pronouncing the name of Almighty Allah.[FN#239]
But, as we flew, behold, One clad in green raiment,[FN#240] with
streaming tresses and radiant face, holding in his hand a javelin
whence flew sparks of fire, accosted me, saying, 'O Abu Mohammed,
say:—There is no god but the God and Mohammed is the Apostle of God; or
I will smite thee with this javelin.' Now already I felt heart-broken
by my forced silence as regards calling on the name of Allah; so I
said, 'There is no god but the God, and Mohammed is the Apostle of God.
Whereupon the shining One smote the Marid with his javelin and he
melted away and became ashes; whilst I was thrown from his back and
fell headlong towards the earth, till I dropped into the midst of a
dashing sea, swollen with clashing surge. And behold I fell hard by a
ship with five sailors therein, who seeing me, made for me and took me
up into the vessel; and they began to speak to me in some speech I knew
not; but I signed to them that I understood not their speech. So they
fared on till the last of the day, when they cast out a net and caught
a great fish and they broiled it and gave me to eat; after which they
ceased not sailing on till they reached their city and carried me to
their King and set me in his presence. So I kissed ground before him,
and he bestowed on me a dress of honour and said to me in Arabic (which
he knew well), 'I appoint thee one of my officers.' Thereupon I asked
him the name of the city, and he replied, 'It is called Hanбd[FN#241]
and is in the land of China.' Then he committed me to his Wazir,
bidding him show me the city, which was formerly peopled by Infidels,
till Almighty Allah turned them into stones; and there I abode a
month's space, diverting myself with viewing the place, nor saw I ever
greater plenty of trees and fruits than there. And when this time had
past, one day, as I sat on the bank of a river, behold, there accosted
me a horseman, who said to me, 'Art thou not Abu Mohammed Lazybones?'
'Yes,' answered I; whereupon, he said, 'Fear not, for the report of thy
good deed hath reached us.' Asked I, 'Who art thou?' and he answered,
'I am a brother of the white serpent, and thou art hard by the place
where is the damsel whom thou seekest.' So saying, he took off his
clothes and clad me therein, saying, 'Fear not, for the slave who
perished under thee was one of our slaves.' Then the horseman took me
up behind him and rode on with me to a desert place, when he said,
'Dismount now and walk on between these two mountains, till thou seest
the City of Brass;[FN#242] then halt afar off and enter it not, ere I
return to thee and tell thee how thou shalt do.' 'To hear is to obey,'
replied I and, dismounting from behind him, walked on till I came to
the city, the walls whereof I found of brass. Then I began to pace
round about it, hoping to find a gate, but found none; and presently as
I persevered, behold, the serpent's brother rejoined me and gave me a
charmed sword which should hinder any from seeing me,[FN#243] then went
his way. Now he had been gone but a little while, when lo! I heard a
noise of cries and found myself in the midst of a multitude of folk
whose eyes were in their breasts; and seeing me quoth they, 'Who art
thou and what cast thee into this place?' So I told them my story, and
they said, 'The girl thou seekest is in this city with the Marid; but
we know not what he hath done with her. Now we are brethren of the
white serpent,' adding, 'Go thou to yonder spring and note where the
water entereth, and enter thou with it; for it will bring thee into the
city.' I did as they bade me, and followed the water-course, till it
brought me to a Sardab, a vaulted room under the earth, from which I
ascended and found myself in the midst of the city. Here I saw the
damsel seated upon a throne of gold, under a canopy of brocade, girt
round by a garden full of trees of gold, whose fruits were jewels of
price, such as rubies and chrysolites, pearls and coral. And the moment
she saw me, she knew me and accosted me with the Moslem salutation,
saying, 'O my lord, who guided thee hither?' So I told her all that had
passed, and she said, 'Know, that the accursed Marid, of the greatness
of his love for me, hath told me what bringeth him bane and what
bringeth him gain; and that there is here a talisman by means whereof
he could, an he would, destroy the city and all that are therein; and
whoso possesseth it, the Ifrits will do his commandment in everything.
It standeth upon a pillar'—Whereat I asked her, 'And where is the
pillar?' and she answered, 'It is in such a place.' 'And what manner of
thing may the talisman be?' said I: said she, 'It is in the semblance
of a vulture[FN#244] and upon it is a writing which I cannot read. So
go thou thither and seize it, and set it before thee and, taking a
chafing dish, throw into it a little musk, whereupon there will arise a
smoke which will draw the Ifrits to thee, and they will all present
themselves before thee, nor shall one be absent; also they shall be
subject to thy word and, whatsoever thou biddest them, that will they
do. Arise therefore and fall to this thing, with the blessing of
Almighty Allah.' I answered, 'Hearkening and obedience' and, going to
the column, did as she bade me, where- upon the Ifrits all presented
themselves before me saying, 'Here are we, O our lord! Whatsoever thou
biddest us, that will we do.' Quoth I, 'Bind the Marid who brought the
damsel hither from her home.' Quoth they, 'We hear and obey,' and off
they flew and bound that Marid in straitest bonds and returned after a
while, saying, 'We have done thy bidding.' Then I dismissed them and,
repairing to my wife, told her what had happened and said to her, 'O my
bride, wilt thou go with me?' 'Yes,' answered she. So I carried her
forth of the vaulted chamber whereby I had entered the city and we
fared on, till we fell in with the folk who had shown me the way to
find her." And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying
her permitted say.

When it was the Three Hundred and Fifth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that he continued on
this wise: "And we fared on till we fell in with the folk who had shown
me the way to her. So I said to them, 'Point me out a path which shall
lead me to my home,' and they did accordingly, and brought us a-foot to
the sea-shore and set us aboard a vessel which sailed on before us with
a fair wind, till we reached Bassorah-city. And when we entered the
house of my father-in-law and her people saw my wife, they rejoiced
with exceeding joy. Then I fumigated the vulture with musk and lo! the
Ifrits flocked to me from all sides, saying, 'At thy service what wilt
thou have us do?' So I bade them transport all that was in the City of
Brass of monies and noble metals and stones of price to my house in
Bassorah, which they did; and I then ordered them to bring me the ape.
They brought him before me, abject and contemptible, and I said to him,
'O accursed, why hast thou dealt thus perfidiously with me?' Then I com
mended the Ifrits to shut him in a brazen vessel[FN#245] so they put
him in a brazen cucurbite and sealed it with lead. But I abode with my
wife in joy and delight; and now, O Commander of the Faithful, I have
under my hand precious things in such measure and rare jewels and other
treasure and monies on such wise as neither reckoning may express nor
may limits comprise; and, if thou lust after wealth or aught else, I
will command the Jinn at once to do thy desire. But all this is of the
bounty of Almighty Allah." Thereupon the Commander of the Faithful
wondered greatly and bestowed on him imperial gifts, in exchange for
his presents, and entreated him with the favour he deserved. And men
also tell the tale of the


It is told that Harun al-Rashid, in the days before he became jealous
of the Barmecides, sent once for one of his guards, Salih by name, and
said to him, "O Sбlih, go to Mansъr[FN#246] and say to him: 'Thou owest
us a thousand thousand dirhams and we require of thee immediate payment
of this amount.' And I command thee, O Salih, unless he pay it between
this hour and sundown, sever his head from his body and bring it to
me." "To hear is to obey," answered Salih and, going to Mansur,
acquainted him with what the Caliph had said, whereupon quoth he, "I am
a lost man, by Allah; for all my estate and all my hand owneth, if sold
for their utmost value, would not fetch a price of more than an hundred
thousand dirhams. Whence then, O Salih, shall I get the other nine
hundred thousand?" Salih replied, "Contrive how thou mayst speedily
acquit thyself, else thou art a dead man; for I cannot grant thee an
eye-twinkling of delay after the time appointed me by the Caliph; nor
can I fail of aught which the Prince of True Believers hath enjoined on
me. Hasten, therefore, to devise some means of saving thyself ere the
time expire." Quoth Mansur, "O Salih, I beg thee of thy favour to bring
me to my house, that I may take leave of my children and family and
give my kinsfolk my last injunctions." Now Salih relateth: "So I went
with him to his house where he fell to bidding his family farewell, and
the house was filled with a clamour of weeping and lamentations and
calling for help on Almighty Allah. Thereupon I said to him, 'I have
bethought me that Allah may haply vouchsafe thee relief at the hands of
the Barmecides. Come, let us go to the house of Yбhyб bin Khбlid.' So
we went to Yahya's house, and Mansur told him his case, whereat he was
sore concerned and bowed him groundwards for a while, then raising his
head, he called his treasurer and said to him, 'How much have we in our
treasury?' 'A matter of five thousand dirhams,' answered the treasurer,
and Yahya bade him bring them and sent a messenger to his son, Al-Fazl,
saying, 'I am offered for sale a splendid estate which may never be
laid waste; so send me somewhat of money.' Al-Fazl sent him a thousand
thousand dirhams, and he despatched a mes senger with a like message to
his son Ja'afar, saying, 'We have a matter of much moment and for it we
want money;' whereupon Ja'afar at once sent him a thousand thousand
dirhams; nor did Yahya leave sending to his kinsmen of the Barmecides,
till he had collected from them a great sum of money for Mansur. But
Salih and the debtor knew not of this; and Mansur said to Yahya, 'O my
lord, I have laid hold upon thy skirt, for I know not whither to look
for the money but to thee, in accordance with thy wonted generosity; so
discharge thou the rest of my debt for me and make me thy freed slave.'
Thereupon Yahya hung down his head and wept; then he said to a page,
'Harkye, boy, the Commander of the Faithful gave our slave- girl
Danбnнr a jewel of great price: go thou to her and bid her send it to
us.' The page went out and presently returned with the jewel, whereupon
quoth Yahya, 'O Mansur, I bought this jewel of the merchant for the
Commander of the Faithful, at a price of two hundred thousand
dinars,[FN#247] and he gave it to our slave-girl Dananir, the
lute-player; and when he sees it with thee, he will know it and spare
thy blood and do thee honour for our sake; and now, O Mansur, verily
thy money is complete.' (Salih continued) So I took the money and the
jewel and carried them to al-Rashid together with Mansur, but on the
way I heard him repeat this couplet, applying it to his own case,

‘'Twas not of love that fared my feet to them; * 'Twas that I feared me
lest they shoot their shafts!'

Now when I heard this, I marvelled at his evil nature and his depravity
and mischief-making and his ignoble birth and provenance and, turning
upon him, I said, 'There is none on the face of the earth better or
more righteous than the Barmecides, nor any baser nor more wrongous
than thou; for they bought thee off from death and delivered thee from
destruction, giving thee what should save thee; yet thou thankest them
not nor praises" them, neither acquittest thee after the manner of the
noble; nay, thou meetest their benevolence with this speech.' Then I
went to Al-Rashid and acquainted him with all that had passed" And
Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted

When it was the Three Hundred and Sixth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Salih con tinued:
"So I acquainted the Commander of the Faithful with all that passed and
Al-Rashid marvelled at the generosity and benevolence of Yahya and the
vileness and ingratitude of Mansur, and bade restore the jewel to
Yahya, saying, 'Whatso we have given it befitteth us not to take
again.' After that Salih returned to Yahya and acquainted him with the
tale of Mansur and his ill-conduct; whereupon replied he, 'O Salih,
when a man is in want, sick at heart and sad of thought, he is not to
be blamed for aught that falleth from him; for it cometh not from the
heart;' and on this wise he took to seeking excuse for Mansur. But
Salih wept and exclaimed, 'Never shall the revolving heavens bring
forth into being the like of thee, O Yahya! Alas, and well- away, that
one of such noble nature and generosity should be laid in the dust!'
And he repeated these two couplets,

'Haste to do kindness thou cost intend; * Thou canst not always

     on boons expend:

How many from bounty themselves withheld, * Till means of bounty

     had come to end!'"

And men tell another tale of the


There was between Yбhyб bin Khбlid and Abdullah bin Mбlik al-
Khuzб'i,[FN#248] an enmity which they kept secret; the reason of the
hatred being that Harun al-Rashid loved Abdullah with exceeding love,
so that Yahya and his sons were wont to say that he had bewitched the
Commander of the Faithful. And thus they abode a long while, with
rancour in their hearts, till it fell out that the Caliph invested
Abdullah with the government of Armenia[FN#249] and despatched him
thither. Now soon after he had settled himself in his seat of
government, there came to him one of the people of Irak, a man of good
breeding and excellent parts and abundant cleverness; but he had lost
his money and wasted his wealth and his estate was come to ill case; so
he forged a letter to Abdullah bin Malik in the name of Yahya bin
Khбlid and set out therewith for Armenia. Now when he came to the
Governor's gate, he gave the letter to one of the Chamberlains, who
took it and carried it to his master. Abdullah opened it and read it
and, considering it attentively, knew it to be forged; so he sent for
the man, who presented himself before him and called down blessings
upon him and praised him and those of his court. Quoth Abdullah to him,
"What moved thee to weary thyself on this wise and bring me a forged
letter? But be of good heart; for we will not disappoint thy travail."
Replied the other, "Allah prolong the life of our lord the Wazir! If my
coming annoy thee, cast not about for a pretext to repel me, for
Allah's earth is wide and He who giveth daily bread still liveth.
Indeed, the letter I bring thee from Yahya bin Khalid is true and no
forgery." Quoth Abdullah, "I will write a letter to my agent[FN#250] at
Baghdad and command him enquire concerning this same letter. If it be
true, as thou sayest, and genuine and not forged by thee, I will bestow
on thee the Emirship of one of my cities; or, if thou prefer a present,
I will give thee two hundred thousand dirhams, besides horses and
camels of price and a robe of honour. But, if the letter prove a
forgery, I will order thou be beaten with two hundred blows of a stick
and thy beard be shaven." So Abdullah bade confine him in a chamber and
furnish him therein with all he needed, till his case should be made
manifest. Then he despatched a letter to his agent at Baghdad, to the
following effect: "There is come to me a man with a letter purporting
to be from Yahya bin Khбlid. Now I have my suspicions of this letter:
therefore delay thou not in the matter, but go thyself and look
carefully into the case and let me have an answer with all speed, in
order that we may know what is true and what is untrue." When the
letter reached Baghdad, the agent mounted at once,—And Shahrazad
perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Three Hundred and Seventh Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the agent of
Abdullah, son of Malik al-Khuza'i, on receipt of the letter at Baghdad,
mounted at once and repaired to the house of Yahya bin Khбlid, whom he
found sitting with his officers and boon- companions. After the usual
salute he gave him the letter and Yahya read it and said to the agent,
"Come back to me tomorrow for my written answer." Now when the agent
had gone away, Yahya turned to his companions and said, "What doth he
deserve who forgeth a letter in my name and carrieth it to my foe?"
They answered all and each, saying this and that, and every one
proposing some kind of punishment; but Yahya said, "Ye err in that ye
say and this your counsel is of the baseness of your spirits and the
meanness of your minds. Ye all know the close favour of Abdullah with
the Caliph and ye weet of what is between him and us of anger and
enmity; and now Almighty Allah hath made this man the means of
reconciliation between us; and hath fitted him for such purpose and
hath appointed him to quench the fire of ire in our hearts, which hath
been growing these twenty years; and by his means our differences shall
be adjusted. Wherefore it behoveth me to requite such man by verifying
his assertion and amending his estate; so I will write him a letter to
Abdullah son of Malik, praying that he may use him with increase of
honour and continue to him his liberality." Now when his companions
heard what he said, they called down blessings on him and marvelled at
his generosity and the greatness of his magnanimity. Then he called for
paper and ink and wrote Abdullah a letter in his own hand, to the
following effect: "In the name of Allah, the Compassionating' the
Compassionate! Of a truth thy letter hath reached me (Allah give thee
long life!) and I am glad to hear of thy safety and am pleased to be
assured of thine immunity and prosperity. It was thy thought that a
certain worthy man had forged a letter in my name and that he was not
the bearer of any message from the same; but the case is not so, for
the letter I myself wrote, and it was no forgery; and I hope, of thy
courtesy and consideration and the nobility of thy nature, that thou
wilt gratify this generous and excellent man of his hope and wish, and
honour him with the honour he deserveth and bring him to his desire and
make him the special-object of thy favour and munificence. Whatso thou
dost with him, it is to me that thou dost the kindness, and I am
thankful to thee accordingly." Then he superscribed the letter and
after sealing it, delivered it to the agent, who despatched it to
Abdullah. Now when the Governor read it, he was charmed with its
contents, and sending for the man, said to him, "Whichever of the two
promised boons is the more acceptable to thee that will I give thee."
The man replied, "The money gift were more acceptable to me than aught
else," whereupon Abdullah ordered him two hundred thousand dirhams and
ten Arab horses, five with housings of silk and other five with richly
ornamented saddles, used in state processions; besides twenty chests of
clothes and ten mounted white slaves and a proportionate quantity of
jewels of price. Moreover, he bestowed on him a dress of honour and
sent him to Baghdad in great splendour. So when he came thither, he
repaired to the door of Yahya's house, before he went to his own folk,
and craved permission to enter and have audience. The Chamberlain went
in to Yahya and said to him, "O my lord, there is one at the door who
craveth speech of thee; and he is a man of apparent wealth, courteous
in manner, comely of aspect and attended by many servants." Then Yahya
bade admit him; and, when he entered and kissed the ground before him,
Yahya asked him, "Who art thou?" He answered, "Hear me, O my lord, I am
he who was done dead by the tyranny of fortune, but thou didst raise me
to life again from the grave of calamities and exalt me to the paradise
of my desires. I am the man who forged a letter in thy name and carried
it to Abdullah bin Malik al-Khuza'i." Yahya asked, "How hath he dealt
with thee and what did he give thee?"; and the man answered, "He hath
given me, thanks to thy hand and thy great liberality and benevolence
and to thy comprehensive kindness and lofty magnanimity and thine
all-embracing generosity, that which hath made me a wealthy man and he
hath distinguished me with his gifts and favours. And now I have
brought all that he gave me and here it is at thy door; for it is thine
to decide and the command is in thy hand." Rejoined Yahya, "Thou hast
done me better service than I did thee and I owe thee a heavy debt of
gratitude and every gift the white hand[FN#251] can give, for that thou
hast changed into love and amity the hate and enmity that were between
me and a man whom I respect and esteem. Wherefore I will give thee the
like of what Abdullah bin Malik gave thee." Then he ordered him money
and horses and chests of apparel, such as Abdullah had given him; and
thus that man's fortune was restored to him by the munificence of these
two generous ones. And folk also relate the tale of the


It is said of Al-Maamun that, among the Caliphs of the house of Abbas,
there was none more accomplished in all branches of knowledge than he.
Now on two days in each week, he was wont to preside at conferences of
the learned, when the lawyers and theologians disputed in his presence,
each sitting in his several-rank and room. One day as he sat thus,
there came into the assembly a stranger, clad in ragged white clothes,
who took seat in an obscure place behind the doctors of the law. Then
the assembly began to speak and debate difficult questions, it being
the custom that the various propositions should be submitted to each in
turn, and that whoso bethought him of some subtle addition or rare
conceit, should make mention of it. So the question went round till it
came to the strange man, who spake in his turn and made a goodlier
answer than any of the doctors' replies; and the Caliph approved his
speech.——And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her
permitted say.

When it was the Three Hundred and Eighth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Caliph
Al-Maamun approved his speech and ordered him to come up from his low
place to a high stead. Now when the second question came to him, he
made a still more notable answer, and Al-Maamun ordered him to be
preferred to a yet higher seat; and when the third question reached
him, he made answer more justly and appropriately than on the two
previous occasions, and Al-Maamun bade him come up and sit near
himself. Presently the discussion ended when water was brought and they
washed their hands after which food was set on and they ate; and the
doctors arose and withdrew; but Al-Maamun forbade the stranger to
depart with them and, calling him to himself, treated him with
especial-favour and promised him honour and profit. Thereupon they made
ready the sйance of wassail; the fair-faced cup-companions came and the
pure wine[FN#252] went round amongst them, till the cup came to the
stranger, who rose to his feet and spake thus, "If the Commander of the
Faithful permit me, I will say one word." Answered the Caliph, "Say
what thou wilt." Quoth the man "Verily the Exalted Intelligence (whose
eminence Allah increase!) knoweth that his slave was this day, in the
august assembly, one of the unknown folk and of the meanest of the
company; and the Commander of the Faithful raised his rank and brought
him near to himself, little as were the wit and wisdom he displayed,
preferring him above the rest and advancing him to a station and a
degree where to his thought aspired not. But now he is minded to part
him from that small portion of intellect which raised him high from his
lowness and made him great after his littleness. Heaven forfend and
forbid that the Commander of the Faithful should envy his slave what
little he hath of understanding and worth and renown! Now, if his slave
should drink wine, his reason would depart far from him and ignorance
draw near to him and steal-away his good breeding, so would he revert
to that low and contemptible degree, whence he sprang, and become
ridiculous and despicable in the eyes of the folk. I hope, therefore,
that the August Intelligence, of his power and bounty and
royal-generosity and magnanimity, will not despoil his slave of this
jewel." When the Caliph Al-Maamun heard his speech, he praised him and
thanked him and making him sit down again in his place, showed him high
honour and ordered him a present of an hundred thousand silver pieces.
Moreover he mounted him upon a horse and gave him rich apparel; and in
every assembly he was wont to exalt him and show him favour over all
the other doctors of law and religion till he became the highest of
them all in rank. And Allah is All knowing.[FN#253] Men also tell a
tale of


There lived once in the days of yore and the good old times long gone
before, in the land of Khorasan, a merchant called Majd al-Dнn, who had
great wealth and many slaves and servants, white and black, young and
old; but he had not been blessed with a child until he reached the age
of threescore, when Almighty Allah vouchsafed him a son, whom he named
Alн Shбr. The boy grew up like the moon on the night of fulness; and
when he came to man's estate and was endowed with all kinds of
perfections, his father fell sick of a death-malady and, calling his
son to him, said, "O my son, the fated hour of my decease is at hand,
and I desire to give thee my last injunctions." He asked, "And what are
they, O my father?"; and he answered, "O my son, I charge thee, be not
over-familiar with any[FN#255] and eschew what leadeth to evil and
mischief. Beware lest thou sit in company with the wicked; for he is
like the blacksmith; if his fire burn thee not, his smoke shall bother
thee: and how excellent is the saying of the poet,[FN#256]

'In thy whole world there is not one,

Whose friendship thou may'st count upon,

Nor plighted faith that will stand true,

When times go hard, and hopes are few.

Then live apart and dwell alone,

Nor make a prop of any one,

I've given a gift in that I've said,

Will stand thy friend in every stead:'

And what another saith,

'Men are a hidden malady; * Rely not on the sham in them:

For perfidy and treachery * Thou'lt find, if thou examine them.'

And yet a third saith,

'Converse with men hath scanty weal, except * To while away the

     time in chat and prate:

Then shun their intimacy, save it be * To win thee lore, or

     better thine estate.'

And a fourth saith,

'If a sharp-witted wight e'er tried mankind, * I've eaten that

     which only tasted he:[FN#257]

Their amity proved naught but wile and guile, * Their faith I

     found was but hypocrisy.'"

Quoth Ali, "O my father, I have heard thee and I will obey thee what
more shall I do?" Quoth he, "Do good whereas thou art able; be ever
kind and courteous to men and regard as riches every occasion of doing
a good turn; for a design is not always easily carried out; and how
well saith the poet,

"Tis not at every time and tide unstable, * We can do kindly acts

     and charitable:

When thou art able hasten thee to act, * Lest thine endeavour

     prove anon unable!'"

Said Ali, "I have heard thee and I will obey thee."—And Shahrazad
perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Three Hundred and Ninth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the youth
replied, "I have heard thee and I will obey thee; what more?" And his
sire continued, "Be thou, O my son, mindful of Allah, so shall He be
mindful of thee. Ward thy wealth and waste it not; for an thou do, thou
wilt come to want the least of mankind. Know that the measure of a
man's worth is according to that which his right hand hendeth: and how
well saith the poet,[FN#258]

'When fails my wealth no friend will deign befriend, * And when

     it waxeth all men friendship show:

How many a foe for wealth became my friend, * Wealth lost, how

     many a friend became a foe!'"

Asked Ali, "What more?" And Majd al-Din answered, "O my son, take
counsel of those who are older than thou and hasten not to do thy
heart's desire. Have compassion on those who are below thee, so shall
those who are above thee have compassion on thee; and oppress none,
lest Allah empower one who shall oppress thee. How well saith the poet,

'Add other wit to thy wit, counsel craving, * For man's true

     course hides not from minds of two

Man is a mirror which but shows his face, * And by two mirrors he

     his back shall view.'

And as saith another,[FN#259]

'Act on sure grounds, nor hurry fast,

To gain the purpose that thou hast

And be thou kindly to all men

So kindly thou'lt be called again;

For not a deed the hand can try,

Save 'neath the hand of God on high,

Nor tyrant harsh work tyranny,

Uncrushed by tyrant harsh as he.'

And as saith yet another,[FN#260]

'Tyrannize not, if thou hast the power to do so; for the

     tyrannical-is in danger of revenges.

Thine eye will sleep while the oppressed, wakeful, will call down

     curses on thee, and God's eye sleepeth not.'

Beware of wine-bibbing, for drink is the root of all evil: it doeth
away the reason and bringeth to contempt whoso useth it; and how well
saith the poet,

'By Allah, wine shall not disturb me, while my soul * Join body,

     nor while speech the words of me explain:

No day will I be thralled to wine-skin cooled by breeze[FN#261] *

     Nor choose a friend save those who are of cups unfair.'

This, then, is my charge to thee; bear it before thine eyes, and Allah
stand to thee in my stead." Then he swooned away and kept silent
awhile; and, when he came to himself, he besought pardon of Allah and
pronounced the profession of the Faith, and was admitted to the mercy
of the Almighty. So his son wept and lamented for him and presently
made proper preparation for his burial; great and small walked in his
funeral-procession and Koran readers recited Holy Writ about his bier;
nor did Ali Shar omit aught of what was due to the dead. Then they
prayed over him and committed him to the dust and wrote these two
couplets upon his tomb,

'Thou west create of dust and cam'st to life, * And learned'st in

     eloquence to place thy trust;

Anon, to dust returning, thou becamest * A corpse, as though

     ne'er taken from the dust."

Now his son Ali Shar grieved for him with sore grief and mourned him
with the ceremonies usual among men of note; nor did he cease to weep
the loss of his father till his mother died also, not long afterwards,
when he did with her as he had done with his sire. Then he sat in the
shop, selling and buying and consorting with none of Almighty Allah's
creatures, in accordance with his father's injunction. This wise he
continued to do for a year, at the end of which time there came in to
him by craft certain whoreson fellows and consorted with him, till he
turned after their example to lewdness and swerved from the way of
righteousness, drinking wine in flowing bowls and frequenting fair
women night and day; for he said to himself, "Of a truth my father
amassed this wealth for me, and if I spend it not, to whom shall I
leave it? By Allah, I will not do save as saith the poet,

'An through the whole of life * Thou gett'st and gain'st for


Say, when shalt thou enjoy * Thy gains and gotten pelf?'"

And Ali Shar ceased not to waste his wealth all whiles of the day and
all watches of the night, till he had made away with the whole of his
riches and abode in pauper case and troubled at heart. So he sold his
shop and lands and so forth, and after this he sold the clothes off his
body, leaving himself but one suit; and, as drunkenness quitted him and
thoughtfulness came to him, he fell into grief and sore care. One day,
when he had sat from day-break to mid-afternoon without breaking his
fast, he said in his mind, "I will go round to those on whom I spent my
monies: perchance one of them will feed me this day." So he went the
round of them all; but, as often as he knocked at any one's door of
them, the man denied himself and hid from him, till his stomach ached
with hunger. Then he betook himself to the bazar of the merchants,—And
Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted

When it was the Three Hundred and Tenth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Ali Shar feeling
his stomach ache with hunger, betook himself to the merchants' bazar
where he found a crowd of people assembled in ring, and said to
himself, "I wonder what causeth these folk to crowd together thus? By
Allah, I will not budge hence till I see what is within yonder ring!"
So he made his way into the ring and found therein a damsel exposed for
sale who was five feet tall,[FN#262] beautifully proportioned, rosy of
cheek and high of breast; and who surpassed all the people of her time
in beauty and loveliness and elegance and grace; even as saith one,
describing her,

"As she willиd she was made, and in such a way that when * She

     was cast in Nature's mould neither short nor long was she:

Beauty woke to fall in love with the beauties of her form, *

     Where combine with all her coyness her pride and pudency:

The full moon is her face[FN#263]and the branchlet is her shape,

     * And the musk-pod is her scent—what like her can there be?

'Tis as though she were moulded from water of the pearl, * And in

     every lovely limblet another moon we see!"

And her name was Zumurrud—the Smaragdine. So when Ali Shar saw her, he
marvelled at her beauty and grace and said, "By Allah, I will not stir
hence till I see how much this girl fetcheth, and know who buyeth her!"
So he took standing-place amongst the merchants, and they thought he
had a mind to buy her, knowing the wealth he had inherited from his
parents. Then the broker stood at the damsel's head and said, "Ho,
merchants! Ho, ye men of money! Who will open the gate of biddings for
this damsel, the mistress of moons, the union pearl, Zumurrud the
curtain-maker, the sought of the seeker and the delight of the
desirous? Open the biddings' door and on the opener be nor blame nor
reproach for evermore." Thereupon quoth one merchant, "Mine for five
hundred dinars;" "And ten," quoth another. "Six hundred," cried an old
man named Rashнd al-Din, blue of eye[FN#264] and foul of face. "And
ten," cried another. "I bid a thousand," rejoined Rashid al-Din;
whereupon the rival merchants were tongue-tied, and held their peace
and the broker took counsel with the girl's owner, who said, "I have
sworn not to sell her save to whom she shall choose: so consult her."
Thereupon the broker went up to Zumurrud and said to her, "O mistress
of moons this merchant hath a mind to buy thee." She looked at Rashid
al-Din and finding him as we have said, replied, "I will not be sold to
a gray-beard, whom decrepitude hath brought to such evil plight. Allah
inspired his saying who saith,

'I craved of her a kiss one day; but soon as she beheld * My

     hoary hairs, though I my luxuries and wealth display'd;

She proudly turned away from me, showed shoulders, cried aloud:—

     * 'No! no! by Him, whose hest mankind from nothingness hath


For hoary head and grizzled chin I've no especial-love: * What!

     stuff my mouth with cotton[FN#265] ere in sepulchre I'm


Now when the broker heard her words he said, "By Allah, thou art
excusable, and thy price is ten thousand gold pieces!" So he told her
owner that she would not accept of old man Rashid al-Din, and he said,
"Consult her concerning another." Thereupon a second man came forward
and said, "Be she mine for what price was offered by the oldster she
would have none of;" but she looked at him and seeing that his beard
was dyed, said "What be this fashion lewd and base and the blackening
of the hoary face?" And she made a great show of wonderment and
repeated these couplets,

"Showed me Sir Such-an-one a sight and what a frightful sight! *

     A neck by Allah, only made for slipper-sole to smite[FN#266]

A beard the meetest racing ground where gnats and lice contend, *

     A brow fit only for the ropes thy temples chafe and


O thou enravish" by my cheek and beauties of my form, * Why so

     translate thyself to youth and think I deem it right?

Dyeing disgracefully that white of reverend aged hairs, * And

     hiding for foul purposes their venerable white!

Thou goest with one beard and comest back with quite another, *

     Like Punch-and-Judy man who works the Chinese shades by


And how well saith another'

Quoth she, 'I see thee dye thy hoariness:'[FN#269] * 'To hide, O

     ears and eyes! from thee,' quoth I:

She roared with laugh and said, 'Right funny this; * Thou art so

     lying e'en

Now when the broker heard her verse he exclaimed, "By Allah thou hast
spoken sooth!" The merchant asked what she said: so the broker repeated
the verses to him; and he knew that she was in the right while he was
wrong and desisted from buying her. Then another came forward and said,
"Ask her if she will be mine at the same price;" but, when he did so,
she looked at him and seeing that he had but one eye, said, "This man
is one-eyed; and it is of such as he that the poet saith,[FN#270]

'Consort not with the Cyclops e'en a day; * Beware his falsehood

     and his mischief fly:

Had this monocular a jot of good, * Allah had ne'er brought

     blindness to his eye!'"

Then said the broker, pointing to another bidder, "Wilt thou be sold to
this man?" She looked at him and seeing that he was short of
stature[FN#271] and had a beard that reached to his navel, cried, "This
is he of whom the poet speaketh,

'I have a friend who hath a beard * Allah to useless length


'Tis like a certain[FN#272] winter night, * Longsome and

     darksome, drear and cold.'"

Said the broker, "O my lady, look who pleaseth thee of these that are
present, and point him out, that I may sell thee to him." So she looked
round the ring of merchants, examining one by one their physiognomies,
till her glance fell on Ali Shar,—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of
day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Three Hundred and Eleventh Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the girl's
glance fell on Ali Shar, she cast at him a look with longing eyes,
which cost her a thousand sighs, and her heart was taken with him; for
that he was of favour passing fair and pleasanter than zephyr or
northern air; and she said, "O broker, I will be sold to none but to
this my lord, owner of the handsome face and slender form whom the poet
thus describeth,

'Displaying that fair face * The tempted they assailed

Who, had they wished me safe * That lovely face had veiled!'

For none shall own me but he, because his cheek is smooth and the water
of his mouth sweet as Salsabil;[FN#273] his spittle is a cure for the
sick and his charms daze and dazzle poet and proser, even as saith one
of him,

'His honey dew of lips is wine; his breath * Musk and those

     teeth, smile shown, are camphor's hue:

Rizwбn[FN#274] hath turned him out o' doors, for fear * The

     Houris lapse from virtue at the view

Men blame his bearing for its pride, but when * In pride the full

     moon sails, excuse is due.'

Lord of the curling locks and rose red cheeks and ravishing look of
whom saith the poet,

'The fawn-like one a meeting promised me * And eye expectant

     waxed and heart unstirred:

His eyelids bade me hold his word as true; * But, in their

     languish,[FN#275] can he keep his word?'

And as saith another,

'Quoth they, 'Black letters on his cheek are writ! * How canst

     thou love him and a side-beard see?'

Quoth I, 'Cease blame and cut your chiding short; * If those be

     letters 'tis a forgery:'

Gather his charms all growths of Eden garth * Whereto those

     Kausar[FN#276]-lips bear testimony.'"

When the broker heard the verses she repeated on the charms of Ali
Shar, he marvelled at her eloquence, no less than at the brightness of
her beauty; but her owner said to him, "Marvel not at her splendour
which shameth the noonday sun, nor that her memory is stored with the
choicest verses of the poets; for besides this, she can repeat the
glorious Koran, according to the seven readings,[FN#277] and the august
Traditions, after ascription and authentic transmission; and she
writeth the seven modes of handwriting[FN#278] and she knoweth more
learning and knowledge than the most learned. Moreover, her hands are
better than gold and silver; for she maketh silken curtains and selleth
them for fifty gold pieces each; and it taketh her but eight days to
make a curtain." Exclaimed the broker, "O happy the man who hath her in
his house and maketh her of his choicest treasures!"; and her owner
said to him, "Sell her to whom she will." So the broker went up to Ali
Shar and, kissing his hands, said to him, "O my lord, buy thou this
damsel, for she hath made choice of thee."[FN#279] Then he set forth to
him all her charms and accomplishments, and added, "I give thee joy if
thou buy her, for this be a gift from Him who is no niggard of His
giving." Whereupon Ali bowed his head groundwards awhile, laughing at
himself and secretly saying, "Up to this hour I have not broken my
fast; yet I am ashamed before the merchants to own that I have no money
wherewith to buy her." The damsel, seeing him hang down his head, said
to the broker, "Take my hand and lead me to him, that I may show my
beauty to him and tempt him to buy me; for I will not be sold to any
but to him." So the broker took her hand and stationed her before Ali
Shar, saying, "What is thy good pleasure, O my lord?" But he made him
no answer, and the girl said to him, "O my lord and darling of my
heart, what aileth thee that thou wilt not bid for me? Buy me for what
thou wilt and I will bring thee good fortune." So he raised his eyes to
her and said, "Is buying perforce? Thou art dear at a thousand dinars."
Said she, "Then buy me, O my lord, for nine hundred." He cried, "No,"
and she rejoined, "Then for eight hundred;" and though he again said,
"Nay," she ceased not to abate the price, till she came to an hundred
dinars. Quoth he, "I have not by me a full hundred." So she laughed and
asked, "How much dost thou lack of an hundred?" He answered, "By Allah,
I have neither an hundred dinars, nor any other sum; for I own neither
white coin nor red cash, neither dinar nor dirham. So look out thou for
another and a better customer." And when she knew that he had nothing,
she said to him, "Take me by the hand and carry me aside into a by-
lane, as if thou wouldst examine me privily." He did so and she drew
from her bosom a purse containing a thousand dinars, which she gave
him, saying, "Pay down nine hundred to my price and let the hundred
remain with thee by way of provision." He did as she bid him and,
buying her for nine hundred dinars, paid down the price from her own
purse and carried her to his house. When she entered it, she found a
dreary desolate saloon without carpets or vessels; so she gave him
other thousand dinars, saying, "Go to the bazar and buy three hundred
dinars' worth of furniture and vessels for the house and three dinars'
worth of meat and drink."—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and
ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Three Hundred and Twelfth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King that quoth the
slave-girl, "Bring us meat and drink for three dinars, furthermore a
piece of silk, the size of a curtain, and bring golden and silvern
thread and sewing silk of seven colours." Thus he did, and she
furnished the house and they sat down to eat and drink; after which
they went to bed and took their pleasure one of the other. And they lay
the night embraced behind the curtain and were even as saith the

"Cleave fast to her thou lovestand let the envious rail amain,

     For calumny and envy ne'er to favour love were fain.

Lo, whilst I slept, in dreams I saw thee lying by my side And,

     from thy lips the sweetest, sure, of limpid springs did


Yea, true and certain all I saw is, as I will avouch, And 'spite

     the envier, thereto I surely will attain.

There is no goodlier sight, indeed, for eyes to look upon, Than

     when one couch in its embrace enfoldeth lovers twain.

Each to the other's bosom clasped, clad in their twinned delight,

     Whilst hand with hand and arm with arm about their necks


Lo, when two hearts are straitly knit in passion and desire, But

     on cold iron smite the folk who chide at them in vain.

Thou, that for loving censurest the votaries of love, Canst thou

     assain a heart diseased or heal-a cankered brain?

If in thy time thou kind but one to love thee and be true, I rede

     thee cast the world away and with that one remain."

So they lay together till the morning and love for the other waxed
firmly fixed in the heart of each. And on rising, Zumurrud took the
curtain and embroidered it with coloured silks and purpled it with
silver and gold thread and she added thereto a border depicting round
about it all manner of birds and beasts; nor is there in the world a
feral but she wrought his semblance. This she worked in eight days,
till she had made an end of it, when she trimmed it and glazed and
ironed it and gave it to her lord, saying, "Carry it to the bazar and
sell it to one of the merchants at fifty dinars; but beware lest thou
sell it to a passer-by, as this would cause a separation between me and
thee, for we have foes who are not unthoughtful of us." "I hear and I
obey," answered he and, repairing to the bazar, sold the curtain to a
merchant, as she bade him; after which he bought a piece of silk for
another curtain and gold and silver and silken thread as before and
what they needed of food, and brought all this to her, giving her the
rest of the money. Now every eight days she made a curtain, which he
sold for fifty dinars, and on this wise passed a whole year. At the end
of that time, he went as usual to the bazar with a curtain, which he
gave to the broker; and there came up to him a Nazarene who bid him
sixty dinars for it; but he refused, and the Christian continued
bidding higher and higher, till he came to an hundred dinars and bribed
the broker with ten ducats. So the man returned to Ali Shar and told
him of the proffered price and urged him to accept the offer and sell
the article at the Nazarene's valuation, saying, "O my lord, be not
afraid of this Christian for that he can do thee no hurt." The
merchants also were urgent with him; so he sold the curtain to the
Christian, albeit his heart misgave him; and, taking the money, set off
to return home. Presently, as he walked, he found the Christian walking
behind him; so he said to him, "O Nazarene,[FN#281] why dost thou
follow in my footsteps?" Answered the other "O my lord, I want a
something at the end of the street, Allah never bring thee to want!";
but Ali Shar had barely reached his place before the Christian overtook
him; so he said to him, "O accursed, what aileth thee to follow me
wherever I go?" Replied the other, "O my lord, give me a draught of
water, for I am athirst; and with Allah be thy reward!"[FN#282] Quoth
Ali Shar to himself, "Verily, this man is an Infidel who payeth tribute
and claimeth our protection[FN#283] and he asketh me for a draught of
water; by Allah, I will not baulk him!"—And Shahrazad perceived the
dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Three Hundred and Thirteenth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that quoth Ali Shar to
himself, "This man is a tributary Unbeliever and he asked me for a
draught of water; by Allah, I will not baulk him!" So he entered the
house and took a gugglet of water; but the slave-girl Zumurrud saw him
and said to him, "O my love, hast thou sold the curtain?" He replied,
"Yes;" and she asked, "To a merchant or to a passer-by? for my heart
presageth a parting." And he answered, "To whom but to a merchant?"
Thereupon she rejoined, "Tell me the truth of the case, that I may
order my affair; and why take the gugglet of water?" And he, To give
the broker to drink," upon which she exclaimed, There is no Majesty and
there is no Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great!"; and she
repeated these two couplets,[FN#284]

"O thou who seekest separation, act leisurely, and let not the

     embrace of the beloved deceive thee!

Act leisurely; for the nature of fortune is treacherous, and the

     end of every union is disjunction.

Then he took the gugglet and, going out, found the Christian within the
vestibule and said to him, "How comest thou here and how darest thou, O
dog, enter my house without my leave?" Answered he, "O my lord, there
is no difference between the door and the vestibule, and I never
intended to stir hence, save to go out; and my thanks are due to thee
for thy kindness and favour, thy bounty and generosity." Then he took
the mug and emptying it, returned it to Ali Shar, who received it and
waited for him to rise up and to go; but he did not move. So Ali said
to him, "Why dost thou not rise and wend thy way?"; and he answered, "O
my lord, be not of those who do a kindness and then make it a reproach,
nor of those of whom saith the poet,[FN#285]

'They're gone who when thou stoodest at their door * Would for

     thy wants so generously cater:

But stand at door of churls who followed them, * They'd make high

     favour of a draught of water!'"

And he continued, "O my lord, I have drunk, and now I would have thee
give me to eat of whatever is in the house, though it be but a bit of
bread or a biscuit with an onion." Replied Ali Shar, "Begone, without
more chaffer and chatter; there is nothing in the house." He persisted,
"O my lord, if there be nothing in the house, take these hundred dinars
and bring us something from the market, if but a single scone, that
bread and salt may pass between us."[FN#286] With this, quoth Ali Shar
to himself, "This Christian is surely mad; I will take his hundred
dinars and bring him somewhat worth a couple of dirhams and laugh at
him." And the Nazarene added, "O my lord, I want but a small matter to
stay my hunger, were it but a dry scone and an onion; for the best food
is that which doeth away appetite, not rich viands; and how well saith
the poet,

'Hunger is sated with a bone-dry scone, * How is it then[FN#287]

     in woes of want I wone?

Death is all-justest, lacking aught regard * For Caliph-king and

     beggar woe-begone.'"

Then quoth Ali Shar, "Wait here, while I lock the saloon and fetch thee
somewhat from the market;" and quoth the Christian, "To hear is to
obey." So Ali Shar shut up the saloon and, locking the door with a
padlock, put the key in his pocket: after which he went to market and
bought fried cheese and virgin honey and bananas[FN#288] and bread,
with which he returned to the house. Now when the Christian saw the
provision, he said, "O my lord, this is overmuch; 'tis enough for half
a score of men and I am alone; but belike thou wilt eat with me."
Replied Ali, "Eat by thyself, I am full;" and the Christian rejoined,
"O my lord, the wise say, Whoso eateth not with his guest is a son of a
whore." Now when Ali Shar heard these words from the Nazarene, he sat
down and ate a little with him, after which he would have held his
hand;—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her
permitted say.

When it was the Three Hundred and Fourteenth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Ali Shar sat down
and ate a little with him, after which he would have held his hand; but
the Nazarene privily took a banana and peeled it; then, splitting it in
twain, put into one half concentrated Bhang, mixed with opium, a drachm
whereof would over throw an elephant; and he dipped it in the honey and
gave it to Ali Shar, saying, "O my lord, by the truth of thy religion,
I adjure thee to take this." So Ali Shar, being ashamed to make him
forsworn, took it and swallowed it; but hardly had it settled well in
his stomach, when his head forwent both his feet and he was as though
he had been a year asleep. As soon as the Nazarene saw this, rose to
his feet as he had been a scald wolf or a cat-o'-mount[FN#289] at bay
and, taking the saloon key, left Ali Shar prostrate and ran off to
rejoin his brother. And the cause of his so doing was that the
Nazarene's brother was the same decrepit old man who purposed to buy
Zumurrud for a thousand dinars, but she would none of him and jeered
him in verse. He was an Unbeliever inwardly, though a Moslem outwardly,
and had called himself Rashid al-Din;[FN#290] and when Zumurrud mocked
him and would not accept of him, he complained to his brother the
aforesaid Christian who played this sleight to take her from her master
Ali Shar; whereupon his brother, Barsum by name said to him, "Fret not
thyself about the business, for I will make shift to seize her for
thee, without expending either diner or dirham. Now he was a skilful
wizard, crafty and wicked; so he watched his time and ceased not his
practices till he played Ali Shar the trick before related; then,
taking the key, he went to his brother and acquainted him with what had
passed. Thereupon Rashid al-Din mounted his she mule and repaired with
his brother and his servants to the house of Ali Shar, taking with him
a purse of a thousand dinars, wherewith to bribe the Chief of Police,
should he meet him. He opened the saloon door and the men who were with
him rushed in upon Zumurrud and forcibly seized her, threatening her
with death, if she spoke, but they left the place as it was and took
nothing therefrom. Lastly they left Ali Shar lying in the vestibule
after they had shut the door on him and laid the saloon key by his
side. Then the Christian carried the girl to his own house and setting
her amongst his handmaids and concubines, said to her, "O strumpet, I
am the old man whom thou didst reject and lampoon; but now I have thee,
without paying diner or dirham." Replied she (and her eyes streamed
with tears), "Allah requite thee, O wicked old man, for sundering me
and my lord!" He rejoined, "Wanton minx and whore that thou art, thou
shalt see how I will punish thee! By the truth of the Messiah and the
Virgin, except thou obey me and embrace my faith, I will torture thee
with all manner of torture!" She replied, "By Allah, though thou cut my
flesh to bits I will not forswear the faith of Al-Islam! It may be
Almighty Allah will bring me speedy relief, for He cloth even as He is
fief, and the wise say: 'Better body to scathe than a flaw in faith.'"
Thereupon the old man called his eunuchs and women, saying, "Throw her
down!" So they threw her down and he ceased not to beat her with
grievous beating, whilst she cried for help and no help came; then she
no longer implored aid but fell to saying, "Allah is my sufficiency,
and He is indeed all-sufficient!" till her groans ceased and her breath
failed her and she fell into a fainting-fit. Now when his heart was
soothed by bashing her, he said to the eunuchs, "Drag her forth by the
feet and cast her down in the kitchen, and give her nothing to eat."
And after quietly sleeping that night, on the morrow the accursed old
man sent for her and beat her again, after which he bade the Castrato
return her to her place. When the burning of the blows had cooled, she
said, "There is no god but the God and Mohammed is the Apostle of God!
Allah is my sufficiency and excellent is my Guardian!" And she called
for succour upon our Lord Mohammed (whom Allah bless and keep!)—And
Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted

When it was the Three Hundred and Fifteenth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Zumurrud called
for succour upon our Lord Mohammed (whom Allah bless and keep!). Such
was her case; but as regards Ali Shar, he ceased not sleeping till next
day, when the Bhang quitted his brain and he opened his eyes and cried
out, "O Zumurrud"; but no one answered him. So he entered the saloon
and found the empty air and the fane afar;[FN#291] whereby he knew that
it was the Nazarene who had played him this trick. And he groaned and
wept and lamented and again shed tears, repeating these couplets,

"O Love thou'rt instant in thy cruellest guise; * Here is my

     heart 'twixt fears and miseries:

Pity, O lords, a thrall who, felled on way * Of Love, erst

     wealthy now a beggar lies:

What profits archer's art if, when the foe * Draw near, his

     bowstring snap ere arrow {lies:

And when griefs multiply on generous man * And urge, what fort

     can fend from destinies?

How much and much I warded parting, but * 'When Destiny descends

     she blinds our eyes?'"

And when he had ended his verse, he sobbed with loud sobs and repeated
also these couplets,

"Enrobes with honour sands of camp her foot step wandering lone,

     * Pines the poor mourner as she wins the stead where wont to


She turns to resting-place of tribe, and yearns thereon to view *

     The spring-camp lying desolate with ruins overstrown

She stands and questions of the site, but with the tongue of case

     * The mount replies, 'There is no path that leads to union,


'Tis as the lightning flash erewhile bright glittered o'er the

     camp * And died in darkling air no more to be for ever


And he repented when repentance availed him naught, and wept and rent
his raiment. Then he hent in hand two stones and went round about the
city, beating his breast with the stones and crying "O Zumurrud!"
whilst the small boys flocked round him, calling out, "A madman! A
madman!" and all who knew him wept for him, saying, "This is such an
one: what evil hath befallen him?" Thus he continued doing all that day
and, when night darkened on him, he lay down in one of the city lanes
and sleet till morning On the morrow, he went round about town with the
stones till eventide, when he returned to his saloon to pass therein
the night. Presently, one of his neighbours saw him, and this worthy
old woman said to him, "O my son, Heaven give thee healing! How long
hast thou been mad?" And he answered her with these two

"They said, Thou revest upon the person thou lovest. * And I

     replied, The sweets of life are only for the mad.

Drop the subject of my madness, and bring her upon whom I rave *

     If she cure my madness do not blame me."

So his old neighbour knew him for a lover who had lost his beloved and
said, "There is no Majesty and there is no Might, save in Allah, the
Glorious, the Great! O my son, I wish thou wouldest acquaint me with
the tale of thine affliction. Peradventure Allah may enable me to help
thee against it, if it so please Him." So he told her all that had
befallen him with Barsum the Nazarene and his brother the wizard who
had named himself Rashid al-Din and, when she understood the whole
case, she said, "O my son, indeed thou hast excuse." And her eyes
railed tears and she repeated these two couplets,

"Enough for lovers in this world their ban and bane: * By Allah,

     lover ne'er in fire of Sakar fries:

For, sure, they died of love-desire they never told * Chastely,

     and to this truth tradition testifies."[FN#293]

And after she had finished her verse, she said, "O my son, rise at once
and buy me a crate, such as the jewel-pedlars carry; buy also bangles
and seal-rings and bracelets and ear-rings and other gewgaws wherein
women delight and grudge not the cash. Put all the stock into the crate
and bring it to me and I will set it on my head and go round about, in
the guise of a huckstress and make search for her in all the houses,
till I happen on news of her— Inshallah!" So Ali Shar rejoiced in her
words and kissed her hands, then, going out, speedily brought her all
she required; whereupon she rose and donned a patched gown and threw
over her head a honey-yellow veil, and took staff in hand and, with the
basket on her head, began wandering about the passages and the houses.
She ceased not to go from house to house and street to street and
quarter to quarter, till Allah Almighty led her to the house of the
accursed Rashid al-Din the Nazarene where, hearing groans within, she
knocked at the door,—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased
to say her permitted say.

When it was the Three Hundred and Sixteenth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the old
woman heard groans within the house, she knocked at the door, whereupon
a slave-girl came down and opening to her, saluted her. Quoth the old
woman, "I have these trifles for sale: is there any one with you who
will buy aught of them?" "Yes," answered the damsel and, carrying her
indoors, made her sit down; whereupon all the slave-girls came round
her and each bought something of her. And as the old woman spoke them
fair and was easy with them as to price, all rejoiced in her, because
of her kind ways and pleasant speech. Meanwhile, she looked narrowly at
the ins and outs of the place to see who it was she had heard groaning,
till her glance fell on Zumurrud, when she knew her and she began to
show her customers yet more kindness. At last she made sure that
Zumurrud was laid prostrate; so she wept and said to the girls, "O my
children, how cometh yonder young lady in this plight?" Then the
slave-girls told her all what had passed, adding, "Indeed this matter
is not of our choice; but our master commanded us to do thus, and he is
now on a journey." She said, "O my children, I have a favour to ask of
you, and it is that you loose this unhappy damsel of her bonds, till
you know of your lord's return, when do ye bind her again as she was;
and you shall earn a reward from the Lord of all creatures." "We hear
and obey," answered they and at once loosing Zumurrud, gave her to eat
and drink. Thereupon quoth the old woman, "Would my leg had been
broken, ere I entered your house!" And she went up to Zumurrud and said
to her, "O my daughter, Heaven keep thee safe; soon shall Allah bring
thee relief." Then she privily told her that she came from her lord,
Ali Shar, and agreed with her to be on the watch for sounds that night,
saying, "Thy lord will come and stand by the pavilion-bench and
whistle[FN#294] to thee; and when thou hearest him, do thou whistle
back to him and let thyself down to him by a rope from the window, and
he will take thee and go away with thee." So Zumurrud thanked the old
woman, who went forth and returned to Ali Shar and told him what she
had done, saying, "Go this night, at midnight, to such a quarter, for
the accursed carle's house is there and its fashion is thus and thus.
Stand under the window of the upper chamber and whistle; whereupon she
will let herself down to thee; then do thou take her and carry her
whither thou wilt." He thanked her for her good offices and with
flowing tears repeated these couplets,

"Now with their says and saids[FN#295] no more vex me the chiding

     race; * My heart is weary and I'm worn to bone by their


And tears a truthful legend[FN#296] with a long ascription-chain

     * Of my desertion and distress the lineage can trace.

O thou heart-whole and free from dole and dolours I endure, * Cut

     short thy long persistency nor question of my case:

A sweet-lipped one and soft of sides and cast in shapeliest mould

     * Hath stormed my heart with honied lure and honied words of


No rest my heart hath known since thou art gone, nor ever close *

     These eyes, nor patience aloe scape the hopes I dare to


Ye have abandoned me to be the pawn of vain desire, * In squalid

     state 'twixt enviers and they who blame to face:

As for forgetting you or love 'tis thing I never knew; * Nor in

     my thought shall ever pass a living thing but you."

And when he ended his verses, he sighed and shed tears and repeated
also these couplets,

"Divinely were inspired his words who brought me news of you; *

     For brought he unto me a gift was music in mine ear:

Take he for gift, if him content, this worn-out threadbare robe,

     * My heart, which was in pieces torn when parting from my


He waited till night darkened and, when came the appointed time, he
went to the quarter she had described to him and saw and recognised the
Christian's house; so he sat down on the bench under the gallery.
Presently drowsiness overcame him and he slept (Glory be to Him who
sleepeth not!?, for it was long since he had tasted sleep, by reason of
the violence of his passion, and he became as one drunken with slumber.
And while he was on this wise,—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day
and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Three Hundred and Seventeenth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that while he lay
asleep, behold, a certain thief, who had come out that night and
prowled about the skirts of the city to steal-somewhat, happened by the
decree of Destiny, on the Nazarene's house. He went round about it, but
found no way of climbing up into it, and presently on his circuit he
came to the bench, where he saw Ali Shar asleep and stole his turband;
and, as he was taking it suddenly Zumurrud looked out and seeing the
thief standing in the darkness, took him for her lord; whereupon she
let herself down to him by the rope with a pair of saddle-bags full of
gold. Now when the robber saw that, he said to himself, "This is a
wondrous thing, and there must needs be some marvellous cause to it."
Then he snatched up the saddle-bags, and threw Zumurrud over his
shoulders and made off with both like the blinding lightening. Quoth
she, "Verily, the old woman told me that thou west weak with illness on
my account; and here thou art, stronger than a horse." He made her no
reply; so she put her hand to his face and felt a beard like the broom
of palm-frond used for the Hammam,[FN#297] as if he were a hog which
had swallowed feathers and they had come out of his gullet; whereat she
took fright and said to him, "What art thou?" "O strumpet," answered
he, "I am the sharper Jawбn[FN#298] the Kurd, of the band of Ahmad
al-Danaf; we are forty sharpers, who will all piss our tallow into thy
womb this night, from dusk to dawn." When she heard his words, she wept
and beat her face, knowing that Fate had gotten the better of her and
that she had no resource but resignation and to put her trust in Allah
Almighty. So she took patience and submitted herself to the ordinance
of the Lord, saying, "There is no god but the God! As often as we
escape from one woe, we fall into a worse." Now the cause of Jawan's
coming thither was this: he had said to Calamity-Ahmad, "O
Sharper-captain,[FN#299] I have been in this city before and know a
cavern without the walls which will hold forty souls; so I will go
before you thither and set my mother therein. Then will I return to the
city and steal-somewhat for the luck of all of you and keep it till you
come; so shall you be my guests and I will show you hospitality this
day." Replied Ahmad al-Danaf, "Do what thou wilt." So Jawan went forth
to the place before them and set his mother in the cave; but, as he
came out he found a trooper lying asleep, with his horse picketed
beside him; so he cut his throat and, taking his clothes and his
charger and his arms, hid them with his mother in the cave, where also
he tethered the horse. Then he betook himself to the city and prowled
about, till he happened on the Christian's house and did with Ali
Shar's turband and Zumurrud and her saddle-bags as we have said. He
ceased not to run, with Zumurrud on his back, till he came to the
cavern, where he gave her in charge of his mother, saying, "Keep thou
watch over her till I return to thee at first dawn of day," and went
his ways.—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her
permitted say.

When it was the Three Hundred and Eighteenth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that quoth Kurdish
Jawan to his mother, "Keep thou watch over her till I come back to thee
at first dawn of day," and went his ways. Now Zumurrud said to herself,
"Why am I so heedless about saving my life and wherefore await till
these forty men come?: they will take their turns to board me, till
they make me like a water- logged ship at sea." Then she turned to the
old woman, Jawan's mother, and said to her, "O my aunt, wilt thou not
rise up and come without the cave, that I may louse thee in the
sun?"[FN#300] Replied the old woman, "Ay, by Allah, O my daughter: this
long time have I been out of reach of the bath; for these hogs cease
not to carry me from place to place." So they went without the cavern,
and Zumurrud combed out her head hair and killed the lice on her locks,
till the tickling soothed her and she fell asleep; whereupon Zumurrud
arose and, donning the clothes of the murdered trooper, girt her waist
with his sword and covered her head with his turband, so that she
became as she were a man. Then, mounting the horse after she had taken
the saddle-bags full of gold, she breathed a prayer, "O good Protector,
protect me I adjure thee by the glory of Mohammed (whom Allah bless and
preserve!)," adding these words in thought, "If I return to the city
belike one of the trooper's folk will see me, and no good will befal
me." So she turned her back on the town and rode forth into the wild
and the waste. And she ceased not faring forth with her saddle-bags and
the steed, eating of the growth of the earth and drinking of its
waters, she and her horse, for ten days and, on the eleventh, she came
in sight of a city pleasant and secure from dread, and established in
happy stead. Winter had gone from it with his cold showers, and Prime
had come to it with his roses and orange- blossoms and varied flowers;
and its blooms were brightly blowing; its streams were merrily flowing
and its birds warbled coming and going. And she drew near the dwellings
and would have entered the gate when she saw the troops and Emirs and
Grandees of the place drawn up, whereat she marvelled seeing them in
such unusual-case and said to herself, "The people of the city are all
gathered at its gate: needs must there be a reason for this." Then she
made towards them; but, as she drew near, the soldiery dashed forward
to meet her and, dismounting all, kissed the ground between her hands
and said, "Aid thee Allah, O our lord the Sultan!" Then the notables
and dignitaries ranged themselves before her in double line, whilst the
troops ordered the people in, saying, "Allah aid thee and make thy
coming a blessing to the Moslems, O Sultan of all creatures! Allah
establish thee, O King of the time and union-pearl of the day and the
tide!" Asked Zumurrud, "What aileth you, O people of this city?" And
the Head Chamberlain answered, "Verily, He hath given to thee who is no
niggard in His giving; and He hath been bountiful to thee and hath made
thee Sultan of this city and ruler over the necks of all who are
therein; for know thou it is the custom of the citizens, when their
King deceaseth leaving no son, that the troops should sally forth to
the suburbs and sojourn there three days: and whoever cometh from the
quarter whence thou hast come, him they make King over them. So praised
be Allah who hath sent us of the sons of the Turks a well-favoured man;
for had a lesser than thou presented himself, he had been Sultan." Now
Zumurrud was clever and well-advised in all she did: so she said,
"Think not that I am of the common folk of the Turks! nay, I am of the
sons of the great, a man of condition; but I was wroth with my family,
so I went forth and left them. See these saddle-bags full of gold which
I have brought under me that, by the way, I might give alms thereof to
the poor and the needy." So they called down blessings upon her and
rejoiced in her with exceeding joy and she also joyed in them and said
in herself, "Now that I have attained to this"—And Shahrazad perceived
the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Three Hundred and Nineteenth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that quoth Zumurrud to
herself, "Now that I have attained to this case, haply Allah will
reunite me with my lord in this place, for He can do whatso He
willeth." Then the troops escorted her to the city and, all
dismounting, walked before her to the palace. Here she alighted and the
Emirs and Grandees, taking her under both armpits,[FN#301] carried her
into the palace and seated her on the throne; after which they all
kissed ground before her. And when duly enthroned she bade them open
the treasuries and gave largesse to all the troops, who offered up
prayers for the continuance of her reign, and all the townsfolk
accepted her rule and all the lieges of the realm. Thus she abode
awhile bidding and forbidding, and all the people came to hold her in
exceeding reverence and heartily to love her, by reason of her
continence and generosity; for taxes she remitted and prisoners she
released and grievances she redressed; but, as often as she bethought
her of her lord, she wept and besought Allah to reunite her and him;
and one night, as she chanced to be thinking of him and calling to mind
the days she had passed with him, her eyes ran over with tears and she
versified in these two couplets,

"My yearning for thee though long is fresh, * And the tears which

     chafe these eyelids increase

When I weep, I weep from the burn of love, * For to lover

     severance is decease."[FN#302]

And when she had ended her verse, she wiped away her tears and
repairing to the palace, betook herself to the Harim, where she
appointed to the slave-girls and concubines separate lodgings and
assigned them pensions and allowances, giving out that she was minded
to live apart and devote herself to works of piety. So she applied
herself to fasting and praying, till the Emirs said, "Verily this
Sultan is eminently devout;" nor would she suffer any male attendants
about her, save two little eunuchs to serve her. And on this wise she
held the throne a whole year, during which time she heard no news of
her lord, and failed to hit upon his traces, which was exceeding
grievous to her; so, when her distress became excessive, she summoned
her Wazirs and Chamberlains and bid them fetch architects and builders
and make her in front of the palace a horse-course, one parasang long
and the like broad. They hastened to do her bidding, and lay out the
place to her liking; and, when it was completed, she went down into it
and they pitched her there a great pavilion, wherein the chairs of the
Emirs were ranged in due order. Moreover, she bade them spread on the
racing-plain tables with all manners of rich meats and when this was
done she ordered the Grandees to eat. So they ate and she said to them,
"It is my will that, on seeing the new moon of each month, ye do on
this wise and proclaim in the city that no man shall open his shop, but
that all our lieges shall come and eat of the King's banquet, and that
whoso disobeyeth shall be hanged over his own door."[FN#303] So they
did as she bade them, and ceased not so to do till the first new moon
of the second year appeared; when Zumurrud went down into the
horse-course and the crier proclaimed aloud, saying, "Ho, ye lieges and
people one and all, whoso openeth store or shop or house shall straight
way be hanged over his own door; for it behoveth you to come in a body
and eat of the King's banquet." And when the proclamation became known,
they laid the tables and the subjects came in hosts; so she bade them
sit down at the trays and eat their fill of all the dishes. Accordingly
they sat down and she took place on her chair of state, watching them,
whilst each who was at meat said to himself, "Verily the King looketh
at none save me." Then they fell to eating and the Emirs said to them,
"Eat and be not ashamed; for this pleaseth the King." So they ate their
fill and went away, blessing the Sovereign and saying, one to the
other, "Never in our days saw we a Sultan who loved the poor as doth
this Sultan." And they wished him length of life. Upon this Zumurrud
returned to her palace,— And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and
ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Three Hundred and Twentieth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Queen Zumurrud
returned to her palace, rejoicing in her device and saying to herself,
"Inshallah, I shall surely by this means happen on news of my lord Ali
Shar." When the first day of the second month came round, she did as
before and when they had spread the tables she came down from her
palace and took place on her throne and commanded the lieges to sit
down and fall to. Now as she sat on her throne, at the head of the
tables, watching the people take their places company by company and
one by one, behold her eye fell on Barsum, the Nazarene who had bought
the curtain of her lord; and she knew him and said in her mind, "This
is the first of my joy and the winning of my wish." Then Barsum came up
to the table and, sitting down with the rest to eat, espied a dish of
sweet rice, sprinkled with sugar; but it was far from him, so he pushed
up to it through the crowd and, putting out his hand to it, seized it
and set it before himself. His next neighbour said to him, "Why dost
thou not eat of what is before thee? Is not this a disgrace to thee?
How canst thou reach over for a dish which is distant from thee? Art
thou not ashamed?" Quoth Barsum, "I will eat of none save this same."
Rejoined the other, "Eat then, and Allah give thee no good of it!" But
another man, a Hashish-eater, said, "Let him eat of it, that I may eat
with him." Replied his neighbour, "O unluckiest of Hashish- eaters,
this is no meat for thee; it is eating for Emirs. Let it be, that it
may return to those for whom it is meant and they eat it." But Barsum
heeded him not and took a mouthful of the rice and put it in his mouth;
and was about to take a second mouthful when the Queen, who was
watching him, cried out to certain of her guards, saying, "Bring me
yonder man with the dish of Sweet rice before him and let him not eat
the mouthful he hath read but throw it from his hand."[FN#304] So four
of the guards went up to Barsum and haled him along on his face, after
throwing the mouthful of rice from his hand, and set him standing
before Zumurrud, whilst all the people left eating and said to one
another, By Allah, he did wrong in not eating of the food meant for the
likes of him." Quoth one, "For me I was content with this
porridge[FN#305] which is before me." And the Hashish-eater said,
"Praised be Allah who hindered me from eating of the dish of sugared
rice for I expected it to stand before him and was waiting only for him
to have his enjoyment of it, to eat with him, when there befel him what
we see." And the general said, one to other, "Wait till we see what
shall befal him." Now as they brought him before Queen Zumurrud she
cried, "Woe to thee, O blue eyes! What is thy name and why comest thou
to our country?" But the accursed called himself out of his name having
a white turband[FN#306] on, and answered, "O King, my name is Ali; I
work as a weaver and I came hither to trade." Quoth Zumurrud, "Bring me
a table of sand and a pen of brass," and when they brought her what she
sought, she took the sand and the pen, and struck a geomantic figure in
the likeness of a baboon; then, raising her head, she looked hard at
Barsum for an hour or so and said to him, "O dog, how darest thou lie
to Kings? Art thou not a Nazarene, Barsum by name, and comest thou not
hither in quest of somewhat? Speak the truth, or by the glory of the
Godhead, I will strike off thy head!" At this Barsum was confounded and
the Emirs and bystanders said, "Verily, this King understandeth
geomancy: blessed be He who hath gifted him!" Then she cried out upon
the Christian and said, 'Tell me the truth, or I will make an end of
thee!" Barsum replied, "Pardon, O King of the age; thou art right as
regards the table, for the far one[FN#307] is indeed a Nazarene,—And
Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted

When it was the Three Hundred and Twenty-first Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Barsum replied,
"Pardon, O King of the age; thou art right as regards the table, for
thy slave is indeed a Nazarene." Whereupon all present, gentle and
simple, wondered at the King's skill in hitting upon the truth by
geomancy, and said, "Verily this King is a diviner, whose like there is
not in the world." Thereupon Queen Zumurrud bade flay the Nazarene and
stuff his skin with straw and hang it over the gate of the race-course.
Moreover, she commended to dig a pit without the city and burn therein
his flesh and bones and throw over his ashes offal and ordure. "We hear
and obey," answered they, and did with him all she bade; and, when the
folk saw what had befallen the Christian, they said, "Serve him right;
but what an unlucky mouthful was that for him!" And another said, "Be
the far one's wife divorced if this vow be broken: never again to the
end of my days will I eat of sugared rice!"; and the Hashish-eater
cried "Praised be Allah, who spared me this fellow's fate by saving me
from eating of that same rice!" Then they all went out, holding it
thenceforth unlawful to sit over against the dish of sweet rice as the
Nazarene had sat. Now when the first day of the third month came, they
laid the tables according to custom, and covered them with dishes and
chargers, and Queen Zumurrud came down and sat on her throne, with her
guards in attendance, as of wont, in awe of her dignity and majesty.
Then the townsfolk entered as before and went round about the tables,
looking for the place of the dish of sweet rice, and quoth one to
another, "Hark ye, O Hбjн[FN#308] Khalaf!"; and the other answered, "At
thy service, O Hбjн Khбlid." Said Khбlid, "Avoid the dish of sweet rice
and look thou eat not thereof; for, if thou do, by early morning thou
will be hanged."[FN#309] Then they sat down to meat around the table;
and, as they were eating, Queen Zumurrud chanced to look from her
throne and saw a man come running in through the gate of the
horse-course; and having considered him attentively, she knew him for
Jawan the Kurdish thief who murdered the trooper. Now the cause of his
coming was this: when he left his mother, he went to his comrades and
said to them, "I did good business yesterday; for I slew a trooper and
took his horse. Moreover there fell to me last night a pair of
saddle-bags, full of gold, and a young lady worth more than the money
in pouch; and I have left all that with my mother in the cave." At this
they rejoiced and repaired to the cavern at night-fall, whilst Jawan
the Kurd walked in front and the rest behind; he wishing to bring them
the booty of which he had boasted. But he found the place clean empty
and questioned his mother, who told him all that had befallen her;
whereupon he bit his hands for regret and exclaimed, "By Allah, I will
assuredly make search for the harlot and take her, wherever she is,
though it be in the shell of a pistachio-nut,[FN#310] and quench my
malice on her!" So he went forth in quest of her and ceased not
journeying from place to place, till he came to Queen Zumurrud's city.
On entering he found the town deserted and, enquiring of some women
whom he saw looking from the windows, they told him that it was the
Sultan's custom to make a banquet for the people on the first of each
month and that all the lieges were bound to go and eat of it.
Furthermore the women directed him to the racing-ground, where the
feast was spread. So he entered at a shuffling trot; and, finding no
place empty, save that before the dish of sweet rice already noticed,
took his seat right opposite it and stretched out his hand towards the
dish; whereupon the folk cried out to him, saying, "O our brother, what
wouldst thou do?" Quoth he, "I would eat my fill of this dish."
Rejoined one of the people, "If thou eat of it thou wilt assuredly find
thyself hanged to-morrow morning." But Jawan said, "Hold thy tongue and
talk not so unpleasantly." Then he stretched out his hand to the dish
and drew it to him; but it so chanced that the Hashish-eater of whom we
have spoken, was sitting by him; and when he saw him take the dish, the
fumes of the Hashish left his head and he fled from his place and sat
down afar off, saying, "I will have nothing to do with yonder dish."
Then Jawan the Kurd put out his hand (which was very like a raven's
claws,[FN#311] scooped up therewith half the dishful and drew out his
neave as it were a camel's hoof,—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of
day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Three Hundred and Twenty-second Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Jawan the Kurd
drew his neave from the dish as it were a camel's hoof and rolled the
lump of rice in the palm of his hand, till it was like a big orange,
and threw it ravenously into his mouth; and it rolled down his gullet,
with a rumble like thunder and the bottom of the deep dish appeared
where said mouthful had been. Thereupon quoth to him one sitting by his
side, "Praised be Allah for not making me meat between thy hands; for
thou hast cleared the dish at a single mouthful;" and quoth the
Hashish-eater, "Let him eat; methinks he hath a hanging face." Then,
turning to Jawan he added, "Eat and Allah give thee small good of it."
So Jawan put out his hand again and taking another mouthful, was
rolling it in his palm like the first, when behold, the Queen cried out
to the guards saying, "Bring me yonder man in haste and let him not eat
the mouthful in his hand." So they ran and seizing him as he hung over
the dish, brought him to her, and set him in her presence, whilst the
people exulted over his mishap and said one to the other, "Serve him
right, for we warned him, but he would not take warning. Verily, this
place is bound to be the death of whoso sitteth therein, and yonder
rice bringeth doom to all who eat of it." Then said Queen Zumurrud to
Jawan, "What is thy name and trade and wherefore comest thou to our
city?" Answered he, "O our lord the Sultan, my name is Othman; I work
as a gardener and am come hither in quest of somewhat I have lost."
Quoth Zumurrud, "Here with a table of sand!" So they brought it, and
she took the pen and drawing a geomantic scheme, considered it awhile,
then raising her head, exclaimed, "Woe to thee, thou loser! How darest
thou lie to Kings? This sand telleth me that of a truth thy name is
Jawan the Kurd and that thou art by trade a robber, taking men's goods
in the way of unright and slaying those whom Allah hath forbidden to
slay save for just cause." And she cried out upon him, saying, "O hog,
tell me the truth of thy case or I will cut off thy head on the spot."
Now when he heard these words, he turned yellow and his teeth
chattered; then, deeming that he might save himself by truth-telling,
he replied, "O King, thou sayest sooth; but I repent at thy hands
henceforth and turn to Allah Almighty!" She answered, "It were not
lawful for me to leave a pest in the way of Moslems;" and cried to her
guards, "Take him and skin him and do with him as last month ye did by
his like." They obeyed her commandment; and, when the Hashish- eater
saw the soldiers seize the man, he turned his back upon the dish of
rice, saying, "'Tis a sin to present my face to thee!" And after they
had made an end of eating, they dispersed to their several homes and
Zumurrud returned to her palace and dismissed her attendants. Now when
the fourth month came round, they went to the race-course and made the
banquet, according to custom, and the folk sat awaiting leave to begin.
Presently Queen Zumurrud entered and, sitting down on her throne,
looked at the tables and saw that room for four people was left void
before the dish of rice, at which she wondered. Now as she was looking
around, behold, she saw a man come trotting in at the gate of the
horse- course; and he stayed not till he stood over the food-trays;
and, finding no room save before the dish of rice, took his seat there.
She looked at him and knowing him for the accursed Christian who called
himself Rashid al-Din, said in her mind, "How blessed is this device of
the food,[FN#312] into whose toils this infidel hath fallen" Now the
cause of his coming was extraordinary, and it was on this wise. When he
returned from his travels,—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and
ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Three Hundred and Twenty-third Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the
accursed, who had called himself Rashid al-Din, returned from travel,
his household informed him that Zumurrud was missing and with her a
pair of saddle-bags full of money; on hearing which ill tidings he rent
his raiment and buffeted his face and plucked out his beard. Then he
despatched his brother Barsum in quest of her to lands adjoining and,
when he was weary of awaiting news of him, he went forth himself, to
seek for him and for the girl, whenas fate led him to the city of
Zumurrud. He entered it on the first day of the month and finding the
streets deserted and the shops shut and women idling at the windows, he
asked them the reason why, and they told him that the King made a
banquet on the first of each month for the people, all of whom were
bound to attend it, nor might any abide in his house or shop that day;
and they directed him to the racing-plain. So he betook himself thither
and found the people crowding about the food, and there was never a
place for him save in front of the rice-dish now well-known. Here then
he sat and put forth his hand to eat thereof, whereupon Zumurrud cried
out to her guards, saying, "Bring me him who sitteth over against the
dish of rice." So they knew him by what had before happened and laid
hands on him and brought him before Queen Zumurrud, who said to him,
"Out on thee! What is thy name and trade, and what bringeth thee to our
city?" Answered he, "O King of the age, my name is Rustam[FN#313] and I
have no occupation, for I am a poor dervish." Then said she to her
attendants, "Bring me table of sand and pen of brass." So they brought
her what she sought, as of wont; and she took the pen and made the dots
which formed the figure and considered it awhile, then raising her head
to Rashid al-Din, she said, "O dog, how darest thou lie to Kings? Thy
name is Rashid al-Din the Nazarene, thou art outwardly a Moslem, but a
Christian at heart, and thine occupation is to lay snares for the
slave-girls of the Moslems and make them captives. Speak the truth, or
I will smite off thy head." He hesitated and stammered, then replied,
"Thou sayest sooth, O King of the age!" Whereupon she commanded to
throw him down and give him an hundred blows with a stick on each sole
and a thousand stripes with a whip on his body; after which she bade
flay him and stuff his skin with herds of flax and dig a pit without
the city, wherein they should burn his corpse and cast on his ashes
offal-and ordure. They did as she bade them and she gave the people
leave to eat. So they ate and when they had eaten their fill they went
their ways, while Queen Zumurrud returned to her palace, saying, "I
thank Allah for solacing my heart of those who wronged me." Then she
praised the Creator of the earth and the heavens and repeated these

"They ruled awhile and theirs was harsh tyrannic rule, * But soon

     that rule went by as though it never were:

If just they had won justice; but they sinned, and so * The world

     collected all its bane for them to bear:

So died they and their case's tongue declares aloud * This is for

     that so of the world your blaming spare."

And when her verse was ended she called to mind her lord Ali Shar and
wept flowing tears; but presently recovered herself and said, "Haply
Allah, who hath given mine enemies into my hand, will vouchsafe me the
speedy return of my beloved;" and she begged forgiveness of Allah (be
He extolled and exalted')—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and
ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Three Hundred and Twenty-fourth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Queen begged
forgiveness of Allah (be He extolled and exalted!), and said, "Haply He
will vouchsafe me speedy reunion with my beloved Ali Shar for He can do
what He willeth and to His servants showeth grace, ever mindful of
their case!" Then she praised Allah and again besought forgiveness of
Him, submitting herself to the decrees of destiny, assured that each
beginning hath his end, and repeating the saying of the poet,

"Take all things easy; for all worldly things * In Allah's hand

     are ruled by Destiny:

Ne'er shall befal thee aught of things forbidden, * Nor what is

     bidden e'er shall fail to thee!"

And what another saith.

"Roll up thy days[FN#314] and easy shall they roll * Through

     life, nor haunt the house of grief and dole:

Full many a thing, which is o'er hard to find,* Next hour shall

     bring thee to delight thy soul."

And what a third saith,[FN#315]

"Be mild what time thou'rt ta'en with anger and despite * And

     patient, if there fall misfortune on thy head.

Indeed, the nights are quick and great with child by Time * And

     of all wondrous things are hourly brought to bed."

And what a fourth saith,

"Take patience which breeds good if patience thou can learn; * Be

     calm soured, scaping anguish-draughts that gripe and bren:

Know, that if patience with good grace thou dare refuse, * With

     ill-graced patience thou shalt bear what wrote the Pen."

After which she abode thus another whole month's space, judging the
folk and bidding and forbidding by day, and by night weeping and
bewailing her separation from her lord Ali Shar. On the first day of
the fifth month, she bade them spread the banquet on the race-plain,
according to custom, and sat down at the head of the tables, whilst the
lieges awaited the signal to fall to, leaving the place before the dish
of rice vacant. She sat with eyes fixed upon the gate of the
horse-course, noting all who entered and saying in her soul, "O Thou
who restoredest Joseph to Jacob and diddest away the sorrows of
Job,[FN#316] vouchsafe of Thy might and Thy majesty to restore me my
lord Ali Shar; for Thou over all things art Omnipotent, O Lord of the
Worlds! O Guide of those who go astray! O Hearer of those that cry! O
Answerer of those who pray, answer Thou my prayer, O Lord of all
creatures." Now hardly had she made an end of her prayer and
supplication when behold, she saw entering the gate of the horse-plain
a young man, in shape like a willow branch, the comeliest of youths and
the most accomplished, save that his face was wan and his form wasted
by weariness. Now as he entered and came up to the tables, he found no
seat vacant save that over against the dish of sweet rice so he sat
down there; and, when Zumurrud looked upon him, her heart fluttered
and, observing him narrowly, she knew him for her lord Ali Shar, and
was like to have cried out for joy, but restrained herself, fearing
disgrace before the folk and, albeit her bowels yearned over him and
her heart beat wildly, she hid what she felt. Now the cause of his
coming thither was on this wise. After he fell asleep upon the bench
and Zumurrud let herself down to him and Jawan the Kurd seized her, he
presently awoke and found himself lying with his head bare, so he knew
that some one had come upon him and had robbed him of his turband
whilst he slept. So he spoke the saying which shall never shame its
sayer and, which is, "Verily, we are Allah's and to Him are we
returning!" and, going back to the old woman's house, knocked at the
door. She came out and he wept before her, till he fell down in a
fainting fit. Now when he came to himself, he told her all that had
passed, and she blamed him and chid him for his foolish doings saying,
"Verily thine affliction and calamity come from thyself." And she gave
not over reproaching him, till the blood streamed from his nostrils and
he again fainted away. When he recovered from his swoon,—And Shahrazad
perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Three Hundred and Twenty-fifth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Ali Shar
recovered from his swoon he saw the old woman bewailing his griefs and
weeping over him; so he complained of his hard lot and repeated these
two couplets,

"How bitter to friends is a parting, * And a meeting how sweet to

     the lover!

Allah join all the lovers He parteth, * And save me who of love

     ne'er recover."[FN#317]

The old woman mourned over him and said to him, "Sit here, whilst I go
in quest of news for thee and return to thee in haste." "To hear is to
obey," answered he. So she left him on her good errand and was absent
till midday, when she returned and said to him, "O Ali, I fear me thou
must die in thy grief; thou wilt never see thy beloved again save on
the bridge Al-Sirбt;[FN#318] for the people of the Christian's house,
when they arose in the morning, found the window giving on the garden
torn from its hinges and Zumurrud missing, and with her a pair of
saddle-bags full of the Christian's money. And when I came thither, I
saw the Chief of Police standing at the door, he and his many, and
there is no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah, the Glorious,
the Great!" Now, as Ali Shar heard these words, the light in his sight
was changed to the darkness of night and he despaired of life and made
sure of death; nor did he leave weeping, till he lost his senses. When
he revived, love and longing were sore upon him; there befel him a
grievous sickness and he kept his house a whole year; during which the
old woman ceased not to bring him doctors and ply him with ptisanes and
diet-drinks and make him savoury broths till, after the twelve-month
ended, his life returned to him. Then he recalled what had passed and
repeated these couplets,

"Severance-grief nighmost, Union done to death, * Down-railing

     tear-drops, heart fire tortureth!

Redoubleth pine in one that hath no peace * For love and wake and

     woe he suffereth:

O Lord, if there be thing to joy my soul * Deign Thou bestow it

     while I breathe my breath."

When the second year began, the old woman said to him, "O my son, all
this thy weeping and wailing will not bring thee back thy mistress.
Rise, therefore, gird the loins of resolution and seek for her in the
lands: peradventure thou shalt light on some news of her." And she
ceased not to exhort and hearten him, till he took courage and she
carried him to the Hammam. Then she made him drink strong wine and eat
white meats, and thus she did with him for a whole month, till he
regained strength; and setting out journeyed without ceasing till he
arrived at Zumurrud's city where he went to the horse-course, and sat
down before the dish of sweet rice and put out his hand to eat of it.
Now when the folk saw this, they were concerned for him and said to
him, "O young man, eat not of that dish, for whoso eateth thereof,
misfortune befalleth him." Answered he, "Leave me to eat of it, and let
them do with me what they will, so haply shall I be at rest from this
wearying life." Accordingly he ate a first mouthful, and Zumurrud was
minded to have him brought before her, but then she bethought her that
belike he was an hungered and said to herself, "It were properer to let
him eat his fill." So he went on eating, whilst the folk looked at him
in astonishment, waiting to see what would betide him; and, when he had
satisfied himself, Zumurrud said to certain of her eunuchry, "Go to
yonder youth who eateth of the rice and bring him to me in courteous
guise, saying: 'Answer the summons of the King who would have a word
with thee on some slight matter.'" They replied, "We hear and obey,"
and going straightways up to Ali Shar, said to him, "O my lord, be
pleased to answer the summons of the King and let thy heart be at
ease." Quoth he, "Hearkening and obedience;" and followed the
eunuchs,—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her
permitted say.

When it was the Three Hundred and Twenty-sixth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Ali Shar
rejoined, "Hearkening and obedience;" and followed the eunuchs, whilst
the people said to one another, "There is no Majesty and there is no
Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great! I wonder what the King
will do with him!" And others said, "He will do him naught but good:
for had he intended to harm him, he had not suffered him to eat his
fill." Now when the Castratos set him in presence of Zumurrud he
saluted and kissed the earth before her, whilst she returned his
salutation and received him with honour. Then she asked him, "What may
be thy name and trade, and what brought thee to our city?"; and he
answered, "O King my name is Ali Shar; I am of the sons of the
merchants of Khorasan; and the cause of my coming hither is to seek for
a slave-girl whom I have lost for she was dearer to me than my hearing
and my seeing, and indeed my soul cleaveth to her, since I lost her;
and such is my tale." So saying he wept, till he swooned away;
whereupon she bade them sprinkle rose-water on his face, which they did
till he revived, when she said, "Here with the table of sand and the
brass pen." So they brought them and she took the pen and struck a
geomantic scheme which she considered awhile; and then cried, "Thou
hast spoken sooth, Allah will grant thee speedy reunion with her; so be
not troubled." Upon this she commanded her head- chamberlain to carry
him to the bath and afterwards to clothe him in a handsome suit of
royal-apparel, and mount him on one of the best of the King's horses
and finally bring him to the palace at the last of the day. So the
Chamberlain, after saying "I hear and I obey," took him away, whilst
the folk began to say to one another, "What maketh the King deal thus
courteously with yonder youth?" And quoth one, "Did I not tell you that
he would do him no hurt?; for he is fair of aspect; and this I knew,
ever since the King suffered him to eat his fill." And each said his
say; after which they all dispersed and went their ways. As for
Zumurrud, she thought the night would never come, that she might be
alone with the beloved of her heart. As soon as it was dark, she
withdrew to her sleeping-chamber and made her attendants think her
overcome with sleep; and it was her wont to suffer none to pass the
night with her save those two little eunuchs who waited upon her. After
a while when she had composed herself, she sent for her dear Ali Shar
and sat down upon the bed, with candles burning over her head and feet,
and hanging lamps of gold lighting up the place like the rising sun.
When the people heard of her sending for Ali Shar, they marvelled
thereat and each man thought his thought and said his say; but one of
them declared, "At all events the King is in love with this young man,
and to- morrow he will make him generalissimo of the army."[FN#319] Now
when they brought him into her, he kissed the ground between her hands
and called down blessings her, and she said in her mind, "There is no
help for it but that I jest with him awhile, before I make myself known
to him.''[FN#320] Then she asked him, "O Ali, say me, hast thou been to
the Hammam?"[FN#321] and he answered, "Yes, O my lord." Quoth she,
"Come, eat of this chicken and meat, and drink of this wine and sherbet
of sugar; for thou art weary; and after that come thou hither." "I hear
and I obey," replied he and did as she commanded him do. Now when he
had made an end of eating and drinking, she said to him, "Come up with
me on the couch and shampoo[FN#322] my feet." So he fell to rubbing
feet and kneading calves, and found them softer than silk. Then said
she, "Go higher with the massage;" and he, "Pardon me, O my lord, to
the knee but no farther!" Whereupon quoth she, "Durst thou disobey me?:
it shall be an ill-omened night for thee!"—And Shahrazad perceived the
dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Three Hundred and Twenty-seventh Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Zumurrud cried to
her lord, Ali Shar, "Durst thou disobey me?: it shall be an ill-omened
night for thee! Nay, but it behoveth thee to do my bidding and I will
make thee my minion and appoint thee one of my Emirs." Asked Ali Shar,
"And in what must I do thy bidding, O King of the age?" and she
answered, "Doff thy trousers and lie down on thy face." Quoth he, "That
is a thing in my life I never did; and if thou force me thereto, verily
I will accuse thee thereof before Allah on Resurrection-day. Take
everything thou hast given me and let me go from thy city." And he wept
and lamented; but she said, "Doff thy trousers and lie down on thy
face, or I will strike off thy head." So he did as she bade him and she
mounted upon his back; and he felt what was softer than silk and
smoother than cream and said in himself, "Of a truth, this King is
nicer than all the women!" Now for a time she abode on his back, then
she turned over on the bed, and he said to himself, "Praised be Allah!
It seemeth his yard is not standing." Then said she, "O Ali, it is of
the wont of my prickle that it standeth not, except they rub it with
their hands; so, come, rub it with thy hand, till it be at stand, else
will I slay thee." So saying, she lay down on her back and taking his
hand, set it to her parts, and he found these same parts softer than
silk; white, plumply-rounded, protuberant, resembling for heat the hot
room of the bath or the heart of a lover whom love-longing hath wasted.
Quoth Ali in himself, "Verily, our King hath a coynte; this is indeed a
wonder of wonders!" And lust get hold on him and his yard rose and
stood upright to the utmost of its height; which when Zumurrud saw, she
burst out laughing and said to him, "O my lord, all this happeneth and
yet thou knowest me not!" He asked "And who art thou, O King?"; and she
answered, "I am thy slave- girl Zumurrud." Now whenas he knew this and
was certified that she was indeed his very slave-girl, Zumurrud, he
kissed her and embraced her and threw himself upon her as the lion upon
the lamb. Then he sheathed his steel rod in her scabbard and ceased not
to play the porter at her door and the preacher in her pulpit and the
priest[FN#323] at her prayer niche, whilst she with him ceased not from
inclination and prostration and rising up and sitting down,
accompanying her ejaculations of praise and of "Glory to Allah!" with
passionate movements and wrigglings and claspings of his member[FN#324]
and other amorous gestures, till the two little eunuchs heard the
noise. So they came and peeping from behind the curtains saw the King
lying on his back and upon him Ali Shar, thrusting and slashing whilst
she puffed and blew and wriggled. Quoth they, "Verily, this be no man's
wriggle: belike this King is a woman.''[FN#325] But they concealed
their affair and discovered it to none. And when the morrow came,
Zumurrud summoned all the troops and the lords of the realm and said to
them, "I am minded to journey to this man's country; so choose you a
viceroy, who shall rule over you till I return to you." And they
answered, "We hear and we obey." Then she applied herself to making
ready the wants of the way, to wit provaunt and provender, monies and
rarities for presents, camels and mules and so forth; after which she
set out from her city with Ali Shar, and they ceased not faring on,
till they arrived at his native place, where he entered his house and
gave many gifts to his friends and alms and largesse to the poor. And
Allah vouchsafed him children by her, and they both lived the gladdest
and happiest of lives, till there came to them the Destroyer of
delights and the Severer of societies and the Garnerer of graves. And
glorified be He the Eternal without cease, and praised be He in every
case! And amongst other tales they tell one of


It is related that the Commander of the Faithful, Harun al-Rashid was
uneasy[FN#326] one night and could not sleep; so that he ceased not to
toss from side to side for very restlessness, till, growing weary of
this, he called Masrur and said to him, "Ho, Masrur, find me some one
who may solace me in this my wakefulness." He answered, "O Prince of
True Believers, wilt thou walk in the palace-garden and divert thyself
with the sight of its blooms and gaze upon the stars and constellations
and note the beauty of their ordinance and the moon among them rising
in sheen over the water?" Quoth the Caliph, "O Masrur, my heart
inclineth not to aught of this." Quoth he, "O my lord, there are in thy
palace three hundred concubines, each of whom hath her separate
chamber. Do thou bid all and every retire into her own apartment and
then do thou go thy rounds and amuse thyself with gazing on them
without their knowledge." The Caliph replied, "O Masrur, the palace is
my palace and the girls are my property: furthermore my soul inclineth
not to aught of this." Then Masrur rejoined, "O my lord, summon the
doctors of law and religion and the sages of science and poets, and bid
them contend before thee in argument and disputation and recite to thee
songs and verses and tell thee tales and anecdotes." Replied the
Caliph, "My soul inclineth not to aught of this;" and Masrur rejoined,
"O my lord, bid pretty boys and the wits and the cup-companions attend
thee and solace thee with witty sallies." "O Masrur," ejaculated the
Caliph, "indeed my soul inclineth not to aught of this." "Then, O my
lord," cried Masrur, "strike off my head;"—And Shahrazad perceived the
dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Three Hundred and Twenty-eighth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Masrur cried out
to the Caliph, "O my lord, strike off my head; haply that will dispel
thine unease and do away the restlessness that is upon thee." So
Al-Rashid laughed at his saying and said, "See which of the
boon-companions is at the door." Thereupon he went out and returning,
said, "O my lord, he who sits without is Ali bin Mansur of Damascus,
the Wag."[FN#327] "Bring him to me," quoth Harun: and Masrur went out
and returned with Ibn Mansur, who said, on entering, "Peace be with
thee, O Commander of the Faithful!" The Caliph returned his salutation
and said to him, "O Ibn Mansur, tell us some of thy stories." Said the
other, "O Commander of the Faithful, shall I tell thee what I have seen
with my eyes or what I have only heard tell?" Replied the Caliph, "If
thou have seen aught worth telling, let us hear it; for hearing is not
like seeing." Said Ibn Mansur, "O Commander of the Faithful, lend me
thine ear and thy heart;" and he answered, "O Ibn Mansur, behold, I am
listening to thee with mine ears and looking at thee with mine eyes and
attending to thee with my heart." So Ibn Mansur began: "Know then, O
Commander of the Faithful, that I receive a yearly allowance from
Mohammed bin Sulaymбn al-Hбshimi, Sultan of Bassorah; so I went to him
once upon a time, as usual, and found him ready to ride out hunting and
birding. I saluted him and he returned my salute, and said, 'O son of
Mansur, mount and come with us to the chase:' but I said, 'O my lord, I
can no longer ride; so do thou station me in the guest-house and give
thy chamberlains and lieutenants charge over me.' And he did so and
departed for his sport. His people entreated me with the utmost honour
and entertained me with the greatest hospitality; but said I to myself,
'By Allah, it is a strange thing that for so long I have been in the
habit of coming from Baghdad to Bassorah, yet know no more of this town
than from palace to garden and from garden to palace. When shall I find
an occasion like this to view the different parts and quarters of
Bassorah? I will rise forthwith and walk forth alone and divert myself
and digest what I have eaten.' Accordingly I donned my richest dress
and went out a walking about Bassorah. Now it is known to thee, O
Commander of the Faithful, that it hath seventy streets, each seventy
leagues[FN#328] long, the measure of Irak; and I lost myself in its
by-streets and thirst overcame me. Presently, as I went along, O Prince
of True Believers, behold, I came to a great door, whereon were two
rings of brass,[FN#329] with curtains of red brocade drawn before it.
And on either side of the door was a stone bench and over it was a
trellis, covered with a creeping vine that hung down and shaded the
door way. I stood still to gaze upon the place, and presently heard a
sorrowful voice, proceeding from a heart which did not rejoice, singing
melodiously and chanting these cinquains,

'My body bides the sad abode of grief and malady, * Caused by a

     fawn whose land and home are in a far countrie:

O ye two Zephyrs of the wold which caused such pain in me * By

     Allah, Lord of you! to him my heart's desire, go ye

           And chide him so perchance ye soften him I pray.

And tell us all his words if he to hear your speech shall deign,

     * And unto him the tidings bear of lovers 'twixt you twain:

And both vouchsafe to render me a service free and fain, * And

     lay my case before him showing how I e'er complain:

          And say, 'What ails thy bounder thrall this wise to

               drive away,

Without a fault committed and without a sin to show; * Or heart

     that leans to other wight or would thy love forego:

Or treason to our plighted troth or causing thee a throe?' * And

     if he smile then say ye twain in accents soft and slow,

          'An thou to him a meeting grant 'twould be the kindest


For he is gone distraught for thee, as well indeed, he might *

     His eyes are wakeful and he weeps and wails the livelong

     night :'

If seem he satisfied by this why then 'tis well and right, * But

     if he show an angry face and treat ye with despite,

          Trick him and 'Naught we know of him!' I beg you both

               to say.'

Quoth I to myself, 'Verily, if the owner of this voice be fair, she
conjoineth beauty of person and eloquence and sweetness of voice.' Then
I drew near the door, and began raising the curtain little by little,
when lo! I beheld a damsel, white as a full moon when it mooneth on its
fourteenth night, with joined eyebrows twain and languorous lids of
eyne, breasts like pomegranates twin and dainty, lips like double
carnelian, a mouth as it were the seal-of Solomon, and teeth ranged in
a line that played with the reason of proser and rhymer, even as saith
the poet,

'O pearly mouth of friend, who set those pretty pearls in line, *

     And filled thee full of whitest chamomile and reddest wine?

Who lent the morning-glory in thy smile to shimmer and shine *

     Who with that ruby-padlock dared thy lips to seal-and sign!

Who looks on thee at early morn with stress of joy and bliss *

     Goes mad for aye, what then of him who wins a kiss of


And as saith another,

    'O pearl-set mouth of friend * Pity poor Ruby's cheek

     Boast not o'er one who owns * Thee, union and unique.'

In brief she comprised all varieties of loveliness and was a seduction
to men and women, nor could the gazer satisfy himself with the sight of
her charms; for she was as the poet hath said of her,

'When comes she, slays she; and when back he turns, * She makes

     all men regard with loving eyes:

A very sun! a very moon! but still * Prom hurt and harmful ills

     her nature flies.

Opes Eden's garden when she shows herself, * And full moon see we

     o'er her necklace rise.'

How as I was looking at her through an opening of the curtain, behold,
she turned; and, seeing me standing at the door, said to her handmaid,
'See who is at the door.' So the slave-girl came up to me and said, 'O
Shaykh, hast thou no shame, or do impudent airs suit hoary hairs?'
Quoth I, 'O my mistress, I confess to the hoary hairs, but as for
impudent airs, I think not to be guilty of unmannerliness.' Then the
mistress broke in, 'And what can be more unmannerly than to intrude
thyself upon a house other than thy house and gaze on a Harim other
than thy Harim?' I pleaded, 'O my lady, I have an excuse;' and when she
asked, 'And what is thine excuse?' I answered, 'I am a stranger and so
thirsty that I am well nigh dead of thirst.' She rejoined, 'We accept
thine excuse,' —And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to
say her permitted say.

When It was the Three Hundred and Twenty-ninth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the young lady
rejoined, 'We accept thine excuse,' and calling one of her slave maids,
said to her, 'O Lutf,[FN#331] give him to drink in the golden tankard.'
So she brought me a tankard of red gold, set with pearls and gems of
price, full of water mingled with virgin musk and covered with a napkin
of green silk, and I addressed myself to drink and was long about my
drinking, for I stole glances at her the while, till I could prolong my
stay no longer. Then I returned the tankard to the girl, but did not
offer to go; and she said to me, 'O Shaykh, wend thy way.' But I said,
'O my lady, I am troubled in mind.' She asked me 'for what?' and I
answered, 'For the turns of Time and the change of things.' Replied
she, 'Well mayst thou be troubled thereat for Time breedeth wonders.
But what hast thou seen of such surprises that thou shouldst muse upon
them?' Quoth I, 'I was thinking of the whilom owner of this house, for
he was my intimate in his lifetime.' Asked she, 'What was his name?';
and I answered, 'Mohammed bin Ali the Jeweller and he was a man of
great wealth. Tell me did he leave any children?' Said she, 'Yes, he
left a daughter, Budur by name, who inherited all his wealth?' Quoth I,
'Meseemeth thou art his daughter?' 'Yes,' answered she, laughing; then
added, 'O Shaykh, thou best talked long enough; now wend thy ways.'
Replied I, 'Needst must I go, but I see thy charms are changed by being
out of health; so tell me thy case; it may be Allah will give thee
comfort at my hands.' Rejoined she, 'O Shayth, if thou be a man of
discretion, I will discover to thee my secret; but first tell me who
thou art, that I may know whether thou art worthy of confidence or not;
for the poet saith,[FN#332]

'None keepeth a secret but a faithful person: with the best of

     mankind remaineth concealed.

I have kept my secret in a house with a lock, whose key is lost

     and whose door is sealed.'

Thereto I replied, 'O my lady, an thou wouldest know who I am, I am Ali
bin Mansъr of Damascus, the Wag, cup-companion to the Commander of the
Faithful, Harun al-Rashid.' Now when she heard my name, she came down
from her seat and saluting me, said, 'Welcome, O Ibn Mansur! Now will I
tell thee my case and entrust thee with my secret. I am a lover
separated from her beloved.' I answered, 'O my lady, thou art fair and
shouldest be on love terms with none but the fair. Whom then dost thou
love?' Quoth she, 'I love Jubayr bin Umayr al-Shaybбni, Emir of the
Banъ Shaybбn;[FN#333]' and she described to me a young man than whom
there was no prettier fellow in Bassorah. I asked, 'O my lady, have
interviews or letters passed between you?' and she answered 'Yes, but
our love was tongue-love souls, not heart and souls- love; for he kept
not his trust nor was he faithful to his troth.' Said I, 'O my lady,
and what was the cause of your separation?', and she replied, 'I was
sitting one day whilst my handmaid here combed my hair. When she had
made an end of combing it, she plaited my tresses, and my beauty and
loveliness charmed her; so she bent over me and kissed my
cheek.[FN#334] At that moment he came in unawares, and, seeing the girl
kiss my cheek, straightways turned away in anger, vowing
eternal-separation and repeating these two couplets,

'If another share in the thing I love, * I abandon my love and

     live lorn of love.

My beloved is worthless if aught she will, * Save that which her

     lover doth most approve.

And from the time he left me to this present hour, O Ibn Mansur, he
hath neither written to me nor answered my letters.' Quoth I, 'And what
purposes" thou to do?' Quoth she, 'I have a mind to send him a letter
by thee. If thou bring me back an answer, thou shalt have of me five
hundred gold pieces; and if not, then an hundred for thy trouble in
going and coming.' I answered, 'Do what seemeth good to thee; I hear
and I obey thee.' Whereupon she called to one of her slave-girls,
'Bring me ink case and paper,' and she wrote thereon these couplets,

'Beloved, why this strangeness, why this hate? * When shall thy

     pardon reunite us two?

Why dost thou turn from me in severance? * Thy face is not the

     face I am wont to know.

Yes, slanderers falsed my words, and thou to them * Inclining,

     madest spite and envy grow.

An hast believed their tale, the Heavens forbid * Now thou

     believe it when dost better bow!

By thy life tell what hath reached thine ear, * Thou know'st what

     said they and so justice show.

An it be true I spoke the words, my words * Admit interpreting

     and change allow:

Given that the words of Allah were revealed, * Folk changed the

     Torah[FN#335] and still changing go:

What slanders told they of mankind before! * Jacob heard Joseph

     blamed by tongue of foe.

Yea, for myself and slanderer and thee * An awful day of

     reckoning there shall be.'

Then she sealed the letter and gave it to me; and I took it and carried
it to the house of Jubayr bin Umayr, whom I found absent a hunting. So
I sat down to wait for him; and behold, he returned from the chase; and
when I saw him, O Prince of True Believers, come riding up, my wit was
confounded by his beauty and grace. As soon as he sighted me sitting at
the house-door, he dismounted and coming up to me embraced me and
saluted me; and meseemed I embraced the world and all therein. Then he
carried me into his house and, seating me on his own couch, called for
food. They brought a table of Khalanj-wood of Khorasan with feet of
gold, whereon were all manners of meats, fried and roasted and the
like. So I seated myself at the table and examining it with care found
these couplets engraved upon it:"[FN#336]—And Shahrazad perceived the
dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say,

When it was the Three Hundred and Thirtieth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Ali son of

Mansur continued: "So I seated myself at the table of Jubayr bin

Umayr al-Shaybani and, examining it with care, found these

couplets engraved upon it,

          'On these which once were-chicks,

          Your mourning glances fix,

Late dwellers in the mansion of the cup,

          Now nearly eaten up!

               Let tears bedew

          The memory of that stew,

          Those partridges, once roast,

               Now lost!

The daughters of the grouse in plaintive strain

Bemourn, and still bemourn, and mourn again!

          The children of the fry,

               We lately saw

          Half smothered in pilau

With buttery mutton fritters smoking by!

          Alas! my heart, the fish!

               Who filled his dish,

With flaky form in varying colours spread

On the round pastry cake of household bread!

          Heaven sent us that kabob!

               For no one could

          (Save heaven he should rob)

Produce a thing so excellently good,

          Or give us roasted meat

With basting oil so savourily replete!

But, oh! mine appetite, alas! for thee!

          Who on that furmeaty

So sharpset west a little while ago—

That furmeaty, which mashed by hands of snow,

          A light reflection bore,

Of the bright bracelets that those fair hands wore;

          Again remembrance glads my sense

          With visions of its excellence!

          Again I see the cloth unrolled

          Rich worked in many a varied fold!

          Be patient, oh! my soul, they say

          Fortune rules all that's new and strange,

          And though she pinches us to day,

To-morrow brings full rations, and a change!'[FN#337]

Then said Jubayr, 'Put forth thy hand to our food and ease our heart by
eating of our victual.' Answered I, 'By Allah, I will not eat a
mouthful, till thou grant me my desire.' He asked, 'What is thy
desire?'; so I brought out the letter and gave it to him; but, when he
had read it and mastered its contents, he tore it in pieces and
throwing it on the floor, said to me, 'O Ibn Mansur, I will grant thee
whatever thou askest save thy desire which concerneth the writer of
this letter, for I have no answer to her.' At this I rose in anger; but
he caught hold of my skirts, saying, 'O Ibn Mansur, I will tell thee
what she said to thee, albeit I was not present with you.' I asked,
'And what did she say to me?'; and he answered, 'Did not the writer of
this letter say to thee, If thou bring me back an answer, thou shalt
have of me five hundred ducats; and if not, an hundred for thy pains?'
'Yes,' replied I; and he rejoined, 'Abide with me this day and eat and
drink and enjoy thyself and make merry, and thou shalt have thy five
hundred ducats.' So I sat with him and ate and drank and made merry and
enjoyed myself and entertained him with talk deep in to the
night;[FN#338] after which I said to him, 'O my master, is there no
music in thy house.' He answered, 'Verily for many a day we have drunk
without music.' Then he called out, saying, 'Ho, Shajarat al-Durr?'
Whereupon a slave- girl answered him from her chamber and came in to
us, with a lute of Hindu make, wrapped in a silken bag. And she sat
down and, laying the lute in her lap, preluded in one and twenty modes;
then, returning to the first, she sang to a lively measure these

'We have ne'er tasted of Love's sweets and bitter draught, * No

     difference kens 'twixt presence-bliss and absence-stress;

And so, who hath declined from Love's true road, * No diference

     kens 'twixt smooth and ruggedness:

I ceased not to oppose the votaries of love, * Till I had tried

     its sweets and bitters not the less:

How many a night my pretty friend conversed with me * And sipped

     I from his lips honey of love liesse:

Now have I drunk its cup of bitterness, until * To bondman and to

     freedman I have proved me base.

How short-aged was the night together we enjoyed, * When seemed

     it daybreak came on nightfall's heel to press!

But Fate had vowed to disunite us lovers twain, * And she too

     well hath kept her vow, that votaress.

Fate so decreed it! None her sentence can withstand: * Where is

     the wight who dares oppose his Lord's command?'

Hardly had she finished her verses, when her lord cried out with a
great cry and fell down in a fit; whereupon exclaimed the damsel, 'May
Allah not punish thee, O old man! This long time have we drunk without
music, for fear the like of this falling sickness befal our lord. But
now go thou to yonder chamber and there sleep.' So I went to the
chamber which she showed me and slept till the morning, when behold, a
page brought me a purse of five hundred dinars and said to me, 'This is
what my master promised thee; but return thou not to the damsel who
sent thee, god let it be as though neither thou nor we had ever heard
of this matter.' 'Hearkening and obedience,' answered I and taking the
purse, went my way. Still I said to myself, 'The lady must have
expected me since yesterday; and by Allah there is no help but I return
to her and tell her what passed between me and him: otherwise she will
revile me and revile all who come from my country.' So I went to her
and found her standing behind the door; and when she saw me she said,
'O Ibn Mansur, thou hast done nothing for me?' I asked, 'Who told thee
of this?'; and she answered, 'O Ibn Mansur, yet another thing hath been
revealed to me;[FN#339] and it is that, when thou handedst him the
letter, he tore it in pieces. and throwing it on the floor, said to
thee: 'O Ibn Mansur, I will grant thee whatever thou askest save thy
desire which concerneth the writer of this letter; for I have no answer
to her missive.' Then didst thou rise from beside him in anger; but he
laid hold of thy skirts, saying: 'O son of Mansur, abide with me to
day, for thou art my guest, and eat and drink and make merry; and thou
shalt have thy five hundred ducats.' So thou didst sit with him, eating
and drinking and making merry, and entertainedst him with talk deep
into the night and a slave- girl sang such an air and such verses,
whereupon he fell down in a fit.' So, O Commander of the Faithful, I
asked her 'West thou then with us?'; and she answered, 'O Ibn Mansur,
hast thou not heard the saying of the poet,

'The hearts of lovers have eyes I ken, * Which see the unseen by vulgar

However, O Ibn Mansur, the night and day shift not upon anything but
they bring to it change.'—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and
ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Three Hundred and Thirty-first Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the lady
exclaimed, 'O Ibn Mansur, the night and the day shift not upon anything
but they bring to it change!' Then she raised her glance to heaven and
said, 'O my God and my Leader and my Lord, like as Thou hast afflicted
me with love of Jubayr bin Umayr, even so do Thou afflict him with love
of me, and transfer the passion from my heart to his heart!'[FN#340]
Then she gave me an hundred sequins for my trouble in going and coming
and I took it and returned to the palace, where I found the Sultan come
home from the chase; so I got my pension of him and fared back to
Baghdad. And when next year came, I repaired to Bassorah, as usual, to
seek my pension, and the Sultan paid it to me; but, as I was about to
return to Baghdad, I bethought me of the Lady Budur and said to myself,
'By Allah, I must needs go to her and see what hath befallen between
her and her lover!' So I went to her house and finding the street
before her door swept and sprinkled and eunuchs and servants and pages
standing before the entrance, said to myself, 'Most like grief hath
broken the lady's heart and she is dead, and some Emir or other hath
taken up his abode in her house.' So I left it and went on to the house
of Jubayr, son of Umayr the Shaybani, where I found the benches of the
porch broken down and ne'er a page at the door, as of wont and said to
myself, 'Haply he too is dead.' Then I stood still before the door of
his house and with my eyes running over with tears, bemoaned it in
these couplets,

'O Lords of me, who fared but whom my heart e'er followeth, *

     Return and so my festal-days with you shall be renewed!

I stand before the home of you, bewailing your abode; * Quiver

     mine eyelids and my eyes with tears are ever dewed:

I ask the house and its remains that seem to weep and wail, *

     'Where is the man who whilom wont to lavish goods and


It saith, 'Go, wend thy way; those friends like travellers have

     fared * From Springtide-camp, and buried lie of earth and

     worms the food!'

Allah ne'er desolate us so we lose their virtues' light * In

     length and breadth, but ever be the light in spirit viewed!'

As I, O Prince of True Believers, was thus keening over the folk of the
house,[FN#341] behold, out came a black slave therefrom and said to me,
'Hold thy peace, O Shaykh! May thy mother be reft of thee! Why do I see
thee bemoaning the house in this wise?' Quoth I, 'I frequented it of
yore, when it belonged to a good friend of mine.' Asked the slave,
'What was his name?'; and I answered, 'Jubayr bin Umayr the Shaybani.'
Rejoined he, And what hath befallen him? Praised be Allah, he is yet
here with us in the enjoyment of property and rank and prosperity,
except that Allah hath stricken him with love of a damsel called the
Lady Budur;, and he is so whelmed by his love of her and his longing
for her, that he is like a great rock cumbering the ground. If he
hunger, he saith not, 'Give me meat;' nor, if he thirst, doth he say,
'Give me drink.' Quoth I, 'Ask leave for me to go in to him.' Said the
slave, 'O my lord, wilt thou go in to one who understandeth or to one
who understandeth not?'; and I said 'There is no help for it but I see
him whatever be the case.' Accordingly he went in to ask and presently
returned with permission for me to enter, whereupon I went in to Jubayr
and found him like a rock that cumbereth the ground, understanding
neither sign nor speech; and when I spoke to him he answered me not.
Then said one of his servants, 'O my lord, if thou remember aught of
verse, repeat it and raise thy voice; and he will be aroused by this
and speak with thee.' So I versified in these two couplets,

'Hast quit the love of Moons[FN#342] or dost persist? * Dost wake

     o' nights or close in sleep thine eyes?

If aye thy tears in torrents flow, then learn * Eternal-thou

     shalt dwell in Paradise.'[FN#343]

When he heard these verses he opened his eyes and said; 'Welcome, O son
of Mansur! Verily, the jest is become earnest.' Quoth I, 'O my lord, is
there aught thou wouldst have me do for thee?' Answered he, 'Yes, I
would fain write her a letter and send it to her by thee. If thou bring
me back her answer, thou shalt have of me a thousand dinars; and if
not, two hundred for thy pains.' So I said, 'Do what seemeth good to
thee;'—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her
permitted say.

When it was the Three Hundred and Thirty-second Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Ibn Mansur
continued: "So I said, 'Do what seemeth good to thee;' whereupon he
called to one of his slave-girls, 'Bring me ink case and paper;' and
wrote these couplets,

'I pray in Allah's name, O Princess mine, be light * On me, for

     Love hath robbed me of my reason's sight'

'Slaved me this longing and enthralled me love of you; * And clad

     in sickness garb, a poor and abject wight.

I wont ere this to think small things of Love and hold, * O

     Princess mine, 'twas silly thing and over-slight.

But when it showed me swelling surges of its sea, * To Allah's

     hest I bowed and pitied lover's plight.

An will you, pity show and deign a meeting grant, * An will you

     kill me still forget not good requite.'[FN#344]

Then he sealed the letter and gave it to me. So I took it and,
repairing to Budur's house, raised the door-curtain little by little,
as before, and looking in behold, I saw ten damsels, high-bosomed
virgins, like moons, and the Lady Budur as she were the full moon among
the stars, sitting in their midst, or the sun, when it is clear of
clouds and mist; nor was there on her any trace of pain or care. And as
I looked and marvelled at her case, she turned her glance upon me and,
seeing me standing at the door, said to me, 'Well come, and welcome and
all hail to thee, O Ibn Mansur! Come in.' So I entered and saluting her
gave her the letter; and she read it and when she understood it, she
said laughingly to me, 'O Ibn Mansur, the poet lied not when he sang,

'Indeed I'll bear my love for thee with firmest soul, * Until from thee
to me shall come a messenger.

'Look'ye, O Ibn Mansur, I will write thee an answer, that he may give
thee what he promised thee.' And I answered, 'Allah requite thee with
good!' So she called out to a handmaid, 'Bring inkcase and paper,' and
wrote these couplets,

'How comes it I fulfilled my vow the while that vow broke you? *

     And, seen me lean to equity, iniquity wrought you?

'Twas you initiated wrongous dealing and despite: * You were the

     treachetour and treason came from only you!

I never ceased to cherish mid the sons of men my troth, * And

     keep your honour brightest bright and swear by name of you

Until I saw with eyes of me what evil you had done; * Until I

     heard with ears of me what foul report spread you.

Shall I bring low my proper worth while raising yours so high? *

     By Allah had you me eke I had honoured you!

But now uprooting severance I will fain console my heart, * And

     wring my fingers clean of you for evermore to part!'

Quoth I, 'By Allah, O my lady, between him and death there is but the
reading of this letter!' So I tore it in pieces and said to her, 'Write
him other than these lines.' 'I hear and obey answered she and wrote
the following couplets,

'Indeed I am consolиd now and sleep without a tear, * And all

     that happened slandering tongues have whispered in mine ear:

My heart obeyed my hest and soon forgot thy memory, * And learnt

     mine eyelids 'twas the best to live in severance sheer:

He lied who said that severance is a bitterer thing than gall: *

     It never disappointed me, like wine I find it cheer:

I learnt to hate all news of thee, e'en mention of thy name, *

     And turn away and look thereon with loathing pure and mere:

Lookye! I cast thee out of heart and far from vitals mine; * Then

     let the slanderer wot this truth and see I am sincere.'

Quoth I, 'By Allah, O my lady, when he shall read these verses, his
soul will depart his body!' Quoth she, 'O Ibn Mansur, is passion indeed
come to such a pass with him that thou sayest this saying?' Quoth I,
'Had I said more than this verily it were but the truth: but mercy is
of the nature of the noble.' Now when she heard this her eyes brimmed
over with tears and she wrote him a note, I swear by Allah, O Commander
of the Faithful, there is none in thy Chancery could write the like of
it; and therein were these couplets,

'How long shall I thy coyness and thy great aversion see? * Thou

     hast satisfied my censurers and pleased their enmity:

I did amiss and wot it not; so deign to tell me now * Whatso they

     told thee, haply 'twas the merest calumny.

I wish to welcome thee, dear love, even as welcome I * Sleep to

     these eyes and eyelids in the place of sleep to be.

And since 'tis thou hast made me drain th' unmixиd cup of love, *

     If me thou see with wine bemused heap not thy blame on me!'

And when she had written the missive,—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn
of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Three Hundred and Thirty-third Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Budur had
written the missive, she sealed it and gave it to me; and I said, 'O my
lady, in good sooth this thy letter will make the sick man whole and
ease the thirsting soul.' Then I took it and went from her, when she
called me back and said to me, 'O son of Mansur, say to him: 'She will
be thy guest this night.' At this I joyed with exceeding great joy and
carried the letter to Jubayr, whom I found with his eyes fixed intently
on the door, expecting the reply and as soon as I gave him the letter
and he opened and read it and understood it, he uttered a great cry and
fell down in a fainting fit. When he came to himself, he said to me, 'O
Ibn Mansur, did she indeed write this note with her hand and feel it
with her fingers?' Answered I, 'O my lord, do folk write with their
feet?' And by Allah, O Commander of the Faithful, I had not done
speaking these words, when we heard the tinkle-tinkle of her anklets in
the vestibule and she entered. And seeing her he sprang to his feet as
though nothing pained or ailed him and embraced her like the letter L
embraceth the letter A;[FN#345] and the infirmity, that erst would not
depart at once left him.[FN#346] Then he sat down, but she abode
standing and I said to her, 'O my lady, why dost thou not sit?' Said
she, 'O Ibn Mansur, save on a condition that is between us, I will not
sit.' I asked, 'And what is that?'; and she answered, 'None may know
lovers' secrets,' and putting her mouth to Jubayr's ear whispered to
him; where upon he replied, 'I hear and I obey.' Then he rose and said
somewhat in a whisper to one of his slaves, who went out and returned
in a little while with a Kazi and two witnesses. Thereupon Jubayr stood
up and taking a bag containing an hundred thousand dinars, said, O
Kazi, marry me to this young lady and write this sum to her
marriage-settlement.' Quoth the Kazi to her, 'Say thou, I consent to
this.' 'I consent to this,' quoth she, whereupon he drew up the
contract of marriage and she opened the bag; and, taking out a handful
of gold, gave it to the Kazi and the witnesses and handed the rest to
Jubayr. Thereupon the Kazi and the witnesses withdrew, and I sat with
them, in mirth and merriment, till the most part of the night was past,
when I said in my mind, 'These are lovers and they have been this long
while separated. I will now arise and go sleep in some place afar from
them and leave them to their privacy, one with other.' So I rose, but
she caught hold of my skirts, saying, 'What thinkest thou to do?'
'Nothing but so and so,' answered I; upon which she rejoined, 'Sit thee
down; and when we would be rid of thee, we will send thee away.' So I
sat down with them till near daybreak, when she said to me, 'O Ibn
Mansur, go to yonder chamber; for we have furnished it for thee and it
is thy sleeping-place.' Thereupon I arose and went thither and slept
till morning, when a page brought me basin and ewer, and I made the
ablution and prayed the dawn-prayer. Then I sat down and presently,
behold, Jubayr and his beloved came out of the bath in the house, and I
saw them both wringing their locks.[FN#347] So I wished them good
morning and gave them joy of their safety and reunion, saying to
Jubayr, 'That which began with constraint and conditions hath ended in
cordial-contentment.' He answered, 'Thou sayest well, and indeed thou
deservest thy honorarium;' and he called his treasurer, and said,
'Bring hither three thousand dinars.' So he brought a purse containing
the gold pieces and Jubayr gave it to me, saying, 'Favour us by
accepting this.' But I replied, 'I will not accept it till thou tell me
the manner of the transfer of love from her to thee, after so huge an
aversion.' Quoth he, 'Hearkening and obedience! Know that we have a
festival-called New Year's day,[FN#348] when all the people fare forth
and take boat and go a-pleasuring on the river. So I went out with my
comrades, and saw a skiff, wherein were ten damsels like moons and
amongst them, the Lady Budur lute in hand. She preluded in eleven
modes, then, returning to the first, sang these two couplets,

'Fire is cooler than fires in my breast, * Rock is softer than

     heart of my lord

Marvel I that he's formиd to hold * In water soft frame heart


Said I to her, 'Repeat the couplets and the air!' But she would
not:'"—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her
permitted say.

When it was the Three Hundred and Thirty-fourth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that "Jubayr
continued, 'So cried I to her, Repeat the couplets and the air!' But
she would not; whereupon I bade the boatmen pelt her with oranges, and
they pelted her till we feared her boat would founder Then she went her
way, and this is how the love was transferred from her heart to mine.'
So I wished them joy of their union and, taking the purse with its
contents, I returned to Baghdad." Now when the Caliph heard Ibn
Mansur's story his heart was lightened and the restlessness and
oppression from which he suffered forsook him. And they also tell the
tale of


The Caliph Al-Maamun was sitting one day in his palace, surrounded by
his Lords of the realm and Officers of state, and there were present
also before him all his poets and cup- companions amongst the rest one
named Mohammed of Bassorah. Presently the Caliph turned and said to
him, "O Mohammed, I wish thee forthwith to tell me something that I
have never before heard." He replied, "O Commander of the Faithful,
dost thou wish me to tell thee a thing I have heard with my ears or a
thing I have seen with my eyes?" Quoth Al-Maamun, "Tell me whichever is
the rarer; so Mohammed al-Basri began: "Know, then, O Commander of the
Faithful that there lived once upon a time wealthy man, who was a
native of Al-Yaman;but he emigrated from his native land and came to
this city of Baghdad, whose sojourn so pleased him that he transported
hither his family and possessions. Now he had six slave-girls, like
moons one and all; the first white, the second brown, the third fat,
the fourth lean, the fifth yellow and the sixth lamp-black; and all six
were comely of countenance and perfect in accomplishments and skilled
in the arts of singing and playing upon musical-instruments. Now it so
chanced that, one day, he sent for the girls and called for meat and
wine; and they ate and drank and were mirthful and made merry Then he
filled the cup and, taking it in his hand, said to the blonde girl, 'O
new moon face, let us hear somewhat of thy pleasant songs.' So she took
the lute and tuning it, made music thereon with such sweet melody that
the place danced with glee; after which she played a lively measure and
sang these couplets,

'I have a friend, whose form is fixed within mine eyes,[FN#349] *

     Whose name deep buried in my very vitals lies:

Whenas remembers him my mind all heart am I, * And when on him my

     gaze is turned I am all eyes.

My censor saith, 'Forswear, forget, the love of him,' * 'Whatso

     is not to be, how shall's be?' My reply is.

Quoth I, 'O Censor mine, go forth from me, avaunt! * And make not

     light of that on humans heavy lies.'

Hereat their master rejoiced and, drinking off his cup, gave the
damsels to drink, after which he said to the berry-brown girl, 'O
brasier-light[FN#350] and joy of the sprite, let us hear thy lovely
voice, whereby all that hearken are ravished with delight.' So she took
the lute and thereon made harmony till the place was moved to glee;
then, captivating all hearts with her graceful swaying, she sang these

'I swear by that fair face's life, I'll love but thee * Till

     death us part, nor other love but thine I'll see:

O full moon, with thy loveliness mantilla'd o'er, * The loveliest

     of our earth beneath thy banner be:

Thou, who surpassest all the fair in pleasantness * May Allah,

     Lord of worlds, be everywhere with thee!'

The master rejoiced and drank off his cup and gave the girls to drink;
after which he filled again; and, taking the goblet in his hand, signed
to the fat girl and bade her sing and play a different motive. So she
took the lute and striking a grief- dispelling measure, sang these

'An thou but deign consent, O wish to heart affied! * I care not

     wrath and rage to all mankind betide.

And if thou show that fairest face which gives me life, * I reck

     not an dimimshed heads the Kings go hide.

I seek thy favours only from this 'versal-world: * O thou in whom

     all beauty cloth firm-fixt abide!'

The man rejoiced and, emptying his cup, gave the girls to drink. Then
he signed to the thin girl and said to her, 'O Houri of Paradise, feed
thou our ears with sweet words and sounds.' So she took the lute; and,
tuning it, preluded and sang these two couplets,

'Say me, on Allah's path[FN#351] hast death not dealt to me, *

     Turning from me while I to thee turn patiently:

Say me, is there no judge of Love to judge us twain, * And do me

     justice wronged, mine enemy, by thee?'

Their lord rejoiced and, emptying the cup, gave the girls to drink.
Then filling another he signed to the yellow girl and said to her, O
sun of the day, let us hear some nice verses.' So she took the lute
and, preluding after the goodliest fashion, sang these couplets,

'I have a lover and when drawing him, * He draws on me a sword-

    blade glancing grim:

Allah avenge some little of his wrongs, * Who holds my heart yet

     wreaks o erbearing whim

Oft though I say, 'Renounce him, heart!' yet heart * Will to none

     other turn excepting him.

He is my wish and will of all men, but * Fate's envious hand to

     me's aye grudging him.'

The master rejoiced and drank and gave the girls to drink; then he
filled the cup and taking it in hand, signed to the black girl, saying,
'O pupil of the eye, let us have a taste of thy quality, though it be
but two words.' So she took the lute and tuning it and tightening the
strings, preluded in various modes, then returned to the first and sang
to a lively air these couplets,

'Ho ye, mine eyes, let prodigal-tears go free; * This ecstasy

     would see my being unbe:[FN#352]

All ecstasies I dreefor sake of friend * I fondle, maugre

     enviers' jealousy:

Censors forbid me from his rosy cheek, * Yet e'er inclines my

     heart to rosery:

Cups of pure wine, time was, went circuiting * In joy, what time

     the lute sang melody,

While kept his troth the friend who madded me, * Yet made me

     rising star of bliss to see:

But—with Time, turned he not by sin of mine; * Than such a turn

     can aught more bitter be?

Upon his cheek there grows and glows a rose, * Nay two, whereof

     grant Allah one to me!

An were prostration[FN#353] by our law allowed * To aught but

     Allah, at his feet I had bowed.'

Thereupon rose the six girls and, kissing the ground before their lord,
said to him, 'Do thou justice between us, O our lord!' So he looked at
their beauty and loveliness and the contrast of their colours and
praised Almighty Allah and glorified Him. Then said he, 'There is none
of you but hath learnt the Koran by heart, and mastered the musical-art
and is versed in the chronicles' of yore and the doings of peoples
which have gone before; so it is my desire that each one of you rise
and, pointing finger at her opposite, praise herself and dispraise her
co-concubine; that is to: say, let the blonde point to the brunette,
the plump to the slenderer and the yellow to the black girl; after
which the rivals, each in her turn, shall do the like with the former;
and be this illustrated with citations from Holy Writ and somewhat of
anecdotes and,; verse, so as to show forth your fine breeding and
elegance of your pleading.' And they answered him, 'We hear and we
obey!;"—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her
permitted say.

When it was the Three Hundred and Thirty-fifth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the handmaids
answered the man of Al-Yaman, "'We hear and we obey!' Accordingly the
blonde rose first and, pointing at the black girl, said to her: 'Out on
thee, blackamoor! It is told by tradition that whiteness saith, 'I am
the shining light, I am the rising moon of the fourteenth night. My hue
is patent and my brow is resplendent and of my beauty quoth the poet,'

'White girl with softly rounded polished cheeks * As if a pearl

     concealed by Beauty's boon:

Her stature Alif-like;[FN#354] her smile like Mнm[FN#355] * And

     o'er her eyes two brows that bend like Nъn.[FN#356]

'Tis as her glance were arrow, and her brows * Bows ever bent to

     shoot Death-dart eftsoon:

If cheek and shape thou view, there shalt thou find * Rose,

     myrtle, basil and Narcissus wone.

Men wont in gardens plant and set the branch, * How many garths

     thy stature-branch cloth own!'

'So my colour is like the hale and healthy day and the newly culled
orange spray and the star of sparkling ray;[FN#357] and indeed quoth
Almighty Allah, in His precious Book, to his prophet Moses (on whom be
peace!), Put thy hand into thy bosom; it shall come forth white,
without hurt.'[FN#358] And again He saith, But they whose faces shall
become white, shall be in the mercy of Allah; therein shall they remain
forever.'[FN#359] My colour is a sign, a miracle, and my loveliness
supreme and my beauty a term extreme. It is on the like of me that
raiment showeth fair and fine and to the like of me that hearts
incline. Moreover, in whiteness are many excellences; for instance, the
snow falleth white from heaven, and it is traditional-that the
beautifullest of a colours white. The Moslems also glory in white
turbands, but I should be tedious, were I to tell all that may be told
in praise of white; little and enough is better than too much of
unfilling stuff. So now I will begin with thy dispraise, O black, O
colour of ink and blacksmith's dust, thou whose face is like the raven
which bringeth about the parting of lovers. Verily, the poet saith in
praise of white and blame of black,

'Seest not that pearls are prized for milky hue, * But with a

     dirham buy we coals in load?

And while white faces enter Paradise, * Black faces crowd

     Gehenna's black abode.'

And indeed it is told in certain histories, related on the authority of
devout men, that Noah (on whom be peace!) was sleeping one day, with
his sons Cham and Shem seated at his head, when a wind sprang up and,
lifting his clothes, uncovered his nakedness; whereat Cham looked and
laughed and did not cover him: but Shem arose and covered him.
Presently, their sire awoke and learning, what had been done by his
sons, blessed Shem and cursed Cham. So Shem's face was whitened and
from him sprang the prophets and the orthodox Caliphs and Kings; whilst
Cham's face was blackened and he fled forth to the land of Abyssinia,
and of his lineage came the blacks.[FN#360] All people are of one mind
in affirming the lack of understanding of the blacks, even as saith the
adage, 'How shall one find a black with a mind?' Quoth her master, 'Sit
thee down, thou hast given us sufficient and even excess.' Thereupon he
signed to the negress, who rose and, pointing her finger at the blonde,
said: Dost thou not know that in the Koran sent down to His prophet and
apostle, is transmitted the saying of God the Most High, 'By the night
when it covereth all things with darkness; by the day when it shineth
forth!'[FN#361] If the night were not the more illustrious, verily
Allah had not sworn by it nor had given it precedence of the day. And
indeed all men of wit and wisdom accept this. Knowest thou not that
black is the ornament of youth and that, when hoariness descendeth upon
the head, delights pass away and the hour of death draweth in sight?
Were not black the most illustrious of things, Allah had not set it in
the core of the heart[FN#362] and the pupil of the eye; and how
excellent is the saying of the poet,

'I love not black girls but because they show * Youth's colour,

     tinct of eye and heartcore's hue;

Nor are in error who unlove the white, * And hoary hairs and

     winding-sheet eschew.'

And that said of another,

'Black[FN#363] girls, not white, are they * All worthy love I


Black girls wear dark-brown lips;[FN#364] * Whites, blotch of


And of a third,

'Black girls in acts are white, and 'tis as though * Like eyes,

     with purest shine and sheen they show;

If I go daft for her, be not amazed; * Black bile[FN#365] drives

     melancholic-mad we know

'Tis as my colour were the noon of night; * For all no moon it

     be, its splendours glow.

Moreover, is the foregathering of lovers good but in the night? Let
this quality and profit suffice thee. What protecteth lovers from spies
and censors like the blackness of night's darkness; and what causeth
them to fear discovery like the whiteness of the dawn's brightness? So,
how many claims to honour are there not in blackness and how excellent
is the saying of the poet,

'I visit them, and night-black lendeth aid to me * Seconding love, but
dawn-white is mine enemy.'

And that of another,

'How many a night I've passed with the beloved of me, * While

     gloom with dusky tresses veilиd our desires:

But when the morn-light showed it caused me sad affright; * And I

     to Morning said, 'Who worship light are liars!'[FN#366]

And saith a third,

'He came to see me, hiding neath the skirt of night, * Hasting

     his steps as wended he in cautious plight.

I rose and spread my cheek upon his path like rug, * Abject, and

     trailed my skirt to hide it from his sight;

But rose the crescent moon and strave its best to show * The

     world our loves like nail-slice raying radiant


Then what befel befel: I need not aught describe; * But think thy

     best, and ask me naught of wrong or right.

Meet not thy lover save at night for fear of slander * The Sun's

     a tittle-tattler and the Moon's a pander.'

And a fifth,

'I love not white girls blown with fat who puff and pant; * The

     maid for me is young brunette embonpoint-scant.

I'd rather ride a colt that's darn upon the day * Of race, and

     set my friends upon the elephant.'

And a sixth,

My lover came to me one night, * And clips we both with fond


And lay together till we saw * The morning come with swiftest


Now I pray Allah and my Lord * To reunite us of His grace

And make night last me long as he * Lies in the arms that tightly


Were I to set forth all the praises of blackness, my tale would be
tedious; but little and enough is better than too much of unfilling
stuff. As for thee, O blonde, thy colour is that of leprosy and thine
embrace is suffocation;[FN#368] and it is of report that hoar-frost and
icy cold[FN#369] are in Gehenna for the torment of the wicked. Again,
of things black and excellent is ink, wherewith is written Allah's
word; and were it not for black ambergris and black musk, there would
be no perfumes to carry to Kings. How many glories I may not mention
dwell in blackness, and how well saith the poet,

'Seest not that musk, the nut brown musk, e'er claims the highest

     price * Whilst for a load of whitest lime none more than

     dirham bids?

And while white speck upon the eye deforms the loveliest youth, *

     Black eyes discharge the sharpest shafts in lashes from

     their lids.'

Quoth her master, 'Sit thee down: this much sufficeth.' So she sat down
and he signed to the fat girl, who rose"—And Shahrazad perceived the
dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Three Hundred and Thirty-sixth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that "the man of
Al-Yaman, the master of the handmaids, signed to the fat girl who rose
and, pointing her finger at the slim girl, bared her calves and wrists
and uncovered her stomach, showing its dimples and the plump rondure of
her navel. Then she donned a shift of fine stuff, that exposed her
whole body, and said: 'Praised be Allah who created me, for that He
beautified my face and made me fat and fair of the fattest and fairest;
and likened me to branches laden with fruit, and bestowed upon me
abounding beauty and brightness: and praised be He no less, for that He
hath given me the precedence and honoured me, when He mentioneth me in
His holy Book! Quoth the Most High, 'And he brought a fatted
calf.'[FN#370] And He hath made me like unto a vergier full of peaches
and pomegranates. In very sooth even as the townsfolk long for fat
birds and eat of them and love not lean birds, so do the sons of Adam
desire fat meat and eat of it. How many vauntful attributes are there
not in fatness, and how well saith the poet,

'Farewell thy love, for see, the Cafilah's[FN#371] on the move: *

     O man, canst bear to say adieu and leave thy love?

'Tis as her going were to seek her neighbour's tent, * The gait

     of fat fair maid, whom hearts shall all approve.'

Sawest thou ever one stand before a flesher's stall but sought of him
fat flesh? The wise say, 'Joyance is in three things, eating meat and
riding meat and putting meat into meat.'[FN#372] As for thee, O thin
one, thy calves are like the shanks of sparrows or the pokers of
furnaces; and thou art a cruciform plank of a piece of flesh poor and
rank; there is naught in thee to gladden the heart; even as saith the

'With Allah take I refuge from whatever driveth me * To bed with

     one like footrasp[FN#373] or the roughest ropery:

In every limb she hath a horn that butteth me whene'er * I fain

     would rest, so morn and eve I wend me wearily.'

Quoth her master, 'Sit thee down: this much sufficeth.' So she sat down
and he signed to the slender girl, who rose, as she were a willow-wand,
or a rattan-frond or a stalk of sweet basil, and said: 'Praised be
Allah who created me and beautified me and made my embraces the end of
all desire and likened me to the branch, whereto all hearts incline. If
I rise, I rise lightly; if I sit, I sit prettily; I am nimble-witted at
a jest and merrier-souled than mirth itself. Never heard I one describe
his mistress, saying, 'My beloved is the bigness of an elephant or like
a mountain long and broad;' but rather, 'My lady hath a slender waist
and a slim shape.'[FN#374] Furthermore a little food filleth me and a
little water quencheth my thirst; my sport is agile and my habit
active; for I am sprightlier than the sparrow and lighter-skipping than
the starling. My favours are the longing of the lover and the delight
of the desirer; for I am goodly of shape, sweet of smile and graceful
as the bending willow-wand or the rattan-cane[FN#375] or the stalk of
the basil- plant; nor is there any can compare with me in loveliness,
even as saith one of me,

'Thy shape with willow branch I dare compare, * And hold thy

     figure as my fortunes fair:

I wake each morn distraught, and follow thee, * And from the

     rival's eye in fear I fare.'

It is for the like of me that amourists run mad and that those who
desire me wax distracted. If my lover would draw me to him, I am drawn
to him; and if he would have me incline to him, I incline to him and
not against him. But now, as for thee, O fat of body, thine eating is
the feeding of an elephant, and neither much nor little filleth thee.
When thou liest with a man who is lean, he hath no ease of thee; nor
can he anyways take his pleasure of thee; for the bigness of thy belly
holdeth him off from going in unto thee and the fatness of thy thighs
hindereth him from coming at thy slit. What goodness is there in thy
grossness, and what courtesy or pleasantness in thy coarseness? Fat
flesh is fit for naught but the flasher, nor is there one point therein
that pleadeth for praise. If one joke with thee, thou art angry; if one
sport with thee, thou art sulky; if thou sleep, thou snorest if thou
walk, thou lollest out thy tongue! if thou eat, thou art never filled.
Thou art heavier than mountains and fouler than corruption and crime.
Thou hast in thee nor agility nor benedicite nor thinkest thou of aught
save meat and sleep. When thou pissest thou swishes"; if thou turd thou
gruntest like a bursten wine skin or an elephant transmogrified. If
thou go to the water closet, thou needest one to wash thy gap and pluck
out the hairs which overgrow it; and this is the extreme of sluggish
ness and the sign, outward and visible, of stupidity[FN#376] In short,
there is no good thing about thee, and indeed the poet Title of thee,

'Heavy and swollen like an urine-bladder blown, * With hips and

     thighs like mountain propping piles of stone;

Whene'er she walks in Western hemisphere, her tread * Makes the

     far Eastern world with weight to moan and groan.'

Quoth her master, 'Sit thee down, this sufficeth;' so she sat down and
he signed to the yellow girl, who rose to her feet and praised Allah
Almighty and magnified His name, calling down peace and blessing on
Mohammed the best of His creatures; after which she pointed her finger
at the brunette and said to her," And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of
day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Three Hundred and Thirty-seventh Night,

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that "the yellow
girl stood up and praised Almighty Allah and magnified His name; after
which she pointed her finger at the brown girl and said to her: 'I am
the one praised in the Koran, and the Compassionate hath described my
complexion and its excellence over all other hues in His manifest Book,
where Allah saith, 'A yellow, pure yellow, whose colour gladdeneth the
beholders.'[FN#377] Wherefore my colour is a sign and portent and my
grace is supreme and my beauty a term extreme; for that my tint is the
tint of a ducat and the colour of the planets and moons and the hue of
ripe apples. My fashion is the fashion of the fair, and the dye of
saffron outvieth all other dyes; so my semblance is wondrous and my
colour marvellous. I am soft of body and of high price, comprising all
qualities of beauty. My colour is essentially precious as virgin gold,
and how many boasts and glories cloth it not unfold! Of the like of me
quoth the poet,

'Her golden yellow is the sheeny sun's; * And like gold sequins

     she delights the sight:

Saffron small portion of her glance can show; * Nay,[FN#378] she

     outvies the moon when brightest bright.'

And I shall at once begin in thy dispraise, O berry-brown girl! Thy
tincture is that of the buffalo, and all souls shudder at thy sight. If
thy colour be in any created thing, it is blamed; if it be in food, it
is poisoned; for thy hue is the hue of the dung- fly; it is a mark of
ugliness even in dogs; and among the colours it is one which strikes
with amazement and is of the signs of mourning. Never heard I of brown
gold or brown pearls or brown gems. If thou enter the privy, thy colour
changeth, and when thou comest out, thou addest ugliness to ugliness.
Thou art a non- descript; neither black, that thou mayst be recognised,
nor white, that thou mayst be described; and in thee there is no good
quality, even as saith the poet,

'The hue of dusty motes is hers; that dull brown hue of hers * Is

     mouldy like the dust and mud by Cossid's foot


 I never look upon her brow, e'en for eye-twinkling's space, *

     But in brown study fall I and my thoughts take browner


Quoth her master, 'Sit thee down; this much sufficeth;' so she sat down
and he signed to the brunette. Now she was a model of beauty and
loveliness and symmetry and perfect grace; soft of skin, slim of shape,
of stature rare, and coal-black hair; with cheeks rosy-pink, eyes black
rimmed by nature's hand, face fair, and eloquent tongue; moreover
slender-waisted and heavy-hipped. So she rose and said: 'Praise be to
Allah who hath created me neither leper-white nor bile-yellow nor
charcoal-black, but hath made my colour to be beloved of men of wit and
wisdom, for all the poets extol berry-brown maids in every tongue and
exalt their colour over all other colours. To 'brown of hue (they say)
praise is due;' and Allah bless him who singeth,

'And in brunettes is mystery, could'st" thou but read it right, *

     Thy sight would never dwell on others, be they red or white:

Free-flowing conversation, amorous coquettishness * Would teach

     Hбrut himself a mightier spell of magic might.'

And saith another,

'Give me brunettes, so limber, lissom, lithe of sway, * Brunettes

     tall, slender straight like Samhar's nut-brown


Languid of eyelids and with silky down on either cheek, * Who

     fixed in lover's heart work to his life mischance.'

And yet another,

'Now, by my life, brown hue hath point of comeliness * Leaves

     whiteness nowhere and high o'er the Moon takes place;

But an of whiteness aught it borrowed self to deck, * 'Twould

     change its graces and would pale for its disgrace:

Not with his must[FN#381] I'm drunken, but his locks of musk *

     Are wine inebriating all of human race.

His charms are jealous each of each, and all desire * To be the

     down that creepeth up his lovely face.'

And again another,

'Why not incline me to that show of silky down, * On cheeks of

     dark brunette, like bamboo spiring brown?

Whenas high rank in beauty poets sing, they say * Brown ant-like

     specklet worn by nenuphar in crown.

And see I sundry lovers tear out others' eyne * For the brown

     mole beneath that jetty pupil shown,

Then why do censors blame me for one all a mole? * Allah I pray

     demolish each molesting clown!'[FN#382]

My form is all grace and my shape is built on heavy base; Kings desire
my colour which all adore, rich and poor. I am pleasant, active,
handsome, elegant, soft of skin and prized for price: eke I am perfect
in seemlibead and breeding and eloquence; my aspect is comely and my
tongue witty; my temper is bright and my play a pretty sight. As for
thee, thou art like unto a mallow growing about the Lъk Gate;[FN#383]
in hue sallow and streaked-yellow and made all of sulphur. Aroynt thee,
O copper-worth of jaundiced sorrel, O rust of brass-pot, O face of owl
in gloom, and fruit of the Hell-tree Zakkъm;[FN#384] whose bedfellow,
for heart-break, is buried in the tomb. And there is no good thing in
thee, even as saith the poet of the like of thee,

'Yellowness, tincturing her tho' nowise sick or sorry, *

     Straitens my hapless heart and makes my head sore ache;

An thou repent not, Soul! I'll punish thee with kissing[FN#385] *

     Her lower face that shall mine every grinder break!'

And when she ended her lines, quoth her master, 'Sit thee down, this
much sufficeth!'"—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased
saying her permitted say.

When it was the Three Hundred and Thirty-eighth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that "when the yellow
girl ended her recitation, quoth her master, 'Sit thee down; this much
sufficeth!' Then he made peace between them and clad them all in
sumptuous robes of honour and hanselled them with precious jewels of
land and sea. And never have I seen, O Commander of the Faithful, any
when or any where, aught fairer than these six damsels fair." Now when
Al-Maamun heard this story from Mohammed of Bassorah, he turned to him
and said, "O Mohammed, knowest thou the abiding-place of these damsels
and their master, and canst thou contrive to buy them of him for us?"
He answered, "O Commander of the Faithful, indeed I have heard that
their lord is wrapped up in them and cannot bear to be parted from
them." Rejoined the Caliph, "Take thee ten thousand gold pieces for
each girl, that is sixty thousand for the whole purchase; and carry the
coin to his house and buy them of him." So Mohammed of Bassorah took
the money and, betaking himself to the Man of Al-Yaman, acquainted him
with the wish of the Prince of True Believers. He consented to part
with them at that price to pleasure the Caliph; and despatched them to
Al-Maamun, who assigned them an elegant abode and therein used to sit
with them as cup-companions; marvelling at their beauty and loveliness,
at their varied colours and at the excellence of their conversation.
Thus matters stood for many a day; but, after awhile, when their former
owner could no longer bear to be parted from them, he sent a letter to
the Commander of the Faithful complaining to him of his own ardent
love-longing for them and containing, amongst other contents, these

"Captured me six, all bright with youthful blee; * Then on all

     six be best salams from me!

They are my hearing, seeing, very life; * My meat, my drink, my

     joy, my jollity:

I'll ne'er forget the favours erst so charmed * Whose loss hath

     turned my sleep to insomny:

Alack, O longsome pining and O tears! * Would I had farewelled

     all humanity:

Those eyes, with bowed and well arched eyebrows[FN#386] dight, *

     Like bows have struck me with their archery."

Now when the letter came to the hands of Al-Maamun, he robed the six
damsels in rich raiment; and, giving them threescore thousand dinars,
sent them back to their lord who joyed in them with exceeding
joy[FN#387] (more especially for the monies they brought him), and
abode with them in all the comfort and pleasance of life, till there
came to them the Destroyer of delights and the Severer of societies.
And men also recount the tale of


The Caliph, Commander of the Faithful, Harun al-Rashid, being one night
exceedingly restless and thoughtful with sad thought, rose from his
couch and walked about the by-ways of his palace, till he came to a
chamber, over whose doorway hung a curtain. He raised that curtain and
saw, at the upper end of the room, a bedstead whereon lay something
black, as it were a man asleep, with a wax taper on his right hand and
another on his left; and as the Caliph stood wondering at the sight,
behold, he remarked a flagon full of old wine whose mouth was covered
by the cup. The Caliph wondered even more at this, saying, "How came
this black by such wine-service?" Then, drawing near the bedstead, he
found that it was a girl lying asleep there, curtained by her hair; so
he uncovered her face and saw that it was like the moon, on the night
of his fulness.[FN#388] So the Caliph filled himself a cup of wine and
drank it to the roses of her cheeks; and, feeling inclined to enjoy
her, kissed a mole on her face, whereupon she started up from sleep,
and cried out, "O Trusted of Allah,[FN#389] what may this be?" Replied
he, "A guest who knocketh at thy door, hoping that thou wilt give him
hospitality till the dawn;" and she answered; "Even so! I will serve
him with my hearing and my sight." So she brought forward the wine and
they drank together, after which she took the lute and tuning the
strings, preluded in one-and-twenty modes, then returning to the first,
played a lively measure and sang these couplets,

"The tongue of love from heart bespeaks my sprite, * Telling I

     love thee with love infinite:

I have an eye bears witness to my pain, * And fluttering heart

     sore hurt by parting-plight.

I cannot hide the love that harms my life; * Tears ever roll and

     growth of pine I sight:

I knew not what love was ere loving thee; * But Allah's destiny

     to all is dight."

And when her verses were ended she said, "O Commander of the Faithful,
I have been wronged!"—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and
ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Three Hundred and Thirty-ninth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the damsel cried,
"O Commander of the Faithful, I have been wronged!" Quoth he, "How so,
and who hath wronged thee?" Quoth she "Thy son bought me awhile ago,
for ten thousand dirhams, meaning to give me to thee; but thy wife, the
daughter of thine uncle, sent him the said price and bade him shut me
up from thee in this chamber." Whereupon said the Caliph, "Ask a boon
of me," and she, "I ask thee to lie with me to-morrow night." Replied
the Caliph, "Inshallah!" and leaving her, went away. Now as soon as it
was morning, he repaired to his sitting-room and called for Abu Nowas,
but found him not and sent his chamberlain to ask after him. The
chamberlain found him in a tavern, pawned and pledged for a score of a
thousand dirhams, which he had spent on a certain beardless youth, and
questioned him of his case. So he told him what had betided him with
the comely boy and how he had spent upon him a thousand silver pieces;
whereupon quoth the chamberlain, "Show him to me; and if he be worth
this, thou art excused." He answered, "Patience, and thou shalt see him
presently.' As they were talking together, up came the lad, clad in a
white tunic, under which was another of red and under this yet another
black. Now when Abu Nowas saw him, he sighed a loud sigh and improvised
these couplets,

"He showed himself in shirt of white, * With eyes and eyelids


Quoth I, 'Doss pass and greet me not? * Though were thy greeting

     a delight?

Blest He who clothed in rose thy cheeks, * Creates what wills He

     by His might!'

Quoth he, 'Leave prate, forsure my Lord * Of works is wondrous


My garment's like my face and luck; * All three are white on

     white on white.'"

When the beardless one heard these words, he doffed the white tunic and
appeared in the red; and when Abu Nowas saw him he redoubled in
expressions of admiration and repeated these couplets,

"He showed in garb anemone-red, * A foeman 'friend' entitulиd:

Quoth I in marvel, 'Thou'rt full moon * Whose weed shames rose

     however red:

Hath thy cheek stained it red, or hast * Dyed it in blood by

     lovers bled?'

Quoth he, 'Sol gave me this for shirt * When hasting down the

     West to bed

So garb and wine and hue of cheek * All three are red on red on


And when the verses came to an end, the beardless one doffed the red
tunic and stood in the black; and, when Abu Nowas saw him, he redoubled
in attention to him and versified in these couplets,

"He came in sable-huиd sacque * And shone in dark men's heart to


Quoth I, 'Doss pass and greet me not? * Joying the hateful

     envious pack?

Thy garment's like thy locks and like * My lot, three blacks on

     black on black.'"

Seeing this state of things and understanding the case of Abu Nowas and
his love-longing, the Chamberlain returned to the Caliph and acquainted
him therewith; so he bade him pouch a thousand dirhams and go and take
him out of pawn. Thereupon the Chamberlain returned to Abu Nowas and,
paying his score, carried him to the Caliph, who said, "Make me some
verses containing the words, O Trusted of Allah, what may this be?"
Answered he, "I hear and I obey, O Commander of the Faithful."—And
Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted

When it was the Three Hundred and Fortieth Night,

She said, it hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Abu Nowas
answered, "I hear and I obey, O Commander of the Faithful!" and
forthwith he improvised these couplets,

"Long was my night for sleepless misery; * Weary of body and of

     thought ne'er free:

I rose and in my palace walked awhile, * Then wandered thro' the

     halls of Haremry:

Till chanced I on a blackness, which I found * A white girl hid

     in hair for napery:

Here to her for a moon of brightest sheen! * Like willow-wand and

     veiled in pudency:

I quaffed a cup to her; then drew I near, * And kissed the

     beauty-spot on cheek had she:

She woke astart, and in her sleep's amaze, * Swayed as the

     swaying branch in rain we see;

Then rose and said to me, 'O Trusted One * Of Allah, O Amin, what

     may this be?

Quoth I, 'A guest that cometh to thy tents * And craves till morn

     thy hospitality.'

She answered, 'Gladly I, my lord, will grace * And honour such a

     guest with ear and eye.'"

Cried the Caliph, "Allah strike thee dead! it is as if thou hadst been
present with us.''[FN#390] Then he took him by the hand and carried him
to the damsel and, when Abu Nowas saw her clad in a dress and veil of
blue, he expressed abundant admiration and improvised these couplets,

"Say to the pretty one in veil of blue, * 'By Allah, O my life,

     have ruth on dole!

For, when the fair entreats her lover foul, * Sighs rend his

     bosom and bespeak his soul

By charms of thee and whitest cheek I swear thee, * Pity a heart

     for love lost all control

Bend to him, be his stay 'gainst stress of love, * Nor aught

     accept what saith the ribald fool.'"

Now when he ended his verse, the damsel set wine before the Caliph;
and, taking the lute, played a lively measure and sang these couplets,

"Wilt thou be just to others in thy love, and do * Unright, and

     put me off, and take new friend in lieu?

Had lovers Kazi unto whom I might complain * Of thee, he'd

     peradventure grant the due I sue:

If thou forbid me pass your door, yet I afar * Will stand, and

     viewing you waft my salams to you!"

The Caliph bade her ply Abu Nowas with wine, till he lost his right
senses, thereupon he gave him a full cup, and he drank a draught of it
and held the cup in his hand till he slept. Then the Commander of the
Faithful bade the girl take the cup from his grasp and hide it; so she
took it and set it between her thighs, moreover he drew his scymitar
and, standing at the head of Abu Nowas, pricked him with the point;
whereupon he awoke and saw the drawn sword and the Caliph standing over
him. At this sight the fumes of the wine fled from his head and the
Caliph said to him, "Make me some verses and tell me therein what is
become of thy cup; or I will cut off thy head." So he improvised these

"My tale, indeed, is tale unlief; * 'Twas yonder fawn who play'd

     the thief!

She stole my cup of wine, before * The sips and sups had dealt


And hid it in a certain place, * My heart's desire and longing


I name it not, for dread of him * Who hath of it command-in-


Quoth the Caliph, "Allah strike thee dead![FN#391] How knewest thou
that? But we accept what thou sayst." Then he ordered him a dress of
honour and a thousand dinars, and he went away rejoicing. And among
tales they tell is one of


Sometime erst there was a man, who had accumulated debts, and his case
was straitened upon him, so that he left his people and family and went
forth in distraction; and he ceased not wandering on at random till he
came after a time to a city tall of walls and firm of foundations. He
entered it in a state of despondency and despair, harried by hunger and
worn with the weariness of his way. As he passed through one of the
main streets, he saw a company of the great going along; so he followed
them till they reached a house like to a royal-palace. He entered with
them, and they stayed not faring forwards till they came in presence of
a person seated at the upper end of a saloon, a man of the most
dignified and majestic aspect, surrounded by pages and eunuchs, as he
were of the sons of the Wazirs.When he saw the visitors, he rose to
greet them and received them with honour; but the poor man aforesaid
was confounded at his own boldness, when beholding——And Shahrazad
perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Three Hundred and Forty-first Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the poor man
aforesaid was confounded at his own boldness, when beholding the
goodliness of the place and the crowd of servants and attendants; so
drawing back, in perplexity and fear for his life sat down apart in a
place afar off. where none should see him. Now it chanced that whilst
he was sitting, behold, in came a man with four sporting-dogs, whereon
were various kinds of raw silk and brocade[FN#392] and wearing round
their necks collars of gold with chains of silver, and tied up each dog
in a place set privy for him; after which he went out and presently
returned with four dishes of gold, full of rich meats, which he set
severally before the dogs, one for each. Then he went away and left
them, whilst the poor man began to eye the food, for stress of hunger,
and longed to go up to one of the dogs and eat with him, but fear of
them withheld him. Presently, one of the dogs looked at him and Allah
Almighty inspired the dog with a knowledge of his case; so he drew back
from the platter and signed to the man, who came and ate till he was
filled. Then he would have withdrawn, but the dog again signed to him
to take for himself the dish and what food was left in it, and pushed
it towards him with his fore-paw. So the man took the dish and leaving
the house, went his way, and none followed him. Then he journeyed to
another city where he sold the dish and buying with the price a
stock-in-trade, returned to his own town. There he sold his goods and
paid his debts; and he throve and became affluent and rose to perfect
prosperity. He abode in his own land; but after some years had passed
he said to himself, "Needs must I repair to the city of the owner of
the dish, and, carry him a fit and handsome present and pay him the
money-value of that which his dog bestowed upon me." So he took the
price of the dish and a suitable gift; and, setting out, journeyed day
and night, till he came to that city; he entered it and sought the
place where the man lived; but he found there naught save ruins
mouldering in row and croak of crow, and house and home desolate and
all conditions in changed state. At this, his heart and soul were
troubled, and he repeated the saying of him who saith,

"Void are the private rooms of treasury: * As void were hearts of

     fear and piety:

Changed is the Wady nor are its gazelles * Those fawns, nor sand-

    hills those I wont to see."

And that of another,

"In sleep came Su'adб's[FN#393] shade and wakened me * Near dawn,

     when comrades all a-sleeping lay:

But waking found I that the shade was fled, * And saw air empty

     and shrine far away."

Now when the man saw these mouldering ruins and witnessed what the hand
of time had manifestly done with the place, leaving but traces of the
substantial-things that erewhiles had been, a little reflection made it
needless for him to enquire of the case; so he turned away. Presently,
seeing a wretched man, in a plight which made him shudder and feel
goose-skin, and which would have moved the very rock to rush, he said
to him, "Ho thou! What have time and fortune done with the lord of this
place? Where are his lovely faces, his shining full moons and splendid
stars; and what is the cause of the ruin that is come upon his abode,
so that nothing save the walls thereof remain?" Quoth the other, "He is
the miserable thou seest mourning that which hath left him naked. But
knowest thou not the words of the Apostle (whom Allah bless and keep!),
wherein is a lesson to him who will learn by it and a warning to whoso
will be warned thereby and guided in the right way, 'Verily it is the
way of Allah Almighty to raise up nothing of this world, except He cast
it down again?'[FN#394] If thou question of the cause of this accident,
indeed it is no wonder, considering the chances and changes of Fortune.
I was the lord of this place and I builded it and founded it and owned
it; and I was the proud possessor of its full moons lucent and its
circumstance resplendent and its damsels radiant and its garniture
magnificent, but Time turned and did away from me wealth and servants
and took from me what it had lent (not given); and brought upon me
calamities which it held in store hidden. But there must needs be some
reason for this thy question: so tell it me and leave wondering."
Thereupon, the man who had waxed wealthy being sore concerned, told him
the whole story, and added, "I have brought thee a present, such as
souls desire, and the price of thy dish of gold which I took; for it
was the cause of my affluence after poverty, and of the replenishment
of my dwelling-place, after desolation, and of the dispersion of my
trouble and straitness." But the man shook his head, and weeping and
groaning and complaining of his lot answered, "Ho thou! methinks thou
art mad; for this is not the way of a man of sense. How should a dog of
mine make generous gift to thee of a dish of gold and I meanly take
back the price of what a dog gave? This were indeed a strange thing!
Were I in extremest unease and misery, by Allah, I would not accept of
thee aught; no, not the worth of a nail-paring! So return whence thou
camest in health and safety."[FN#395] Whereupon the merchant kissed his
feet and taking leave of him, returned whence he came, praising him and
reciting this couplet,

"Men and dogs together are all gone by, * So peace be with all of them!
dogs and men!'

And Allah is All knowing! Again men tell the tale of


There was once in the coast-fortress of Alexandria, a Chief of Police,
Husбm al-Din highs, the sharp Scymitar of the Faith. Now one night as
he sat in his seat of office, behold, there came in to him a
trooper-wight who said, "Know, O my lord the Chief, that I entered your
city this night and alighted at such a khan and slept there till a
third part of the night was past when I awoke and found my saddle-bags
sliced open and a purse of a thousand gold pieces stolen from them." No
sooner had he done speaking than the Chief summoned his chief officials
and bade them lay hands on all in the khan and clap them in limbo till
the morning; and on the morrow, he caused bring the rods and whips used
in punishment, and, sending for the prisoners, was about to flog them
till they confessed in the presence of the owner of the stolen money
when, lo! a man broke through the crowd till he came up to the Chief of
Police,—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her
permitted say.

When it was the Three Hundred and Forty-second Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Chief was
about to flog them when lo! a man broke through the crowd till he came
up to the Chief of Police and the trooper and said; "Ho! Emir, let
these folk go, for they are wrongously accused. It was I who robbed
this trooper, and see, here is the purse I stole from his saddle-bags."
So saying, he pulled out the purse from his sleeve and laid it before
Husam al-Din, who said to the soldier, "Take thy money and pouch it;
thou now hast no ground of complaint against the people of the khan."
Thereupon these folk and all who were present fell to praising the
thief and blessing him; but he said, "Ho! Emir, the skill is not in
that I came to thee in person and brought thee the purse; the
cleverness was in taking it a second time from this trooper." Asked the
Chief, "And how didst thou do to take it, O sharper?"; and the robber
replied, "O Emir, I was standing in the Shroff's[FN#396] bazar at
Cairo, when I saw this soldier receive the gold in change and put it in
yonder purse; so I followed him from by-street to by- street, but found
no occasion of stealing it. Then he travelled from Cairo and I followed
him from town to town, plotting and planning by the way to rob him, but
without avail, till he entered this city and I dogged him to the khan.
I took up my lodging beside him and watched him till he fell asleep and
I heard him sleeping; when I went up to him softly, softly; and I slit
open his saddle-bags with this knife, and took the purse in the way I
am now taking it." So saying, he put out his hand and took the purse
from before the Chief of Police and the trooper, both of whom, together
with the folk, drew back watching him and thinking he would show them
how he took the purse from the saddle-bags. But, behold! he suddenly
broke into a run and threw himself into a pool of standing
water[FN#397] hard by. So the Chief of the Police shouted to his
officers, "Stop thief!" and many made after him; but before they could
doff their clothes and descend the steps, he had made off; and they
sought for him, but found him not; for that the by-streets and lanes of
Alexandria all communicate. So they came back without bringing the
purse; and the Chief of Police said to the trooper, "Thou hast no
demand upon the folk; for thou fondest him who robbed thee and
receivedst back thy money, but didst not keep it." So the trooper went
away, having lost his money, whilst the folk were delivered from his
hands and those of the Chief of Police, and all this was of the favour
of Almighty Allah.[FN#398] And they also tell the tale of


Once upon a time Al-Malik al-Nбsir[FN#399] sent for the Wбlis or Chiefs
of Police of Cairo, Bulak, and Fostat[FN#400] and said to them, "I
desire each of you to recount me the marvellousest thing that hath
befallen him during his term of office."—And Shahrazad perceived the
dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Three Hundred and Forty-third Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that quoth Al-Malik
al-Nasir to the three Walis, "I desire each of you to recount me the
marvellousest thing which hath befallen him during his term of office."
So they answered, "We hear and we obey." Then said the Chief of the
Police of Cairo, "Know thou, O our lord the Sultan, the most wonderful
thing that befel me, during my term of office, was on this wise:" and
he began

The Story of the Chief of Police of Cairo.

"There were in this city two men of good repute fit to bear
witness[FN#401] in matters of murder and wounds; but they were both
secretly addicted to intrigues with low women and to wine- bibbing and
to dissolute doings, nor could I succeed (do what I would) in bringing
them to book, and I began to despair of success. So I charged the
taverners and confectioners and fruiterers and candle-chandlers and the
keepers of brothels and bawdy houses to acquaint me of these two good
men whenever they should anywhere be engaged in drinking or other
debauchery, or together or apart; and ordered that, if they both or if
either of them bought at their shops aught for the purpose of wassail
and carousel, the vendors should not conceal-it from me. And they
replied, 'We hear and obey.' Presently it chanced that one night, a man
came to me and said, 'O my master, know that the two just men, the two
witnesses, are in such a street in such a house, engaged in abominable
wickedness.' So I disguised myself, I and my body-servant, and ceased
not trudging till I came to the house and knocked at the door,
whereupon a slave-girl came out and opened to me, saying, 'Who art
thou?' I entered without answering her and saw the two legal-witnesses
and the house-master sitting, and lewd women by their side and before
them great plenty of wine. When they saw me, they rose to receive me,
and made much of me, seating me in the place of honour and saying to
me, 'Welcome for an illustrious guest and well come for a pleasant cup-
companion!' And on this wise they met me without showing a sign of
alarm or trouble. Presently, the master of the house arose from amongst
us and went out and returned after a while with three hundred dinars,
when the men said to me, without the least fear, 'Know, O our lord the
Wali, it is in thy power to do even more than disgrace and punish us;
but this will bring thee in return nothing but weariness: so we reck
thou wouldest do better to take this much money and protect us; for
Almighty Allah is named the Protector and loveth those of His servants
who protect their Moslem neighbours; and thou shalt have thy reward in
this world and due recompense in the world to come.' So I said to
myself, 'I will take the money and protect them this once, but, if ever
again I have them in my power, I will take my wreak of them;' for, you
see, the money had tempted me. Thereupon I took it and went away
thinking that no one would know it; but, next day, on a sudden one of
the Kazi's messengers came to me and said to me, 'O Wali, be good
enough to answer the summons of the Kazi who wanteth thee.' So I arose
and accompanied him, knowing not the meaning of all this; and when I
came into the judge's presence, I saw the two witnesses and the master
of the house, who had given me the money, sitting by his side.
Thereupon this man rose and sued me for three hundred dinars, nor was
it in my power to deny the debt; for he produced a written obligation
and his two companions, the legal witnesses, testified against me that
I owed the amount. Their evidence satisfied the Kazi and he ordered me
to pay the sum, nor did I leave the Court till they had of me the three
hundred gold pieces. So I went away, in the utmost wrath and shame,
vowing mischief and vengeance against them and repenting that I had not
punished them. Such, then is the most remarkable event which befel me
during my term of office." Thereupon rose the Chief of the Bulak Police
and said, "As for me, O our lord the Sultan, the most marvellous thing
that happened to me, since I became Wali, was as follows:" and he began

The Story of the Chief of the Bulak Police.

"I was once in debt to the full amount of three hundred thousand gold
pieces;[FN#402] and, being distressed thereby, I sold all that was
behind me and what was before me and all I hent in hand, but I could
collect no more than an hundred thousand dinars"—And Shahrazad
perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Three Hundred and Forty-fourth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Wali of Bulak
continued: "So I sold all that was behind and before me, but could
collect no more than an hundred thousand dinars and remained in great
perplexity. Now one night, as I sat at home in this state, behold,
there came a knocking; so I said to one of my servants, 'See who is at
the door.' He went out and returned, wan of face, changed in
countenance and with his side-muscles a- quivering; so I asked him,
'What aileth thee?'; and he answered, 'There is a man at the door; he
is half naked, clad in skins, with sword in hand and knife in girdle,
and with him are a company of the same fashion and he asketh for thee.'
So I took my sword and going out to see who these were, behold, I found
them as the boy had reported and said to them, 'What is your business?'
They replied, 'Of a truth we be thieves and have done fine work this
night; so we appointed the swag to thy use, that thou mayst pay
therewith the debts which sadden thee and deliver thee from thy
distress.' Quoth I, 'Where is the plunder?'; and they brought me a
great chest, full of vessels of gold and silver; which when I saw, I
rejoiced and said to myself, 'Herewith I will settle all claims upon me
and there will remain as much again.' So I took the money and going
inside said in my mind, 'It were ignoble to let them fare away
empty-handed.' Whereupon I brought out the hundred thousand dinars I
had by me and gave it to them, thanking them for their kindness; and
they pouched the monies and went their way, under cover of the night so
that none might know of them. But when morning dawned I examined the
contents of the chest, and found them copper and tin[FN#403] washed
with gold worth five hundred dirhams at the most; and this was grievous
to me, for I had lost what monies I had and trouble was added to my
trouble. Such, then, is the most remarkable event which befel me during
my term of office." Then rose the Chief of the Police of Old Cairo and
said, "O our lord the Sultan, the most marvellous thing that happened
to me, since I became Wali, was on this wise;" and he began

The Story of the Chief of the Old Cairo Police.

"I once hanged ten thieves each on his own gibbet, and especially
charged the guards to watch them and hinder the folk from taking any
one of them down. Next morning when I came to look at them, I found two
bodies hanging from one gallows and said to the guards, 'Who did this,
and where is the tenth gibbet?' But they denied all knowledge of it,
and I was about to beat them till they owned the truth, when they said,
'Know, O Emir, that we fell asleep last night, and when we awoke, we
found that some one had stolen one of the bodies, gibbet and all; so we
were alarmed and feared thy wrath. But, behold, up came a
peasant-fellow driving his ass; whereupon we laid hands on him and
killed him and hanged his body upon this gallows, in the stead of the
thief who had been stolen.'[FN#404] Now when I heard this, I marvelled
and asked them, 'What had he with him?'; and they answered, 'He had a
pair of saddle-bags on the ass.' Quoth I, 'What was in them?'; quoth
they, 'We know not.' So I said, 'Bring them hither;' and when they
brought them to me I bade open them, behold, therein was the body of a
murdered man, cut in pieces. Now as soon as I saw this, I marvelled at
the case and said in myself, 'Glory to God! The cause of the hanging of
this peasant was none other but his crime against this murdered man;
and thy Lord is not unjust towards His servants.'"[FN#405] And men also
tell the tale of


A certain Shroff, bearing a bag of gold pieces, once passed by a
company of thieves, and one of these sharpers said to the others, "I,
and I only, have the power to steal yonder purse." So they asked, "How
wilt thou do it?"; and he answered, "Look ye all!"; and followed the
money-changer, till he entered his house, when he threw the bag on a
shelf[FN#406] and, being affected with diabetes, went into the chapel
of ease to do his want, calling to the slave-girl, "Bring me an ewer of
water." She took the ewer and followed him to the privy, leaving the
door open, whereupon the thief entered and, seizing the money-bag, made
off with it to his companions, to whom he told what had passed.—And
Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted

When it was the Three Hundred and Forty-fifth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the thief took
the money-bag and made off with it to his companions to whom he told
what had passed. Said they, "By Allah, thou hast played a clever trick!
''tis not every one could do it; but, presently the money-changer will
come out of the privy; and missing the bag of money, he will beat the
slave-girl and torture her with grievous torture. 'Tis as though thou
hast at present done nothing worthy of praise; so, if thou be indeed a
sharper, return and save the girl from being beaten and questioned."
Quoth he, ' Inshallah! I will save both girl and purse." Then the prig
went back to the Shroff's house and found him punishing the girl
because of the purse; so he knocked at the door and the man said, "Who
is there?" Cried the thief, "I am the servant of thy neighbour in the
Exchange;" whereupon he came out to him and said, "What is thy
business?" The thief replied, "My master saluteth thee and saith to
thee: 'Surely thou art deranged and thoroughly so, to cast the like of
this bag of money down at the door of thy shop and go away and leave
it.' Had a stranger hit upon it he had made off with it and, except my
master had seen it and taken care of it, it had assuredly been lost to
thee." So saying, he pulled out the purse and showed it to the Shroff
who on seeing it said, "That is my very purse," and put out his hand to
take it; but the thief said, "By Allah, I will not give thee this same,
till thou write me a receipt declaring that thou hast received it! for
indeed I fear my master will not believe that thou hast recovered the
purse, unless I bring him thy writing to that effect, and sealed with
thy signet-seal." The money changer went in to write the paper
required; and in the meantime the thief made off with the bag of money
and thus was the slave-girl saved her beating. And men also tell a tale


It is related that Alб al-Dнn, Chief of Police at Kъs,[FN#407] was
sitting one night in his house, when behold, a personage of handsome
appearance and dignified aspect came to the door, accompanied by a
servant bearing a chest upon his head and, standing there said to one
of the Wali's young men, "Go in and tell the Emir that I would have
audience of him on some privy business." So the servant went in and
told his master, who bade admit the visitor. When he entered, the Emir
saw him to be a man of handsome semblance and portly presence; so he
received him with honour and high distinction, seating him beside
himself, and said to him, "What is thy wish?" Replied the stranger, "I
am a highwayman and am minded to repent at thy hands and turn to
Almighty Allah; but I would have thee help me to this, for that I am in
thy district and under thine inspection. Now I have here a chest,
wherein are matters worth some forty thousand dinars; and none hath so
good a right to it as thou; so do thou take it and give me in exchange
a thousand dinars, of thine own monies lawfully gotten, that I may have
a little capital, to aid me in my repentance,[FN#408] and save me from
resorting to sin for my subsistence; and with Allah Almighty be thy
reward!" Speaking thus he opened the chest and showed the Wali that it
was full of trinkets and jewels and bullion and ring-gems and pearls,
whereat he was amazed and rejoiced with great joy. So he cried out to
his treasurer, saying, "Bring hither a certain purse containing a
thousand dinars,"—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to
say her permitted say.

When it was the Three Hundred and Forty-sixth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Wali cried
out to his treasurer, saying "Bring hither a certain purse containing a
thousand dinars; and gave it to the highwayman, who took it and
thanking him, went his way under cover of the night. Now when it was
the morrow, the Emir sent for the chief of the goldsmiths and showed
him the chest and what was therein; but the goldsmith found it nothing
but tin and brass, and the jewels and bezel stones and pearls all of
glass; whereat the Wali was sore chagrined and sent in quest of the
highwayman; but none could come at him. And men also tell the tale of


The Caliph Al-Maamъn once said to his uncle Ibrahim bin Al-Mahdн, "Tell
us the most remarkable thing that thou hast ever seen." Answered he: "I
hear and obey, O Commander of the Faithful. Know that I rode out one
day, a-pleasuring, and my ride brought me to a place where I smelt the
reek of food. So my soul longed for it and I halted, O Prince of True
Believers, perplexed and unable either to go on or to go in. Presently,
I raised my eyes and lo! I espied a lattice-window and behind it a
wrist, than which I never beheld aught lovelier. The sight turned my
brain and I forgot the smell of the food and began to plan and plot how
I should get access to the house. After awhile, I observed a tailor
hard by and going up to him, saluted him. He returned my salam and I
asked him, 'Whose house is that?' And he answered, 'It belongeth to a
merchant called such an one, son of such an one, who consorteth with
none save merchants.' As we were talking, behold, up came two men, of
comely aspect with intelligent countenances, riding on horseback; and
the tailor told me that they were the merchant's most intimate friends
and acquainted me with their names. So I urged my beast towards them
and said to them, 'Be I your ransom! Abu Fulбn[FN#409] awaiteth you!';
and I rode with them both to the gate, where I entered and they also.
Now when the master of the house saw me with them he doubted not but I
was their friend; so he welcomed me and seated me in the highest stead.
Then they brought the table of food and I said in myself, 'Allah hath
granted me my desire of the food; and now there remain the hand and the
wrist.' After awhile, we removed for carousel to another room, which I
found tricked out with all manner of rarities; and the host paid me
particular attention, addressing his talk to me, for that he took me to
be a guest of his guests; whilst in like manner these two made much of
me, taking me for a friend of their friend the house-master. Thus I was
the object of politest attentions till we had drunk several cups of
wine and there came into us a damsel as she were a willow wand of the
utmost beauty and elegance, who took a lute and playing a lively
measure, sang these couplets,

'Is it not strange one house us two contain * And still thou

     draw'st not near, or talk we twain?

Only our eyes tell secrets of our souls, * And broken hearts by

     lovers' fiery pain;

Winks with the eyelids, signs the eyebrow knows; * Languishing

     looks and hand saluting fain.'

When I heard these words my vitals were stirred, O Commander of the
Faithful, and I was moved to delight, for her excessive loveliness and
the beauty of the verses she sang; and I envied her her skill and said,
'There lacketh somewhat to thee, O damsel!' Whereupon she threw the
lute from her hand in anger, and cried, 'Since when are ye wont to
bring ill-mannered louts into your assemblies?' Then I repented of what
I had done, seeing the company vexed with me, and I said in my mind,
'My hopes are lost by me'; and I weeted no way of escaping blame but to
call for a lute, saying, 'I will show you what escaped her in the air
she played.' Quoth the folk, 'We hear and obey'; so they brought me a
lute and I tuned the strings and sang these verses,

'This is thy friend perplexed for pain and pine, * Th' enamoured,

     down whose breast course drops of brine:

He hath this hand to the Compassionate raised * For winning wish,

     and that on hearts is lien:

O thou who seest one love-perishing, * His death is caused by

     those hands and eyne!'[FN#410]

Whereupon the damsel sprang up and throwing herself at my feet, kissed
them and said, 'It is thine to excuse, O my Master! By Allah, I knew
not thy quality nor heard I ever the like of this performance!' And all
began extolling me and making much of me, being beyond measure
delighted' and at last they besought me to sing again. So I sang a
merry air, whereupon they all became drunken with music and wine, their
wits left them and they were carried off to their homes, while I abode
alone with the host and the girl. He drank some cups with me and then
said, 'O my lord, my life hath been lived in vain for that I have not
known the like of thee till the present. Now, by Allah, tell me who
thou art, that I may ken who is the cup-companion whom Allah hath
bestowed on me this night.' At first I returned him evasive answers and
would not tell him my name; but he conjured me till I told him who I
was, whereupon he sprang to his feet"—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn
of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Three Hundred and Forty-seventh Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Ibrahim son of
Al-Mahdi continued: "Now when the housemaster heard my name he sprang
to his feet and said, 'Indeed I wondered that such gifts should belong
to any but the like of thee; and Fortune hath done me a good turn for
which I cannot thank her too much. But, haply, this is a dream; for how
could I hope that one of the Caliphate house should visit my humble
home and carouse with me this night?' I conjured him to be seated; so
he sat down and began to question me as to the cause of my visit in the
most courteous terms. So I told him the whole affair, first and last,
hiding naught, and said to him, 'Now as to the food I have had my will,
but of the hand and wrist I have still to win my wish.' Quoth he, 'Thou
shalt have thy desire of the hand and wrist also, Inshallah!' Then said
he to the slave-girl, 'Ho, such an one, bid such an one come down.' And
he called his slave-girls down, one by one and showed them to me; but I
saw not my mistress among them, and he said, 'O my lord, there is none
left save my mother and sister; but, by Allah, I must needs have them
also down and show them to thee.' So I marvelled at his courtesy and
large heartedness and said, 'May I be thy sacrifice! Begin with the
sister;' and he answered, 'With joy and goodwill.' So she came down and
he showed me her hand and behold, she was the owner of the hand and
wrist. Quoth I, 'Allah make me thy ransom! this is the damsel whose
hand and wrist I saw at the lattice.' Then he sent his servants without
stay or delay for witnesses and bringing out two myriads[FN#411] of
gold pieces, said to the witnesses, 'This our lord and master, Ibrahim
son of Al-Mahdi, paternal-uncle of the Commander of the Faithful,
seeketh in marriage my sister such an one; and I call you to witness
that I give her in wedlock to him and that he hath settled upon her ten
thousand dinars.' And he said to me, 'I give thee my sister in
marriage, at the portion aforesaid.' 'I consent,' answered I, 'and am
herewith content.' Whereupon he gave one of the bags to her and the
other to the witnesses, and said to me, 'O our lord, I desire to adorn
a chamber for thee, where thou mayst sleep with thy wife.' But I was
abashed at his generosity and was ashamed to lie with her in his house;
so I said, 'Equip her and send her to my place.' And by thy being, O
Commander of the Faithful, he sent me with her such an equipage that my
house, for all its greatness, was too strait to hold it! And I begot on
her this boy that standeth in thy presence." Then Al-Maamun marvelled
at the man's generosity and said, "Gifted of Allah is he! Never heard I
of his like." And he bade Ibrahim bin al-Mahdi bring him to court, that
he might see him. He brought him and the Caliph conversed with him; and
his wit and good breeding so pleased him that he made him one of his
chief officers. And Allah is the Giver, the Bestower! Men also relate
the tale of


A certain King once made proclamation to the people of his realm
saying, "If any of you give alms of aught, I will verily and assuredly
cut off his hand;" wherefore all the people abstained from alms-deed,
and none could give anything to any one. Now it chanced that one day a
beggar accosted a certain woman (and indeed hunger was sore upon him),
and said to her, "Give me an alms"—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of
day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was Three Hundred and Forty-eighth Night

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that, quoth the beggar
to the woman, "Give me an alms however small." But she answered him,
"How can I give thee aught, when the King cutteth off the hands of all
who give alms?" Then he said, "I conjure thee by Allah Almighty, give
me an alms;" so when he adjured her by the Holy Name of Allah, she had
ruth on him and gave him two scones. The King heard of this; whereupon
he called her before him and cut off her hands, after which she
returned to her house. Now it chanced after a while that the King said
to his mother, "I have a mind to take a wife; so do thou marry me to a
fair woman." Quoth she, "There is among our female slaves one who is
unsurpassed in beauty; but she hath a grievous blemish." The King
asked, "What is that?" and his mother answered, "She hath had both her
hands cut off." Said he, "Let me see her." So she brought her to him,
and he was ravished by her and married her and went in unto her; and
begat upon her a son. Now this was the woman who had given two scones
as an alms to the asker, and whose hands had been cut off therefor; and
when the King married her, her fellow-wives envied her and wrote to the
common husband that she was an unchaste, having just given birth to the
boy; so he wrote to his mother, bidding her carry the woman into the
desert and leave her there. The old Queen obeyed his commandment and
abandoned the woman and her son in the desert; whereupon she fell to
weeping for that which had befallen her and wailing with exceeding sore
wail. As she went along, she came to a river and knelt down to drink,
being overcome with excess of thirst, for fatigue of walking and for
grief; but, as she bent her head, the child which was at her neck fell
into the water. Then she sat weeping bitter tears for her child, and as
she wept, behold came up two men, who said to her, "What maketh thee
weep?" Quoth she, "I had a child at my neck, and he hath fallen into
the water." They asked, "Wilt thou that we bring him out to thee?" and
she answered, "Yes." So they prayed to Almighty Allah, and the child
came forth of the water to her, safe and sound. Then said they, "Wilt
thou that Allah restore thee thy hands as they were?" "Yes," replied
she: whereupon they prayed to Allah (extolled and exalted be He!) and
her hands were restored to her, goodlier than before. Then said they,
"Knowest thou who we are?"; and she replied, "Allah is all
knowing;"[FN#412] and they said, "We are thy two Scones of Bread, which
thou gayest in alms to the asker and which were the cause of the
cutting off of thy hands.[FN#413] So praise thou Allah Almighty for
that He hath restored to thee thy hands and thy child." Then she
praised Almighty Allah and glorified Him. And men relate a tale of


There was once a devout man of the Children of Israel,[FN#414] whose
family span cotton-thread; and he used every day to sell the yarn and
buy fresh cotton, and with the profit he laid in daily bread for his
household. One morning he went out and sold the day's yarn as wont,
when there met him one of his brethren, who complained to him of need;
so he gave him the price of the thread and returned, empty-handed, to
his family, who said to him, "Where is the cotton and the food?" Quoth
he, "Such an one met me and complained to me of want; whereupon I gave
him the price of the yarn." And they said, "How shall we do? We have
nothing to sell." Now they had a cracked trencher[FN#415] and a jar; so
he took them to the bazar but none would buy them of him. However
presently, as he stood in the market, there passed by a man with a
fish,—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her
permitted say.

When it was the Three Hundred and Forty-ninth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the man took the
trencher and jar to the bazar, but none would buy them of him. However
there presently passed by a man with a fish which was so stinking and
so swollen that no one would buy it of him, and he said to the Jew,
"Wilt thou sell me thine unsaleable ware for mine?" "Yes," answered the
Jew; and, giving him the wooden trencher and jar, took the fish and
carried it home to his family, who said, "What shall we do with this
fish?" Quoth he, "We will broil it and eat it, till it please Allah to
provide bread for us." So they took it and ripping open its belly,
found therein a great pearl and told the head of the household who
said, "See ye if it be pierced: if so, it belongeth to some one of the
folk; if not, 'tis a provision of Allah for us." So they examined it
and found it unpierced. Now when it was the morrow, the Jew carried it
to one of his brethren which was an expert in jewels, and the man
asked, "O such an one! whence haddest thou this pearl?"; whereto the
Jew answered, "It was a gift of Almighty Allah to us," and the other
said, "It is worth a thousand dirhams and I will give thee that; but
take it to such an one, for he hath more money and skill than I." So
the Jew took it to the jeweller, who said, "It is worth seventy
thousand dirhams and no more." Then he paid him that sum and the Jew
hired two porters to carry the money to his house. As he came to his
door, a beggar accosted him, saying, "Give me of that which Allah hath
given thee." Quoth the Jew to the asker, "But yesterday we were even as
thou; take thee half this money:" so he made two parts of it, and each
took his half. Then said the beggar, "Take back thy money and Allah
bless and prosper thee in it; I am a Messenger,[FN#416] whom thy Lord
hath sent to try thee." Quoth the Jew, "To Allah be the praise and the
thanks!" and abode in all delight of life he and his household till
death. And men recount this story of


Quoth Abъ Hassбn al-Ziyбdi[FN#417]: "I was once in straitened case and
so needy that the grocer, the baker and other tradesmen dunned and
importuned me; and my misery became extreme, for I knew of no resource
nor what to do. Things being on this wise there came to me one day
certain of my servants and said to me, 'At the door is a pilgrim wight,
who seeketh admission to thee.' Quoth I, 'Admit him.' So he came in and
behold, he was a Khorasбnн. We exchanged salutations and he said to me,
'Tell me, art thou Abu Hassan al-Ziyadi?'; and I replied, 'Yes, what is
thy wish?' Quoth he, 'I am a stranger and am minded to make the
pilgrimage; but I have with me a great sum of money, which is
burdensome to bear: so I wish to deposit these ten thousand dirhams
with thee whilst I make my pilgrimage and return. If the caravan march
back and thou see me not, then know that I am dead, in which case the
money is a gift from me to thee; but if I come back, it shall be mine.'
I answered, 'Be it as thou wilt, an thus please Allah Almighty.' So he
brought out a leather bag and I said to the servant, 'Fetch the
scales;' and when he brought them the man weighed out the money and
handed it to me, after which he went his way. Then I called the
purveyors and paid them my liabilities"—And Shahrazad perceived the
dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Three Hundred and Fiftieth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that quoth Abu Hassan
al-Ziyadi: "I called the purveyors and paid them my liabilities and
spent freely and amply, saying to myself, 'By the time he returns,
Allah will have relieved me with one or other of the bounties He hath
by Him.' However, on the very next day, the servant came in to me and
said, 'Thy friend the Khorasan man is at the door.' 'Admit him,'
answered I. So he came in and said to me, 'I had purposed to make the
pilgrimage; but news hath reached me of the decease of my father, and I
have resolved to return; so give me the monies I deposited with thee
yesterday.' When I heard this, I was troubled and perplexed beyond
measure of perplexity known to man and wotted not what reply to make
him; for, if I denied it, he would put me on my oath, and I should be
disgraced in the world to come; whilst, if I told him that I had spent
the money, he would make an outcry and dishonour me before men. So I
said to him, 'Allah give thee health! This my house is no stronghold
nor site of safe custody for this money. When I received thy leather
bag, I sent it to one with whom it now is; so do thou return to us
to-morrow and take thy money, Inshallah!'[FN#418] So he went away and I
passed the night in great concern, because of his return to me; sleep
visited me not nor could I close my eyes; so I rose and bade the boy
saddle me the she-mule. Answered he, 'O my lord, it is yet but the
first third of the night and indeed we have hardly had time to rest.' I
returned to my bed, but sleep was forbidden to me and I ceased not to
awaken the boy, and he to put me off, till break of day, when he
saddled me the mule, and I mounted and rode out, not knowing whither to
go. I threw the reins on the mule's shoulders and gave myself up to
regrets and melancholy thoughts, whilst she fared on with me to the
eastward of Baghdad. Presently, as I went along, behold, I saw a number
of people approaching me and turned aside into another path to avoid
them; but seeing that I wore a turband in preacher-fashion,[FN#419]
they followed me and hastening up to me, said, 'Knowest thou the
lodging of Abu Hassan al-Ziyadi?' 'I am he,' answered I; and they
rejoined, 'Obey the summons of the Commander of the Faithful.' Then
they carried me before Al-Maamun, who said to me, 'Who art thou?' Quoth
I, 'An associate of the Kazi Abu Yъsuf and a doctor of the law and
traditions.' Asked the Caliph, 'By what surname art thou
known?'[FN#420] and I answered, 'Abu Hassan al-Ziyadi;' whereupon quoth
he, 'Expound to me thy case.' So I recounted to him my case and he wept
sore and said to me, 'Out on thee! The Apostle of Allah (whom Allah
bless and assain!) would not let me sleep this night, because of thee;
for in early darkness[FN#421] he appeared to me and said, 'Succour Abu
Hassan al-Ziyadi.' Whereupon I awoke and, knowing thee not, went to
sleep again; but he came to me a second time and said to me, 'Woe to
thee! Succour Abu Hassan al-Ziyadi.' I awoke a second time, but knowing
thee not I went to sleep again; and he came to me a third time and
still I knew thee not and went to sleep again. Then he came to me once
more and said, 'Out on thee! Succour Abu Hassan al-Ziyadi!' After that
I dared not sleep any more, but watched the rest of the night and
aroused my people and sent them on all sides in quest of thee.' Then he
gave me one myriad of dirhams, saying, 'This is for the Khorasani,' and
other ten thousand, saying, 'Spend freely of this and amend thy case
therewith, and set thine affairs in order.' Moreover, he presented me
with thirty thousand dirhams, saying, 'Furnish thyself with this, and
when the Procession-day[FN#422] is being kept, come thou to me, that I
may invest thee with some office.' So I went forth from him with the
money and returned home, where I prayed the dawn-prayer; and behold,
presently came the Khorasani, so I carried him into the house and
brought out to him one myriad of dirhams, saying, 'Here is thy money.'
Quoth he, 'It is not my very money; how cometh this?' So I told him the
whole story, and he wept and said, 'By Allah, haddest thou told me the
fact at first, I had not pressed thee!; and now, by Allah, I will not
accept aught of this money'"—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day
and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Three Hundred and Fifty-first Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that quoth the
Khorasani to Al-Ziyadi, "'By Allah, haddest thou told me the fact at
first, I had not pressed thee!; and now, by Allah, I will not accept
aught of this money and thou art lawfully quit of it.' So saying, he
went away and I set my affairs in order and repaired on the
Procession-day to Al-Maamun's Gate, where I found him seated. When he
saw me present myself he called me to him and, bringing forth to me a
paper from under his prayer-carpet, said to me, 'This is a patent,
conferring on thee the office of Kazi of the western division of
Al-Medinah, the Holy City, from the Bab al-Salбm[FN#423] to the
furthest limit of the township; and I appoint thee such and such
monthly allowances. So fear Allah (to whom be honour and glory!) end be
mindful of the solicitude of His Apostle (whom may He bless and keep!)
on thine account.' Then the folk marvelled at the Caliph's words and
asked me their meaning; whereupon I told them the story from beginning
to end and it spread abroad amongst the people." "And" (quoth he who
telleth the tale) "Abu Hassan al-Ziyadi ceased not to be Kazi of
Al-Medinah, the Holy City, till he died in the days of Al-Maamun the
mercy of Allah be on him!" And among the tales men tell is one of


There was once a rich man who lost all he had and became destitute,
whereupon his wife advised him to ask aid and assistance of one of his
intimates. So he betook himself to a certain friend of his and
acquainted him with his necessities; and he lent him five hundred
dinars to trade withal. Now in early life he had been a jeweller; so he
took the gold and went to the jewel-bazar, where he opened a shop to
buy and sell. Presently, as he sat in his shop three men accosted him
and asked for his father, and when he told them that he was deceased,
they said, "Say, did he leave issue?" Quoth the jeweller, "He left the
slave who is before you." They asked, "And who knoweth thee for his
son?"; and he answered, "The people of the bazar whereupon they said,
"Call them together, that they may testify to us that thou art his very
son." So he called them and they bore witness of this; whereupon the
three men delivered to him a pair of saddle- bags, containing thirty
thousand dinars, besides jewels and bullion of high value, saying,
"This was deposited with us in trust by thy father." Then they went
away; and presently there came to him a woman, who sought of him
certain of the jewels, worth five hundred dinars which she bought and
paid him three thousand for them. Upon this he arose and took five
hundred dinars and carrying them to his friend who had lent him the
money, said to him, "Take the five hundred dinars I borrowed of thee;
for Allah hath opened to me the gate of prosperity." Quoth the other,
"Nay; I gave them to thee outright, for the love of Allah; so do thou
keep them. And take this paper, but read it not till thou be at home,
and do according to that which is therein." So he took the money and
the paper and returned home, where he opened the scroll and found
therein inscribed these couplets,

"Kinsmen of mine were those three men who came to thee; * My sire

     and uncles twain and Sбlih bin Ali.

So what for cash thou coldest, to my mother 'twas * Thou soldest

     it, and coin and gems were sent by me.

Thus doing I desired not any harm to thee * But in my presence

     spare thee and thy modesty."

And they also recount the story of


There lived once in Baghdad a wealthy man and made of money, who lost
all his substance and became so destitute that he could earn his living
only by hard labour. One night, he lay down to sleep, dejected and
heavy hearted, and saw in a dream a Speaker[FN#425] who said to him,
"Verily thy fortune is in Cairo; go thither and seek it." So he set out
for Cairo; but when he arrived there evening overtook him and he lay
down to sleep in a mosque Presently, by decree of Allah Almighty, a
band of bandits entered the mosque and made their way thence into an
adjoining house; but the owners, being aroused by the noise of the
thieves, awoke and cried out; whereupon the Chief of Police came to
their aid with his officers. The robbers made off; but the Wali entered
the mosque and, finding the man from Baghdad asleep there, laid hold of
him and beat him with palm-rods so grievous a beating that he was
well-nigh dead. Then they cast him into jail, where he abode three
days; after which the Chief of Police sent for him and asked him,
"Whence art thou?"; and he answered, "From Baghdad." Quoth the Wali,
"And what brought thee to Cairo?"; and quoth the Baghdadi, "I saw in a
dream One who said to me, Thy fortune is in Cairo; go thither to it.
But when I came to Cairo the fortune which he promised me proved to be
the palm-rods thou so generously gavest to me." The Wali laughed till
he showed his wisdom-teeth and said, "O man of little wit, thrice have
I seen in a dream one who said to me: 'There is in Baghdad a house in
such a district and of such a fashion and its courtyard is laid out
garden-wise, at the lower end whereof is a jetting-fountain and under
the same a great sum of money lieth buried. Go thither and take it.'
Yet I went not; but thou, of the briefness of thy wit, hast journeyed
from place to place, on the faith of a dream, which was but an idle
galimatias of sleep." Then he gave him money saying, "Help thee back
herewith to thine own country;"— And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of
day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When It was the Three Hundred and Fifty-second Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Wali gave the
Baghdad man some silver, saying, "Help thee back herewith to thine own
country;" and he took the money and set out upon his homewards march.
Now the house the Wali had described was the man's own house in
Baghdad; so the wayfarer returned thither and, digging underneath the
fountain in his garden, discovered a great treasure. And thus Allah
gave him abundant fortune; and a marvellous coincidence occurred. And a
story is also current of


There were in the palace of the Caliph al-Mutawakkil ala'llah[FN#426]
four thousand concubines, whereof two thousand were Greeks and other
two thousand slave born Arabians[FN#427] and Abyssinians; and 'Obayd
ibn Tбhir[FN#428] had given him two hundred white girls and a like
number of Abyssinian and native girls. Among these slave-borns was a
girl of Bassorah, hight Mahbъbah, the Beloved, who was of surpassing
beauty and loveliness, elegance and voluptuous grace. Moreover, she
played upon the lute and was skilled in singing and making verses and
wrote a beautiful hand; so that Al-Mutawakkil fell passionately in love
with her and could not endure from her a single hour. But when she saw
this affection, she presumed upon his favour to use him arrogantly,
wherefore he waxed exceeding wroth with her and forsook her, forbidding
the people of the palace to speak with her. She abode on this wise some
days, but the Caliph still inclined to her; and he arose one morning
and said to his courtiers, "I dreamt, last night, that I was reconciled
to Mahhubah." They answered, "Would Allah this might be on wake!"; and
as they were talking, behold, in came one of the Caliph's maidservants
and whispered him; so he rose from his throne and entered the
Serraglio; for the whisper had said, "Of a truth we heard singing and
lute-playing in Mahbubah's chamber and we knew not what this meant." So
he went straight to her apartment, where he heard her playing upon the
lute and singing the following verses,

"I wander through the palace, but I sight there not a soul * To

     whom I may complain or will 'change a word with me.

It is as though I'd done so grievous rebel-deed * Wherefrom can

     no contrition e'er avail to set me free.

Have we no intercessor here to plead with King, who came * In

     sleep to me and took me back to grace and amity;

But when the break of day arose and showed itself again, * Then

     he departing sent me back to dree my privacy?"

Now when the Caliph heard her voice, he marvelled at the verse and yet
more at the strange coincidence of their dreams and entered the
chamber. As soon as she perceived him, she hastened to rise and throw
herself at his feet, and kissing them, said, "By Allah, O my lord, this
hap is what I dreamt last night; and, when I awoke, I made the couplets
thou hast heard." Replied Al- Mutawakkil, "By Allah, I also dreamt the
like!" Then they embraced and made friends and he abode with her seven
days with their nights. Now Mahbubah had written upon her cheek, in
musk, the Caliph's name, which was Ja'afar: and when he saw this, he
improvised the following,

"One wrote upon her cheek with musk, his name was Ja'afar highs;

     * My soul for hers who wrote upon her cheek the name I


If an her fingers have inscribed one line upon her cheek, * Full

     many a line in heart of mine those fingers did indite:

O thou, whom Ja'afar sole of men possesseth for himself, * Allah

     fill Ja'afar[FN#429] stream full draught, the wine of thy


When Al-Mutawakkil died, his host of women forgot him, all save
Mahhubah,—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her
permitted say.

When it was the Three Hundred and Fifty-third Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when
Al-Mutawakkil died, his host of women forgot him all save Mahbubah who
ceased not to mourn for him, till she deceased and was buried by his
side, the mercy of Allah be on them both! And men also tell the tale of


There lived once in Cairo, in the days of the Caliph Al-Hбkim bi'
Amri'llah, a butcher named Wardбn, who dealt in sheep's flesh; and
there came to him every day a lady and gave him a dinar, whose weight
was nigh two and a half Egyptian dinars, saying, "Give me a lamb." So
he took the money and gave her the lamb, which she delivered to a
porter she had with her; and he put it in his crate and she went away
with him to her own place. Next day she came in the forenoon and this
went on for a long time, the butcher gaining a dinar by her every day,
till at last he began to be curious about her case and said to himself,
"This woman buyeth of me a ducat-worth of meat every morning, paying
ready money, and never misseth a single day. Verily, this is a strange
thing!" So he took an occasion of questioning the porter, in her
absence, and asked him, "Whither goest thou every day with yonder
woman?"; and he answered, "I know not what to make of her for surprise;
inasmuch as every day, after she hath taken the lamb of thee, she
buyeth necessaries of the table, fresh and dried fruits and wax-candles
a dinar's worth, and taketh of a certain person, which is a Nazarene,
two flagons of wine, worth another dinar; and then she leadeth me with
the whole and I go with her to the Wazir's Gardens, where she
blindfoldeth me, so that I cannot see on what part of earth I set my
feet; and, taking me by the hand, she leadeth me I know not whither.
Presently, she sayeth, 'Set down here;' and when I have done so, she
giveth me an empty crate she hath ready and, taking my hand, leadeth me
back to the Wazir's Gardens, the place where she bound my eyes, and
there removeth the bandage and giveth me ten silver bits." "Allah be
her helper!" quoth Wardan; but he redoubled in curiosity about her
case; disquietude increased upon him and he passed the night in
exceeding restlessness. And quoth the butcher, "Next morning she came
to me as of custom and taking the lamb, for which she paid the dinar,
delivered it to the porter and went away. So I gave my shop in charge
to a lad and followed her without her seeing me;"—And Shahrazad
perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Three Hundred and Fifty-fourth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Wardan the
butcher continued: "So I gave my shop in charge to a lad and followed
her without her seeing me; nor did I cease to keep her in sight, hiding
behind her, till she left Cairo and came to the Wazir's Gardens. Then I
hid myself whilst she bandaged the porter's eyes and followed her again
from place to place till she came to the mountain[FN#431] and stopped
at a spot where there was a great stone. Here she made the porter set
down his crate, and I waited whilst she conducted him back to the
Wazir's Gardens, after which she returned and, taking out the contents
of the basket, instantly disappeared. Then I went up to that stone and
wrenching it up entered the hole and found behind the stone an open
trap-door of brass and a flight of steps leading downwards. So I
descended, little by little, till I came to a long corridor,
brilliantly lighted and followed it, till I made a closed door, as it
were the door of a saloon. I looked about the wall sides near the
doorway till I discovered a recess, with steps therein; then climbed up
and found a little niche with a bulls-eye giving upon a saloon. Thence
I looked inside and saw the lady cut off the choicest parts of the lamb
and laying them in a saucepan, throw the rest to a great big bear, who
ate it all to the last bite. Now when she had made an end of cooking,
she ate her fill, after which she set on the fruits and confections and
brought out the wine and fell to drinking a cup herself and giving the
bear to drink in a basin of gold. And as soon as she was heated with
wine, she put off her petticoat-trousers and lay down on her back;
whereupon the bear arose and came up to her and stroked her, whilst she
gave him the best of what belongeth to the sons of Adam till he had
made an end, when he sat down and rested. Presently, he sprang upon her
and rogered her again; and when he ended he again sat down to rest, and
he ceased not so doing till he had futtered her ten times and they both
fell to the ground in a fainting-fit and lay without motion. Then quoth
I to myself, 'Now is my opportunity,' and taking a knife I had with me,
that would cut bones before flesh,[FN#432] went down to them and found
them motionless, not a muscle of them moving for their hard swinking
and swiving. So I put my knife to the bear's gullet and pressed upon
it, till I finished him by severing his head from his body, and he gave
a great snort like thunder, whereat the lady started up in alarm; and,
seeing the bear slain and me standing whittle in hand, she shrieked so
loud a shriek that I thought the soul had left her body. Then she
asked, 'O Wardan, is this how thou requites me my favours?' And I
answered, 'O enemy of thine own soul, is there a famine of men[FN#433]
that thou must do this damnable thing?' She made no answer but bent
down over the bear, and looked fondly upon him; then finding his head
divided from his body, said to me, 'O Wardan, which of the two courses
wouldst thou take; either obey me in what I shall say and be the means
of thine own safety'"—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and
ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Three Hundred and Fifty-fifth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that quoth the lady, "
'O Wardan, which of the two courses wouldst thou take; either obey me
in what I shall say and be the means of thine own safety and competency
to the end of thy days, or gainsay me and so cause thine own
destruction?'[FN#434] Answered I, 'I choose rather to hearken unto
thee: say what thou wilt.' Quoth she, 'Then slay me, as thou hast slain
this bear, and take thy need of this hoard and wend thy ways.' Quoth I,
'I am better than this bear: so return thou to Allah Almighty and
repent, and I will marry thee, and we will live on this treasure the
rest of our lives.' She rejoined, 'O Wardan, far be it from me! How
shall I live after him? By Allah, an thou slay me not I will assuredly
do away thy life! So leave bandying words with me, or thou art a lost
man: this is all I have to say to thee and peace be with thee!' Then
said I, 'I will kill thee, and thou shalt go to the curse of Allah.' So
saying, I caught her by the hair and cut her throat; and she went to
the curse of Allah and of the angels and of all mankind. And after so
doing I examined the place and found there gold and bezel-stones and
pearls, such as no one king could bring together. So I filled the
porter's crate with as much as I could carry and covered it with the
clothes I had on me. Then I shouldered it and, going up out of the
underground treasure- chamber, fared homewards and ceased not faring
on, till I came to the gate of Cairo, where behold, I fell in with ten
of the bodyguard of Al-Hakim bi' Amri'llah[FN#435] followed by the
Prince himself who said to me, 'Ho, Wardan!' 'At thy service, O King,'
replied I; when he asked, 'Hast thou killed the bear and the lady?' and
I answered, 'Yes.' Quoth he, 'Set down the basket from thy head and
fear naught, for all the treasure thou hast with thee is thine, and
none shall dispute it with thee.' So I set down the crate before him,
and he uncovered it and looked at it; then said to me, 'Tell me their
case, albe I know it, as if I had been present with you.' So I told him
all that had passed and he said, 'Thou hast spoken the truth,' adding,
'O Wardan, come now with me to the treasure.' So I returned with him to
the cavern, where he found the trap-door closed and said to me, 'O
Wardan, lift it; none but thou can open the treasure, for it is
enchanted in thy name and nature.'[FN#436] Said I, 'By Allah, I cannot
open it,' but he said, 'Go up to it, trusting in the blessing of
Allah.' So I called upon the name of Almighty Allah and, advancing to
the trap-door, put my hand to it; whereupon it came up as it had been
of the lightest. Then said the Caliph, 'Go down and bring hither what
is there; for none but one of thy name and semblance and nature hath
gone down thither since the place was made, and the slaying of the bear
and the woman was appointed to be at thy hand. This was chronicled with
me and I was awaiting its fulfilment.'[FN#437] Accordingly (quoth
Wardan) I went down and brought up all the treasure, whereupon the
Caliph sent for beasts of burden and carried it away, after giving me
my crate, with what was therein. So I bore it home and opened me a shop
in the market." And (saith he who telleth the tale) "this market is
still extant and is known as Wardan's Market." And I have heard recount
another story of


There was once a Sultan's daughter, whose heart was taken with love of
a black slave: he abated her maidenhead and she became passionately
addicted to futtering, so that she could not do without it a single
hour and complained of her case to one of her body women, who told her
that no thing poketh and stroketh more abundantly than the
baboon.[FN$438] Now it so chanced one day, that an ape-leader passed
under her lattice, with a great ape; so she unveiled her face and
looking upon the ape, signed to him with her eyes, whereupon he broke
his bonds and chain and climbed up to the Princess, who hid him in a
place with her, and night and day he abode there, eating and drinking
and copulating. Her father heard of this and would have killed her;—And
Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted

When it was the Three Hundred and Fifty-sixth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the Sultan
heard of this work he would have slain his daughter; but she smoked his
design; and, disguising herself in Mameluke's dress, mounted horse
after loading a mule with gold and bullion, and precious stuffs past
all account; then carrying with her the ape, she fled to Cairo, where
she took up her abode in one of the houses without the city and upon
the verge of the Suez-desert. Now, every day, she used to buy meat of a
young man, a butcher, but she came not to him till after noonday; and
then she was so yellow and disordered in face that he said in his mind,
"There must indeed hang some mystery by this slave." "Accordingly
(quoth the butcher) one day when she came to me as usual, I went out
after her secretly, and ceased not to follow her from place to place,
so as she saw me not, till she came to her lodging on the edge of her
waste and entered; and I looked in upon her through a cranny, and saw
her as soon as she was at home, kindle a fire and cook the meat, of
which she ate enough and served up the rest to a baboon she had by her
and he did the same. Then she put off the slave's habit and donned the
richest of women's apparel; and so I knew that she was a lady. After
this she set on wine and drank and gave the ape to drink; and he
stroked her nigh half a score times without drawing till she swooned
away, when he spread over her a silken coverlet and returned to his
place. Then I went down in the midst of the place and the ape, becoming
aware of me, would have torn me in pieces; but I made haste to pull out
my knife and slit his paunch and his bowels fell out. The noise aroused
the young lady, who awoke terrified and trembling; and, when she saw
the ape in this case, she shrieked such a shriek that her soul well
nigh fled her body. Then she fell down in a fainting-fit and when she
came to herself, she said to me, 'What moved thee to do thus? Now Allah
upon thee, send me after him!' But I spoke her fair for a while and
pledged myself to stand in the ape's stead in the matter of much
poking, till her trouble subsided and I took her to wife. But when I
came to perform my promise I proved a failure and I fell short in this
matter and could not endure such hard labour: so I complained of my
case and mentioned her exorbitant requirements to a certain old woman
who engaged to manage the affair and said to me, 'Needs must thou bring
me a cooking-pot full of virgin vinegar and a pound of the herb
pellitory called wound-wort.'[FN#439] So I brought her what she sought,
and she laid the pellitory in the pot with the vinegar and set it on
the fire, till it was thoroughly boiled. Then she bade me futter the
girl, and I futtered her till she fainted away, when the old woman took
her up (and she unconscious), and set her parts to the mouth of the
cooking-pot. The steam of the pot entered her slit and there fell from
it somewhat which I examined; and behold, it was two small worms, one
black and the other yellow. Quoth the old, woman, ''The black was bred
of the strokings of the negro and the yellow of stroking with the
baboon.' Now when she recovered from her swoon she abode with me, in
all delight and solace of life, and sought not swiving as before, for
Allah had done away from her this appetite; whereat I marvelled"—And
Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted

When it was the Three Hundred and Fifty-seventh Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the young man
continued: "In truth Allah had done away from her this appetite;
whereat I marvelled and acquainted her with the case. Thereupon I lived
with her and she took the old woman to be to her in the stead of her
mother." "And" (said he who told me the tale) "the old woman and the
young man and his wife abode in joy and cheer till there came to them
the Destroyer of delights and the Sunderer of societies; and glory be
to the Ever-living One, who dieth not and in whose hand is Dominion of
the world visible and invisible!''[FN#440] And another tale they tell
is that of

End of Arabian Nights Volume 4.

                    Arabian Nights, Volume 4


[FN#1] The name is indifferently derived from the red sand about the
town or the reeds and mud with which it was originally built. It was
founded by the Caliph Omar, when the old Capital-Madбin (Ctesiphon)
opposite was held unwholesome, on the West bank of the Euphrates, four
days' march from Baghdad and has now disappeared. Al-Saffбh, the first
Abbaside, made it his Capital—and it became a famous seat of Moslem
learning; the Kufi school of Arab Grammarians being as renowned as
their opponents, the Basri (of Bassorah). It gave a name to the "Cufic"
characters which are, however, of much older date.

[FN#2] "Ni'amat" = a blessing, and the word is perpetually occurring in
Moslem conversation, "Ni'amatu'llбh" (as pronounced) is also a
favourite P.N. and few Anglo-Indians of the Mutiny date will forget the
scandalous disclosures of Munshi Ni'amatu 'llah, who had been sent to
England by Nana Sahib. Nu'm = prosperity, good fortune, and a P. N.
like the Heb. "Naomi."

[FN#3] i.e. "causing to be prosperous", the name, corrupted by the
Turks to "Tevfik," is given to either sex, e.g. Taufik Pasha of Egypt,
to whose unprosperous rule and miserable career the signification
certainly does not apply.

[FN#4] Lane (ii. 187) alters the two to four years.

[FN#5] i.e. "to Tom, Dick or Harry:" the names like John Doe and
Richard Roe are used indefinitely in Arab. Grammar and Syntax. I have
noted that Amru is written and pronounced Amr: hence Amru, the
Conqueror of Egypt, when told by an astrologer that Jerusalem would be
taken only by a trium literarum homo, with three letters in his name
sent for the Caliph Omar (Omr), to whom the so-called Holy City at once
capitulated. Hence also most probably, the tale of Bhurtpore and the
Lord Alligator (Kumbhir), who however did not change from Cotton to
Combermore for some time after the successful siege.

[FN#6] BinYъsuf al-Sakafi, a statesman and soldier of the seventh and
eighth centuries (A.D.). He was Governor of Al-Hij az and Al-Irak under
the fifth and sixth Ommiades, and I have noticed his vigorous rule of
the Moslems' Holy Land in my Pilgrimage (iii. 194, etc.). He pulled
down the Ka'abah and restored it to the condition in which it now is.
Al-Siyuti (p. 219) accuses him of having suborned a man to murder Ibn
Omar with a poisoned javelin, and of humiliating the Prophet's
companions by "sealing them in the necks and hands," that is he tied a
thong upon the neck of each and sealed the knot with lead. In Irak he
showed himself equally masterful, but an iron hand was required by the
revolutionists of Kufah and Basrah. He behaved like a good Knight in
rescuing the Moslem women who called upon his name when taken prisoners
by Dahir of Debal (Tathб in Sind). Al-Hajjaj was not the kind of man
the Caliph would have chosen for a pander; but the Shi'ahs hates him
and have given him a lasting bad name. In the East men respect manly
measures, not the hysterical, philanthropic pseudo-humanitarianism of
our modern government which is really the cruellest of all. When Ziyбd
bin Abihi was sent by Caliph Mu'awiyah to reform Bassorah, a den of
thieves, he informed the lieges that he intended to rule by the sword
and advised all evil-doers to quit the city. The people were forbidden,
under pain of teeth, to walk the streets after prayers, on the first
night two hundred suffered; on the second five and none afterwards.
Compare this with our civilised rule in Egypt where even bands of
brigands, a phenomenon perfectly new and unknown to this century, have
started up, where crime has doubled in quantity and quality, and where
"Christian rule" has thoroughly scandalised a Moslem land.

[FN#7] The old bawd's portrait is admirably drawn: all we dwellers in
the East have known her well: she is so and so. Her dress and manners
are the same amongst the Hindus (see the hypocritical-female ascetic in
the Katha, p. 287) as amongst the Moslems; men of the world at once
recognise her and the prudent keep out of her way. She is found in the
cities of Southern Europe, ever pious, ever prayerful; and she seems to
do her work not so much for profit as for pure or impure enjoyment. In
the text her task was easy, as she had to do with a pair of innocents.

[FN#8] Koran, xxv. 70. I give Sale's version.

[FN#9] Easterns, I have observed, have no way of saying "Thank you;"
they express it by a blessing or a short prayer. They have a right to
your surplus: daily bread is divided, they say and, eating yours, they
consider it their own. I have discussed this matter in Pilgrimage i.
75-77, in opposition to those who declare that "gratitude" is unknown
to Moslems.

[FN#10] Cufa (Kufah) being a modern place never had a "King,"

but as the Hindu says, " Delhi is far" it is a far cry to Loch

Awe. Here we can hardly understand "Malik" as Governor or

Viceroy: can it be syn. with Zъ-mбl-(moneyed)?

[FN#11] Abd al-Malik has been before mentioned as the "Sweat of a
Stone," etc. He died recommending Al-Hajjaj to his son, Al-Walid, and
one of his sayings is still remembered. "He who desireth to take a
female slave for carnal-enjoyment, let him take a native of Barbary; if
he need one for the sake of children, let him have a Persian; and whoso
desireth one for service, let him take a Greek." Moderns say, "If you
want a brother (in arms) try a Nubian; one to get you wealth an
Abyssinian and if you want an ass (for labour) a Sбwahнli, or Zanzibar

[FN#12] Probably suggested by the history of Antiochus and

Stratonice, with an addition of Eastern mystery such as geomancy.

[FN#13] Arab, "Kбrъrah": the "water-doctor" has always been an
institution in the east and he has lately revived in Europe especially
at the German baths and in London.

[FN#14] Lane makes this phrase "O brother of the Persians!" synonymous
with "O Persian!" I think it means more, a Persian being generally
considered "too clever by half."

[FN#15] The verses deal in untranslatable word-plays upon women's
names, Naomi (the blessing) Su'adб or Su'бd (the happy, which Mr.
Redhouse, in Ka'ab's Mantle-poem, happily renders Beatrice); and Juml
(a sum or total) the two latter, moreover, being here fictitious.

[FN#16] "And he (Jacob) turned from them, and said, 'O how I am grieved
for Joseph' And his eyes became white with mourning. … (Quoth Joseph to
his brethren), 'Take this my inner garment and throw it on my father's
face and he shall recover his sight.' . . . So, when the messenger of
good tidings came (to Jacob) he threw it (the shirt) over his face and
he recovered his eye-sight." Koran, xii. 84, 93, 96. The commentators,
by way of improvement, assure us that the shirt was that worn by
Abraham when thrown into the fire (Koran, chaps. xvi.) by Nimrod (!).
We know little concerning "Jacob's daughters" who named the only bridge
spanning the upper Jordan, and who have a curious shrine tomb near
Jewish "Safe" (North of Tiberias), one of the four "Holy Cities." The
Jews ignore these "daughters of Jacob" and travellers neglect them.

[FN#17] Easterns, I have remarked, mostly recognise the artistic truth
that the animal-man is handsomer than woman and that "fair sex" is
truly only of skin-colour. The same is the general-rule throughout
creation, for instance the stallion compared with the mare, the cock
with the hen; while there are sundry exceptions such as the Falconidae.

[FN#18] The Badawi (who is nothing if not horsey) compares the gait of
a woman who walks well (in Europe rarely seen out of Spain) with the
slightly swinging walk of a thoroughbred mare, bending her graceful
neck and looking from side to side at objects as she passes.

[FN#19] Li'llбhi (darr') al-kбil, a characteristic idiom. "Darr"=giving
(rich) milk copiously and the phrase expresses admiration, "To Allah be
ascribed (or Allah be praised for) his rich eloquence who said etc.
Some Hebraists would render it, "Divinely (well) did he speak who
said," etc., holding "Allah" to express a superlative like "Yah" Jah)
in Gen. iv. 1; x. 9. Nimrod was a hunter to the person (or presence) of
Yah, i.e. mighty hunter.

[FN#20] Hamzah and Abbбs were the famous uncles of Mohammed often
noticed: Ukayl is not known; possibly it may be Akнl, a son of the
fourth Caliph, Ali.

[FN#21] The Eastern ring is rarely plain; and, its use being that of a
signet, it is always in intaglio: the Egyptians invented engraving
hieroglyphics on wooden stamps for marking bricks and applied the
process to the ring. Moses B. C. 1491 (Exod. xxviii. 9) took two
onyx-stones, and graved on them the names of the children of Israel.
From this the signet ring was but a step. Herodotus mentions an emerald
seal-set in gold, that of Polycrates, the work of Theodorus, son of
Telecles the Samian (iii. 141). The Egyptians also were perfectly
acquainted with working in cameo (anaglyph) and rilievo, as may be seen
in the cavo rilievo of the finest of their hieroglyphs. The Greeks
borrowed from them the cameo and applied it to gems (e.g. Tryphon's in
the Marlborough collection), and they bequeathed the art to the Romans.
We read in a modern book "Cameo means an onyx, and the most famous
cameo in the world is the onyx containing the Apotheosis of Augustus."
The ring is given in marriage because it was a seal—by which orders
were signed (Gen. xxxviii. 18 and Esther iii. 10-12). I may note that
the seal-ring of Cheops (Khufu), found in the Greatest Pyramid, was in
the possession of my old friend, Doctor Abbott, of Auburn (U.S.), and
was sold with his collection. It is the oldest ring in the world, and
settles the Cheops-question.

[FN#22] This habit of weeping when friends meet after long parting is
customary, I have noted, amongst the American "Indians," the Badawin of
the New World; they shed tears thinking of the friends they have lost.
Like most primitive people they are ever ready to weep as was Жneas or
Shakespeare's saline personage,

          "This would make a man, a man of salt

            To use his eyes for garden waterpots."

                                           (King Lear, iv. 6.)

[FN#23] Here poetical-justice is not done; in most Arab tales the two
adulterous Queens would have been put to death.

[FN#24] Pronounce Aladdin Abush-Shбmбt.

[FN#25] Arab. "Misr," vulg. Masr: a close connection of Misraim the
"two Misrs," Egypt, upper and lower.

[FN#26] The Persians still call their Consuls "Shah-bander," lit. king
of the Bandar or port.

[FN#27] Arab. "Dukhъl," the night of going in, of seeing the bride
unveiled for the first time, etcaetera.

[FN#28] Arab. "Barsh" or "Bars," the commonest kind. In India it is
called Ma'jъn (=electuary, generally): it is made of Ganja or young
leaves, buds, capsules and florets of hemp (C. saliva), poppy-seed and
flowers of the thorn-apple (daiura) with milk and auger-candy, nutmegs,
cloves, mace and saffron, all boiled to the consistency of treacle
which hardens when cold. Several-recipes are given by Herklots
(Glossary s.v. Majoon). These electuaries are usually prepared with
"Charas," or gum of hemp, collected by hand or by passing a blanket
over the plant in early morning, and it is highly intoxicating. Another
intoxicant is "Sabzi," dried hemp-leaves, poppy-seed, cucumber heed,
black pepper and cardamoms rubbed down in a mortar with a wooden
pestle, and made drinkable by adding milk, ice-cream, etc. The Hashish
of Arabia is the Hindustani Bhang, usually drunk and made as follows.
Take of hemp-leaves, well washed, 3 drams black pepper 45 grains and of
cloves, nutmeg and mace (which add to the intoxication) each 12 grains.
Triturate in 8 ounces of water or the juice of watermelon or cucumber,
strain and drink. The Egyptian Zabнbah is a preparation of hemp
florets, opium and honey, much affected by the lower orders, whence the
proverb: "Temper thy sorrow with Zabibah. In Al-Hijaz it is mixed with
raisins (Zabнb) and smoked in the water-pipe. (Burck hardt No. 73.)
Besides these there is (1) "Post" poppy-seed prepared in various ways
but especially in sugared sherbets; (2) Datura (stramonium) seed, the
produce of the thorn-apple breached and put into sweetmeats by
dishonest confectioners; it is a dangerous intoxicant, producing
spectral-visions, delirium tremens, etc., and (3) various preparations
of opium especially the "Madad," pills made up with toasted betel-leaf
and smoked. Opium, however, is usually drunk in the shape of "Kusumba,"
a pill placed in wet cotton and squeezed in order to strain and clean
it of the cowdung and other filth with which it is adulterated.

[FN#29] Arab. "Sikankъr" (Gr. {Greek letters}, Lat. Scincus) a lizard
(S. officinalis) which, held in the hand, still acts as an aphrodisiac
in the East, and which in the Middle Ages was considered a
universal-medicine. In the "Adja'ib al-Hind" (Les Merveilles de l'Inde)
we find a notice of a bald-headed old man who was compelled to know his
wife twice a day and twice a night in consequence of having eaten a
certain fish. (Chaps. Ixxviii. of the translation by M. L. Marcel
Devic, from a manuscript of the tenth century, Paris Lemaire, 1878.)
Europeans deride these prescriptions, but Easterns know better: they
affect the fancy, that is the brain, and often succeed in temporarily
relieving impotence. The recipes for this evil, which is incurable only
when it comes from heart-affections, are innumerable in the East; and
about half of every medical-work is devoted to them. Many a quack has
made his fortune with a few bottles of tincture of cantharides, and a
man who could discover a specific would become a millionaire in India
only. The curious reader will consult for specimens the Ananga-Ranga
Shastra by Koka Pandit; or the "Rujъ 'al-Shaykh ila 'l-Sabбh fi Kuwwati
'l-Bбh" (the Return of the Old Man to Youth in power of Procreation) by
Ahmad bin Sulaymбn known as Ibn Kamбl-Bбshб, in 139 chapters
lithographed at Cairo. Of these aphrodisiacs I shall have more to say.

[FN#30] Alб al-Din (our old friend Aladdin) = Glory of the Faith, a
name of which Mohammed who preferred the simplest, like his own, would
have highly disapproved. The most grateful names to Allah are Abdallah
(Allah's Slave) and Abd al-Rahman (Slave of the Compassionate); the
truest are Al-Hбrith (the gainer, "bread winner") and Al-Hammбm (the
griever); and the hatefullest are Al-Harb (witch) and Al-Murrah
(bitterness, Abu Murrah being a kunyat or by-name of the Devil). Abu
al-Shбmбt (pronounced Abushshбmбt)=Father of Moles, concerning which I
have already given details. These names ending in -Din (faith) began
with the Caliph Al-Muktadi bi-Amri 'llah (regn. A.H. 467= 1075), who
entitled his Wazir "Zahнr al-Din (Backer or Defender of the Faith) and
this gave rise to the practice. It may be observed that the
superstition of naming by omens is in no way obsolete.

[FN#31] Meaning that he appeared intoxicated by the pride of his beauty
as though it had been strong wine.

[FN#32] i.e. against the evil eye.

[FN#33] Meaning that he had been delicately reared.

[FN#34] A traditional-saying of Mohammed.

[FN#35] So Boccaccio's "Capo bianco" and "Coda verde." (Day iv.,


[FN#36] The opening chapter is known as the "Mother of the Book" (as
opposed to Yб Sнn, the "heart of the Koran"), the "Surat (chapter) of
Praise," and the "Surat of repetition" (because twice revealed?) or
thanksgiving, or laudation (Ai-Masбni) and by a host of other names for
which see Mr. Rodwell who, however, should not write "Fatthah" (p.
xxv.) nor "Fathah" (xxvii.). The Fбtihah, which is to Al-Islam much
what the "Paternoster" is to Christendom, consists of seven verses, in
the usual-Saj'a or rhymed prose, and I have rendered it as follows:

In the name of the Compassionating, the Compassionate! * Praise be to
Allah who all the Worlds made * The Compassionating, the Compassionate
* King of the Day of Faith! * Thee only do we adore and of Thee only do
we crave aid * Guide us to the path which is straight * The path of
those for whom Thy love is great, not those on whom is hate, nor they
that deviate * Amen! O Lord of the World's trine.

My Pilgrimage (i. 285; ii. 78 and passim) will supply instances of its
application; how it is recited with open hands to catch the blessing
from Heaven and the palms are drawn down the face (Ibid. i. 286), and
other details,

[FN#37] i.e. when the evil eye has less effect than upon children.
Strangers in Cairo often wonder to see a woman richly dressed leading
by the hand a filthy little boy (rarely a girl) in rags, which at home
will be changed to cloth of gold.

[FN#38] Arab. "Asнdah" flour made consistent by boiling in water with
the addition of "Same" clarified butter) and honey: more like pap than

[FN#39] Arab. "Ghбbah" = I have explained as a low-lying place where
the growth is thickest and consequently animals haunt it during the

[FN#40] Arab. "Akkбm," one who loads camels and has charge of the
luggage. He also corresponds with the modern Mukharrij or camel-hirer
(Pilgrimage i. 339), and hence the word Moucre (Moucres) which, first
used by La Brocquiиre (A.D. 1432), is still the only term known to the

[FN#41] i.e. I am old and can no longer travel.

[FN#42] Taken from Al-Asma'i, the "Romance of Antar," and the episode
of the Asafir Camels.

[FN#43] A Mystic of the twelfth century A.D. who founded the Kбdirн
order (the oldest and chiefest of the four universally recognised), to
which I have the honour to belong, teste my diploma (Pilgrimage,
Appendix i.). Visitation is still made to his tomb at Baghdad. The
Arabs (who have no hard g-letter) alter to "Jнlбn" the name of his
birth-place "Gilan," a tract between the Caspian and the Black Seas.

[FN#44] The well-known Anglo-Indian "Mucuddum;" lit. "one placed before
(or over) others"

[FN#45] Koran xiii. 14.

[FN#46] i.e.. his chastity: this fashion of objecting to infamous
proposals is very characteristic: ruder races would use their fists.

[FN#47] Arab. "Rбfizн"=the Shi'ah (tribe, sect) or Persian schismatics
who curse the first three Caliphs: the name is taken from their own
saying "Innб rafiznб-hum"=verily we have rejected them. The feeling
between Sunni (the so-called orthodox) and Shi'ah is much like the
Christian love between a Catholic of Cork and a Protestant from the
Black North. As Al-Siyuti or any historian will show, this sect became
exceedingly powerful under the later Abbaside Caliphs, many of whom
conformed to it and adopted its tractices and innovations (as in the
Azan or prayer-call), greatly to the scandal-of their co-religionists.
Even in the present day the hatred between these representatives of
Arab monotheism and Persian Guebrism continues unabated. I have given
sundry instances m my Pilgrimage, e.g. how the Persians attempt to
pollute the tombs of the Caliphs they abhor.

[FN#48] Arab. "Sakkб," the Indian "Bihishtн" (man from Heaven):

Each party in a caravan has one or more.

[FN#49] These "Kirбmбt" or Saints' miracles, which Spiritualists will
readily accept, are recorded in vast numbers. Most men have half a
dozen to tell, each of his "Pнr" or patron, including the Istidrбj or
prodigy of chastisement. (Dabistan, iii. 274.)

[FN#50] Great granddaughter of the Imam Hasan buried in Cairo and famed
for "Kirбmбt." Her father, governor of Al-Medinah, was imprisoned by
Al-Mansur and restored to power by Al-Mahdi. She was married to a son
of the Imam Ja'afar al-Sadik and lived a life of devotion in Cairo,
dying in A.H. 218=824. The corpse of the Imam al-Shafi'i was carried to
her house, now her mosque and mausoleum: it stood in the Darb al-Sabъa
which formerly divided Old from New Cairo and is now one of the
latter's suburbs. Lane (M. E. chaps. x.) gives her name but little
more. The mention of her shows that the writer of the tale or the
copyist was a Cairene : Abd al-Kadir is world-known : not so the

[FN#51] Arab. "Farkh akrab" for Ukayrib, a vulgarism.

[FN#52] The usual Egyptian irreverence: he relates his abomination as
if it were a Hadis or Tradition of the Prophet with due ascription.

[FN#53] A popular name, dim. of Zubdah cream, fresh butter, "creamkin."

[FN#54] Arab. "Mustahall," "Mustahill' and vulg. "Muhallil" (=one who
renders lawful). It means a man hired for the purpose who marries pro
forma and after wedding, and bedding with actual-consummation, at once
divorces the woman. He is held the reverse of respectable and no
wonder. Hence, probably, Mandeville's story of the Islanders who, on
the marriage-night, "make another man to lie by their wives, to have
their maidenhead, for which they give great hire and much thanks. And
there are certain men in every town that serve for no other thing; and
they call them cadeberiz, that is to say, the fools of despair, because
they believe their occupation is a dangerous one." Burckhardt gives the
proverb (No. 79), "A thousand lovers rather than one Mustahall," the
latter being generally some ugly fellow picked up in the streets and
disgusting to the wife who must permit his embraces.

[FN#55] This is a woman's oath. not used by men.

[FN#56] Pronounced "Yб Sнn" (chaps. xxxvi.) the "heart of the

Koran" much used for edifying recitation. Some pious Moslems in

Egypt repeat it as a Wazifah, or religious task, or as masses for

the dead, and all educated men know its 83 versets by rote.

[FN#57] Arab. "Бl-Dбъd"=the family of David, i.e. David himself, a
popular idiom. The prophet's recitation of the "Mazбmir" (Psalter)
worked miracles.

[FN#58] There is a peculiar thickening of the voice in leprosy which at
once betrays the hideous disease.

[FN#59] These lines have occurred in Night clxxxiii. I quote

Mr. Payne (in loco) by way of variety.

[FN#60] Where the "Juzбm" (leprosy, elephantiasis, morbus sacrum, etc.
etc.) is supposed first to show: the swelling would alter the shape.
Lane (ii. 267) translates "her wrist which was bipartite."

[FN#61] Arab. "Zakariyб" (Zacharias): a play upon the term "Zakar"=the
sign of "masculinity." Zacharias, mentioned in the Koran as the
educator of the Virgin Mary (chaps. iii.) and repeatedly referred to
(chaps. xix. etc.), is a well-known personage amongst Moslems and his
church is now the great Cathedral-Mosque of Aleppo.

[FN#62] Arab. " Ark al-Halбwat " = vein of sweetness.

[FN#63] Arab. "Futъh," which may also mean openings, has before

[FN#64] i.e. four times without withdrawing.

[FN#65] i.e. a correspondence of size, concerning which many rules are
given in the Ananga-Rangha Shastra which justly declares that
discrepancy breeds matrimonial-troubles.

[FN#66] Arab. "Ghurбb al-Bayn"= raven of the waste or the parting:
hence the bird of Odin symbolises separation (which is also called
Al-bayn). The Raven (Ghurab = Heb. Oreb and Lat. Corvus, one of the
prehistoric words) is supposed to be seen abroad earlier than any other
bird; and it is entitled "Abu Zajir," father of omens, because lucky
when flying towards the right and v.v. It is opposed in poetry to the
(white) pigeon, the emblem of union, peace and happiness. The vulgar
declare that when Mohammed hid in the cave the crow kept calling to his
pursuers, "Ghбr! Ghбr!" (cavern, cavern): hence the Prophet condemned
him to wear eternal-mourning and ever to repeat the traitorous words.
This is the old tale of Coronis and Apollo (Ovid, lib. ii.).

—————" who blacked the raven o'er And bid him prate in his white plumes
no more."

[FN#67] This use of a Turkish title "Efendi" being=our esquire, and
inferior to a Bey, is a rank anachronism, probably of the copyist.

[FN#68] Arab. "Samn"=Hind. "Ghi" butter melted, skimmed and allowed to

[FN#69] Arab. "Ya Wadъd," a title of the Almighty: the Mac.

Edit. has "O David!"

[FN#70] Arab. "Muwashshahah;" a complicated stanza of which specimens
have occurred. Mr. Payne calls it a "ballad," which would be a "Kunyat

[FN#71] Arab. "Bahбim" (plur. of Bahнmah=Heb. Behemoth), applied in
Egypt especially to cattle. A friend of the "Oppenheim" house, a name
the Arabs cannot pronounce was known throughout Cairo as "Jack
al-bahбim" (of the cows).

[FN#72] Lit. "The father of side-locks," a nickname of one of the Tobba
Kings. This "Hasan of: the ringlets" who wore two long pig-tails
hanging to his shoulders was the Rochester or Piron of his age: his
name is still famous for brilliant wit, extempore verse and the wildest
debauchery. D'Herbelot's sketch of his life is very meagre. His poetry
has survived to the present day and (unhappily) we shall] hear more of
"Abu Nowбs." On the subject of these patronymics Lane (Mod. Egypt,
chaps. iv.) has a strange remark that "Abu Dбъd i' not the Father of
Dбъd or Abu Ali the Father of Ali, but whose Father is (or was) Dбъd or
Ali." Here, however, he simply confounds Abu = father of (followed by a
genitive), with Abu-h (for Abu-hu) = he, whose father.

[FN#73] Arab. "Samъr," applied in slang language to cats and dogs,
hence the witty Egyptians converted Admiral-Seymour (Lord Alcester)
into "Samъr."

[FN#74] The home-student of Arabic may take this letter as a model even
in the present day; somewhat stiff and old-fashioned, but gentlemanly
and courteous.

[FN#75] Arab. "Salнm" (not Sй-lim) meaning the "Safe and sound."

[FN#76] Arab. "Halбwah"=sweetmeat, meaning an entertainment such as men
give to their friends after sickness or a journey. it is technically
called as above, "The Sweetmeat of Safety."

[FN#77] Arab. "Salбt" which from Allah means mercy, from the

Angels intercession and pardon; and from mankind blessing.

Concerning the specific effects of blessing the Prophet, see

Pilgrimage (ii. 70). The formula is often slurred over when a man

is in a hurry to speak: an interrupting friend will say " Bless the

Prophet!" and he does so by ejaculating "Sa'am."

[FN#78] Persian, meaning originally a command: it is now applied to a
Wazirial-order as opposed to the " Irбdah," the Sultan's order.

[FN#79] Arab. " Mashб'ilн" lit. the cresses-bearer who has before
appeared as hangman.

[FN#80] Another polite formula for announcing a death.

[FN#81] As he died heirless the property lapsed to the Treasury.

[FN#82]This shaking the kerchief is a signal to disperse and the action
suggests its meaning. Thus it is used in an opposite sense to "throwing
the kerchief," a pseudo-Oriental practice whose significance is
generally understood in Europe.

[FN#83] The body-guard being of two divisions.

[FN#84] Arab. "Hadbб," lit. "hump-backed;" alluding to the Badawi bier;
a pole to which the corpse is slung (Lane). It seems to denote the
protuberance of the corpse when placed upon the bier which before was
flat. The quotation is from Ka'ab's Mantle-Poem (Burdah v . 37), "Every
son of a female, long though his safety may be, is a day borne upon a
ridged implement," says Mr. Redhouse, explaining the latter as a "bier
with a ridged lid." Here we differ: the Janбzah with a lid is not a
Badawi article: the wildlings use the simplest stretcher; and I would
translate the lines,

          "The son of woman, whatso his career

           One day is borne upon the gibbous bier."

[FN#85] This is a high honour to any courtier.

[FN#86] "Khatun" in Turk. means any lady: mistress, etc., and follows
the name, e.g. Fбtimah Khatun. Habzalam Bazazah is supposed to be a
fanciful compound, uncouth as the named; the first word consisting of
"Habb" seed, grain; and "Zalam" of Zulm=seed of tyranny. Can it be a
travesty of "Absalom" (Ab Salбm, father of peace)? Lane (ii. 284) and
Payne (iii. 286) prefer Habazlam and Hebezlem.

[FN#87] Or night. A metaphor for rushing into peril.

[FN#88] Plur. of kumkum, cucurbite, gourd-shaped vessel, jar.

[FN#89] A popular exaggeration for a very expert thief.

[FN#90] Arab. "Buka'at Ad-bum": lit. the "low place of blood" (where it
stagnates): so Al-Bukб'ah = Cњlesyria.

[FN#91] That common and very unpleasant phrase, full of egotism and
self-esteem, "I told you so," is even more common in the naпve East
than in the West. In this case the son's answer is far superior to the
mother's question.

[FN#92] In order to keep his oath to the letter.

[FN#93] "Tabannuj; " literally "hemping" (drugging with hemp or
henbane) is the equivalent in Arab medicine of our "anжsthetics." These
have been used in surgery throughout the East for centuries before
ether and chloroform became the fashion in the civilised West.

[FN#94] Arab. "Durkб'ah," the lower part of the floor, opposed to the
"liwбn" or daпs. Liwбn =Al-Aywбn (Arab. and Pers.) the hall (including
the daпs and the sunken parts)

[FN#95] i.e. he would toast it as he would a mistress.

[FN#96] This till very late years was the custom in Persia, and Fath
Ali Shah never appeared in scarlet without ordering some horrible
cruelties. In Dar-For wearing a red cashmere turban was a sign of wrath
and sending a blood red dress to a subject meant that he would be

[FN#97] That is, this robbery was committed in the palace by some one
belonging to it. References to vinegar are frequent; that of Egypt
being famous in those days. "Optimum et laudatissimum acetum a Romanis
habebatur Жgyptum" (Facciolati); and possibly it was sweetened: the
Gesta (Tale xvii.) mentions "must and vinegar." In Arab Proverbs, One
mind by vinegar and another by wine"=each mind goes its own way, (Arab.
Prov. . 628); or, "with good and bad," vinegar being spoilt wine.

[FN#98] We have not heard the last of this old "dowsing rod": the
latest form of rhabdomancy is an electrical-rod invented in the United

[FN#99] This is the procиs verbal always drawn up on such occasions.

[FN#100] The sight of running water makes a Persian long for strong
drink as the sight of a fine view makes the Turk feel hungry.

[FN#101] Arab. "Min wahid aduww " a peculiarly Egyptian or rather

Cairene phrase.

[FN#102] Al-Danaf=the Distressing Sickness: the title would be Ahmad
the Calamity. Al-Zaybak (the Quicksilver)=Mercury Ali Hasan "Shuuman"=a
pestilent fellow. We shall meet all these worthies again and again: see
the Adventures of Mercury Ali of Cairo, Night dccviii., a sequel to The
Rogueries of Dalilah, Night dcxcviii.

[FN#103] For the "Sacrifice-place of Ishmael" (not Isaac) see my
Pilgrimage (iii. 306). According to all Arab ideas Ishmael, being the
eldest son, was the chief of the family after his father. I have noted
that this is the old old quarrel between the Arabs and their cousins
the Hebrews.

[FN#104] This black-mail was still paid to the Badawin of Ramlah

(Alexandria) till the bombardment in 1881.

[FN#105] The famous Issus of Cilicia, now a port-village on the

Gulf of Scanderoon.

[FN#106] Arab. " Wada'б" = the concha veneris, then used as small

[FN#107] Arab. "Sakati"=a dealer in "castaway" articles, such es old
metal,damaged goods, the pluck and feet of animals, etc.

[FN#108] The popular tale of Burckhardt's death in Cairo was that the
names of the three first Caliphs were found written upon his
slipper-soles and that he was put to death by decree of the Olema. It
is the merest nonsense, as the great traveller died of dysentery in the
house of my old friend John Thurburn and was buried outside the Bab
al-Nasr of Cairo where his tomb was restored by the late Rogers Bey
(Pilgrimage i. 123).

[FN#109] Prob. a mis-spelling for Arslбn, in Turk. a lion, and in slang
a piastre.

[FN#110] Arab. "Maka'ad;" lit. = sitting-room.

[FN#111] Arab. "Khammбrah"; still the popular term throughout Egypt for
a European Hotel. It is not always intended to be insulting but it is,
meaning the place where Franks meet to drink forbidden drinks.

[FN#112] A reminiscence of Mohammed who cleansed the Ka'abah of its 360
idols (of which 73 names are given by Freytag, Einleitung, etc. pp.
270, 342-57) by touching them with his staff, whereupon all fell to the
ground; and the Prophet cried (Koran xvii. 84), "Truth is come, and
falsehood is vanished: verily, falsehood is a thing that vanisheth"
(magna est veritas, etc.). Amongst the "idols" are said to have been a
statue of Abraham and the horns of the ram sacrificed in lieu of
Ishmael, which (if true) would prove conclusively that the Abrahamic
legend at Meccah is of ancient date and not a fiction of Al-Islam.
Hence, possibly, the respect of the Judaising Tobbas of Hiwyarland for
the Ka'abah. (Pilgrimage, iii. 295.)

[FN#113] This was evidently written by a Sunni as the Shн'ahs claim to
be the only true Moslems. Lane tells an opposite story (ii. 329). It
suggests the common question in the South of Europe, "Are you a
Christian or a Protestant?"

[FN#114] Arab. "Ana fн jнrat-ak!" a phrase to be remembered as useful
in time of danger.

[FN#115] i.e. No Jinni, or Slave of the Jewel, was there to answer.

[FN#116] Arab. "Kunsъl" (pron. "Gunsul") which here means a well-to-do
Frank, and shows the modern date of the tale as it stands.

[FN#117] From the Ital. "Capitano." The mention of cannon and other
terms in this tale shows that either it was written during the last
century or it has been mishandled by copyists.

[FN#118] Arab. "Minнnah"; a biscuit of flour and clarified butter.

[FN#119] Arab. "Waybah"; the sixth part of the Ardabb=6 to 7

English gallons.

[FN#120] He speaks in half-jest а la fellah; and reminds us of

"Hangman, drive on the cart!"

[FN#121] Yochanan (whom Jehovah has blessed) Jewish for John, is
probably a copy of the Chaldean Euahanes, the Oannes of Berosus=Ea
Khan, Hea the fish. The Greeks made it Joannes; the Arabs "Yohannб"
(contracted to "Hannб," Christian) and "Yбbyб" (Moslem). Prester
(Priest) John is probably Ung Khan, the historian prince conquered and
slain by Janghiz Khan in A.D. 1202. The modern history of "John" is
very extensive: there may be a full hundred varieties and derivation'
of the name. "Husn Maryam" the beauty (spiritual. etc.) of the B.V.

[FN#122] Primarily being middle-aged; then aid, a patron, servant, etc.
Also a tribe of the Jinn usually made synonymous with "Mбrid," evil
controuls, hostile to men: modern spiritualists would regard them as
polluted souls not yet purged of their malignity. The text insinuates
that they were at home amongst Christians and in Genoa.

[FN#123] Arab. "Sar'a" = epilepsy, falling sickness, of old always
confounded with "possession" (by evil spirits) or "obsession."

[FN#124] Again the true old charge of falsifying the so-called "Sacred
books." Here the Koran is called "Furkбn." Sale (sect. iii.) would
assimilate this to the Hebr. "Perek" or "Pirka," denoting a section or
portion of Scripture; but Moslems understand it to be the "Book which
distinguisheth (faraka, divided) the true from the false." Thus Caliph
Omar was entitled "Fбrъk" = the Distinguisher (between right and
wrong). Lastly, "Furkбn," meanings as in Syr. and Ethiop. deliverance,
revelation, is applied alike to the Pentateuch and Koran.

[FN#125] Euphemistic for "thou shalt die."

[FN#126] Lit. "From (jugular) vein to vein" (Arab. "Warнd"). Our old
friend Lucretius again: "Tantane relligio," etc.

[FN#127] As opposed to the "but" or outer room.

[FN#128] Arab. "Darb al-Asfar" in the old Jamalнyah or Northern part of

[FN#129] A noble tribe of Badawin that migrated from Al-Yaman and
settled in Al-Najd Their Chief, who died a few years before Mohammed's
birth, was Al-Hatim (the "black crow"), a model of Arab manliness and
munificence; and although born in the Ignorance he will enter Heaven
with the Moslems. Hatim was buried on the hill called Owбrid: I have
already noted this favourite practice of the wilder Arabs and the
affecting idea that the Dead may still look upon his kith and kin.
There is not an Arab book nor, indeed, a book upon Arabia which does
not contain the name of Hatim: he is mentioned as unpleasantly often as

[FN#130] Lord of "Cattle-feet," this King's name is unknown; but the
Kбmъs mentions two Kings called Zu 'l Kalб'a, the Greater and the Less.
Lane's Shaykh (ii. 333) opined that the man who demanded Hatim's
hospitality was one Abu'l-Khaybari.

[FN#131] The camel's throat, I repeat, is not cut as in the case of
other animals, the muscles being too strong: it is slaughtered by the
"nahr," i.e. thrusting a knife into the hollow at the commissure of the
chest. (Pilgrimage iii. 303.)

[FN#132] Adi became a Moslem and was one of the companions of the


[FN#133] A rival-in generosity to Hatim: a Persian poet praising his
patron's generosity says that it buried that of Hatim and dimmed that
of Ma'an (D'Herbelot). He was a high official-under the last Ommiade,
Marwбn al-Himбr (the "Ass," or the "Century," the duration of Ommiade
rule) who was routed and slain in A.H. 132=750. Ma'an continued to
serve under the Abbasides and was a favourite with Al-Mansъr. "More
generous or bountiful than Ka'ab" is another saying (A. P., i. 325);
Ka'ab ibn Mбmah was a man who, somewhat like Sir Philip Sidney at
Zutphen, gave his own portion of drink while he was dying of thirst to
a man who looked wistfully at him, whence the saying "Give drink to thy
brother the Nбmiri" (A. P., i. 608). Ka'ab could not mount, so they put
garments over him to scare away the wild beasts and left him in the
desert to die. "Scatterer of blessings" (Nбshir al-Ni'am) was a title
of King Malik of Al-Yaman, son of Sharhabнl, eminent for his
liberality. He set up the statue in the Western Desert, inscribed
"Nothing behind me," as a warner to others.

[FN#134] Lane (ii. 352) here introduces, between Nights cclxxi. and
ccxc., a tale entitled in the Bresl. Edit. (iv. 134) "The Sleeper and
the Waker," i.e. the sleeper awakened; and he calls it: The Story of
Abu-l-Hasan the Wag. It is interesting and founded upon
historical-fact; but it can hardly be introduced here without breaking
the sequence of The Nights. I regret this the more as Mr. Alexander J.
Cotheal-of New York has most obligingly sent me an addition to the
Breslau text (iv. 137) from his MS. But I hope eventually to make use
of it.

[FN#135] The first girl calls gold "Titer" (pure, unalloyed metal); the
second "Asjad" (gold generally) and the third "Ibrнz" (virgin ore, the
Greek {Greek letters}. This is a law of Arab rhetoric never to repeat
the word except for a purpose and, as the language can produce
1,200,000 (to 100,000 in English) the copiousness is somewhat painful
to readers.

[FN#136] Arab. "Shakes" before noticed.

[FN#137] Arab. "Kussб'б"=the curling cucumber: the vegetable is of the
cheapest and the poorer classes eat it as "kitchen" with bread.

[FN#138] Arab. "Haram-hu," a double entendre. Here the Barlawi means
his Harem the inviolate part of the house; but afterwards he makes it
mean the presence of His Honour.

[FN#139] Toledo? this tale was probably known to Washington Irving. The
"Land of Roum " here means simply Frank-land as we are afterwards told
that its name was Andalusia the old Vandal-land, a term still applied
by Arabs to the whole of the Iberian Peninsula.

[FN#140] Arab. "Amбim" (plur. of Imбmah) the common word for turband
which I prefer to write in the old unclipt fashion. We got it through
the Port. Turbante and the old French Tolliban from the (now obsolete)
Persian term Dolband=a turband or a sash.

[FN#141] Sixth Ommiade Caliph, A.D. 705-716, from "Tбrik" we have


[FN#142] Arab. "Yunбn" = Ionia, applied to ancient Greece as

"Roum" is to the Grжco-Roman Empire.

[FN#143] Arab. "Bahramбni ;" prob. alluding to the well-known

legend of the capture of Somanath (Somnauth) from the Hindus by

Mahmud of Ghazni. In the Ajб'ib al-Hind (before quoted) the

Brahmins are called Abrahamah.

[FN#144] i.e. "Peace be with thee!"

[FN#145] i.e. in the palace when the hunt was over. The bluntness and
plain-speaking of the Badawi, which caused the revelation of the
Koranic chapter "Inner Apartments" (No. xlix.) have always been
favourite themes with Arab tale-tellers as a contrast with citizen
suavity and servility. Moreover the Badawi, besides saying what he
thinks, always tells the truth (unless corrupted by commerce with
foreigners); and this is a startling contrast with the townsfolk. To
ride out of Damascus and have a chat with the Ruwalб is much like being
suddenly transferred from amongst the trickiest of Mediterranean people
to the bluff society of the Scandinavian North. And the reason why the
Turk will never govern the Arab in peace is that the former is always
trying to finesse and to succeed by falsehood, when the truth, the
whole truth and nothing but the truth is wanted.

[FN#146] Koran. xvi. 112.

[FN#147] A common and expressive way of rewarding the tongue which
"spoke poetry." The Jewels are often pearls.

[FN#148] Ibrahim Abu Ishбk bin al-Mahdi, a pretender to the Caliphate
of well known wit and a famed musician surnamed from his corpulence
"Al-Tannнn"=the Dragon or, according to others (Lane ii. 336),
"Al-Tin"= the fig. His adventurous history will be found in Ibn
Khallikan D'Herbelot and Al-Siyuti.

[FN#149] The Ragha of the Zendavesta, and Rages of the Apocrypha
(Tobit, Judith, etc.), the old capital-of Media Proper, and seat of
government of Daylam, now a ruin some miles south of Teheran which was
built out of its remains. Rayy was founded by Hoshang the primeval-king
who first sawed wood, made doors and dug metal. It is called Rayy
al-Mahdiyyah because Al-Mahdi held his court there. Harun al-Rashid was
also born in it (A.H. 145). It is mentioned by a host of authors and
names one of the Makamat of Al-Hariri.

[FN#150] Human blood being especially impure.

[FN#151] Jones, Brown and Robinson.

[FN#152] Arab. "Kumm ," the Moslem sleeve is mostly (like his trousers)
of ample dimensions and easily converted into a kind of carpet-bag by
depositing small articles in the middle and gathering up the edge in
the hand. In this way carried the weight would be less irksome than
hanging to the waist. The English of Queen Anne's day had regular
sleeve-pockets for memoranda, etc., hence the saying, to have in one's

[FN#153] Arab. "Khuff" worn under the "Bбbъg" (a corruption of the
Persian pб-push=feet-covers, papooshes, slippers). [Lane M. E. chaps.

[FN#154] Done in hot weather throughout the city, a dry line for camels
being left in mid-street to prevent the awkward beasts slipping. The
watering of the Cairo streets of late years has been excessive; they
are now lines of mud in summer as well as in winter and the effluvia
from the droppings of animals have, combined with other causes,
seriously deteriorated the once charming climate. The only place in
Lower Egypt, which has preserved the atmosphere of 1850, is Suez.

[FN#155] Arab. "Hurбk:" burnt rag, serving as tinder for flint and
steel, is a common styptic.

[FN#156] Of this worthy, something has been said and there will be more
in a future page.

[FN#157] i.e. the person entitled to exact the blood-wite.

[FN#158] Al-Maamum was a man of sense with all his fanaticism One of
his sayings is preserved "Odious is contentiousness in Kings, more
odious vexation in judges uncomprehending a case; yet more odious is
shallowness of doctors in religions and most odious are avarice in the
rich, idleness in youth, jesting in age and cowardice in the soldier."

[FN#159] The second couplet is not in the Mac. Edit. but Lane's

Shaykh has supplied it (ii. 339)

[FN#160] Adam's loins, the "Day of Alast," and the Imam (who stands
before the people in prayer) have been explained. The "Seventh Imam"
here is Al-Maamun, the seventh Abbaside the Ommiades being, as usual,

[FN#161] He sinned only for the pleasure of being pardoned, which is
poetical-and hardly practical-or probable.

[FN#162] The Katб (sand-grouse) always enters into Arab poetry because
it is essentially a desert bird, and here the comparison is good
because it lays its eggs in the waste far from water which it must
drink morning and evening. Its cry is interpreted "man sakat, salam"
(silent and safe), but it does not practice that precept, for it is
usually betrayed by its piping " Kata! Kata!" Hence the proverb, "More
veracious than the sand-grouse," and "speak not falsely, for the Kata
sayeth sooth," is Komayt's saying. It is an emblem of swiftness: when
the brigand poet Shanfara boasts, "The ash-coloured Katas can drink
only my leavings, after hastening all night to slake their thirst in
the morning," it is a hyperbole boasting of his speed. In Sind it is
called the "rock pigeon" and it is not unlike a grey partridge when on
the wing.

[FN#163] Joseph to his brethren, Koran, xii. 92, when he gives them his
"inner garment" to throw over his father's face.

[FN#164] Arab. "Hajjбm"=a cupper who scarifies forehead and legs, a
bleeder, a (blood-) sucker. The slang use of the term is to thrash,
lick, wallop. (Burckhardt. Prov. 34.)

[FN#165] The Bresl. Edit. (vii. 171-174) entitles this tale, "Story of
Shaddбd bin Ad and the City of Iram the Columned ;" but it relates
chiefly to the building by the King of the First Adites who, being
promised a future Paradise by Prophet Hъd, impiously said that he would
lay out one in this world. It also quotes Ka'ab al-Ahbбr as an
authority for declaring that the tale is in the "Pentateuch of Moses."
Iram was in al-Yaman near Adan (our Aden) a square of ten parasangs (or
leagues each= 18,000 feet) every way, the walls were of red (baked)
brick 500 cubits high and 20 broad, with four gates of corresponding
grandeur. It contained 300,000 Kasr (palaces) each with a thousand
pillars of gold-bound jasper, etc. (whence its title). The whole was
finished in five hundred years, and, when Shaddad prepared to enter it,
the "Cry of Wrath" from the Angel of Death slew him and all his many.
It is mentioned in the Koran (chaps. Ixxxix. 6-7) as "Irem adorned with
lofty buildings (or pillars)." But Ibn Khaldun declares that
commentators have embroidered the passage; Iram being the name of a
powerful clan of the ancient Adites and "imбd" being a tent-pole: hence
"Iram with the numerous tents or tent-poles." Al-Bayzawi tells the
story of Abdullah ibn Kilabah (D'Herbelot's Colabah). At Aden I met an
Arab who had seen the mysterious city on the borders of Al-Ahkбf, the
waste of deep sands, west of Hadramaut; and probably he had, the mirage
or sun-reek taking its place. Compare with this tale "The City of
Brass" (Night dlxv.).

[FN#166] The biblical-"Sheba," named from the great-grandson of Joctan,
whence the Queen (Bilkis) visited Solomon It was destroyed by the Flood
of Mбrib.

[FN#167] The full title of the Holy City is "Madinat al-Nab)" = the
City of the Prophet, of old Yasrib (Yathrib) the Iatrippa of the Greeks
(Pilgrimage, ii. 119). The reader will remember that there are two
"Yasribs:" that of lesser note being near Hujr in the Yamбmah province.

[FN#168] "Ka'ab of the Scribes," a well-known traditionist and
religious poet who died (A.H. 32) in the Caliphate of Osman. He was a
Jew who islamised; hence his name (Ahbбr, plur. of Hibr, a Jewish
scribe, doctor of science, etc. Jarrett's El-Siyuti, p. 123). He must
not be confounded with another Ka'ab al-Ahbбr the Poet of the (first)
Cloak-poem or "Burdah," a noble Arab who was a distant cousin of
Mohammed, and whose tomb at Hums (Emesa) is a place of pious
visitation. According to the best authorities (no Christian being
allowed to see them) the cloak given to the bard by Mohammed is still
preserved together with the Khirkah or Sanjak Sherif ("Holy Coat" or
Banner, the national oriflamme) at Stambul in the Upper Seraglio.
(Pilgrimage, i. 213.) Many authors repeat this story of Mu'awiyah, the
Caliph, and Ka'ab of the Burdah, but it is an evident anachronism, the
poet having been dead nine years before the ruler's accession (A.H.

[FN#169] Koran, lxxxix. 6-7.

[FN#170] Arab. "Kahramбn" from Pers., braves, heroes.

[FN#171] The Deity in the East is as whimsical-a despot as any of his
"shadows" or "vice regents." In the text Shaddбd is killed for mere
jealousy a base passion utterly unworthy of a godhead; but one to which
Allah was greatly addicted.

[FN#172] Some traditionist, but whether Sha'abi, Shi'abi or

Shu'abi we cannot decide.

[FN#173] The Hazarmaveth of Genesis (x. 26) in South Eastern Arabia.
Its people are the Adramitae (mod. Hazrami) of Ptolemy who places in
their land the Arabiж Emporium, as Pliny does his Massola. They border
upon the Homeritж or men of Himyar, often mentioned in The Nights.
Hazramaut is still practically unknown to us, despite the excursions of
many travellers; and the hard nature of the people, the Swiss of
Arabia, offers peculiar obstacles to exploration.

[FN#174] i.e. the prophet Hud generally identified (?) with Heber. He
was commissioned (Koran, chaps. vii.) to preach Al-Islam to his tribe
the Adites who worshipped four goddesses, Sбkiyah (the rain-giver),
Rбzikah (food-giver), Hбfizah (the saviouress) and Sбlimah (who healed
sickness). As has been seen he failed, so it was useless to send him.

[FN#175] Son of Ibraham al-Mosili, a musician poet and favourite with
the Caliphs Harun al-Rashid and Al-Maamun. He made his name immortal-by
being the first who reduced Arab harmony to systematic rules, and he
wrote a biography of musicians referred to by Al-Hariri in the Sйance
of Singar.

[FN#176] This must not be confounded with the "pissing against the
wall" of I Kings, xiv. 10, where watering against a wall denotes a man
as opposed to a woman.

[FN#177] Arab. "Zambнl" or "Zimbнl," a limp basket made of plaited
palm-leaves and generally two handled. It is used for many purposes,
from carrying poultry to carrying earth.

[FN#178] Here we have again the Syriac ''Bakhkh -un-Bakhkh-un-''=well
done! It is the Pers Бferнn and means "all praise be to him."

[FN#179] Arab. "A Tufayli?" So the Arab. Prov. (ii. 838) "More
intrusive than Tufayl" (prob. the P.N. of a notorious sponger). The
Badawin call "Wбrish" a man who sits down to meat unbidden and to drink
Wбghil; but townsfolk apply the latter to the "Wбrish."

[FN#180] Arab. "Artбl"=rotoli, pounds; and

               "A pint is a pound

                All the world round;"

except in highly civilised lands where the pint has a curious power of

[FN#181] One of Al-Maamun's Wazirs. The Caliph married his daughter
whose true name was Bъrбn; but this tale of girl's freak and courtship
was invented (?) by Ishak. For the splendour of the wedding and the
munificence of the Minister see Lane, ii. 350-352.

[FN#182] I have described this scene, the wretch clinging to the
curtain and sighing and crying as if his heart would break (Pilgrimage
iii. 216 and 220). The same is done at the place Al-Multazam'"the
attached to;" (ibid. 156) and various spots called Al-Mustajбb, "where
prayer is granted" (ibid. 162). At Jerusalem the Wailing place of the
Jews" shows queer scenes; the worshippers embrace the wall with a
peculiar wriggle crying out in Hebrew, "O build Thy House, soon,
without delay," etc.

[FN#183] i.e. The wife. The scene in the text was common at Cairo
twenty years ago; and no one complained of the stick. See Pilgrimage
i., 120.

[FN#184] Arab. "Udm, Udum" (plur. of Idбm) = "relish," olives, cheese,
pickled cucumbers, etc.

[FN#185] I have noticed how the left hand is used in the East. In the
second couplet we have "Istinjб"=washing the fundament after stool. The
lines are highly appropriate for a nightman. Easterns have many foul
but most emphatic expressions like those in the text I have heard a
mother say to her brat, "I would eat thy merde!" (i.e. how I love

[FN#186] Arab. "Harrбk," whence probably our "Carack" and

"Carrack" (large ship), in dictionaries derived from Carrus


[FN#187] Arab. "Ghбshiyah"=lit. an йtui, a cover; and often a
saddle-cover carried by the groom.

[FN#188] Arab. "Sharбb al-tuffбh" = melapio or cider.

[FN#189] Arab. "Mudawwarah," which generally means a small round
cushion, of the Marocco-work well known in England. But one does not
strike a cushion for a signal, so we must revert to the original-sense
of the word "something round," as a circular plate of wood or metal, a
gong, a "bell" like that of the Eastern Christians.

[FN#190] Arab. "Tъfбn" (from the root tauf, going round) a storm, a
circular gale, a cyclone the term universally applied in Al-lslam to
the "Deluge," the "Flood" of Noah. The word is purely Arabic; with a
quaint likeness to the Gr. {Greek letters}, in Pliny typhon, whirlwind,
a giant (Typhњus) whence "Typhon" applied to the great Egyptian god
"Set." The Arab word extended to China and was given to the hurricanes
which the people call "Tee foong," great winds, a second
whimsical-resemblance. But Sir John Davis (ii. 383) is hardly correct
when he says, "the name typhoon, in itself a corruption of the Chinese
term, bears a singular (though we must suppose an accidental)
resemblance to the Greek {Greek letters}. "

[FN#191] Plurale majestatis acting superlative; not as Lane supposes
(ii. 224) "a number of full moons, not only one." Eastern tongues
abound in instances beginning with Genesis (i. 1), "Gods (he) created
the heaven," etc. It is still preserved in Badawi language and a
wildling greatly to the astonishment of the citizens will address his
friend "Yб Rijбl"= O men!

[FN#192] Arab. "Hбsid" = an envier: in the fourth couplet "Azъl"
(Azzбl, etc.) = a chider, blamer; elsewhere "Lawwбm" = accuser, censor,
slanderer; "Wбshн,"=whisperer, informer; "Rakib"=spying, envious rival;
"Ghбbit"=one emulous without envy; and "Shбmit"= a "blue" (fierce)
enemy who rejoices over another's calamities. Arabic literature abounds
in allusions to this unpleasant category of "damned ill-natured
friends;" and Spanish and Portuguese letters, including Brazilian, have
thoroughly caught the trick. In the Eastern mind the "blamer" would be
aided by the "evil eye."

[FN#193] Another plural for a singular, "O my beloved!"

[FN#194] Arab. "Khayr"=good news, a euphemistic reply even if the
tidings be of the worst.

[FN#195] Abbбs (from 'Abs, being austere; and meaning the "grim faced")
son of Abd al-Muttalib; uncle to Mohammed and eponym of the Abbaside
Khalifahs. A.D. 749=1258.

[FN#196] Katнl = the Irish "kilt."

[FN#197] This hat been explained as a wazirial title of the time.

[FN#198] The phrase is intelligible in all tongues: in Arabic it is
opposed to "dark as night," "black as mud" and a host of unsavoury

[FN#199] Arab. "Awwбdah," the popular word; not Udнyyah as in Night
cclvi. "Ud" liter.= rood and "Al-Ud"=the wood is, I have noted, the
origin of our 'lute." The Span. 'laud" is larger and deeper than the
guitar, and its seven strings are played upon with a plectrum of

[FN#200] Arab. "Tabban lahu!"=loss (or ruin) to him. So "bu'dan
lahu"=away with him, abeat in malam rem; and "Suhkan lahu"=Allah and
mercy be far from him, no hope for him I

[FN#201] Arab. "Бyah"=Koranic verses, sign, miracle.

[FN#202] The mole on cheek calls to prayers for his preservation; and
it is black as Bilal the Abyssinian. Fajran may here mean either
"A.-morning" or "departing from grace."

[FN#203] i.e. the young beard (myrtle) can never hope to excel tile
beauties of his cheeks (roses).

[FN#204] i.e. Hell and Heaven.

[FN#205] The first couplet is not in the Mac. Edit. (ii. 171)

which gives only a single couplet but it is found in the Bres.

Edit. which entitles this tale "Story of the lying (or false kбzib)

Khalнfah." Lane (ii. 392) of course does not translate it.

[FN#206] In the East cloth of frieze that mates with cloth of gold must
expect this treatment. Fath Ali Shah's daughters always made their
husbands enter the nuptial-bed by the foot end.

[FN#207] This is always done and for two reasons; the first humanity,
that the blow may fall unawares; and, secondly, to prevent the sufferer
wincing, which would throw out the headsman.

[FN#208] Arab. "Ma'бni-hб," lit. her meanings, i.e. her inner woman
opposed to the formal-seen by every one.

[FN#209] Described in my Pilgrimage (iii. 168, 174 and 175): it is the
stone upon which the Patriarch stood when he built the Ka'abah and is
said to show the impress of the feet but unfortunately I could not
afford five dollars entrance-fee. Caliph Omar placed the station where
it now is; before his time it adjoined the Ka'abah. The meaning of the
text is, Be thy court a place of pious visitation, etc. At the "Station
of Abraham" prayer is especially blessed and expects to be granted.
"This is the place where Abraham stood; and whoever entereth therein
shall be safe" (Koran ii. 119). For the other fifteen places where
petitions are favourably heard by Heaven see ibid. iii. 211-12.

[FN#210] As in the West, so in the East, women answer an unpleasant
question by a counter question.

[FN#211] This "Cry of Haro" often occurs throughout The Nights. In
real-life it is sure to colece a crowd. especially if an Infidel (non
Moslem) be its cause.

[FN#212] In the East a cunning fellow always makes himself the claimant
or complainant.

[FN#213] On the Euphrates some 40 miles west of Baghdad The word is
written "Anbбr" and pronounced "Ambбr" as usual with the "n" before
"b"; the case of the Greek double Gamma.

[FN#214] Syene on the Nile.

[FN#215] The tale is in the richest Rabelaisian humour; and the
requisitions of the "Saj'a" (rhymed prose) in places explain the
grotesque combinations. It is difficult to divine why Lane omits it:
probably he held a hearty laugh not respectable.

[FN#216] A lawyer of the eighth century, one of the chief pupils of the
Imam Abu Hanifah, and Kazi of Baghdad under the third, fourth and fifth
Abbasides. The tale is told in the quasi- historical-Persian work
"Nigбristбn" (The Picture gallery), and is repeated by Richardson,
Diss. 7, xiii. None seem to have remarked that the distinguished
legist, Abu Yusuf, was on this occasion a law-breaker; the Kazi's duty
being to carry out the code not to break it by the tricks of a cunning
attorney. In Harun's day, however, some regard was paid to justice, not
under his successors, one of whom, Al-Muktadir bi 'llбh (A.H. 295=907),
made the damsel Yamika President of the Diwбn al-Mazбlim (Court of the
Wronged), a tribunal which took cognizance of tyranny and oppression in
high places.

[FN#217] Here the writer evidently forgets that Shahrazad is telling
the story to the king, as Boccaccio (ii. 7) forgets that Pamfilo is
speaking. Such inconsequences are common in Eastern story-books and a
goody-goody sentiment is always heartily received as in an English

[FN#218] In the Mac. Edit. (ii. 182) "Al-Kushayri." Al-Kasri was

Governor of the two Iraks (I.e. Bassorah and Cufa) in the reign of

Al-Hisham, tenth Ommiade (A.D. 723-741)

[FN#219] Arab. "Thakalata k Ummak!" This is not so much a curse as a
playful phrase, like "Confound the fellow." So "Kбtala k Allah" (Allah
slay thee) and "Lб abб lak" (thou hast no father or mother). These
words are even complimentary on occasions, as a good shot or a fine
recitation, meaning that the praised far excels the rest of his tribe.

[FN#220] Koran, iii. 178.

[FN#221] Arab. "Al-Nisбb"=the minimum sum (about half-a crown) for
which mutilation of the hand is prescribed by religious law. The
punishment was truly barbarous, it chastised a rogue by means which
prevented hard honest labour for the rest of his life.

[FN#222] To show her grief.

[FN#223] Abъ Sa'нd Abd al-Malik bin Kurayb, surnamed Al-Asma'i from his
grandfather, flor. A.H. 122-306 (=739-830) and wrote amongst a host of
compositions the well-known Romance of Antar. See in D'Herbelot the
right royal-directions given to him by Harun al-Rashid.

[FN#224] There are many accounts of his death, but it is generally held
that he was first beheaded. The story in the text is also variously
told and the Persian "Nigбristбn" adds some unpleasant comments upon
the House of Abbas. The Persians, for reasons which will be explained
in the terminal-Essay, show the greatest sympathy with the Barmecides;
and abominate the Abbasides even more than the latter detested the

[FN#225] Not written, as the European reader would suppose.

[FN#226] Arab. "Fъl al-hбrr" = beans like horsebeans soaked and boiled
as opposed to the "Fъl Mudammas" (esp. of Egypt)=unshelled beans
steamed and boiled all night and eaten with linseed oil as "kitchen" or
relish. Lane (M.E., chaps. v.) calls them after the debased Cairene
pronunciation, Mudemmes. A legend says that, before the days of Pharaoh
(always he of Moses), the Egyptians lived on pistachios which made them
a witty, lively race. But the tyrant remarking that the domestic ass,
which eats beans, is degenerate from the wild ass, uprooted the
pistachio-trees and compelled the lieges to feed on beans which made
them a heavy, gross, cowardly people fit only for burdens. Badawis
deride "beaneaters" although they do not loathe the pulse like onions.
The principal-result of a bean diet is an extraordinary development of
flatulence both in stomach and intestines: hence possibly, Pythagoras
who had studied ceremonial-purity in Egypt, forbade the use, unless he
referred to venery or political-business. I was once sitting in the
Greek quarter of Cairo dressed as a Moslem when arose a prodigious
hubbub of lads and boys, surrounding, a couple of Fellahs. These men
had been working in the fields about a mile east of Cairo and, when
returning home, one had said to the other, "If thou wilt carry the hoes
I will break wind once for every step we take." He was as good as his
word and when they were to part he cried, "And now for thy bakhshish!"
which consisted of a volley of fifty, greatly to the delight of the

[FN#227] No porcelain was ever, as far as we can discover, made in
Egypt or Syria of the olden day; but, as has been said, there was a
regular caravan-intercourse with China At Damascus I dug into the huge
rubbish-heaps and found quantities of pottery, but no China. The same
has lately been done at Clysma, the artificial-mound near Suez, and the
glass and pottery prove it to have been a Roman work which defended the
mouth of the old classical-sweet-water canal.

[FN#228] Arab. "Lб baas ba-zбlik," conversational-for "Lб jaram"= there
is no harm in it, no objection to it, and, sometimes, "it is a matter
of course."

[FN#229] A white emerald is yet unknown; but this adds only to the
Oriental-extravagance of the picture. I do not think with Lane (ii.
426) that "abyaz" here can mean "bright." Dr. Steingass suggests a
clerical-error for "khazar" (green).

[FN#230] Arab. "Sharбrif" plur. of Shurrбfah=crenelles or battlements;
mostly trefoil-shaped; remparts coquets which a six-pounder would

[FN#231] Pronounce Abul-Muzaffar=Father of the Conqueror.

[FN#232] I have explained the word in my "Zanzibar, City, Island and
Coast," vol. i. chaps. v There is still a tribe, the Wadoe, reputed
cannibal-on the opposite low East African shore These blacks would
hardly be held " sons of Adam." "Zanj " corrupted to "Zinj " (plur
Zunъj) is the Persian "Zany" or "Zangi," a black, altered by the Arabs,
who ignore the hard g; and, with the suffixion of the Persian -bбr
(region, as in Malabar) we have Zang- bar which the Arabs have
converted to "Zanjibar," in poetry "Murk al-Zunъj"=Land of the Zang.
The term is old; it is the Zingis or Zingisa of Ptolemy and the Zingium
of Cosmas Indicopleustes; and it shows the influence of Persian
navigation in pre-Islamitic ages. For further details readers will
consult "The Lake Regions of Central-Africa" vol. i. chaps. ii

[FN#233] Arab. "Kawбrib" plur. of "Kбrib" prop. a dinghy, a small boat
belonging to a ship Here it refers to the canoe (a Carib word) pop.
"dug-out" and classically "monoxyle," a boat made of a single
tree-trunk hollowed by fire and trimmed with axe and adze. Some of
these rude craft which, when manned, remind one of saturnine Caliph
Omar's "worms floating on a log of wood," measure 60 feet long and

[FN#234] i.e. A descendant of Mohammed in general-and especially
through Husayn Ali-son. Here the text notes that the chief of the bazar
was of this now innumerable stock, who inherit the title through the
mother as well as through the father.

[FN#235] Arab. "Hasab" (=quaneity), the honour a man acquires for
himself; opposed to "Nasab" (genealogy) honours inherited from
ancestry: the Arabic well expresses my old motto (adopted by Chinese
Gordon), "Honour, not Honours."

[FN#236] Note the difference between "Takaddum" ( = standing in
presence of, also superiority in excellence) and "Takбdum" (priority in

[FN#237] Lane (ii. 427) gives a pleasant Eastern illustration of this

[FN#238] A Koranic fancy; the mountains being the pegs which keep the
earth in place. "And he hath thrown before the earth, mountains firmly
rooted, lest it should move with you." (Koran, chaps. xvi.) The earth
when first created was smooth and thereby liable to a circular motion,
like the celestial-orbs; and, when the Angels asked who could stand on
so tottering a frame, Allah fixed it the next morning by throwing the
mountains in it and pegging them down. A fair prolepsis of the
Neptunian theory.

[FN#239] Easy enough for an Englishman to avoid saying "by God," but
this common incident in Moslem folk-lore appeals to the peoples who are
constantly using the word Allah Wallah, Billah, etc. The Koran
expressly says, "Make not Allah the scope (object, lit. arrow-butt) of
your oaths" (chaps. ii. 224), yet the command is broken every minute.

[FN#240] This must be the ubiquitous Khizr, the Green Prophet; when Ali
appears, as a rule he is on horseback.

[FN#241] The name is apparently imaginary; and a little below we find
that it was close to Jinn land. China was very convenient for this
purpose: the medieval-Moslems, who settled in considerable numbers at
Canton and elsewhere, knew just enough of it to know their own
ignorance of the vast empire. Hence the Druzes of the Libanus still
hold that part of their nation is in the depths of the

[FN#242] I am unwilling to alter the old title to "City of Copper" as
it should be; the pure metal having been technologically used long
before the alloy of copper and zinc. But the Maroccan City (Night
dlxvi. et seq.) was of brass (not copper). The Hindus of Upper India
have an Iram which they call Hari Chand's city (Colonel Tod); and I
need hardly mention the Fata Morgana, Island of Saint Borondon; Cape
Fly-away; the Flying Dutchman, etc. etc., all the effect of "looming."

[FN#243] This sword which makes men invisible and which takes place of
Siegfried's Tarnkappe (invisible cloak) and of "Fortunatus' cap" is
common in Moslem folk-lore. The idea probably arose from the venerable
practice of inscribing the blades with sentences, verses and magic

[FN#244] Arab. "'Ukбb," in books an eagle (especially black) and P. N.
of constellation but in Pop. usage= a vulture. In Egypt it is the
Neophron Percnopterus (Jerdon) or N. Gingianus (Latham), the Dijбjat
Far'aun or Pharaoh's hen. This bird has been known to kill the Bбshah
sparrow-hawk (Jerdon i. 60); yet, curious to say, the reviewers of my
"Falconry in the Valley of the Indus" questioned the fact, known to so
many travellers, that the falcon is also killed by this "tiger of the
air," despite the latter's feeble bill (pp. 35-38). I was faring badly
at their hands when the late Mr. Burckhardt Barker came to the rescue.
Falconicide is popularly attributed, not only to the vulture, but also
to the crestless hawk-eagle (Nisжtus Bonelli) which the Hindus call
Morбngб=peacock slayer.

[FN#245] Here I translate "Nahбs"=brass, as the "kumkum" (cucurbite) is
made of mixed metal, not of copper.

[FN#246] Mansur al-Nimrн, a poet of the time and a protйgй of

Yahya's son, Al-Fazl.

[FN#247] This was at least four times Mansur's debt.

[FN#248] Intendant of the Palace to Harun al-Rashid. The Bres. Edit.
(vii. 254) begins They tell that there arose full enmity between
Ja'afar Barmecide and a Sahib of Misr" (Wazir or Governor of Egypt).
Lane (ii. 429) quotes to this purpose amongst Arab; historians Fakhr
al-Din. (De Sacy's Chrestomathie Arabe i., p. 26, edit. ii.)

[FN#249] Arab. "Armanнyah" which Egyptians call after their mincing
fashion "Irminiyeh" hence "Ermine" (Mus Ponticus). Armaniyah was much
more extensive than our Armenia, now degraded to a mere province of
Turkey, and the term is understood to include the whole of the old
Parthian Empire.

[FN#250] Even now each Pasha-governor must keep a "Wakнl" in

Constantinople to intrigue and bribe for him at head-quarters.

[FN#251] The symbol of generosity, of unasked liberality, the "black
hand" being that of niggardness.

[FN#252] Arab. Rбh =pure (and old) wine. Arabs, like our classics,
usually drank their wine tempered. So Imr al-Keys in his Mu'allakah
says, "Bring the well tempered wine that seems to be saffron-tinctured;
and, when water-mixed, o'erbrims the cup." (v. 2.)

[FN#253] There is nothing that Orientals relish more than these
"goody-goody" preachments; but they read and forget them as readily as

[FN#254] Lane (ii. 435) ill-advisedly writes "Sher," as "the word is
evidently Persian signifying a Lion." But this is only in the debased
Indian dialect, a Persian, especially a Shirazi, pronounces "Shнr." And
this is how it is written in the Bresl. Edit., vii. 262. "Shбr" is
evidently a fancy name, possibly suggested by the dynastic name of the
Ghurjistan or Georgian Princes.

[FN#255] Again old experience, which has learned at a heavy cost how
many a goodly apple is rotten at the core.

[FN#256] This couplet has occurred in Night xxi. I give Torrens (p.
206) by way of specimen.

[FN#257] Arab. "Zбka" = merely tasting a thing which may be sweet with
a bitter after-flavour

[FN#258] This tetraseich was in Night xxx. with a difference.

[FN#259] The lines have occurred in Night xxx. I quote Torrens, p. 311.

[FN#260] This tetrastich is in Night clxix. I borrow from Lane (ii.

[FN#261] The rude but effective refrigerator of the desert Arab who
hangs his water-skin to the branch of a tree and allows it to swing in
the wind.

[FN#262] Arab "Khumбsiyah" which Lane (ii. 438) renders "of quinary
stature." Usually it means five spans, but here five feet, showing that
the girl was young and still growing. The invoice with a slave always
notes her height in spans measured from ankle-bone to ear and above
seven she loses value as being full grown. Hence Sudбsi (fem.
Sudбsiyah) is a slave six spans high, the Shibr or full span (9 inches)
not the Fitr or short span from thumb to index. Faut is the
interval-between every finger, Ratab between index and medius, and Atab
between medius and annularis.

[FN#263] "Moon faced" now sounds sufficiently absurd to us, but it was
not always so. Solomon (Cant. vi. 10) does not disdain the image "fair
as the moon, clear as the sun," and those who have seen a moon in the
sky of Arabia will thoroughly appreciate it. We find it amongst the
Hindus, the Persians, the Afghans, the Turks and all the nations of
Europe. We have, finally, the grand example of Spenser,

"Her spacious forehead, like the clearest moon, etc."

[FN#264] Blue eyes have a bad name in Arabia as in India: the witch
Zarkб of Al-Yamamah was noted for them; and "blue eyed" often means
"fierce-eyed," alluding to the Greeks and Daylamites, mortal-enemies to
Ishmael. The Arabs say "ruddy of mustachio, blue of eye and black of

[FN#265] Before explained as used with camphor to fill the dead man's

[FN#266] As has been seen, slapping on the neck is equivalent to our
"boxing ears," but much less barbarous and likely to injure the child.
The most insulting blow is that with shoe sandal-or slipper because it
brings foot in contact with head. Of this I have spoken before.

[FN#267] Arab. "Hibбl" (= ropes) alluding to the A'akбl-fillet which
binds the Kъfiyah-kerchief on the Badawi's head. (Pilgrimage, i. 346.)

[FN#268] Arab. "Khiyбl"; afterwards called Kara Gyuz (= "black eyes,"
from the celebrated Turkish Wazir). The mise-en-scиne was like that of
Punch, but of transparent cloth, lamp lit inside and showing
silhouettes worked by hand. Nothing could be more Fescenntne than Kara
Gyuz, who appeared with a phallus longer than himself and made all the
Consuls-General-periodically complain of its abuse, while the dialogue,
mostly in Turkish, as even more obscene. Most ingenious were Kara
Gyuz's little ways of driving on an Obstinate donkey and of tackling a
huge Anatolian pilgrim. He mounted the Neddy's back face to tail, and
inserting his left thumb like a clyster, hammered it with his right
when the donkey started at speed. For the huge pilgrim he used a
ladder. These shows now obsolete, used to enliven the Ezbekiyah Gardens
every evening and explain Ovid's Words,

"Delicias videam, Nile jocose, tuas!"

[FN#269] Mohammed (Mishkбt al-Masбbih ii. 360-62) says, "Change the
whiteness of your hair but not with anything black." Abu Bakr, who was
two years and some months older than the Prophet, used tincture of
Henna and Katam. Old Turkish officers justify black dyes because these
make them look younger and fiercer. Henna stains white hair orange red;
and the Persians apply after it a paste of indigo leaves, the result is
successively leek-green, emerald-green, bottle-green and lastly
lamp-black. There is a stage in life (the youth of old age) when man
uses dyes: presently he finds that the whole face wants dye; that the
contrast between juvenile coloured hair and ancient skin is ridiculous
and that it is time to wear white.

[FN#270] This prejudice extends all over the East: the Sanskrit saying
is "Kvachit kбnб bhaveta sбdhus" now and then a monocular is honest.
The left eye is the worst and the popular idea is, I have said, that
the damage will come by the injured member

[FN#271] The Arabs say like us, "Short and thick is never quick" and
"Long and thin has little in."

[FN#272] Arab. "Ba'azu layбli," some night when his mistress failed

[FN#273] The fountain in Paradise before noticed.

[FN#274] Before noticed as the Moslem St. Peter (as far as the keys

[FN#275] Arab. "Munkasir" = broken, frail, languishing the only form of
the maladive allowed. Here again we have masculine for feminine: the
eyelids show love-desire, but, etc.

[FN#276] The river of Paradise.

[FN#277] See Night xii. "The Second Kalandar's Tale " vol. i. 113.

[FN#278] Lane (ii. 472) refers for specimens of calligraphy to Herbin's
"Dйveloppements, etc." There are many more than seven styles of writing
as I have shown in Night xiii.; vol. i. 129.

[FN#279] Amongst good Moslems this would be a claim upon a man.

[FN#280] These lines have occurred twice already: and first appear in
Night xxii. I have borrowed from Mr. Payne (iv. 46).

[FN#281] Arab. "Ya Nasrбni", the address is not intrinsically slighting
but it may easily be made so. I have elsewhere noted that when Julian
(is said to have) exclaimed "Vicisti Nazarene!" he was probably
thinking in Eastern phrase "Nasarta, yб Nasrбni!"

[FN#282] Thirst is the strongest of all pleas to an Eastern, especially
to a Persian who never forgets the sufferings of his Imam, Husayn, at
Kerbela: he would hardly withhold it from the murderer of his father.
There is also a Hadis, "Thou shalt not refuse water to him who
thirsteth in the desert."

[FN#283] Arab. "Zimmi" which Lane (ii. 474) aptly translates a
"tributary." The Koran (chaps. ix.) orders Unbelievers to Islamize or
to "pay tribute by right of subjection" (lit. an yadin=out of hand, an
expression much debated). The least tribute is one dinar per annum
which goes to the poor-rate. and for this the Kafir enjoys protection
and almost all the civil rights of Moslems. As it is a question of
"loaves and fishes" there is much to say on the subject; "loaves and
fishes" being the main base and foundation of all religious

[FN#284] This tetrastich has before occurred, so I quote Lane (ii.

[FN#285] In Night xxxv. the same occurs with a difference.

[FN#286] The old rite, I repeat, has lost amongst all but the noblest
of Arab tribes the whole of its significance; and the traveller must be
careful how he trusts to the phrase "Nahnu mбlihin" we are bound
together by the salt.

[FN#287] Arab. "Alбma" = Alб-mб = upon what ? wherefore ?

[FN#288] Arab. "Mauz"; hence the Linnean name Musa (paradisiaca, etc.).
The word is explained by Sale (Koran, chaps. xxxvii. 146) as "a small
tree or shrub;" and he would identify it with Jonah's gourd.

[FN#289] Lane (ii. 446) "bald wolf or empowered fate," reading (with
Mac.) Kazб for Kattan (cat).

[FN#290] i.e. "the Orthodox in the Faith." Rбshid is a proper name,
witness that scourge of Syria, Rбshid Pasha. Born in 1830, of the Haji
Nazir Agha family, Darrah-Beys of Macedonian Draina, he was educated in
Paris where he learned the usual-hatred of Europeans: he entered the
Egyptian service in 1851, and, presently exchanging it for the Turkish,
became in due time Wali (Governor-General) of Syria which he plundered
most shamelessly. Recalled in 1872, he eventually entered the Ministry
and on June 15 1876, he was shot down, with other villains like
himself, by gallant Captain Hasan, the Circassian (Yarham-hu 'llбh !).

[FN#291] Quoted from a piece of verse, of which more presently.

[FN#292] This tetrastich has occurred before (Night cxciii.). I quote
Lane (ii. 449), who quotes Dryden's Spanish Friar,

          "There is a pleasure sure in being mad

           Which none but madmen know."

[FN#293] Lane (ii. 449) gives a tradition of the Prophet, "Whoso is in
love, and acteth chastely, and concealeth (his passion) and dieth,
dieth a martyr." Sakar is No. 5 Hell for Magi Guebres, Parsis, etc., it
is used in the comic Persian curse, "Fi'n-nбri wa Sakar al-jadd
w'al-pidar"=ln Hell and Sakar his grandfather and his father.

[FN#294] Arab. "Sifr": I have warned readers that whistling is
considered a kind of devilish speech by the Arabs, especially the
Badawin, and that the traveller must avoid it. It savours of idolatry:
in the Koran we find (chaps. viii. 35), "Their prayer at the House of
God (Ka'abah) is none other than whistling and hand-clapping;" and
tradition says that they whistled through their fingers. Besides many
of the Jinn have only round holes by way of mouths and their speech is
whistling a kind of bird language like sibilant English.

[FN#295] Arab. 'Kнl wa kбl"=lit. "it was said and he said;" a popular
phrase for chit chat, tittle-tattle, prattle and prate, etc.

[FN#296] Arab. "Hadis." comparing it with a tradition of the


[FN#297] Arab. "Mikashshah," the thick part of a midrib of a palm-frond
soaked for some days in water and beaten out till the fibres separate.
It makes an exceedingly hard, although not a lasting broom.

[FN#298] Persian, "the youth, the brave;" Sansk. Yuvбn: and Lat.
Juvenis. The Kurd, in tales, is generally a sturdy thief; and in
real-life is little better.

[FN#299] Arab. "Yб Shatir ;" lit. O clever one (in a bad sense).

[FN#300] Lane (ii. 453) has it. "that I may dress thy hair'" etc.

This is Bowdlerising with a witness.

[FN#301] The sign of respect when a personage dismounts.

(Pilgrimage i. 77.)

[FN#302] So the Hindus speak of "the defilement of separation" as if it
were an impurity.

[FN#303] Lane (i. 605) gives a long and instructive note on these
public royal-banquets which were expected from the lieges by Moslem
subjects. The hanging-penalty is, perhaps, a tattle exaggerated; but we
find the same excess in the priestly Gesta Romanorum.

[FN#304] Had he eaten it he would have become her guest. Amongst the
older Badawin it was sufficient to spit upon a man (in entreaty) to
claim his protection: so the horse-thieves when caught were placed in a
hole in the ground covered over with matting to prevent this happening.
Similarly Saladin (Salбh al-Din) the chivalrous would not order a cup
of water for the robber, Reynald de Chвtillon, before putting him to

[FN#305] Arab. "Kishk" properly "Kashk"=wheat-meal-coarsely ground and
eaten with milk or broth. It is de rigueur with the Egyptian Copts on
the "Friday of Sorrow" (Good Friday): and Lane gives the recipe for
making it (M. E. chaps. xxvi.)

[FN#306] In those days distinctive of Moslems.

[FN#307] The euphemism has before been noticed: the Moslem reader would
not like to pronounce the words "I am a Nazarene." The same formula
occurs a little lower down to save the reciter or reader from saying
"Be my wife divorced," etc.

[FN#308] Arab, "Hбjj," a favourite Egyptianism. We are wrong to write
Hajji which an Eastern would pronounce Hбj-jн.

[FN#309] This is Cairene "chaff."

[FN#310] Whose shell fits very tight.

[FN#311] His hand was like a raven's because he ate with thumb and two
fingers and it came up with the rice about it like a camel's hoof in
dirty ground. This refers to the proverb (Burckhardt, 756), "He comes
down a crow-claw (small) and comes up a camel-hoof (huge and round)."

[FN#312] Easterns have a superstitious belief in the powers of food: I
knew a learned man who never sat down to eat without a ceremonious
salam to his meat.

[FN#313] Lane (ii. 464), uses the vile Turkish corruption "Rustum,"
which, like its fellow "Rustem," would make a Persian shudder.

[FN#314] Arab. "Darrij" i.e. let them slide (Americanicи).

[FN#315] This tetrastich has occurred before: so I quote Mr. Payne (in

[FN#316] Shaykh of Al-Butnah and Jбbiyah, therefore a Syrian of the
Hauran near Damascus and grandson to Isъ (Esau). Arab mystics (unlike
the vulgar who see only his patience) recognise that inflexible
integrity which refuses to utter "words of wind" and which would not,
against his conscience, confess to wrong-doing merely to pacify the
Lord who was stronger than himself. The Classics taught this noble
lesson in the case of Prometheus versus Zeus. Many articles are called
after Job e.g. Ra'arб' Ayyub or Ghubayrб (inula Arabica and undulata),
a creeper with which he rubbed himself and got well: the Copts do the
same on "Job's Wednesday," i.e. that before Whit Sunday O.S. Job's
father is a nickname of the camel, etc. etc.

[FN#317] Lane (in loco) renders "I am of their number." But "fн
al-siyбk" means popularly "(driven) to the point of death."

[FN#318] Lit. = "pathway, road"; hence the bridge well known as "finer
than a hair and sharper than a sword," over which all (except Khadijah
and a chosen few) must pass on the Day of Doom; a Persian apparatus
bodily annexed by Al-Islam. The old Guebres called it Puli Chinбvar or
Chinбvad and the Jews borrowed it from them as they did all their
fancies of a future life against which Moses had so gallantly fought.
It is said that a bridge over the grisly "brook Kedron" was called
Sirбt (the road) and hence the idea, as that of hell-fire from
Ge-Hinnom (Gehenna) where children were passed through the fire to
Moloch. A doubtful Hadis says, "The Prophet declared Al-Sirбt to be the
name of a bridge over hell- fire, dividing Hell from Paradise" (pp. 17,
122, Reynold's trans. of Al-Siyuti's Traditions, etc.). In Koran i. 5,
"Sirat" is simply a path, from sarata, he swallowed, even as the way
devours (makes a lakam or mouthful of) those who travel it. The word
was orig. written with Sнn but changed for easier articulation to Sбd,
one of the four Hurъf al-Mutabbakбt, "the flattened," formed by the
broadened tongue in contact with the palate. This Sad also by the
figure Ishmбm (=conversion) turns slightly to a Zб, the intermediate
between Sin and Sad.

[FN#319] The rule in Turkey where catamites rise to the highest rank:
C'est un homme de bonne famille (said a Turkish officer in Egypt) il a
йtй achetй. Hence "Alfi" (one who costs a thousand) is a well-known
cognomen. The Pasha of the Syrian caravan, with which I travelled' had
been the slave of a slave and he was not a solitary instance.
(Pilgrimage i. 90.)

[FN#320] The device of the banquet is dainty enough for any old Italian
novella; all that now comes is pure Egyptian polissonnerie speaking to
the gallery and being answered by roars of laughter.

[FN#321] i.e. "art thou ceremonially pure and therefore fit for
handling by a great man like myself?"

[FN#322] In past days before Egypt was "frankified" many overlanders
used to wash away the traces of travel by a Turkish bath which mostly
ended in the appearance of a rump wriggling little lad who offered to
shampoo them. Many accepted his offices without dreaming of his
usual-use or misuse.

[FN#323] Arab. "Imбm." This is (to a Moslem) a most offensive
comparison between prayer and car. cop.

[FN#324] Arab. "Fi zaman-hi," alluding to a peculiarity highly prized
by Egyptians; the use of the constrictor vaginж muscles, the sphincter
for which Abyssinian women are famous. The "Kabbбzah" ( = holder), as
she is called, can sit astraddle upon a man and can provoke the
venereal-orgasm, not by wriggling and moving but by tightening and
loosing the male member with the muscles of her privities, milking it
as it were. Consequently the cassenoisette costs treble the money of
other concubines. (Arranga-Ranga, p. 127.)

[FN#325] The little eunuchs had evidently studied the Harem.

[FN#326] Lane (ii. 494) relates from Al-Makrizi, that when Khamбrawayh,
Governor of Egypt (ninth century), suffered from insomnia, his
physician ordered a pool of quicksilver 50 by 50 cubits, to be laid out
in front of his palace, now the Rumaylah square. "At the corners of the
pool were silver pegs, to which were attached by silver rings strong
bands of silk, and a bed of skins, inflated with air, being thrown upon
the pool and secured by the bands remained in a continual-state of
agreeable vacillation." We are not told that the Prince was thereby
salivated like the late Colonel Sykes when boiling his mercury for
thermometric experiments,

[FN#327] The name seems now unknown. "Al-Khahн'a" is somewhat stronger
than "Wag," meaning at least a "wicked wit." Properly it is the Span.
"perdido," a youth cast off (Khala') by his friends; though not so
strong a term as "Harfъsh"=a blackguard.

[FN#328] Arab. "Farsakh"=parasang.

[FN#329] Arab. "Nahбs asfar"=yellow copper, brass as opposed to Nahбs
ahmar=copper The reader who cares to study the subject will find much
about it in my "Book of The Sword," chaps. iv.

[FN#330] Lane (ii. 479) translates one stanza of this mukhammas
(pentastich) and speaks of "five more," which would make six.

[FN#331] A servile name. Delicacy, Elegance.

[FN#332] These verses have occurred twice (Night ix. etc.): so I give
Lane's version (ii. 482).

[FN#333] A Badawi tribe to which belonged the generous Ma'an bin

Za'idab, often mentioned The Nights.

[FN#334] Wealthy harems, I have said, are hot-beds of Sapphism and
Tribadism. Every woman past her first youth has a girl whom she calls
her "Myrtle" (in Damascus). At Agbome, capital-of Dahome, I found that
a troop of women was kept for the use of the "Amazons" (Mission to
Gelele, ii. 73). Amongst the wild Arabs, who ignore Socratic and
Sapphic perversions, the lover is always more jealous of his beloved's
girl-friends than of men rivals. In England we content ourselves with
saying that women corrupt women more than men do.

[FN#335] The Hebrew Pentateuch; Roll of the Law.

[FN#336] I need hardly notice the brass trays, platters and
table-covers with inscriptions which are familiar to every reader:
those made in the East for foreign markets mostly carry imitation
inscriptions lest infidel eyes fall upon Holy Writ.

[FN#337] These six distichs are in Night xiii. I borrow Torrens (p.
125) to show his peculiar treatment of spinning out 12 lines to 38.

[FN#338] Arab. "Musбmirah"=chatting at night. Easterns are inordinately
fond of the practice and the wild Arabs often sit up till dawn, talking
over the affairs of the tribe, indeed a Shaykh is expected to do so.
"Early to bed and early to rise" is a civilised, not a savage or a
barbarous saying. Samнr is a companion in night talk; Rafнk of the
road; Rahнb in riding horse or camel, Kб'id in sitting, Sharнb and
Rafнs at drink, and Nadнm at table: Ahнd is an ally. and Sharнk a
partner all on the model of "Fa'нl."

[FN#339] In both lover and beloved the excess of love gave them this

[FN#340] The prayer will be granted for the excess (not the purity) of
her love.

[FN#341] This wailing over the Past is one of the common-places of
Badawi poetry. The traveller cannot fail, I repeat, to notice the
chronic melancholy of peoples dwelling under the brightest skies.

[FN#342] Moons=Budъr

[FN#343] in Paradise as a martyr.

[FN#344] i.e. to intercede for me in Heaven; as if the young woman were
the prophet.

[FN#345] The comparison is admirable as the two letters are written. It
occurs in Al-Hariri (Ass. of Ramlah).

"So I embraced him close as Lбm cleaves to Alif:"

And again;

     "She laid aside reluctance and I embraced her close

     As if I were Lam and my love Alif."

The Lomad Olaph in Syriac is similarly colligated.

[FN#346] Here is a double entendre "and the infirm letters (viz. a, w
and y) not subject to accidence, left him." The three make up the root
"Awi"=pitying, condoling.

[FN#347] Showing that consummation had taken place. It was a sign of
good breeding to avoid all "indecent hurry" when going to bed. In some
Moslem countries the bridegroom does not consummate the marriage for
seven nights; out of respect for (1) father (2) mother (3) brother and
so forth. If he hurry matters he will be hooted as an "impatient man"
and the wise will quote, "Man is created of precipitation" (Koran
chaps. xxi. 38), meaning hasty and inconsiderate. I remark with
pleasure that the whole of this tale is told with commendable delicacy.
O si sic omnia!

[FN#348] Pers. "Nauroz"(=nau roz, new day):here used in the Arab.
plur.'Nawбriz, as it lasted six days. There are only four:
universal-festivals; the solstices and the equinoxes; and every
successive religion takes them from the sun and perverts them to its
own private purposes. Lane (ii. 496) derives the venerable Nauroz whose
birth is hid in the outer glooms of antiquity from the "Jewish

[FN#349] Again the "babes" of the eyes.

[FN#350] i.e. whose glance is as the light of the glowing braise or
(embers). The Arab. "Mikbбs"=pan or pot full of small charcoal, is an
article well known in Italy and Southern Europe. The word is apparently
used here because it rhymes with "Anfбs" (souls, spirits).

[FN#351] i.e. martyrdom; a Koranic term "fi sabнli 'llahi" = on the way
of Allah

[FN#352] These rhymes in -y, -ee and -ie are purposely affected, to
imitate the cadence of the Arabic.

[FN#353] Arab. "Sujъd," the ceremonial-prostration, touching the ground
with the forehead So in the Old Testament "he bowed (or fell down) and
worshipped" (Gen. xxiv., 26 Mat. ii., 11), of which our translation
gives a wrong idea.

[FN#354] A girl is called "Alfiyyah " = A-shaped.

[FN#355] i.e. the medial-form of m.

[FN#356] i.e. the inverted n.

[FN#357] It may also mean a "Sevignй of pearls."

[FN#358] Koran xxvii. 12. This was one of the nine "signs" to wicked
"Pharaoh." The "hand of Moses" is a symbol of power and ability (Koran
vii. 105). The whiteness was supernatural-beauty, not leprosy of the
Jews (Exod. iv. 6); but brilliancy, after being born red or black:
according to some commentators, Moses was a negro.

[FN#359] Koran iii. 103; the other faces become black. This explains I
have noticed the use of the phrases in blessing and cursing.

[FN#360] Here we have the naked legend of the negro's origin, one of
those nursery tales in which the ignorant of Christendom still believe
But the deduction from the fable and the testimony to the negro's lack
of intelligence, though unpleasant to our ignorant negrophils, are
factual-and satisfactory.

[FN#361] Koran, xcii. 1, 2: an oath of Allah to reward and punish with
Heaven and Hell.

[FN#362] Alluding to the "black drop" in the heart: it was taken from
Mohammed's by the Archangel Gabriel. The fable seems to have arisen
from the verse ' Have we not opened thy breast?" (Koran, chaps. xciv.
1). The popular tale is that Halнmah, the Badawi nurse of Mohammed, of
the Banu Sa'ad tribe, once saw her son, also a child, running towards
her and asked him what was the matter. He answered, 'My little brother
was seized by two men in white who stretched him on the ground and
opened his bellyl" For a full account and deductions see the Rev. Mr.
Badger's article, "Muhammed" (p. 959) in vol. in. "Dictionary of
Christian Biography."

[FN#363] Arab. "Sumr," lit. brown (as it is afterwards used), but
politely applied to a negro: "Yб Abu Sumrah!" O father of brownness.

[FN#364] Arab. 'Lumб"=dark hue of the inner lips admired by the Arabs
and to us suggesting most umpleasant ideas. Mr. Chenery renders it
"dark red,' and "ruddy" altogether missing the idea.

[FN#365] Arab. "Saudб," feminine of aswad (black), and meaning black
bile (melancholia) as opposed to leucocholia,

[FN#366] i.e. the Magians, Sabians, Zoroastrians.

[FN#367] The "Unguinum fulgor" of the Latins who did not forget to
celebrate the shining of the nails although they did not Henna them
like Easterns. Some, however, have suggested that alludes to colouring

[FN#368] Women with white skins are supposed to be heating and
unwholesome: hence the Hindu Rajahs slept with dark girls in the hot

[FN#369] Moslems sensibly have a cold as well as a hot Hell, the former
called Zamharir (lit. "intense cold")or AI-Barahъt, after a well in
Hazramaut; as Gehenna (Arab. "Jahannam") from the furnace-like ravine
East of Jerusalem (Night cccxxv.). The icy Hell is necessary in
terrorem for peoples who inhabit cold regions and who in a hot Hell
only look forward to an eternity of "coals and candles" gratis. The
sensible missionaries preached it in Iceland till foolishly forbidden
by Papal-Bull.

[FN#370] Koran ii. 26; speaking of Abraham when he entertained the
angels unawares.

[FN#371] Arab. "Rakb," usually applied to a fast-going caravan of
dromedary riders (Pilgrimage ii. 329). The "Cafilah" is Arab.:
"Caravan" is a corruption of the Pers. "Karwбn."

[FN#372] A popular saying. It is interesting to contrast this dispute
between fat and thin with the Shakespearean humour of Falstaff and
Prince Henry.

[FN#373] Arab. "Dalak" vulg. Hajar al-Hammam (Hammam-stone). The
comparison is very apt: the rasps are of baked clay artificially
roughened (see illustrations in Lane M. E. chaps. xvi.). The rope is
called "Masad," a bristling line of palm-fibre like the coir now
familiarly known in England.

[FN#374] Although the Arab's ideal-of beauty, as has been seen and
said, corresponds with ours the Egyptians (Modern) the Maroccans and
other negrofied races like "walking tun-butts" as Clapperton called his
amorous widow.

[FN#375] Arab. "Khayzar" or "Khayzarбn" the rattan-palm. Those who have
seen this most graceful "palmijuncus" in its native forest will
recognize the neatness of the simile.

[FN#376] This is the popular idea of a bushy "veil of nature" in women:
it is always removed by depilatories and vellication. When Bilkis Queen
of Sheba discovered her legs by lifting her robe (Koran xxvii.),
Solomon was minded to marry her, but would not do so till the devils
had by a depilatory removed the hair. The popular preparation (called
Nъrah) consists of quicklime 7 parts, and Zirnнk or orpiment, 3 parts:
it is applied in the Hammam to a perspiring skin, and it must be washed
off immediately the hair is loosened or it burns and discolours. The
rest of the body-pile (Sha'arat opp. to Sha'ar=hair) is eradicated by
applying a mixture of boiled honey with turpentine or other gum, and
rolling it with the hand till the hair comes off. Men I have said
remove the pubes by shaving, and pluck the hair of the arm-pits, one of
the vestiges of pre-Adamite man. A good depilatory is still a
desideratum, the best perfumers of London and Paris have none which
they can recommend. The reason is plain: the hair bulb can be
eradicated only by destroying the skin.

[FN#377] Koran, ii. 64: referring to the heifer which the Jews were
ordered to sacrifice,

[FN#378] Arab. "kallб," a Koranic term possibly from Kull (all) and lб
(not) =prorsus non-altogether not!

[FN#379] "Habбb" or "Habб," the fine particles of dust, which we call
motes. The Cossid (Arab. "Kбsid") is the Anglo-Indian term for a
running courier (mostly under Government), the Persian "Shбtir" and the
Guebre Rбvand.

[FN#380] Arab. "Sambari" a very long thin lance so called after Samhar,
the maker, or the place of making. See vol. ii. p. 1. It is supposed to
cast, when planted in the ground, a longer shadow in proportion to its
height, than any other thing of the kind.

[FN#381] Arab. "Sulбfah ;" properly prisane which flows from the grapes
before pressure. The plur. "Sawбlif" also means tresses of hair and
past events: thus there is a "triple entendre." And again "he" is used
for "she."

[FN#382] There is a pun in the last line, "Khбlun (a mole) khallauni"
(rid me), etc.

[FN#383] Of old Fustбt, afterwards part of Southern Cairo, a
proverbially miserable quarter hence the saying, "They quoted Misr to
Kбhirah (Cairo), whereon Bab al-Luk rose with its grass," in derision
of nobodies who push themselves forward. Burckhardt, Prov. 276.

[FN#384] Its fruits are the heads of devils; a true Dantesque fancy.
Koran, chaps. xvii. 62, "the tree cursed in the Koran" and in chaps.
xxxvii., 60, "is this better entertainment, or the tree of Al-Zakkъm?"
Commentators say that it is a thorn bearing a bitter almond which grows
in the Tehamah and was therefore promoted to Hell.

[FN#385] Arab. "Lasm" (lathm) as opposed to Bausah or boseh (a buss)
and Kublah (a kiss,

[FN#386] Arab. "Jufъn" (plur. of Jafn) which may mean eyebrows or
eyelashes and only the context can determine which. [FN#387] Very
characteristic of Egyptian manners is the man who loves six girls
equally well, who lends them, as it were, to the Caliph; and who takes
back the goods as if in no wise damaged by the loan.

[FN#388] The moon is masculine possibly by connection with the

Assyrian Lune-god "Sin"; but I can find no cause for the Sun

(Shams) being feminine.

[FN#389] Arab. "Al-Amin," a title of the Prophet. It is usually held
that this proud name "The honest man," was applied by his
fellow-citizens to Mohammed in early life; and that in his twenty-fifth
year, when the Eighth Ka'abah was being built, it induced the tribes to
make him their umpire concerning the distinction of placing in position
the "Black Stone" which Gabriel had brought from Heaven to be set up as
the starting-post for the seven circuitings. He distributed the honour
amongst the clans and thus gave universal satisfaction. His Christian
biographers mostly omit to record an anecdote which speaks so highly in
Mohammed's favour. (Pilgrimage iii. 192.)

[FN#390] The idea is that Abu Nowas was a thought-reader such being the
prerogative of inspired poets in the East. His drunkenness and
debauchery only added to his power. I have already noticed that "Allah
strike thee dead" (Kбtala-k Allah) is like our phrase "Confound the
fellow, how clever he is."

[FN#391] Again said facetiously, "Devil take you!"

[FN#392] In all hot-damp countries it is necessary to clothe dogs,
morning and evening especially: otherwise they soon die of rheumatism
and loin disease.

[FN#393] =Beatrice. A fragment of these lines is in Night cccxv.

See also Night dcclxxxi.

[FN#394] The Moslems borrowed the horrible idea of a "jealous God" from
their kinsmen, the Jews. Every race creates its own Deity after the
fashion of itself: Jehovah is distinctly a Hebrew, the Christian Theos
is originally a Judжo-Greek and Allah a half-Badawi Arab. In this tale
Allah, despotic and unjust, brings a generous and noble-minded man to
beggary, simply because he fed his dogs off gold plate. Wisdom and
morality have their infancy and youth: the great value of such tales as
these is to show and enable us to measure man's development.

[FN#395] In Trйbutien (Lane ii. 501) the merchant says to ex-Dives,
"Thou art wrong in charging Destiny with injustice. If thou art
ignorant of the cause of thy ruin I will acquaint thee with it. Thou
feddest the dogs in dishes of gold and leftest the poor to die of
hunger." A superstition, but intelligible.

[FN#396] Arab. "Sarrбf" = a money changer.

[FN#397] Arab. "Birkah," a common feature in the landscapes of Lower
Egypt: it is either a natural-pool left by the overflow of the Nile;
or, as in the text, a built-up tank, like the "Tбlбb" for which India
is famous. Sundry of these Birkahs are or were in Cairo itself; and
some are mentioned in The Nights.

[FN#398] This sneer at the "military" and the "police" might come from
an English convict's lips.

[FN#399] Lit. "The conquering King;" a dynastic title assumed by Salбh
al-Dнn (Saladin) and sundry of the Ayyъbi (Eyoubite) sovereigns of
Egypt, whom I would call the "Soldans."

[FN#400] "Kбhirah" (i.e. City of Mars the Planet) is our Cairo: Bulak
is the port suburb on the Nile, till 1858 wholly disjoined from the
City; and Fostat is the outlier popularly called Old Cairo. The latter
term is generally translated "town of leathern tents;" but in Arabic
"fustбt" is an abode of Sha'ar=hair, such as horse-hair, in fact any
hair but "Wabar"=soft hair, as the camel's. See Lane, Lex.

[FN#401] Arab. "Adl"=just: a legal-witness to whose character there is
no tangible objection a prime consideration in Moslem law. Here "Adl"
is evidently used ironically for a hypocritical-rascal

[FN#402] Lane (ii. 503) considers three thousand dinars (the figure in
the Bres. Edit.) "a more probable sum." Possibly: but, I repeat,
exaggeration is one of the many characteristics of The Nights.

[FN#403] Calc. Edit. "Kazir:" the word is generally written

"Kazdнr," Sansk. Kastira, born probably from the Greek .

[FN#404] This would have passed for a peccadillo in the "good old
days." As late as 1840 the Arnaut soldiers used to "pot" any peasant
who dared to ride (instead of walking) past their barracks. Life is
cheap in hot countries.

[FN#405] Koran, xii. 46 — a passage expounding the doctrine of free
will: "He who doth right doth it to the advantage of his own soul; and
he who doth evil, doth it against the same; for thy Lord," etc.

[FN#406] Arab. "Suffah"; whence our Sofa. In Egypt it is a raised shelf
generally of stone, about four feet high and headed with one or more
arches. It is an elaborate variety of the simple "Tбk" or niche, a mere
hollow in the thickness of the wall. Both are used for such articles as
basin. ewer and soap; coffee cups, water bottles etc.

[FN#407] In Upper Egypt (Apollinopolis Parva) pronounced "Goos," the
Coptic Kos-Birbir, once an emporium of the Arabian trade.

[FN#408] This would appeal strongly to a pious Moslem.

[FN#409] i.e. "the father of a certain person"; here the merchant whose
name may have been Abu'l Hasan, etc. The useful word (thingumbob, what
d'ye call him, donchah, etc.) has been bodily transferred into Spanish
and Portuguese Fulano. It is of old genealogy, found in the Heb. Fulunн
which applies to a person only in Ruth iv. I, but is constantly so
employed by Rabbinic writers. The Greek use {Greek letters}.

[FN#410] Lit. "by his (i.e. her) hand," etc. Hence Lane (ii. 507) makes
nonsense of the line.

[FN#411] Arab. "Badrah," as has been said, is properly a weight of
10,000 dirhams or drachmas; but popularly used for largesse thrown to
the people at festivals.

[FN#412] Arab. "Allaho A'alam"; (God knows!) here the popular phrase
for our, "I know not;" when it would be rude to say bluntly "M'adri"=
"don't know."

[FN#413] There is a picturesque Moslem idea that good deeds become
incarnate and assume human shapes to cheer the doer in his grave, to
greet him when he enters Paradise and so forth. It was borrowed from
the highly imaginative faith of the Guebre, the Zoroastrian. On
Chinavad or Chanyud-pul (Sirбt), the Judgement bridge, 37 rods (rasan)
long, straight and 37 fathoms broad for the good, and crooked and
narrow as sword-edge for the bad, a nymph-like form will appear to the
virtuous and say, "I am the personification of thy good deeds!" In Hell
there will issue from a fetid gale a gloomy figure with head like a
minaret, red eyeballs, hooked nose, teeth like pillars, spear-like
fangs, snaky locks etc. and when asked who he is he will reply, "I am
the personification of thine evil acts!" (Dabistan i. 285.) The Hindus
also personify everything.

[FN#414] Arab. "Banъ Israнl;" applied to the Jews when theirs was the
True Faith i.e. before the coming of Jesus, the Messiah, whose mission
completed that of Moses and made it obsolete (Matrъk) even as the
mission of Jesus was completed and abrogated by that of Mohammed. The
term "Yahъd"=Jew is applied scornfully to the Chosen People after they
rejected the Messiah, but as I have said "Israelite" is used on certain
occasions, Jew on others.

[FN#415] Arab. "Kasa'ah," a wooden bowl, a porringer; also applied to a

[FN#416] Arab. "Rasъl"=one sent, an angel, an "apostle;" not to be
translated, as by the vulgar, "prophet." Moreover Rasul is higher than
Nabн (prophet), such as Abraham, Isaac, etc., depositaries of Al-Islam,
but with a succession restricted to their own families. Nabi-mursil
(Prophet-apostle) is the highest of all, one sent with a book: of these
are now only four, Moses, David, Jesus and Mohammed, the writings of
the rest having perished. In Al-Islam also angels rank below men, being
only intermediaries (= , nuncii, messengers) between the Creator and
the Created. This knowledge once did me a good turn at Harar, not a
safe place in those days. (First Footsteps in East Africa, p. 349.)

[FN#417] A doctor of law in the reign of Al-Maamun.

[FN#418] Here the exclamation is= D.V.; and it may be assumed generally
to have that sense.

[FN#419] Arab. "Taylasбn," a turban worn hood-fashion by the "Khatнb"
or preacher. I have sketched it in my Pilgrimage and described it (iii.
315). Some Orientalists derive Taylasan from Atlas=satin, which is
peculiarly inappropriate. The word is apparently barbarous and possibly
Persian like Kalansuwah, the Dervish cap. "Thou son of a Taylasбn"=a
barbarian. (De Sacy, Chrest. Arab. ii. 269.)

[FN#420] Arab. " Kinyah" vulg. "Kunyat" = patronymic or matronymic; a
name beginning with "Abu" (father) or with "Umm" (mother). There are so
few proper names in Al-Islam that such surnames, which, as will be
seen, are of infinite variety, become necessary to distinguish
individuals. Of these sobriquets I shall give specimens further on.

[FN#421] "Whoso seeth me in his sleep, seeth me truly; for Satan cannot
assume my semblance," said (or is said to have said) Mohammed. Hence
the vision is true although it comes in early night and not before
dawn. See Lane M. E., chaps. ix.

[FN#422] Arab. "Al-Maukab ;" the day when the pilgrims march out of the
city; it is a holiday for all, high and low.

[FN#423] "The Gate of Salutation ;" at the South-Western corner of the
Mosque where Mohammed is buried. (Pilgrimage ii. 60 and plan.) Here
"Visitation" (Ziyбrah) begins.

[FN#424] The tale is told by Al-Ishбki in the reign of Al-Maamun.

[FN#425] The speaker in dreams is the Heb. "Waggid," which the learned
and angry Graetz (Geschichte, etc. vol. ix.) absurdly translates "Traum

[FN#426] Tenth Abbaside. A.D. 849-861

[FN#427] Arab. "Muwallad" (fem. "Muwalladah"); a rearling, a slave born
in a Moslem land. The numbers may appear exaggerated, but even the
petty King of Ashanti had, till the last war, 3333 "wives."

[FN#428] The Under-prefect of Baghdad.

[FN#429] "Ja'afar," our old Giaffar (which is painfully like "Gaffer,"
i.e. good father) means either a rushing river or a rivulet.

[FN#430] A regular Fellah's name also that of a village

(Pilgrimage i. 43) where a pleasant story is told about one Haykal.

[FN#431] The "Mountain" means the rocky and uncultivated ground South
of Cairo, such as Jabal-al-Ahmar and the geological-sea-coast flanked
by the old Cairo-Suez highway.

[FN#432] A popular phrase=our "sharp as a razor."

[FN#433] i.e. are men so few; a favourite Persian phrase.

[FN#434] She is a woman of rank who would cause him to be assassinated.

[FN#435] This is not Al-Hakimbi' Amri'llah the famous or infamous
founder of the Druze ((Durъz)) faith and held by them to be, not an
incarnation of the Godhead, but the Godhead itself in propriв personв,
who reigned A.D. 926-1021: our Hakim is the orthodox Abbaside Caliph of
Egypt who dated from two centuries after him (A.D. 1261). Had the
former been meant, it would have thrown back this part of The Nights to
an earlier date than is generally accepted. But in a place still to
come I shall again treat of the subject.

[FN#436] For an account of a similar kind which was told to me during
the last few years see "Midian Revisited," i. 15. These hiding-places
are innumerable in lands of venerable antiquity like Egypt; and, if
there were any contrivance for detecting hidden treasure, it would make
the discoverer many times a millionaire.

[FN#437] i.e. it had been given to him or his in writing, like the book
left to the old woman before quoted in "Midian," etc.

[FN#438] Arab. "Kird" (pron. in Egypt "Gird"). It is usually the
hideous Abyssinian cynocephalus which is tamed by the ape-leader
popularly called Kuraydati (Lane, M.E., chaps. xx.). The beast has a
natural-penchant for women ; I heard of one which attempted to rape a
girl in the public street and was prevented only by a sentinel's
bayonet. They are powerful animals and bite like greyhounds.

[FN#439] Easterns attribute many complaints (such as toothache) to
worms, visible as well as microscopic, which may be held a fair
prolepsis of the "germ-theory" the bacterium. the bacillus, the
microbe. Nymphomania, the disease alluded to in these two tales is
always attributed to worms in the vagina.

[FN#440] Bestiality, very rare in Arabia is fatally common amongst
those most debauched of debauched races, the Egyptian proper and the
Sindis. Hence the Pentateuch, whose object was to breed a larger
population of fighting men, made death the penalty for lying with a
beast (Deut. xxvii. 21). C. S. Sonnini (Travels, English translation,
p. 663) gives a curious account of Fellah lewdness. "The female
crocodile during congress is turned upon her back ( ?) and cannot rise
without difficulty. Will it be believed that there are men who take
advantage of the helpless situation of the female, drive off the male,
and supplant him in this frightful intercourse ? Horrible embraces, the
knowledge of which was wanting to complete the disgusting history of
human perversity!" The French traveller forgets to add the
superstitious explanation of this congress which is the sovereignest
charm for rising to rank and riches. The Ajбib al-Hind tells a tale
(chaps. xxxix.) of a certain Mohammed bin Bullishad who had issue by a
she-ape: the young ones were hairless of body and wore quasi-human
faces; and the father's sight had become dim by his bestial-practice.

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