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(Paris omaia para) 

Arab Proverb. 

Minna cor rot ta mente intese mai sanameme parole." 

"Decameron " conclusion. 

"Ernbnit, posuitque meum Lucretia librum 

Sed coram Bruto. Brute I recede, leget." 


" Mieuix est de ris que de larmes escripre, 

Pour ce que rire est le propre des hommes." 


"The pleasure we derive from perusing the Thousand-and-One 
Stones makes us regret that we possess only a comparative^ small 
part cf these trfiiy enchanting fictions." 

CJUCHTON'S "Ittsioy-Q Arabia. 



l^igftt* sirtr a jltgftt 






Shammar Edition 

Limited to one thousand numbered sets, 
of which this is 



HAY 1 t 





THIS work, laborious as it may appear, has been to me a 
labour of love, an unfailing source of solace and satisfac- 
tion. During my long years of official banishment to the 
luxuriant and deadly deserts of Western Africa, and to the dull 
and dreary half-clearings of South America, it proved itself a 
charm, a talisman against ennui and despondency. Impossible 
even to open the pages without a vision starting into view ; with- 
out drawing a picture from the pinacothek of the brain ; without 
reviving a host of memories and reminiscences which are not the 
common property of travellers, however widely they may have 
travelled. From my dull and commonplace and "respectable" 
surroundings, the Jinn bore me at once to the land of my pre- 
dilection, Arabia, a region so familiar to my mind that even at 
first sight, it seemed a reminiscence of some by-gone metem- 
psychic life in the distant Past. Again I stood under the 
diaphanous skies, in air glorious as aether, whose every breath 
raises men's spirits like sparkling wine. Once more I saw the 
evening star hanging like a solitaire from the pure front of the 
western firmament ; and the after-glow transfiguring and trans- 
forming, as by magic, the homely and rugged features of the 
scene into a fairy-land lit with, a light which never shines on other 
soils or seas. Then would appear the woollen tents, low and 
black, of the true Badawin, mere dots in the boundless waste of 

viii A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

lion-tawny clays and gazelle-brown gravels, and the camp-fire 
dotting like a glow-worm the village centre. Presently, sweetened 
by distance, would be heard the wild weird song of lads and 
lasses, driving or rather pelting, through the gloaming their sheep 
and goats ; and the measured chant of the spearsmen gravely 
stalking behind their charge, the camels ; mingled with the bleating 
of the flocks and the bellowing of the humpy herds ; while the rere- 
mouse flitted overhead with his tiny shriek, and the rave of the 
jackal resounded through deepening glooms, and most musical 
of musicthe palm-trees answered the whispers of the night- 
breeze with the softest tones of falling water. 

And then a shift of scene. The Shaykhs and " white-beards M 
of the tribe gravely take their places, sitting with outspread skirts 
like hillocks on the plain, as the Arabs say, around the camp-fire, 
whilst I reward their hospitality and secure its continuance by 
reading or reciting a few pages of their favourite tales. The women 
and children stand motionless as silhouettes outside the ring ; and 
all are breathless with attention ; they seem to drink in the words 
with eyes and mouths as well as with ears. The most fantastic 
flights of fancy, the wildest improbabilities, the most impossible of 
impossibilities, appear to them utterly natural, mere matters .of 
every-day occurrence. They enter thoroughly into each phase of 
feeling touched upon by the author : they take a personal pride in 
the chivalrous nature and knightly prowess of Taj al-Muluk ; they 
are touched with tenderness by the self-sacrificing love of Azizah ; 
their mouths water as they hear of heaps of untold gold given 
away in largesse like clay ; they chuckle with delight every time a 
Kazi or a Fakfr a judge or a reverend is scurvily entreated by 
some Pantagruelist of the Wilderness ; and, despite their normal 
solemnity and impassibility, all roar with laughter, sometimes 
rolling upon the ground till the reader's gravity is sorely tried, 
at the tales of the garrulous Barber and of AH and the Kurdish 
Sharper. To this magnetising mood the sole exception is when 

The Translator's Foreword. ix 

a Badawi of superior accomplishments, who sometimes says his 
prayers, ejaculates a startling " Astaghfaru'llah " I pray Allah's 
pardon ! for listening, not to Carlyle's " downright lies," but to 
light mention of the sex whose name is never heard amongst the 
nobility of the Desert. 

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

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

Thus I was left alone to my work, which progressed fitfully 
amid a host of obstructions. At length, in the spring of 1879, 
the tedious process of copying began and the book commenced 
to take finished form. But, during the winter of 1881-82, I saw 
in the literary journals a notice of a new version by Mr. John 
Payne, well known to scholars for his prowess in English verse, 

x A If Lay la h wa Lay la h. 

especially for his translation of "The Poems of Master Francis 
Villon, of Paris." Being then engaged on an expedition to the 
Gold Coast (for gold), which seemed likely to cover some months, 
I wrote to the "Athenaeum" (Nov. 13, 1881) and to Mr. Payne, 
who was wholly unconscious that we were engaged on the same 
work, and freely offered him precedence and possession of the 
field till no longer wanted. He accepted my offer as frankly, and 
his priority entailed another delay lasting till the spring of 1885. 
These details will partly account for the lateness of my appearing, 
but there is yet another cause. Professional ambition suggested 
that literary labours, unpopular with the vulgar and the half- 
educated, are not likely to help a man up the ladder of promotion. 
But common sense presently suggested to me that, professionally 
speaking, I was not a success ; and, at the same time, that I had 
no cause to be ashamed of my failure. In our day, when we live 
under a despotism of the lower " middle-class " Philister who can 
pardon anything but superiority, the prizes of competitive services 
are monopolised by certain " pets " of the Mtdiocratie, and prime 
favourites of that jealous and potent majority the Mediocrities 
who know " no nonsense about merit." It is hard for an outsider 
to realise how perfect is the monopoly of commonplace, and to 
comprehend how fatal a stumbling-stone that man sets in the way 
of his own advancement who dares to think for himself, or who 
knows more or who does more than the mob of gentlemen- 
employe's who know very little and who do even less. 

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

Our century of translations, popular and vernacular, from 
(Professor Antoine) Galland's delightful abbreviation and adapta- 
tion (A.D. 1704), in no wise represent the eastern original. The 
best and latest, the Rev. Mr. Foster's, which is diffuse and verbose, 
and Mr. G. Moir Bussey's, which is a re-correction, abound in 

The Translator* s Foreword. xi 

gallicisms of style and idiom ; and one and all degrade a chef- 
d'oeuvre of the highest anthropological and ethnographical interest 
and importance to a mere fairy-book, a nice present for little 

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

xii A if Laylah wa Layfak. 

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

Mr. John Payne has printed, for the Villon Society and for 
private circulation only, the first and sole complete translation of 
the great compendium, " comprising about four times as much 
matter as that of Galland, and three times as much as that of 
any other translator ; " and I cannot but feel proud that he has 
honoured me with the dedication of "The Book of The Thou- 
sand Nights and One Night." His version is most readable : his 
English, with a sub-flavour of . the Mabinogionic archaicism, is 
admirable ; and his style gives life and light to the nine volumes 

The Translator's Foreword. xiii 

whose matter is frequently heavy enougfi. He succeeds admirably 
in the most difficult passages and he often hits upon choice and 
special terms and the exact vernacular equivalent of the foreign 
word, so happily and so picturesquely 'that all future translators 
must perforce use the same expression under pain of falling far 
short. But the learned and versatile author bound himself to issue 
only five hundred copies, and "not to reproduce the., work in its 
complete and uncastrated form." Consequently his excellent ver- 
sion is caviaire to the general practically unprocurable. 

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

Briefly, the object of this version is to show what " The Thou- 
sand Nights and a Night " really is. Not, however, for reasons to 
be more fully stated in the terminal Essay, by straining verbum 
redder e verbo, but by writing as the Arab would have written in 
English. On this point I am all with Saint Jerome (Pref. in Jobum) 
" Vel verbum e verbo, vel sensum e sensu, vel ex utroque comrnix- 
tum, et medie temperatum genus translationis." My work claims 
to be a faithful copy of the great Eastern Saga-book, by preserving 
intact, not only the spirit, but even the m^canique y the manner and 
the matter. Hence, however prosy and long-drawn out be the 
formula, it retains the scheme of the Nights because they are a 
prime feature in the original. The Raw/ or reciter, to whose wits 
the task of supplying details is left, well knows their value : the 
openings carefully repeat the names of the dramatis persona and 
thus fix them in the hearer's memory. Without the Nights no 
Arabian Nights ! Moreover it is necessary to retain the whole 
apparatus: nothing more ill-advised than Dr. Jonathan Scott's 
strange device of garnishing The Nights with fancy head-pieces 
VOL. I. c 

xiv A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

and tail-pieces or the splitting-up of Galland's narrative by merely 
prefixing " Nuit," etc., ending moreover, with the ccxxxiv th Night : 
yet this has been done, apparently with the consent of the great 
Arabist Sylvestre de Sacy (Paris, Ernest Bourdin). Moreover, 
holding that the translator's glory is to add something to his native 
tongue, while avoiding the hideous hag-like nakedness of Torrens 
and the bald literalism of Lane, I have carefully Englished the 
picturesque turns and novel expressions of the original in all their 
outlandishness ; for instance, when the dust-cloud raised by a 
tramping host is described as " walling the horizon." Hence pecu- 
liar attention has been paid to the tropes and figures which the 
Arabic language often packs into a single term ; and I have never 
hesitated to coin a word when wanted, such as " she snorted and 
snarked," fully to represent the original. These, like many in 
Rabelais, are mere barbarisms unless generally adopted ; in which 
case they become civilised and common currency. 

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

The Translator's Foreword. xv 

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

And now to consider one matter of special importance in the 
book its turpiloquium. This stumbling-block is of two kinds, 
completely distinct. One is the simple, naive and child-like 
indecency which, from Tangiers to Japan, occurs throughout 
general conversation of high and low in the present day. It 
uses, like the holy books of the Hebrews, expressions "plainly 
descriptive of natural situations ; " and it treats in an unconven- 
tionally free and naked manner- of subjects and matters which 
are usually, by common consent, left undescribed. As Sir 
William Jones observed long ago, " that anything natural can be 
offensively obscene never seems to have occurred to the Indians 
or to their legislators ; a singularity (?) pervading their writings 
and conversation, but no proof of moral depravity." Another 
justly observes, Les peuples primitifs riy entendent pas malice : Us 
appellent les choses par leurs noms et ne trouvent pas condamnable 
ce gui est naturel. And they are prying as children. For instance 

xvi A If Laylah wa Ldylah. 

the European novelist marries off his hero and heroine and leaves 
them to consummate marriage in privacy ; even Tom Jones has 
the decency to bolt the door. But the Eastern story-teller, espe- 
cially this unknown "prose Shakespeare," must usher you, with a 
flourish, into the bridal chamber and narrate to you, with infinite 
gusto, everything he sees and hears. Again we must remember 
that grossness and indecency, in fact Us turpitudes, are matters 
of time and place ; what is offensive in England is not so in 
Egypt ; what scandalises us now would have been a tame joke 
tempore Elisce. Withal The Nights will not be found in this 
matter coarser than many passages of Shakspeare, Sterne, and 
Swift, and their uncleanness rarely attains the perfection of Alco- 
fribas Nasier, " divin mattre et atroce cochon." The other element 
is absolute obscenity, sometimes, but not always, tempered by 
wit, humour and drollery; here we have an exaggeration of 
Petronius Arbiter, the handiwork of writers whose ancestry, the 
most religious and the most debauched of mankind, practised every 
abomination before the shrine of the Canopic Gods. 

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

The Translators Foreword. xvii 

which strike deepest root under the brightest skies and which 
sigh in the face of heaven : 

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

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

xviii A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

as the material an4 the natural ; it is this contrast, I say, which 
forms the chiefest charm of The Nights, which gives it the most 
striking originality and which makes it a perfect expositor of the 
medieval Moslem mind. 

Explanatory notes did not enter into Mr. Payne's plan. They do 
with mine : I can hardly imagine The Nights being read to any 
profit by men of the West without commentary. My annotations 
avoid only one subject, parallels of European folk-lore and 
fabliaux which, however interesting, would overswell the bulk of 
a book whose speciality is anthropolgy. The accidents of my 
life, it may be said without undue presumption, my long dealings 
with Arabs and other Mahommedans, and my familiarity not only 
with their idiom but with their turn of thought, and with that 
racial individuality which baffles description, have given me cer- 
tain advantages over the average student, however deeply he may 
have studied. These volumes, moreover, afford me a long-sought 
opportunity of noticing practices and customs which interest all 
mankind and which " Society " will not hear mentioned. Grote, 
the historian, and Thackeray, the novelist, both lamented that the 
btgueulerie of their countrymen condemned them to keep silence 
where publicity was required ; and that they could not even claim 
the partial licence of. a Fielding and a Smollett. Hence a score of 
years ago I lent my best help to the late Dr. James Hunt in found- 
ing the Anthropological Society, whose presidential chair I first 
occupied (pp. 2-4 Anthropologia ; London, Balliere, vol. i., No. i, 
1873). My motive was to supply travellers with an organ which 
woul'd rescue their observations from the outer darkness of manu- 
script, and print their curious information on social and sexual 
matters out of place in the popular book intended for the Nipptisch 
and indeed better kept from public view. But, hardly had we 
begun when " Respectability," that whited sepulchre full of all 
uncleanness, rose up against us. " Propriety " cried us down with 
her brazen blatant voice, and the weak-kneed brethren fell away. 

The Translator's Foreword. xix 

Yet the organ was much wanted and is wanted still. All now 
known barbarous tribes in Inner Africa, America and Australia, 
whose instincts have not been overlaid by reason, have a ceremony 
which they call " making men." As soon as the boy shows proofs 
of puberty, he and his coevals are taken in hand by the mediciner 
and the Fetisheer ; and, under priestly tuition, they spend months 
in the " bush," enduring hardships and tortures which impress the 
memory till they have mastered the "theorick and practick" of 
social and sexual relations. Amongst the civilised this fruit of 
the knowledge-tree must be bought at the price of the bitterest 
experience, and the consequences of ignorance are peculiarly cruel. 
Here, then, I find at last an opportunity of noticing in explanatory 
notes many details of the text which would escape the reader's 
observation, and I am confident that they will form a repertory of 
Eastern knowledge in its esoteric phase. The student who adds 
the notes of Lane (" Arabian Society," etc., before quoted) to mine 
will know as much of the Moslem East and more than many 
Europeans who have spent half their lives in Orient lands. For 
facility of reference an index of anthropological notes is appended 
to each volume. 

The reader will kindly bear with the following technical details. 
Steinhaeuser and I began and ended our work with the first Bulak 
("Bui.") Edition printed at the port of Cairo in A.H. 1251 = 
A.D. 1835. But when preparing my MSS. for print I found the 
text incomplete, many of the stories being given in epitome and 
not a few ruthlessly mutilated with head or feet wanting. Like 
most Eastern scribes the Editor could not refrain from " improve- 
ments," which only debased the book ; and his sole title to excuse 
is that the second Bulak Edition (4 vols. A.H. 1279 = A.D. 1863), 
despite its being "revised and corrected by Sheik Mahommed 
Qotch Al-Adewi," is even worse ; and the same may be said of 
the Cairo Edit. (4 vols. A.H. 1297 = A.D. 1881). The Calcutta 
(" Caic.") Edition, with ten lines of Persian preface by the Editor, 


A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

Ahmed al-Shirwani (A.D. 1814), was cut short at the end of the 
first two hundred Nights, and thus made room for Sir William 
Hay Macnaghten's Edition (4 vols. royal 4to) of 1839-42. This 
("Mac."), as by far the least corrupt and the most complete, has 
been assumed for my basis with occasional reference to the Breslau 
Edition ("Bres.") wretchedly edited from a hideous Egyptian 
MS. by Dr. Maximilian Habicht (1825-43). The Bayrut Text 
"Alif-Leila we Leila" (4 vols. gt. 8vo, Beirut. 1881-83) is a 
melancholy specimen of The Nights taken entirely from the 
Bulak Edition by one Khalil Sarkis and converted to Christianity ; 
beginning without Bismillah, continued with scrupulous castration 
and ending in ennui and disappointment. I have not used this 
missionary production. 

As regards the transliteration of Arabic words I deliberately 
reject the artful and complicated system, ugly and clumsy withal, 
affected by scientific modern Orientalists. Nor is my sympathy 
with their prime object, namely to fit the Roman alphabet for 
supplanting all others. Those who learn languages, and many do 
so, by the eye as well as by the ear, well know the advantages of 
a special character to distinguish, for instance, Syriac from Arabic, 
Gujrati from Marathi. Again this Roman hand bewitched may 
have its use in purely scientific and literary works ; but it would 
be wholly out of place in one whose purpose is that of the novel, 
to amuse rather than to instruct. Moreover the devices perplex the 
simple and teach nothing to the learned. Either the reader knows 
Arabic, in which .case Greek letters, italics and "upper case," 
diacritical points and similar typographic oddities are, as a rule 
with some exceptions, unnecessary ; or he does not know Arabic, 
when none of these expedients will be of the least use to him. 
Indeed it is a matter of secondary consideration what system we 
prefer, provided that we mostly adhere to one and the same, for 
the sake of a consistency which saves confusion to the reader. I 
have especially avoided that of Mr. Lane, adopted by Mr. Payne 

The Translators Foreword. xxi 

for special reasons against which it was vain to protest : it repre- 
sents the debased brogue of Egypt or rather of Cairo ; and such a 
word as Kemer (ez-Zeman) would be utterly unpronounceable to 
a Badawi. Nor have I followed the practice of my learned friend, 
Reverend G. P. Badger, in mixing bars and acute accents ; the 
former unpleasantly remind man of those hateful dactyls and 
spondees, and the latter should, in my humble opinion, be applied 
to long vowels which in Arabic double, or should double, the 
length of the shorts. Dr. Badger uses the acute symbol to denote 
accent or stress of voice ; but such appoggio is unknown to those 
who speak with purest articulation ; for instance whilst the Euro- 
pean pronounces Mus-cat', and the Arab villager Mas'-kat ; the 
Children of the Waste, "on whose tongues Allah descended/' 
articulate Mas-kat. I have therefore followed the simple system 
adopted in my " Pilgrimage," and have accented Arabic words 
only when first used, thinking it unnecessary to preserve through- 
out what is an eyesore to the reader and a distress to the printer. 
In the main I follow "Johnson on Richardson," a work known to 
every Anglo-Orientalist as the old and trusty companion of his 
studies early and late ; but even here I have made sundry devia- 
tions for reasons which will be explained in the terminal Essay. 
As words are the embodiment of ideas and writing is of words, so 
the word is the spoken word ; and we should write it as pro- 
nounced. Strictly speaking, the *-sound and the 0-sound (viz. 
the Italian 0-sound not the English which is peculiar to us and 
unknown to any other tongue) are not found in Arabic, except 
when the figure Imalah obliges : hence they are called " Yd al- 
Majhul" and "Waw al-Majhul" the unknown y (i) and u. But 
in all tongues vowel-sounds, the flesh which clothes the bones 
(consonants) of language, are affected by the consonants which 
precede and more especially which follow them, hardening and 
softening the articulation ; and deeper sounds accompany certain 
letters as the sad (<^>) compared with the sin ^r). None save 

xx ii A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

a defective ear would hold, as Lane does, " Maulid " ( = birth- 
festival) " more properly pronounced * Molid.' " Yet I prefer 
Khokh (peach) and Jokh (broad-cloth) to Khukh and Jukh ; 
Ohod (mount) to Uhud ; Obayd (a little slave) to Ubayd ; and 
Hosayn (a fortlet, not the P. N. Al-Husayn) to Husayn. As for 
the short e in such words as " Memluk " for " Mamluk " (a white 
slave), "Eshe" for "Asha" (supper), and "Yemen" for " Al- 
Yaman," I consider it a flat Egyptianism, insufferable to an ear 
which admires the Badawi pronunciation. Yet I prefer " Shelebi " 
(a dandy) from the Turkish Chelebi, to " Shalabi ;" "Zebdani " (the 
Syrian village) to " Zabdani," and " Fes and Miknes " (by the figure 
Jmalah) to " Fas and Miknds," our " Fez and Mequinez." 

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

The Translator's Foreword. xxiii 

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

xxiv Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

be, firstly, honest and truthful and, secondly, familiar with and 
favourably inclined to their manners and customs if not to their 
law and religion. We may, perhaps, find it hard to restore to 
England those pristine virtues, that tone and temper, which made 
her what she is ; but at any rate we (myself and a host of others) 
can offer her the means of dispelling her ignorance concerning the 
Eastern races with whom she is continually in contact. 

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

WANDERERS' CLUB, August 15, 1885. 





(Lane, vol. /., 1-16.) 


( Chapt. I. Story of the Merchant and thejinnte : p. 43 .) 


(Story of the First Sheykh and the Gazelle: p. 48.) 


(Story of the Second Sheykh and the two Black Rounds: p. $2.) 


(Story of the Third Sheykh and the Mule: p. 56.^ 


(Chapt. II. Story of the Fisherman : p. 78.) 


(Story of King Yoonan and the Sage Dooban : p. 84.) 


(Story of the Husband and the Parrot: p. 89. / 


(Story of the Envious Wezeer and the Prince and the Ghoolah :p.$l.) 


(Story of the Young King of the Black Islands : p. 106.} 

xxvi Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

(Chapt. III. Story of the Porter and the Ladies of Baghdad, and of the three 

Royal Mendicants^ etc.: p. 136.^ 


(Story of the First Royal Mendicant : p. 1 50 .) 

A. THE SECOND KALANDAR'S TALE . . . . . . . .113 

(Story of the Second Royal Mendicant : p. 157. ) 

(Story of the Envier and the Envied: p. l66,> 


(Story of the Third Royal Mendicant : p. i;8J 




4. TALE OF THE THREE APPLES ....... 186 

(Chapt. IV. Story of the Three Apples, etc. : p. 250 .) 


HASAN 195 

(Story of Noor ed-Deen and his Son, and of Shems ed-Decn and 
his Daughter : p. 253.^ 


(Chapt. V. Story of the Humpback l p. 238.^ 


(Story told by the Christian Broker ; p. 334. ) 


(Story told by the Sultan's Steward: p. 348.^ 

r. TALE OF THE JEWISH DOCTOR . . ... . . .288 

(Story told by the Jewish Physician : /. 359.^ 

d. TALE OF THE TAILOR , ... 300 

(Story told by the Tailor: p. 368.^ 


(The Barkis Story of Himself: p. 383.^ 

Contents. xxvii 


(The Barbels Story of His First Brother, p. 385..; 

(The Barber's Story of His Second Brother : p. 389.^ 

( The Barber's Story of His Third Brother : p. 392.^ 

(The Barber's Story of His Fourth Brother ; p. 396.^ 

(The-Barber's Story of His Fifth Brother : p. 400.) 

(The Barber's Story of His Sixth Brother.) 





Sw t&e Jlam* of 
Gtompassfonating, tlje OTompagsfonate! 


AND AFTERWARDS. Verily the works and words of those gone 
before us have become instances and examples to men of our 
modern day, that folk may view what admonishing chances befel 
other folk and may therefrom take warning ; and that they may 
peruse the annals of antique peoples and all that hath betided them, 
and be thereby ruled and restrained : Praise, therefore, be to Him 
who hath made the histories of the Past an admonition unto the 
Present ! Now of such instances are the tales called "A Thousand 
Nights and a Night/' together with their far-famed legends and 
VOL. I. A. 

* A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

wonders. Therein if is related (but Allah is All-knowing of His 
hidden things and All-ruling and All-honoured and All-giving and 
All-gracious and All-merciful ! *) that, in tide-of yore and in time 
long gone before, there was a King of the Kings of the Banu Sasan 
in the Islands of India and China, a Lord of armies and guards 
and servants and dependents. 2 He left only two sons, one in the 
prime of manhood and the other yet a youth, while both were 
Knights and Braves, albeit the. elder was a doughtier horseman 
than the younger. So he succeeded to the empire ; when he 
ruled the land and lorded it over his lieges with justice so exem- 
plary that he was beloved by all the peoples of his capital and of 
his kingdom. His nam.e was King Shahryar, 3 and he made his 
younger brother, Shah Zaman hight, King of Samarcand in 
Barbarian-land. These two ceased not to abide in their several 
realms and the law was ever carried out in their dominions ; and 
each ruled his own kingdom, with equity and fair-dealing to his 
subjects, in extreme solace and enjoyment ; and this condition 
continually endured for a score of years. But at the end of the 
twentieth twelvemonth the elder King yearned for a sight of his 
younger brother and felt that he must look upon him once more 
So he took counsel with his Wazir 4 about visiting him, but the 

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

2 The "Sons of Sasan" are the famous Sassanides whose dynasty ended with the 
Arabian Conquest (A.D. 641). " Island" (Jazirah) in Arabic also means " Peninsula,'* 
and causes much confusion in geographical matters. 

3 Shahryar not Shahriyar (Persian) =z " City-friend." The Eulak edition corrupts it to 
Shahrbaz (City-hawk), and the Breslau to Shahrban or "Defender of the City," like 
Marz-ban = Warden of the Marshes. Shah (Persian) rr " King of the Age:" 
Galland prefers Shah Zenan, or "King of women," and the Bui. edit, changes it to Shah 
Rumman, "Pomegranate King." Al-Ajarh denotes all regions not Arab (Gentiles opposed 
toJews,.Mlechchhas to Hindus, Tajiks to Turks, etc., elc.), and especially Persia; Ajami 
(a man of Ajam) being an equivalent of the Gr. Bapapos. See Vol. ii., p. I. 

* Galland writes " Vizier," a wretched frenchification of a mincing Turkish mispro- 
nunciation ; Torrens, "Wuzeer" (Anglo-Indian and Gilchristian) ; Lane, "Wezeer" 
(Egyptian or rather Cairene) ; Payne, " Vizier,'* according to his system j Burckhardt 
(Proverbs), "Vizir;" and Mr. Keith- Falconer, "Vizir." The root is popularly sup- 
posed to be "wizr" (burden) and the meaning "Minister;" Wazir al-Wuzara being 
" Premier." In the Koran (chapt. xx., 30) Moses says, " Give me a Wazir of my family, 
Karun (Aaron) my brother. " Sale, followed by the excellent version of the Rev. J. M. 
Rod well, translates a " Counsellor," and explains by " One who has the chief adminis 
tration of affairs under a prince." But both learned Koranists learnt their Orientalism 
in London, and, like such students generally, fail only upon the easiest points, familiar 
to all old dwellers ia the East. 

Story of King Shahryar and his Brother. 3 

Minister, finding the project unadvisable, recommended that a 
letter be written and a present be sent under his charge to the 
younger brother with an invitation to visit the elder. Having 
accepted this advice the King forthwith bade prepare handsome 
gifts, such as horses with saddles of gem-encrusted gold ; Mame- 
lukes, or white slaves ; beautiful handmaids, high-breasted virgins, 
and splendid stuffs and costly. He then wrote a letter to Shah 
Zaman expressing his warm love and great wish to see him, 
ending with these words, " We therefore hope of the favour and 
affection of the beloved brother that he will condescend to bestir 
himself and turn his face us-wards. Furthermore we have sent 
our Wazir to make all ordinance for the march, and our one and 
only desire is to see thee ere we die ; but if thou delay or dis- 
appoint us we shall not survive the blow. Wherewith peace be upon 
thee ! " Then King Shahryar, having sealed the missive and given 
it to the Wazir with the offerings aforementioned, commanded 
him to shorten his skirts and strain his strength and make all 
expedition in going and returning. " Harkening and obedience ! " 
quoth the Minister, who fell to making ready without stay and 
packed up his loads and prepared all his requisites without delay. 
This occupied him three days, and on the dawn of the fourth he 
took leave of his King and marched right away, over desert and 
hill-way, stony waste and pleasant lea without halting by night or 
by day. But whenever he entered a realm whose ruler was subject 
to his Suzerain, where he was greeted with magnificent gifts of 
gold and silver and all manner of presents fair and rare, he would 
tarry there three days, 1 the term of the guest-rite ; and, when he 
left on the fourth, he would be honourably escorted for a whole 
day's march As soon as the Wazir drew near Shah Zaman's 
court in Samarcand he despatched to report his arrival one of his 
high officials, who presented himself before the King ; and, kissing 
ground between his hands, delivered his message. Hereupon the 
King commanded sundry of his Grandees and Lords of his realm to 
fare forth and meet his brother's Wazir at the distance of a full 
day's journey ; which they did, greeting him respectfully and 
wishing him all prosperity and forming an escort and a procession. 
When he entered the city he proceeded straightway to the palace, 
where he presented himself in the royal presence; and, after kissing 

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

4 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

ground and praying for the King's health and happiness and for 
victory over all his enemies, he informed him that his brother was 
yearning to see him, and prayed for the pleasure of a visit. He 
then delivered the letter which Shah Zaman took from his hand 
and read : it contained sundry hints and allusions which required 
thought ; but, when the King had fully comprehended its im- 
port, he said, "I hear and I obey the commands of the beloved 
brother ! " adding to the Wazir, " But we will not march till after 
the third day's hospitality." He appointed for the Minister fitting 
quarters of the palace ; and, pitching tents for the troops, rationed 
them with whatever they might require of meat and drink and 
other necessaries. On the fourth day he made ready for wayfare 
and got together sumptuous presents befitting his elder brother's 
majesty, and stablished his chief Wazir viceroy of the land during 
his absence. Then he caused his tents and camels and mules to be 
brought forth and encamped, with their bales and loads, attendants 
and guards, within sight of the city, in readiness to set out next 
morning for his brother's capital But when the night was half 
spent he bethought him that he had forgotten in his palace 
somewhat which he should have brought with him, so he 
returned privily and entered his apartments, where he found 
the Queen, his wife, asleep on his own carpet-bed, embracing 
with both arms a black cook of loathsome aspect and foul with 
kitchen grease and grime. When he saw this the world waxed 
black before his sight and he said, " If such case happen while I 
am yet within sight of the city what will be the doings of this 
damned whore during my long absence at my brother's court ? " 
So he drew his scymitar and, cutting the two in four pieces with 
a single blow, left them on the carpet and returned presently to 
his camp without letting anyone know of what had happened. 
Then he gave orders for immediate departure and set out at once 
and began his travel ; but he could not help thinking over his wife's 
treason and he kept ever saying to himself, " How could she do this 
deed by me ? How could she work her own death ?," till excessive 
grief seized him, his colour changed to yellow, his body waxed 
weak and he was threatened with a dangerous malady, such an 
one as bringeth men to die. So the Wazir shortened his stages and 
tarried long at the watering-stations and did his best to solace 
the King. Now when Shah Zaman drew near the capital of his 
brother he despatched vaunt-couriers and messengers of glad 

Story of King Shahryar and his Brother. 5 

tidings to announce his arrival, and Shahryar came forth to meet 
him with his Wazirs and Emirs and Lords and Grandees of his 
realm ; and saluted him and joyed with exceeding joy and caused 
the city to be decorated in his honour. When, however, the brothers 
met, the elder could not but see the change of complexion in the 
younger and questioned him of his case whereto he replied, " Tis 
caused by the travails of wayfare and my case needs care, for I 
have suffered from the change of water and air! but Allah be 
praised for reuniting me with a brother so dear and so rare ! " 
On this wise he dissembled and kept his secret, adding, " O King 
of the time and Caliph of the tide, only toil and moil have tinged 
my face yellow with bile and hath made my eyes sink deep in my* 
head." Then the two entered the capital in all honour ; and the 
elder brother lodged the younger in a palace overhanging the 
pleasure garden ; and, after a time, seeing his condition still un- 
changed, he attributed it to his separation from his country and 
kingdom. So he let him wend his own ways and asked no 
questions of him till one day when he again said, " O my brother, 
I see that art grown weaker of body and yellower of colour." " O 
my brother," replied Shah Zaman " I have an internal wound : "* 
still he would not tell him what he had witnessed in his wife. 
Thereupon Shahryar summoned doctors and surgeons and bade 
them treat his brother according to the rules of art, which they 
did for a whole month ; but their sherbets and potions naught 
availed, for he would dwell upon the deed of his wife, and despond- 
ency, instead of diminishing, prevailed, and leach-craft treatment 
utterly failed. One day his elder brother said to him, " I am 
going forth to hunt and course and to take my pleasure and 
pastime ; maybe this would lighten thy heart." Shah Zaman, how- 
ever, refused, saying, " O my brother, my soul yearneth for naught 
of this sort and I entreat thy favour to suffer me tarry quietly in 
this place, being wholly taken up with my malady." So King 
Shah Zaman passed his night in the palace and, next morning, 
when his brother had fared forth, he removed from his room 
and sat him down at one of the lattice-windows overlooking the 
pleasure grounds ; and there he abode thinking with saddest thought 
over his wife's betrayal and burning sighs issued from his tortured 
breast. And as he continued in this case lo! a postern of the 

* * i.e., I am sick at heart. 

6 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

palace, which was carefully kept private, swung open and out of it 

came twenty slave girls 'surrounding his brother's wife who was 

wondrous fair, a model of beauty and comeliness and symmetry 

and perfect loveliness and who paced with the grace of a gazelle 

which panteth for the cooling stream. Thereupon Shah Zaman drew 

back from the window, but he kept the bevy in sight espying them 

from a place whence he could not be espied. They walked under 

the very lattice and advanced a little way into the garden till they 

came to a jetting fountain amiddlemost a great basin of water ; 

then they stripped off their clothes and behold, ten of them were 

women, concubines of the King, and the other ten were white 

slaves. Then they all paired off, each with each : but the Queen, 

who was left alone, presently cried out in a loud voice, " Here to 

me, O my lord Saeed ! " and then sprang with a drop-leap from 

one of the trees a big slobbering blackamoor with rolling eyes 

which showed the whites, a truly hideous sight. 1 He walked 

boldly up to her and threw his arms round her neck while she 

embraced him as warmly ; then he bussed her and winding his 

legs round hers, as a button-loop clasps a button, he threw her 

and enjoyed her. On like wise did the other slaves with the 

girls till all had satisfied their passions, and they ceased not from 

kissing and clipping, coupling and carousing till day began to 

\vane ; when the Mamelukes rose from the damsels' bosoms and the 

blackamoor slave dismounted from the Queen's breast; the men 

resumed their disguises and all, except the negro who swarmed up 

the tree, entered the palace and closed the postern-door as before. 

Now, when Shah Zaman saw this conduct of his sister-in-law he 

said in himself, " By Allah, my calamity is lighter than this ! My 

brother is a greater King among the kings than I am , yet this 

infamy goeth on in his very palace, and his wife is in love with that 

filthiest of filthy slaves. But this only showeth that they all do 

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

Story of King Shahryar and his Brother* 7 

it 1 and that there is no woman but who cuckoldeth her husband , 
then the curse of Allah upon one and all and upon the fools who lean 
against them for support or who place the reins of conduct in their 
hands. So he put away his melancholy and despondency, regret 
and repine, and allayed his sorrow by constantly repeating those 
words, adding " Tis my conviction that no man in this world is 
safe from their malice ! " When supper-time came they brought 
him the trays and he ate with voracious appetite, for he had 
long refrained from meat, feeling unable to touch any dish how- 
ever dainty. Then he returned grateful thanks to Almighty Allah, 
praising Him and blessing Him, and he spent a most restful 
night, it having been long since he had savoured the sweet food 
of sleep. Next day he broke his fast heartily and began to 
recover health and strength, and presently regained excellent con- 
dition. His brother came back from the chase ten days after, when 
he rode out to meet him and they saluted each other ; and when 
King Shahryar looked at King Shah Zaman he saw how the hue 
of health had returned to him, how his face had waxed ruddy and 
how he ate with an appetite after his late scanty diet. He wondered 
much and said, " O my brother, I was so anxious that thou wouldst 
join me in hunting and chasing, and wouldst take thy pleasure and 
pastim'e in my dominion ! " He thanked him and excused himself; 
then the two took horse and rode into the city and, when they 
were seated at their ease in the palace, the food-trays were set 
before them and they ate their sufficiency. After the meats were 
removed and they had washed their hands, King Shahryar turned 
to his brother and said, " My mind is overcome with wonderment 
at thy condition. I was desirous to carry thee with me to the 
chase but I saw thee changed in hue, pale and wan to view, and 
in sore trouble of mind too. But now Alhamdolillah glory be to 
God ! I see thy natural colour hath returned to thy face and that 
thou art again in the best of case. It was my belief that thy sick- 
ness came of severance from thy family and friends, and absence 
from capital and country, so I refrained from troubling thee with 
further questions. But now I beseech thee to expound to me the 
cause of thy complaint and thy change of colour, and to explain 
the reason of thy recovery and the return to the ruddy hue of 
health which I am wont to view. So speak out and hide naught ! " 

1 The very same words were lately spoken in England proving the eternal truth of 
The Nights which the ignorant call " downright lies." 

8 A If Laylah wd Laylah. 

When Shah Zaman heard this he bowed groundwards awhile his 
head, then raised it and said, " I will tell thee what caused my com- 
plaint and my loss of colour; but excuse my acquainting thee with 
the cause of its return to me and the reason of my complete 
recovery : indeed I pray thee not to press me for a reply." Said 
Shahryar, who was much surprised by these words, " Let me hear 
first what produced thy pallor and thy poor condition." " Know, 
<hen, O my brother/* rejoined Shah Zaman, " that when thou 
sentest thy Wazir with the invitation to place myself between thy 
hands, I made ready and marched out of my city ; but presently 
I minded me having left behind me in the palace a string of jewels 
intended as a gift to thee. I returned for it alone and found my 
wife on my carpet-bed and in the arms of a hideous black cook. 
So I slew the twain and came to thee, yet my thoughts brooded over 
this business and I lost my bloom and became weak. But excuse me 
if I still refuse to tell thee what was the reason of my complexion 
returning." Shahryar shook his head, marvelling with extreme 
marvel, and with the fire of wrath flaming up from his heart, he 
cried, " Indeed, the malice of woman is mighty ! " Then he took 
refuge from them with Allah and said, "In very sooth, O my 
brother, thou hast escaped many an evil by putting thy wife to 
death, 1 and right excusable were thy wrath and grief for such 
mishap which never yet befel crowned King like thee. By Allah, 
had the case been mine, I would not have been satisfied without 
slaying a thousand women and that way madness lies ! But now 
praise be to Allah who hath tempered to thee thy tribulation, and 
needs must thou acquaint me with that which so suddenly restored 
to thee complexion and health, and explain to me what causeth this 
concealment." " O King of the Age, again I pray thee excuse my 
so doing !" " Nay, but thou must." " I fear, O my brother, lest 
the recital cause thee more anger and sorrow than afflicted me." 
" That were but a better reason," quoth Shahryar, " for telling me 
the whole history, and I conjure thee by Allah not to keep back 
aught from me." Thereupon Shah Zaman told him all he had seen, 
from commencement to conclusion, ending with these words, " When 
I beheld thy calamity and the treason of thy wife, O my brother, 
and I reflected that thou art in years my senior and in sovereignty 
my superior, mine own sorrow was belittled by the comparison, 
and my mind recovered tone and temper : so throwing off melan- 

1 The Arab's Tue la I 

Story of King Shahryar and his Brother. 9 

choly and despondency, I was able to eat and drink and sleep, and 
thus I speedily regained health and strength. Such is the truth 
and the whole truth," When King Shahryar heard this he waxed 
wroth with exceeding wrath, and rage was like to strangle him 5 
but presently he recovered himself and said, " O my brother, I 
would not give thee the lie in this matter, but I cannot credit it 
till I see it with mine own eyes." " An thou wouldst look upon 
thy calamity," quoth Shah Zaman, " rise at once and make ready 
again for hunting and coursing, 1 and then hide thyself with me, so 
shalt thou witness it and thine eyes shall verify it." " True," quoth 
the King ; whereupon he let make proclamation of his intent to 
travel, and the troops and tents fared forth without the city, camping 
within sight, and Shahryar sallied out with them and took seat 
amidmost his host, bidding the slaves admit no man to him. When 
night came on he summoned his Wazir and said to him, " Sit thou 
in my stead and let none wot of my absence till the term of three 
days." Then the brothers disguised themselves and returned by 
night with all secrecy to the palace, where they passed the dark 
hours : and at dawn they seated themselves at the lattice over- 
looking the pleasure grounds, when presently the Queen and her 
handmaids came out as before, and passing under the windows made 
for the fountain. Here they stripped, ten of them being men to ten 
women, and the King's wife cried out, " Where art thou, O Saeed ? " 
The hideous blackamoor dropped from the tree straightway ; and, 
rushing into her arms without stay or delay, cried out, " I am 
Sa'ad al-Din Saood ! " 2 The lady laughed heartily, and all fell to 
satisfying their lusts, and remained so occupied for a couple of 
hours, when the white slaves rose up from the handmaidens' breasts 
and the blackamoor dismounted from the Queen's bosom : then 
they went into the basin and, after performing the Ghusl, or com- 
plete ablution, donned their dresses and retired as they had done 
before. When King Shahryar saw this infamy of his wife and 
concubines he became as one distraught and he cried out, ' Only 
in utter solitude can man be safe from the doings of this vile world ! 
By Allah, life is naught but one great wrong." Presently he added, 

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

2 In the Mac. Edit, the negro is called "Mas'iid"; here he utters a kind of war- 
cry and plays upon the name, "Sa'ad, Sa'id, Sa'ud, and Mas'ud, all being derived 
from one root, " Sa'ad " = auspiciousness, prosperity. 

IO Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

" Do not thwart me, O my brother, in what I propose ; " and the 
other answered, "I will not/' So he said, "Let us up as we are 
and depart forthright hence, for we have no concern with Kingship, 
and let us overwander Allah's earth, worshipping the Almighty till 
we find some one to whom the like calamity hath happened ; and 
if we find none then will death be more welcome to us than Mfe." 
So the two brothers issued from a second private postern of the 
palace ; and they never stinted wayfaring by day and by night, 
until they reached a tree a-middle of a meadow hard by a spring 
of sweet water on the shore of the salt sea. Both drank of 
it and sat down to take their rest ; and when an hour of the 
day had gone by, lo ! they heard a mighty roar and uproar in 
the middle of the main as though the heavens were falling upon 
the earth ; and the sea brake with waves before them, and from 
it towered a black pillar, which grew and grew till it rose sky- 
wards and began making for that meadow. Seeing it, they waxed 
fearful exceedingly and climbed to the top of the tree, which was a 
lofty ; whence they gazed to see what might be the matter. And 
behold, it was a Jinni, 1 huge of height and burly of breast and bulk, 
broad of brow and black of blee, bearing on his head a coffer of 
crystal. He strode to land, wading through the deep, and coming 
to the tree whereupon were the two Kings, seated himself beneath 
it. He then set down the coffer on its bottom and out of it drew a 
casket, with seven padlocks of steel, which he unlocked with seven 
keys of steel he took from beside his thigh, and out of it a young 
lady to come was seen, white-skinned and of winsomest mien, of 
stature fine and thin, and bright as though a moon of the fourteenth 

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

Story of King Shahryar and his Brother. \ \ 

night she had been, or the sun raining lively sheen. Even so the 
poet Utayyah hath excellently said : 

She rose like the morn as she shone through the night o And she gilded the 

grove with her gracious sight : 
From her radiance the sun taketh increase when * She unveileth and shameth 

the moonshine bright. 
Bow down all beings between her hands o As she showeth charms with hei 

veil undight. 
And she floodeth cities 1 with torrent tears o When she flasheth her look of 


The Jinni seated her under the tree by his side and looking at her 
said, " O choicest love of this heart of mine ! O dame of noblest 
line, whom I snatched away on thy bride night that none might 
prevent me taking thy maidenhead or tumble thee before I did, 
and whom none save myself hath loved or hath enjoyed : O my 
sweetheart! I would lief sleep a little while." He then laid 
his head upon the lady's thighs ; and, stretching out his legs which 
extended down to the sea, slept and snored and snarked like the 
roll of thunder. Presently she raised her head towards the tree-top 
and saw the two Kings perched near the summit ; then she softly 
lifted off her lap the Jinni's pate which she was tired of supporting 
and placed it upon the ground ; then standing upright under the 
tree signed to the Kings, " Come ye down, ye two, and fear 
naught from this Ifrft." 2 They were in a terrible fright when they 
found that she had seen them and answered her in the same 
manner, "Allah upon thee 3 and by thy modesty, O lady, excuse 
us from coming down ! " But she rejoined by saying, " Allah upon 
you both that ye come down forthright, and if ye come not, I will 
rouse upon you my husband, this Ifrit, and he shall do you to die 
by the illest of deaths ;" and she continued making signals to them. 
So, being afraid, they came down to her and she rose before them 
and said, " Stroke me a strong stroke, without stay or delay, other-. 

1 Arab " Amsar" (cities) : in Bui. Edit. " Amtar" (rains), as in Mac. Edit. So Mc.j 
Payne (I., 5) translates : 

And when she flashes forth the lightning of her glance, She maketh eyes 

to rain, like showers, with many a tear. 

I would render it, " She makes whole cities shed tears ; " and prefer it for a reason which 
will generally influence me its superior exaggeration and impossibility. 

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

i.e., " I conjure thee by Allah ; " the formula is technically called " Inshdd." 

12 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

wise will I arouse and set upon you this I frit who shall slay you 
straightway." They said to her, "O our lady, we conjure thee by 
Allah, let us off this work, for we are fugitives from such and in 
extreme dread and terror of this thy husband. How then can we 
do it in such a way as thou desirest?" "Leave this talk: it needs 
must be so;" quoth she, and she swore them by Him 1 who raised 
the skies on high, without prop or pillar, that, if they worked not 
her will, she would cause them to be slain and cast into the sea. 
Whereupon out of fear King Shahryar said to King Shah Zaman, 
" O my brother, do thou what she biddeth thee do ; " but he replied, 
" I will not do it till thou do it before I do. And they began dis- 
puting about futtering her. Then quoth she to the twain, " How is 
it I see you disputing and demurring ; if ye do not come forward 
like men and do the deed of kind ye two, I will arouse upon you 
the Ifrit." At this, by reason of their sore dread of the Jinni, both 
did by her what she bade them do; and, when they had dismounted 
from her, she said, " Well done ! " She then took from her pocket a 
purse and drew out a knotted string, whereon were strung five 
hundred and seventy 2 seal rings, and asked. " Know ye what be 
these ? " They answered her saying, " We know not ! " Then 
quoth she ; " These be the signets of five hundred and seventy men 
who have all futtered me upon the horns of this foul, this foolish, this 
filthy Ifrit ; so give me also your two seal rings, ye pair of brothers. 
When they had drawn their two rings from their hands and given 
them to her, she said to them, " Of a truth this Ifrit bore me off on 
my bride-night, and put me into a casket and set the casket in a coffer 
and to the coffer he affixed seven strong padlocks of steel and 
deposited me on the deep bottom of the sea that raves, dashing 
and clashing with waves ; and guarded me so that I might remain 
chaste and honest, quotha ! that none save himself might have 
connexion with me. But I have lain under as many of my kind 
as I please, and this wretched Jinni wotteth not that Destiny may 

1 This introducing the name of Allah into an indecent tale is essentially Egyptian and 
Cairene. But see Boccacio ii. 6 ; and vii. 9. 

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

Story of King Shahryar and his Brother. 

not be averted nor hindered by aught, and that whatso woman 
willeth the same she fulfilleth however man nilleth. Even so 
saith one of them : 

Rely not on women ; 
Whose joys and whose sorrows 
Lying love they will swear thee 
Take Yusuf 1 for sample 
Iblis 2 ousted Adam 

And another saith : 

Trust not to their hearts, 
Are hung to their parts ! 
Whence guile ne'er departs : 
'Ware sleights and 'ware smarts f 
(See ye not ?) thro' their arts. 

Stint thy blame, man ! 'Twill drive to a passion without bound ; * My fault is 

not so heavy as fault in it hast found. 
If true lover I become, then to me there cometh not o Save what happened 

unto many in the by-gone stound. 
For wonderful is he and right worthy of our praise o Who from wiles of female 

wits kept him safe and kept him sound." 

Hearing these words they marvelled with exceeding marvel, and 
she went from them to the I frit and, taking up his head on her 
thigh as before, said to them softly, " Now wend your ways and 
bear yourselves beyond the bounds of his malice." So they fared 
forth saying either to other, " Allah ! Allah ! " and, " There be no 
Majesty and there be no Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the 
Great ; and with Him we seek refuge from women's malice and 
sleight, for of a truth it hath- no mate in might. Consider, O my 
brother, the ways of this marvellous lady with an I frit who is so 
much more powerful than we are. Now since there hath happened 
to him a greater mishap than that which befel us and which 
should bear us abundant consolation, so return we to our countries 
and capitals, and let us decide never to intermarry with woman- 
kind and presently we will show them what will be our action." 
Thereupon they rode back to the tents of King Shahryar, which 
they reached on the morning of the third day ; and, having mustered 

1 The Joseph of the Koran, very different from him of Genesis. We shall meet him 
often enough in The Nights. 

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

14 Alf Laylah wa Laylak. 

the Wazirs and Emirs, the Chamberlains and high officials, he gave 
a robe of honour to his Viceroy and issued orders for an immediate 
return to the city. There he sat him upon his throne and sending 
for the Chief Minister, the father of the two damsels who (Insh- 
allah !) will presently be mentioned, he said, " I command thee to 
take my wife and smite her to death ; for she hath broken her 
plight and her faith." So he carried her to the place of execution 
and did her die. Then King Shahryar took brand in hand and 
repairing to the Serraglio slew all the concubines and their Mame- 
lukes. 1 He also sware himself by a binding oath that whatever 
wife he married he would abate her maidenhead at night and slay 
her next morning to make sure of his honour ; " For," said he, 
" there never was nor is there one chaste woman upon the face of 
earth." Then Shah Zaman prayed for permission to fare home- 
wards ; and he went forth equipped and escorted and travelled 
till he reached his own country. Meanwhile Shahryar commanded 
his Wazir to bring him the bride of the night that he might go in 
to her ; so he produced a most beautiful girl, the daughter of one 
of the Emirs and the King went in unto her at eventide and when 
morning dawned he bade his Minister strike off her head ; and the 
Wazir did accordingly for fear of the Sultan. On this wise he 
continued for the space of three years ; marrying a maiden 
every night and killing her the next morning, till folk raised an 
outcry against him and cursed him, praying Allah utterly to 
destroy him and his rule ; and women made an uproar and mothers 
wept and parents fled with their daughters till there remained not 
in the city a young person fit for carnal copulation. Presently the 
King ordered his Chief Wazir, the same who was charged with the 
executions, to bring him a virgin as was his wont ; and the Minister 
went forth and searched and found none; so he returned home 
in sorrow and anxiety fearing for his life from the King. Now he 
had two daughters, Shahrazad and Dunyazad hight, 2 of whom the 

1 A similar tale is still told at Akka (St. John d'Acre) concerning the terrible 
" butcher*' Jazzar (Djezzar) Pasha. One can hardly pity women who are fools enough 
to run such risks. According to Frizzi, Niccol6, Marquis of Este, after beheading 
Parisina, ordered all the faithless wives of Ferrara to be treated in like manner. 

2 " Shahraza"d (Persian) =s City-freer ; in the older version Scheherazade (probably both 
from Shirza"d= lion-born). " Dunyazdd = World-freer. The Bres. Edit, corrupts the 
former to Shahrz4d or Shdhrazid ; and the Mac. and Calc. to Shahrzad or Shehrzad. 1 
have ventured to restore the name as it should be. Galland for the second prefers 
Dinarzade (?) and Richardson Dinazade (Dinaz^d = Religion-freer) : here I have followed 
Lane and Payne ; though in " First Footsteps " I was misled by GalUnd. See Vol. ii. p. I. 

Story of King Shahryar and his Brother. 15 

elder had perused the books, annals and legends of preceding 
Kings, and the stories, examples and instances of by-gone men 
and things ; indeed it was said that she had collected a thousand 
books of histories relating to antique races and departed rulers. 
She had perused the works of the poets and knew them by heart ; 
she had studied philosophy and the sciences, arts and accomplish- 
ments ; and she was pleasant and polite, wise and witty, well read 
and well bred. Now on that day she said to her father, " Why 
do I see thee thus changed and laden with cark and care ? Con- 
cerning this matter quoth one of the poets : 

Tell whoso hath sorrow o Grief never shall last : 

E'en as joy hath no morrow o So woe shall go past." 

When the Wazir heard from his daughter these words he related 
to her, from first to last, all that had happened between him and 
the King. Thereupon said she, " By Allah, O my father, how 
long shall this slaughter of women endure ? Shall I tell thee what 
is in my mind in order to save both sides from destruction ? " 
" Say on, O my daughter," quoth he, and quoth she, " I wish thou 
wouldst give me in marriage to this King Shahryar; either I shall 
live or I shall be a ransom for the virgin daughters of Moslems and 
the cause of their deliverance from his hands and thine." l "Allah 
upon thee ! " cried he in wrath exceeding that lacked no feeding, 
" O scanty of wit, expose not thy life to such peril ! How durst 
thou address me in words so wide from wisdom and un-far from 
foolishness? Know that one who lacketh experience in worldly 
matters readily falleth into misfortune ; and whoso considereth not 
the end keepeth not the world to friend, and the vulgar say:- 1 
was lying at mine ease : nought but my officiousness brought me 
unease." " Needs must thou," she broke in, " make me a doer of 
this good deed, and let him kill me an he will : I shall only die a 
ransom for others." " O my daughter," asked he, " and how shall 
that profit thee when thou shalt have thrown away thy life ? " 
and she answered, " O my father it must be, come of it what will !" 
The Wazir was again moved to fury and blamed and reproached 
her, ending with, "'In very deed I fear lest the same befal thee 
which befel the Bull and the Ass with the Husbandman." " And 

1 Probably she proposed to "Judith" the King. These learned and clever young 
ladies arc very dangerous in the East. 

1 6 A If Laylah wa Laylak. 

what," asked she, "befel them, O my father?" Whereupon the 
Wazir began the 


KNOW, O my daughter, that there was once a merchant who 
owned much money and many men, and who was rich in cattle 
and camels ; he had also a wife and family and he dwelt in the 
country, being experienced in husbandry and devoted to agriculture. 
Now Allah Most High had endowed him with understanding the 
tongues of beasts and birds of every kind, but under pain of death 
if he divulged the gift to any. So he kept it secret for very fear. 
He had in his cow-house a Bull and an Ass each tethered in his own 
stall one hard by the other. As the merchant was sitting near 
hand one day with his servants and his children were playing 
about him, he heard the Bull say to the Ass, " Hail and health to 
thee O Father of Waking ! 2 for that thou enjoyest rest and good 
ministering ; all under thee is clean-swept and fresh-sprinkled ; 
men wait upon thee and feed thee, and thy provaunt is sifted barley 
and thy drink pure spring-water, while I (unhappy creature !) am 
led forth in the middle of the night, when they set on my neck the 
plough and a something called Yoke ; and I tire at cleaving the 
earth from dawn of day till set of sun, I am forced to do more 
than I can and to bear all manner of ill-treatment from night to 
night; after which they take me back with my sides torn, my neck 
flayed, my legs aching and mine eyelids sored with tears. Then 
they shut me up in the byre and throw me beans and crushed- 
straw, 3 mixed with dirt and chaff; and I lie in dung and filth and 
foul stinks through the livelong night. But thou art ever in a place 
swept and sprinkled and cleansed, and thou art always lying at 
ease, save when it happens (and seldom enough !) that the master 

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

2 Arab. " Abu Yakzan ",:= the Wakener ; because the ass brays at dawn. 

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

Tale of the Bull an$ the AM* if 

hath some business, when he mounts thee and rides thee .to town 
and returns with thee forthright. So it happens that I am toiling 
and distrest while thou takest thine ease and thy rest ; thou sleepest 
while I am sleepless ; I hunger still while thou eatest thy fill, and 
I win contempt while thou winnest good will." When the Bull 
ceased speaking, the Ass turned towards him and said, " O Broad- 
o'-Brow, 1 O thou lost one ! he lied not who dubbed thee Bull-head, 
for thou, O father of a Bull, hast neither forethought nor con- 
trivance ; thou art the simplest of simpletons, 2 and thou knowest 
naught of. good advisers. Hast thou not heard the saying of the 
wise : 

For others these hardships and labours I bear o And theirs is the pleasing 

and mine is the care ; 
As the bleacher who blacketh his brow in the sun o To whiten the raiment 

which other men wear. 5 

But thou, O fool, art full of zeal and thou toilest and moilest 
before the master ; and thou tearest and wearest and slayest thy- 
self for the comfort of another. Hast thou never heard the saw 
that saith, None to guide and from the way go wide ? Thou 
wendest forth at the call to dawn-prayer and thou returnest not 
till sundown ; and through the livelong day thou endurest all 
manner hardships ; to wit, beating and belabouring and bad lan- 
guage. Now hearken to me, Sir Bull ! when they tie thee to thy 
stinking manger, thou pawest the ground with thy forehand and 
lashest out with thy hind hoofs and pushest with thy horns and 
bellowest aloud, so they deem thee contented. And when they 
throw thee thy fodder thou fallest on it with greed and hastenest 
to line thy fair fat paunch. But if thou accept my advice it will 
be better for thee and thou wilt lead an easier life even than mine. 
When thou goest a-field and they lay the thing called Yoke on 
thy neck, lie down and rise not again though haply they swinge 
thee; and, if thou rise, lie. down a second time; and when they 
bring thee home and offer thee thy beans, fall backwards and only 
sniff at thy meat and withdraw thee and taste it not, and be satis- 
fied with thy crushed straw and chaff; and on this wise feign thou 

1 Arab. " Yd Aftah " : Al-Aftah is an epithet of the bull, also of the chameleon. 
3 Arab. " Balfd," a favourite Egyptianism often pleasantly confounded with "Wali * 
(a Santon) ; hence the latter comes to mean " an innocent," a " ninny." 
8 From the Gate. Edit., Vol. I., p. 29* 


18 A If Laylah wa Laylak. 

art sick, and cease not doing thus for a day or two days or even 
three days, so shalt thou have rest from toil and moil." When 
the Bull heard these words he knew the Ass to be his friend and 
thanked him, saying, " Right is thy rede ;" and prayed that all 
blessings might requite him, and cried, " O Father Wakener! 1 thou 
hast made up for my failings." (Now 2 the merchant, O my 
daughter, understood all that passed between them.) Next day 
the driver took the Bull, and settling the plough on his neck, s 
made him work as wont ; but the Bull began to shirk his plough- 
ing, according to the advice of the Ass, and the ploughman 
drubbed him till he broke the yoke and made off; but the man 
caught him up and leathered him till he despaired of his life. Not 
the less, however, would he do nothing but stand still and drop 
down till the evening. Then the herd led him home and stabled 
him in his stall : but he drew back from his manger and neither 
stamped nor ramped nor butted nor bellowed as he was wont to do ; 
whereat the man wondered. He brought him the beans and husks, 
but he sniffed at them and left them and lay down as far from 
them as he could and passed the whole night fasting. The peasant 
came next morning; and, seeing the manger full of beans, the 
crushed-straw untasted and the ox lying on his back in sorriest 
plight, with legs outstretched and swollen belly, he was concerned 
for him, and said to himself, " By Allah, he hath assuredly sickened 
and this is the cause why he would not plough yesterday." Then 
he went to the merchant and reported, " O my master, the Bull is 
ailing ; he refused his fodder last night ; nay more, he hath not 
tasted a scrap of it this morning." Now the merchant-farmer 
understood what all this meant, because he had overheard the talk 
between the Bull and the Ass, so quoth he, " Take that rascal 
donkey, and set the yoke on his neck, and bind him to the 
plough and make him do Bull's work." Thereupon the ploughman 
took the Ass, and worked him through the livelong day at the 
Bull's task; and, when he failed for weakness, he made him eat 
stick till his ribs were sore and his sides were sunken and his neck 
was flayed by the yoke ; and when he came home in the evening 
he could hardly drag his limbs along, either forehand or hind-legs 
But as for the Bull, he had passed the day lying at full length and 

1 Arab. " Abu Yakzan " is hardly equivalent with " Pere 1'Eveille." 

* In Arab, the wa (')) is the sign of parenthesis. 

.* In the nearer East the light little plough is carried afield by the bull or ass. 

Tale of t/ie Bull and the Ass. 19 

had eaten Ills fodder with an excellent appetite, and he ceased not 
calling down blessings on the Ass for his good advice, unknowing 
what had come to him on his account. So when night set in and 
the Ass returned to the byre the Bull rose up before him in 
honour, and said, " May good tidings gladden thy heart, O Father 
Wakener ! through thee I have rested all this day and I have 
eaten my meat in peace and quiet." But the Ass returned no 
reply, for wrath and heart-burning and fatigue and the beating 
he had gotten ; and he repented with the most grievous of repent- 
ance ; and quoth he to himself: "This cometh of my folly in 
giving good counsel ; as. the saw saith, I was in joy and gladness, 
nought save my officiousness brought me this sadness. But I will 
bear in mind my innate worth and the nobility of my nature ; ior 
what saith the poet ? 

Shall the beautiful hue of the Basil l fail o Tho' the beetle's foot o'er the Basil 

crawl ? 
And though spider and fly be its denizens o Shall disgrace attach to the 

royal hall? 
The cowrie, 2 I ken, shall have currency o But the pearl's clear drop, shall 

its value fall? 

And now I must take thought and put a trick upon him and 
return him to his place, else I die." Then he went aweary to his 
manger, while the Bull thanked him and blessed him. And even 
so, O my daughter, said the Wazir, thou wilt die for lack of wits ; 
therefore sit thee still and say naught and expose not thy life to 
such stress ; for, by Allah, I offer thee the best advice, which cometh 
of my affection and kindly solicitude for thee. " O my father," she 
answered, " needs must I go up to this King and be married to 
him." Quoth he, " Do not this deed ; " and quoth she, " Of a truth 
I will : " whereat he rejoined, " If thou be not silent and bide 
still, I will do with thee even what the merchant did with his 
wife." And what did he ? " asked she. Know then, answered the 

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

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

2O A If LaylaKTwa Laylak. 

iVj that after the return of the Ass the merchant came out on 
the terrace-roof with his wife and family, for it was a moonlit night 
and the moon at its full. Now the terrace overlooked the cowhouse 
and presently, as he sat there with his children playing about him, 
the trader heard the Ass say to the Bull, " Tell me, O father Broad 
o* Brow, what thou purposest to do to-morrow ? " The Bull 
answered, " What but continue to follow thy counsel, O Aliboron ? 
Indeed it was as good as good could be and it hath given- me rest 
and repose ; nor will I now depart from it one tittle : so, when they 
bring me my meat, I will refuse it and blow out my belly and 
counterfeit crank." . The Ass shook his head and said, " Beware of 
so doing, O Father of a Bull ! " The Bull asked, " Why," and the Ass 
answered, " Know that I am about to give thee the best of counsel, 
for verily I heard our owner say to the herd, If the Bull rise not 
from his place to do his work this morning and if he retire from his 
fodder this day, make him over to the butcher that he may slaughter 
htm and give his flesh to the poor, and fashion a bit of leather 1 
from his hide. Now I fear for thee on account of this. .So take 
my advice ere a calamity befal thee ; and when they bring thee thy 
fodder eat it and rise up and bellow and paw the ground, or our 
master will assuredly slay thee : and peace be with thee ! " There- 
upon the Bull arose and lowed aloud and thanked the Ass, and said, 
" To-morrow I will readily go forth with them ;" and he at once 
ate up all his meat and even licked the manger. (All this took 
place and the owner was listening to their talk.) Next morning 
the trader and his wife went to the Bull's crib and sat down, and 
the driver came and led forth the Bull who, seeing his owner, 
whisked his tail and brake wind, and frisked about so lustily that 
the merchant laughed a loud laugh and kept laughing till he fell on 
his back. His wife asked him, "Whereat laughest thou with such 
loud laughter as this ? "; and he answered her, <% I laughed at a secret 
something which I have heard and seen but cannot say lest I die 
my death." She returned, " Perforce thou must discover it to me, 
and disclose the cause of thy laughing even if thou come by thy 
death ! " But he rejoined, " I cannot reveal what beasts and birds 
say in their lingo for fear I die. Then quoth she, " By Allah, thou 
liest! this is a mere pretext: thou laughest at none save me, and 
now thou wouldest hide somewhat from me. But by the Lord of 

' Arab "Kat'a" (bit of leather) : some read "NatV 1 * leather used by way of 
table-cloth, and forming a bag for victuals ; but it is never made of bull's hide. 

Tats of tht Bull and the Ass. 21 

the Heavens ! an thou disclose not the cause I will no longer cohabit 
with thee : I will leave thee at once." And she sat down and 
cried. Whereupon quoth the merchant, "Woe betide thee ! what 
means thy weeping ? Fear Allah and leave these words and query 
me no more questions." " Needs must thou tell me the cause of 
that laugh," said she, and he replied, " Thou wottest that when J 
prayed Allah to vouchsafe me understanding of the tongues of 
beasts and birds, I made a vow never to disclose the secret to any 
Under pain of dying on the spot." " No matter," cried she, " tell 
me what secret passed between the Bull and the Ass and. die this 
very hour an thou be so minded ; " and she ceased not to impor- 
tune him till he was worn out and clean distraught. So at last he 
said, " Summon thy father and thy mother and our kith and kin 
and sundry of our neighbours," which she did ; and he sent for the 
Kazi 1 and his assessors, intending to make his will and repeal to 
her his secret and die the death ; for he loved her with love exceed- 
ing because she was his cousin, the daughter of his father's brother, 
and the mother of his children, and he had lived with her a life of 
an hundred and twenty years. Then, having assembled all the 
family and the folk of his neighbourhood, he said to them, " By me 
there hangeth a strange story, and 'tis such that if I discover the 
secret to any, I am a dead man." Therefore quoth every one of 
those present to the woman, " Allah upon thee, leave this sinful 
obstinacy and recognise the right of this matter, lest haply thy 
husband and the father of thy children die." But she rejoined, " I 
will not turn from it till he tell me, even though he come by his 
death." So they ceased to urge her ; and the trader rose from 
amongst them and repaired to an outhouse to perform the Wuzu- 
ablution, 2 and he purposed thereafter to return and to tell them his 
secret and to die. Now, daughter Shahrazad, that merchant had 
in his out- houses some fifty hens under one cock, and whilst making 
ready to farewell his folk he heard one of his many farm-dogs thus 
address in his own tongue the Cock, who was flapping his wings 
and crowing lustily and jumping from one hen's back to another 
and treading all in turn, saying " O Chanticleer! how mean is thy 
wit and how shameless is thy conduct ! Be he disappointed who 

1 The older " Cadi," a judge in religious matters. The Shuhfld, or Assessors, are 
officers of the Mahkamah or Kazi's Court. 

* Of which more in a future ptge. He tfcus purified himself ceiemouiaUy befatt 

22 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

brought thee up P 1 Art thou not ashamed of thy doings on such 
a day as this ? " "And what," asked the Rooster, " hath occurred 
this day ?," when the Dog answered, " Dost thou not know that 
our master is this day making ready for his death ? His wife is 
resolved that he shall disclose the secret taught to him by Allah, 
and the moment he so doeth he shall surely die. We dogs are all 
a-mourning; but thou clappest thy wings and clarionest thy 
loudest and treadest hen after hen. Is this an hour for pastime 
and pleasuring ? Art thou not ashamed of thyself ?" 2 " Then by 
Allah," quoth the Cock, " is our master a lack-wit and a man 
scanty of sense : if he cannot manage matters with a single wife, 
his life is not worth prolonging. Now I have some fifty Dame 
Partlets ; and I please this and provoke that and starve one and 
Stuff another ; and through my good governance they are all well 
under my control. This our master pretendeth to wit and wisdom, 
and he hath but one wife, and yet knoweth not how to manage 
her." Asked the Dog, " What then, O Cock, should the master 
do to win clear of his strait?" "He should arise forthright," 
answered the Cock, " and take some twigs from yon mulberry-tree 
and give her a regular back-basting and rib-roasting till she cry : 
I repent, O my lord ! I will never ask thee a question as long as 
I live! Then let him beat her once more and soundly, and when 
he shall have done this he shall sleep free from care and enjoy life. 
But this master of ours owns neither sense nor judgment." "Now, 
daughter Shahrazad," continued the Wazir, " I will do to thee as 
'did that husband to that wife." Said Shahrazad, " And what did 
he do ? " He replied, " When the merchant heard the wise words 
spoken by his Cock to his Dog, he arose in haste and sought his 
wife's chamber, after cutting for her some mulberry-twigs and hiding 
them there ; and then he called to her, " Come into the closet that 
I may tell thee the secret while no one seeth me and then die." She 
entered with him and he locked the door and came down upon her 
with so sound a beating of back and shoulders, ribs, arms and legs, 
saying the while, " Wilt thou ever be asking questions about what 
concerneth thee not ? " that she was well nigh senseless. Presently 
she cried out, " I am of the repentant ! By Allah, I will ask thee no 
more questions, and indeed I repent sincerely and wholesomely. 1 ' 

This is Christian rather than Moslem : a favourite Maltese curse is " Yahrak 

man rabba-k ! " = burn the Saint who brought thee up ! 
2 A popular Egyptian phrase : the dog and the cock speak like Fellahs* 

Tale of the Bull and the Ass. 2J 

Then she kissed his hand and feet and he led her out of the room 
submissive as a wife should be. Her parents and all the company 
rejoiced and sadness and mourning were changed into joy and glad- 
ness. Thus the merchant learnt family discipline from his Cock 
and he and his wife lived together the happiest of lives until 
death. And thou also, O my daughter ! continued the Wazir, 
4i Unless thou turn from this matter I will do by thee what that 
trader did to his wife." But she answered him with much decision, 
" I will never desist, O my father, nor shall this tale change my 
purpose. Leave such talk and tattle. I will not listen tp thy words 
and, if thou deny me, I will marry myself to him despite the nose 
of thee. And first I will go up to the King myself and alone and 
I will say to him : I prayed my father to wive me with thee, 
but he refused, being resolved to disappoint his lord, grudging the 
like of me to the like of thee." Her father asked, " Must this 
needs be ? " and she answered, " Even so." Hereupon the Wazir 
being weary of lamenting and contending, persuading and dis- 
suading her, all to no purpose, went up to King Shahryar and, 
after blessing him and kissing the ground before him, told him all 
about his dispute with his daughter from first to last and how he 
designed to bring her to him that night. The King wondered 
with exceeding wonder ; for he had made an especial exception 
of the Wazir's daughter, and said to him, " O most faithful of 
Counsellors, how is this ? Thou wottest that I have sworn by the 
Raiser of the Heavens that after I have gone into her this night I 
shall say to thee on the morrow's morning : Take her and slay 
her! and, if thou slay her not, I will slay thee in her stead without 
fail." " Allah guide thee to glory and lengthen thy life, O King of 
the age," answered the Wazir, " it is she that hath so determined : 
all this have I told her and more ; but she will not hearken to me 
and she persisteth in passing this coming night with the King's 
Majesty." So Shahryar rejoiced greatly and said, "Tis well ; go 
get her ready and this night bring her to me." The Wazir returned 
to his daughter and reported to her the command saying, " Allah 
make not thy father desolate by thy loss ! " But Shahrazad rejoiced 
with exceeding joy and gat ready all she required and said to her 
younger sister, Dunyazad, " Note well what directions I entrust 
to thee ! When I have gone into the King I will send for thee 
and when thou comest to me and seest that he hath had his 
carnal will of me, do thou say to me : -O my sister, an thou be not 
sleepy, relate to me some new story, delectable and delightsome, 

24 Alf Laylak ua Laylak. 

the better to speed our waking hours ; " and I will tell thee a tale 
which shall be our deliverance, if so Allah please, and which shall 
turn the King from his blood-thirsty custom." Dunyazad answered 
" With love and gladness." So when it was night their father the 
Wazir carried Shahrazad to the King who was gladdened at the 
sight and asked, " Hast thou brought me my need ? " and he 
answered, " I have." But when the King took her to his bed and 
fell to toying with her and wished to go in to her she wept ; which 
made him ask, " What aileth thee ? " She replied, " O King of the 
age, I have a younger sister and lief would I take leave of her 
this night before I see the dawn." So he sent at once for Dun- 
yazad and she came and kissed the ground between his hands, 
when he permitted her to take her seat near the foot of the couch. 
Then the King arose and did away with his bride's maidenhead 
and the three fell asleep. But when it was midnight Shahrazad 
awoke and signalled to her sister Dunyazad who sat up and said, 
"Allah upon thee, O my sister, recite to us some new story, delight- 
some and delectable, wherewith to while away the waking hours of 
our latter night." 1 "With joy and goodly gree," answered Shah- 
razad, " if this pious and auspicious King permit me." " Tell on," 
quoth the King, who chanced to be sleepless and restless and 
therefore was pleased with the prospect of hearing her story. So 
Shahrazad rejoiced ; and thus, on the first night of the Thousand 
Nights and a Night, she began with the 


IT is related, O auspicious King, that there was a merchant of 
the merchants who had much wealth, and business in various 
cities. Now on a day he mounted horse and went forth to recover 
monies in certain towns, and the heat sore oppressed him ; so he 
sat beneath a tree and, putting his hand into his saddle-bags, took 
thence some broken bread and dry dates and began to break his 
fast. When he had ended eating the dates he threw away the 
stones with force and lo ! an Ifrit appeared, huge of stature and 
brandishing a drawn sword, wherewith he approached .the merchant 
and said, " Stand up that I may slay thee, even as thou slewest my 

1 i.e. between the last sleep and dawn when they would rise to wash and pray. 

Tale of the Trader and the Jinni. 25 

son ! " Asked the merchant, " How have I slain thy son ? " and he 
answered, " When thou atest dates and threwest away the stones 
they struck my son full in the breast as he was walking by, so that 
he died forthwith." * Quoth the merchant, " Verily from Allah -we 
proceeded and unto Allah are we returning. There is no Majesty, 
and there is no Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great ! If 
I slew thy son, I slew him by chance medley. I pray thee now 
pardon me." Rejoined the Jinni, "There is no help but I must 
slay thee." Then he seized him and dragged him along and, cast* 
ing him to the earth, raised the sword to strike him ; whereupon 
the merchant wept, and said, " I commit, my case to Allah," and 
began repeating these couplets :* 

Cpntaineth Time a twain of days, this of blessing that of bane o And holdeth 

Life a twain of halves, this of pleasure that of pain. 
See'st not when blows the hurricane, sweeping stark and striking strong o 

None save the forest giant feels the suffering of the strain ? 
How many trees earth nourisheth of the dry and of the green o Yet none but 

those which bear the fruits for cast of stone complain. 
See'st not how corpses rise and float on the surface of the tide o While pearls 

o' price lie hidden in the deepest of the main ! 
In Heaven are unnumbered the many of the stars o Yet ne'er a star but Sun 

and Moon by eclipse is overta'en. 
Well judgedst thou the days that saw thy faring sound and well o And countedst 

not the pangs and pain whereof Fate is ever fain. 
The nights have kept thee safe and the safety brought thee pride o But blisft 

and blessings of the night are 'genderers of bane ! 

When the merchant ceased repeating his verses the Jinni said to 
him, " Cut thy words short, by Allah ! needs must I slay thee." But 
the merchant spake him thus, " Know, O thou Ifrit, that I have 
debts due to me and much wealth and children and a wife and 
many pledges in hand ; so permit me to go home and discharge to 
every claimant his claim; and I will come back to thee at the head 
of the new year. Allah be my testimony and surety that I will 
return to thee ; and then thou mayest do with me as thou wilt 
and Allah is witness to what I say." The Jinni took sure promise 
of him and let him go ; so he returned to his own city and trans- 
acted, his business and rendered to all men their dues and after 

1 Travellers tell of a peculiar knack of jerking the date-stone, which makes it strike 
with great force r I never saw this " Inwd " practised, but it reminds me of ihe water* 
splashing with one band in the German baths. 

26 Alf Laylah wa Laylah, 

informing his wife and children of what had betided him, he 
appointed a guardian and dwelt with them for a full year. Then 
he arose, and made the Wuzu-ablution to purify himself before 
death and took his shroud under his arm and bade farewell to his 
people, his neighbours and all his kith and kin, and went forth 
despite his own nose. 1 They then began weeping and wailing and 
beating their breasts over him ; but he travelled until he arrived at 
the same garden, and the day of his arrival was the head of the 
New Year. As he sat weeping over what had befallen him, 
behold, a Shaykh, 2 a very ancient man, drew near leading a 
chained gazelle; and he saluted that merchant and wishing him 
long life said, " What is the cause of thy sitting in this place and 
thou alone and this be a resort of evil spirits ? " The merchant 
related to him what had come to pass with the Ifrit, and the old 
man, the owner of the gazelle, wondered and said, " By Allah, O 
brother, thy faith is none other than exceeding faith and thy story 
right strange ; were it graven with gravers on the eye-corners, it 
were a warner to whoso would be warned." Then seating himself 
near the merchant he said, " By Allah, O my brother, I will not 
leave thee until I see what may come to pass with thee and this 
Ifrit." And presently as he sat and the two were at talk the 
merchant began to feel fear and terror and exceeding grief and 
sorrow beyond relief and ever-growing care and extreme despair. 
And the owner of the gazelle was hard by his side ; when behold, 
a second Shaykh approached them, and with him were two dogs 
both of greyhound breed and both black. The second old man 
after saluting them with the salam, also asked them of their 
tidings and said " What causeth you to sit in this place, a dwelling 
of the Jann ? " 3 So they told him the tale from beginning to end, 

1 i.e., sorely against his will. 

2 Arab. " Shaykh "= an old man (primarily), an elder, a chief (of the tribe, guild, 
etc.) ; and honourably addressed to any man. Comp. among the neo-Latins "Sieur," 
" Signc-re." " Senor," " Senhor," etc. from Lat. " Senior," which gave our " Sire" and 
" Sir." Like many in Arabic the wor,d has ahost of different meanings ami most of them, 
will occur in the course of The Nights. Ibrahim (Abraham) was the first Shaykh or man 
who became grey. Seeing his hairs whiten he cried, *' O Allah what is this?" and the 
answer came that it was a sign of dignified gravity. Hereupon he exclaimed, " O 
Lord increase this to me 1" and, so it happened till his locks waxed snowy white at the 
age of one hundred and fifty. He was the first who parted his hair, trimmed his 
mustachios, cleaned his teeth with the Miswik (tooth-stick), pared his nails, shaved his 
pecten, snuffed up water, used ablution after stool and wore a shirt (Tabari). 

3 The word is mostly plural = Jinnis : it is also singular = a demon ; and Jan bin Jan 
has been noticed. 

The First Shayktis Story. 27 

and their stay there had not lasted long before there came up a 
third Shaykh, and with him a she-mule of bright bay coat ; and he 
saluted them and asked them why they were seated in that place. 
So they told him the story from first to last :. and of no avail, O 
my master, is a twice-told tale ! There he sat down with them, 
and lo ! a dust-cloud advanced and a mighty sand-devil appeared 
amidmost of the waste. Presently the cloud opened and behold, 
within it was that Jinni hending in hand a drawn sword, while his 
eyes were shooting fire-sparks of rage. He came up to them and, 
haling away the merchant from among them, cried to him, "Arise 
that I may slay thee, as thou slewest my son, the life-stuff of my 
liver." l The merchant wailed and wept, and the three old men 
began sighing and crying and weeping and wailing with their com- 
panion. Presently the first old man (the owner of the gazelle) 
came out from among them and kissed the hand of the Ifrit and 
said, " O Jinni, thou Crown of the Kings of the Jann ! were I to 
tell thee the story of me and this gazelle and thou shouldst 
consider it wondrous wouldst thou give me a third part of this 
merchant's blood ?" Then quoth the Jinni " Even so, O Shaykh ! 
if thou tell me this tale, and I hold it a marvellous, then will I 
give thee a third of his blood." Thereupon the old man began 
to tell 


KNOW O Jinni ! that this gazelle is the daughter of my paternal 
uncle, my own flesh and blood, and I married her when she was a 
young maid, and I lived with her well-nigh thirty years, yet was I 
not blessed ,with issue by her. So I took me a concubine, 2 who 

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

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

28 A If Laylah wa Lay I ah. 

brought to me the boon of a male child fair as the full moon, with 
eyes of lovely shine and eyebrows which formed one line, and 
limbs of perfect design. Little by little he grew in stature and 
waxed tall ; and when he was a lad fifteen years old, it became 
needful I should journey to certain cities and I travelled with 
great store of goods. But the daughter of my uncle (this gazelle) 
had learned gramarye and egromancy and clerkly craft 1 from her 
childhood ; so she bewitched that son of mine to a calf, and my 
handmaid (his mother) to a heifer, and made them over ta the 
herdsman's care. Now when I returned after a long time from 
my journey and asked for my son and his mother, she answered 
me, saying " Thy slave-girl is dead, and thy son hath fled and I 
know not whither he is sped." So I remained for a whole year 
with grieving heart, and streaming eyes until the time came for 
the Great Festival of Allah. 2 Then sent I to my herdsman bidding 
him choose for me a fat heifer; and he brought me one which was 
the .damsel, my handmaid, whom this gazelle had ensorcelled. I 
tucked up my sleeves and skirt and, taking a knife, proceeded to 
cut her throat, but she lowed aloud and wept bitter tears. Thereat 
I marvelled and pity seized me and I held my hand, saying to the 
herd, " Bring me other than this." Then cried my cousin, " Slay 
her, for I have not a fatter nor a fairer!" Once more I went 
forward to sacrifice her, but she again lowed aloud, upon which in 
ruth I refrained and commanded the herdsmen to slay her and flay 
her. He killed her and skinned her but found in her neither fat 
nor flesh, only hide and bone; and I repented when penitence 
availed me naught. I gave her io the herdsman and said to him, 
" Fetch me a fat calf ; " so he brought my son ensorcelled. When 
the calf saw me, he brake his tether and ran to me, and fawned 
upon me and wailed and shed tears ; so that I took pity on him 
and said to the herdsman, " Bring me a heifer and let this calf go ! " 
Thereupon my cousin (this gazelle) called aloud at me, saying, 
" Needs mast thou kill this calf; this is a holy day and a blessed, 

Arab. " Al-Kahanah " = the craft of a "Kahin" (Heb. Cohen) a diviner, sooth- 
sayer, etc. 

2 Arab. "Id al-kabir" =The Great Fes.tival ; the Turkish Bayram and Indian 
Bakar-eed (Kine-fete), the pilgrimage-time, also termed "Festival of the Kurban" 
(sacrifice) because victims are slain ; Al-Zuha (of Undurn or forenoon), Al-Azhd (of 
serene night) and Al-Nahr (of throat-cutting). For full details I must refer readers to 
my "Personal Narrative of a Pilgrimage to El-Medinah and Meccah" (3 vols. 8vo. 
London, Longmans, 1855). I shall have often to refer to it, 

The First Shaykk's Story. 29 

whereon naught is slain save what be perfect-pure ; and we have 
not amongst our calves any fatter or fairer than this ! " Quoth I, 
" Look thou upon the condition of the heifer which I slaughtered 
at thy bidding and how we turn from her in disappointment and 
she profited us on no wise ; and I repent with an exceeding repent- 
ance of having killed her : so this time I will not obey thy bidding 
for the sacrifice of this calf." Quoth she, " By Allah the Most 
Great, the Compassionating, the Compassionate ! there is no help 
for it ; thou must kill him on this holy day, and if thou kill him 
not. to me thou art no man and I to thee am no wife." Now when 
I heard those hard words, not knowing her object I went up to the 

calf, knife in hand And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day 

and ceased to say her permitted say. 1 Then quoth her sister to 
her, " How fair is thy tale, and how grateful, and ho\V sweet and 
how tasteful ! " And Shahrazad answered her, " What is this to 
that I could tell thee on the coming night, were I to live and the 
King would spare me?" Then said the King in himself, "By 
Allah, I will not slay her, until I shall have heard the rest of her 
tale." So they slept the rest of that night in mutual embrace till 
day fully brake. Then the King went forth to his audience-hall 2 
and the Wazir went up with his daughter's shroud under his arm. 
The King issued his orders, and promoted this and deposed that, 
until the^end of the day ; and he told the Wazir no whit of what 
had happened. But the Minister wondered thereat with exceeding 
wonder ; and when the Court broke up King Shahryar entered his, 

jSofo fofien it foa* tfje Sbecontr jBtg^t, 

said Dunyazad to her sister Shahrazad, "O my sister, finish for us 
that story of the Merchant and the Jinni ; " and she answered, 
* With joy and goodly gree, if the King permit me." Then quoth 

1 Arab. " Kalam al-mubah," **.*., that allowed or permitted to her by the King, her 

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

30 A If Lay/a/i wa Lay la h. 

the King, "Tell thy tale;" and Shahrazad began in these words: 
It hath reached me, O auspicious King and Heaven-directed Ruler ! 
that when the merchant purposed the sacrifice of the calf but saw it 
weeping, his heart relented and he said to the herdsman, " Keep the 
calf among my cattle." All this the old Shaykh told the Jinni who 
marvelled much at these strange words. Then the owner of the 
gazelle continued : O Lord of the Kings of the Jann, this much 
took place and my uncle's daughter, this gazelle, looked on and 
saw it, and said, " Butcher me this calf, for surely it is a fat one ; " 
but I bade the herdsman take it away and he took it and turned 
his face homewards. On the next day as I was sitting in my own 
house, to ! the herdsman came and, standing before me said, " O 
my master., I will tell thee a thing which shall gladden thy soul, and 
shall gain me the gift of good tidings." 1 I answered, "Even so." 
Then said he, " O merchant, I have a daughter, and she learned 
magic in her childhood from an old woman who lived with us. 
Yesterday when thou gavest me the calf, I went into the house to 
her, and she looked upon it and veiled her face ; then she wept and 
laughed alternately and at last she said : O my father, hath mine 
honour become so cheap to thee that thou bringest in to me strange 
men ? I asked her : Where be these strange men and why wast 
thou laughing, and crying ? ; and she answered, Of a truth this 
calf which is with thee is the son of our master, the merchant ; but 
he is ensorcelled by his stepdame who bewitched both him and his 
mother : such is the cause of my laughing ; now the reason of his 
weeping is his mother, for that his father slew her unawares. Then 
I marvelled at this with exceeding marvel and hardly made sure 
that day had dawned before I came to tell thee." When I heard, 
O Jinni, my herdsman's words, I went out with him, and I was 
drunken without wine, from the excess of joy and gladness which 
came upon me, until I reached his house. There his daughter wel- 
comed me and kissed my hand, and forthwith the calf came ,and 
fawned upon me as before. Quoth I to the herdsman's daughter, 
" Is this true that thou sayest of this calf?" Quoth she, " Yea, O 
my master, he is thy son, the very core of thy heart." I rejoiced 
and said to her, " O maiden, if thou wilt release him thine shall 
be whatever cattle and property of mine are under thy father's 

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

The First Shayktts Story. 31 

hand." She smiled and answered, " O my master, I have no greed 
for the goods nor will I take them save on two conditions; the 
first that thou marry me to thy son and the second that I 
may bewitch her who bewitched him and imprison her, other- 
wise I cannot be safe from her malice and malpractices." 
Now when I heard, O Jinni, these, the words of the herdsman's 
daughter, I replied, " Beside what thou askest all the cattle 
and the household stuff in thy father's charge are thine and, as 
for the daughter of my uncle, her blood is lawful to thee." When 
I had spoken, she took a cup and filled it with water : then she 
recited a spell over it and sprinkled it upon the calf, saying, " If 
Almighty Allah created thee a calf, remain so shaped, and change 
not ; but if thou be enchanted, return to thy whilom form, by C9m- 
mand of Allah Most Highest ! " and lo ! he trembled and became 
a man. Then I fell on his neck and said, " Allah upon thee, tell 
me all that the daughter of my uncle did by thee and by thy 
mother." And when he told me what had come to pass between 
them I said, u O my son, Allah favoured thee with one to restore 
thee, and thy right hath returned to thee/' Then, O Jinni, I mar- 
jied the herdsman's daughter to him, and she transformed my wife 
into this gazelle, saying : Her shape is a comely and by no means 
loathsome. After this she abode with us night and day, day and 
night, till the Almighty took her to Himself. When she deceased, 
my son fared forth to the cities of Hind, even to the city of this 
man who hath done to thee what hath been done ;* and I also took 
this gazelle (my cousin) and wandered with her from town to town 
seeking tidings of my son, till Destiny drove me to this place 
where I saw the merchant sitting in tears. Such is my tale ! 
Quoth the Jinni, "This story is indeed strange, and therefore I grant 
thee the third part of his blood." Thereupon the second old man, 
who owned the two greyhounds, came up and said, " O Jinni, if I 
recount to thee what befel me from my brothers, these two hounds, 
and thou see that it is a tale even more wondrous and marvellous 
than what thou hast heard, wilt thou grant to me also the third of 
this man's blood ? " Replied the Jinni, " Thou hast my word for 
it, if thine adventures be more marvellous and wondrous." There- 
upon he thus began 

1 A euphemistic formula, to avoid mentioning unpleasant matters. I shall note 
these for the benefit of students Veho would honestly prepare for the public service fax 
Moslem lands. 

33 A/f Laylah wa Laylak. 


KNOW, O lord of the Kings of the Jann ! that these two dogs 
are my brothers and I am the third* Now when our father died 
and left us a capital of three thousand gold pieces, 1 I opened a 
shop with my share, and bought and sold therein, and in like guise 
did my two brothers, each setting up a shop. But I had been in 
business no long while before the elder sold his stock for a thousand 
dinars, and after buying outfit and merchandise, went his ways to 
foreign parts. He was absent one whole year with the caravan ; 
but one day as I sat in my shop, behold, a beggar stood before me 
asking alms, and I said to him, " Allah open thee another door ! " 2 
Whereupon he answered, weeping the while, " Am I so changed 
that thou knowest me not?" Then I looked at him narrowly, 
and lo ! it was my brother, so I rose to him and welcomed him ; 
then I seated him in my shop and put questions concerning his 
case. " Ask me not/' answered he ; " my wealth is awaste and 
my state hath waxed un- stated ! " So I took him to the Hammam- 
bath 3 and clad him in a suit of my own and gave him lodging in 
my house. Moreover, after looking over the accounts of my stock- 
in-trade and the profits of my business, I found that industry had 
gained me one thousand dinars, while my principal, the head of 
my wealth, amounted to two thousand. So I shared the whole 
with him, saying, "Assume that thou hast made no journey abroad 
but hast remained at home ; and be not cast down by thine ill- 
luck." He took the share in great glee and opened for himself a 

> * Arab. *' Dinar,'* from the Latin denarius (a silver coin worth ten ounces of brass) 
through the Greek Srjvdpiov : it is a Koranic word (chapt. iii.) though its Arab equiva- 
lent is " Miskdl." It also occurs in the Katha" before quoted,, clearly showing the 
derivation. In the "Book of Kalilah and Dimnah" it is represented by the Daric or 
Persian Dindr, oopeiKos, from Dara = a King (whence Darius). The Dinar, sequin or 
ducat, contained at different times from 10 and 12 (Abu Hanifah's day) to 20 and even 
25 dirhams or drachmas ; and, as a weight, represented a drachma and a half. Its value 
greatly varied, but we may assume it here at nine. shillings or ten francs to half a sovereign. 
For an elaborate article on the Dinar see. Yule's " Cathay and the Way Thither 1 ' (ii. t 

pp. 439-443) 

2 The formula used in refusing alms to an " asker " or in rejecting an insufficient offer : 
*' Allah will open to thee ! " (some door "of gain not mine) ! Another favourite ejaca* 
lation is f 'Allah. Karim " (which Turks pronounce ' Kyereem ") = Allah is All-beneficenl * 
meaning Ask Him, not me. 

* The public bath. London knows the word through " The Hummumi" 

The Second ShayWis Story. 3} 

shop; and marters went on quietly for a few nights and days. But 
presently my second brother (yon other dog), also setting his heart 
upon travel, sold off what goods and stock-in-trade he had, .and 
albeit we tried to stay him he would not be stayed : he laid in an 
outfit for the journey, and fared forth with certain wayfarers. After 
an absence of a whole year he came back to me, even as my elder 
brother had come back ; and when I said to him, " O my brother, 
did I not dissuade thee from travel ? " he shed tears and cried, " O 
my brother, this be destiny's decree: here I am a mere beggar, 
penniless * and without a shirt to my back." So I led him to the 
bath, O Jinni, and clothing him in new clothes of my own wear,. I 
went with him to my shop and served him with meat and drink. 
Furthermore I said to him, " O my brother, I am wont to cast up 
my shop-accounts at the head of every year, and'whatso I shall 
find of surplusage is between me and thee.'^^. So I proceeded, O 
Ifrit, to strike a balance and, finding two thousand dinars of profit, 
I returned praises to the Creator (be He extolled and exalted!) and 
made over one half to my brother, keeping the other to myself. 
Thereupon he busied himself with opening a shop and on this wise 
we abode many days. After a time my brothers began pressing 
me to travel with them ; but I refused, saying, " What gained ye 
by your voyage that I should gain thereby ? " As I would not 
give ear to them we went back each to his own shop where we 
bought and sold as before. They kept urging me to travel for a 
whole twelvemonth, but I refused to do so till full six years were 
past and gone when I consented with these words, "O my brothers, 
here am I, your companion of travel : now let me see what monies 
you have by you." I found, however, that they had not a doit, 
having squandered their substance in high diet and drinking and 
carnal delights. Yet I spoke not a word of reproach ; so far 
from it I looked over my shop accounts once more, and sold what 
goods and stock-in trade were mine ; and, finding myself the 
owner of six thousand ducats, I gladly proceeded to divide that] 

." Arab. "Dirham" (Plur. dirjJhim, also used in the sense of money, "siller"), the 
Cr. 8pax/>o} and the drachuma of Plautus (Trin. 2, 4, 23). The word occurs in the 
Panchatantra also showing the derivation ; and in the Syriac Kalilah wa Dimnah it 
is " Zuz." This silver piece was = 6 obols (9fd.) and as a weight = 66J grains. The 
Dirham of The Nights was worth six " Ddnik," each of these being a fraction over a 
penny. The modern Greek Drachma is = one franc. 

2 In Arabic the speaker always puts himself first, even if he address the King, without) 
intending incfvility. 
VOL. I. 

34 A If Laylah wb Laylah. 

sum into halves, saying to my brothers, " These three- thousand 
gold pieces are for me and for you to trade withal," adding, " Let 
us bury the other moiety underground that it may be of service in 
case any harm befal us, in which case each shall take a thousand 
wherewith to open shops." Both replied, " Right is thy recking ;" 
and I gave to each one his thousand gold pieces, keeping the same 
sum for myself, to wit, a thousand dinars. We then got ready 
suitable goods and hired a ship and, having embarked our mer- 
chandise,, proceeded on our voyage, day following day, a full month, 
after which we arrived at a city, where we sold our venture ; and 
for every piece of gold we gained ten. And as we turned again to 
our voyage we found on the shore of the sea a maiden clad in 
worn and ragged gear, and she kissed my hand and said, "O 
master, is there kindness in thee and charity ? I can make thee a 
fitting return for them." I answered, "Even so; truly in me are 
benevolence and good works, even though thou render me no 
return." Then she said, "Take me to wife, O my master, and 
carry me to thy city, for I have given myself to thee ; so do me a 
kindness and I am of those who be meet for good works and 
charity : I will make thee a fitting return for these and be thou 
not shamed by my condition." When I heard her words, my 
heart yearned towards her, in such sort as willed it Allah (be He 
extolled and exalted !) ; and took her and clothed her and made 
ready for her a fair resting-place in the vessel, and honourably 
entreated her. So we voyaged on, and my heart became attached 
to her with exceeding attachment, and I was separated from her 
neither night nor day, and I paid more regard to her than to my 
brothers. Then they were estranged from me, and waxed jealous 
of my wealth and the quantity of merchandise I had, and their 
eyes were opened covetously upon all my property. So they took 
counsel to murder me and seize my wealth, saying, " Let us slay 
our brother and all his monies will be ours ;" and Satan made this 
deed seem fair in their sight ; so when they found me in privacy 
(and I sleeping by my wife's side) they took us both up and cast 
us into the sea. My wife awoke startled from her sleep and, forth- 
right becoming an Ifritah, 1 she bore me up and carried me to ani 
island and disappeared for a short time ; but she returned in the 
morning and, said " Here am I, thy faithful slave, who hath made 
thee due recompense ; for I bore thee up in the waters and saved 

1 A she-Ifrit, not necessarily an evil spirit. 

The Second Shaykh's Story. 35 

thee from death by command of the Almighty. Know that I am 
a Jinniyah, and as I saw thee my heart loved thee by will of the 
Lord, for I am a believer in Allah and in His Apostle (whom 
Heaven bless and preserve!). Thereupon I came to thee con- 
ditioned as thou sawest me and thou didst marry me, and see now 
I have saved thee from sinking. But I am angered against thy 
brothers and assuredly I must slay them." When I heard her 
story I was surprised .and, thanking her for all she had done, I 
said, " But as to slaying my brothers this must not be." Then I 
told her the tale of what had come to pass with them from the 
beginning of our lives to the end, and on hearing it quoth she, 
" This night will I fly as a bird over them and will sink their ship 
and slay them." Quoth I, " Allah upon thee, do not thus, for the 
proverb satth, O thou who doest good to him that doth, evil, leave 
the evil doer to his evil deeds. Moreover they are still my 
brothers." But she rejoined, " By Allah, there is no help for it but 
I slay them." I humbled myself before her for their pardon, 
whereupon she bore me up and flew away with me till at last she 
set me down on the terrace-roof of my own house. I opened the 
doors and took up what I had hidden in the ground ; and after I 
had saluted the folk I opened my shop and bought me merchan- 
dise. Now when night came on I went home, and there I saw 
these two hounds tied up ; and, when they sighted me, they arose 
and whined and fawned upon me ; but ere I knew what happened 
my wife said, " These two dogs be thy brothers ! " I answered, 
"And who hath done this thing by them?" and she rejoined, " I 
sent a message to my sister and she entreated them on this wise, 
nor shall these two be released from their prese'nt shape till ten 
years shall have passed." And now I have arrived at this place 
on my way to my wife's sister that she may deliver them from 
this condition, after their having endured it for half a score of years. 
As I was wending" onwards I saw this young man, who acquainted 
me with what had befallen him, and I determined not to fare 
hence until I should see what might occur between thee and him. 
Such is my tale! Then said the Jinni, -" Surely this is a strange 
story and therefor I give thee the third portion of his blood and his 
crime." Thereupon quoth the third Shaykh, the master of the 
mare-mule, to the Jinni, " I can tell thee a tale more wondrous 
than these two, so thou grant me the remainder of his blood and 
of his offence/' and the Jinni answered, " So be it ! " Then the old 
man began 

36 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 


KNOW, O Sultan and head of the Jann, that this mule was my 
wife. Now it so happened that I went forth and was absent one 
whole year ; and when I returned from my journey I came to her 
by night, and saw a black slave lying with her on the carpet-bed, 
and they were talking, and dallying, and laughing, and kissing and 
playing the close-buttock game. When she saw me, she rose and 
came hurriedly at me with a gugglet 1 of water ; and, muttering spells 
over it, she besprinkled me and said, "Come forth from this thy 
shape into the shape of a dog ; " and I became on the instant a dog. 
She drove me out of the house, and I ran through the doorway nor 
ceased running until I came to a butcher's stall, where I stopped and 
began to eat what bones were there. When the stall-owner saw 
me, he took me and led me into his house, but as soon as his daughter 
had sight of me she veiled her face from me, crying out, " Dost thou 
bring men to me and dost thou come in with them to me ? " Her 
father asked, "Where is the man ?" ; and she answered, "This dog 
is a man whom his wife hath ensorcelled and I am able to release 
him." When her father heard her words, he said, "Allah upon 
thee, O my daughter, release him." So she took a gugglet of water 
and, after uttering words over it, sprinkled upon me a few drops, 
saying, " Come forth from that form into thy former form." And I 
returned to my natural shape. Then I kissed her hand and said, 
" I wish thou wouldest transform my wife even as she transformed 
me." Thereupon she gave me some water, saying, " As soon as 
thou see her asleep, sprinkle this liquid upon her and speak what 
words thou heardest me utter, so shall she become whatsoever thou 
desirest." I went to my wife and found her fast asleep ; and, while 
sprinkling the water upon her, I said, " Come forth from that form 
Into the form of a mare-mule." So she became on the instant 
a she-mule, and she it is whom thou seest with thine eyes, O Sultan 

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

The Third Shayktts Story. 37 

and head of the Kings of the Jann ! Then the Jinni turned towards 
her and said, " Is this sooth ? " And she nodded her head and 
replied by signs, " Indeed, 'tis the truth : for such is my tale and 
this is what hath befallen me/' Now when the old man had ceased 
speaking the Jinni shook with pleasure and gave him the third 

of the merchant's blood. And Shahrazad perceived the dawn o 

day and ceased saying her permitted say. Then quoth Dunyazad. 
"O, my sister, how pleasant is thy tale, and how tasteful ; how 
sweet and how grateful!" She replied, "And what is this com- 
pared with that I could tell thee, the night to come, if I live and 
the King spare me ? " l Then thought the King, " By Allah, I will 
not slay her until I hear the rest of her tale, for trujy it is wondrous." 1 
So they rested that night in mutual embrace until the dawn. After 
this the King went forth to his Hall of Estate, and the Wazir and 
the troops came in and the court was crowded, and the King 
gave orders and. judged and appointed and deposed, bidding and 
forbidding during the rest of the day. Then the Divan broke up, 
and King Shahryar entered his palace. 

fojen ft foas tje 

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

1 " And what is ? " etc. A popular way of expressing great difference. So in India : 
"Where is Rajah Bhoj (the great King) and where is Gang* the oilman?" 

A If Laylah wa Laylah* 



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

O toiler through the glooms of night in peril and in pain o Thy toiling stint for 

daily bread comes not by might and main ! 
Seest thou not the fisher seek afloat upon the sea o His bread, while glimmer 

stars of night as set in tangled skein. 
Anon he plungeth in despite the buffet of the waves o The while to sight the 

bellying net his eager glances strain ; 
Till joying at the night's success, a fish he bringeth home o Whose gullet by the 

hook of Fate was caught and cut in twain. 
When buys that fish of him a man who spent the hours of night o Reckless 

of cold and wet and gloom in ease and comfort fain, 
Laud to the Lord who gives to this, to that denies his wishes o And dooms one 

toil and catch the prey and other eat the fishes. 1 

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

When thou art seized of Evil Fate, assume o The noble soul's long-suffering : 

'tis thy best : 
Complain not to the creature ; this be 'plaint o From one most Ruthful to the 


1 Here, as in other places, I have not preserved the monorhyme, but have ended like the 
English sonnet with a couplet ; as a rule the last two lines contain a " Husn makta* " or 

Tale of the Fisherman and the Jinni. 


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

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

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

He is to thee that daily bread thou canst nor loose nor bind o Nor pen nor 

writ avail thee aught thy daily bread to find : 
For joy and daily bread are what Fate deigneth to allow ; o This soil is sad and 

sterile ground, while that makes glad the hind. 
The shafts of Time and Life bear down full many a man of worth o While 

bearing up to high degree wights of ignoble mind. 
So come thou, Death ! for verily life is not worth a straw o When low the 

falcon falls withal the mallard wings the wind : 
No wonder 'tis thou seest how the great of soul 'and mind o Are poor, and 

many a losel carle to height of luck designed. 
This bird shall overfly the world from east to furthest west o And that shall 

win her every wish though ne'er she leave the nest. 

Then raising his eyes heavenwards he said, "O my God! 2 verily 

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

' Arab. " Allahumma " = Yd Allah (O Allah) but with emphasis; the Fath being a 

4 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

Thou wottest that I cast not my net each day save four times ; > 
the third is done and as yet Thou hast vouchsafed me nothing. 
So this time, O my God, deign give me my daily bread. Then, 
having called on Allah's name, 2 he again threw his net and waited 
its sinking and settling ; whereupon he haled at it but could not 
draw it in for -that it was entangled at the bottom. He cried out 
in his vexation " There is no Majesty and there is no Might save 
in Allah ! " and he began reciting : 

Fie on this wretched world, an, so it be o I must be whelmed by grief and 

misery : 
Tho' gladsome be man's lot when dawns the morn o He drains the cup of 

woe ere eve he see : 
Yet was I one of whom the world when asked o" Whose lot is happiest?" 

oft would say "Tis he!" 

Thereupon he stripped and, diving down to the net, busied himself 
with it till it came to land. Then he opened the meshes and 
fo.und therein a cucumber-shaped jar of yellow copper, 3 evidently 
full of something, whose mouth was made fast with a leaden cap, 
stamped with the seal-ring of our Lord Sulayman son of David 
(Allah accept the twain !). Seeing this the Fisherman rejoiced and 
said, " If I sell it in the brass-bazar 'tis worth ten golden dinars." 
He shook it and finding it heavy continued, " Would to Heaven I 
knew what is herein. But I must and will open it and look to its 
contents and store it in my bag and sell it in. the brass-market." 
And taking out a knife he worked at the lead till he had loosened 
it from the jar; then he laid the cup on the ground and shook 
the vase to pour out whatever might be inside. He found nothing 
in it ; whereat he marvelled with an exceeding marvel. But 
.presently there came forth from the jar a smoke which spired 
heavenwards into aether (whereat he again marvelled with mighty 
marvel), and which trailed along earth's surface till presently, 
having reached its full height, the thick vapour condensed, and 

substitute for the voc. part. Some connect it with the Heb. " Alihim," but that fancy 
is not Arab. In Al-Hariri and the rhetoricians it sometimes means to be sure, j of 
course ; unless indeed ; unless possibly = Greek vrj oYa 

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

2 i.e., saying ^Bismillah ! " the pious ejaculation which should precede every act. In 
Boccaccio (viii., 9) it is "remembering Iddio e' Santi." 

* Arab. Nahas asfar= brass, opposed to " NahaV' and " Nahas ahmar,"= copper. 

Tale of the Fisherman and the Jinni. 41 

became an Ifrit, huge of bulk, whose crest touched the clouds 
while his feet were on the ground. His head was as a dome, his 
hands like pitchforks, his legs long as masts and his mouth big as 
a cave ; his teeth were like large stones, his nostrils ewers, his eyes 
two lamps and his look was fierce, and lowering. Now when the 
fisherman saw the Ifrit his side muscles quivered, his teeth 
chattered, his spittle dried up arid he became blind about what 
to do. Upon this the Ifrit looked at him and cried, " There is 
no god but the God, and Sulayman is the prophet of God ; M 
presently adding, "O Apostle of Allah, slay me not ; never again 
will I gainsay thee in word nor sin against thee in deed." 1 Quoth 
the Fisherman, " O Marid, 2 diddest thou say, Sulayman the Apostle 
of Allah; and Sulayman is dead some thousand and eight 
hundred years ago, 3 and we are now in the last days of the world ! 
What is thy story, and what is thy account of thyself, and what is 
the cause of thy entering into this cucurbit ? " Now when the Evil 
Spirit heard the words of the Fisherman, quoth he ; " There is no 
god but the God : be of good cheer, O Fisherman ! " Quoth the 
Fisherman, " Why biddest thou me to be of good cheer ? " and he 
replied, " Because of thy having to die an ill death in this very 
hour." Said the Fisherman, " Thou deservest for thy good tidings 
the withdrawal of Heaven's protection, O thou distant one ! 4 
Wherefore shouldest thou kill me and what thing have I done to 
deserve death, I who freed thee from the jar, and saved thee from 
the depths of the sea, and brought thee up on the dry land ? " 
Replied the Ifrit, u Ask of me onlywhat mode of death thou wilt 
die, and by what manner of slaughter shall I slay thee." Rejoined 
the Fisherman, " What is my crime and wherefore such retribu- 

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

2 Marid (lit. contumacious" from the Heb. root Marad to rebel, whence " Nimrod " 
in late Semitic) is one of the tribes of the Jinn, generally but not always hostile to man. 
His female is Maridah." 

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

* Arab. " Y a Ba'fd ;" a euphemism here adopted to prevent using grossly abusive 
language. Others will occur in the course of these pages. 

42 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

tion ? " Quoth the Ifrit, " Hear my story, O Fisherman ! " and he 
answered, " Say on, and be brief in thy saying, for of very sooth 
my life-breath is in my nostrils."* Thereupon quoth the Jinni, 
" Know, that I am one among the heretical Jann and I sinned 
against Sulayman, David-son (on the twain be peace !) I together 
with the famous Sakhr al- Jinni ? whereupon the Prophet sent his 
minister, Asaf son of Barkhiyd, to seize me; and this Wazir 
brought me against my will and led me in bonds to him (I being 
downcast despite my nose) and he placed me standing before him 
like a suppliant. When Sulayman saw me, he took refuge with 
Allah and bade me embrace the True Faith and obey his behests \ 
but I refused, so sending for this cucurbit 3 he shut me up 
therein, and stopped it over with lead whereon he impressed the 
Most High Name, and gave his orders to the Jann who carried me 
off, and cast me into the midmost of the ocean. There I abode an 
hundred years, during which I said in my heart, " Whoso shall 
release me, him will I enrich for ever and ever." But the full cen- 
tury went by and, when no one set me free, I entered upon the 
second five score saying, " Whoso shall release me, for him I will 
open the hoards of the earth." Still no one set me free and thus 
four hundred years passed away. Then quoth I, " Whoso shall 
release me, for him will I fulfil three wishes." Yet no one set me 
free. Thereupon I waxed wroth with exceeding wrath and said 
to myself, " Whoso shall release me from this time forth, him will 
I slay and I will give him choice of what death he will die ; and 
now, as thou hast released me, I give thee full choice of deaths.'* 
The Fisherman, .hearing the words of the Ifrit, said, " O Allah ! 

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

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

Arab. " Kumkum," a gourd-shaped, bottle, of metal, china or glass, still used for 
Sprinkling scents. Lane gives aa illustration (chapt. viii., Mod. Egypt.). 

Tale of the Fisherman and the Jinni. 43 

tfie~w6ifder of it that I have not come to free thee save in these 
days ! " adding, " Spare my life, so Allah spare thine ; and slay me 
not, lest Allah set one to slay thee " Replied the Contumacious 
One, " There is no help for it ; die thou must ; so ask me by way of 
boon what manner of death thou wilt die." Albeit thus certified 
the Fisherman again addressed the Ifrit saying, " Forgive me this 
my death as a generous reward for having freed thee ; " and the 
Ifrit, " Surely I would not slay thee save on account of that same 
release." " O Chief of the I frits," said the Fisherman, " I do thee 
good and thou requitest me with evil ! in very sooth the old saw 
lieth not when it saith : 

We wrought them weal, they met our weal with ill ; o Such, by my life ! is every 

bad man's labour: 
To him who benefits unworthy wights o Shall hap what hapt to Ummi-Amir's 

neighbour. 1 

Now when the Ifrit heard these words he answered, " No more of 
this talk, needs must I kill thee." Upon this the Fisherman said 
to himself, " This is a Jinni ; and I am a man to whom Allah hath 
given a passably cunning wit, so I will now cast about to compass 
his destruction by my contrivance and by mine intelligence ; even 
as he took counsel only of his malice and his frowardness." 2 He 
began by asking the Ifrit, " Hast thou indeed resolved to kill me ? " 
and, receiving for all answer, " Even so," he cried, " Now in the Most 
Great Name, graven on the seal-ring of Sulayman the Son of David 
(peace be with the holy twain !), an I question thee on a certain 
matter wilt thou give me a true answer?' 1 The Ifrit replied 
" Yea ; " but, hearing mention of the Most Great Name, his wits 
were troubled and he said with trembling, "Ask and be brief." 
Quoth the Fisherman, " How didst thou fit into this bottle which 
would not hold thy hand ; no, nor even thy foot, and how came it 
to be large enough to contain the whole of thee ? " Replied the 
Ifrit, "What! dost not believe that I was all there?" and the 
Fisherman rejoined, " Nay ! I will never believe it until I see thee 

inside with my own eyes." And Shahrazad perceived the dawn 

of day and ceased to say her permitted say. 

1 Arab, meaning the Mother of Amir," a nickname for the hyena, which biles the 
hand that feeds it. 

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

44 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

foj)en it foas tjje Jfourtf) jBtgfjt, 

Her sister said to her, " Please finish us this tale, an thou be not 
sleepy !" so she resumed : It hath reached me, O auspicious King, 
that when the Fisherman said to the Ifrit, " I will never and nowise 
believe thee until I see thee inside it with mine own eyes;" the Evil 
Spirit on the instant shook 1 and became a vapour, which condensed, 
and entered the jar little and little, till all was well inside when lo ! 
the Fisherman in hot haste took the leaden cap with the seal and 
stoppered therewith the mouth of the jar and called out to the 
Ifrit, saying, " Ask me by way of boon what death thou wilt die ! 
By Allah, I will throw thee into the sea before us and here will 
I build me a lodge ; and whoso cometh hither I will warn him 
against fishing and will say : In these waters abideth an Ifrit who 
giveth as a last favour a choice of deaths and fashion of slaughter 
to the man who saveth him ! " Now when the Ifrit heard this from 
the Fisherman and saw himself in limbo, he was minded to escape, 
but this was prevented by Solomon's seal ; so he knew that the 
Fisherman had cozened and outwitted him, and he waxed lowly 
and submissive and began humbly to say, " I did but jest with 
thee." But the other answered, " Thou liest, O vilest of the Ifrits, 
and meanest and filthiest ! " and he set off with the bottle for the 
sea side ; the Ifrit calling out " Nay ! Nay ! " and he calling out 
" Aye ! Aye ! " Thereupon the Evil Spirit softened his voice and 
smoothed his speech and abased himself, saying, " What wouldest 
thou do with me, O Fisherman ? " " I will throw thee back into the 
sea," he answered ; " where thou hast been housed and homed for 
a thousand and eight hundred years ; and now I will leave thee 
therein till Judgment-day : did I not say to thee : Spare me and 
Allah shall spare thee ; and slay me not lest Allah slay thee ? yet 
thou spurnedst my supplication and hadst no intention save to 
deal ungraciously by me, and Allah hath now thrown thee into my 
hands and I am cunninger than thou." Quoth the Ifrit, " Open for 
me that I may bring thee weal." Quoth the Fisherman, " Thou 
liest, thou accursed ! my case with thee is that of the Wazir of 

1 The Mesmerist will notice this shudder which is familiar to him as preceding the 
'.' magnetic" trance. 

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

Tale of the Fisherman and the Jinni. 4 j 

King Yundn with the sage Duban." 1 " And who was the Wazir of 
King Yunan and who was the sage Duban ; and what was the 
story about them ? " quoth the Ifrit, whereupon the Fisherman 
began to tell 


" KNOW, O thou Ifrit, that in days of yore and in ages long gone 
before, a King called Yunan reigned over the city of Pars of the 
land of the Roum. 2 He was a powerful ruler and a wealthy, who 
had armies and guards and allies of all nations of men ; but his 
body was afflicted with a leprosy which leaches and men of science 
failed to heal. He drank potions and he swallowed powders and 
he used unguents, but naught did him good and none among the 
host of physicians availed to procure him a cure. At last there 
came to his city a mighty healer of men and one well stricken in 
years, the sage Duban hight. This man was a reader of books, 
Greek, Persian, Roman, Arabian, and Syrian ; and he was skilled in 
astronomy and in leechcraft, the theorick as well as the practick ; 
he was experienced in all that healeth and that hurteth the body ; 
conversant with the virtues -of every plant, grass and herb, and their 
benefit and bane ; and he understood philosophy and had com- 
passed the whole range of medical science and other branches of 
the knowledge-tree. Now this physician passed but few days in 
the city, ere he heard of the King's malady and all. his bodily 
sufferings through the leprosy with which, Allah had smitten him ; 
and how all the doctors and wise men had failed to heal him. 
Upon this he sat up through the night in deep thought and, when 
broke the dawn and appeared the morn and light was again born, 
and the Sun greeted the Good whose beauties the world adorn, 3 he 
donned his handsomest dress and going in to King Yunan, he 
kissed the ground before him : then he prayed for the endurance 

1 In the Bui. Edit " Ruydn,," evidently a clerical error. The name is fanciful not 

2 The geography is ultra-Shakspearean. *' Fars " (whence " Persia ") is the central Pro- 
vince of the grand old Empire now a mere wreck; "Rum" (which I write Roum, in 
order to avoid Jamaica) is the neo-Roman or Byzantine Empire; while "Yunan " 
is the classical Arab term for Greece (Ionia) which, unlearned Moslems believe to be 
now under water. 

3 The Sun greets Mohammed every morning even as it dances on Easter- Day faff 
Christendom. Risum teneatis? 

46 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

of his honour and prosperity in fairest language and made himself 
known saying, " O King, tidings have reached me of what befel 
thee through that which is in thy person ; and how the host of 
physicians have proved themselves unavailing to abate it ; and lo ! 
I can cure thee, O King ; and yet will I not make thee drink of 
draught or anoint thee with ointment." Now when King Yunan 
heard his words he said in huge surprise, " How wilt thou do 
this ? By Allah, if thou make me whole I will enrich thee even to 
thy son's son and I will give thee sumptuous gifts ; and whatso 
thou wishest shall be thine and thou shalt be to me a cup- 
companion 1 and a friend." The King then robed him with a 
dress of honour and entreated him graciously and asked him, 
" Canst thou indeed cure me of this complaint without drug and 
unguent ? " and he answered, " Yes ! I will heal thee without the 
pains and penalties of medicine." The King marvelled with ex- 
ceeding marvel and said, " O physician, when shall be this whereof 
thou speakest, and in how many days shall it take place ? Haste 
thee, O my son ! " He replied, " I hear and I obey ; the cure shall 
begin to-morrow." So saying he went forth from the presence, and 
hired himself a house in the city for the better storage of his books 
and scrolls, his medicines and his aromatic roots. Then he set to 
work at choosing the fittest drugs and simples and he fashioned a 
bat hollow within, and furnished with a handle without, for which 
he made a ball ; the two being prepared with consummate art. On 
the next day when both were ready for use and wanted nothing 
more, he went up to the King ; and, kissing the ground between his 
hands bade him ride forth on the parade ground 2 there to play at 
pall and mall. He was accompanied by his suite, Emirs and 
Chamberlains, Wazirs and Lords of the realm and, ere he was 

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

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

Tale of the Fisherman and the Jinni. 47 

seated, the sage Duban came up to him, and handing him the bat 
said, " Take this mall and grip it as I do ; so ! and now push for 
the plain and leaning well over thy horse drive the ball with all thy 
might until thy palm be moist and thy body perspire: then the 
medicine will penetrate through thy palm and will permeate thy 
.person. When thou hast done with playing and thou feelest the 
effects of the medicine, return to thy palace, and make the Ghusl- 
ablution 1 in the Hammam-bath, and lay thee down to sleep ; so 
shalt thou become whole ; and now peace be with thee ! " There- 
upon King Yunan took the bat from the Sage and grasped it firmly ; 
then, mounting steed, he drove the ball before him and gallopped 
after it till he reached it, when he struck it with all his might, his 
palm gripping the bat handle the while ; and he ceased not mailing 
the ball till his hand waxed moist and his skin, perspiring, imbibed 
the medicine from the wood. Then the sage Duban knew that the 
drugs had penetrated his person and bade him return to the palace 
and enter the Hammam without stay or delay ; so King Yunan 
forthright returned and ordered them to clear for him the bath. 
They did so, the carpet spreaders making all haste, and the slaves 
all hurry and got ready a change of raiment for the King. He 
entered the bath and made the total ablution long and thoroughly ; 
then donned his clothes within the Hammam and rode therefrom 
to his palace where he lay him down and slept. Such was the case 
with King Yunan, but as regards the sage Duban, he returned home 
and slept as usual and when morning dawned he repaired to the 
palace and craved audience. The King ordered him to be admitted ; 
then, having kissed the ground between his hands, in allusion to the 
King he recited these couplets with solemn intonation : 

Happy is Eloquence when thou art named her sire o But mourns -she whenas 

other man the title claimed. 
O Lord of fairest presence, whose illuming rays Clefcr Off the fogs of doubt 

aye veiling deeds high famed, 
Ne'er cease thy face to shine like Dawn and rise of Morn And never .show 

Time's face with heat of ire inflamed ! 
Thy grace hath favoured us with gifts that worked such wise As rain-clouds 

raining on the hills by wolds enframed : 
Freely thou lavishedst thy wealth to rise on high Jill won from Time the 

heights whereat thy grandeur aimed. 

Now when the Sage ceas'ed rec.iting, the King rose quickly to 
1 For details concerning Ihe " Ghusl" see Night xliv., 

48 A If Laylak wa Laylah. 

his feet and fell on his neek ; then, seating him by his side he 
bade dress him in a sumptuous dress ; for it had so happened 
that when the King left the Hammam he looked on his body 
and saw no trace of leprosy : the skin wassail clean as virgin 
silver. He joyed thereat with exceeding joy, his breast broad- 
ened 1 with delight and he felt thoroughly happy, presently, 
when it was full day he entered his audience-hall and sat upon 
the throne of his kingship whereupon his Chamberlains and 
Grandees flocked to the presence and with them the sage Duban. 
Seeing the leach the King rose to him in honour and seated him 
by his side; then the food trays furnished with the daintiest 
viands were brought and the physician ate . with the King, nor 
did he cease companying him all that day. Moreover, at night- 
fall he gave the physician Duban two thousand gold pieces, 
besides the usual dress of honour and other gifts galore, and sent 
him home on his own steed. After the Sage had fared forth 
King Yunan again expressed his amazement at the leach's art, 
.saying, "This man medicined my body from without nor anointed 
jjne with aught of ointments : by Allah, surely this is none other 
han consummate skill ! I am bound to honour such a man with 
-rewards and distinction, and take, him to my companion and my 
friend during the remainder of. my days." So King Yunan. passed 
Jhe night in joy and gladness for -that his body had been made 
whole and had thrown off so pernicious a. malady. On the morrow 
the King went forth from his Serraglio and sat upon his throne, 
and the Lords of Estate stood about him, and the Emirs and 
Wazirs sat as was. their wont on his right hand and on his left. 
Then he asked for the Sage Duban, who came in and kissed the 
ground before him, when the King rose to greet -him and, seating 
Jhim by his side, ate with him and wished him long life. Moreover 
: he robed him and gave him gifts, and ceased not conversing with 
him until night approached. Then the King ordered him, by way 
of salary, five dresses of honour "and a thousand 'dinars. 2 The 
physician returned to his own house full of gratitude to the 
King. Now when next morning dawned the King repaired to his 

1 A popular idiom and highly expressive, contrasting the upright bearing of the self, 
satisfied man with the slouch of. the miserable and the skirtTtrailing of the woman, in grief. 
I do not see the necessity of such Latinisms as "dilated" or " expanded.'* 

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

Tale of the Wazir and the Sage Dub an. 


audience-hall, and his Lords and nobles surrounded him and his 
Chamberlains and his Ministers, as the white encloseth the black of 
the eye. 1 Now the King had a Wazir among his Wazirs, unsightly 
to look upon, an ill-omened spectacle ; sordid, ungenerous, full of 
envy and evil will. When this Minister saw the King place the 
physician near him and give him all these gifts, he jaloused him and 
planned to do him a harm, as in the saying on such subject, " Envy 
lurks in every body ;" and the saying, " Oppression hideth in every 
heart : power revealeth it and weakness concealeth it." Then the 
Minister came before the King and, kissing the ground between 
his hands, said, "O King of the age and of all time, thou in whose 
benefits I have grown tp manhood, I have weighty advice to offer 
thee, and if I withhold it I were a son of adultery and no true- 
born man ; wherefore an thou order me to disclose it I will so do 
forthwith." Quoth the King (and he was troubled at the words of 
the Minister), "And what is this counsel of thiae?" Quoth he, 
" O glorious monarch, the wise of old have said : Whoso regardeth 
not the end, hath not Fortune to friend ; and indeed I have lately 
seen the King on far other than the right way ; for he lavisheth 
largesse on his enemy, on one whose object is the decline and fall 
of his kingship: to this man he hath shown favour, honouring 
him with over honour and making of him an intimate. Wherefore 
I fear for the King's life," The King, who was much troubled and 
changed colour, asked, " Whom dost thou suspect and anent whom 
doest thou hint?" and the Minister answered, "O King, an thou 
be asleep, wake up ! I point to the physician Duban." Rejoined 
the King, " Fie upon thee ! This is a true friend who is favoured 
by me above all men, because he cured me with something which I 
held in my hand, and he healed my leprosy which had baffled all 
physicians ; indeed he is one whose like may not be found in these 
days no, not in the whole world from furthest east to utmost 
west ! And it is of such a man thou sayest such hard sayings. 
Now from this day forward I allot him a settled solde and allow- 
ances, every month a thousand gold pieces ; and, were I to share 
with him my realm 'twere but a little matter. Perforce I must 
suspect that thou speakest on this wise from mere envy and 

jealousy as they relate of the King Sindibad." And Shahrazad 

perceived the dawn of day, and ceased saying her permitted say. 

1 This phrase is contained in the word " ihdak " = encompassing, as the conjunctiva) 
does the pupil. 

5O A If Laylak wa Lay la h. 

Then quoth Dunyazad, "O my sister, how pleasant is thy tale, 
and how tasteful, how sweet, and how grateful ! " She replied, 
" And where is this compared with what I could tell thee on the 
coming night if the King deign spare my life?" Then said the 
King in himself, " By Allah, I will not slay her until I hear the 
rest of her tale, for truly it is wondrous." So they rested that 
night in mutual embrace until the dawn. Then the King went 
forth to his Hall of Rule, and the Wazir and the troops came in, 
and the audience-chamber was thronged; and the King gave 
orders and judged and appointed and deposed and bade and 
forbade during the rest of that day till the Court broke up, and 
King Shahryar returned to his palace. 

J3ofo fofccn ft foa* t&e Jf ifift JJtg&t, 

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


IT is said (but Allah is All-knowing ! *) that there was a King 
of the Kings of Fars, who was fond of pleasuring and diversion, 
especially coursing and hunting. He had reared a falcon which he 
carried all night on his fist, and whenever he went a-chasing he 
took with him this bird; and he bade make for her a golden cuplet 
hung round her neck to give her drink therefrom. One day as the 
King was sitting quietly in his palace, behold, the high falconer of 
the household suddenly addressed him, " O King of the age, this 
is indeed a day fit for birding." The King gave orders accord- 
ingly and set out taking the hawk on fist ; and they fared merrily 

1 I have noted this formula, which is used even in conversation when about to relate; 
some great unfact, 

Tale of King Sindibad and his Falcon. 51 

forwards till they made a Wady * where they planted a circle of 
nets for the chase ; when lo ! a gazelle came within the toils and 
the King cried, " Whoso alloweth yon gazelle to spring over his 
head and loseth her, that man will I surely slay." They narrowed 
the nets about the gazelle when she drew near the King's station ; 
and, planting herself on her hind quarter, crossed her forehand over 
her breast, as if about to kiss the earth before the King. He 
bowed his brow low in acknowledgment to the beast ; when she 
bounded high over his head and took the way of the waste. 
Thereupon the King turned towards his troops and, seeing them 
winking and pointing at him, he asked, " O Wazir, what are my 
men saying ? " and the Minister answered, " They say thou didst 
proclaim that whoso alloweth the gazelle to spring over his head, 
that man shall be put to death." Quoth the King, " Now, by the 
life of my head ! I will follow her up till I bring her back." So 
he set off gallopping on the gazelle's trail and gave not over track- 
ing till he reached the foot-hills of a mountain-chain where the 
quarry made for a cave. Then the King cast off at it the falcon 
which presently caught it up and, swooping down, drove her talons 
into its eyes, bewildering and blinding it; 2 and the KTing drew his 
mace and struck a blow which rolled the game over. He then dis- 
mounted ; and, after cutting the antelope's throat and flaying the 
body, hung it to the pommel of his saddle. Now the time was 
that of the siesta 5 and the wold was parched and dry, nor was 
any water to be found anywhere ; and the King thirsted and his 
horse also ; so he went about searching till he saw a tree dropping 
water, as it were melted butter, from its boughs. Thereupon the 
King who wore gauntlets of skin to guard him against poisons 
took the cup from the hawk's neck, and filling it with the water set 
it before the bird, and lo ! the falcon struck it with her pounces 
and upset the liquid. The King filled it a second time with the^ 
dripping drops, thinking his hawk was thirsty ; but the bird again" 
struck at the cup with her talons and overturned it. Then the King 

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

2 I have described this scene -which Mr. T. Wolf illustrated by an excellent lithograph 
in " Falconry, etc. " (London, Van Voorst, MDCCCLII.)'. 

* Arab. " Kaylulab," mid-day sleep ; called siesta from the sixth canonical hour. 

52 A If Laylah wa Lay I ah. 

waxed wroth with the hawk and filling the cup a third time offered it 
to his horse : but the hawk upset it with a flirt of wings. Quoth the 
King, "Allah confound thee, thou unluckiest of flying things ! thou 
keepest me from drinking, and thou deprivest thyself also, and the 
horse." So he struck the falcon with his sword and cut off her 
wing ; but the bird raised her head and said by signs, " Look at 
that which hangeth on the tree ! " The King lifted up his eyes 
accordingly and caught sight of a brood of vipers, whose poison- 
drops he mistook for water; thereupon he repented him of having 
struck off his falcon's wing, and mounting horse, fared on with 
the dead gazelle, till he arrived at the camp, his starting place. 
He threw the quarry to the cook saying, " Take and broil it," 
and sat down on his chair, the falcon being still on his fist when 
suddenly the bird gasped and died ; . whereupon the King cried 
out in sorrow and remorse for having slain that falcon which had 
saved his life. Now this is what occurred in the case of King 
Sindibad ; and I am assured that were I to do as thou desirest I 
should repent even as the man who killed his parrot. Quoth the, 
Wazir, " And how was that ? J> And the King began to tell 


A CERTAIN man and a merchant to boot had married a fair wife, 
a woman of perfect beauty and grace, symmetry and loveliness, of 
whom he was mad-jealous, and who contrived successfully to keep 
him from travel. At last an occasion compelling him to leave her, 
he went to the bird-market and bought him for one hundred gold 
pieces a she-parrot which he set in his house to act as duenna, 
expecting her to acquaint him on his return with what had passed 
during the whole time of his absence ; for the bird was kenning 

1 This parrot-story is world-wide in folk-lore and the belief in metempsychosis, which 
prevails more or less over all the East, there lends it probability. The "Book of 
Sindibad" (see Night dlxxix. and "The Academy," Sept. 20, 1884, No. 646) convert* 
it into the " Story of the Confectioner, his Wife and the Parrot; " and it is the base of 
the Hindostani text-book, "Tota-Kahani" (Parrot-chat), an abridgement of the Tuli- 
ndmah (Parrot-book) of Nakhshabi (circ. A.D. 1300), a congener of the Sanskrit "Suka 
Saptati," or Seventy Parrot-stories. The tale is not in the Bui. or Mac. Edits, but occurs? 1 
in the Bresl. (i., pp. 90, 91) much mutilated j and better in the Calc. Edit. I cannot 
here refrain from noticing how vilely the twelve vols. of the Breslau Edit* have beta 
edited ; even a table of contents being absent from the fust four volumes. 

Tale of the Husband and the Parrot. 53 

and cunning and never forgot what she had seen and heard. 
Now his fair wife had fallen in love with a young Turk, 1 who used 
to visit her, and she feasted him by day and lay with him by nigHt. 
When the man had made his journey and won his wish he came 
home ; and, at once causing the Parrot be brought to him, questioned 
her concerning the conduct of .his consort whilst he was in foreign 
parts. Quoth she, " Thy wife hath a man-friend who passed every 
night with her during thine absence." Thereupon the husband went 
to his wife in a violent rage and bashed her with a bashing severe 
enough to satisfy any body. The woman, suspecting that one of the 
slave-girls had been tattling to the master, called them together 
and questioned them upon their oaths, when all swore that they 
had kept the secret, but that the Parrot had not, adding, " And we 
heard her with our own ears." Upon this the woman bade one of 
the girls to set a hand-mill under the cage and grind therewith and 
a second to sprinkle water through the cage-roof and a third to run 
about, right and left, flashing a mirror of bright steel through the 
livelong night. Next morning when the husband returned home 
after being entertained by one of his friends, he bade bring the 
Parrot before him and asked what had taken place whilst he was 
away. "Pardon me, O my master," quoth the bird, "I could 
neither hear nor see aught by reason of the exceeding murk and 
the, thunder and lightning which lasted throughout the night." 
As it happened to be the summer-tide the master was astounded 
and cried, " But we are now in mid Tammuz, 2 and this is not the 
time for rains and storms." " Ay, by Allah," rejoined the bird, " I 
saw with these eyes what my tongue hath told thee." Upon this 
the man, not knowing the case nor smoking the plot, waxed ex- 
ceeding wroth ; and, holding that his wife had been wrongously 
accused, put forth his hand and pulling the Parrot from her cage 
dashed her upon the ground with such force that he killed her on 
the spot. Some days afterwards one of his slave-girls confessed to- 
him the whole truth, 3 yet would he not believe it till he saw the 

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

2 The Hebrew-Syrian month July used to express the height of summer. As Herodotus 
tells us (ii. 4) the Egyptians claimed to be the discoverers of the solar year and the por- 
tioners of its course into twelve parts. , 

3 This proceeding is thoroughly characteristic of the servile class ; they conscientiously 
conceal everything from the master till he finds a clew ; after which they tell him every* 
thing and something more. 

54 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

young Turk, his wife's lover, coming out of her chamber, when he 
bared his blade l and slew him by a blow on the back of the neck ; 
and he did the same by the adulteress ; and thus the twain, laden 
with mortal sin, went straightways to Eternal Fire. Then the mer- 
chant knew that the Parrot had told him the truth anent all she 
had seen and he mourned grievously for her loss, when mourning 
availed him not. The Minister, hearing the words of Kmg Yunan, 
rejoined, ( " O Monarch, high in dignity, and what harm .have I 
done him, or what evil have I seen from him that I should compass 
his death ? I would not do this thing, save to serve thee, and soon 
shalt thou sight that it is right ; and if thoti accept my advice thou 
shalt be saved, otherwise thou shalt be destroyed even as a certain 
Wazir who acted treacherously by the young Prince." Asked the 
King, " How was that ? " and the Minister thus began 


A CERTAIN King, who had a son over much given to hunting and 
coursing, ordered one of his Wazirs to be in attendance upon him 
whithersoever he might wend. One day the youth set out for the 
chase accompanied by his father's Minister ; and, as they jogged 
on together, a big wild beast came in sight. Cried the Wazir to 
the King's son, " Up and at yon noble quarry ! " 'So the Prince 
followed it until he was lost to every eye and the chase got away 
frbm him in the waste ; whereby he was confused and he knew not 
which way to turn, when lo ! a damsel appeared ahead and she 
was in tears. The King's son asked, "Who art thou ? " and she 
answered, " I am daughter to a King among the Kings of Hind, 
and I was travelling with a caravan in the desert when drowsiness 
overcame me, and I fell from my beast unwittingly ; whereby I 
am cut off from my people and sore bewildered." The Prince, 
bearing these words, pitied her case and, mounting her on his 
horse's crupper, travelled until he passed by an old ruin, 2 when the 
damsel said to him, "O my master, I wish to obey a call of 
nature " : he therefore set her down at the ruin where she delayed so 
long that the King's son thought that she was only Wasting time ; 

1 Until late years, merchants and shopkeepers in the nearer East all carried swords, 
and held it a disgrace to leave the house unarmed. 
8 The Bresl. Edit, absurdly has Jazirah (an island). 

Tale of the Prince .and the Ogress. 


so he followed her without her knowledge and behold, she. was a 
Ghulah, 1 a wicked Ogress, who was saying to her brood, " O my 
children, this day I' bring you a fine fat youth a for dinner ; " where- 
to they answered, " Bring him -quick to us, O our mother, that 
we may browse upon him our bellies full." The Prince hearing 
their talk, made sure of death and his side-muscles quivered in 
fear for his life, so he turned away and was about to fly. The 
Ghulah came out and seeing him in sore affright (for he was trem- 
bling in every limb) cried, "Wherefore art thou afraid?" and he 
replied, " I have hit upon an enemy whom I greatly fear." Asked 
the Ghulah, " Diddest thou not say : I am a King's son ? " and he 
answered, " Even so." Then quoth she, " Why dost not give thine 
enemy something of money and so satisfy him ? " Quoth he, 
*' He will not be satisfied with my purse but only witn my life, and 
I mortally fear him and am a mail under oppression." She replied, 
" If thou be so distressed, as thou deemest, ask aid against him 
from Allah, who will surely protect thee from his ill-doing and from 
the evil whereof thou art afraid." Then the Prince raised his eyes 
heavenwards and cried, " O Thou who answerest the necessitous 
when he calleth upon Thee and dispellest his distress; O my God 1 
grant me victory over my foe and turn him from me, for Thou over 
all things art Almighty." The Ghulah, hearing his prayer, turned 
away from him, and the Prince returned to his father, and told him 
the tale of the Wazir ; whereupon the King summoned the Minister 
to his presence and then and there slew him. Thou likewise, O 
King, if thou continue to trust this leacrr, shalt be made to die the 
worst of deaths. He verily thou madest much of and whom thou 
entreatedest as an intimate, will work thy destruction. Seest thou 
not how he healed the disease from outside thy body by something 
grasped in thy hand ? Be not assured that he will not destroy 
thee by something held in like manner!" Replied King Yunan, 
41 Thou hast spoken sooth, O Wazir, it may well be as thou hintest 

1 The Ghulah (fern, ol Chul) is the Heb. Lilith or Lilis ; the classical Lamia ; the 
Hindu Yogini and Dakini ; the Chaldean Utug and Gigim (desert-demons) as opposed 
to the Mas (hill-demon) and Telal (who steal into towns) ; the Ogress of our tales and 
the Bala yaga (Granny-witch) of Russian folk-lore. Etymologic.illy " Ghul " is a 
calamity, a panic fear ; and the monster is evidently the embodied horror of the grave 
and the graveyard. 

2 Arab. "Shabb" (Lat. juvenis) between puberty and forty or according to some 
fifty ; when the patient becomes a " Rajul ikhtiydr " (man of free will) politely termed, 
and then a Shaykh or Shaybah (grey-beard, oldster). 

56 A If Laylah wa Laytah? 

O my well-advising Minister ; and belike this Sage hath come as 
a spy searching to put me to death ; for assuredly if he cured me 
by a something held in my hand, he can kill me by a something 
given me to smell." Then asked King Yunan, " O Minister, what 
must be done with him ? " and the Wazir answered, " Send after 
him this very instant and summon him to thy presence ; and when 
he shall come strike him across the neck ; and thus shalt thou rid 
thyself of him and his wickedness, and deceive him ere he can 
deceive thee." "Thou hast again spoken sooth, O Wazir," said 
the King and sent one to call the Sage who came in joyful mood 
for he knew not what had appointed for him the Compassionate ; 
as a certain poet saith by way of illustration : 

O Thou who fearest Fate, confiding, fare, o Trust all to Him who built the 

world, and wait : 
What Fate saith " Be " perforce must be, my lord ! o And safe art thou from 

th' undecreed of Fate. 

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

An fail I of my thanks to thee nor thank thee day by day o For whom com* 

posed I prose and verse, for whom my say and lay ? 
Thou lavishedst thy generous gifts ere they were craved by me o Thou 

lavishedst thy boons unsought sans pretext or delay : 
How shall I stint my praise of thee, how shall I cease to laud o The grace of 

thee in secresy and patentest display ? 
.Nay ; I will thank thy benefits, for aye thy favours lie o Light on my thought 

and tongue, though heavy on my back they weigh. 

And he said further on the same theme : 

Turn thee from grief nor care a jot! o Commit thy needs to Fate and Lot ! 
Enjoy the Present passing well o And let the Past be clean forgot ; 
For whatso haply seemeth worse o Shall work thy weal as Allah wot : 
Allah shall do whate'er He wills o And in His will oppose Him not 

And further still : 

To th' .'All-wise Subtle One trust worldly things o Rest thee from all wheretd 

the worldling clings : 
team wisely well naught cometh by thy will o But e'en as willeth Allah, King 

of Kings. 

Tale of the Wazir and the Sage Duban. 57 

And lastly : 

Gladsome and gay forget thine every grief o Full often grief the wisest hearts 

outwore : 
Thought is but folly in the feeble slave o Shun it and so be saved evermore. 

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

Of wit and wisdom is Maymunah 1 bare o Whose sire in wisdom all the wits 

outstrippeth : 
Man may not tread on mud or dust or clay o Save by good sense, else trippeth 

he and slippeth. 

Hereupon the Sworder stepped forward and bound the Sage 
Duban's eyes and bared his blade, saying to the King, ' By thy 
leave ; " while the physician wept and cried, " Spare me and Allah 

1 Some proverbial name now forgotten. Torrens (p. 48) translates it "the giglot* 
(Fortune?) but "cannot discover the drift." 

58 A If Laylah iva Laylah. 

will spare thee, and slay me not or Allah shall slay thee," and 
began repeating : 

I was kind and 'scaped not, they were cruel and escaped ; o And my kindness 

only led me to Ruination Hall ; 
If I live I'll ne'er be kind ; if I die, then all be damned * Who follow me, and 

curses their kindliness befal. 

" Is this," continued Duban, " the return J meet from thee ? Thou 
givest me, meseems, but crocodile-boon." Quoth the King, "What 
is the tale of the crocodile ? " , and quoth the physician, " Im- 
possible for me to tell it in this my state ; Allah upon thee, spare 
me, as thou hopest Allah shall spare thee." And he wept with 
exceeding weeping. Then one of the King's favourites stood up 
and said, " O King ! grant me the blood of this physician ; we 
have never seen him sin against thee, or doing aught save healing 
thee from a disease which baffled every leach and man of science." 
Said the King, " Ye wot not the cause of my putting to death this 
physician, and this it is. If I spare him, I doom myself to certain 
death ; for one who healed me of such a malady by something held 
in my hand, surely can slay me by something held to my nose ; 
and I fear lest he kill me for a price, since haply he is some spy 
whose sole purpose in coming hither was to compass my destrucr 
tion. So there is no help for it ; die he must, and then only shall I 
be sure of my own life." Again cried Duban, " Spare me and Allah 
shall spare thee ; and slay me aot or Allah shall slay thee." But 
it was in vain. Now when the physician, O I frit, knew for certain 
that the King would kill him, he said, " O King, if there be no help 
but I must die, grant me some little delay that I may go down to 
my house and release myself from mine obligations and direct my 
folk and my neighbours where to bury me and distribute my books 
of medicine. Amongst these I have one, the rarest of rarities, 
which I would present to thee as an offering : keep it as a treasure 
in thy treasury." "And what is in the book?" asked the King 
and the Sage answered, " Things beyond compt ; and the least 
of secrets is that if, directly after thou hast cut off my head, thou 
open three leaves and read three lines of the page to thy left hand, 
my head shall speak and answer every question thou deignest ask 
of it." The King wondered with exceeding wonder and shaking 1 

1 Arab. "llitizz," that natural and instinctive movement caused by good news 
suddenly given, etc. 

Tale of the Wazir and the Sage Duban. 9 

with delight at the novelty, said, " O physician, dost thou really tell 
me that when I cut off thy head it will speak to me ? " He replied, 
" Yes, O King ! " Quoth the King, " This is indeed a strange 
matter!" and forthwith sent him closely guarded to his house, 
and Duban then and there settled all his obligations. Next day 
he went up to the King's audience hall, where Emirs and Wazirs, 
Chamberlains and Nabobs. Grandees and Lords of Estate were 
gathered together, making the presence-chamber gay as a garden 
of flower-beds. And lo ! the physician came up and stood before 
the King, bearing a worn old volume and a little e'tui of metal full 
of powder, like that used for the eyes. 1 Then he sat down and 
said, "Give me a tray." So they brought him one and he poured 
the powder upon it and levelled it and lastly spake as follows : "O 
King, take this book but do not open it till my head falls ; then set 
it upon this tray, and bid press it down upon the powder, when 
forthright the blood will cease flowing. That is the time to open 
the book." The King thereupon took the book and made a sign 
to the Sworder, who arose and struck off the physician's head, and 
placing it on the middle of the tray, pressed it down upon the 
powder. The blood stopped flowing, and the Sage Duban unclosed 
his eyes and said, "Now open the book, O King!" The King 
opened the book, and found the leaves stuck together ; so he put 
his finger to his mouth and, by moistening it, he easily turned over 
the first leaf, and in like way the second, and the third, each leaf 
opening with much trouble ; and when he had unstuck six leaves 
he looked over them and, finding nothing written thereon, said, 
"O physician, there is no writing here!" Duban replied, "Turn 

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

Co A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

over yet more;" and he turned over three others in the same way. 
Now the book was poisoned ; and before long the venom penetrated 
his system, and he. fell into strong convulsions and he cried out, 
" The poison hath done its work ! " Whereupon the Sage Duban's 
head began to improvise: 

There be rulers who have ruled with a foul tyrannic sway o But they soon 

became as though they had never, never been : 
Just, they had won justice : they oppressed and were opprest o By Fortune, who 

requited them with ban and bane and teen : 
So they faded like the morn, and the tongue of things repeats o "Take this for 

that, nor vent upon Fortune's ways thy spleen." 

No sooner had the head ceased speaking than the King rolled over 
dead. Now I would have thee know, O I frit, that if King Yunan 
had spared the Sage Duban, Allah would have spared him ; but he 
refused so to do and decreed to do him dead, wherefore Allah slew 
him ; and thou too, O I frit, if thou hadst spared me, Allah would 

have spared thee. And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day 

and ceased saying her permitted say : then quoth Dunyazad, "O my 
sister, how pleasant is thy tale and how tasteful ; how sweet, and 
how grateful ! " She replied, " And where is this compared with 
what I could tell thee this coming night, if I live and the King 
spare me ? " Said the King in himself, " By Allah, I will not slay 
her until I hear the rest of her story, for truly it is wondrous." 
They rested that night in mutual embrace until dawn : then the 
King went forth to his Darbar; the Wazirs and troops came in and 
the audience-hall was crowded ; so the King gave orders and 
judged and appointed and deposed and bade and forbade the rest 
of that day, when the court broke up, and King Shahryar entered 
his palace. 

JJofo fofjm ft foas tfie fefxtj Jltg&t, 

Her sister, Dunyazad, said to her. " Pray finish for us thy story ; " 
and she answered, " I will if the King give me leave." " Say on," 
quoth the King. And she continued : It hath reached me, O 
auspicious King, that when the Fisherman said to the Ifrit, " If 
thou hadst spared me I would have spared thee, but nothing 
would satisfy thee save my death ; so now I will do thee die by 
jailing thee in this jar and I will hurl thee into this sea." Then 
the Marid roared aloud and cried, " Allah upon thee, O Fisherman 

Tale of the Fisherman and the Jinni. 6l 

don't ! Spare me, and pardon my past doings ; and, as I have been 
tyrannous, so be thou generous, for it is said among sayings that 
go current :-^-O thou "who doest good to him who hath done thee 
evil, suffice for the ill-doer his ill-deeds, and do not deal with me as 
did Umamah to 'Atikah." 1 Asked the Fisherman, "And what 
was their case ? " and the Ifrit answered, " This is not the time for 
story-telling and I in this prison ; but set me free and I will tell 
thee the tale/' Quoth the Fisherman, "Leave this language? 
there is no help but that thou be thrown back into the sea nor is 
there any way for thy getting out of it for ever and ever. Vainly 
I placed myself under thy protection, 2 and I humbled myself to 
thee with weeping, while thou soughtest only to slay me, who had 
done thee no 'injury deserving -this at thy hands; nay, so far from 
injuring thee by any evil act, I worked thee nought but weal in 
releasing thee from that jail of thine. Now I knew thee to be an 
evil-doer when thou diddest to me what thou didst, and know, that 
when I have cast thee back into this sea, I will warn whomsoever may 
fish thee up of what hath befallen me with thee, and I will advise 
him to toss thee back again ; so shalt thou abide here under these 
waters till the End of Time shall make an end of thee." But the 
Ifrit cried aloud, " Set me free ; this is a noble occasion for gene- 
rosity and I make covenant with thee and vow never to do thee 
hurt and harm ; nay, I will help thee to what shall put thee out of 
want." The Fisherman accepted his promises on both conditions, 
not to trouble him as before, but on the contrary to do him 
service; and, after making firm the plight and swearing him a 
solemn oath by Allah Most Highest he opened the cucurbit. 
Thereupon the pillar of smoke rose up till all of it was fully out ; 
then it thickened and once more became an Ifrit of hideous 
presence, who forthright administered a kick to the bottle and 
sent it. flying into the sea. The Fisherman, seeing how_ the cucurbit 
was treated and making sure of his own death, piddled in his 
clothes and said to himself, "This promiseth badly;" but he 
fortified his heart, and cried, " O Ifrit, Allah hath said 3 : Perform' 
your covenant ; for the performance of your covenant shall be 

1 The tale of these two women is now forgotten. 

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

* The formula of quoting from the Koran. 

6? Atf Laylah wa Laytak. 

inquired into hereafter* Thou hast made a vow to me and hast 
sworn an oath not to play me false lest Allah play thee false, for 
verily he is a jealous God who respitcth the sinner, but lettcth him 
not escape, I say to thee as said the Sage Duban to King Yunan, 
" Spare me so Allah may spare thee!" The Ifrit burst into 
laughter and stalked away, saying to the Fisherman, "Follow 
me ;" and the man paced after him at a safe distance (for he was 
not assured of escape) till they had passed round the suburbs of 
the city. Thence they struck into the uncultivated grounds, and 
crossing them descended into a broad wilderness, and lo ! in the 
midst of it stood a mountain-tarn* The Ifrit waded in to the 
middle and again cried, " Follow me f and when this was done he 
took his stand in the centre and bade the man cast his net and 
catch his fish. The Fisherman looked into the water and was 
much astonished to see therein vari-coloured fishes, white and red, 
blue and yellow ; however he cast his net and, hauling it in, saw 
that he had netted four fishes, one of each colour. Thereat he 
rejoiced greatly and more when the Ifrit said to him, " Carry these 
to the Sultan and set them in his presence ; then he will give thee 
what shall make thee a wealthy man,; and now accept my excuse, 
for by Allah at this time I wot none other way of benefiting thee, 
inasmuch I have lain in this sea eighteen hundred years and have 
not seen the face of the world save within this hour. But I would 
not have thee fish here save once a day." The Ifrit then gave him 
Godspeed, saying, "Allah grant we meet again f l and struck the 
earth with one foot, whereupon the ground clove asunder and 
swallowed him up. The Fisherman, much marvelling at what had 
happened to him with the I frit, took the fwh and made for the 
city ; and as soon as he reached home he filled an earthen bowl 
with water and therein threw the fish which began to struggle 
and wriggle about. Then he bore off the bowl upon his head and, 
repairing to the King's palace (even as the Ifrit had bidden him) 
laid the fish before the presence ; and the King wondered with 
exceeding wonder at the sight, for never in his lifetime had 
he seen fishes like these in quality or in conformation. So he 
said, " Give those fish to the stranger slave-girl who now cooketh 

Lit, "Allah not desolate me " (by tWae aViece), Thi rtiU a popular 
La* tawabishna* = Do not make me desolate, is. by itayrog away too loa 
meeting after a tenn of dap euiaia "Aditttea*l?*=tfcM ^ made me desolate. 

Tale of the Fisherman and the Jinni. 63 

for us," meaning the bond-maiden whom the King of Roum had 
ent to him only three days before, so that he had not yet made 
trial of her talents in the dressing of meat Thereupon the Wazir 
carried the fish to the cook and bade her fry them, 1 saying, " O 
damsel, the King sendcth this say to thee : I have not treasured 
thee, O tear o' me! save for stress-time of me; approve, then, to 
us this day thy delicate handiwork and thy savoury cooking ; for 
this dish of fish is a present sent to the Sultan and evidently a 
rarity/' The Wazir, after he had carefully charged her, returned 
to the King, who commanded him to give the Fisherman four 
hundred dinars: he gave them accordingly, and the man took 
them to his bosom and ran off home stumbling and falling and 
rising again and deeming the whole thing to be a dream. How* 
ever, he bought for his family all they wanted and lastly he went to 
his wife in huge joy and gladness. So far concerning him ; but at 
regards the cookmaid, she took the fish and cleansed them and set 
them in the frying-pan, basting them with oil till one side was 
dressed. Then she turned them over and, behold, the kitchen wall 
clave asunder, and therefrom came a young lady, fair of form, 
oval of face, perfect in grace, with eyelids which Kohl-lines 
enchase. 3 Her dress was a silken head-kerchief fringed and 
tasseled with blue': a large ring hung from either ear ; a pair of 
bracelets adorned her wrists ; rings with bezels of priceless gems 
were on her fingers ; and she hent in hand a long rod of rattan- 
cane which she thrust into the frying-pan, saying, " O fish ! O fish ! 
be ye constant to your covenant ? " When the cookmaiden saw 
this apparition she swooned away. The young lady repeated her 
words a second time and a third time, and at last the. fishes raised 
their heads from the pan, and saying in articulate speech " Yes ! 
Yes ! " began with one voice to recite : 

Come back and to will I ! Keep faith and to will 1 1 o And if ye fain forsake; 
HI requite till quit* we cry ! 

1 Charming simplicity of manner* when the Prime Minister carries the fish (shade of 
Vattel !) to the cookmaid. The ' Cesta Ko.r.anorum " is nowhere more naive. 

'Arab, "Kahilat al-taraf as lit. eyelids lined with Kohl; and figuratively "with 
black lashes and languo/ous look." This is * phrase which frequently occurs in The 
Nights and which, as will appear, applies to the " lower animals " as well as to men. 
Moslems in Central Africa apply Kohl not to the thickness of the eye-lid but upon both 
outer lids, fixing it with some greasy substance. The peculiar Egyptian (and Syrian) 
eye with its thick fringes of jet-black lathes, looking like lines of black drawn with soot, 
easily tuggests the simile. la England I have seen the same appearance amongst 
miners fresh from the colliery* 

64 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

After this the young lady upset the frying-pan and went forth by 
the way she came in and the kitchen wall closed upon her. When 
the cook-maiden recovered from her fainting-fit, she saw the four 
fishes charred black as charcoal, and crying out, " His staff brake 
in his first bout," * she again fell swooning to the ground. Whilst 
she was in this case the Wazir came for the fish, and looking upon 
her as insensible she lay, not knowing Sunday from Thursday, 
shoved her with his foot and said, " Bring the fish for the Sultan !* 
Thereupon recovering from her fainting-fit she wept and informed 
nim of her case and all that had befallen her. The Wazir marvelled, 
greatly and exclaiming, " This is none other than a right strange 
matter! ", he sent after the Fisherman and said to him, "Thou, O 
Fisherman, must needs fetch us four fishes like those thou broughtest 
before." Thereupon the man repaired to the tarn and cast his net; 
and when he landed it, lo ! four fishes were therein exactly like the 
first. These he at once carried to the Wazir, who went in with 
them to the cook-maiden and said, " Up with thee and fry these in 
my presence, that I may see this business." The damsel arose 
and cleansed the fish, and set them in the frying-pan over the fire ; 
however they remained there but a little while ere the wall clave 
asunder and the young lady appeared, clad as before and holding 
in hand the wand which she again thrust into the frying-pan, 
saying, " O fish ! O fish ! be ye constant to your olden covenant ? ' 
And behold, the fish lifted their heads, and repeated " Yes ! Yes 1 " 
and recited this couplet : 

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

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

fof)n it foas tl) 

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when 
the fishes spoke, and the young lady upset the frying-pan with 
her rod, and went forth by the way she came and the wall closed 
up, the Wazir cried out, " This is a thing not to be hidden from 
the King/' So he went and told him what had happened, where- 
upon quoth the King, "There is no help forjt but that I see this 

1 Of course applying to her own case. 

Tale of the Fisherman and the Jinni. 65 

with mine own eyes." Then he sent for the Fisherman and com- 
manded him. to bring four other fish like the first and to take with 
him three men as witnesses. The Fisherman at once brought the 
fish : and the King, after ordering them to give him four hundred 
gold pieces, turned to the Wazir and said, " Up and fry me the 
fishes here before me!" The Minister, reply ing "To hear is to 
obey," bade bring the frying-pan, threw therein .the cleansed fish 
and set it over the fire ; when lo ! the wall clave asunder, and out 
burst a black slave like a huge rock or a remnant of the tribe Ad 1 
bearing in hand a branch of a green tree ; and he cried in loud 
and terrible tones, ' O fish f O fish ! be ye all constant to your 
antique covenant ?" whereupon the fishes lifted their heads from 
the frying-pan and said, " Yes ! Yes ! we be true to our vow ; " and 
they again recited the couplet 5 

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

Then the huge blackamoor approached the frying-pan and upset 
it with the branch and went forth by the way he came in. When 
he vanished from their sight the King inspected the fish ; and, 
finding them all charred black as charcoal, was utterly bewildered 
and said to the Wazir, " Verily this is a matter whereanent silence 
cannot be kept, and as for the fishes, assuredly some marvellous 
adventure connects with them." So he bade bring the Fisherman 
and asked him, saying " Fie on thee, fellow ! whence come these 
fishes?" and he answered, "From a tarn between four heights 
lying behind this mountain which is in sight of thy city. Quoth 
the King, " How many days' march ? " Quoth he, " O our lord the 
Su^an, a walk of half hour." The King wondered and, straight- 
way ordering his men to march and horsemen to mount, led off the 
Fisherman who went before as guide, privily damning the Ifrit. 
They fared on till they had climbed the mountain and descended 
unto a great desert which they had never seen during all their 
lives ; and the Sultan and his merry men marvelled much at the 
wold set in the midst of four mountains, and the tarn and its 
fishes of four colours, red and white, yellow and blue. The King 
stood fixed to the spot in wonderment and asked his troops and 
all present, .Hath any one among you ever seen this piece of 

1 Prehistoric Arabs who measured from 60 to 100 cubits high : Koran, "chapt. xxvi., 
etc. They will often be mentioned in The Nights. 

VOL. I. v. 

66 A If Laylah iva Laylah. 

water before now ? " and all made answer, " O King of the age, 
never did we set eyes upon- it during all our days." They also 
questioned the oldest inhabitants they met, men well stricken in 
years, but they replied, each and every, "A lakelet like this we 
'never saw in this place." Thereupon quoth the King, " By Allah 
I will neither return to my capital nor sit upon the throne of my 
forbears till I learn the truth about this tarn and the fish therein." 
He then ordered his men to dismount and bivouac all around the 
mountain ; which they did ; and summoning his Wazir, a Minister 
of much experience, sagacious, of penetrating wit and well versed 
in affairs, said to him, " 'Tis in my mind to do a certain thing, 
whereof I will inform thee ; my heart telleth me to fare forth 
alone this night and root out the mystery of this tarn and its 
fishes. Do thou take thy seat at my tent-door, and say to the 
Emirs and Wazirs, the Nabobs and the Chamberlains, in fine to 
all .who ask thee: The Sultan is ill at ease, and he hath ordered 
me to refuse all admittance ; * and be careful thou let none know 
my design." And the Wazir could not oppose him. Then the 
King changed his dress and ornaments and, slinging his sword 
over his shoulder, took a path which led up one of the mountains 
and marched for the rest of the night till morning dawned ; nor 
did he cease wayfaring till the heat was too much for him. After 
his long walk he rested for a while, and then resumed his march 
and fared on through the second night till dawn, when suddenly 
there appeared a black point in the far distance. Hereat he 
rejoiced and said to himself, " Haply some one here shall acquaint 
me with the mystery of the tarn and its fishes." Presently, 
drawing near the dark object he found it a palace built of swart 
stone plated with iron ; and, while one leaf of the gate stood wide 
open, the other was shut. The King's spirits rose high as he stood 

1 Arab. " Daslur '* (from Persian) =: leave, permission. The word has two meanings 
(see Burckhardt, Arab. Prov. No. 609) and is much used, e.g. before walking up stairs 
or entering a room where strange women might be met. So " Tarik " = Clear the way 
(Pilgrimage, iii., 319). The old Persian occupation of Egypt, not to speak of the Persian- 
speaking Circassians and other rulers has left many such tracer in popular language. 
One of them is that horror of travellers "Bakhshish " pron. bakh-sheesh and shortened 
to shish from the Pers. "bakhshish." Our "Christmas for "has been most unneces- 
sarily derived from the same, despite our reading: 

Gladly the boy, with Christmas box in hand. 

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

Tale of the Fisherman and the JinnL 67 

before the gate'and rapped a light rap ; but hearing no answer he 
knocked a second knock and a third ; yet there came no sign. 
Then he knocked his loudest but still no answer, so^ he said, 
"Doubtless 'tis empty." Thereupon h'e mustered up resolution, 
and boldly walked through the main gate into the great hall and 
there cried out aloud, " Holla, ye people of the palace ! I am a 
stranger and a wayfarer; have you aught here of victual?" He 
repeated his cry a second time and a third but still there came no 
reply; so strengthening his heart and making .up his mind he 
stalked through the vestibule into the very middle of the palace 
and found no man in it. Yet if was furnished with silken stuffs 
gold-starred ; and the hangings were let down over the door-ways. 
In the midst was a spacious court off which set four open saloons 
each with its raised dats, saloon, facing saloon ; a canopy shaded 
the court and in the centre was a jetting fount with four figures of 
lions made of red gold, spouting from their mouths water clear as 
pearls and diaphanous gems. Round about the palace birds were 
let loose and over it stretched a net of golden wire, hindering them 
from flying off ; in brief there was everything but human beings. 
The King marvelled mightily thereat, yet felt he sad at heart for 
that he saw no one to give him an account of the waste and its- 
tarn, the fishes, the mountains and the palace itself. Presently as 
he sat between the doors in deep thought behold, there came ,a 
voice of lament, as from a heart grief-spent and he heard the voice; 
chanting these verses : * 

I hid what I endured of him 1 and yet it came to light, * And nightly sleep 

mine eyelids fled and changed to sleepless night : 
Oh world ! Oh Fate ! withhold thy hand and cease thy hurt and harm * Look 

and behold my hapless sprite in dolour and affright : 
Wilt ne'er show ruth to highborn youth who lost him on the way o Of Love, 

and fell from wealth and fame to lowest basest wight. 
Jealous of Zephyr's breath was I as on your form he breathed o But whenas 

Destiny descends'she blindeth human sight, 2 
What shall the hapless archer do who when he fronts his foe o And bends hi* 

bow to shoot the shaft shall find his string undight? 
When cark and care so heavy bear on youth 3 of generous soul o How shall he 

'scape his lot and where from Fate his place of flight ? 

1 He, speaks of his wife, but euphemistically in the masculine. 

* A popular saying throughout Al- Islam. 

8 Arab. " Fata " : li(. = a youth ; .a generous man, one of noble mind (as youthtide 
should be). It corresponds with the Lat. " vir," and has much the 'meaning of tha 
Ital. " Giovane," the Germ. "Junker" and our " gentlemaq," 

8 Alf Laylah wtt Laylah. 

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

A youth slim-waisted from whose locks and brow o The world in blackness and 

in light is set. 
Throughout Creatiori's round no fairer show o No rarer sight thine eye hath 

ever met : 
A nut-brown mole sits throned upon a cheek o Of rosiest red beneath an eye, 

of jet 1 

The King rejoiced and saluted him, but he remained sitting in his 
caftan of silken stuff purfled with Egyptian gold and his crowrt' 
studded with gems of sorts ; but his face was sad with the traces 
of sorrow. He returned the royal salute in most courteous wise 
adding, " O my lord, thy dignity demarideth my rising to thee ; 
and my sole excuse is to crave thy pardon." 2 Quoth the King, 
" Thou art excused, O youth ; so look upon me as thy guest come 
hither on an especial object. I would thou acquaint me with the 
secrets of this tarn and its fishes and of this palace and thy loneli* 
ness therein and the cause of thy groaning and wailing." When 
the young man heard th'ese words he wept with sore weeping ; * 
till his bosom was drenched with tears and began reciting : 

Say him who careless sleeps what while the shaft of Fortune flies o How many 

doth this shifting world lay low and raise to rise ? 
Although thine eye be sealed in sleep, sleep not th' Almighty's eyes o And wl& 

hath found Time ever fair, or Fate in constant guise ? 

Then he sighed a long-fetched sigh and recited : 

Confide thy case to Him,- the Lord who made mankind; o Quit cark and care 

and cultivate content of mind ; 
Ask not the Past or how or why it came to pass : o All human things by Fate 

and Destiny were designed ! 

1 From the Bui. Edit. 

2 The vagueness of his statement is euphemistic. 

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

Tale of the Fisherman and the JinnL 69 

The King marvelled and asked him, " What maketh thee weep, O 
young man ? " and he answered, " How should I not weep, when 
this is my case ! " Thereupon he put out his hand and raised the 
skirt of his garment, - when lo ! the lower half of him appeared 
stone down to his feet while from his navel to the hair of his head 
he was man. The King, seeing this his plight, grieved with sore 
grief and of his compassion cried, "Alack and well-away! in very 
eooth, O youth, thou heapest sorrow upon my sorrow. I was 
minded to ask thee the mystery of the fishes only : whereas now 
I am concerned to learn thy story as well as theirs. But there is 
no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the 
Great ! 1 Lose no time, O youth, but tell me forthright thy whole 
tale." Quoth he, " Lend me thine ears, thy sight and thine insight ; " 
and quoth the King, " All are at thy service !" Thereupon the 
youth began, "Right wondrous and marvellous is my case and 
that of these fishes ; and were it graven with gravers upon the 
eye-corners it were a warner to whoso would be warned." " How 
is that?" asked the King, and the young man began to tell 


then, O my lord, that whilome my sire was King of this 
city, and his name was Mahmud, entitled Lord of the Black 
Islands, and owner of what are now these four mountains. He 
ruled threescore and ten years, after which he went to the mercy 
of the Lord and I reigned as Sultan in his stead. I took to wife 
my cousin, the daughter of my paternal uncle, 2 and she loved me 
with such abounding love that whenever I was absent she ate not 

1 The formula (constantly used by Moslems) here denotes displeasure, doubt how lo 
act and so for^h. Pronounce, La haula wa la kuwwata ilia" bi 'llahi '1-Aliyyi '1-Azim." 
As a rule mistakes are marvellous: Mandeville (chapt. xii.) for " Ld ilaha ilia 'Jldhu wa 
Muhammadun Rasulu 'llah " writes " La ellec sila, Machomete rores alia.'* The former 
(Id haula, etc.), on account of the four peculiar Arabic letters, is everywhere pronounced 
differently ; and the exclamation is called " Haulak " or " Haukal." 

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

7O A If Laylah wa Lay la ft. 

and she drank not until she saw me again. She cohabited with me 
for five years till a certain day when she went forth to the Ham- 
mam bath ; and I bade the cook hasten to get ready all requisites. 
for our supper, And I entered this palace and lay down on the 
bed where I was wont to sleep and bade two damsels to fan my 
face, one sitting by my head and the other at my feet. But I was 
troubled and made restless by my wife's absence and could not 
sleep ; for although my eyes were closed my mind and thoughts 
were wide awake. Presently I heard the slave-girl at my head say 
to her at my feet, " O Mas'udah, how miserable is our master and 
how wasted in his youth and oh ! the pity of his being so be- 
trayed by our mistress, the accursed whore ! J>1 The other replied, 
" Yes indeed : Allah curse all faithless women and adulterous ; 
but the like of our master, with his fair gifts, deserveth something 
better than this harlot who lieth abroad every night." Then quoth 
she who sat by my head, " Is our lord dumb or fit only for bubbling 
that he questioneth her not P' and quoth the other, " Fie on thee I 
doth our lord know her ways or doth she allow him his choice ? 
Nay, more, doth she not drug every night the cup she giveth him 
to drink before sleep-time, and put Bhang 2 into it ? So he sleepeth 

1 Arab. "Kabbah; "the coarsest possible term. Hence the unhappy "Cava" of 
Don Roderick the Goth, which simply means The Whore. 

a The Arab " Banj " and Hindu " Bhang " (which I use as most familiar) both derive 
from the old Coptic " Nibanj " meaning a preparation of hemp (Cannabis sativa sea 
Jndica] ; and here it is easy to recognise the Homeric " Nepenthe." Al-Kazwini explains 
the term by "garden hemp (Kinnab bostani or Shahdanaj). On the other hand not -a 
few apply the word to the henbane (hyoscyamus niger] so much used in mediaeval Europe. 
The Kdtnus evidently means henbane distinguishing it from Hashish al harafish"=3 
rascals' grass, i.e. the herb Pantagruelion. The"Alfaz Adwiya" (French translation) 
explains *' Tabannuj " by " Endormir quelqu'un en lui faisant avaler de la jusquiame. 1 * 
In modern parlance Tabannuj is == our anaesthetic administered before an opera- 
tion, a deadener of pain like myrrh and a number of other drugs. For this purpose 
hemp is always used (at least I never heard of henbane-) ; and various preparations of the 
'drug are sold at an especial bazar in Cairo. See the " powder of marvellous virtue '* in 
Boccaccio, iii., 8 ; and iv., 10. Of these intoxicants, properly so termed, I shall have- 
something to say in a future page,, 

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

Tale of the Ensorcelled Prince. 71 

and wotteth not whither she goeth, nor what she doeth ; but we 
know that, after giving him the drugged wine, she donneth her 
richest raiment and perfurneth herself and then she fareth out from 
him to be away till break of day ; then she cometh to him, and 
burneth a pastile under his nose and he awaketh from his death* 
like sleep." When I heard the slave-girls' words, the light became 
black before my sight and I thought night would never fall. 
Presently the daughter of my uncle came from the baths; and they 
set the table for us and we ate and sat together a fair half-hour 
quaffing our wine as was ever our wont. Then she called for the 
particular wine I used to drink before sleeping and reached me the 
cup ; but, seeming to drink it according to my wont, I poured the 
contents into my bosom ; and, lying down, let her hear that I was 
asleep. Then, behold, she cried, " Sleep out the night, and never 
wake again : by Allah, I loathe thee and I loathe thy whole body, 
and my soul turneth in disgust from cohabiting with thee ; and I 
see not the moment when Allah shall snatch away thy life ! " Then 
she rose and donned her fairest dress and perfumed her person and 
slung my sword over her shoulder ; and, opening the gates of the 
palace, went her ill way. I rose and followed her as she left the 
palace and she threaded the streets until she came to the city gate, 
where she spoke words. I understood not, and the padlocks dropped 
of themselves as if broken and the gate-leaves opened. She went 
forth (and I after her without her noticing aught) till she came 
at last to the outlying mounds 1 and a reed fence built about 
a round-roofed hut of mud-bricks. As she entered the door, I 
climbed upon the roof which commanded a view of the interior, 
And lo I my fair cousin had gone in to a hideous negro slave with 
his upper lip like the cover of a pot, and his lower like an open pot ; 
lips which might sweep up sand from the gravel-floor of the cot. 
He was to boot a leper and a paralytic, lying upon a strew of 
sugar-cane trash and wrapped in an old blanket and the foulest 
rags and tatters. She kissed the earth before him> and he raised 
his head so as to see her and said, " Woe to thee ! what call hadst 
thou to stay away all this time ? . Here have been with me sundry 
of the black brethren, who drank their wine and each had hts 
young lady, and I was not content to drink because of thine 
absence." Then she, " O my lord, my heart's love and coolth of 

1 The rubbish heaps which, outlie Eastern cities, some ( near Cairo) are over a 
hundred feet high; 

72 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

my eyes, 1 knowest thou not that I am married to my cousin 
whose very look I loathe, and hate myself when in his company ? 
And did not I fear for thy sake, I would not let a single sun arise 
before making his city a ruined heap wherein/raven should croak 
and howlet hoot, and jackal and wolf harbour and loot ; nay I had 
removed its very stones to the back side of Mount Keif," 2 Re- 
joined the slave,." Thou liest, damn thee ! Now 1 swear an oath 
by the valour and honour of blackamoor men (and deem not our 
manliness to be the poor manliness of white men), from to- 
day forth if thou stay away till this hour, I will not keep com- 
pany with thee nor will I glue my body with thy body and strum 
and belly-bump. Dost play fast and loose with us, thou cracked 
pot, that we may satisfy thy dirty lusts ? stinkard ! bitch ! vilest of 
the vile whites ! " When I heard his words, and saw with my own 
eyes what passed between these two wretches, the world waxed 
dark before my face and my soul knew not in what place it was. 
But my wife humbly stood up weeping before and wheedling the 
slave, and saying, " O my beloved, and very fruit of my heart, 
there is norie left to cheer me but thy dear self ; and, if thou cast 
me off who shall take me in, O my beloved, O light of my eyes ? " 
And she ceased not weeping and abasing herself to him until he 
deigned be reconciled with her. Then was she right glad and 
stood up and doffed her clothes, even to her petticoat-trousers, 
and said, " O my master what hast thou here for thy handmaiden 
to eat ? '* " Uncover the basin," he grumbled, " and thou shalt find 
at the bottom the broiled bones of some rats we dined on; pick 
at them, and then go to that slop-pot where thou shalt find some 
leavings of beer 3 which thou mayest drink." So she ate and drank 

1 Arab. "Kurrat al-ayn; M coolness of eyes as opposed to a hot eye (" sakhin ") i.e. 
one red with tears. The term is true and picturesque so I translate it literally. All 
coolness is pleasant to dwellers in burning lands : thus in Al-Hariri Abu Zayd says of 
iBassorah, "I found there whatever could fill the eye with coolness." And a "cool 
booty " (or prize) is one which has been secured without plunging into the flames of wari 
or simply a pleasant prize. 

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

3 Arab. " Mizr " or " Mizar ; " vulg. Buzah ; hence the medical Lat. Buza, the Russian 
Buza (millet beer), our *> booze," the O. Dutch "buyzen" and the German "busen.** 
This is the old TTOTOS 0eio9 of negro and negroid Africa ; the beer of Osiris, of which 
dried remains have been found in jars amongst Egyptian tombs. In Equatorial Africa it 
is knopa as ." Pornbe ; " on the Upper Nile- f ' Merissa " or " Mirisi " and amongst the 

Tale of the Ensorcelled Prince. 73 

and washed her hands, and went and lay down by the side of the 
slave, upon the cane-trash and, stripping herself stark naked, she 
crept in with him under his foul coverlet and his rags and tatters. 
When I saw my wife, my cousin, the daughter of my uncle, do 
this deed 1 I clean lost my wits, and climbing down from the roof, I 
entered and took the sword which she had with her and drew it< 
determined to cut down the twain. I first struck at the slave's 

neck and thought that the death decree had fallen on him : " 

And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her 
permitted say. 

Jtofo fojjen it foas t&e 1Ei$ti) j8i$t, 

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the 
young ensorcelled Prince said to the King, "When I smote the 
slave with intent to strike off his head, I thought that I had slain 
him ; for he groaned a loud hissing groan, but I had cut only the 
skin and flesh of the gullet and the two arteries ! It awoke the 
daughter of my uncle, so I sheathed the sword and fared forth for 
the city ; and, entering the palace, lay upon my bed and slept till 

Kafirs (Gaffers) " Tshnala," " Oala " or " Boyala : " I have also heard of " Buswa " in 
Central Africa which may be the origin of " Buzah." In the West it became {J0os, (Romaic 
mppa), Xythum and cerevisia or cervisia, the humor ex hordeo, long before the days 
of King Gambrinus. Central Afiicans drink it in immense quantities : in Unyamwezi the 
standing bedsteads, covered with bark-slabs, are all made sloping so as to drain off the 
liquor. A chief lives wholly on beef and Pombe which is thick as gruel below. Hops 
are unknown : the grain, mostly Holcus, is made to germinate, then pounded, boiled and 
left to ferment. In Egypt the drink is affected chiefly by Berbers, Nubians and slaves 
from the Upper Nile ; but it is a superior article and more like that of Europe than the 
" Pombe." I have given an account of the manufacture in The Lake Regions of Central 
Africa, vol. ii., p. 286. There are other preparations, Umm-bulbul (mother nightin- 
gale), Dinzayah and Subiyah, for which I must refer to the Shaykh El-Tounsy. 

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

74 A If Laylah ^va Laylah. 

morning when my wife aroused me and I saw that she had cut off 
her hair and had donned mourning garments. Quoth she : O son 
of my uncle, blame me not for what I do ; it hath just reached me 
that my mother is dead, and my father hath been killed in holy 
war, and of my brothers one hath lost his life by a snake-sting and 
the other by falling down some precipice ; and I can and should do 
naught save weep and lament. When I heard her words I refrained 
from all reproach and said only: Do as thou list; I certainly will 
not thwart thee. She continued sorrowing, weeping and wailing 
one whole year from the beginning of its circle to the end, and 
when it was finished she said to me : I wish to build me in thy 
palace a tomb with a cupola, which I will set apart for my mourning 
and will name the House of Lamentations. 1 Quoth I again : 
Do as thou list ! Then she builded for herself a cenotaph 
wherein to mourn, and set on its centre a dome under which 
showed a tomb like a San ton's sepulchre. Thither she carried the 
slave and lodged him ; but he was exceeding weak by reason of 
his wound, and anable to do her love-service ; he could only drink 
wine and from the day of his hurt he spake not a word, yet he 
lived on because his appointed hour 2 was not come. Every day, 
morning and evening, my wife went to him and wept and wailed 
over him and gave hirn wine and strong soups, and left not off 
doing after this manner a second year; and I bore with her 
patiently and paid no heed to her. One day, however, I went in to 
her unawares ; and I found her weeping and beating her face 
and crying : Why art thou absent from my sight, O my heart's 
delight ? Speak to me, O my life ; talk with me, O my love ? 
Then she recited these verses : 

For your love my patience fails and albeit you forget o I may not; nor to 
other love my heart can make reply : 

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

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

Tale of the Ensorcelled Prince. 75 

Bear my body, bear my soul wheresoever you may fare And where you pitch 

the camp let my body buried lie : 
Cry my name above my grave, and an answer shall return o The moaning of 

my bones responsive to your cry. 1 

Then she recited, weeping bitterly the while: 

The day of my delight is the day when draw you near o And the day of mine 

affright is the day you turn away : 
Though I tremble through the night in my bitter dread of death o When I hold 

you in my arms I am free from all affray. 

Once more she began reciting : 

Though a-morn I may awake with all happiness in hand o Though the world 

all be mine and like Kisra-kings 2 I reign ; 
To me they had the worth of tire winglet of the gnat o When I fail to see thy 

form, when I look for thee in vain. 

When she had ended for a time her words and her weeping I said 
to her : O my cousin, let this thy mourning suffice, for in pouring 
forth tears there is little profit ! Thwart me not, answered she, 
in aught I do, or I will lay violent hands on myself! So I held 
my peace and left her to go her own way ; and she ceased not to 

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

bear with you my bones where the camel bears his load And bury me before you, if 

buried I must be ; 
And let me not be buried 'neath the burden of the vine * But high upon the hill whence 

your sight I ever see ! 
As you pass along my grave cry aloud and name your names The crying of your names 

shall revive the bones of me : 

1 have fasted through my life with my friends, and in my death, * I will feast when we 

meet, on that day of joy and glee. 

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

76 A If Laylak wa Laylah. 

cry and keen and indulge her affliction for yet another year. At 
the end of the third year I waxed aweary of this longsome 
mourning, and one day I happened to enter the cenotaph when 
vexed and angry with some matter which had thwarted me, and 
suddenly I heard her say : O my lord, I never hear thee vouch- 
safe a single word to me! Why dost thou not answer me, O 
my master ? and she began reciting : 

O thou tomb ! O thou tomb ! be his beauty set in shade ? o Hast thou darkened 
that countenance all-sheeny as the noon ? 

thou tomb ! neither earth nor yet heaven art to me o Then how cometh it in 

thee are conjoined my sun and moon ? 

When I heard such verses as these rage was heaped upon my rage ; 

1 cried out : Well-away ! how long is this sorrow to last ? and I 
began repeating : 

O thou tomb ! O thou tomb ! be his horrors set in blight ? o Hast thou dark- 
ened his countenance that sickeneth the soul ? 

O thou tomb ! neither cess-pool nor pipkin art to me o Then how cometh it 
in thee are conjoined soil and coal ? 

When she heard my words she sprang to her feet crying: Fie 
upon thee, thou cur ! all this is of thy doings ; thou hast wounded 
my heart's darling and thereby worked me sore woe and thou hast 
wasted his youth so that these three years he hath lain abed more 
dead than alive ! In my wrath I cried : O thou foulest of harlots 
and filthiest of whores ever futtered by negro slaves who are hired 
to have at thee I 1 Yes indeed it was I who did this good deed ; 
and snatching up my sword I drew it and made at her to cut her 
down. But she laughed my words and mine intent to scorn crying : 
To heel, hound that thou art ! Alas 2 for the past which shall no 
more come to pass nor shall any one avail the dead to raise. Allah 
hath indeed now given into my hand him who did to me this 
thing, a deed that hath burned my heart with a fire which died not 
and a flame which might not be quenched ! Then she stood up ; 
and, pronouncing some words to me unintelligible, she said : By 
virtue of my egromancy become thou half stone and half man- ; 

1 The words are the very lowest and coarsest ; but the scene is true to Arab life. 

a Arab. " Hayhat :*' the word, written in a variety of ways is onomatopoeic, !&e 
our "heigh-ho!" it sometimes means "far from me (or you) be it!" but in popular 
usage it is simply " Alas.'* 

Tale of the Ensorcelled Prince. 77 

whereupon I became what thou seest, unable to rise or to sit, and 
neither dead nor alive. Moreover she ensorcelled the city with all 
its streets and garths, and she turned by her gramarye the four 
islands into four mountains around the tarn whereof thou questionest 
me ; and the citizens, who were of four different faiths, Moslem, 
Nazarene, Jew and Magian, she transformed by her enchantments 
into fishes ; the Moslems are the white, the Magians red, the Chris- 
tians blue and the Jews yellow. 1 And every day she tortureth me 
and scourgeth me with an hundred stripes, each of which draweth 
floods of blood and cutteth the skin of my shoulders to strips ; and 
lastly she clotheth my upper half with a hair-cloth and then throweth 
over them these robes." Hereupon the young man again shed 
tears and began reciting : 

In patience, O my God, I endure my lot and fate ; o I will bear at will of Thee 

whatsoever be my state : 
They oppress me ; they torture me ; they make my life a woe o Yet haply 

Heaven's happiness shall compensate my strait : 
Yea, straitened is my life by the bane and hate o' foes o But Mustafa" and 

Murtazd 2 shall ope me Heaven's gate. 

After this the Sultan turned towards the young Prince and said, 
" O youth, thou hast removed one grief only to add another grief ; 
but now, O my friend, where is she ; and where is the mausoleum 
wherein lieth the wounded slave ? " " The slave lieth under yon 
dome," quoth the young man, "and she sitteth in the chamber 
fronting yonder door. And every day at sunrise she cometh forth, 
and first strippeth me, and whippeth me with an hundred strokes 
of the leathern scourge, and I weep and shriek ; but there is no 

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

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

78 A If Laylah wa Laylak. 

power of motion in my lower limbs to keep her off me. After 
ending her tormenting me she visiteth the slave, bringing him wine 
and boiled meats. And to-morrow at an early hour she will be 
here." Quoth the King, " By Allah, O youth, I will assuredly do 
thee a good deed which the world shall not willingly let die, and 
an act of derring-do which shall be chronicled long after I am dead 
and gone by." Then the King sat him by the side of the young 
Prince and talked till nightfall, when he lay down and slept ; but, 
as soon as the false dawn 1 showed, he arose and doffing his outer 
garments 2 bared his blade and hastened to the place wherein lay 
the slave. Then was he ware of lighted candles and lamps, and 
the perfume of incenses and unguents ; and, directed by these, he 
made for the slave and struck him one stroke killing him on the 
spot : after which he lifted him on his back and threw him into a 
well that was in the palace. Presently he returned and, donning 
the slave's gear, lay down at length within the mausoleum with the 
drawn sword laid close to and along his side. After an hour or so 
the accursed witch came ; and, first going to her husband, she 
stripped off' his clothes and, taking a whip, flogged him cruelly 
while he cried out, "Ah! enough for me the case I am in ! take 
pity on me, O my cousin !" But she replied, "Didst thou take pity 
on me and spare the life of my true love on whom I doated ? " 
Then she drew the cilice over his raw and bleeding skin and threw 
the robe upon all and went down to the slave with a goblet of wine 
and a bowl of meat-broth in her hands. She entered under the 
dome weeping and wailing, " Well-away ! " and crying, " O my 
lord ! speak a word to me ! O my master ! talk awhile with me ! " 
and began to recite these couplets : 

How long this harshness, this unlove, shall bide ? o Suffice thee not tear-floods 

thou hast espied ? 
Thou dost prolong our parting purposely o And if wouldst please my foe, 

thou'rt satisfied ! 

Then she wept again and said, " O my lord ! speak to me, talk with 
me ! " The King lowered his voice and, twisting his tongue, spoke 

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

2 So the Heb. " Arun " = naked, means wearing the lower robe only ; c= our "in 
his shirt." 

Tale of the Fisherman and the Jinni. 79 

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

1 Here we have the vulgar Egyptian colloquialism "Aysh" (=Ayyu shayyin) for the 
classical "Ma"= what. 

8o A If Laytah wa Laylah. 

why, my body's baulked from health. Go at once and set them 
free ; then come to me and take my hand, and raise me up, for a 
little strength is already back in me." When she heard the King's 
words (and she still supposed him to be the slave) she cried joy- 
ously, " O my master, on my head and on my eyes be thy com- 
mand, Bismillah J ! " So she sprang to her feet and, full of joy 
and gladness, ran down to the tarn and took a little of its water 
in the palm of. her hand - And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of 
day and ceased to say her permitted "say. 

Jioto fofjen (t toas t&e Jimt}) 

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the 
young woman, .the sorceress, took in hand some of the tarn-water 
and spake over it words not to be understood, the fishes lifted 
their heads and stood up on the instant like men, the spell on the 
people of the city having been removed. What was the lake again 
became a crowded capital ; the bazars were thronged with folk who 
bought and sold ; each citizen was occupied with his own calling 
and the four hills became islands as they were whilome. Then the 
young woman,, that wicked sorceress, returned to the King and 
(still thinking he was the negro) said to him, " O my love ! stretch 
forth thy honoured hand that I may assist thee to rise." " Nearer 
to me," quoth the King in a faint and feigned tone. She came 
close as to embrace him when he took up the sword lying hid by 
his side and smote her across the breast, so that the point showed 
gleaming behind her back. Then he smote her a second time and 
cut her in twain and cast her to the ground in two halves. After 
which he fared forth and found the young man, now freed from 
the spell, awaiting him and gave him joy of his happy release 
while the Prince kissed his hand with abundant thanks. Quoth 
the King, " Wilt thou abide in this city or go with me to my 
capital ? " Quoth the youth, " O King of the age, wottest thou 
not what journey is between thee and thy city ? " " Two days 
and a half," answered he ; whereupon said the other, " An thou 
be sleeping,"; O King, awake! Between thee and thy city is a 
year's march for a well-girt walker, and thou haddest not come 
hither in two days and a half save that the city was under en- 
chantment. And I, O King, will never part from thee ; no, not 

1 "In the name of Allah ! " here said before taking action. 

Tale of the Fisherman and the Jinni. 8r 

even for the twinkling of an eye." The King rejoiced at his 
words and said, " Thanks be to Allah who hath bestowed thee 
upon me ! From this hour thou art my son and my only son, for 
that in all my life I have never been blessed with issue." There- 
upon they embraced and joyed with exceeding great joy ; and, 
reaching the palace, the Prince who had been spell-bound in- 
formed his lords and his grandees that he was about to visit the 
Holy Places as a pilgrim, and bade them get ready all things 
necessary for the occasion. The preparations lasted ten days, 
after which he set out with the Sultan, whose heart burned in 
yearning for his city whence he had been absent a whole twelve- 
month. They journeyed with an escort of Mamelukes 1 carrying 
all manners of precious gifts and rarities, nor stinted they way- 
faring day and night for a full year until they approached the 
Sultan's capital, and sent on messengers to announce their coming. 
Then the Wazir and the whole army came out to meet him in joy 
and gladness, for they had given up all hope of ever seeing their 
King ; and the troops kissed the ground before him and wished him 
joy of his safety. He entered and took seat upon his throne and 
the Minister came before him and, when acquainted with all that 
had befallen the young Prince, he congratulated him on his narrow 
escape. When order was restored throughout the land the King 
gave largesse to many of his people, and said to the Wazir, 
'* Hither the Fisherman who brought us the fishes ! " So he sent 
for the man who had been the first cause of the city and the 
citizens being delivered from enchantment and, when he came into 
the presence, the Sultan bestowed upon him a dress of honour, and 
questioned him of his condition and whether he had children. 
The Fisherman gave him to know that he had two daughters and 
a son, so the King sent for them and, taking one daughter to wife, 
gave the other to the young Prince and made the son his head- 
treasurer. Furthermore he invested his Wazir with the Sultanate 

1 Arab. " Mamldk " (plur. Mamalik) lit. a chattel ; and in The Nights a white slave 
trained to arms. The " Mameluke Beys " of Egypt were locally called the " Ghu " 
I use the convenient word in its old popular sense ; 

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


And hence, probably, Moliere's " Mamamouchi "; and the modern French use "Mam* 
luc." See Savary's Letters, No. xl. 
VOL. I. 

82 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

of the City in the Black Islands whilome belonging to the young 
Prince, and dispatched with , him the escort of fifty armed slaves 
together with dresses of honour for all the Emirs and Grandees. 
The Wazir kissed hands and fared forth on his way ; while the 
Sultan and the Prince abode at home in all the solace and the delight 
of life ; and the Fisherman became the richest man of his age, and 
his daughters wived with the Kings, until death came to them. 
And yet, O King ! this is not more wondrous than the story of 


ONCE upon a time there was a Porter in Baghdad, who was a 
bachelor and who would remain unmarried. It came to pass on a 
certain day, as he stood about the street leaning idly upon his crate, 
behold, there stood before him an honourable woman in a mantilla 
of Mosul 1 silk, broidered with gold and bordered with brocade ; 
her walking-shoes were also purfled with gold 'and her hair floated 
in long plaits. She raised her face-veil 2 and, showing two black 
eyes fringed with jetty lashes, whose glances were soft and lan- 
guishing and whose perfect beauty was ever blandishing, she 
accosted the Porter and said in the suavest tones and choicest 
language, " Take up thy crate and follow me." The Porter was so 
dazzled he could hardly believe that he heard her aright, but he 
shouldered his basket in hot haste saying in himself, " O day of 
good luck ! O day of Allah's grace !" and walked after her till she 
stopped at the door of a house. There she rapped, and presently 
came out to her an old man, a Nazarene, to whom she gave a gold 
piece, receiving from him in return what she required of strained 
wine clear as olive oil ; and she set it safely in the hamper, saying, 
" Lift and follow." Quoth the Porter, " This, by Allah, is indeed 
an auspicious day, a day propitious for the granting of all a man 
wisheth." He again hoisted up the crate and followed her ; till she 

1 The name of this celebrated successor of Nineveh, where some suppose The Nights 
were written, is orig. MccroTrvAcu (middle-gates) because it stood on the way where four 
great highways meet. The Arab, form "Mausil " (the vulgar " Mosul") is also signifi- 
cant, alluding to the "junction " of Assyria and Babylonia. Hence our " muslin." 

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

7 tie Porter and the Three Ladies of Baghdad. 83 

stopped at a fruiterer's shop and bought from him Shami 1 apples 
and Osmani quinces and Omani 2 peaches, and cucumbers of Nile 
growth, and Egyptian limes and Sultani oranges and citrons ; 
besides Aleppine jasmine, scented myrtle berries, Damascene 
nenuphars, flower of privet 3 and camomile, blood-red anemones, 
violets, and pomegranate-bloom, eglantine and narcissus, and set 
the whole in the Porter's crate, saying, "Up with it." So he lifted and 
followed her till she stopped at a butcher's booth and said, " Cut me 
off ten pounds of mutton." She paid him his price and he wrapped it 
in a banana-leaf, whereupon she laid it in the crate and said " Hoist, 
O Porter." He hoisted accordingly, and followed her as she walked 
on till she stopped at a grocer's, where she bought dry fruits and 
pistachio-kernels, Tihamah raisins, shelled almonds and all wanted 
for dessert, and said to the Porter, " Lift and follow me." So he up 
with his hamper and after her till she stayed at the confectioner's, 
and she bought an earthen platter, and piled it with all kinds of 
sweetmeats in his shop, open- worked tarts and fritters scented with 
musk and " soap-cakes/' and lemon-loaves and melon-preserves, 4 
and "Zaynab's combs/'and "ladies' fingers/'and "Kazi's tit-bits" and 
goodies of every description ; and placed the platter in the Porter's 

^ ' *.*. Syria (says Abulfeda) the "land on the left " (of one facing the east) as opposed 
to Al-Yaman the " land on the right." Osmani would mean Turkish, Ottoman. When 
Bernard the Wise (Bohn, p. 24) speaks of "Bagada and Axiam " (Mabillon's text) 
or "Axinarri" (still worse), he means Baghdad and Ash-Sham (Syria, Damascus), 
the latter word puzzling his Editor. Richardson (Dissert. Ixxii.) seems to support a 
'hideous attempt to derive Sham from Shamat, a mole or wart, because the country 
is studded with hillocks ^ Al-Sham is often applied to Damascus-city whose proper 
name Dimishk belongs to books : this term is generally derived from Dimashik b. Kali 
b. Malik b. Sham -(Shem). Lee (Ibn Batiitah, 29) denies that ha-Dimisbki means 
l " Eliezer of Damascus." 

2 From Oman = Eastern Arabia. 

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

4 Lane (i. 211) pleasantly remarks, " A list of these sweets is given in my original, 
but I have thought it better to omit the names " (0 Dozy does not shirk his duty, but 
he is not much more satisfactory in explaining words interesting to students because they 
are unfound in dictionaries and forgotten by the people " Akra"s " (cakes) Laymunfyah 
(of limes) wa Maymum'yah " appears in the Bresl. Edit, as " Ma'amuniyah" which may 
mean "Ma'amun's cakes" or '"delectable cakes." " AmshaV'= (combs) perhaps refers 
to a fine kind of Kunafah (vermicelli) known in Egypt and Syria as "Ghazl al-banaV* 
=girl's spinning. 

84 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

crate. Thereupon quoth he (being a merry man), " Thou shouldest 
have told me, and I would have brought with me a pony or a she- 
camel to carry all this market-stuff." She smiled and gave him a 
little cuff on the nape saying, " Step out and exceed not in words, 
for (Allah willing !) thy wage will not be wanting." Then she, 
stopped at a perfumer's and took from him ten sorts of waters, rose 
scented with musk, orange-flower, water-lily, willow-flower, violet 
and five others ; and she also bought two loaves of sugar, a bottle 
for perfume-spraying, a lump of male incense, aloe-wood, ambergris 
and musk, with candles of Alexandria wax ; and she put the whole 
into the basket, saying, " Up with thy crate and after me." He did 
so and followed until she stood before the greengrocer's, of whom 
she bought pickled safflower and olives, in brine and in oil ; with 
tarragon and cream-cheese and hard Syrian cheese ; and she stowed 
them away in the crate saying to the Porter, " Take up -thy basket 
and follow me." He did so and went after her till she came to a 
fair mansion fronted by a spacious court, a tall, fine place to which 
columns gave strength and grace : and the gate thereof had two 
leaves of ebony inlaid with plates of red gold. The lady stopped 
at the door and, turning her face-veil sideways, knocked softly with 
her knuckles whilst the Porter stood behind her, thinking of naught 
save her beauty and loveliness. Presently the door swung back 
and both leaves were opened, whereupon he looked to see who had 
opened it ; and behold, it was a lady of tall figure, some five feet 
high ; a model of beauty and loveliness, brilliance and symmetry 
and perfect grace. Her forehead was flower-white ; her cheeks like 
the anemone ruddy bright ; her eyes were those of the wild heifer 
or the gazelle, with eyebrows like the crescent-moon which ends 
Sha'aban and begins Ramazan ; l her mouth was the ring of 
Sulayman, 2 her lips coral-red, and her teeth like a line of strung 
pearls or of camomile petals. Her throat recalled the antelope's, 
and her breasts, like two pomegranates of even size, stood at 
bay as it were ; 3 her body rose and fell in waves below her dress 
like the rolls of a piece of brocade, and her navel 4 would hold an 

1 The new moon carefully looked for by all Moslems because it begins the Ramazn-fast. 

* Solomon's signet ring has before been noticed. 

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

4 A large hollow navel is looked upon not only as a beauty, but ia children it is held a 
promise of good growth. 

The Porter and the Three Ladies of Baghdad. 8$ 

ounce of benzoin ointment. In fine she was like her of whom the 
poet said : 

On Sun and Moon of pafece cast thy sight o Enjoy her flower-like face, her 

fragrant light : 
Thine eyes shall never see in hair so black o Beauty encase a brow so purely 

white : 
The ruddy rosy cheek proclaims her claim o Though fail her name whose 

beauties we indite : 
As sways her gait I smile at hips so big o And weep to see the waist they bear 

so slight. 

When the Porter looked upon her his wits were waylaid, and his 
senses were stormed so that his crate went nigh to fall from his 
head, and he said to himself, " Never have I in my life seen a day 
more blessed than this day ! " Then quoth the lady-portress to the 
lady-cateress, '" Come in from the gate and relieve this poor man of 
his load." So the provisioner went in followed by the portress and 
the Porter and went on till they reached a spacious ground-floor 
hall, 1 built with admirable skill and beautified with all manner 
colours and carvings ; with upper balconies and groined arches and 
galleries and cupboards and recesses whose curtains hung before 
them. In the midst stood a great basin full of water surrounding 
a fine fountain, and at the upper end on the raised dafs was a 
couch of juniper-wood set with gems and pearls, with a canopy 
like mosquito-curtains of red satin-silk looped up with pearls a k 
big as filberts and bigger. Thereupon sat a lady bright of blee, 
with brow beaming brilliancy, the dream of philosophy, whose eyes 
were fraught with Babel's gramarye 2 and her eyebrows were arched as 
for archery ; her breath breathed ambergris and perfumery and her 
lips were sugar to taste and carnelian to see. Her stature was 
straight as the letter j 3 and her face shamed the noon-sun's radiancy ; 

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

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

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

86 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

and she was even as a galaxy, or a dome with golden marquetry or 
a bride displayed in choicest finery or a noble maid of Araby. l 
Right well of her sarig the bard when he said : 

Her smiles twin rows of pearls display o Chamomile-buds or rimey spray 

Her tresses stray as night let down o And shames her light the dawn o' day. 

2 The third lady rising from the couch stepped forward with grace- 
ful swaying gait till she reached the middle of the saloon, when 
she said to her sisters, " Why stand ye here ? take it down from 
this poor man's head ! " Then the cateress went and stood before 
him, and the portress behind him while the third helped them, and 
they lifted the load from the Porter's head ; and, emptying it of all 
that was therein, set everything in its place. Lastly they gave him 
two gold pieces, saying, " Wend thy ways, O Porter." But he went 
not, for he stood looking at the ladies and admiring what uncommon 
beauty was theirs, and their pleasant manners and kindly dispo- 
sitions (never had he seen goodlier) ; and he gazed wistfully at that 
good store of wines and sweet-scented flowers and fruits and other 
matters. Also he marvelled with exceeding marvel, especially to 
see no man in the place and delayed his going ; whereupon quoth 
the eldest lady, " What aileth thee that goest not ; haply thy wage 
be too little ? " And, turning to her sister the cateress, she said, 
" Give him another dinar ! " But the Porter answered, " By Allah, 
my lady, it is not for the wage ; my hire is never more than two 
dirhams ; but in very sooth my heart and my soul are taken up 
with you and your condition. I wonder to see you single with 
ne'er a man about you and not a soul to bear you company ; and 
well you wot that the minaret toppleth o'er unless it stand upon 
four, and you want this same fourth ; and women's pleasure with- 
out man is short of measure, even as the poet said : 

Seest not we want for joy four things all told o The harp and lute, the flute and 

flageolet ; 
And be they companied with scents four-fold o Rose, myrtle, anemone and 

violet ; 
Nor please all eight an four thou wouldst -withold o Good wine and youth and 

gold and pretty pet. 

1 I have not attempted to order this marvellous confusion of metaphors so charac- 
teristic of The Nights and the exigencies of Al-Saj'a = rhymed prose. 

2 Here and elsewhere I omit the "kala (dict.Turpinoy of the original : Torrens 
preserves "Thus goes the tale" (which'it only interiupts). This is simply 

and sense 'foolish. 

The, Porter and the Three Ladies of Baghdad. $< 

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

Hold fast thy secret and to none unfold o Lost is a secret when that secret's 

An fail thy breast thy secret to conceal o How canst thou hope another's breast 

shall hold ? 

And Abu Nowas l said well on the same subject : 

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

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

None but the good a secret keep o And good men keep it unrevealed : 

It is to me a well-shut house o With keyless locks and door ensealed." 2 

When the maidens heard his verse and its poetical application ad- 
dressed to them they said, " Thou knowest that we have laid out 
all our monies on this place. Now say, hast thou aught to offer us 
in return for entertainment ? For surely we will not suffer thee to 
sit in our company and be our cup-companion, and gaze upon our 
faces so fair and so rare without paying a round sum. 3 Wottest 
thou not the saying : 

Sans hope of gain 

Love's not worth a grain?" 

Whereto the lady-portress added, " If thou bring anything thou 
art a something; if no thing, be off with thee, thou art a nothing ; " 
but the procuratrix interposed, saying, " Nay, O my sisters, leave 

1 Of this worthy more at a future time. 

2 i.e.y sealed with the Kazi or legal authority's seal of office. 

3 "Nothing for nothing" is a fixed idea with the Eastern woman : not so much for 
greed as for a sexual pomt tChontuur when dealing with the adversary man. 

88 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

teasing him, for by Allah he hath not failed us this day, and had 
he been other he never had kept patience with me, so whatever be 
his shot and scot I will take it upon myself." The Porter, over- 
joyed, kissed the ground before her and thanked her saying, " By 
Allah, these monies are the first fruits this day hath given m." 
Hearing this they said, "Sit thee down and welcome to thee," and 
the eldest lady added, " By Allah, we may not suffer thee to join 
us save on one condition, and this it is, that no questions be asked 
as to what concerneth thee not, and frowardness shall be soundly 
flogged." Answered the Porter, " " I agree to this, O my lady, on 
my head and my eyes be it! Lookye, I am dumb, I have n.o 
tongue." Then arose the provisioneress and tightening her girdle 
set the table by the fountain and put the flowers and sweet herbs 
in their jars, and strained the wine and ranged the flasks in row 
and made ready every requisite. Then sat she down, she and her 
sisters, placing amidst them the Porter who kept deeming himself 
in a dream ; and she took up the wine flagon, and poured out the 
first cup and drank it off, and likewise a second and a third. l 
After this she filled a fourth cup which she handed to one of her 
sisters ; and, lastly, she crowned a goblet and passed it to the 
Porter, saying : 

Drink the dear draught, drink free and fairi o What healeth every grief and 

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

Drain not the bowl save with a trusty friend o A man of worth whose good old 

blood all know : 
For wine, like wind, sucks sweetness from the sweet o And stinks when over 

stench it haply blow : 

Adding : 

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

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

The Porter and the Three Ladies of Baghdad. 89 

After repeating this couplet he kissed their hands and tii;ank and 
was drunk and sat swaying from side to side and pursued : 

All drinks wherein is blood the Law unclean o Doth hold save one, the blood- 
shed of the vine : 

Fill ! fill ! take all my wealth bequeathed or won o Thou fawn ! a willing ran- 
som for those eyne. 

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

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

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

A slave of slaves there standeth at thy door o Lauding thy generous boons and 

gifts galore : 
Beauty ! may he come in awhile to 'joy o Thy charms ? for Love and I part 

nevermore ! 

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

I gave her brave old wine that like her cheeks o Blushed red or flame from 

furnace flaring up : 
She bussed the brim and said with many a smile o How durst thou deal folk's 

cheek for folk to sup ? 
" Drink ! " (said I) "these are tears .of mine whose tinct o Is heart-blood sighs 

have boiled in the cup." 

She answered him in the following couplet : 

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

Then the lady took the cup, and drank it off to her sisters' health , 

9O Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

and they ceased not drinking (the Porter being in the midst of 
them), and dancing and laughing and reciting verses and singing 
ballads and ritornellos. All this time the Porter was carrying on 
with them, kissing, toying, biting, handling, groping, fingering; 
Xvhilst one thrust a dainty morsel in his mouth, and another slapped 
him ; and this cuffed his cheeks, and that threw sweet flowers at 
him ; and he was in the very paradise of pleasure, as though he 
were sitting in the seventh sphere among the Houris 1 of Heaven. 
They ceased not doing after this fashion until the wine played 
tricks in their heads and worsted their wits ; and, when the drink 
got the better of them, the portress stood up and doffed her clothes 
till she was mother-naked. However, she let down her hair about 
her body by way of shift, and throwing herself into the basin dis- 
ported herself and dived like a duck and swam up and down, and 
took water in her mouth, and spurted it all over the Porter, and 
washed her limbs, and between her breasts, and inside her thighs 
and all around her navel. Then she came up out of the cistern 
and throwing herself on the Porter's lap said, " O my lord, O my 
love, what callest thou this article ? " pointing to her slit, her 
solution of continuity. " I call that thy cleft," quoth the Porter, 
and she rejoined, " Wah ! wah ! art thou not ashamed to use such a 
word ? " and she caught him by the collar and soundly cuffed him. 
Said he again, " Thy womb, thy vulva ; " and she struck him a 
second slap crying, " O fie, O fie, this is another ugly word ; is 
there no shame in thee ? " Quoth he, " Thy coynte ; " and she 
cried, " O thou ! art wholly destitute of modesty ? " and thumped 
him and bashed him. Then cried the Porter, "Thy clitoris," 2 
whereat the eldest lady came down upon him with a yet sorer 
beating, and said, "No;" and he said, "'Tis so," and the Porter 
went on calling the same commodity by sundry other names, but 
whatever he said they beat him more x and more till his neck ached 
and swelled with the blows he had gotten ; and on this wise they 
made him a butt and a laughing-stock. At last he turned upon 
them asking, "And what do you women call this article ? " Whereto 

1 Arab. " Hur al-Ayn," lit. (maids) with eyes of lively white and black, applied to 
the virgins of Paradise who 'will wive with the happy Faithful. I retain our vulgar 
"Houri," warning the reader that it is a masc. for a fem. ("Huriyah") in Arab, 
although accepted in Persian, a genderless speech. 

8 Arab. "Zambur," whose head is amputated in female circumcision. See Nigbt 


Ttie Porter and the Three Ladies of Baghdad. 91 

the damsel made answer, "The basil of the bridges." 1 Cried the 
Porter, " Thank Allah for my safety : aid me and be thou pro- 
pitious, O basil of the bridges ! " They passed round the cup and 
tossed off the bowl again, when the second lady stood up ; and, 
stripping off all her clothes, cast herself into the cistern and did as 
the first had done; then she came out of the water and throwing 
her naked form on the Porter's lap pointed to her machine and 
said, " O light of mine eyes, do tell me what is the name of this 
concern ? " He replied as before, " Thy slit ; " and she rejoined, 
" Hath such term no shame for thee ? " and cuffed him and 
buffeted him till the saloon rang with the blows. Then quoth she, 
" O fie ! O fie ! how canst thou say this without blushing ? " He 
suggested, " The basil of the bridges ; " but she would not have it 
and she said, " No ! no ! " and struck him and slapped him on the 
back of the neck. Then he began calling out all the names he 
knew, " Thy slit, thy 'womb, thy coynte, thy clitoris ; " and the 
girls kept on saying, " No ! no ! " So he said, " I stick to the 
basil of the bridges;" and all the three laughed till they fell on 
their backs and laid slaps on his neck and said, " No ! no ! that's 
not its proper name," Thereupon he cried, " O my sisters, what is 
its name?" and they replied, "What sayest thou to the husked 
sesame-seed ?" Then the cateress donned her clothes and they' fell 
again to carousing, but the Porter kept moaning, " Oh ! and Oh ! " 
for his neck and shoulders, and the cup passed merrily round and 
round again for a full hour. After that time the eldest and hand- 
somest lady stood up and stripped off her garments, whereupon 
the Porter took his neck in hand, and rubbed and shampoo'd 
it, saying, "My neck and shoulders are on the way of Allah!" 3 
Then she threw herself into the basin, and swam and dived, 
sported and washed ; and the Porter looked at her naked figure 
as though she had been a slice of the moon 3 and at her face with 
the sheen of Luna when at full, or like the dawn when it bright- 
eneth, and he noted her noble stature and shape, and those"! 

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

* i.t. common property for all to beat. 

8 " A digit of the moon " is the Hindu equivalent. 

9 2 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

glorious forms that quivered as she went; for she was naked as 
the Lord made her. Then he cried "Alack ! Alack ! " and began 
to address her, versifying in these couplets : 

" If I liken thy shape to the bough when green o My likeness errs and I sore 

mistake it; 
For the bough is fairest when clad the most o And thou art fairest when 


When the lady heard his verses she came up out of the basin and, 
seating herself upon his lap and knees, pointed to her genitory and 
'said, " O my lordling, what be the name of this ? " Quoth he, " The 
^basil of the bridges ; " but she said, " Bah, bah ! " Quoth he, " The 
husked sesame ; " quoth she, " Pooh, pooh ! " Then said he, " Thy 
womb ; " and she cried, " Fie, Fie ! art thou not ashamed of 
thyself?" and cuffed him on "the nape of the neck. And whatever 
name he gave declaring " Tis so," she beat him and cried " No ! 
no!" till at last he said, "O my sisters, and what is its name?" 
She replied, " It is entitled the Khan 1 of Abu Mansiir ; " whereupon 
the Porter replied, " Ha! ha! O Allah be praised for safe deliver- 
ance ! O Khan of Abu Mansur ! " Then she came forth and 
dressed and the cup went round a full hour. At last the Porter 
rose up, and stripping off all his clothes, jumped into the tank and 
swam about and washed under his bearded chin and armpits, even 
as they had done. Then he came out and threw himself into the 
first lady's lap and rested his arms upon the lap of the portress, 
and reposed his legs in the lap of the cateress and pointed to his 
prickle 2 and said, "O my mistresses, what is the name of this 
article ? " All laughed at his words till they fell on their backs, 
and one said, " Thy pintle ! " But he replied, " No ! " and gave 
each one of them a bite by way of forfeit. Then said they, " Thy 

pizzle!"~but he cried "No," and gave each of them a hugj 

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

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

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

The Porter and the Three Ladies of Baghdad. 93 

tofren (t teas tf)e 2TentJ Jltgf)t, 

Quoth her sister Dunyazad, "Finish for ns thy story;" and she 
answered, " With joy and goodly gree." It hath reached me, O 
auspicious King, that the damsels stinted not saying to the Porter 
" Thy prickle, thy pintle, thy pizzle," and he ceased not kissing and 
biting and hugging until his heart was satisfied, and they laughed 
on till they could no more. At last one said; " O our brother, what, 
then, is it called ? " Quofh he, " Know ye not ? " Quoth they, 
"No!" "Its veritable name," said he, "is mule Burst-all, which 
browseth on the basil of the bridges, and muncheth the husked 
sesame, and nighteth in the Khan of Abu Mansur." Then laughed 
they till they fell on their backs, and returned to their carousal, and 
ceased not to be after this fashion till night began to fall. Thereupon 
said they to the Porter, " Bismillah, 1 O our master, up and on with 
those sorry old shoes of thine and turn thy face and show us the 
breadth of thy shoulders!" Said he, "By Allah, to part with my ; 
soul would be easier for me than departing from you : come let us 
join night to day, and to-morrow morning we will each wend our own 
way." " My life on you," said the procuratrix, " suffer him to tarry 
with us, that we may laugh at him : we may live out our lives and 
never meet with his like, for surely he is a right merry rogue and a 
witty." 2 So they said, " Thou must not remain with us this night 
save on condition- that thou submit to our commands, and that 
whatso thou seest, thou ask no questions thereanent, nor enquire of 
its cause." " All right," rejoined he, and they said, " Go read the 
writing over the door." So he rose and went to the entrance and 
there found written in letters of gold wash ; WHOSO SPEAKETH OF 
HIM NOT ! " 3 The Porter said, " Be ye witnesses against me that I 

1 "In the name of Allah," is here a civil form of dismissal. 

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

8 So Sir Francis Walsingham's " They which do that they should not, should haar that 
they would not.'* 

94 d(f Lay ia h wa Lay I ah. 

will not speak on whatso concerneth me not." Then the cateress 
arose > and set food before them and they ate ; after which they 
changed their drinking-place for another, and she lighted the lamps 
and candles and burned ambergris and aloes- wood, and set on fresh 
fruit and the wine service, when they fell to carousing and talking 
of their lovers. And they ceased not to eat and drink and chat, 
nibbling dry fruits and laughing and playing tricks for the space of 
a full hour when lo ! a knock was heard at the gate. The knocking 
in no wise disturbed the seance, but one of them rose and went to 
see what it was and presently returned, saying, " Truly our pleasure 
for this night is to be perfect." " How is that ? " asked they; and 
she answered, "At the gate be three Persian Kalandars 1 with their 
beards and heads and eyebrows shaven ; and all three blind of the 
left eye which is surely a strange chance. They are foreigners 
from Roum-land with the mark of travel plain upon them ; they 
have just entered Baghdad, this being their first visit to our city; 
and the cause of their knocking at our door is simply because they 
cannot find a lodging. Indeed one of them said to me : Haply 
the owner of this mansion will let us have the key of his stable or 
some old out-house wherein we may pass this night ; for evening had 
surprised them and, being strangers in the land, they knew none 
who would give them shelter. And, O my sisters, each of them is 
a figure o' fun after his own fashion ; and if we let them in we shall 
have matter to make sport of." She gave not over persuading 
them till they said to her, " Let them in, and make thou the usual 
condition with them that they speak not of what concerneth them 
not, lest they hear what pleaseth them not." So she rejoiced and 
going to the door presently returned with the three monoculars 

1 The old " Calendar," pleasantly- associated with that form of almanac. The Mac. 
Edit, has " Karandallyah," a vile corruption, like Ibn Batutah's "Karandat" and 
Torrens' " Kurundul : " so in English we have the accepted vulgarism of " Kernel " for 
Colonel. The Bui. Edit, uses for synopym " Su'uluk " =r an asker, a beggar. Of thes* 
mendicant monks, for such they are, much like the Sarabaites of mediaeval Europe, I have 
treated, and of their institutions and its founder, Shaykh Sharif Bu All Kalandar (ob 
A.H. 724 = 1323-24), at some length in my " History of Sindh," chapt. viii. See also 
the Dabistan (i, 136) where the good Kalandar exclaims : 

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

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

The Porter and the Three Ladies of Baghdad. 95 

whose beards and niustachios were clean shaven. 1 They salam'd and 
stood afar off by way of respect ; but the three ladies rose up to them 
and welcomed them and wished them joy of their safe arrival and 
made them sit down. The Kalandars looked at the room -and saw 
that it was a pleasant place, clean swept and garnished with flowers; 
and the lamps were burning and the smoke of perfumes was spireing 
in air ; and beside the dessert and fruits and wine, there were three 
fair girls who might be maidens ; so they exclaimed with one voice, 
" By Allah, 'tis good ! " Then they turned to. the Porter and saw 
that he was a merry-faced wight, albeit he was by no means sober 
and was sore after his slappings. So they thought that he was one 
of themselves and said, " A mendicant like us ! whether Arab or 
foreigner." 2 But when the Porter heard these words, he rose up, 
.and fixing his eyes fiercely upon them, said, " Sit ye here without 
'exceeding in talk-! Have you not read what is writ over the door ? 
purely it befitteth not fellows who come to us like paupers to wag 
your tongues at us." "We crave thy pardon, O Fakir," 3 rejoined 
they, " and our heads are between thy hands." The ladies laughed 
fcpnsumedly at the squabble; and, making peace between the 
galandars and the Porter, seated the new guests before meat and 
r tney ate. Then they sat together, and the portress served them 
with drink ; and, as the cup went round merrily, quoth the Porter 
to the askers, "And you, O brothers mine, have ye no story or 
rare adventure to amuse us withal ? " Now the warmth of wine 
having mounted to their heads they called for musical instru- 
ments; and the portress brought them a tambourine of Mosul, 
and a lute of Irdk, and a Persian harp; and each mendicant 
took one and tuned it ; this the tambourine and those the lute 
and the harp, and struck up a merry tune while the ladies sang 
so lustily that there was a great noise. 4 And whilst they were- 
carrying on, behold, some one knocked at the gate, and the 
portress went to see what was the matter there. Now the cause 
of that knocking, O King (quoth Shahrazad) was this, the Caliph, 
Harun al-Rashfd, had gone forth from the palace, as was his wont 

1 The " Kalandar " disfigures himself in this manner to show "mortification." 
a Arab. " Gharib^ " the porter is offended because the word implies " poor devil ; " 
esp. one out of his own country.. 

* A religious mendicant generally. 

* Very scandalous to Moslem "respectability": Mohammed said the house was 
accursed when the voices of women could be heard out of doors. Moreover the neigh- 
bours have a right to interfere and abate the scandal. 

Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

now and then, to solace himself in the city that night, and to see 
and hear what new thing was stirring ; he was in merchant's gear, 
and he was attended by Ja'afar, his Wazir, and by Masrur his 
Sworder of Vengeance. 1 As they walked about the city, their way 
led them towards the house of the three ladies ; where they heard 
the loud noise of musical instruments and singing and merriment ; 
so quoth the Caliph to Ja'afar, " I long to enter this house and 
hear those songs and see who sing them." Quoth Ja^far, " O 
Prince of the Faithful ; these folk are surely drunken with wine, 
and I fear some mischief betide us if we get amongst them. 1 ' 
" There is no help but that I go in there," replied the Caliph, "and 
I desire thee to contrive some pretext for our appearing among 
them." Ja'afar replied, "I hear and I obey;" 2 and knocked at 
the door, whereupon the portress came out and opened. Then 
Ja'afar came forward and kissing the ground before her said, " O 
my lady, we be merchants from Tiberias-town : we arrived at 
Baghdad ten days ago ; and, alighting at the merchants' caravan* 
serai, we sold all our merchandise. Now a certain trader invited 
us to an entertainment this night ; so we went to his house and he 
set food before us and we ate : then we sat at wine and wassail 
with him for an hour or so when he gave us leave to depart ; and 
we went out from him in the shadow of the night and, being 
strangers,, we could not find our way back to our Khan. So haply 
of your kindness and courtesy you will suffer us to tarry with you 
this night, and Heaven will reward you ! " * The portress looked 
upon them and seeing them dressed like merchants and men of 
grave looks and solid, she returned to her sisters and repeated to 
them Ja'afar's story; and they took compassion upon the strangers 
and said to her, " Let them enter." She opened the door to them, 
when said they to her, " Have we thy leave to come in ? " " Come 
in/* quoth she ; and the Caliph entered followed by Ja'afar and 
Masrur ; and when the girls saw them they stood up to them in 
respect and made them sit down and looked to their wants, saying, 
"Welcome, and well come and good cheer to the guests, but with 

1 I need hardly say that these are both historical personages ; they will often be men- 
tioned, and Ja'afar will be noticed in the terminal Essay. 

* Arab. " Sama 'an wa ta'atan ; a popular phiase of assent generally translated " to 
hear is to obey ; " but this formula may be and must be greatly varied. In places it means 
" Hearing (the word of Allah) and obeying" (His prophet, vicwegent, etc.) 

* Arab. " SawaV'= reward in Heaven. This word for which we have no equivalent 
has been naturalised in all tongues (e.g. Hindostani) spoken by Moslems. 

The Porter and the Three Ladies of Baghdad. 97 

one condition!" <{ What is that?" asked they, and one of the 
ladies answered, " Speak not of what concerneth you not, lest ye 
hear what pleaseth you not" "Even so," said they ; and sat down 
to their wine and drank deep. Presently the Caliph looked on the 
three Kalandars and, seeing them each and every blind of the left 
eye, wondered at the sight ; then he gazed upon the girls and he 
was startled and he marvelled with exceeding marvel at their 
beauty and loveliness. They continued to carouse and to converse 
and said to the Caliph, " Drink ! " but he replied, f< I am vowed to 
Pilgrimage;" 1 and drew back from the wine. Thereupon the 
portress rose and spreading before him a table-cloth worked with 
gold, set thereon a porcelain bowl into which she poured willow 
flower water with a lump of snow and a spoonful of sugar-candy. 
The Caliph thanked her and said in himself, " By Allah, I will 
recompense her to-morrow for the kind deed she hath done." The 
others again addressed themselves to conversing and carousing ; and, 
when the wine gat the better of them, the eldest lady who ruled 
the house rose and making obeisance to them took the cateress by 
the hand, and said, " Rise, O my sister and let us do what is our 
devoir." Both answered " Even so !" Then the portress stood up 
and proceeded to remove the table-service and the remnants of the 
banquet ; and renewed the pastiles and cleared the middle of the 
saloon. Then she made the Kalandars sit upon a sofa at the side 
of the estrade, and seated the Caliph and Ja'afar and Masrur on 
the other side of the saloon ; after which she called the Porter, and 
said, " How scant- is thy courtesy ! now thou art no stranger ; nay, 
thou art one of the household." So he stood up and, tightening 
his waist-cloth, asked, " What would ye I do ? " and she answered, 
" Stand in thy place." Then the procuratrix rose and set in the 
midst of the saloon a low chair and, opening a closet, cried to the 
Porter, " Come help me." So he went to help' her and saw two 
black bitches with chains round their necks ; and she said to him, 
' Take hold of them ; " and he took them and led them into the 
middle of the saloon. Then the lady of the house arose and tucked 
up her sleeves above her wrists and, seizing a scourge, said to the 
Porter, " Bring forward one of the bitches." He brought, her for- 
ward, dragging her by the chain, while the bitch wept, and shook 

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

VOL. i. r. 

98 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

her head at the lady who, however, came down upon her with blows 
on the sconce ; and the bitch howled and the lady ceased not beating 
her till her forearm failed her. Then, casting the scourge from her 
hand, she pressed the bitch to her bosom and, wiping away her tears 
with her hands, kissed her head. Then said she to the Porter, 
" Take her away and 'bring the second ; " and, when he brought her, 
she did with her as she had done with the first. Now the heart of 
the Caliph was touched at these cruel doings ; his chest straitened 
and he lost all patience in his desire to know why the two bitches 
were so beaten. He threw a wink at Ja'afar wishing him to ask, 
but the Minister turning towards him said by signs, " Be silent ! n 
Then quoth the portress to the mistress of the house, " O my lady, 
arise ano! go to thy place that I in turn may do my devoir." l She 
answered, " Even so"; and, taking her seat upon the couch of 
juniper-wood, pargetted with, gold and silver, said to the portress 
and cateress, " Now do ye what ye have to do." Thereupon the 
portress sat upon a low seat by the couch side ; but the procuratrix, 
entering a closet, brought out of it a bag of satin with green fringes 
and two tassels of gold. She stood up before the lady of the house 
and shaking the bag drew out from it a lute which she tuned by 
tightening its pegs ; and when it was in perfect order, she began to 
sing these quatrains : 

Ye are the wish, the aim of me o And when, O love, thy sight I see * 
The heavenly mansion openeth ; 3 o But Hell I see when lost thy sight. 
From thee comes madness ; nor the less o Comes highest joy, comes ecstasy ; 
Nor in my love for thee I fear o Or shame and blame, or hate and spite. 
When Love was throned within my heart o I rent the veil of modesty ; 
And stints not Love to rend that veil o Garring disgrace on grace to alight ; 
The robe of sickness then I donned o But rent to rags was secrecy : 
Wherefore my love and longing heart e Proclaim your high supremest might ; 
The tear-drop railing adown my cheek o Telleth my tale of ignomy : 
And all the hid was seen by all o And all my riddle ree'd aright. 

1 Here some change has been necessary ; as ihe original text confuses the three 

8 In Arab, the plural masc is used by way of modesty when a girl addresses her lover ; 
and for the same reason she speaks of herself as a man. 

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

The Porter and the Three Ladies of Baghdad. 99 

Heal then my malady, for them e Art malady and remedy J 

But she whose cure is in thy hand o Shall ne'er be free of bane and blight j 

Burn me those eyne that radiance rain o Slay me the swords of phantasy ; 

How many hath the sword of Love o Laid low, their high degree despite ? 

Yet will I never cease to pine o Nor to oblivion will I flee. 

Love is my health, my faith, my joy o Public and private, wrong or right. 

happy eyes that sight thy charms o That gaze upon thee at their gree I 
Yea, of my purest wish and will o The slave of Love I'll aye be hight. 

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

Give back mine eyes their sleep long ravished And say me whither be my 
reason fled : 

1 learnt that lending to thy love a place o Sleep to mine eyelids mortal foe 

was made. 
They said, " We held thee righteous, who waylaid o Thy soul?" "Go ask his 

glorious eyes," I said. 
I pardon all my blood he pleased to spill o Owning his troubles drove him 

blood to shed. 
On my mind's mirror sun-like sheen he cast o Whose keen reflection fire in. 

vitals bred 
Waters of Life let Allah waste at will o Suffice my wage those lips of dewy red : 

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

IOO A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

An thou address my love thou'lt find a cause o For plaint and tears or ruth or 

In water pure his form shall greet your eyne o When fails the bowl nor need 

ye drink of wine. 1 

Then' she quoted from the same ode : 

I drank, but the draught of his glance, not wine ; o And his swaying gait swayed 

to sleep these eyne : 
'Twas not grape-juice gript me but grasp of Past o 'Twas not bowl o'erbowled 

me but gifts divine : 
His coiling curl-lets my soul ennetted o And his cruel will all my 

wits outwitted. 2 

After a pause she resumed : 

If we 'plain of absence what shall we say ? o Or if pain afflict us where wend 

our way ? 

An I hire a truchman 3 to tell my tale o The lovers' plaint is not told for pay : 
If I put on patience, a lover's life o After loss of love will not last a day : 
Naught is left me now but regret, repine o And tears flooding cheeks for ever 

and aye : 
O thou who the babes of these eyes * hast fled o Thou art homed in heart that 

shall never stray ; 
Would heaven I wot hast thou kept our pact o Long as stream shall flow, to 

have firmest fay ? 
Or hast forgotten the weeping slave o Whom groans afflict and whom griefs 

waylay ? 
Ah, when severance ends and we side by side o Couch, I'll blame thy rigours 

and chide thy pride ! 

Now when the portress heard her second ode she shrieked aloud 
and said, " By Allah ! 'tis right good ! " ; and laying hands on her 
garments tore them, as she did the first time, and fell to the 
ground fainting. Thereupon the procuratrix rose and brought her 
a second change of clothes after she had sprinkled water on her. 
She recovered and sat upright and said to her sister the cateress, 

1 According to Lane (i., 229) these and the immediately following verses are from an 
ode by Ihn Sahl al-Ishbili. They are in the Bui Edit, not the Mac. Edit. 

2 The original is full of conceits and plays on words which are not easily rendered in 

3 Arab. "Tarjuman," same root as Chald. Targum (rr a translation), the old 
" Truchman," and through the Ital. *' tergomano " our " Dragoman ;" here a messenger. 

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

The Porter and the Three Ladies of Baghdad. 101 

"Onwards, and help me in my duty, for there remains but this 
one song." So the provisioneress again brought out the lute and 
began to sing these verses :<- 

How long shall last, how long this rigour rife of woe o May not suffice thee 

all these tears thou seest flow ? 
Our parting thus with purpose fell thou dost prolong o Is't not enough to glad 

the heart of envious foe ? 
Were but this lying world once true to lover-heart o He had not watched the 

weary night in tears of woe : 
Oh pity me whom overwhelmed thy cruel will o My lord, my king, 'tis time 

some ruth to me thou show ; 
To whom reveal my wrongs, O thou .who murdered me ? o Sad, who of broken 

troth the pangs must undergo ! 
Increase wild love for thee and phrenzy hour by hour o And days of exile 

minute by so long, so slow ; 
O Moslems, claim vendetta l for this slave of Love o Whose sleep Love ever 

wastes, whose patience Love lays low : 
Doth law of Love allow thee, O my wish ! to lie o Lapt in another's arms and 

unto me cry "Got"? 
Yet in thy presence, say, what joys shall I enjoy o When he I love but works 

my love to overthrow ? 

When the portress heard the third song she cried aloud ; and, 
laying hands on her garments, rent them down to the very skirt 
and fell to the ground fainting a third time, again showing the 
scars of the scourge. Then said the three Kalandars, "Would 
Heaven we had never entered this house, but had rather nighted 
on the mounds and heaps outside the city ! for verily our visit 
hath been ^ troubled by sights which cut to the heart." The 
Caliph turned to them and asked, "Why so?" and they made 
answer, "Our minds are sore troubled by this matter." Quoth the 
Caliph," Are ye not of the household ? " and quoth they, " No ; nor 
indeed did we ever set eyes on the place till within this hour." 
Hereat the Caliph marvelled and rejoined, "This man who sitteth 
by you, would he not know the secret of the matter ? " and so 
saying he winked and made signs at the Porter. So they ques- 
tioned the man but he replied, " By the All^might of Allah, in love 
all are alike'! 2 I am the growth of Baghdad, yet never in my born 
days did I darken these doors till to-day and my companying with 

1 Arab. '"Sir" (Thdr) the revenge-right recognised bylaw and custom (Pilgrimage, 
Hi., 69) 
* That is " We all swim in the same boat." 

102 A If Lqylah wa Laylah. 

them was a curious matter." " By Allah," they rejoined, " we took 
thee for one of them and now we see thou art one like ourselves.'* 
Then said the Caliph, " We be seven men, and they only three 
women without even a fourth to help them ; so let us question 
them of their case ; and, if they answer us not, fain we will be 
answered by force." All of them agreed to this except Ja'afar 
who said, 1 " This is not my recking ; let them be ; for we are their 
guests and, as ye know, they made a compact and condition with 
us which we accepted and promised to keep : wherefore it is 
better that we be silent concerning this matter ; and, as but little of 
the night remaineth, let each and every of us gang his own gait." 
Then he winked at the Caliph and whispered to him, " There is 
but one hour of darkness left and I can bring them before thee 
tc-morrow, when thou canst freely question them all concerning 
their story." But the Caliph raised his head haughtily and cried 
out at him in wrath, saying, " I have no patience left for my long- 
ing to hear of them \ let the Kalandars question them forthright." 
Quoth Ja'afar, " This is not my rede." Then words ran high and 
talk answered talk ; and they disputed as to who should first put 
the question, but at last all fixed upon the Porter. And as the 
jangle increased the house-mistress could not but notice it and 
asked them, " O ye folk ! on what matter are ye talking so 
loudly ? " Then the Porter stood up respectfully before her and 
said, " O my lady, this company earnestly desire that thou ac- 
quaint them with the story of the two bitches and what maketh 
thee punish them so cruelly; and then thou fallest to weeping over 
them and kissing them ; and lastly they want to hear the tale of 
thy sister and why she hath been bastinado'd with palm-sticks like 
a man. These are the questions they charge me to put, and peace 
be with thee." 2 Thereupon quoth she who Avas the lady of the 
house to.the guests, " Is this true that he saith on your part?" 
and all replied, " Yes ! " save Ja'afar who kept silence. When she 
heard these words she cried, " By Allah, ye have wronged us, O 
our guests, with grievous wronging ; for when you came before us 
we made compact and condition with you, that whoso should 

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

2 Arab. " Wa'1-Salam " (pronounce Was-Salam) ; meaning "and here ends the- 
matter." In our slang we say, " All light, and the child's name is Antony." 

The Porter and the Three Ladies of Baghdad* 103 

speak of what concerneth him not should hear what pleaseth him 
not. Sufficeth ye not that we took you into our house and fed 
you with our best food ? But the fault is not so much yours as 
hers who let you in." Then she tucked up her sleeves from her 
wrists and struck the floor thrice with her hand crying, " Come ye 
quickly ;" and lo ! a closet door opened and out of it came seven 
negro slaves with drawn swords in hand to whom she said, " Pinion 
me those praters' elbows and bind them each to each." They did 
her bidding and asked her, " O veiled and virtuous ! is it thy 
high command that we strike off their heads ?"; but she answered, 
41 Leave them awhile that I question them of their condition, before 
their necks feel the sword." " By Allah, O my lady ! " cried the 
Porter, " slay me not for other's sin ; all these men offended and 
deserve the penalty of crime save myself. Now by Allah, our 
night had been charming had we escaped the mortification of those 
monocular Kalandars whose entrance into a populous city would 
convert it into a howling wilderness." Then he repeated these 
verses : 

How fair is ruth the strong man deigns not smother ! o And fairest fair when 

shown to weakest brother : 
By Love's own holy tie between us twain, o Let one not suffer for the sin of 


When the Porter ended his verse the lady laughed And Shah- 

razad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted 

Noto fco&en ft teas tlje lEIebentj) VTfgbt, 

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the lady, 
after laughing at the Porter despite her wrath, came up to the 
party and spake thus, " Tell me who ye be, for ye have but an 
hour of ,life ; and were ye not men of rank and, perhaps, notables 
of your tribes, you had not been so froward and I had hastened 
your doom." Then said the Caliph, "Woe to thee, O Ja'afar, tell 
her who we are lest we be slain by mistake ; and speak her fair before 
some horror befal us." " 'Tis part of thy deserts," replied he ; 
whereupon the Caliph cried out at him saying, " There is a time 
for witty words and there is a time for serious work." Then the 
lady accosted the three Kalandars and asked them, "Are ye 

IO4 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

brothers ? "; when they answered, " No, by Allah, we be naught 

but Fakirs and foreigners/' Then quoth she to one among 

them, "Wast thou born blind of one eye?"; and quoth he, "No, 

by Allah, 'twas a marvellous matter and a wondrous mischance 

which caused my eye to be torn out, and mine is a tale which, if 

it were written upon the eye-corners with needle-gravers, were a 

warner to whoso would be warned." l She questioned the second 

and third Kalandar ; but all replied like the first, " By Allah, O 

our mistress, each one of us cometh from a different country, and 

we are all three the sons of Kings, sovereign Princes ruling over 

suzerains and capital cities." Thereupon she turned towards 

them and said, " Let each and every of you tell me his tale in 

due order and explain the cause of his coming to our place ; and 

if his story please us let him stroke his head 2 and wend his way." 

The first to come forward was the Hammal, the Porter, who said, 

" O my lady, I am a man and a porter. This dame, the cateress, 

hired me to carry a load and took me first to the shop of a* 

vintner; then to the booth of a butcher; thence to the stall of 

a fruiterer; thence to a grocer who also sold dry fruits; thence 

to a confectioner and a perfumer-cum-druggist and from him to 

this place where there happened to me with you what happened. 

Such is my story and peace be on us all ! " At this the lady 

laughed and said, " Rub thy head and wend thy ways ! "; but he 

cried, " By Allah, I will not stump it till I hear the stories of my 

companions." Then came forward one of the Monoculars and 

began to tell her 


KNOW, O my lady, that the cause of my beard being shorn and 
my eye being out-torn was as follows. My father was a King and 
he had a brother who was a King over another city ; and it came 
to pass that I and my cousin, the son of my paternal uncle, were 

1 This is a favourite jingle; the play being upon "ibrat" (a needle-graver) .and 
"'ibrat" (an example, a warning). 

2 That is " make his bow ; " as the English peasant pulls his forelock. Lane (5., 249) 
suggests, as an afterthought, that it means: " Recover thy senses; in allusion, to a 
person's drawing his hand over his head after sleep or a fit." TJ But it occurs elsewhere hi 
the sense of " cut thy stick." 

The First Kalandar's Tale. 105 

both born on one and the same day. And years and days rolled 
on ; and, as we grew up, I used to visit my uncle every now and 
then and to spend a certain number of months with him. Now 
my cousin and I were- sworn friends ; for he ever entreated me with 
exceeding kindness ; he killed for me the fattest sheep and strained 
the best of his wines, and we enjoyed long conversing and carous- 
ing. One day -when the wine had gotten the better of us, the son 
of my uncle said to me, " O my cousin, I have a great service to 
ask of thee ; and I desire that thou stay me not in whatso I desire 
to do!" And I replied, "With joy and goodly will." Then he 
made me swear the most binding oaths and left me ; but after a 
little while he returned leading a lady veiled and richly apparelled 
with ornaments worth a large sum of money. Presently he turned 
to me (the woman being still behind him) and said, " Take this 
lady with thee and go before me to such a burial ground" 
(describing it, so that I knew the place), "and enter with her 
into such a sepulchre 1 and there await my coming." The oaths I 
swore to him made me keep silence and suffered me not to oppose 
him ; so I led the woman to the cemetery and both I and she 
took our seats in the sepulchre ; and hardly had we sat down when 
in came my uncle's son, with a bowl of water, a bag of mortar 
and an adze somewhat like a hoe. He went straight to the tomb 
in the midst of the sepulchre and, breaking it open with the adze 
set the stones on one side ; then he fell to digging into the earth 
of the tomb till he came upon a large iron plate, the size of a 
wicket-door ; and on raising it there appeared below it a staircase 
vaulted ahd winding. Then he turned to the lady and said to her, 
" Come now and take thy final choice !" She at once went down 
by the staircase and disappeared ; then quoth he to me, " O son of 
my uncle, by way of completing thy kindness, when I shall have 
descended into this place, restore the trap-door to where it was, 
and heap back the earth upon it as it lay before ; and then of thy 
great goodness mix this unslaked lime which is in the bag with 
this water which is in the bowl and, after building up the stones, 
plaster the outside so that none looking upon it shall say : This is 

1 This would be a separate building like our family tomb and probably domed, 
resembling that mentioned in "The King of the Black Islands." Europeans usually 
call it " a little Wali ; " or, as they wriie it, " Wely ; " the contained for the container ; 
the "Santon" for the "Stnton's tomb." I have noticed this curious confusion (which 
begins with Robinson, i. 322) in " Unexplored Syria," i. l6i. 

io6 Alf Laylah wa Laylak. 

a new opening fn an old tomb. For a whole year have I worked 
at this place whereof none knoweth but Allah, and this is the 
need I have of thee ; " presently adding, " May Allah never 
bereave thy friends of thee nor make them desolate by thine 
absence, O son of my uncle, O my dear cousin ! " And he went 
down the stairs and disappeared for ever* When he was lost to 
sight I replaced the iron plate and did all his bidding till the tomb 
became as it was before ; and I worked almost unconsciously for 
my head was heated with wine. Returning to the palace of my 
uncle, I was told that he had gone forth a-sporting and hunting ; 
so I slept that night without seeing him ; and, when the morning 
dawned, I remembered the scenes of the past evening and what 
happened between me and my cousin ; I repented of having 
obeyed him when penitence was of no avail, I still thought, however, 
that it was a dream. So I fell to asking for the son of my uncle ; but 
there was none to answer me concerning him ; and I went out to 
the grave-yard and the sepulchres, and sought for the tomb under 
which he was, but could not find it ; and I ceased not wandering 
about from sepulchre to sepulchre, and tomb to tomb, all with- 
out success, till night set in. So I returned to the city, yet I 
could neither eat nor drink ; my thoughts being engrossed with 
my cousin, for that I knew not what was become of him ; and I 
grieved with exceeding grief and passed another sorrowful night, 
watching until, the morning. Then went I a second time to the 
cemetery, pondering over what the son of mine uncle had done ; 
and, sorely repenting my hearkening to him, went round among 
all the tombs, but could not find the tomb I sought. I mourned 
over the past, and remained in my mourning seven days, seeking 
the place and ever missing the path. Then my torture of scruples J 
grew upon me till I well nigh went mad, and I found no way to 
dispel my grief save travel and return to my father. So I set out 
and journeyed homeward ; but as I was entering my father's 
capital a crowd of rioters sprang upon me and pinioned me. 2 I 
wondered thereat with all wonderment, seeing that I was the son 
of the Sultan, and these men were my father's subjects and 
amongst them were some of my own slaves. A great fear fell 

1 Arab. " Wiswas ; " = diabolical temptation or suggestion. The "Wiswasi" is a 
man with scruples (scrupulus, a pebble in the shoe), e.g. one who fears that his ablutions 
were deficient, etc. 

8 Arab. " Katf"=z pinioning by tying the arms behind the back and shoulders (Kitf), 
a dire disgrace to free-born men. 

The First Kalandar's Tale. 


upon me, and I said to my soul, 1 "Would heaven I Jcnew what 
hath happened to my father ! " I questioned those that bound me 
of the cause of their so doing, but they returned me no answer. 
However, after a while one of them said to me (and he had been 
a hired servant of ~ our house), " Fortune hath been false to thy 
father ; his troops betrayed him and the Wazir who slew him now 
reigneth in his stead and we lay in wait to seize thee by the 
bidding of him." I was well-nigh distraught and felt ready to 
faint on hearing of my father's death ; when they carried me off and 
placed me in presence of the usurper. Now between Trie and him 
there was an olden grudge, the cause of which was this. I was 
fond of shooting with the stone-bow, 2 and it befel one day, as I was 
standing on the terrace-roof of the palace, that a bird lighted on 
the top of the Wazir's house when he happened to be there. I 
shot at the bird and missed the mark ; but I hit the Wazir's eye 
and knocked it out as fate and fortune decreed. Even so saith 
the poet : 

We tread the path where Fate hath led o The path Fate writ we fain must 

tread : 
And mart in one land doomed to die o Death no where else shall do him 


And on like wise saith another : 

Let Fortune have her wanton way Take heart and all her words obey : 
Nor joy nor mourn at anything o For all things pass and no things stay. 

Now when I knocked out the Wazir's eye he could not say a single 
word, for that my father was King of the city ; but he hated me 
ever after and dire was the grudge thus caused between us twain. 
So when I was set before him hand-bound and pinioned, he 
straightway gave orders for me to be beheaded. I asked, " For 
what crime wilt thou put me to death ? "; whereupon he answered, 
" What crime is greater than this ? " pointing the while to the place 

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

2 Arab. " Kaus al-Banduk'; " the "pellet-bow" of modern India; with two strings 
joined by a bit of cloth which supports a ball of dry day or stone. It is chiefly used 
for birding. 

ito8 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

where his eye had been. Quoth I, " This I did by accident not of 
malice prepense ; " and quoth he, " If thou didst it by accident, I 
will da the like by thee with intention." 1 Then cried he, " Bring 
him forward," and they brought me up to him, when he thrust his 
finger into my left eye and gouged it out ; whereupon I became 
one-eyed as ye see me. Then he bade bind me hand and foot, and 
put me into a chest and said to the sworder, " Take charge of this 
fellow, and go off with htm to the waste lands about the city ; then 
draw thy scymitar and slay him, and leave him to feed the beasts 
and birds." So the headsman fared forth with me and when he 
was in the midst of the desert, he took me out of the chest (and I 
with both hands pinioned and both feet fettered) and was about to 
bandage my eyes before striking off my head. But I wept with 
exceeding weeping until I made him weep with me and, looking at 
him I began to recite these couplets : 

I deemed you coat-o'-mail that should withstand o The foeman's shafts ; and 

you proved foeman's brand ; 
I hoped your aidance in mine every chance o Though fail my left to aid 

my dexter hand : 
Aloof you stand and hear the railer's gibe o Whjle rain their shafts on 

me the giber-band : 
But an ye will not guard me from my foes o Stand clear, and succour 

neither these nor those ! 

And I also quoted : 

I deemed my brethren mail of strongest steel o And so they were from foes 

to fend my dart ! 
I deemed their arrows surest of their aim ; o And so they were when 

aiming at my heart ! 

When the headsman heard my lines (he had been sworder to my 
sire and he owed me a debt of gratitude) he cried, " O my lord, 
what can I do, being but a slave under orders ?" presently adding, 

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

The First Kalandar's Tale. 109 

" Fly for thy life and nevermore return to this land, or they will 
slay thee and slay me with thee, even as the poet said : 

Take thy life and fly whenas evils threat ; o Let the ruined house tell its 

owner's fate : 
New land for the old thou shalt seek and find o But to find new life thou must 

not await. 
Strange that men should sit in the stead of shame, o When Allah's world is so 

wide and great ! 

And trust not other, in matters grave o Life itself must act for a life beset : 
Ne'er would prowl ihe lion with maned neck, o Did he reckon on aid or of 

others reck." 

Hardly believing in my escape, I kissed his hand and thought the 
loss of my eye a light matter in consideration of my escaping from 
being slain. I arrived at my uncle's capital ; and, going in to him, 
told him of what had befallen my father and myself ; whereat he 
wept with sore weeping and said, " Verily thou addest grief to my 
grief, and woe to my woe ; for thy cousin hath been missing these 
many days ; I wot not what hath happened to him, and none can 
give me news of him." And he wept till he fainted. I sorrowed 
and condoled with him ; and he would have applied certain medi- 
caments to my eye, but he saw that it was become as a walnut with 
the shell empty. Then said he, " O my son, better to lose eye and 
keep life ! " After that I could no longer remain silent about my 
cousin, who was his only son and one dearly loved , so I told him 
all that had happened. He rejoiced with extreme joyance to hear 
news of his son and said, " Come now and show me the tomb ; " 
but I replied, " By Allah, O my uncle, I know not its place, though 
I sought it carefully full many times, yet could not find the site." 
However, I and my uncle went to the graveyard and looked right 
and left, till at last I recognised the tomb and we both rejoiced with 
exceeding joy. We entered the sepulchre and loosened the earth 
about the grave ; then, upraising the trap-door, descended some fifty 
steps till we came to the foot of the staircase when lo ! we were 
stopped by a blinding smoke. Thereupon said my uncle that say- 
ing whose sayer shall never come to shame, " There is no Majesty 
and there is no Might, save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great ! " and 
we advanced till we suddenly came upon a saloon, whose floor was 
strewed with flour and grain and provisions and all manner neces- 
saries ; and in the midst of it stood a canopy sheltering a couch. 
Thereupon my uncle went up to the couch and inspecting it found 

HO A if Laylah wa Laylah. 

his son and the lady who had gone down with him into the tomb, 
lying in each other's embrace ; but the twain had become black as 
Charred wood ; it was as if they had been cast into a pit of fire. 
When my uncle saw this spectacle, he spat in his son's face and said, 
" Thou hast thy deserts, O thou hog I 1 this is thy judgment in the 
transitory world, and yet remaineth the judgment in the world to 

.come, a durer and a more enduring." And Shahrazad perceived 

the dawn of day and ceased-saying her permitted say. 

jtfofo fo&en it foas flje 

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the 
Kalandar thus went on with his story before the lady and the 
Caliph and Ja'afar : My uncle struck his son with his slipper 2 as 
he lay there a black heap of coal. I marvelled at his hardness of 
heart, and grieving for my cousin and the lady, said, " By Allah, 
O my uncle, calm thy wrath: dost thou not see that all my 
thoughts are occupied with this misfortune, and how sorrowful I 
am for What hath befallen thy son, and how horrible it is that 
naught of him remaineth but a black heap of charcoal ? And is not 
that enough, but thou must smite him with thy slipper ? " Answered 
he, " O son of my brother, this youth from his boyhood was madly 
in love with his own sister ; 3 and often and often I forbade him 

1 Arab. "Khinzir" (by Europeans pronounced " Hanzir "J, prop, a wild-boar; but 
popularly used like our " you pig ! " 

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

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

The First Kalandar's Tale. 

from her, saying to myself : They are but little ones. However, 
when they grew up sin befel between them ; and, although I could 
hardly believe it, I confined him and chided him and threatened 
him with the severest threats ; and the eunuchs and servants said 
to him : Beware of so foul a thing which none before thee ever 
did, and which none after thee will ever do ; and have a care lest 
thou' be dishonoured and disgraced, among the Kings of the day, 
even to the end of time. And I added : Such a report as this 
will be spread abroad by caravans, and take heed not to give them 
cause to talk or I will assuredly curse thee and do thee to death. 
After that I lodged them apart and shut her up ; but the accursed 
girl loved him with passionate love, for Satan had got the mastery 
of her as well as of him and made their foul sin seem fair in their 
sight. Now when my son saw that I separated them, he secretly 
built this souterrain and furnished it and transported to it victuals, 
eveia as thou seest ; and, when I had gone out a-sporting, came here 
with his sister and hid from me. Then His righteous judgment fell 
upon the twain and consumed them with fire from Heaven ; and 
verily the last judgment will deal them durer pains and more en- 
during ! " Then he wept and I wept with him ; and he looked at 
me and said, " Thou art my son in his stead." And I bethought 
me awhile of the world and of its chances, how the Wazir had 
slain my father and had taken his place and had put out my eye ; 
and how my cousin had come to his death by the strangest chance : 
and I wept again and my uncle wept with me. Then we mounted 
the steps and let down the iron plate and heaped up the earth over 
it ; and, after restoring the tomb to its former condition, we returned 
to the palace. But hardly had we sat down ere we heard the tom- 
toming of the kettle-drum and tantara of trumpets and clash of 
cymbals ; and the rattling of war-men's lances ; and the clamours of 
assailants and the clanking of bits and the neighing of steeds ; 
while the world was canopied with dense dust and sand-clouds 
raised by the horses' hoofs. * We were amazed at sight and sound, 
knowing not what could be the matter ; so we asked and were 
told us that the Wazir who had usurped my father's kingdom 
had marched his men ; and that after levying his soldiery and 

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

112 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

taking a host of wild Arabs l into service, he had come down upon 
us with armies like the sands of the sea ; their number none could 
tell and against them none could prevail. They attacked the city 
unawares ; and the citizens, being powerless to oppose them, Sur- 
rendered the place : ray uncle was slain and I made for the suburbs 
saying to myself, " If thou fall into this villain's hands he will 
assuredly kill thee." On this wise all my troubles were renewed ; 
and I pondered all that had bedded my father and my uncle and 
I knew not what to do ; for if the city people or my father's troops 
had recognised me they would have done their best to win favour 
by .destroying me ; and I could think of no way to escape save by 
shaving off my beard and my eyebrows. So I shore them off and, 
changing my fine .clothes for a Kalandar's rags, I fared forth from 
my uncle's capital and made for this city ; hoping that peradven- 
ture some one would assist me to the presence of the Prince of 
the Faithful, 2 and the Caliph who is the Viceregent of Allah upon 

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

2 Arab. ' Amfr al-Muuminin." The title was assumed by the Caliph Omar to obviate 
the inconvenience of calling himself ''Khalifah" (successor) of the Khalifah of the 
Apostle of Allah (i.e. Abu Bakr) ; which after a few generations would become impos 
sable. It means "Emir (chief or prince) of the Muumins ;" men who hold to the (true 
Moslem) Faith, the " Iman " (theory, fundamental articles) as opposed to the " Din," 
ordinance or practice of the religion. It once became a Waziiial time conferred by 
Sultan Malikshah (King King-king) on his Nizim al-Mulk. (Richardson's Dissert, iviii). 

The Second Kalandar s Tale. II 3 

earth. Thus have I come hither that I might tell him my tale 
and lay my case before him. I arrived here this very night, and 
was standing in doubt whither I should go, when suddenly I saw 
this second Kalandar ; so I salam'd to him, saying : I am a 
stranger ! and he answered : I too am a stranger ! And. as we 
were conversing behold, up came our companion, this third 
Kalandar, and saluted us saying : I am a stranger ! And we 
answered : We too be strangers ! Then we three walked on and 
together till darkness overtook us and Destiny drave us to your 
house. Such, then, is the cause of the shaving of my beard and 
mustachios and eyebrows ; and the manner of my losing my right 
eye. They marvelled much at this tale and the Caliph said to 
Ja'afar, " By Allah, I have not seen nor have I heard the like of 
what hath happened to this Kalandar ! " Quoth the lady of the 
house, " Rub thy head and wend thy ways ; " but he replied, " I 
will not go, till I hear the history of the two others." Thereupon 
the second Kalandar came forward ; and, kissing the ground, began 
to tell 


KNOW, O my lady, that I was not born one-eyed and mine is a 
strange story; an it were graven with needle-graver on the eye- 
corners, it were a warner to whoso would be warned. I am a King, 
son of a King, and was brought up like a Prince. I learned in- 
toning the Koran according the seven schools; 1 and I read all 
manner books, and held disputations on their contents with the 
doctors and men of science ; moreover I studied star-lore and the 
fair sayings of poets and I exercised myself in all branches of 
learning until I surpassed the people of my time ; my skill in calli- 
graphy exceeded that of all the scribes ; and my fame was bruited 
abroad over all climes and cities, and all the kings learned to know 
my name. Amongst others the King of Hind heard of me and 
sent to my father to invite me to his court, with offerings and 
presents and rarities such as befit royalties. So my father fitted 
out six ships for me and my people ; and we put to sea and sailed 

1 This may also nu'an " according to the seven editions of the Koran,*' the old revisions 
and so forth (Sale, Sect. iii. and D'Herbelot "Alcoran.") The schools of the %< Mukri," 
who teach the right pronunciation wherein a mistake might be sinful, are seven, Hanv 
zah, Ibn Katfr, Ya'akub, Ibn Amir, Kisai, Asim and Hafs, the latter being the favourite 
with the Hanafis and the only one now generally known in AMslam. 

VOL. I. H 

IH A If Layiah wa Lay! ah. 

for the space of a full month till we made the land. Then we 
brought out the horses that were with us in the ships; and, after 
loading the camels with our presents for the Prince, we set forth 
inland. But we had marched only a little way, when behold, a 
dust-cloud up-flew, and grew until it walled 1 the horizon from 
view. After an hour or so the veil lifted and discovered beneath 
it fifty horsemen, ravening lions to the sight, in steel armour dight. 
We observed them straightly and lo ! they were cutters-off of the 
highway, wild as wild Arabs. When they saw that we were only 
four and had with us but the ten camels carrying the presents, 
they dashed down upon us with lances at rest. We signed to 
them, with our fingers, as it were saying, "We be messengers 
of the great King of Hind, so harm us not ! " but they answered 
on like wise, " We are not in his dominions to obey nor are we 
subject to his sway." Then they set upon us and slew some 
of my slaves and put the lave to flight ; and I also fled after I had 
gotten a wound, a grievous hurt, whilst the Arabs were taken up 
with the money and the presents which were with us. I went forth 
unknowing whither I went, having become mean as 1 was mighty ; 
and I fared on until I came to the crest of a mountain where I took 
shelter for the night in a cave. When day arose I set out again, 
nor ceased after this fashion till I arrived at a fair city and a well- 
filled. Now it was the season when Winter was turning away 
with his rime and to greet the world with his flowers came Prime, 
and the young blooms were springing and the streams flowed 
ringing, and the birds were sweetly singing", as saith the poet 
concerning a certain city when describing it : 

A place secure from every thought of fear o Safety and peace for ever lord it 

here : 
Its beauties seem to beautify its sons o And as in Heaven its happy folk 


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

The Second Kalandars Tale. \ 1 5 

I was glad of my arrival for I was wearied with the way, and 
yellow of face for weakness and want; but my plight was pitiable 
and I knew not whither to betake me. So I accosted a Tailor 
sitting in his little shop and saluted him ; he returned my salam, 
and bade me kindly welcome and wished me well and entreated 
me gently and asked me of the cause of my strangerhood. I told 
him all my past from first to last ; and he was concerned on my 
account and said, " O youth, disclose not thy secret to any : the 
King of this city is the greatest enemy thy father hath, and there 
is blood- wit 1 between them and thou hast cause to fear for thy 
life.'' Then he set meat and drink before me ; and I ate and 
drank and he with me ; and we conversed freely till night-fall, 
when he cleared me a place in a corner of his shop and brought 
me a carpet and a coverlet. I tarrie^i with him three days ; at the 
end of which time he said to me, " Knowest thou no calling 
whereby to win thy living, O my son ? * u< I am learned in the law," 
I replied, " and a doctor of doctrine ; an adept in art and science, a 
mathematician and a notable penman." He rejoined, "Thy calling 
is of no account in our city, where not a soul understandeth science 
or even writing or aught save money-making," Then said I, " By 
Allah, I know nothing but what I have mentioned ; " and he 
answered, "Gird thy middle and take thee a hatchet and a cord, and 
go and hew wood in the wold for thy daily bread, till Allah send 
thee relief; and tell none who thou art lest they slay thee." Then 
he bought me an axe and a rope and gave me in charge to certain 
wood-cutters; and with these guardians I went forth into the 
forest,, where I cut fuel-wood the whole of my day and came back 
in the evening bearing my bundle on my head. I sold it for half 
a dinar, with part of which I bought provision and laid by the rest. 
In such work I spent a whole year and when this was ended I went 
out one day, as was my wont, into the wilderness ; and, wandering 
away from my companions, I chanced on a thickly grown lowland 2 

1 Arab. Sdr the vendetta, before mentioned, as dreaded in Arabia as in Corsica. 

* Arab. " Ghutah," usually a place where irrigation is abundant. It especially applies 
(in books) to the Damascus-plain because " it abounds with water and fruit trees.'" 
Bochart (Geog. Sacra, p. 90) derives ntD'JJ (utah) from py Uz, son of Arab, who 
(he says) founded Damascus. The Ghutah is one of the four earthly paradises, the others 
being Basrah (Bassorah), Shiraz and Samarcand. Its peculiarity is /the likeness to a sea- 
port ; the Desert which rolls up almost to its doors being the sea and its ships being the 
camels. The first Arab to whom we owe this admirable term for the " Companion of 
Job" is "Tarafah" one of the poets of the Suspended Poem* : he likens (v.-v. 3, 4) 
the camels which bore away his beloved to ships sailing from Aduli. But " ships of the 
desert" is doubtless a. term of th,e highest antiquity. 

Ii6 A If Laylah wa Lay I ah. 

in which there was an abundance of wood. So I entered and I 
found the gnarled stump of a great tree and loosened the ground 
about it and shovelled away the earth. Presently my hatchet rang 
upon a copper ring ; so I cleared away the soil and behold, the 
ring was attached to a wooden trap-door. This I raised and there 
appeared beneath it a staircase. I descended the steps to the 
bottom and came to a door, which I opened and found myself in a 
noble hall strong of structure and beautifully built, where was a 
damsel like a pearl of great price, whose favour banished from my 
heart all grief and cark and care ; and whose soft speech healed 
the soul in despair and captivated the wise and ware. Her figure 
measured five feet in height ; her breasts were firm and upright ; her 
cheek a very garden of delight ; her colour lively bright ; her face 
gleamed like dawn through curly tresses which gloomed like night, 
and above the snows of her bosom glittered teeth of a pearly 
white. 1 As the poet said of one like her : 

Slim-waisted leveling, jetty hair-encrowned o A wand of willow on a sandy 
mound : 

And as saith another : 

Four things that meet not, save they here unite o To shed my heart-blood and 

to rape my sprite : 
Brilliantest forehead ; tresses jetty bright ; Cheeks rosy red and stature 


When I looked upon her I prostrated myself before Him who had 
created her, for the beauty and loveliness He had shaped in her, 
and she looked at me and said, " Art thou man or Jinni ?" " I am 
a man," answered I, and she, " Now who brought thee to this 
place where I have abided five-and-twenty years without even yet 
seeing man in it." Quoth I (and indeed I found her words wonder- 
sweet, and m.y heart was melted to the core by them), "O my lady, 
my good fortune led me hither for the dispelling of my cark and 
care." Then I related to her all my mishap from first to last, and 
my case appeared to her exceeding grievous ; so she wept and said, 
" I will tell thee my story in my turn. I am the daughter of the 
King Ifitamus, lord of the Islands of Abnus, 2 who married me to 
my cousin, the son of my paternal uncle; but on my wedding 

1 The exigencies of the " Saj'a, or rhymed prose, disjoint this and many similar 
The " Ebony" Islands ; Scott's " Isle of Ebene," i.| 217. 

The Second Kalandar's Tale. 117 

night an Ifrit named Jtrjfs 1 bin Rajmus, first cousin that is, 
mother's sister's son, of Iblfs, the Foul Fiend, snatched me up 
and, flying away with me like a bird, set me down in this place, 
-whither he conveyed all I needed of fine stuffs, raiment and 
jewels and furniture, and meat and drink and other else. Once 
in every ten days he comes here and lies a single night with me, 
and then wends his way, for he took me without the consent of 
this family ; and he hath agreed with me that if ever I need him by 
night or by day, I have only to pass my hand over yonder two 
lines engraved upon the alcove, and he will appear to me before 
my fingers cease touching. Four days have now passed since he 
was here ; and, as there remain six days before he come again, say 
me, wilt thou abide with me five days, and go hence the day 
before his coming?" I replied "Yes, and yes again! O rare, if 
all this be not a dream ! " Hereat she was glad and, springing to 
her feet, seized my hand and carried me through an arched door- 
way to a Hammam-bath, a fair hall and richly decorate. I doffed 
my clothes, and she doffed hers; then we bathed and she washed me ; 
and when this was done we left the bath, and she seated me by her 
side upon a high divan, and brought me sherbet scented with 
musk. When we felt cool after the bath, she set food before me 
and we ate and fell to talking ; but presently she said to me, " Lay 
thee down and take thy rest, for surely thou must be weary." So I 
thanked her, my lady, and lay down and slept soundly, forgetting 
all that had happened to me. When I awoke I found her rubbing 
and shampooing my feet ; 2 so I again thanked her and blessed her 
and we sat for a while talking. Said she, " By Allah, I was sad at 
heart, for that I have dwelt alone underground for these five-and- 
twenty years ; and praise be to Allah, who hath sent me some one 
with whom I can converse!" Then she asked, "O youth, what 
sayest thou to wine-?" and I answered, "Do as thou wilt." Where* 
upon she went to a cupboard and took out a sealed flask of right 
old wine and set off the table with flowers and scented herbs and 
began to sing these lines : 

Had we known of thy coming we fain had dispread o The cores of our hearts 

or the balls of our eyes ; 
Our cheeks as a carpet to greet thee had thrown o And- our eyelids had strown 

for thy feet to betread. 

1 "Jarjarfs" in the Bui. Edit. 

2 Arab. "Takbfs." Many Easterns can hardly sleep without this kneading of the 
muscles, this "rubbing" whose hygienic propertiae England is now learning. 

Ii8 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

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

This is a thing wherein destruction lies o I -rede thee shun it an thy wits be 


And these also: 

thou who seekest severance, draw the rein o Of thy swift steed nor seek 

o'ermuch t' advance ; 

Ah stay ! for treachery is the rule of life, o And sweets of meeting end 
in severance. 

1 heard her verse but paid no heed to her words , nay, I raised 

:my foot and administered to the alcove a mighty kick And 

Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her per- 
mitted say. 

JJofo fojjtn it fcoas tfje 'SrjirtctntJ 

She said, It hath readied me, O auspicious King, that the second 
Kalandar thus continued his tale to the lady : But when, O my 
mistress, I kicked that alcove with a mighty kick, behold, the air 
starkened and darkened and thundered and lightened ; the earth 
trembled and quaked and the world became invisible. At once the 
fumes of wine left my head : I cried to her, "What is the matter?" 
and she replied, " The Ifrjt is upon us ! did I not warn thee of 
this ? By Allah, thou hast brought ruin upon me ; but fly for thy 

The Second Kalandars Tale. 119 

life and go up by the way thou earnest down ! " So I fled up the 
staircase; but, in the excess of my fear, I forgot sandals and 
hatchet. And when I had mounted two steps I turned to took 
for them, and lo ! I saw the earth cleave asunder, and there arose 
from it an Ifrit, a monster of hideousness, who said to the damsel, 
" What trouble and pother be this wherewith thou disturbest me ? 
What mishap hath betided thee ? " " No mishap hath befallen me " 
she answered, " save that my breast was straitened * and my heart 
heavy with sadness ! so I drank a little wine to broaden it and to 
hearten myself; then I rose to obey a call of Nature, but the wine 
had gotten into my head and I fell against the alcove." " Thou 
liest, like the whore thou art ! " shrieked the Ifrit ; and he looked 
around the hall right and left till he caught sight of my axe and 
sandals and said to her, " What be these but the belongings of 
some mortal who hath been in thy society?" She answered, 
" I never set eyes upon them till this moment : they must have 
been brought by thee hither cleaving to thy garments." Quoth the 
Ifrit, "These words are absurd; thou harlot! thou strumpet!" 
Then he stripped her stark naked and, stretching her upon the floor, 
bound her hands and feet to four stakes, like one crucified ; 2 and 
set about torturing and trying to make her confess. I could not 
bear to stand listening to her cries and groans ; so I climbed the 
stair on the quake with fear ; and when I reached the top I replaced 
the trap-door and covered it with earth. Then repented I of what 
I had done with penitence exceeding ; and thought of the lady and 
her beauty and loveliness, and the tortures she was suffering at the 
hands of the accursed Ifrit, after her quiet life of five-and-twenty 
years ; and how all that had happened to her was for cause of me, 
I bethought me of my father and his kingly estate and how I had 
become a woodcutter; and how, after my time had been awhile 
serene, the world had again waxed turbid and troubled to me. So 
I wept bitterly and repeated this couplet : 

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

Then I walked till I reached the home of my friend, the Tailor, 

1 The converse of the breast being broadened, the drooping, "draggle-tail" gait 
compared with the head held high and the chest inflated. 

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

120 A If Laylah wa Laylak. 

whom I found most anxiously expecting me ; indeed he was, as the 
saying goes, on coals of fire for my account. And when he saw me 
he said, " All night long my heart hath been heavy, fearing for thee 
from wild beasts or other mischances. Now praise be to Allah for 
thy safety ! " I thanked him for his friendly solicitude and, retiring 
to my corner, sat pondering and musing on what had befallen me ; 
and I blamed and chided myself for my meddlesome folly and my 
frowardness in kicking the alcove. I was calling myself to account 
when behold, my friend, the Tailor, came to me and said, "O 
youth, in the shop there is an old man, a Persian, 1 who seeketh 
thee : he hath thy hatchet and thy sandals which he had taken to 
the woodcutters, 2 saying, I was going out at what time the Mu'azzin 
ibegan the call to dawn-prayer, when I chanced upon these things 
and know not whose they are ; so direct me to their owner. The 
woodcutters recognised thy hatchet and directed him to thee : he 
is sitting in my shop, so fare forth to him and thank him and take 
thine axe and sandals." When I heard these words I turned yellow 
with fear and felt stunned as by a blow ; and, before I could recover 
myself, lo ! the floor of my private room clove asunder, and out of 
it rose the Persiar who was the Ifrit. He had tortured the lady 
with exceeding tortures, natheless she would not confess to him 
aught ; so he took the hatchet and sandals and said to her, " As 
surely as I am Jirjis of the seed of Iblis, I will bring thee back 
the owner of this and these ! " 3 Then he went to the woodcutters 
with the pretence aforesaid and, being directed to me, after waiting 
a while in the shop till the fact was confirmed, he suddenly snatched 
me up as a hawk snatcheth a mouse and flew high in air ; but 
presently descended and plunged-with me under the earth (I being 
aswoon the while), and lastly set me down in the subterranean 
palace wherein I had passed that blissful night. And there I saw 
the lady stripped to the skin, her limbs bound to four stakes and* 
blood welling from her sides. At the sight my eyes ran over with 
tears ; but the Ifrit covered her person and said, " O wanton, is 

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

2 The Calc. Edit, turns them into Tailors (Khayydtin) and Torrens does not see the 

3 > Axe and sandals. 

The Second KalandaSs Tale. ' 121 

not this man thy lover?" She looked upon me and replied, "I 
wot him not nor have I ever seen him before this hour ! " Quoth 
the Ifrit, ' What ! this torture and yet no confessing ; " and quoth 
she, " I never saw this man in my born days, and it is not lawful in 
Allah's sight to tell lies on him." "If thou know him not," said 
the Ifrit to her, " take this sword and strike off his head." * She 
hent the sword in hand and came close up to me ; and I signalled 
to her with my eyebrows, my tears the while flowing adown my 
cheeks. She understood me and made answer, also by signs, 
" How couldest thou bring all this evil upon me ? " and I rejoined 
after the same fashion, " This is the time for mercy and forgive- 
ness." And the mute tongue of my case 2 spake aloud saying : 

Mine eyes were dragomans for my tongue betied o And told full clear the love 

I fain would hide : 
When last we met and tears in torrents railed o -For tongue struck dumb my 

glances testified : 
She signed with eye-glance while her lips were mute o I signed with" fingers 

and she kenned th' implied : 
Our eyebrows did all duty 'twixt us twain ; o And we being speechless Love 

spake loud and plain. 

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

1 Lit. 4< S rikehis neck." 

* A phrase which will frequently recur : meaning the situation suggested such words 

122 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

her with an eye-glance, " I will sacrifice my soul for thee. H And 
the tongue of the case wrote in our hearts these lines : 

How many a lover with his eyebrows speaketh o To his beloved, as his passion 

pleadeth : 
With flashing eyne his passion he inspireth o And well she seeth what his 

pleading needeth . 
How sweet the look when each on other gazeth; o And with what swiftness 

and how sure it speedeth : 
And this with eyebrows all his passion writeth ; o And that with eyeballs all his 

passion readeth. 

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

The Tale of the Envler and the Envied. 123 

circumstance." He replied " Talk me no long talk, it is in my 
power to slay thee ; but I give thee instead thy choice." Quoth 
I, " O thou Ifrit, it would besit thee to pardon me even as the 
Envied pardoned the Envier." Quoth he, " And how was that ?" 
and I .began to tell him 


THEY relate, O Ifrit, that in a certain city were two men who 
dwelt in adjoining houses, having a common party-wall ; and one 
of them envied the other and looked on him with an evil eye, 1 and 
did his utmost endeavour to injure him ; and, albeit at all times he 
was jealous of his neighbour, his malice at last grew on him till he 
could hardly eat or enjoy the sweet pleasures of sleep. But the 
Envied did nothing save prosper; and the more the other strove 
to injure him, the more he got and gained and throve. At last the 
malice of his neighbour and the man's constant endeavour to work 
him a harm came to his knowledge ; so he said, " By Allah ! .God^s 
earth is wide enough for its people ; " and, leaving the neighbour- 
hood, he repaired to another city where he bought himself a piece 
of land in which was a dried up draw-well, 2 old and in ruinous 
condition. Here he built him an oratory and, furnishing it with 
a few necessaries, took up his abode therein, and devoted himself 
to prayer and worshipping Allah Almighty ; and Fakirs and holy 
mendicants flocked to him from all quarters ; and his fame went 
abroad through the city and that country side. Presently the 
news reached his envious neighbour, of what good fortune had 
befallen him and how the city notables had become his disciples ; 
so he travelled to the place and presented himself at the holy 
man's hermitage, and was met by the Envied with welcome and 
greeting and all honour. Then quoth the Envier, " I have a word 
to say to thee ; and this is the cause of my faring hither, and I 
wish to give thee a piece of good news ; so come with me to thy 

1 The smiter with the evil eye is called " A'in" and the person smitten "Ma'm " or 

2 Arab. " Sdkiyah," the well-known Persian wheel with pots and buckets attached to 
the tire. It is of many kinds, the boxed, etc., etc. ; and it is possibly alluded to in the 
"pitcher broken at the fountain " (Ecclesiastes xii. 6) an accident often occurring to the 
modern " Nona." Travellers mostly abuse its "dismal creaking" and "mournful 
monotony" : 7. have defended the music of the water-wheel in Pilgrimage ii. 198. 

124 A If Laylah wa Laylak* 

cell." Thereupon the Envied arose and took the Envier by the 
hand, and they went in to the inmost part of the hermitage ; but 
the Envier said, " Bid thy Fakirs retire to their cells, for I will not 
tell thee what I have to say, save in secret where none may hear 
us." Accordingly the Envied said to his Fakirs, " Retire to your 
private cells ; " and, when all had done' as he bade them, he set out 
with his visitor and walked a little way until the twain reached the 
ruinous old well. And as they stood upon the brink the Envier 
gave the Envied a push which tumbled him headlong into it, 
unseen of any ; whereupon he fared forth, and went his ways, 
thinking to have had slain him. Now this well happened to be 
haunted by the Jann who, seeing the case, bore him up and let 
him down little by little, till he reached the bottom, when they 
seated him upon a large stone. Then one of them asked his 
fellows, " Wot ye who be this man ? " and they answered, " Nay/' 
" This man," continued the speaker, " is the Envied hight who, 
flying from the Envier, came to dwell in our city, and here founded 
this holy house, and he hath edified us by his litanies 1 and his 
lections of the Koran ; but the Envier set out and journeyed till he 
rejoined him, and cunningly contrived to deceive him and cast him 
into the well where we now are. But the fame of this good man 
hath this very night come to the Sultan of our city who designeth 
to visit him on the morrow on account of his daughter." " What 
aileth his daughter?" asked one, and another answered "She is 
possessed of a spirit; for Maymun, son of Damdam, fs madly in love 
with her ; but, if this pious man knew the remedy, her cure would 
be as easy as could be." Hereupon one of them inquired, "And 
what is the medicine ? " and -he replied, " The black tom-cat which 
is with him in the oratory hath, on the end of his tail, a white spot, 
the size of a dirham ; let him pluck seven white hairs from the 
spot, then let him fumigate .her therewith and the Marid will flee 
from her and not return; so she shall be sane for the rest of her 

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

The Tale of the Envier and the Envied, 125 

life. All this took place, O I frit, within earshot of the Envied who 
listened readily. When dawn broke and morn arose in sheen and 
shone, the Fakirs went to seek the Shaykh and found him climbing 
up the wall of the well ; whereby he was magnified in their eyes. 1 
Then, knowing that naught save the black tom-cat could supply 
him with the remedy required, he plucked the seven tail-hairs from 
the white spot and laid them by him ; and hardly had the sun risen 
ere the Sultan entered the hermitage, with the great lords of his 
estate, bidding the rest of his retinue to remain standing outside. 
The Envied gave him a hearty welcome, and seating him by his 
side asked him, " Shall I tell thee the cause of thy coming?" 
The King answered " Yes." He continued, " Thou hast come upon 
pretext of a visitation ; 2 but it is in thy heart to question me of thy 
daughter." Replied the King, " Tis even so, O thou holy Shaykh ;" 
and the Envied continued, " Send and fetch her, and I trust to heal 
her forthright (an such it be the will of Allah !). The King in great 
joy sent for his daughter, and they brought her pinioned and 
fettered. The Envied made her sit down behind a curtain and 
taking out the hairs fumigated her therewith; whereupon that 
which was in her head cried out and departed from her. The girl 
was at once restored to her right mind and veiling her face, said, 
" What hath happened and who brought me hither ? " The Sultan 
rejoiced with a joy which nothing could exceed, and kissed his 
daughter's eyes, 3 and the holy man's hand ; then, turning to his 
great lords, he asked, " How say ye ! What fee deserveth he who 
hath made my daughter whole?" and all answered "He deserveth 
her to wife ; " and the King said, " Ye speak sooth ! " So he 
married him to her and the Envied thus became son-in-law to the 
King. And after a little the Wazir died and the King said, 
"Whom can I make Minister in his stead ? " " Thy son-in-law," 
replied the courtiers. So the Envied became a Wazir ; and after a 
while the Sultan also died and the lieges said, u Whom shall we 
make King ? " and all cried, " The Wazir." So the Wazir was 
forthrigth made Sultan, and he became King regnant, a true ruler of 
men. One day as he had mo'unted his horse ; and, in the eminence 

1 As they thought he had been there for prayer or penance. 

a Arab. " Ziyarat," a visit to a pious person or place. 

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

126 A If Laylah wa 

of his kinglihood, was riding amidst his Emirs and Wazirs arid the 
Grandees of his realm his eye fell upon his old neighbour, the 
Envier, who stood afoot on his path ; so he turned to one of his 
Ministers, and said, "Bring hither that man and cause him no 
affright." The Wazir brought him and the King said, " Give him 
a thousand miskals 1 of gold from the treasury, and load him ten 
camels with goods for trade, and send him under escort to his own 
town." Then he bade his enemy farewell and sent him away and 
forbore to punish him for the many and great evils he had done. 
See, O Ifrit, the mercy of the Envied to the Envrer, who had hated 
him from the beginning and had borne him such bitter malice and 
never met him without causing him trouble; and had driven him 
from house and home, and then had journeyed for the sole purpose 
of taking his life by throwing him into the well. Yet he did not 
requite his injurious dealing, but forgave him and was bountiful to 
him. 2 Then I wept before him, O my lady, with sore weeping, 
never was there sorer, and I recited : 

'Pardon my fault, for 'tis the wise man's wont o All faults to pardon and 

revenge forgo : 
In sooth all manner faults in me contain o Then deign of goodness mercy-grace 

to show : 
Whoso imploreth pardon from on High o Should h.old his hand from sinners 

here below. 

Said the Ifrit, "Lengthen not thy words! As to my slaying thee 
fear it not, and as to my pardoning thee hope it not ; but from my 
bewitching thee there is no escape." Then he tore me from the 
ground which closed under my feet and flew with me into the 
firmament till I saw the earth as a large white cloud or a saucer 8 
in the midst of the waters. Presently he set me down on a mountain, 
and taking a little dust, over which he muttered some magical 
words, sprinkled me therewith, saying, "Quit that shape and 
take thou the shape of an ape ! " And on the instant I became an 
ape, a tail-less baboon, the son of a century*. Now when he had 
left me and I saw myself in this ugly and hateful shape, I wept for 
myself, but resigned my soul to the tyranny of Time and Circum- 
stance, well weeting that Fortune is fair and constant to no man. I 

1 A weight of 71-7* English grains in gold ; here equivalent to the dinar. 

2 Compare the tale of The Three Crows in Gammer Grethel, Evening ix. 

8 The comparison is peculiarly apposite ; the earth seen from above appears hollow 
a raised rim. 
A hundred years old* 

The Second Kalandars Tale. 127 

descended the mountain and found at the foot a desert plain, long 
and broad, over which I travelled for the space of a month till my 
course brought me to the brink of the briny sea. 1 After standing 
there awhile, I was ware of a ship in the offing which ran before a 
fair wind making for the shore : I hid myself behind a rock on the 
beach and waited till the ship drew near, when I leaped on board: 
I found her full of merchants and passengers and one of them 
cried, " O Captain, this ill-omened brute will bring us ill-luck ! " 
and another said, " Turn this ill-omened beast out from among us ;" 
the Captain said, " Let us kill it ! " another said, " Slay it with the 
sword;" a third, " Drown it;" and a fourth, "Shoot it with an 
arrow." But I sprang up and laid hold of the Rais's 2 skirt, and 
shed tears which poured down my chops. The Captain took pity 
on me, and said, " O merchants ! this ape hath appealed to me for 
protection and I will protect him ; henceforth ,he is under my 
charge : so let none do him aught hurt or harm, otherwise there will 
be bad blood between us." Then he entreated me kindly and what- 
soever he said I understood and ministered to his every want and 
served him as a servant, albeit my tongue would not obey my 
wishes ; so that he came to love me. The vessel sailed on, the wind 
being fair, for the space of fifty days ; at the end of which we cast 
anchor under the walls of a great city wherein was a world of 
people, especially learned men, none could tell their number save 
Allah. No sooner had we arrived than we were visited by certain 
Mameluke-officials from the King of that city ; who, after boarding 
us, greeted the merchants and giving them joy of safe arrival said, 
" Our King welcometh you, and sendeth you this roll of paper, 
whereupon each and every of you must write a line. For ye shall 
know that the King's Minister, a calligrapher of renown, is dead, 
and the King hath sworn a solemn oath that he will make none 
Wazir in his stead who cannot write as well as he could." He then 
gave us the scroll which measured ten cubits long by a breadth of 
one, and each of the merchants who knew how to write wrote a line 
thereon, even to the last of them ; after which I stood up (still in 
the shape of an ape) and snatched the roll out of their hands. 
They feared lest I should tear it or throw it overboard ; so they 
tried to stay ine and scare me, but I signed to them that I could 
write, whereat all marvelled, saying, " We never yet saw an ape 

1 " Bahr " in Arab, means sea, river, piece of water ; hence the adjective is needed. 
8 The Captain or Master of the ship (not the owner). In Al- Yaman the word also 
tneans a " barber," in virtue of the root, Raas, a head. 

128 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

write/' And the Captain cried, " Let him write ; and if he scribble 
and scrabble we will kick him out and kill him ; but if he write 
fair and scholarly I will adopt him as my son ; for surely I never 
yet saw a more intelligent and well-mannered monkey than he. 
Would Heaven my real son were his match in morals and manners." 
I took the reed, and stretching out my paw, dipped it in ink and 
wrote, in the hand used for letters/ these two couplets : 

Time hath recorded gifts she gave the great \ o But none recorded thine which 

be far higher \ 
Allah ne'er orphan men by loss of thee o Who be of Goodness mother. 

Bounty's sire. 

And I wrote in Rayhani or larger letters elegantly curved : a 

Thou hast a reed 3 of rede to every land, o Whose driving causeth all the world 
to thrive ; 

Nil is the Nile of Misraim by thy boons o Who makest misery smile with rin- 
gers five. 

Then I wrote in the Suls 4 character : 

There be no writer who from Death shall fleet, o But what his hand hath writ 

men shall repeat : 
Write, therefore, naught save what shall serve thee when o Thou see't on 

Judgment-Day an so thou see't ! 

Then I wrote in the character Naskh : 5 

1 The text has " in the character Ruka'i," or Rikd'i, the correspondence-hand, 

2 A curved character .supposed to be like the basil-leaf (rayhan). Richaidson calls it 
'' Rohani." 

3 I need hardly say that Easterns use a reed, a Calamus ' (Kalam applied dnly to the 
cut reed) for our quills and steel pens. 

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

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

The Second Kalandars Tale. 129 

When to sore parting Fate our love shall doom, o To distant life by Destiny 

We cause the inkhorn's lips to 'plain our pains, o And tongue our utterance 

with the talking reed. 

And I wrote in the Tumar character * : 

Kingdom with none endures ; if thou deny This truth, where be the King* 

of earlier earth ? 
Set trees of goodliness while rule endures, o And when thou art fallen they 

shall tell thy worth. 

And I wrote in the character Muhakkak 2 : 

When oped the inkhorn of thy wealth and fame o Take ink of generous heart 

and gracious hand ; 
Write brave and noble deeds while write thou can o And win thee praise from 

point of pen and brand. 

Then I gave the scroll to the officials and, after we all had written 
our line, they carried it before the King. When he saw the paper 
no writing pleased him save my writing; and he said to the 
assembled courtiers, " Go seek the writer of these lines and dress 
him in a splendid robe of honour ; then mount him on a she-mule, 3 

1 Capital and uncial letters ; the liand in which the Ka 'abah veil is inscribed (Pil- 
grimage iii. 299, 300). 

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

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

VOL. I. I 

1 3O Alf Laylah wa Laylak. 

let a band of music precede him and bring him to the 
presence." At these words they smiled and the King was wroth 
with them and cried " O accursed ! I give you an order and you 
laugh at me?" "O King," replied they, "if we laugh 'tis not at 
thee and not without a cause." " And what is it ? " asked he ; and 
they answered, " O King, thou orderest us to bring to thy presence 
the man who wrote these lines ; now the truth is that he who wrote 
them is not of the sons of Adam, 1 but an ape, a tailless baboon, 
belonging to the ship-Captain " Quoth he, " Is this true that you 
say?" Quoth they "Yea! by the rights of thy munificence!" 
The King marvelled at their words and shook with mirth and 
said, " I am minded to buy this ape of the Captain." Then he 
sent messengers to the ship with the mule, the dress, the guard 
and the state-drums, saying, " Not the less do you clothe him in 
the robe of honour and mount him on the mule and let him be 
surrounded by the guards and preceded by the band of music." 
They came to the ship and took me from the Captain and robed 
me in the robe of honour and, mounting me on the she-mule, 
carried me in state-procession through the streets ; whilst the 
people were amazed and amused. And folk said to one another 
" Halloo ! is our Sultan about to make an ape his Minister ? " ; and 
came all agog crowding to gaze at me, and the town was astir and 
turned topsy-turyy on my account. When they brought me up 
to the King and set me in his presence, I kissed the ground before 
him three times, and once before the High Chamberlain and great 
officers, and he bade me be seated, and I sat respectfully on shins 
and knees, 2 and all who were present marvelled at my fine manners, 
and the King most of all. Thereupon he ordered the lieges to 
retire; and, when none remained save the King's majesty, the 
Eunuch on duty and a little white slave, he bade them set before 
me the table of food, containing all manner of birds, whatever 
hoppeth and flieth and treadeth in nest, such as quail and sand- 
grouse. Then he signed to me to eat with him ; so I rose and 
kissed ground before him, then sat me down and ate with him. 
And when the table was removed I washed my hands in seven 

1 In Heb. "Ben- Adam" is any man opp. to "Beni ish" (Psalm iv. 3)=// vtri> 
not homines. 

2 This posture is terribly trying to European legs ; and few white men (unless brought 
up to it) can squat for any time on theU heels. Trie "tailor-fashion," with crossed legs, 
is held to be free and easy. 

The Second Kalandars Tale. 

waters and took the reed -case and reed ; and wrote instead of 
speaking these couplets : 

Wail for the little partridges on porringer and plate ; * Cry for the ruin of the 

fries and stews well marinate : 
Keen as I keen for loved, lost daughters of the Katd-grouse, 1 o And omelette 

round the fair enbrowned fowls agglomerate : 
O fire in heart of me for fish, those deux poissons I saw, o Bedded on new made 

scones 2 and cakes in piles to laniate. 
For thee, O vermicelli ! aches my very maw ! I hold o Without thee every 

taste and joy are clean annihilate. 
Those eggs have rolled their yellow eyes in torturing pains of fire o Ere served 

with hash and fritters hot, that delicatest cate. 
Praised be Allah for His baked and roast and ah ! how good o This pulse, these 

pot-herbs steeped in oil with eysill combinate ! 
When hunger sated was, I elbow- propt fell back upon o Meat-pudding 3 wherein 

gleamed the bangles that my wits amate. 
Then woke I sleeping appetite to eat as though in sport <* Sweets from brocaded 

trays and kickshaws most elaborate. 
Be patient, soul of me ! Time is a haughty, jealous wight ; o To-day he seems 

dark-lowering and to-morrow fair to sight.* ^ 

Then I rose and seated myself at a respectful distance while the 
King read what I had written, and marvelled, exclaiming, " O the 
miracle, that an ape should be gifted with this graceful style and 
this power of penmanship ! By Allah, 'tis a wonder of wonders !'" 

f l Arab. "Kata" = PterocIes Alchata, the well-known sand-grouse of the desert. It 
is very poor white flesh. 

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

3 Arab. " Han'sah," a favourite dish of wheat (or rice) boiled and reduced to a paste 
.with shredded meat, spices and condiments. The "bangles" is a pretty girl eating 

with him. 

; 4 These lines are repeated with a difference in Night cccxxx. They affect Rims cars, 
out of the way, heavy rhymes : e.g. here Sakdrfj (plur. of Sakruj, platters, porringers); 
Tayahvj (plur. of Tayhuj, the smaller caccabis-partridge) ;' Tabahij (Persian Tabahjah, an 
omelet or a stew of meat, onions, eggs, etc.) Ma'arij ("in stepped piles " like the pyramids; 
which Lane ii. 495, renders "on the stairs") ; Makarij (plur. of Makraj, a small pot); 
Damalij (plur. of dumluj, a bracelet, a bangle) ; Dayibij, (brocades) and Tafarij (openings, 
enjoyments). In Night cccxxx. we find also Sikabij (plur. of Sikbaj, marinated meat else- 
where explained) ; Fardrfj (plur. of farruj, a chicken, vulg. farkh) and Dakakij (plur. Of 
dakujah, a small jar). In the first fine we have also (though not a rhyme) Gharanik 
Gr.Tepai/d?, a crane, preserved in Romaic. The weeping and wailing are caused by the 
remembrance that all these delicacies have been demolished like a Badawi camp.. 

132 A If Laylah wa Lay I ah. 

Presently they set before the King choice wines in flagons of glass 
and he drank : then he passed on the cup to me ; and I kissed the 
ground and drank and wrote on it : 

With fire they boiled me to loose my tongue, 1 o And pain and patience gave 

for fellowship : 
Hence comes it hands of men upbear me high o And honey-dew from lips of 

maid I sip t 

And these also : 

Morn saith to Night, " withdraw and let me shine ; " o So drain we draughts that 

dull all pain and pine : 2 
I doubt, so fine the glass, the wine so clear, o If 'tis the wine in glass or 

glass in wine. 

The King read my verse and said with a sigh, "Were these gifts 3 
in a man, he would excel all the folk of his time and age ! " Then 
he called for the chess-board, and said, " Say, wilt thou play with 
me ? "; and I signed with my head, " Yes." Then I came forward 
and ordered the pieces and played with him two games, both of 
\vhich I won. He was speechless with surprise ; so I took the 
pen-case and, drawing forth a reed, wrote on the board these two 
couplets : 

Two hosts fare fighting thro' the livelong day o Nor is their battling ever 

Until, when darkness girdeth them about, * The twain go sleeping in a 

single bed. 1 

The King read these lines with wonder and delight and said to his 
Eunuch, 5 " O Mukbil, go to thy mistress, Sitt al-Husn, 6 and say 
her, " Come, speak the King who biddeth thee hither to take thy 

1 This is the vinum coetum, the boiled wine, still a favourite in Southern Italy and 

8 Eastern topers delight in drinking at dawn : upon this subject I shall have more to 
say in other Nights. 

* Arab. " Adab," a crux to translators, meaning anything between good education aim 
good manners. In mod. Turk. " Edibiyyet" (Adabiyat) = belles lettres and " Edebi " 
or ' Edib " = a litterateur. 

* The Caliph Al-Maamun, who was a bad player, used to say, " I have the administra- 
tion of the world and am equal to it, whereas I am straitened in the ordering of a space 
of two spans by two spans." The "board" was then "a square field of well-dressed 

* The Rabbis (after Matth. xix. 12) count three kinds of Eunuchs; (i) Sens 
chammah = of the sun, i.e. natural: (2) Seris Adam = manufactured per holnincs; and 
<3) Seris Chammayim = of God (i.e. religious abstainer). Seris (castrated) or Abd (slave) 
is the general Hebrew name. 

The "Lady of Beauty.' 

Tks Second Kalandar's Tale. 133 

solace in seeing this right wondrous ape ! " So the Eunuch went 
out and presently returned with the lady who, when she saw me 
veiled her face and said, " O my father ! hast thou lost all sense of 
honour ? How cometh it thou art pleased to send for me and show 
me to strange men ? " " O Sitt al.-Husn," said he, " no man is 
here save this little foot-page and the Eunuch who reared thee and 
I, thy father. From whom, then, dost thou veil thy face ? " She 
answered, " This whom thou deemest an ape is a young man, a 
clever and polite, a wise and learned and the son of a King ; but 
he is ensorcelled and the Ifrit Jirjaris, who is of the seed of Iblis, 
cast a spell upon him, after putting to death his own wife the 
daughter of King Ifitamus lord of the Islands of Abnus." The 
King marvelled at his daughter's words and, turning to me, said, 
" Is this true that she saith of thee ? "; and I signed by a nod of my 
head the answer " Yea, verily ; " and wept sore. Then he asked 
his daughter " Whence knewest thou that he is ensorcelled ? " ; and 
she answered " O my dear papa, there was with me in my childhood 
an old woman, a wily one and a wise and a witch to boot, and she 
taught me the theory of magic and its practice; and I took notes 
in writing and therein waxed perfect, and have committed to 
memory an hundred and seventy chapters of egromantic formulas, 
by the least of which I could transport the stones of thy city behind 
the Mountain Kaf and the Circumambient Main, 1 or make its site 
an abyss of the sea and its people fishes swimming in the midst of 
it." " O my daughter," said her father, " I conjure thee, by my 
life, disenchant this young man, that I may make him my Wazir 
and marry thee to him, for indeed he is an ingenious youth and a 
deeply learned." " With joy and goodly gree," she replied and, 
herrding in hand an iron knife whereon was inscribed the name of 

Allah in Hebrew characters, she described a wide circle And 

Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her per* 
mitted 'say. 

Nofo foDen ft foas tfje ^ourtecntf) Ntgbt, 

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Kalandar 
continued his tale thus : -O my lady, the King's daughter hent in 

1 "Kaf" has been noticed as the mountain \rfrich surrounds earth as a ring does the 
finger: it is popularly used like our Alp and Alpine. The "circumambient Ocean'* 
(Bahr ttl-mvhit) is the Homeric Ocean-stream. 

134 A If Laylah wa Laytak. 

hand a knife whereon were inscribed Hebrew characters and 
described a wide circle in the midst of the palace-hall, and therein 
wrote in Curie letters mysterious names and talismans ; and she 
uttered words and muttered charms,, some of which we understood 
and others we understood not. Presently the world waxed dark 
before our sight till we thought that the sky was falling upon our 
heads, and lo ! the Ifrit presented himself in his own shape and 
aspect. His hands were like many-pronged pitch-forks, his legs 
like the masts of great ships, and his eyes like cressets of gleaming 
fire. We were in terrible fear of him but the King's daughter 
cried at him, " No welcome to thee and no greeting, O dog I " 
whereupon he changed to the form of a lion and said, " O traitress, 
how is it thou hast broken the oath we sware that neither should 
contraire other!" "O accursed one," answered she, "how could 
there be a compact between me and the like of thee ? " Then said 
he, "Take what thou has brought on thyself;" and the lion opened 
his jaws and rushed upon her; but she was too quick for him ; and, 
plucking a hair from her head, waved it in the air muttering over it 
the while ; and the hair straightway became a trenchant sword- 
blade, wherewith she smote the lion and cut him in twain. Then 
the two halves flew away in air and the head changed to a scorpion 
and the Princess became a huge serpent and set upon the accursed 
scorpion, and the two fought, coiling and uncoiling, a stiff fight for 
an hour at least. Then the scorpion changed to a vulture and the 
serpent became an eagle which set upon the vulture, and hunted 
him for an hour's time, till he became a black tom-cat, which 
miauled and grinned and spat. Thereupon the eagle changed into 
a piebald wolf and these two battled in the palace for a long time, 
when the cat, seeing himself overcome, changed into a worm and 
crept into a huge red pomegranate, 1 which lay beside the jetting 
fountain in the midst of the palace hall. Whereupon the pome- 
granate swelled to the size of a water-melon in air ; and, falling upon 
the marble pavement of the palace, broke to pieces, and all the 
grains fell out and were scattered about till they covered the whole 
floor. Then the wolf shook himself and became a snow-whit^ 
cock, which fell to picking up the grains purposing not to leav 

1 The pomegranate is probably chosen here because each fruit is supposed to contain 
one seed from Eden-garden. Hence a host of superstitions (Pilgrimage iii., 104) possibly 
Connected with the Chaldaic-Babylonian god Rimmon or Ramanu, Hence Persephone CDf 
Ishtar tasted the " rich pomegranate's seed." Lenormant, ioc. eft. pp. *$, l&S* 

The Second KalandaSs Tale. 


one ; but by doom of destiny one seed rolled to the fountain-edge 
and there lay hid. The cock fell to crowing and clapping his wings 
and signing to us with his beak as if to ask, " Are any grains left ? " 
But we understood not what he meant, and he cried to us with so 
loud a cry that we thought the palace would fall upon us. Then 
he ran over all the floor till he saw the grain which had rolled to 
the fountain edge, and rushed eagerly to pick it up when behold, 
it sprang into the midst of the water and became a fish and dived 
to the bottom of the basin. Thereupon the cock changed to a big 
fish, and plunged in after the other, and the two disappeared for a 
while and lo ! we heard loud shrieks and cries of pain which made 
us tremble. After this the Ifrit rose out of the water, and he was 
as a burning flame ; casting fire and smoke from his mouth and 
eyes and nostrils. And immediately the Princess likewise came 
forth from the basin and she was one live coal of flaming lowe ; 
and these two, she and he, battled for the space of an hour, until 
their fires entirely compassed them about and their thick smoke 
ftlled the palace. As for us we panted for breath, being well-nigh 
suffocated, and we longed to plunge into the water fearing lest we 
be burnt up and utterly destroyed ; and the King said, " There is 
no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah the Glorious, the 
Great ! Verily we are Allah's and unto Him are we returning ! 
Would Heaven I had not urged my daughter to attempt the dis- 
enchantment of this ape-fellow, whereby I have imposed upon her 
the terrible task of fighting yon accursed Ifrit against whom all 
the Ifrits in the world could not prevail. And would Heaven we 
had never seen this ape, Allah never assain nor bless the day of 
his coming ! We thought to do a good deed by him before the 
face of Allah, 1 and to release him from enchantment, and now we 
have brought this trouble and travail upon our heart." But I, O 
my lady, was tongue-tied and powerless to say a word to him. 
Suddenly, ere we were ware of aught, the Ifrit yelled out from 
under the flames and, coming up to us as we stood on the estrade, 
blew fire in our faces. The damsel overtook him and breathed 
blasts of fire at his face and the sparks from her and from him 
rained down upon us, and her sparks did us no harm, but one of 
his sparks alighted upon my eye and destroyed it making me a 
monocular ape ; and another fell on the King's face scorching the 
lower half, burning off his beard and mustachios and causing 

1 4.*. for the love of God a favourite Moslem phrase. 

136 A If Laylak wa Laylak, 

his under teeth to fall out ; while a third alighted on the Castrato's 
breast, killing him on the spot. So we despaired of life and made 
sure of death when lo ! a voice repeated the saying, " Allah is most 
Highest ! Allah is most Highest ! Aidance and victory to all who 
the Truth believe ; and disappointment and disgrace to all who 
the religion of Mohammed, the Moon of Faith, unbelieve," The 
speaker was the Princess who had burnt the I frit, and he was 
oecome a heap of ashes. Then she came up to us and said, 
" Reach me a cup of water." They brought it to her and she 
spoke over it words we understood not, and sprinkling me with it 
cried, " By virtue of the Truth, and by the Most Great name of 
Allah, I charge thee return to thy former shape." And behold, I 
shook and became a man as before, save that I had utterly lost an 
eye. Then she cried out, " The fire ! The fire ! O my dear papa 
an arrow from the accursed hath wounded me to the death, for I 
am not used to fight with the Jann ; had he been a man I had slain 
him in the beginning. I had no trouble till the time when the 
pomegranate burst and the grains scattered, but I overlooked the 
seed wherein was the very life of the Jinni. Had I picked it up he 
had died on the spot, but as Fate and Fortune decreed, I saw it 
not ; so he came upon me all unawares and there befel between 
him and me a sore struggle under the earth and high in air and in 
the water ; and, as often as I opened on him a gate, 1 he opened on 
me another gate and a stronger, till at last he opened on me the 
gate of fire, and few are saved upon whom the door of fire 
openeth. But Destiny willed that my cunning prevail over his 
cunning ; and I burned him to death after I vainly exhorted him 
to embrace the religion of Al-Islam. As for me I am a dead 
woman ; Allah supply my place to you ! " Then she called upon 
Heaven for help and ceased not to implore relief from the fire \ 
when lo ! a black spark shot up from her robed feet to her thighs ; 
then it flew to her bosom and thence to her face. When it reached 
her face she wept and said, " I testify that there is no god but the 
God and that Mahommed is the Apostle of God ! " And we looked 
at her and saw naught but a heap of ashes by the side of the heap 
that had been the Ifrit. We mourned for her and I wished I had 
been in her place, so had I not seen her lovely face who had 

1 'Arab. " Bdb," also meaning a chapter (of magic, of war, etc.), corresponding with 
the Persian " Dar" as in Sad-dar, the Hundred Doors. Here, however, it is figurative 
M I tried a new mode." This scene is in the Mabino'gion. 

The Second Kalandar's Tale. 137 

'worked me such weal become ashes ; but there is no gainsaying 
the will of Allah. When the King saw his daughter's terrible 
death, he plucked out what was left of his beard and beat his face 
and rent his raiment ; and I did as he did and we both wept over 
her. Then came in the Chamberlains and Grandees and were 
amazed to find two heaps of ashes and the Sultan in a fainting 
fit ; so they stood round him till he revived and told them what 
had befallen his daughter from the Ifrit ; whereat their grief was 
right grievous and the women and the slave -girls shrieked and 
keened, 1 and they continued their lamentations for the space of 
seven days. Moreover the King bade build over his daughter's 
ashes a vast vaulted tomb, and burn therein wax tapers and 
sepulchral lamps : but as for the Ifrit's ashes they scattered them 
on the winds, speeding them to the curse of Allah. Then the 
Sultan fell sick of a sickness that well nigh brought him to his 
death for a month's space ; and, when health returned to him and 
his beard grew again and he had been converted by the mercy of 
Allah to Al-Islam, he sent for me and said, " O youth, Fate had 
decreed for us the happiest of lives, safe from all the chances and 
changes of Time, till thou earnest to us, when troubles fell upon us 
Would to Heaven we had never seen thee and the foul face of 
thee ! For we took pity on thee and thereby we have lost our all. 
I have on thy account first lost my daughter who to me was well 
worth an hundred men ; secondly I have suffered that which befel 
me by reason of the fire and the loss of my teeth, and my Eunuch 
also was slain. I blame thee not, for it was out of thy power to 
prevent this : the doom of Allah was on thee as well as on us and 
thanks be to the Almighty for that my daughter delivered thee, albeit 
thereby she lost her own life ! Go forth now, O my son, from this 
my city, and suffice thee what hath befallen us through thee, even 
although 'twas decreed for us. Go forth in peace ; and if I ever 
see thee again I will surely slay thee." And he cried out at me. 
So I went forth from his presence, O my lady, weeping bitterly 

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

138 A If Laylah wa Laylak. 

and hardly believing in my escape and knowing not whither I 
should wend. And I recalled all that had befallen me, my 
meeting the tailor, my love for the damsel in the palace beneath 
the earth, and my narrow escape from the I frit, even after he had 
determined to do me die ; and how I had entered the city as 
an ape and was now leaving it a man once more. Then I gave 
thanks to Allah and said, " My eye and not my life ! " and before 
leaving the place I entered the bath and shaved my poll and 
beard and mustachios and eyebrows ; and cast ashes on my head 
and donned the coarse black woollen robe of a Kalandar. Then 
I fared forth, O my lady, and every day I pondered all the 
calamities which had betided me, and I wept and repeated these 
couplets : 

" I am distraught, yet verily His ruth abides with me, o Tho' round me gather 

hosts of ills, whence come I cannot see : 
Patient I'll be till Patience self with me impatient wax ; o Patient for ever till 

the Lord fulfil my destiny : 
Patient I'll bide without complaint, a wronged andvanquisht man ; o Patient as 

sunparcht wight that spans the desert's sandy sea : 
Patient I'll be till Aloe's l self unwittingly allow o I'm patient under bitterer 

things than bitterest aloe : 
No bitterer things than aloes or than patience for mankind ; o Yet bitterer than 

the twain to me were Patience' treachery : 
My sere and seamed and seared brow would dragoman my sore o If soul could 

search my sprite and there unsecret secrecy : 
Were hills to bear the load I bear they'd crumble 'neath the weight ; 'o 'Twould 

still the roaring wind, 'twould quench the flame-tongue's flagrancy, 
And whoso saith the world is sweet certes a day he'll see o With more than 

aloes' bitterness and aloes' pungency." 

Then I journeyed through many regions and saw many a city 
intending for Baghdad, that I might seek audience, in the House 

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

The Third Kalandar' s Tale. 139 

of Peace, 1 with the Commander of the Faithful and tell him all that 
had befallen me. I arrived here this very night and found my 
brother in Allah, this first Kalandar, standing about as one per- 
plexed ; so I saluted him with " Peace be upon thee," and entered 
into discourse with him. Presently up came our brother, this third 
Kalandar, and said to us, " Peace be with you ! I am a stranger ; " 
whereto we replied, "And we too be strangers, who have come 
hither this blessed night." So we all three walked on together, 
none of us knowing the other's history, till Destiny drave us to this 
door and we came in to you. Such then is my story and my 
reason for shaving my beard and mustachios, and this is what 
caused the loss of my eye. Said the house-mistress " Thy tale 
is indeed a rare; so rub thy head and wend thy ways;" but 
he replied, " I will not budge till I hear my companions' -stories." 
Then came forward the third Kalandar, and said, " O illustrious 
lady ! my history is not like that of these my comrades, but more 
wondrous and far more marvellous. In their case Fate and 
Fortune came down on them unawares ; but I drew down destiny 
upon my own head and brought sorrow on mine own soul, and 
shaved my own beard and lost my own eye. Hear then 


KNOW, O my lady, that I also am a King and the Son of a King 
and my name is Ajfb son of Khazfb. When my father died I 
succeeded him ; and I ruled and did justice and dealt fairly by all 
my lieges. I delighted in sea trips, for my capital stood on the 
shore, before which the ocean stretched far and wide ; and near- 
hand were many great islands with sconces and garrisons in the 
midst of the main. My fleet numbered fifty merchantmen, and as 
many yachts for pleasance, and an hundred and fifty sail ready fitted 
for holy war with the Unbelievers. It fortuned that I had a mind 
to enjoy myself on the islands aforesaid, so I took ship with my 
people in ten keel ; and, carrying with me a month's victual, I set out 
on a twenty days voyage. But one night a head wind struck us, 
and the sea rose against us with huge waves ; the billows sorely 
buffetted us and a dense darkness settled round us. We gave our- 

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

I4O A If Lay I ah wa Layl&h. 

selves up for lost and I said, " Whoso endangereth his days, e'en 
an he 'scape deserveth no praise." Then we prayed to Allah and 
besought Him ; but the storm-blasts ceased not to blow against us 
nor the surges to strike us till morning broke, when the gale fell, 
the seas sank to mirrory stillness and the sun shone upon us kindly 
clear. Presently we made an island where we landed and cooked 
somewhat of food, and ate heartily and took our rest for a couple of 
days. Then we set out again and sailed other twenty days, the 
seas broadening and the land shrinking. Presently the current ran 
counter to us, and we found ourselves in strange waters, where the 
Captain had lost his reckoning, and was wholly bewildered in this 
sea ; so said we to the look-out man, 1 " Get thee to the mast-head 
and keep thine eyes open." He swarmed up the mast and looked 
out and cried aloud, " O Rais, I espy to starboard something dark, 
very like a fish floating on the face of the sea, and to larboard there is 
a loom in the midst of the main, now black and now bright." When 
the Captain heard the look-out's words he dashed his turband on 
the deck and plucked out his beard and beat his face saying, " Good 
news indeed ! we be all dead men ; not one of us can be saved." 
And he fell to weeping and all of us wept for his weeping and also 
for our lives ; and I said, " O Captain, tell us what it is the look-out 
saw." " O my Prince," answered he, " know that we lost our 
course on the night of the storm, which was followed on the morrow 
by a two-days' calm during which we made no way ; and we have 
gone astray eleven days reckoning from that night, with ne'er a 
wind to bring us back to our true course. To-morrow by the end 
of the day we shall come to a mountain of black stone, hight the 
Magnet Mountain ; 2 for thither the currents carry us willy-nilly. 

1 This is very characteristic : the passengers finding themselves in difficulties at once 
take command. See in my Pilgrimage (I. chapt. xi.) how we beat and otherwise 
maltreated the Captain of the ''Golden Wire." 

8 The fable is probably based on the currents which, as in Eastern Africa, will carry a 
ship fifty miles a day out of her course. We first find it in Ptolemy (vii. 2) whose 
Maniolai Islands, of India extra Gangem, cause iron nails to fly out of ships, the effect of 
the Lapis Herculeus (Loadstone). Rabelais (v. 0.37) alludes to it and to the vulgar idea 
of magnetism being counteracted by Skordon (Scordon or garlic). Hence too the Adamant 
(Loadstone) Mountain's of Mandeville (chapt. xxvii.) and the "Magnetic Rock in Mr. 
Puttock's clever " Peter Wilkins." I presume that the myth also arose from seeing craft 
built, as on the East African Coast, without iron nails.- We shall meet with the legend 
again. The word Jabal (" Jebel" in Egypt) often occurs in these pages. The Arabs 
apply it to any rising ground or heap of rocks ; so it is not always = our mountain. It 
has found its way to Europe e.g. Gibraltar and Monte Gibello (or Mongibel in poetry) SB 
Mt. Ethne that men clepen Mounte Gybelle," Other special senses of Jabal will occur. 

The Third Katandar's Talc. 141 

As soon as we are under its lea, the ship's sides will open and every 
nail in plank will fly out and cleave fast to the mountain ; for that 
Almighty Allah hath gifted the loadstone with a mysterious virtue 
and a love for iron, by reason whereof all which is iron travelleth 
towards it ; and on this mountain is much iron, how much none 
knoweth save the Most High, from the many vessels which have 
been lost there since the days of yore. The bright spot upon its 
summit is a dome of yellow laton from Andalusia, vaulted upon ten 
columns ; and on its crown is a horseman who rideth a horse of 
brass and holdeth in hand a lance of laton ; and there hangeth on 
his bosom a tablet of lead graven with names and talismans." And 
he presently added, " And, O King, none destroyeth folk save the 
rider on that steed, nor will the egromancy be dispelled till he fall 
from his horse." l Then, O my lady, the Captain wept with exceeding 
weeping and we all made sure of death-doom and each and every 
one of us farewelled his friend and charged him with his last will 
and testament in case he might be saved. We slept not that night 
and in the morning we found ourselves much nearer the Loadstone 
Mountain, whither the waters drave us with a violent send. When 
the ships were close under its lea they opened and the nails flew 
out and all the iron in them sought the Magnet Mountain and 
clove to it like a network ; so that by the end of the day we were 
all struggling in the waves round about the mountain. Some of us 
were saved, but more were drowned and even those who had es- 
caped knew not one another, so stupefied were they by the beating 
of the billows and the raving of the winds. As for me, O my lady, 
Allah (be His name exalted !) preserved my life that I might suffer 
whatso He willed to me of hardship, misfortune and calamity ; for 
I scrambled upon a plank from one of the ships, and the wind and 
waters threw it at the feet of the Mountain. There I found a 

1 As we learn from the Nubian Geographer the Arabs in early ages explored the Fortu- 
nate Islands, Jazirat al-Khalidat = Eternal Isles), or Canaries, on one of which were 
reported a horse and horseman in bronze with his spear pointing west. Ibn al-Wardi 
notes " two images of hard stone, each an hundred cubits high, and upon the top of each 
a figure of copper pointing with its hand backwards, as though it would say : Return 
for there is nothing behind me! " But this legend attaches to older doings. The 23rd 
Tobba (who succeeded Bilkis), Malik bin Sharhabil, (or Sharabil or Sharahil) surnamed 
Nishir al-Ni'am = scatterer of blessings, lost an army in attempting the Western sands 
and set up a statue of capper ujton whose breast was inscribed in antique characters : 

There is no access behind me, 

Nothing beyond, 

(Sottk) The Son of SharabU. 

142 Alf Laytafi wa Laylaft. 

practicable path leading by steps carven out of the rock to the 
summit, and I called on the name of Allah Almighty * - And 
Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her pef- 
mitted say. 

Nofo fo&en it foas tfte JfiftwntJ Nt'gjjt, 

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the 
third Kalandar said to the lady (the rest of the party sitting 
fast bound and the slaves standing with swords drawn over their 
heads) : And after calling on the .name of Almighty Allah and 
passionately beseeching Him, I breasted the ascent, clinging to 
the steps and notches hewn in the stone, and mounted little by 
little. And the Lord stilled the wind and aided me in the ascent, 
so that I succeeded in reaching the summit. There I found no 
resting-place save the dome, which I entered, joying with exceed- 
ing joy at my escape ; and made the Wuzu-ablution 2 and prayed 
a two-bow prayer 3 a thanksgiving to God for my preservation. 
Then I fell asleep under the dome, and heard in my dream a mys- 
terious Voice 4 saying, " O son of Khazib ! when thou wakest 
from thy sleep dig under thy feet and thou shalt find a bow 
of brass and three, leaden arrows, inscribed with talismans and 
characts. Take the bow and shoot the arrows at the horseman 
on the dome-top and free mankind from this sore calamity. When 
thou hast shot him he shall fall into the sea, and the horse will 
also drop at thy feet : then bury it in the place of the bow. This 
done, the main will swell and rise till it is level with the mountain- 
head, and there will appear on it a skiff carrying a man of laton 
(other than he thou shalt have shot) holding in his hand a pair of 
paddles. He will come to thee and do thou embark with him 
but beware of saying Bismillah or of otherwise naming Allah 
Almighty. He will row thee for a space of ten days, till he bring 
thee to certain Islands called the Islands of Safety, and thence 
thou shalt easily reach a port and find those who will convey thee 

1 i.e. I exclaimed "Bismillah !" 

2 The lesser ablution of hands, face and feet ; a kind of " washing the points." More 
in Night ccccxl. 

3 Arab. " Ruka'layn "; the number of these bows which are followed by the prostra- 
tions distinguishes the five daily prayers. 

4 The " Beth Kol " of the Hebrews ; also called by the Moslems " Hatif "; for wfakh 
ask the Spiritualists. It is the Hindu " voice divine" or *' voice from heaven.** 

The Third Kalandars Tale. 143 

to thy native land ; and all this shall be fulfilled to thee so thou 
call not on the name of Allah." Then I started up from my 
sleep in joy and gladness and, hastening to do the bidding of the 
mysterious Voice, found the bow and arrows and shot at the 
horseman and tumbled him into the main, whilst the horse dropped 
at my feet ; so I took it and buried it. Presently the sea surged 
up and rose till it reached the top of the mountain ; nor had I 
long to wait ere I saw a skiff in the offing coming towards me. I. 
gave thanks to Allah ; and, when the skiff came up to me, I saw 
therein a man of brass with a tablet of lead on his breast in- 
scribed with talismans and characts ; and I embarked without 
uttering a word. The boatman rowed on with me through the 
first day and the second and the third, in all ten whole days, till I 
caught sight of the Islands of Safety; whereat I joyed with exceed- 
ing joy and for stress of gladness exclaimed, " Allah ! Allah ! In 
the name of Allah ! There is no god but the God and Allah is 
Almighty." * Thereupon the skiff forthwith upset and cast me 
upon the sea ; then it righted and sank deep into the depths. 
Now I am a fair swimmer, so I swam the whole day till nightfall, 
when my forearms and shoulders were numbed with fatigue and I 
felt like to die ; so I testified to my Faith, expecting naught but 
death. The sea was still surging under the violence of the winds, 
and presently there came a billow like a hillock ; and, bearing me 
up high in air, threw me with a long cast on dry land, that His will 
might be fulfilled. I crawled up the beach and doffing my raiment 
wrung it out to dry and spread it in the sunshine : then I lay me 
down and slept the whole night. As soon as it was day, I donned 
my clothes and rose to look whither I should walk. Presently I 
came to a thicket of low trees ; and, making a cast round it, found 
that the spot whereon I stood was an islet, a mere holm, girt on 
all sides by the ocean ; whereupon I said to myself, " Whatso 
freeth me from one great calamity casteth me into a greater ! " 
But while I was pondering my case and longing for death behold, 
I saw afar off a ship making for the island ; so I clomb a tree and 
hid myself among the branches. Presently the ship anchored and 
landed ten slaves, blackamoors, bearing iron hoes and baskets, who 
walked on till they reached the middle of the island. Here they 
dug deep into the ground, until they uncovered a plate of metal 

1 These formulae are technically called Tasraiyab, Tahlil (before noted) and Takbir : 
tb "testifying" is Tashhid. 

144 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

which they lifted, thereby opening a trap-door. After this they 
returned to the ship and thence brought bread and flour, honey 
and fruits, clarified butter, 1 leather bottles containing liquors and 
many household stuffs ; also furniture, table-service and mirrors ; 
rugs, carpets and in fact all needed to furnish a dwelling ; and 
they kept going to vand fro, and descending by the trap-door, till 
they had transported into the dwelling all that was in the ship. 
After this the slaves again went on board and brought back with 
them garments as rich as may be, and in the midst of them came 
an old old man, of whom very little was left, for Time had dealt 
hardly and harshly with him, and all that remained of him was 
a bone wrapped in a rag of blue stuff, through which the winds 
whistled west and east. As saith the poet of him : 

Time gars me tremble Ah, how sore the baulk ! o While Time in pride of 

strength doth ever stalk : 
Time was I walked nor ever felt I tired , c Now am I tired albe I 

never walk ! 

And the Shaykh held by the hand a youth cast in beauty's 
mould, all elegance and perfect grace ; so fair that his comeliness 
deserved to be proverbial ; for he was as a green bough or the 
tender young of the roe, ravishing every heart with his loveliness 
and subduing every soul with his coquetry and amorous ways. 2 
It was of him the poet spake when he said : 

Beauty they brought with him to make compare ; o But Beauty hung her head 

.in shame and care : 
Quoth they, " O Beauty, hast thou seen his like ? " o And Beauty cried, " His 

like ?. not anywhere ! " 

They stinted not their going, O my lady, till all went down by the 
trap-door and did not reappear for an hour, or rather more ; at the 
end of which ^me the slaves and the old man came up without 

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

2 These handsome youths are always described in the terms we should apply to 

The Third Kalandars Tale. 145 

the youth and, replacing the iron plate and carefully closing the 
door-slab, as it was before, they returned to the ship and made sail 
and were lost to my sight. When they turned away to depart, I 
came down from the tree and, going to the place I had seen them 
fill up, scraped off and removed the earth ; and in patience 
possessed my soul till I had cleared the whole of it away. Then 
appeared the trap-door which was of wood, in shape and size like 
a millstone ; and when I lifted it up it disclosed a winding stair- 
case of stone. At this I marvelled and, descending the steps till 
I reached the last, found a fair hall, spread with various kinds of 
carpets and silk stuffs, wherein was a youth sitting upon a raised 
couch and leaning back on a round cushion with a fan in his hand 
and nosegays and posies of sweet scented herbs and flowers before 
him ; l but he was alone and not a soul near him in the great 
vault. When he saw me he turned pale ; but I saluted him cour- 
teously and said, " Set thy mind at ease and calm thy fears ; no 
harm shall come near thee ; I am a man like thyself and the son of 
a King to boot ; whom the decrees of Destiny have sent to bear 
thee company and cheer thee in thy loneliness. But now tell me, 
what is thy story and what causeth thee to dwell thus in solitude 
under the ground ?" When he was assured that I was of his kind 
and no Jinni, he rejoiced and his fine colour returned ; and, making 
me draw near to him he said, "O my brother, my story is a strange 
story and 'tis this. My father is a merchant-jeweller possessed 
of great wealth, who hath white and black slaves travelling and 
trading on his account in ships and on camels, and trafficking 
with the most distant cities ; but he was not blessed with a child, 
not even one. Now on a certain night he dreamed a dream that 

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

VOL. I. K 

146 A If Laylah, wa Laylah* 

he should be favoured with a son, who would be short lived ; so 
the morning dawned on my father bringing him woe and weeping. 
On the following night my mother conceived and my father noted 
down the date of her becoming pregnant. 1 Her time being ful- 
filled she bare me ; whereat my father rejoiced and made banquets 
and called together the neighbours and fed the Fajcirs and the 
poor, for that he had been blessed with issue near the end of his 
days. Then he assembled the astrologers and astronomers who 
knew the places of the planets, and the wizards and wise ones of 
the time, and men learned in horoscopes and nativities; 2 and they 
drew out my birth scheme and said to my father : Thy son shall 
live to fifteen years, but in his fifteenth there is a. sinister aspect; 
an he safely tide it over he shall attain a great age. And the 
cause that threateneth him with death is this. In the Sea of Peril 
standeth the Mountain Magnet hight ; on whose summit is a 
horseman of yellow lato'h seated on a horse also of brass and 
bearing on his breast a tablet of lead. Fifty days after this rider 
shall fall from his steed thy son will die and his slayer will be he 
who shoots down the horseman, a Prince named Ajib son of King 
Khazib. My father grieved with exceeding grief to hear these 
words ; but reared me in tenderest fashion and educated me excel- 
lently well till my fifteenth year was told. Ten days ago news 
came to him that the horseman had fallen into the sea and he who 
shot him down was named Ajib son of King Khazib. My father 
thereupon wept bitter tears at the need of parting with me and 
became like one possessed of a Jinni. However, being in mortal 
fear for me, he built me this place under the earth ; and, stocking it 
with all required for the few days still remaining, he brought me 
hither in a ship and left me here. Ten are already past and, when 1 
the forty shall have gone by without danger to me, he will come 
and take me away ; for he hath done all this only in fear of Prince 

1 Arabs date pregnancy from the stopping of the menses, upon which the foetus is 
supposed to feed. Kalilah wa Dlrnnah says, " The child's navel adheres to that of his 
mother and thereby he sucks " (i. 263). 

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

luridicis, Erebo, Fisco, fas vivcre rapto r 
Militibus, Medicis, Tortori occidere ludo est ; 
Mentiri Astronomis, Pictoribus atque Poetis. 

Tlie Third Kalandars Tale. 147 

Ajib. Such, then, is my story and the cause of my loneliness." 
When I heard his history I marvelled and said in my mind, "I am the 
Prince Ajib who hath done all this ; but as Allah is with me I will 
surely not slay him ! " So said I to him, O my lord, far from thee 
be this hurt and harm and then, please Allah, thou shalt not suffer 
cark nor care nor aught disquietude, for I will tarry with thee and 
serve thee as a servant, and then wend my ways ; and, after having 
borne thee company during the forty days, I will go with thee to 
thy home where thou shalt give me an escort of some of thy Mame- 
lukes with whom I may journey back to my own city; and the 
Almighty shall requite thee for me. He was glad to hear these 
words, when I rose and lighted a large wax-candle and trimmed the 
lamps and the three lanterns ; and I set on meat and drink and 
sweetmeats. We ate and drank and sat talking over various 
matters till the greater part of the night was gone ; when he lay 
down to rest and I covered him up and went to sleep myself. 
Next morning I arose and warmed a little water, then lifted him 
gently so as to awake him and brought him the warm water 
wherewith he washed his face 1 and said to me, " Heaven requite 
thee for me with every blessing, O youth ! By Allah, if I get quit 
of this danger and am saved from him whose name is Ajib bin 
Khazib, I will make my father reward thee and send thee 'home 
healthy and wealthy ; and, if I die, then my blessing be upon thee." 
I answered, " May the day never dawn on which evil shall betide 
thee ; and may Allah make my last day before thy last day ! " 
Then I set before him somewhat of food and we ate ; and I got 
ready perfumes for fumigating the hall, wherewith he was pleased. 
Moreover I made him a Mankalah-cloth ; 2 and we played and ate 
sweetmeats and we played again and took our pleasure till nightfall, 
when I rose and lighted the lamps, and set before him somewhat 
to eat, and sat telling him stories till the hours of darkness were far 
spent. Then he lay down to rest and I covered him up and rested 
also. And thus I continued to do, O my lady for days and nights, 
and affection for him took root in my heart and my sorrow was 

1 He does not perform the Wuzu or lesser ablution because he neglects his dawn 

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

148 Alf Laylah wa Laylak. 

eased, and I said to myself, The astrologers lied 1 when they pre- 
dicted that he should be slain by Ajib bin Khazib: by Allah, I will 
not slay him. I ceased not ministering to him and conversing and 
carousing with him and telling him all manner tales for thirty-nine 
days. On the fortieth night 2 the youth rejoiced and said, " O my 
brother, Alhamdoliirah ! praise be to Allah who hath preserved 
me from death and this is by thy blessing and the blessing of thy 
coming to me ; and I pray God that He restore thee to thy native 
Jand. But now, O my brother, I would thou warm me some water 
for the Ghusl-ablution and do thou kindly bathe me and change my 
clothes." I replied, "With love and gladness;" and I heated 
water in plenty and carrying it in to him washed his body all over, 
the washing of health, 3 with meal of lupins 4 and rubbed him well 
and changed his clothes and spread him a high bed whereon he lay 
down to rest, being drowsy after bathing. Then said he, " O my 
brother, cut me up a water-melon, and sweeten it with a little 
sugar-candy. 5 So I went to the store-room and bringing out a fine 
water-melon I found there, set it on a platter and laid it before 
him saying, " O my master hast thou not a knife ? " " Here it is," 
answered he, " over my head upon the high shelf." So I got up in 
haste and taking the knife drew it from its sheath ; but my foot 
slipped in stepping down and I fell heavily upon the youth holding 
in my hand the knife which hastened to fulfil what had been 
written on the Day that decided the destinies of man, and buried 
itself, as if planted, in the youth's heart. He died on the instant. 
When I saw that he was slain and knew that I had slain him, 
maugre myself, I cried out with an exceeding loud and bitter cry 
and beat my face and rent my raiment and said, " Verily we be 
Allah's and unto Him we be returning, O Moslems ! O folk fain 
of Allah ! there remained for this youth but one day of the forty 
dangerous days which the astrologers and the learned had foretold 
for him ; and the predestined death of this beautiful one was to be 
at my hand. Would Heaven I had not tried to cut the water- 

1 Quoted from Mohammed whose saying has been given. 

2 We should say " the night of the thirty-ninth." 

* The bath first taken after sickness. 

4 Arab. " Dikak" used by way of soap or rather to soften the skin : the meal is 
usually of lupins, " Adas*' =: " Revalenta Arabica" which costs a penny in Egypt 
and half-a-crown in England. 

* Arab. " Sukkar-nabaV* During my day (1842-49) we had no other sugar in the 
Bombay Presidency. 

The Third Kalandar's Tale. 149 

melon. What dire misfortune is this I must bear lief or loath ? 
What a disaster ! What an affliction ! O Allah mine, I implore thy 
pardon and declare to Thee my innocence of his death. But 'what 

God willeth let that come to pass." ! And Shahrazad perceived 

the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say. 

tofjcn it flas rtje gbt'xtenttfj 

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Ajib thus 
continued his tale to the lady : When I was certified that I had 
slain him, I arose and ascending the stairs replaced the trap-door 
and covered it with earth as before. Then I looked out seawards 
and saw the ship cleaving the wafers and making for the island , 
wherefore I was afeard and said, " The moment they come and see 
the youth done to death, they will Hnow 'twas I who slew him and 
will slay me without respite." So I climbed up into a high tree 
and concealed myself among its leaves ; and hardly had I done so 
when the ship anchored and the slaves landed with the- ancient 
man, the youth's father, and made direct for the place and when 
they removed the earth they were surprised to see it soft. 2 Then 
they raised the trap-door and went down and found the youth 
lying at full length, clothed in fair new garments with a face beam- 
ing after the bath, and the knife deep in his heart. At the sight 
they shrieked and wept and beat their faces, loudly, cursing the 
murderer ; whilst a swoon came over the Shaykh so that the slaves 
deemed him dead, unable to survive his son. At last they wrapped 
the slain youth in his clothes and carried him up and laid him on 
the ground covering him with a shroud of silk. Whilst they were 
making for the ship the old man revived ; and, gazing on his son 
who was stretched out, fell on the ground and strewed dust over 
his head and smote his face and plucked out his beard; and his 
weeping redoubled as he thought of his murdered son and he 
swooned away once more. After awhile a slave went and fetched 
a strip of silk whereupon they lay the old man and sat down at his 
head. All this took place and I was on the tree above them 

1 This is one of the myriad Arab instances that the decrees of ' Anagke," Fate, 
Destiny, Weird, are inevitable. The situation is highly dramatic ; and indeed The 
Nights, as will appear in the terminal Essay, have already suggested a national drama. 

2 Having lately been moved by Ajib. 

150 Alf Laylah. wft Laylah. 

watching everything that came to pass; and my heart became 
hoary before my head waxed grey, for the hard lot which was 
mine, and for the distress and anguish I had undergone, and I fell 
to reciting : 

" How many a joy by Allah's will hath fled o With flight escaping sight of 

wisest head ! 
How many a sadness shall, begin the day, o Yet grow right gladsome ere 

the day is sped ! 
How many a weal trips on the heels of ill, o Causing the mourner's heart 

with joy to thrill ' " l 

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

" Racked is my heart by parting fro' my friends o And two rills ever fro' my 

eyelids flow : 
With them 2 went forth my hopes, Ah, well away ! o What shift remaineth me 

to say or do ? 
Would I had never looked upon their sight, o What shift, fair sirs, when paths 

e'er straiter grow ? 
What charm shall calm my pangs when this wise burn o Longings of love 

which in my vitals glow ? 
Would I had trod with them the road of Death ! o Ne'er had befel us twain 

this parting-blow : 
Allah : I pray the Ruthful show me ruth o And mix our lives nor part them 

evermo'e ! 
How blest were we as 'neath one roof we dwelt o Conjoined in joys nor 

recking aught of woe ; 
Till Fortune shot us with the severance shaft; o Ah who shall patient bear such 

parting throe ? 
And dart of Death struck down amid the tribe o The age's pearl that Morn 

saw brightest show : 
I cried the while his case took speech and said : o Would Heaven, my son, 

Death mote his doom foreslow ! 
Which be the readiest road wi' thee to meet o My Son ! for whom I would my 

soul bestow ? 
If sun I call him no ! the sun doth set ; o If moon I call him, wane the 

moons ; Ah no ! 

1 Mr. Payne (i. 131.) omits these lines which appear out of place; but this mode 
of inappropriate quotation is a characteristic of Eastern tales, 

The Third Kalandttr's Tale. 15 j 

sad mischance o* thee, O doom of days, o Thy place none other love shall 

ever know : 
Thy sire distracted sees thee, but despairs o By wit or wisdom Fate to 

Overthrow : 
Some evil eye this day hath Cast its spell And foul befal him as it foul 

befell " 

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

1 looked upon the poor remains of him and began repeating these 
verses : 

Their tracks I see, and pine with pain and pang o And on deserted hearths I 

weep and yearn : 
And Him I pray who doomed them depart o Some day vouchsafe the boon of 

safe return. 1 

Then, O my lady, I went up again by the trap-door, and every day 
I used to wander round about the island and every night I returned 
to the underground hall. Thus I lived for a month, till at last, 
looking at the western side of the island, I observed that every day 
the tide ebbed, leaving shallow water for which the flow did not 
compensate ; and by the end of the month the sea showed dry 
fend in that direction. At this I rejoiced making certain of my 
safety ; so I arose and fording what little was left of the water got 
me to the main land, where I fell in with great heaps of loose sand 
in which even a camel's hoof would sink up to the knee. a How- 
ever I emboldened my soul and wading through the sand behold, 
a fire shone from afar burning with a blazing light. 3 So I made for 
it hoping haply to find succour and broke out into these verses ; 

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

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

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

J $2 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

"Belike my Fortune may her bridle turn o And Time bring weal although he's 

jealous hight ; 
Forward my hopes, and further all my needs, o And passed ills with present 

weals requite." 

And when I drew near the fire aforesaid lo ! it was a palace with 
gates of copper burnished red which, when the rising sun shone 
thereon, gleamed and glistened from afar showing what had 
seemed to me a fire. I rejoiced in. the sight, and sat down over 
against the gate, but I was hardly settled in my seat before there 
met me ten young men clothed in sumptuous gear and all were 
blind of the left eye which appeared as plucked out. They were 
accompanied by a Shaykh, an old, old man, and much I marvelled 
at their appearance, and their all being blind of the same eye. 
When they saw me, they saluted me with the Salam and asked 
me of my case and my history ; whereupon I related to them all 
what had befallen me, arid what full measure of misfortune was 
mine. Marvelling at my tale they took me to the mansion, where 
I saw ranged round the hall ten couches each with its blue 
bedding and coverlet of blue stuff 1 and amiddlemost stood a 
smaller couch furnished like them with blue and nothing else. As 
we entered each of the youths took his seat on his own couch 
and the old man seated himself upon the smaller one in the middle 
saying to me, " O youth, sit thee down on the floor and ask not of 
our case nor of the loss of our eyes." Presently he rose up and set 
before each young man some meat in a charger and drink in a 
large mazer, treating me in like manner ; and after that they sat 
questioning me concerning my adventures and what had betided 
me : and I kept telling them my tale till the night was far spent. 
Then said the young men, " O our Shaykh, wilt not thou set before 
us our ordinary ? The time is come." He replied, " With love 
and gladness," and rose and entering a closet disappeared, but 
presently returned bearing on his head ten trays each covered with 
a strip of blue stuff. He set a tray before each, youth and, lighting 

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

The Third KalandaSs Tale. 155 

ten wax candles, he stuck one upon each tray, and drew off the 
covers and lo ! under them was naught but ashes and powdered 
charcoal and kettle soot. Then all the young men tucked up their 
sleeves to the elbows and fell a-weeping and wailing and they 
blackened their faces and smeared their clothes and buffetted their 
brows and beat their breasts, continually exclaiming, "We were 
sitting at our ease but our frowardness brought us unease ! " They 
ceased not to do thus till dawn drew nigh, when the old man rose 
and heated water for them ; and they washed their faces, and 
donned other and clean clothes. Now when I saw this, O my lady, 
for very wonderment my senses left me and my wits went wild and 
heart and head were full of thought, till I forgot what had betided 
me and I could not keep silence feeling I fain must speak out and 
question them of these strangenesses ; so I said to them, " How 
come ye to do this after we have been so open-hearted and frolick- 
some ? Thanks be to Allah ye be all sound and sane, yet actions 
such as these befit none but mad men or those possessed of an evil 
spirit. I conjure you by all that is dearest to you, why stint ye 
to tell me your history, and the cause of your losing your eyes 
and your blackening your faces with ashes and soot ? " Hereupon 
they turned to me and said, " O young man, hearken not to thy 
youthtide's suggestions and question us no questions." Then they 
slept and I with them and when they awoke the old man brought 
us somewhat of food ; and, after we had eaten and the plates and 
goblets had been removed, they sat conversing till night-fall. when 
the old man rose and lit the wax candles and lamps and set meat 
and drink before us. After we had eaten and drunken we sat 
conversing and carousing in companionage till the noon of night, 
when they said to the old man, " Bring us our ordinary, for the hour 
of sleep is at hand ! " So he rose and brought them the trays of 
soot and ashes ; and they did as they had done on the preceding 
night, nor more, nor less. I abode with them after this fashion for 
the space of a month during which time they used to blacken their 
faces with ashes every night, and to wash and change their raiment 
when the morn was young ; and I but marvelled the more and my 
scruples and curiosity increased to such a point that I had to forego 
even food and drink. At last, I lost command of myself, for my 
heart was aflame with fire unquenchable and lowe unconcealable 
and I said, " O young men, will ye not relieve my trouble and 
acquaint me with the reason of thus blackening your faces and the 
meaning of your words: We were sitting at our case but our 

154 A If Laylah wa Laylak. 

frowardness brought us unease ?" Quoth they " Twere better to 
keep these things secret." Still I was bewildered by their doings to 
the point of abstaining from eating and drinking and, at last wholly- 
losing patience, quoth I to them, " There is no help for it : ye must 
acquaint me with what is the reason of these doings." They 
replied, <( We kept our secret only for thy good : to gratify thee 
will bring down evil upon thee and thou wilt become a monocular 
even as we are." I repeated, " There is no help for it and, if ye 
will not, let me leave you and return to mine own people and be 
at rest from seeing these things, for the proverb saith : 

Better ye 'bide and I take my leave : o For what eye sees not heart shall never 

Thereupon they said to me, " Remember, O youth, that should ill 
befal thee we will not again harbour thee nor suffer thee to abide 
amongst us ; " and bringing a ram they slaughtered it and skinned it. 
Lastly they gave me a knife saying, " Take this skin and 'stretch 
thyself upon it and we will sew it around thee ; presently there shall 
come to thee a certain bird, night Rukh, 1 that will catch thee up in 
his pounces and tower high in. air and then set thee down on a 
mountain. When thou feelest he is no longer flying, rip open the 
pelt with this blade and come out of it ; the bird will be scared 
and will fly away and leave thee free. After this fare for half a 
day, and the march will place thee at a palace wondrous fair to 
behold, towering high in air and builded of Khalanj, 2 lign-aloes and 
sandal-wood, plated with red gold, and studded with 'all manner 
emeralds and costly gems fit for seal-rings. Enter it and thou 
shalt win to thy wish for we have all entered that palace ; and such 
is the cause of our losing our eyes and of our blackening our faces. 
Were we now to tell thee our stories it would take too long a time ; 
for each and every of us lost his left eye by an adventure of his 
own. I rejoiced at their words and they did with me as they 
said ; and the bird Rukh bore me off and set me down on the 

1 The older Roc, of which more in the Tale of Sindbad. Meanwhile the reader 
curious about the Persian Simurgh (thirty bird) will consult theDabistan, i., 55, 191 and 
iii., 237, and Richardson's Diss. p. xlviii. For the Anka (Enka or Unka= long-necked 
bird) see Dab. iii., 249 and for the Huma (bird of Paradise) Richardson Ixix. We still 
lack details concerning the Ben or Bennu .(nycticorax) of Egypt which with the Article pi 
gave rise to the Greek " phcenix."" 

* Probably the Haledj of Forskal (p.'xcvi. Flor.^Egypt. Arab.), " lignum tenax, durum, 
obscuri generis." The Bres. Edit, has " akiil " = teak wood, vulg. " Saj." 

The Third Kalandars Tale. 155 

mountain. Then I came out of the skin and walked on till I 
reached the palace. The door stood open as I entered and found 
myself in a spacious and goodly hall, wide exceedingly, even as a 
horse-course ; and around it were an hundred chambers with doors 
of sandal and aloes woods plated with red gold and furnished with 
silver rings by way of knockers. 1 At the head or upper end 2 of the 
hall I saw forty damsels, sumptuously dressed and ornamented and 
one and all bright as moons ; none could ever tire of gazing upon 
them and all so lovely that the most ascetic devotee on seeing them 
would become their slave and obey their will. When they saw me 
the whole bevy came up to me and said " Welcome and well come 
and good cheer 3 to thee, O our lord ! This whole month have we 
been expecting thee. Praised be Allah who hath sent us one who 
is worthy of us, even as we are worthy of him ! " Then they made me 
sit down upon a high divan and said to me, " This day thou art 
our lord and master, and we are thy servants and thy handmaids, so 
order us as thou wilt." And I marvelled at their case. Presently 
one of them arose and set meat before me and I ate and they ate 
with me ; whilst others warmed water and washed my hands and 
feet and changed my clothes, and others made ready sherbets and 
gave us to drink ; and all gathered around me being full of joy 
and gladness at my coming. Then they sat down and conversed 
with me till nightfall, when five of them arose and laid the trays 
and spread them with flowers and fragrant herbs and fruits, fresh 
and dried, and confections in profusion. At last they brought out 
a fine wine-service with rich old wine ; and we sat down to drink 
and some sang songs and others played the lute and psaltery and 
recorders and other instruments, and the bowl went merrily round. 
Hereupon such gladness possessed me that I forgot the sorrows of 
the world one and all and said, " This is indeed Jife ; O sad that 
'tis fleeting ! " I enjoyed their company till the time came for rest ; 
and our heads were all warm with wine, when they said, 4t O our 
lord, choose from amongst us her who shall be thy bed-fellow this 
night and not lie with thee again till forty days be past." So I 
chose a girl fair of face and perfect in shape, with eyes Kohl-edged 

1 The knocker ring is an invention well known to the Romans. 

2 Arab. "Sadr"; the place of honour ; hence the " Sudder Adawlut" (Supreme 
Court) in the Anglo-Indian jargon. 

3 Arab. *' Ahlan wa sahlan wa maihabaY' the words still popularly addressed to a 

156 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

by nature's hand ; l hair long and jet black with slightly parted 
teeth 2 and joining brows : 'twas as if she were some limber graceful 
branchlet or the slender stalk of sweet basil to amaze and to 
bewilder man's fancy ; even as the poet said of such an one : 

To even her with greeny bough were vain o Fool he who finds her beauties in 

the roe : 
When hath the roe those lively lovely limbs o Or .honey dews those lips alone 

bestow ? 
Those eyne, soul-piercing eyne, which slay with tove, o Which bind the victim 

by their shafts laid low? 
My heart to second childhood they beguiled o No wonder : love-sick man again 

is child ! 

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

None other charms but thine shall greet mine eyes, o Nor other image can my 

heart surprize : 
Thy love, my lady, captives all my thoughts o And on that love 111 die and III 


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

On her fair bosom caskets twain I scanned, o Sealed fast with musk-seals lovers 

to withstand ; 
With arrowy glances stand on guard her eyes, o Whose shafts would shoot who 

dares put forth a hand. 

With her I spent a most goodly night ; and, to be brief, O my 
mistress, I remained with them in all solace and delight of life, 
eating and drinking, conversing and carousing and every night 

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

2 A slight parting between the two front incisors, the upper only, is considered a 
beauty by Arabs ; why it is hard to say except for the racial love of variety. " Sughr " 
(Thugr) in the text means, primarily, the opening of the mouth, the gape : hence the 
front teeth. 

The Third Kalandar's Tale. 157 

lying with one or other of them. But at the head of the new year 
they came to me m tears and bade me farewell, weeping and crying 
out and clinging about me ; whereat I wondered and said, "What 
may be the matter? verily you break my heart!" They ex- 
claimed, " Would Heaven we had never known thee ; for, though 
we have companied with many, yet never saw we a pleasanter than 
thou or a more courteous." And they wept again. " But tell me 
more clearly," asked I, " what causeth this weeping which maketh 
my gall-bladder 1 like to burst ; " and they answered, " O our lord 
and master, it is severance which maketh us weep ; and thou, and 
thou only, art the cause of our tears. If thou hearken to us we 
need never be parted and if thou hearken not we part for ever; but 
our hearts tell us that thou wilt not listen to our words and this 
is the cause of our tears and cries," "Tell me how the case 
standeth ? " " Know, O our lord, that we are the' daughters of 
Kings who have met here and have lived together for years ; and 
once in every year we are perforce absent for forty days ; and 
afterwards we return and abide here for the rest of the twelve- 
month eating and drinking and taking our pleasure and enjoying 
delights : we are about to depart according to our custom ; and we 
fear lest after we be gone thou contraire our charge and disobey 
our injunctions. Here now we commit to thee the keys of the 
palace which containeth forty chambers and thou mayest open* of 
these thirty and nine, but beware (and we conjure thee by Allah 
and by the lives of us!) lest thou open the fortieth door, for 
therein is that which shall separate us for ever." 2 Quoth I, 
" Assuredly I will not open it, if it contain the cause of severance 
from you." Then one among them came up to me and falling on 
my neck wept and recited these verses : 

" If Time unite us after absent-while, o The world harsh frowning on our lot 

shall smile ; 
And if thy semblance deign adorn mine eyes, 3 o I'll pardon Time past wrongs 

and by-gone guile." 

1 t.f. makes me taste the bitterness of death, "bursting the gall-bladder" (Mara*rah) 
being our "breaking the heart." 

9 Almost needless to say that forbidden doors and rooms form *~tteu-commun in 
Fairie : they are found in the Hindu Katha Sarit Sagara and became familiar to our 
childhood by " Bluebeard." 

8 Liu "apply Kohl to my eyes/' even as Jezebel "painted her face," in Heb. put 
her eyes in painting (2 Kings ix., 30). 

158 Alf Laylak wa Layfak. 

And I recited the following : 

" When drew she near to bid adieu with heart unstrung, While care and longing 

on that day her bosom wrung ; 
Wet pearls she wept and mine like red carnelians rolled o And, joined in sad 

rivttre> around her neck they hung." 

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

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

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

said : 

Quince every taste conjoins ; in her are found o. Gifts which for queen of fruits 

the Quince have crowned ; 
Her taste is wine, her scent the waft of musk ; o Pure gold her hue, her shape 

the Moon's fair round. 

Then I looked upon the pear whose taste surpasseth sherbet and 
Sugar; and the apricot 1 whose beauty striketh the eye with admira- 
tion, as if she were a polished ruby. Then I went out of the place 
and locked the door as it was before. When it was the morrow I 
opened the second door ; and entering found myself in a spacious 

1 Arab. " Al-Barkuk," whence our older " Apricock." Classically it is " Burkiik" 
and Pers. for Arab. " Mislmrisli," and it also denotes a small plum or damson. In Syria 
the " side next the sun " shows a glowing red flush. 

The Third Kalandar*$ Tale. 159 

plain set with tall date-palms and watered by a running stream 
whose banks were shrubbed with bushes of rose and jasmine, while 
privet and eglantine, oxe-eye, violet and lily, narcissus, origane 
and the winter gilliflower carpeted the borders ; and the breath of 
the breeze swept over these sweet-smelling growths diffusing their 
delicious odours right and left, perfuming the world and filling my 
soul with delight. After taking my pleasure there awhile I went 
from it and, having closed the door as it was before, opened the 
third door wherein I saw a high open hall pargetted with parti- 
coloured marbles zndfietra dura of price and other precious stones, 
and hung with cages of sandal-wood and eagle-wood ; full of birds 
which made sweet music, such as the "Thousand-voiced," 1 and the 
cushat, the merle, the turtle-dove and the Nubian ring-dove. My 
heart was filled with pleasure thereby ; my grief was dispelled and 
I slept in that aviary till dawn. Then I unlocked the door of the 
fourth chamber and therein found a grand saloon with forty smaller 
chambers giving upon it. All their doors stood open : so I entered 
and found them full of pearls and jacinths and beryls and emeralds 
and corals and carbuncles, and all manner precious gems and jewels, 
such as tongue of man may not describe. My thought was stunned 
at the sight and I said to myself, "These be things methinks 
united which could not be found save in the treasuries of a King of 
Kings, nor could the monarchs of the world have collected the like 
of these ! " And my heart dilated and my sorrows ceased, " For/ 1 
quoth I, " now verily am I the monarch of the age, since by Allah's 
.grace this enormous wealth is mine; and I have forty damsels 
under my hand nor is there any to claim them save myself." Then 
I gave not over opening place after place until nine and thirty days 
were passed and in .that time I had entered every chambe'r except 
that one whose door the Princesses had charged me not to open. 
But my thoughts, O my mistress, ever ran on that forbidden 
fortieth 2 and Satan urged me to open it for my own undoing; 
nor had I patience to forbear, albeit there wanted of the trysting 
time but a single day. So I stood before the chamber aforesaid 
and, after a moment's hesitation, opened the door which was plated 
with red gold, and entered. I was met by a perfume whose like I 

1 Arab. " Hazar" (in Persian, a thousand) = a kind of mocking bird. 

2 Some Edits, make the doors number a hundred, but the Princesses were forty and 
tfiese coincidences, which seem to have significance and have none save for Arab sym- 
ttetromania, are common in Arab stories. 

160 A If Laylak wa Laylah. 

had never before smelt ; and so sharp and subtle was the odour 
that it made my senses drunken as with strong wine, and I fell to 
the ground in a fainting fit which lasted a full hour. When I came 
to myself I strengthened my heart and, entering, found myself in a 
chamber whose floor was bespread with saffron and blazing with 
light from branched candelabra of gold and lamps fed with costly 
oils, which diffused the scent of musk and ambergris. I saw there 
also two great censers each big as a mazer-bowl, 1 flaming with 
lign-aloes, nadd -perfume, 2 ambergris and honied scents ; and the 
place was full of their fragrance. Presently, O my lady, I espied a 
noble steed, black as the murks of night when murkiest, standing, 
ready saddled and bridled (and his saddle was of red gold) before 
two mangers, one of clear crystal wherein was husked sesame, and 
the other also of crystal containing water of the rose scented with 
musk. When I saw this I marvelled and said to myself, " Doubt- 
less in this animal must be some wondrous mystery ; " and Satan 
cozened me, so I led him without the palace and mounted him ; but 
he would not stir from his place. So I hammered his sides with my 
heels, but he moved not, and then I took the rein-whip 3 and struck 
him withal. When he felt the blow, he neighed a neigh with a sound 
like deafening thunder and, opening a pair of wings 4 flew up with me 
in the firmament of heaven far beyond the eyesight of man. After a 
full hour of flight he descended and alighted on a terrace roof and 
shaking me off his back lashed me on the face with his tail 
and gouged out my left eye causing it roll . along my cheek. 
Then he flew away. I went down from the terrace and found 
myself again amongst the ten one-eyed youths sitting upon their 
ten couches with blue covers ; and they cried out when they saw 
me, " No welcome to thee, nor aught of good cheer ! We all 
lived of lives the happiest and we ate and drank of the best ; 
upon brocades and cloths of gold we took our rest, and we slept 
with our heads on beauty's breast but we could not await one day 
to gain the delights of a year ! " Quoth I, " Behold I have become 
one like unto you and now I would have you bring me a tray full 
of blackness, wherewith to blacken my face, and receive me into 

1 Arab. "Majiir": hence possibly our "maier," which is popularly derived from 
Masarn, a maple. 
I 2 A compound scent of ambergris, musk and aloes. 

5 The ends of the bridle-reins forming the whip. 

4 The flying horse is Pegasus which is a Greek travesty of an Egyptian myth developed, 
in India. 

The Third Kalandars Tale. i6r 

your society," "No, by Allah," quoth they, "thou shalt not 
sojourn with us and now get thee hence ! " So they drove me 
away. Finding them reject me thus I foresaw that matters would 
go hard with me, and I remembered the many miseries which 
Destiny had written upon my forehead ; and I fared forth from 
among them heavy-hearted and tearful-eyed, repeating to myself 
these words, " I was sitting at mine ease but my frowardness 
brought me to unease." Then I shaved beard and mustachios and 
eye-brows, renouncing the world, and wandered in Kalandar-garb 
about Allah's earth ; and the Almighty decreed safety for me till 
I arrived at Baghdad, which was on the evening of this very night- 
Here I met these two other Kalandars standing bewildered ; so I 
saluted them saying, "I am a stranger ! " and they answered, 
" And we likewise be strangers ! " By the freak of Fortune we 
were like to like, three Kalandars and three monoculars all blind 
of the left eye. Such, O my lady, is the cause of the shearing of 
my beard and the manner of my losing an eye. Said the lady to 
him, " Rub thy head and wend thy ways ; " but he answered, " By 
Allah, I will not go until I hear the stories of these others." Then 
the lady, turning towards the Caliph and Ja'afar and Masrur, said 
to them, " Do ye also give an account of yourselves, you men ! " 
Whereupon Ja'afar stood forth and told her what he had told the 
portress as they were entering the house ; and when she heard his 
story of their being merchants and Mosul-men who had outrun the 
watch, she said, "I grant you your lives each for each sake, and 
now away with you all." So they all went out and when they 
were in the street, quoth the Caliph to the Kalandars, " O com- 
pany, whither go ye now, seeing that the morning hath not yet 
dawned ? " Quoth they, " By Allah, O our lord, we know not 
where to go." " Come and pass the rest of the night with us," said 
the Caliph and, turning to Ja'afar, "Take them home with thee and 
to-morrow bring them to my presence tnat we may chronicle their 
adventures." Ja'afar did as the Caliph bade him and the Com- 
mander of the Faithful returned to his palace; but sleep gave no 
sign of visiting him that night and he lay awake pondering the 
mishaps of the three Kalandar-princes and impatient to know the 
history of the ladies and the two black bitches. No sooner had 
morning dawned than he went forth and sat upon the thfone of his 
sovereignty ; and, turning to Ja'afar, after all his Grandees and 
Officers of state were gathered together, he said, " Bring me the 
three ladies .and the two bitches and the three Kalandars." So 
VOL. I. L 

1 62 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

Ja'afar fared forth and brought them all before him (and the ladies 
were veiled) ; then the Minister turned to them and said in the 
Caliph's name, " We pardon you your maltreatment of us and your 
want of courtesy, in consideration of the kindness which forewent 
it, and for that ye knew us not : now however I would have you 
to know that ye stand in presence of the fifth 1 of the sons of 
Abbas, Harun al-Rashid, brother of Caliph Musa al-Hadi, son 
of Al-Mansur ; son of Mohammed the brother of Al-Saffah bin 
Mohammed who was first of the royal house. Speak ye therefore 
before him the truth and the whole truth ! " When the ladies heard 
Ja'afar's words touching the Commander of the Faithful, the eldest 
came forward and said, " O Prince of True Believers, my story is 
one which, were it graven with needle-gravers upon the eye-corners 
were a warner for whoso would be warned and an example for 

whoso can take profit from example." And Shahrazad perceived 

the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say. 

Nofo fo&m tt fofls t{)0 gbebentcentf) ftTigit, 

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


VERILY a strange tale is mine and 'tis this : Yon two black 
bitches are my eldest sisters by one mother and father ; and these 
two others, she who beareth upon her the signs of stripes and the 
third our procuratrix are my sisters by another mother. When my 
father died, each took her share of the heritage and, after a while 
my mother also deceased, leaving me and my sisters-german 
three thousand dinars ; so each daughter received her portion 
of a thousand dinars and I the same, albe the youngest. In due 
course of time my sisters married with the usual festivities and 
lived with their husbands, who bought merchandise with their 
wives' monies and set out on their travels together. Thus they 
threw me off. My brothers-in-law were absent with their wives 
five years, during which period they spent all the money they 
had and, becoming bankrupt, deserted my sisters in foreign parts 
amid stranger folk. After five years my eldest sister returned to 

1 The Bres. Edit, wrongly says "the seventh." 

The Eldest Lady *s Tale. 163 

me in beggar's gear with her clothes in rags and tatters 1 and a 
dirty old mantilla ; 2 and truly she was in the foulest and sorriest 
plight. At first sight I did not know my own sister ; but presently 
I recognised her and said " What state is this ? " " O our sister," 
she replied, " Words cannot undo the done ; and the reed of 
Destiny hath run through what Allah decreed." Then I sent 
her to the bath and dressed her in a suit of mine own, and boiled 
for her a bouillon and brought her some good wine and said 
to her, " O my sister, thou art the eldest, who still standest to us 
in the stead of father and mother; and, as for the inheritance 
which came to me as to you twain, Allah hath blessed it and pros- 
pered it to me with increase ; and my circumstances are easy, for I 
have made much money by spinning and cleaning silk ; and I and 
you will share my wealth alike. 1 ' I entreated her with all kindliness 
and she abode with me a whole year, during which our thoughts 
and fancies were always full of our other sister. Shortly after she 
too came home in yet fouler and sorrier plight than that of my 
eldest sister ; and I dealt by her still more honorably than I had 
done by the first, and each of them had a share of my substance. 
After a time they said to me, " O our sister, we desire to marry 
again, for indeed we have not patience to drag on our days with- 
out husbands and to lead the lives of widows bewitched ; " and 
I replied, "O eyes of me! 3 ye have hitherto seen scanty weal in 
wedlock, for now-a-days good men and true are become rareties 
and curiosities ; nor do I deem your projects advisable, as ye have 
already made trial of matrimony and have failed." But they 
would not accept my advice and married without my consent : 
nevertheless I gave them outfit and dowries out of my money; 
and they fared forth with their mates. In a mighty little time 
their husbands played them false and, taking whatever they could 
lay hands upon, levanted and left them in the lurch. Thereupon 
they came to me ashamed and in abject case and made their 

1 Arab. "Shartnutah " (plur. Sharamft) from the root Sharmat, to shred, a favourite 
Egyptian word also applied in vulgar speech to a strumpet, a punk, a piece. It is also 
the popular term for strips of jerked or boucaned meat hung up in the sun to dry, and 
classically called " Kadid." 

2 Arab. " Izar," the man's waistcloth opposed to the Rida" or shoulder-cloth, is also 
the sheet of white calico worn by the poorer Eygptian women out of doors and covering 
head and hands. See Lane (M. E., chapt. i). The rich prefer a " Habarah " of black 
silk, and the poor, when they have nothing else, use a bed-sheet. 

i.c. "My dears." 

1 64 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

excuses to me, saying, ** Pardon our fault and be not wroth with 
us; 1 for although thou art younger in years yet art thou older in 
wit ; henceforth we will never make mention .of marriage ; so take 
us back as thy hand-maidens that we may eat our mouthful." 
Quoth I, "Welcome to you, O my sisters, there is naught dearer to 
me than you." And I took them in and redoubled my kindness to 
them. We ceased not to live after this loving fashion for a full 
year, when I resolved to sell my wares abroad and first to fit me a 
conveyance for Bassorah ; so I equipped a large ship, and loaded 
her with merchandise and valuable goods for traffic, and with 
provaunt and all needful for a voyage, and said to my sisters, " Will 
ye abide at home whilst I travel, or would ye prefer to accompany 
me on the voyage ? " " We will travel with thee," answered they, 
" for we cannot bear to be parted from thee." So I divided my 
monies into two parts, one to accompany me and the other to be 
left in charge of a trusty person, for, as I said to myself, " Haply 
some accident may happen to the ship and yet we remain alive ; in 
which case we shall find on our return what may stand us in good 
stead. I took my two sisters and we went a-voyaging some days 
and nights ; but the master was careless enough to miss his course, 
and the ship went astray with us and entered a sea other than the 
sea we sought. For a time we knew naught of this ; and the wind 
blew fair for us ten days, after which the look-out man went aloft 
to see about him and cried, " Good news ! " Then he came down 
rejoicing and said, " I have seen what seemeth to be a city as 'twere 
a pigeon." Hereat we rejoiced and, ere an hour of the day had 
passed, the buildings showed plain in the offing and we asked the 
Captain, " What is the name of yonder city ;" and he answered, 
*' By Allah I wot not, for I never saw it before and never sailed 
these seas in my life : but, since our troubles have ended in safety, 
remains for you only to land there with your merchandise and, if 
you find selling profitable, sell and make your market of what is 
there ; and if not, we will rest here two days and provision ourselves 
and fare away. So we entered the port and the" -Captain went up 
town and was absent awhile, after which he returned to us and 
said, " Arise ; go up into the city and marvel at the works of Allah 
with His creatures and pray to be preserved from His righteous 
wrath I " So we landed and going up into the city, saw at the 
gate men hending staves in hand ; but when we drew near them, 

1 Arab. " La tawaTchizna : " lit. " do not -chastise (or blame) us ; " the pop. expression 
for, "excuse (or pardon) us." 

The Eldest Lady's Tale. 165 

behold, they had been translated * by the anger of Allah and had 
become stones. Then we entered the city and found all who 
therein woned into black stones enstoned : not an inhabited house 
appeared to the espier, nor was there a blower of fire. 2 We were 
awe struck at the sight and threaded the market streets where we 
found the goods and gold and silver left lying in their places ; and 
we were glad and said, " Doubtless there is some mystery in all 
this." Then we dispersed about the thoroughfares and each busied 
himself with collecting the wealth and money and rich stuffs, 
taking scanty heed of friend or comrade. As for myself I went up 
to the castle which was strongly fortified ; and, entering the King's 
palace by its gate of red gold, found all the vaiselle of gold and 
silver, and the King himself seated in the midst of his Chamber- 
lains and Nabobs and Emirs and Wazirs ; all clad in raiment which 
confounded man's art. I drew nearer and saw him sitting on a throne 
incrusted and inlaid with pearls and gems ; and his robes were of 
gold-cloth adorned with jewels of every kind, each one flashing like 
a star. Around him stood fifty Mamelukes, white slaves, clothed in 
silks of divers sorts holding their drawn swords in their hands ; but 
when I drew near to them lo ! all were black stones. My understand- 
ing was confounded at the sight, but I walked on and entered the 
great hall of the Harfm, s whose walls I found hung with tapestries 
of gold-striped silk and spread with silken carpets embroidered 
with golden flowers. Here I saw the Queen lying at full length 
arrayed in robes purfled with fresh young 4 pearls ; on her head was 
a diadem set with many sorts of gems each fit for a ring 5 and 
around her neck hung collars and necklaces. All her raiment and 
her ornaments were in natural state but she had been turned into a 
black stone by Allah's wrath. Presently I espied an open door for 
which I made straight and found leading to it a flight of seven 

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

8 A picturesque phrase enough to express a deserted site, a spectacle familiar to the 
Nomades and always abounding in pathos to the citizens. 

s The olden " Harem " (or gynseceum, Pers. Zenanah, Serraglio) : Harim is also 
used by synecdoche for the inmates ; especially the wife. 

4 The pearl is supposed in the East to lose \% per ann. of its splendour and value. 

* Arab. " Pass," properly the bezel of a ringj also a gem cut tn ca&ochon and 
generally the cantenant for the fonftnu. -~ . . 

1 66 .A If Laylah wa Laylak. 

steps. So I walked up and came upon a place pargetted with 
marble and spread and hung - with gold-worked carpets and 
tapestry, amiddlemost of which stood a throne of juniper-wood 
inlaid with pearls and precious stones and set with bosses of 
emeralds. In the further wall was an alcove whose curtains, be- 
strung with pearls, were let down and I saw a light issuing there- 
from ; so I drew near and perceived that the light came from a 
precious stone as big as an ostrich-egg, set at the upper end of the 
alcove upon a little chryselephantine couch of ivory and gold ; and 
this jewel, blazing like the sun, cast its rays wide and side. The 
couch also was spread with all manner of silken stuffs amazing the 
gazer with their richness and beauty. I marvelled much at all this, 
especially when seeing in that place candles ready lighted ; and 
I said in my mind, " Needs must some one have lighted these 
candles." Then I went forth and came to the kitchen and thence 
to the buttery and the King's treasure-chambers ; and continued to 
explore the palace and to pace from place to place ; I forgot my- 
self in my awe and marvel at these matters and I was drowned in 
thought till the night came on. Then I would have gone forth, 
but knowing not the gate I lost my way, so I returned to the 
alcove whither the lighted candles directed me and sat down upon 
the couch ; and wrapping myself in a coverlet, after I had repeated 
somewhat from the Koran, I would have slept but could not, for 
restlessness possessed me. When night was at its noon I heard a 
voice chanting the Koran in sweetest accents ; but the tone thereof 
was -weak ; so I rose, glad to hear the silence broken, and followed 
the sound until I reached a closet whose door stood ajar. Then 
peeping through a chink I considered the place and lo ! it was an 
oratory wherein was a prayer-niche 1 with two wax candles burning 

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

The Eldest Lady's Tale. 167 

and lamps hanging from the ceiling. In it too was spread a prayer- 
carpet whereupon sat a youth fair to see ; and before him on its 
stand 1 was a copy of the Koran, from which he was reading. I 
marvelled to see him alone alive amongst the people of the city 
and entering saluted him ; whereupon he raised his eyes and 
returned my salam. Quoth I, " Now by the Truth 6f what thou 
readest in Allah's Holy Book, I conjure thee to answer my 
question." He looked upon me with a smile and said, " O hand- 
maid of Allah, first tell me the cause of thy coming hither, and I 
in turn will tell what hath befallen both me and the people of this 
city, and what was the reason of my escaping their doom." So I 
told him my story whereat he wondered ; and I questioned him of 
the people of the city, when he replied, " Have patience with me 
for awhile, O my sister ! " and, reverently closing the Holy Book, he 
laid it up in a satin bag. Then he seated me by his side ; and I 
looked at him and behold, he was as the moon at its full, fair of 
face and rare of form, soft-sided and slight, of well-proportioned 
height, and cheek: smoothly bright and diffusing light ; in brief a 
sweet, a sugar-stick, 2 even, as saith the poet of the like of him in 
these couplets : 

That night th' astrologer a scheme of planets drew, o And lo ! a graceful shape 

of youth appeared in view : 
Saturn had stained his locks with Saturninest jet, o And spots of nut-brown 

musk on rosy side- face blew : 3 
Mars tinctured either cheek with tinct of martial red ; o Sagittal shots from 

eyelids Sagittarius threw : 
Dowered him Mercury with bright mercurial wit ; o Bore off the Bear 4 what all 

man's evil glances grew : 
Amazed stood Astrophil to sight the marvel-birth o When louted low the Moon 

at full to buss the Earth. 

And of a truth Allah the Most High had robed him in the raiment 

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

2 Mr. Payne (i. 148) quotes the German Zuckerpiippchen. 

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

4 Arab " Suha" a star in the Great Bear introduced only to balance << wushat" = 
spies, enviers, enemies, whose " evil eye " it will ward off. 

168 A If Laylah wa Laylah 

of perfect grace and had purfled and fringed it with a cheek all 
beauty and loveliness, even as the poet saith of such an one : - 

By his eyelids shedding perfume and his fine slim waist I swear, o By the 

shooting of his shafts barbed with sorcery passing rare ; 
By the softness of his sides, 1 and glances' lingering light; o And brow of dazzling 

day-tide ray and night within his hair ; 
By his eyebrows which deny to who look upon them rest, o Now bidding now 

forbidding, ever dealing joy and care ; 
By the rose that decks his cheek, and the myrtle of its moss ; 2 o By jacinths 

bedded in his lips and pearl his smile lays bare ; 
By his graceful bending neck and the curving of his breast ; o Whose polished 

surface beareth those granados, lovely pair ; 
By his heavy hips that quiver as he passeth in his pride ; o Or he resteth with 

that waist which is slim beyond compare ; 
By the satin of his skin, by that fine unsullied sprite ; o By the beauty that con- 

taineth all things bright and debonnair; 
By that ever-open hand ; by the candour of his tongue ; o By noble blood and 

high degree whereof he's hope and heir ; 
Musk from him borrows muskiness she loveth to exhale o And all the airs of 

ambergris through him perfume the air ; 
The sun, methinks,the broad bright sun, before my love would pale o And sans 

his splendour would appear a paring of his nail. 3 

I glanced at him with one glance of eyes which caused me a 
thousand sighs ; and my heart was at once taken captive-wise ; so 
I asked him, " O my lord and my love, tell me that whereof I 
questioned thee ; " and he answered, " Hearing is obeying ! Know, 
O handmaid of Allah, that this city was the capital of my father 
who is the King thou sawest on the throne transfigured by Allah's 
wrath to a black stone, and the Queen thou foundest in the alcove 
is my mother. They and all the people of the city were Magians 
who fire adored in lieu of the Omnipotent Lord 4 and were wont to 
swear by lowe and heat and shade and light, and the spheres 
revolving day and night. My father had ne'er a son till he was 
blest with me near the last of his days ; and he reared me till I 

1 In Arab tales beauty is always "soft-sided," and a smooth skin is valued in pro- 
portion to its rarety. 

* The myrtle is the young hair upon the side-face. 

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

4 This is regular formula when speaking of Gucbres. 

The Eldest Lady's Tale. 169 

grew up and prosperity anticipated me in all things. Now it so 
fortuned there was with us an old woman well stricken in years, a 
Moslemah who, inwardly believing in Allah and His Apostle, con- 
formed outwardly with the religion of my people ; and my father 
placed thorough confidence in her for that he knew her to be trust- 
worthy and virtuous ; and he treated her with ever-increasing kind- 
ness believing her to be of his own belief. So when I was well-nigh 
grown up my father committed me to her charge saying : Take him 
and educate him and teach him the rules of our faith ; let him have 
the best instructions and cease not thy fostering care of him. So 
she took me and taught me the tenets of Al-Islam with the divine 
ordinances 1 of the Wuzu-ablution and the five daily prayers and 
she made me learn the Koran by rote, often repeating : Serve 
none save Allah Almighty ! When I had mastered this much of 
knowledge she said to me: O my son, keep this matter concealed 
from thy sire and reveal naught to him lest he slay thee. So I hid 
it from him and I abode on this wise for a term of days when the 
old woman died, and the people of the city redoubled in their 
impiety 2 and arrogance and the error of their ways. One day, 
while they were as wont, behold, they heard a loud and terrible 
sound and a crier crying cut with a voice like roaring thunder so 
every ear could hear, far and near: O folk of this city leave ye 
your fire-worshipping and adore Allah the All-compassionate 
King ! At this, fear and terror fell upon the citizens and they 
crowded to my father (he being King of the city) and asked him : 
What is this awesome voice we have heard, for it hath confounded 
us with the excess of its terror ? ; and he answered : Let not a 
voice fright you nor shake your steadfast sprite nor turn you back 
from the faith which is right. Their hearts inclined to his words 
and they ceased not to worship the fire and they persisted in rebel- 

1 Arab. "Faraiz"; the orders expressly given in the Koran which the reader will 
remember, is Uncreate and Eternal. In India "Farz" is applied to injunctions thrice 
repeated ; and " Wdjib " to those given twice over. Elsewhere scanty difference is made 
between them. 

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

170 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

lion for a full year from the time they heard the first voice; and 
on the anniversary came a second cry and a third at the head of the 
third year, each year once. Still they persisted in their malprac- 
tises till one day at break of dawn, judgment and the wrath of 
Heaven descended upon them with all suddenness, and by the 
visitation of Allah all were metamorphosed into black stones, 1 they 
and their beasts and their cattle ; and none was saved save myself 
who at the time was engaged in my devotions. From that day to 
this I am in the case thou seest, constant in prayer and fasting and 
reading and reciting the Koran ; but I am indeed grown weary by 
reason of my loneliness, having none to bear me company." Then 
said I to him (for in very sooth he had won my heart and was the 
lord of my life and soul), " O youth, wilt thou fare with me to 
Baghdad city and visit the Olema and men learned in the law and 
doctors of divinity and get thee increase of wisdom and under- 
standing and theology ? And know that she who standeth in thy 
presence will be thy handmaid, albeit she be head of her family 
and mistress over men and eunuchs and servants and slaves. 
Indeed my life was no life before it fell in with thy youth. I have 
here a ship laden with merchandise ; and in very truth Destiny 
drove me to this city that I might come to the knowledge of these 
matters, for it was fated that we should meet." And I ceased not 
to persuade him and speak him fair and use every art till he con- 
sented." And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased 

to say her permitted say. 

^fob fo&en it foas tfte (f$WentJ W$t, 

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the 
lady ceased not persuading with soft speech the youth to depart 
with her till he consented and said " Yes." She slept that night 
lying at his feet and hardly knowing where she was for excess of 
joy. As soon as the next morning dawned (she pursued, address- 
ing the Caliph), I arose and we entered the treasuries and took 
thence whatever was light in weight and great in worth ; then we 
went down side by side from the castle to the city, where we were 
met by the Captain and my sisters and slaves who had been seek- 

1 Yet they kept the semblance of man, showing that the idea arose from the basaltic 
statues found in Hauranic ruins. Mohammed in his various marches to Syria must 
have seen remnants of Greek and Roman settlements ; and as has been noticed 
"SesoMris" left his mark near Meccah. (Pilgrimage iii. 137). 

The Eldest Lady's Tale. 171 

ing for me. When they saw me they rejoiced and asked what had 
stayed me, and I told them all I had seen and related to them the 
story of the young Prince and the transformation wherewith the 
citizens had been justly visited. Hereat all marvelled, but when 
my two sisters (these two bitches, O Commander of the Faithful !) 
saw me by the side of my young lover they jaloused me on his 
account and were ivroth and plotted mischief against me. We 
awaited a fair wind and went on board rejoicing and ready to fly for 
joy by reason of the goods we had gotten, but my own greatest joy- 
ance was in the youth ; and we waited awhile till the wind blew fair 
for us and then we set sail and fared forth. Now as we sat talking, 
my sisters asked me, " And what wilt thou do with this handsome 
young man ? "; and I answered, " I purpose to make him my hus- 
band ! " Then I turned to him and said, " O my lord, I have that 
to propose to thee wherein thou must not cross me ; and this it is 
that, when we reach Baghdad, my native city, I offer thee my life 
as thy handmaiden in holy matrimony, and thou shalt be to me 
baron and I will be femme to thee." He answered, " I hear and I 
obey ! ; thou art my lady and my mistress and whatso thou doest I 
will not gainsay." Then I turned to my sisters and said, " This is 
my gain ; I content me with this youth and those who have gotten 
aught of my property let them keep it as their gain with my 
good will." " Thou sayest and doest well," answered the twain, but 
they imagined mischief against me. We ceased not spooning 
before a fair wind till we had exchanged the sea of peril for the 
seas of safety and, in a few days, we made Bassorah-city, whose 
buildings loomed clear before us as evening fell. But after we had 
retired to rest and were sound asleep, my two sisters arose and 
took me up, bed and all, and threw me into the sea : they did 
the same with the young Prince who, as he could not swim, sank 
and was drowned and Allah enrolled him in the noble army of 
Martyrs. 1 As for me would Heaven I had been drowned with 

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

172 A If Laylah wa Laylak. 

him, but Allah deemed that I should be of the saved ; so when 
I awoke and found myself in the sea and saw the ship making 
off like a flash of lightning, He threw in my way a piece of timber 
which I bestrided, and the waves tossed me to and fro till they 
cast me upon an island coast, a high land and an uninhabited. 
I landed and walked about the island the rest of the night and, 
when morning dawned, I saw a rough track barely fit for child of 
Adam to tread, leading to what proved a shallow ford connecting 
island and mainland. As soon as the sun had risen I spread my 
garments to dry in its rays ; and ate of the fruits of the island and 
drank of its waters ; then I set out along the foot-track and 
ceased not walking till I reached the mainland. Now when there 
remained between me and the city but a two hours' journey 
behold, a great serpent, the bigness of a date-palm, came fleeing 
towards me in all haste, gliding along now to the right then to 
the left till she was close upon me, whilst her tongue lolled 
ground-wards a span long and swept the dust as she went. She 
was pursued by a Dragon l who was not longer than two lances, 
and of slender build about the bulk of a spear and, although her 
terror lent her speed, and she kept wriggling from side to side, he 
overtook her and seized her by the tail, whereat her tears streamed 
down and her tongue was thrust out in her agony. I took pity 
on her and, picking up a stone and calling upon Allah for aid, 
threw it at the Dragon's head with such force that he died then 
and there ; and the serpent opening a pair of wings flew into the 
lift and disappeared from before my eyes. I sat down marvelling 
over that adventure, but I was weary and, drowsiness overcoming 
me, I slept where I was for a while. When I awoke I found a 
jet-black damsel sitting at my feet shampooing them ; and by her 
side stood two black bitches (my sisters, O Commander of the 
Faithful !). I was ashamed before her 2 and, sitting up, asked 
her, " O my sister, who and what art thou?"; and she answered, 
" How soon hast thou forgotten me ! I am she for whom thou 
wroughtest a good deed and sowedest the seed of gratitude and 
slewest her foe ; for I am the serpent whom by Allah's aidance 

1 Arab. " Su 'uban : " the Badawin give the name to a variety of serpents all held to 
be venomous; but in tales the word, like "Tannin/' expresses our "dragon" or 

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

Tale of the Portress. 173 

thou didst just now deliver from the Dragon. I am a Jinniyah 
and he was a Jinn who hated me, and none saved my life from him 
save thou. As soon as thou freedest me from him I flew on the 
wind to the ship whence thy sisters threw thee, and removed all 
that was therein to thy house. Then I ordered my attendant 
Hands to sink the ship and I transformed thy two sisters into 
these black bitches ; for I know all that hath passed between 
them and thee; but as for the youth, of a truth he is drowned. So 
saying she flew up with me and the bitches, and presently set us 
down on the terrace-roof of my house, wherein I found ready stored 
the whole of what property was in my ship, nor was aught of it 
missing. Now (continued the serpent that was), I swear by all 
engraven on the seal-ring of Solomon * (with whom be peace !) 
unless thou deal to each of these bitches three hundred stripes 
every day I will come and imprison thee for ever under the earth." 
I answered, " Hearkening and obedience ! " ; and away she flew. 
But before going she again charged me saying, " I again swear by 
Him who made the two seas flow 2 (and this be my second oath) if 
thou gainsay me I will come and transform thee like thy sisters." 
Since then I have never failed, O Commander of the Faithful, to 
beat them with that number of blows till their blood flows with 
my tears, I pitying them the while, and well they wot that their 
being scourged is no fault of mine and they accept my excuses. 
And this is my tale and my history ! The Caliph marvelled at 
her adventures and then signed to Ja'afar who said to the second 
lady, the Portress, " And thou, how earnest thou by the welts and 
wheals upon thy body ? " So she began the 


KNOW, O Commander of the Faithful, that I had a father who, 
after fulfilling his time, deceased and left me great store of wealth. 
I remained single for a short time and presently married one of 
the richest of his day. I abode with him a year when he also died, 
and my share of his property amounted to eighty thousand dinars 

1 Alluding to the Most High Name, the hundredth name of God, the Heb. Shemham- 
phorash, unknown save to a favoured few who by using it perform all manner of 

1 f's. the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean. 

174 A If Laylak wa Laylah. 

in gold according to the holy law of inheritance. 1 Thus I became 
passing rich and my reputation spread far and wide, for I had made 
me ten changes of raiment, each worth a thousand dinars. One 
day as I was sitting at home, behold, there came in to me an old 
woman 2 with lantern jaws and cheeks sucked in, and eyes rucked 
up, and eyebrows scant and scald, and head bare and bald ; and 
teeth broken by time and mauled, and back bending and neck- 
nape nodding, and face blotched, and rheum running, and hair like 
a snake black-and-white-speckled, in complexion a very fright, even 
as saith the poet of the like of her : 

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

And as saith another : 

A hag to whom th' unlawful lawfullest o And witchcraft wisdpm in her sight are 

grown : 
A mischief-making brat, a demon-maid, o A whorish woman and a pimping 

crone. 3 

When the old woman entered she salamed to me and kissing the 
ground before me, said, " I have at home an orphan daughter and 
this night are her wedding and her displaying. 4 We be poor folks 
and strangers in this city knowing none inhabitant and we are 
broken-hearted. So do thou earn for thyself a recompense and a 
reward in Heaven by being present at her displaying and, when 
the ladies of this city shall hear that thou art to make act of 
presence, they also will present themselves ; so shalt thou comfort 
her affliction, for she is sore bruised in spirit and she hath none to 

1 i.e. Settled by the Koran. 

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

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

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

Tale of the Portress. 175 

look to save Allah the Most High." Then she wept and kissed my 
feet reciting these couplets : 

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

So pity gat hold on me and compassion and I said, " Hearing is 
consenting and, please Allah, I will do somewhat more for her ; 
nor shall she be shown to her bridegroom save in my raiment 
and ornaments and jewelry. At this the old woman rejoiced and 
bowed her head to my feet and kissed them, saying, " Allah requite 
thee weal, and comfort thy heart even as thou has comforted mine ! 
But, O my lady, do not trouble thyself to do me this service at 
this hour ; be thou ready by supper-time, when I will come and 
fetch thee." So saying she kissed my hand and went her ways. 
I set about stringing my pearls and donning my brocades and 
making my toilette, little recking what Fortune had in womb for 
me, when suddenly the old woman stood before me, simpering and 
smiling till she showed every tooth- stump, and quoth she, " O my 
mistress, the city madams have arrived and when I apprized them 
that thou promisedst to be present, they were glad and they are 
now awaiting thee and looking eagerly for thy coming and for the 
honour of meeting thee." So I threw on my mantilla and, making 
the old crone walk before me and my handmaidens behind me, I 
fared till we came to a street well watered and swept neat, where 
the winnowing breeze blew cool and sweet. Here we were stopped 
by a gate arched over with a dome of marble stone firmly seaited 
on solidest foundation, and leading to a Palace whose walls from 
earth rose tall and proud, and whose pinnacle was crowned by the 
clouds, 2 and over the doorway were writ these couplets : 

I am the wone where Mirth shall ever smile ; o The home of Joyance through 

my lasting while : 
And 'mid my court a fountain jets and flows, o Nor tears nor troubles shall that 

fount defile : 
The marge with royal Nu'umanV bloom is dight, o Myrtle, Narcissus-flower 

and Chamomile. 

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

* A popular Arab hyperbole. 

* Arab. " Shakaik al-Nu'uman," lit. the fissures of Nu'uman, the beautiful anemone, 
which a tyrannical King of Hirah, Nu'uman ibn Al-Munzir, a contemporary of Moham- 
med, attempted to monopolize. 

176 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

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

Thou pacest the palace a marvel-sight, o A bride for a Kisrd's or Kaisar*3 
night ! 

Wantons the rose on thy roseate cheek, o O cheek as the blood of the dragon l 
bright ! 

Slim- watsted, languorous, sleepy-eyed, o With charms which promise all love- 
delight : 

And the tire which attires thy tiara'd brow o Is a night of woe on a morn's glad 

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

An but the house could know who cometh 'twould rejoice, o And kiss the very 

dust whereon thy foot was placed ; 
And with the tongue of circumstance the walls would say, o " Welcome and 

hail to one with generous gifts engraced ! * 

Then sat she down and said to me, " O my sister, I have a brother 
who hath had sight of thee at sundry wedding-feasts and festive 
seasons: he is a youth handsomer than I, and he hath fallen 

1 Arab. " Andam " = here the gum called dragon's blood ; in other places the dye 
wood known as braxil. 

Tale of the Portress. 177 

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

His face as the face of the young moon shines o And Fortune stamps him with 
pearls for signs. 3 

And Allah favour him who said : 

Blest be his beauty ; blest the Lord's decree o Who cast and shaped a thing so 

bright of blee : 

All gifts of beauty he conjoins in one ; o Lost in his love is all humanity ; 
For Beauty's self inscribed on his brow o " I testify there be no Good but he ! " 8 

When I looked at him my heart inclined to him -and I loved him ; 
and he sat by my side and talked with me a while, when the young 
lady again clapped her hands and behold, a side-door opened and 
out of it came the Kazi with his four assessors as witnesses ; and 
they saluted us and, sitting down, drew up and wrote out the mar- 
riage-contract between me and the youth and retired. Then he 
turned to me and said, " Be our night blessed, 7 ' presently adding, 
" O my lady, I have a condition to lay on thee." Quoth I, " O 

1 I need hardly say that in the East, where bells are unused, clapprng the hands sum- 
mons the servants. In India men cry " Quy hye " (Koi hai ?) and in the Brazil whistle 
" Pst ! " after the fashion of Spain and Portugal. 

? The moles are here compared with pearls ;. a simile by no means commoa or 

8 A parody on the testification of Allah's Unity. 


1/8 A If Laylah wa Laylak. 

my lord, what is that ? " Whereupon he arose and fetching a copy 
of the Holy Book presented it to me saying, " Swear hereon thou 
wilt never look at any other than myself nor incline thy body or 
thy heart to him." I swore readily enough to this and he joyed' 
with exceeding joy and embraced me round the neck while love 
for him possessed my whole heart. Then they set the table 1 before 
us and we ate and drank till we were satisfied ; but I was dying 
for the coming of the night. And when night did come he led me 
to the bride-chamber and slept with me on the bed and continued 
to kiss and embrace me till the morning such a night I had never 
seen in my dreams. I lived with him a life of happiness and 
delight for a full month, at the end of whicn I asked his leave 2 to 
go on foot to the bazar and buy me certain especial stuffs and 
he gave me permission. So I donned my mantilla and, taking 
with me the old woman and a slave-girl, 3 I went to the khan of 
the silk-mercers, where I seated myself in the shop-front of a 
young merchant whom the old woman recommended, saying to 
me, " This youth's father died when he was a boy and left him 
great store of wealth : he hath by him a mighty fine 4 stock of 
goods and thou wilt find what thou seekest with him, for none in 
the bazar hath better stuffs than he." Then, she said to him, 
" Show this lady the most costly stuffs thou hast by thee ; " and he 
replied, " Hearkening and obedience ! " Then she whispered me, 
" Say a civil word to him ! " ; but I replied, " I am pledged to address 
no man save my lord." And as she began to sound his praise I 
said sharply to her, " We want nought of thy sweet speeches ; our 
wish is to buy of him whatsoever we need, and return home." So 

1 Arab. " Simdt" (prop. " Sumat ") ; the ''dinner-table," composed of a round 
wooden stool supporting a large metal tray, the two being called "Sufrah" (or 
"Simat") :.thus, "Sufrah hazirah!" means dinner is on the table. After the meal 
they are at once removed. 

* In the text " Dastur," the Persian word before noticed ; " Izn " would be the 
proper Arabic equivalent. 

3 In the Moslem East a young woman, single or married, is not allowed to appear 
alone in the streets; and the police has a right to arrest delinquents. As a preventive 
of intrigues the precaution is excellent. During the Crimean war hundreds of officers, 
English, French and Italian, became familiar with Constantinople ; and not a few 
flattered themselves on their success with Turkish women. I do not believe that a 
single bond fide case occurred; the "conquests" were all Greeks, Wallachians, 
Armenians or Jewesses. 

4 Arab. " Atfm " : translators do not seem to know that this word in The Nightsi 
often bears its Egyptian and slang sense* somewhat equivalent to our "deuced" or 
mighty" or "awfully fine." 

Tale of the Portress. 179 

he brought me all I sought and I offered him his money, but he 
refused to take it saying, " Let it be a gift offered to my guest this 
day ! " Then quoth I to the old woman, " If he will not take the 
money, give him back his stuff." " By Allah," cried he, " not a 
thing will I take from thee: I sell it not for gold or for silver, 
but I give it all as a gift for a single kiss ; a kiss more precious to 
me than everything the shop containeth." Asked the old woman, 
" What will the kiss profit thee ?"; and, turning to me, whispered, 
" O my daughter, thou hearest what this young fellow saith ? What 
harm will it do thee if he get a kiss from thee and thou gettest 
what thou seekest at that price ? " Replied I, " I take refuge with 
Allah from such action ! Knowest thou not that I am bound by 
an oath ? " l But she answered, " Now whist ! just let him kiss 
thee and neither speak to him nor lean over him, so shalt thou 
keep thine oath and thy silver, and no harm whatever shall befal 
thee." And she ceased not to persuade me and importune me 
and make light of the matter till evil entered into my mind and I 
put my head in the poke 2 and, declaring I would ne'er consent, 
consented. So I veiled my eyes and held up the edge of my 
mantilla between me and the people passing and he put his mouth 
to my cheek under the veil. But while kissing me he bit me 
so hard a bite that it tore the flesh from my cheek, 3 and blood 
flowed fast and faintness came over me. The old woman caught 
me in her arms and, when I came to myself, I found the shop shut 
up and her sorrowing over me and saying " Thank Allah for 
averting which might have been worse ! " Then she said to me, 
" Come, take heart and let us go home before the matter become 
public and thou be dishonoured. And when thou art safe inside 
the house feign sickness and lie down and cover thyself up ; and 
I will bring thee powders and plasters to cure this bite withal, 
and thy wound will be healed at the latest in three days." So 
after a while I arose and I was in extreme distress and terror came 
full upon me ; but I went on little by little till I reached the house 
when I pleaded illness and lay me down. When it was night my 
husband came in to me and said, " What hath befallen thee, O my 

1 This is a very serious thing amongst Moslems and scrupulous men often make great 
.sacrifices to avoid taking an oath. 

2 We should say " into the noose." 

3 The man had fallen in love with her and determined to mark her so that she might 
be bis. 

ISO Alf Laylah w& Laylah, 

darling, in this excursion of thine?"; and I replied, "I am not 
well : my head acheth badly." Then he lighted a candle and 
drew near me and looked hard at me and asked, " What is that 
wound I see on thy cheek and in the tenderest part too ? " And I 
answered, " When I went out to-day with thy leave to buy stuffs, 
a camel laden witlr firewood jostled me and one of the pieces tore 
my veil and wounded my cheek as thou seest ; for indeed the ways 
of this city are strait." " To-morrow," cried he, " I will go com- 
plain to the Governor, so shall he gibbet every fuel-seller in 
Baghdad." " Allah upon thee," said I, " burden not thy soul with 
such sin against any man. The fact is I was riding on an ass and 
it stumbled, throwing me to the ground ; and my cheek lighted 
upon a stick or a bit of glass and got this wound." " Then," said 
he, " to-morrow I will go up to Ja'afar the Barmaki and tell him, 
the story, so shall he kill every donkey-boy in Baghdad." " Wouldst 
thou destroy all these men because of my wound," said I, " when 
this which befel me was by decree of Allah and His destiny ?" But 
he answered, " There is no help for it ; " and, springing to his feet, 
plied me with words and pressed me till I was perplexed and 
frightened ; and I stuttered and stammered and my speech waxed 
thick and I said, " This is a mere accident by decree of Allah." 
Then, O Commander of the Faithful, he guessed my case and said, 
" Thou hast been false to thine oath." He at once cried out with 
a loud cry, whereupon a door opened and in came seven black 
slaves whom he commanded to drag me from my bed and throw 
me down in the middle of the room. Furthermore, he ordered 
one of them to pinion my elbows and squat upon my head ; and a 
second to sit upon my knees and secure my feet ; and drawing his 
sword he gave it to a third and said, " Strike her, O Sa'ad, and 
cut her in twain and let each one take half and cast it into the 
Tigris 1 that the fish may eat her ; for such is the retribution due 
to those who violate their vows and are unfaithful to their love." 
And he redoubled in wrath and recited these couplets : 

An there be one who shares with me her love, * I'd strangle Love tho' life by 

Love were slain ; 
Saying, O Soul, Death were the nobler choice, o For ill is Love when shared 

'twixt partners twain. 

Then he repeated to the slave, " Smite her, O Sa'ad !" And when 
the slave who was sitting upon me made sure of the command he 

1 Arab. "Dajlah," in which we find the Heb. Hi4-dekeL 

Tale of the Portress. 181 

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

Tell her who turneth from our love to work it injury sore, o And talceth her a 

fine new love the old love tossing o'er : 
We cry enough o' thee ere thou enough of us shalt cry ! o What past between 

us doth suffice and haply something more. 1 

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

To severance you doom my love and all unmoved remain ; o My tear-sore 

lids you sleepless make and sleep while I complain : 
You make firm friendship reign between mine eyes and insomny; o Yet can my 

heart forget you not, nor tears can I restrain : 
You made me swear with many an oath my troth to hold for aye; o But when 

you reigned my bosom's lord you wrought me traitor-bane : 
I loved you like a silly child who wots not what is Love ; o Then spare 

the learner, let her not be by the master slain ! 
By Allah's name I pray you write, when I am dead and gone, o Upon my 

tomb, This died of Love whose senses Love had ta'en : 
Then haply one shall pass that way who fire of Love hath felt, o And tread- 

ing on a lover's heart with ruth and woe shall melt. 

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

'Twas not satiety bade me leave the dearling of my soul, o But that she sinned 

a mortal sin which dipt me in its clip : 
She sought to let another share the love between us twain, o But my True Faith 

of Unity refuseth partnership. 1 

1 Such an execution would be contrary to Moslem law : but people would look 
leniently upon the peccadillo of beheading or sacking a faithless wife. Moreover the 
youth was of the blood royal and A qnoi bon tire prince ? as was said by a boy of viceroyal 
family in Egypt to his tutor who reproached him for unnecessarily shooting down a poor 
old man. 

2 Arab. "Shirk," partnership, evening or associating gods with God ; polytheism I 
especially levelled at the Hindu triadism, Gucbre dualism and Christian Trinitarianism. 

1 82 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

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

Now, by thy life and wert thou just my life thou hadst not ta'en, o But who can 

break the severance-law which parteth lovers twain ! 
Thou loadest me with heavy weight of longing love, when I o Can hardly 

bear my chemisette for weakness and for pain : 
I marvel not to see my life and soul in ruin Iain : o I marvel much to see my 

frame such severance -pangs sustain. 

When I ended my verse I wept again ; and he looked at me and 
reviled me in abusive language, 1 repeating these couplets : 

Thou wast all taken up with love of other man, not me ; o 'Twas thine to show 

me severance-face, 'twas only mine to see : 
I'll leave thee for that first thou wast of me to take thy leave o And patient bear 

that parting blow thou borest so patiently : 
E'en as thou soughtest other love, so other love I'll seek, o And make the crime 

of murdering love thine own atrocity. 

When he had ended his verses he again cried out to the slave, " Cut 
her in half and free us from her, for we have no profit of her." So 
the slave drew near me, O Commander of the Faithful, and I ceased 
bandying verses and made sure of death and, despairing of life, 
committed my affairs to Almighty Allah, when behold, the old 
woman rushed in and threw herself at my husband's feet and kissed 
them and wept and said, " O my son, by the- rights of my fosterage 
and by my long service to thee, I conjure thee pardon this young 
lady, for indeed she hath done nothing deserving such doom. Thou 
art a very young man and I fear lest her death be laid at thy door ; 
for it is said : Whoso slayeth shall be slain. As for this wanton 
(since thou deemest her such) drive her out from thy doors, from 
thy love and from thy heart." And she ceased not to weep and 
importune him till he relented and said, " I pardon her, but needs 
must I set on her my mark which shall show upon her all her life." 
Then he bade the slaves drag me along the ground and lay me out 

5 Arab. " Shatm " = abuse, generally couched in foulest language with. especial reference 
to the privy parts- of female relatives. 

Tale of the Portress. 183 

at full length, after stripping me of all my clothes ; ! and when the 
slaves had so sat upon me that I could not move, he fetched in a 
rod of quince-tree and came down with it upon my body, and con- 
tinued beating me on the back and sides till I lost consciousness 
from excess of pain, and I despaired of life. Then he commanded 
the slaves to take me away as soon as it was dark, together with 
the old woman to show them the way and throw me upon the floor 
of the house wherein I dwelt before my marriage. They did their 
lord's bidding and cast me down in my old home and went their 
ways. I did not revive from my swoon till dawn appeared, when 
I applied myself to the dressing of my wounds with ointments and 
other medicaments ; and I medicined myself, but my sides and ribs 
still showed signs of the rod as thou hast seen. I lay in weakly 
case and confined to my bed for four months before I was able to 
rise and health returned to me. At the end of that time I went to 
the house where all this had happened and found it a ruin ; the 
street had been pulled down endlong and rubbish-heaps rose where 
the building erst was ; nor could I learn how this had come about. 
Then I betook myself to this my sister on my father's side and 
found with her these two black bitches. I saluted her and told her 
what had betided me and the whole of my story and she said, " O 
my sister, who is safe from the despite of Time and secure ? 
Thanks be to Allah who hath brought thee off safely;" and -she 
began to say : 

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

Then she told me her own story, and what had happened to her 
with her two sisters and how matters had ended ; so we abode 
together and the subject of marriage was never on our tongues for 
all these years. After a while we were joined by our other sister, 
the procuratrix, who goeth out every morning and buyeth all we 
require for the day and night ; and we continued in such condition 
till this last night. In the morning our sister went out, as usual, 
to make her market and then befel us what befel from bringing the 
Porter into the house and admitting these three Kalandar-men. 

1 When a woman is bastinadoed in the East they leave her some portion of dress and 
pour over her sundry buckets of water for a delicate consideration. When the hands are 
beaten they are passed through holes in the curtain separating the sufferer from mankind, 
and made fast to a " falakah " or pole. 

1 84 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

We entreated them kindly and honourably and a quarter of the 
night had not passed ere three grave and respectable merchants 
from Mosul joined us and told us their adventures. We sat talking 
with them but on one condition which they violated, whereupon 
we treated them as sorted with their breach of promise, and made 
them repeat the account they had given of themselves. They did 
our bidding and we forgave their offence ; so they departed from 
us and this morning we were unexpectedly summoned to thy 
presence. And such is our story ! The Caliph wondered at her 
words and bade the tale be recorded and chronicled and laid up in 

his muniment-chambers. And Shahrazad perceived the dawn 

of day and ceased saying her permitted say. 

fo&cn it foa tje jBineteentf) 

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the 
Caliph cofnmanded this story and those of the sister and the 
Kalandars to be recorded in the archives and be set in the royal 
muniment-chambers. Then he asked the eldest lady, the mistress 
of the house, " Knowest thou the whereabouts of the Ifritah who 
spelled thy sisters ? " ; and she answered, " O Commander of the 
Faithful, she gave me a ringlet of her hair saying : Whenas thou 
wouldest see me, burn a couple of these hairs and I will be with 
thee forthright, even though I were beyond Caucasus-mountain." 
Quoth the Caliph, " Bring me hither the hair." So she brought it 
and he threw the whole lock upon the fire. As soon as the odour 
of the burning hair dispread itself, the palace shook and trembled, 
and all present heard a rumbling and rolling of thunder and a noise 
as of wings and lo ! the Jinniyah who had been a serpent stood in 
the Caliph's presence. Now she was a Moslemah, so she saluted 
him and said, u Peace be with thee O Vicar 1 of Allah ; " whereto he 
replied, " And with thee also be peace and the mercy of Allah and 
His blessing." Then she continued, " Know that this damsel sowed 
for me the seed of kindness, wherefor I cannot enough requite her, 
in that she delivered me from death and destroyed mine enemy. 
Now I had seen how her sisters dealt with her and felt myself 

1 Arab. " Khalifah," Caliph. The word is also used for the successor of a Santon o 
holy man. 

The Porter and the Three Ladies of Baghdad, 185 

bound to avenge her on them. At first I was minded to slay them, 
but I feared it would be grievous to her, so I transformed them to 
bitches ; but if thou desire their release, O Commander of the 
Faithful, I will release them to pleasure thee and her for I am 
of the Moslems." Quoth the Caliph, " Release them and after we 
will look into the affair of the beaten lady and consider her case 
carefully ; and if the truth of her story be evidenced I will exact 
retaliation l from him who wronged her." Said the Ifritah, " O 
Commander of the Faithful, I will forthwith release them and will 
discover to thee the man who did that deed by this lady and 
wronged her and took her property, and he is the nearest of all 
men to thee !;" So saying she took a cup of water and muttered a 
spell over it and uttered words there was no understanding ; then 
she sprinkled some of the water over the faces of the two bitches, 
saying, " Return to your former human shape ! " whereupon they 
were restored to their natural forms and fell to praising their 
Creator. Then said the Ifritah, " O Commander of the Faithful, 
of a truth he who scourged this lady with rods is thy son Al-Amin 
brother of Al-Maamun ; 2 for he had heard of her beauty and loveli- 
ness and he played a lover's stratagem with her and married her 
according to the law and committed the crime (such as it is) of 
scourging her. Yet indeed he is not to be blamed for beating her, 
for he laid a condition on her and swore her by a solemn oath not 
to do a certain thing ; however, she was false to her vow and he was 
minded to put her to death, but he feared Almighty Allah and 
contented himself with scourging her, as thou hast seen, and with 
sending her back to her own place. Such is the story of the second 
lady and the Lord knoweth all." When the Caliph heard these 
words of the Ifritah, and knew who had beaten the damsel, he 
marvelled with mighty marvel and said, " Praise be to Allah, the 
Most High, the Almighty, who hath shown His exceeding mercy 
towards me, enabling me to deliver these two damsels from sorcery 
and torture, and vouchsafing to let me know the secret of this lady's 
history ! And now by Allah, we will do a deed which shall be re- 
corded of us after we are no more." Then he summoned his son 
Al-Amin and questioned him of the story of the second lady, the 

1 Arab. " Sdr;" here the Koranic word for carrying out the venerable and undying 
lex talionis, the original basis of all criminal jurisprudence. Its main fault is that justice 
repeats the offence.- 

2 Both these sons of Harun became Caliphs, as we shall see in The Nights. 

1 86 A If Laylah wa Laylah, 

portress ; and he told it in the face of truth ; whereupon the Caliph 
bade call into presence the Kazis and their witnesses and the three 
Kalandars and the first lady with her sisters german who had been 
ensorcelled ; and he married the three to the three Kalandars 
whom he knew to be princes and sons of Kings and he appointed 
them chamberlains about his person, assigning to them stipends 
and allowances and all that they required, and lodging them in his 
palace at Baghdad. He returned the beaten lady to hjs son, 
Al-Amin, renewing the marriage-contract between them and gave 
her great wealth and bade rebuild the "house fairer than it was 
before. As for himself he took to wife the procuratrix and lay with 
her that night : and next day he set apart for her an apartment in 
his Serraglio, with handmaidens for her service and a fixed daily 
allowance. And the people marvelled at their Caliph's generosity 
and natural beneficence and princely wisdom ; nor did he forget 
to send all these histories to be recorded in his annals. When 
Shahrazad ceased speaking Dunyazad exclaimed, " O my own 
sister, by Allah in very sooth this is a right pleasant tale and a 
delectable ; never was heard the like of it, but prithee tell me now 
another story to while away what yet remaineth of the waking 
hours of this our night." She replied, "With love and gladness if 
the King give me leave ; " and he said, " Tell thy tale and tell it 
quickly." So she began, in these words, 


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

The Tale of the Three Apples. 187 

They say me : Thou shinest a light to 'mankind o With thy lore as the night 
which the Moon doth uplight ! 

I answer, " A truce to your jests and your gibes ; * Without luck what is learn- 
ing ? a poor-devil wight ! 

If they take me to pawn with my lore in my pouch, o With my volumes to read 
and my ink-case to write, 

For one day's provision they never could pledge me ; o As likely on Doomsday 
to draw bill at sight : " 

How poorly, indeed, doth it fare wr the poor, * With his pauper existence and 
beggarly plight : 

In summer he faileth provision to find ; * In winter the fire-pot's his only 
delight : 

The street-dogs with bite and with bark to him rise, * And each losel receives 
him with bark and with bite : 

If he lift up his voice and complain of his wrong, o None pities or heeds him; 
however he's right ; 

And when sorrows and evils like these he must brave o His happiest home- 
stead were down in the grave. 

When the Caliph heard his verses he said to Ja'afar, "See this 
poor man and note his verses, for surely they point to his neces- 
sities." Then he accosted him and asked, " O Shaykh, what be 
thine occupation ? " and the poor man answered, " O my lord, I 
am a fisherman with a family to keep and I have been out between 
mid-day and this time ; and not a thing hath Allah made my portion 
wherewithal to feed my family. I cannot even pawn myself to buy 
them a supper and I hate and disgust my life and I hanker after 
death." Quoth the Caliph, " Say me, wilt thou return with us to 
Tigris' bank and cast thy net on my luck, and whatsoever turneth 
up I will buy of thee for an hundred gold pieces ? " The man 
rejoiced when he heard these words and said, " On my head be it ! 
I will go back with you ; " and, returning with them river-wards, 
made a cast and waited a while ; then he hauled in the rope and 
dragged the net ashore and there appeared in it a chest padlocked 
and heavy. The Caliph examined it and lifted it finding it 
weighty ; so he gave the fisherman two hundred dinars and sent 
him about his business : whilst Masrur, aided by the Caliph, carried 
the chest to the palace and set it down and lighted the candles. 
Ja'afar and Masrur then broke it open and found therein a basket 
of palm-leaves corded with red worsted. This they cut open and 
saw within it a piece of carpet which they lifted out, and under it 
was a woman's mantilla folded in four, which they pulled out; and at 
the bottom of the chest they came upon a young lady, fair as a silver 
ingot, slain and cut into nineteen pieces. When the Caliph looked 

188 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

upon her he cried, " Alas ! " and tears ran down his cheeks and 
turning to Ja'afar he said, " O dog of Wazirs, 1 shall folk be 
murdered in our reign and be cast into the river to be a burden 
and a responsibility for us on the Day of Doom ? By Allah, we 
must avenge this woman on her murderer and he shall be made 
die the worst of deaths ! " And presently he added, " Now, as 
surely as we are descended from the Sons of Abbas, 2 if thou bring 
us not him who slew her, that we do her justice on him, I will hang 
thee at the gate of my palace, thee and forty of thy kith and kin 
by thy side." And the Caliph was wroth with exceeding rage. 
Quoth Ja'afar, " Grant me three days delay ; " and quoth the 
Caliph, " We grant thee this." So Ja'afar went out from before 
him and returned to his own house, full of sorrow and saying to 
himself, " How shall I find him who murdered this damsel, that I 
may bring him before the Caliph ? If I bring other than the 
murderer, it will be laid to my charge by the Lord : in very sooth I 
wot not what to do." He kept his house three days and on the 
fourth day the Caliph sent one of the Chamberlains for him and, 
-as he came into the presence, asked him, " Where is the murderer 
of the damsel ? " to which answered Ja'afar, " O Commander of 
the Faithful, am I inspector of murdered folk that I should ken 
who killed her?" The Caliph was furious at his answer and 
bade hang him before the palace-gate and commanded that 
a crier cry through the streets of Baghdad, "Whoso would see 
the hanging of Ja'afar, the Barmaki, Wazir of the Caliph, with 
forty of the Barmecides, 3 his cousins and kinsmen, before the 
palace-gate, let him come and let him look ! " The people flocked 
out from all the quarters of the city to witness the execution of 
Ja'afar and his kinsmen, not knowing the cause. Then they set 
up the gallows and made Ja'afar and the others stand underneath 

1 "Dog" and "hog" are still highly popular terms of abuse. The Rabbis will not 
defile their lips with ' pig ;~" but say " Dabhar akhir " = " another thing." 

2 The '* hero eponymus " of the Abbaside dynasty, Abbas having been the brother 
of Abdullah, the father of Mohammed. He is a famous personage in Al-Islam 

3 Europe translates *the word "Barmecides." It is Persian from bar (up) and 
makidan (to suck). The vulgar legend is that Ja'afar, the first of the name, appeared 
before the Caliph Abd al-Malik with a ring poisoned for his own need ; and (hat the 
Caliph, warned of it by the clapping of two stones which he wore ad hoe, charged the 
visitor with intention to murder him. He excused himself and in his speech occurred 
the Persian word " Barmakam," which may mean "I shall sup k up," or, "I am a 
Barmak," that is, a high priest among the Guebres. See D'Herbelot s.v. 

The Tale of the Three Apples, 189 

in readiness for execution , but whilst every eye was looking for, 
the Caliph's signal, and the crowd wept for Ja'afar and his cousins 
of the Barmecides, lo and behold ! a young man fair of face and 
neat of dress and of favour like the moon raining light, with eyes 
black and bright, and brow flower-white, and cheeks red as rose 
and young down where the beard grows, and a mole like a grain 
of ambergris, pushed his way through the people till he stood 
immedfatery before the Wazir and said to htm, " Safety to thee 
from this strait, O Prince of the Emirs and Asylum of the poor \ 
I am the man who slew the woman ye found in the chest, so hang 
me for her and do her justice on me ! " When Ja'afar heard the 
youth's confession he rejoiced at his own deliverance, but grieved 
and sorrowed for the fair youth , and whilst they were yet talking 
behold, another man well stricken in years pressed forwards 
through the people and thrust his way amid the populace till he 
came to Ja'afar and the youth, whom he saluted saying, " Ho 
thou the Wazir and Prince sans-peer! believe not the words of 
this youth. Of a surety none murdered the damsel but I ; take 
her wreak on me this moment ; for, an thou do not thus, I will 
require it of thee before Almighty Allah." Then quoth the young 
man, " O Wazir, this is an old man in his dotage who wotteth not. 
whatso he saith ever, and I am he who murdered her, so do thou 
avenge her on me ! " Quoth the old man, " O my son, thou art 
young and desirest the joys of the world and I am old and weary 
and surfeited with the world : I will offer my life as a ransom for 
thee and for the Wazir and his cousins. No one murdered the 
damsel but I, so Allah upon thee, make haste to hang me, for no 
life is left in me now that hers is gone." The Wazir marvelled 
much at all this strangeness and, taking the young man and the 
old man, carried them before the Caliph, where, after kissing the 
ground seven times between his hands, he said, " O Commander of 
the Faithful, I bring thee the murderer of the damsel ! " " Where^ 
is he?"; asked the Caliph and Ja'afar answered, "This young 
man saith, I am the murderer, and this old man giving him the lie 
saith, I am the murderer, and behold, here are the twain standing 
before thee." The Caliph looked at the old man and the young 
man and asked, "Which of you killed the girl ?" The young man 
replied, " No one slew her save I ; " and the old man answered, 
" Indeed none killed her but myself." Then said the Caliph to 
Ja'afar, " Take the twain and hang them both ; " but Ja'afar 
rejoined, " Since one of them was the murderer, to hang the other 

A If Lay la h wa Laylah. 

were mere injustice/ ] " By Him who raised the firmament and 
dispread the earth like a carpet," cried the youth, " 1 am he who 
slew the damsel ; * and he went on to describe the manner of her 
murder and the basket, the mantilla and the bit of carpet, in fact 
all that the Caliph had found upon her. So the Caliph was 
certified that the young man was the murderer; whereat he 
wondered and asked him, " What was the cause of thy wrongfully 
doing this damsel to die and what made thee confess the murder 
without the bastinado, and what brought thee here to yield up thy 
life, and what made thee say Do her wreak upon me?" The 
youth answered, " Know, O Commander of the Faithful, that this 
woman was my wife and the mother of my children ; also my first 
cousin and the daughter of my paternal uncle, this old man who is 
my father's own brother. When I married her she was a maid a 
and Allah blessed me with three male children by her ; she loved 
me and served me and I saw no evil in her, for I also loved her 
with fondest love. Now on the first day of this month she fell ill 
with grievous sickness and I fetched in physicians to her ; but 
recovery came to her little by little and, when I wished her to go 
to the Hammam-bath, she said : There is a something I long for 
before I go to the bath and I long for it with an exceeding longing. 
To hear is to comply, said I v And what is it ? Quoth she, I have 
a queasy craving for an apple, to smell it and bite a bit of it. I 
replied : Hadst thou a thousand longings I would try to satisfy 
them ! So I went on the instant into the city and sought for apples 
but could find none ; yet, had they cost a gold piece each, would I 
have bought them. I was vexed at this and went home and said : 
O daughter of my uncle, by Allah I can find none t She was dis- 
tressed, being yet very weakly, and her weakness increased greatly 
on her that night and I felt anxious and alarmed on her account. 
As soon as morning dawned I went out again and made the round 
of the gardens, one by one, but found no apples anywhere. At last 
there met me an old gardener, of whom I asked about them and 
he answered : O my son, this fruit is a rarity with us and is not 

1 Arab. "Zulm," the deadliest of monarch's sins- One of the sayings of Mohammed, 
popularly quoted, is, " Kingdom endureth with K'ufr or infidelity (i.e. without accepting 
Al-Islam) but endureth not with Zulm or injustice." Hence the good Moslem will not 
complain of the rule of Kafirs or Unbelievers, like the English* so long as they mle him 
righteously and according to his own law. 

z All this aggravates his crime : had she been a widow she would not have had upon 
him " the claims of maidenhead," the premio delta verginiti ofBbGeacciQ) . 10. 

The Tale of the Three Apples. 191 

now to be found save in the garden of the Commander of the 
Faithful at Bassorah, where the gardener keepeth it for the 
Caliph's eating. I returned to my house troubled by my ill-success ; 
and my love for my wife and my affection moved me to undertake 
the journey. So I gat me ready and set out and travelled fifteen 
days and nights, going and coming, and brought her three apples 
which I bought from the gardener for three dinars. But when I 
went in to my wife and set them before her, she took no pleasure 
in them and let them lie by her side ; for her weakness and fever 
had increased on her and her malady lasted without abating ten 
days, after which time she began to recover health. So I left my 
house and betaking me to my shop sat there buying and selling ; 
and about midday behold, a great ugly black slave, long as a 
lance and broad as a bench, passed by my shop holding in hand 
One of the three apples wherewith he was playing. Quoth I : O 
my good slave, tell me whence thou tookest that apple, that I may 
get the like of it ? He laughed and answered : I got it from my 
mistress, for I had been absent and on my return. I found her 
lying ill with three apples by her side, and she said to me : My 
horned wittol of a husband made a journey for them to Bassorah 
and bought them for three dinars. So I ate and drank with her 
and took this one from her. 1 When I heard such words from the 
slave, O Commander of the Faithful, the world grew black before 
my face , and I arose and locked up my shop and went home 
beside myself for excess of rage. I looked for the apples and 
finding only two of the three asked my wife : O my cousin, where 
is the third apple ? ; and raising her head languidly she answered : 
I wot not, O son of my uncle, where 'tis gone ! This convinced 
me that the slave had spoken the truth, so I took a knife and 
coming behind her got upon her breast without. a word said and cut 
her throat. Then I hewed off her head and her limbs in pieces and, 
wrapping her in her mantilla and a rag of carpet, hurriedly sewed 
up the whole which I set in a chest and, locking it tight, loaded 

1 It is supposed that slaves cannot help telling these fatal lies. Arab story-books are 
full of ancient and modern instances and some have become "Joe Millers." Moreover 
it is held unworthy of a free-born man to take over-nolice of these servile villanies ; 
hence the scoundrel in the story escapes unpunished. I have already noticed the predi- 
lection of debauched women for these " skunks of the human race;" and the young 
man in the text evidently suspected that his wife had passed herself this " little caprice." 
The excuse which the Caliph would find for him is the puttdonor shown in killing one he 
loved so fondly. 

192 A If Laylak wa Laylah. 

it on my he-mule and threw it into the Tigris with my own hands. 
So Allah upon thee, O Commander of the Faithful, make haste ten 
hang me, as I fear lest she appeal for vengeance on Resurrection 
Day. For, when I had thrown her into the river and none knew 
aught of it, as I went back home I found my eldest son crying and 
yet he knew naught of what I had done with his mother. I asked 
him : What hath made thee weep, my boy ? ; and he answered : 
I took one of the three apples which were by my mammy and 
went down into the lane to play with my brethren when behold, a 
big long black slave snatched it from my hand and said, Whence 
hadst thou this? Quoth I, My father travelled far for it, and 
brought it from Bassorah for my mother who was ill and two other 
apples for which he paid three ducats. He took no heed of my 
words and I asked for the apple a second and a third time, but he 
cuffed me and kicked me and went off with it. I was afraid lest 
my mother should swinge me on account of the apple, so for fear 
of her I went with my brother outside the city and stayed there till 
evening closed in upon us ; and indeed I am in fear of her ; and 
now by Allah, O my father, say nothing to her of this or it may 
add to her ailment ! When I heard what my child said I knew 
that the slave was he who had foully slandered my wife, the 
daughter of my uncle, and was certified that t had slain her wrong- 
fully. So I wept with exceeding weeping and presently this old 
man, my paternal uncle and her father, came in ; and I told him 
what had happened- and he sat down by my side and wept and we 
ceased not weeping till midnight. We have kept up mourning for 
her these last five days and we lamented her in the deepest sorrow 
for that she was unjustly done to die. This came from the 
gratuitous lying of the slave, the blackamoor, and this was the 
manner of my killing her ; so I conjure thee, by the honour of 
thine ancestors, make haste to kill me and do her justice upon me, 
as there is no living for me after her ! " The Caliph marvelled at 
his words and said, " By Allah the young man is excusable : I will 
hang none but the accursed slave and I will do a deed which shall 
comfort the ill-at-ease and suffering, and which shall please the 

All-glorious King. And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day 

and ceased saying her permitted say. 

The Tale of the Three Apples. 193 

fctfjcn it foas tfie 

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Caliph 
swore he would hang none but the slave, for the youth was excusa- 
ble. Then he turned to Ja'afar and said to him, " Bring before me 
this accursed slave who was the sole cause of this calamity ; and, if 
thou bring him not before me within three days, thou shalt be slain 
in his stead." So Ja'afar fared forth weeping and saying, " Two 
deaths have already beset me, nor shall the crock come off safe from 
every shock. 1 In this matter craft and cunning are of no avail; 
but He who preserved my life the first time can preserve it a second 
time. By Allah, I will not leave my house during the three days 
of life which remain to me and let the Truth (whose perfection be 
praised !) do e en as He will/' So he kept his house three days, 
and on the fourth day he summoned the Kazis and legal witnesses 
and made his last will and testament, and took leave of his children 
weeping. Presently in came a messenger 'from the Caliph and said 
to him, '* The Commander of the Faithful is in the most violent 
rage that can be, and he sendeth to seek thee and he sweareth that 
the day shall certainly not pass without thy being hanged unless 
the slave be forthcoming." When Ja'afar heard this he wept, and 
his children and slaves and all who were in the house wept with 
him. After he had bidden adieu to everybody except his youngest 
daughter, he proceeded to farewell her; for he loved this wee one, 
who was a beautiful child, more than all his other children ; and he 
pressed her to his breast and kissed her and wept bitterly at part- 
ing from her ; when he felt something round inside the bosom of 
her dress and asked her, O my little maid, what is in thy bosom 
pocket ? "; " O my father," she replied, " it is an apple with the 
name of our Lord the Caliph written upon it. Rayhdn our slave 
brought it to me four days ago and would not let me have it till I 
gave him two dinars for it." When Ja'afar heard speak of the 
slave and the apple, he was glad and put his hand into his child's 
pocket 2 ^ and drew out the apple and knew it and rejoiced saying, 
41 O ready Dispeller of trouble! " 3 Then he bade them bring the 

1 The Arab equivalent of our pitcher and well. 

2 i.e. Where the dress sits loosely about the bust. 

3 He had trusted in Allah and his trust was justified. 

VOL. I. N 

194 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

slave and said to him, " Fie upon thee, Rayhan ! whence haddest 
thou this apple ? " " By Allah, O my master." he replied, " though 
a lie may get a man once off, yet may truth get him off, arid well 
off, again and again. I did not steal this apple from thy palace 
nor from the gardens of the Commander of the Faithful. The 
fact is that five days ago, as I was walking along one of the 
alleys of this city, I saw some little ones at play and this apple in 
hand of one of them. So I snatched it from him and beat him 
and he cried and said, O youth this apple is my mother's and 
she is ill. She told my father how she longed for an apple, so he 
travelled to Bassorah and bought her three apples for three gold 
pieces, and I took one of them to play withal. He wept again, 
but I paid no heed to what he said and carried it off and brought 
it here, and my little lady bought it of me for two dinars of gold. 
And this is the whok story." When Ja'afar heard his words he 
marvelled that the murder of the damsel and all this misery should 
have been caused by his slave ; he grieved for the relation of the 
slave to himself, while rejoicing over his own deliverance, and he 
repeated these lines : 

If ill betide thee through thy slave, o Make him forthright thy sacrifice : 
A many servile? thou shalt find, o But life comes once and never twice. 

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

Tale of Ntir al-Din AH and his Son. 195 


KNOW, O Commander of the Faithful, that in times of yore the 
land of Egypt was ruled by a Sultan endowed with justice and 
generosity, one who loved the pious poor and companied with the 
Olema and learned men ; and he had a Wazir, a wise and an ex- 
perienced, well versed in affairs and in the art of government. 
This Minister, who was a very old man, had two sons, as they were 
two moons ; never man saw the like of them for beauty and grace, the 
elder called Shams al-Din Mohammed and the younger Nur al-Din 
AH ; but the younger excelled the elder in seemliness and pleasing 
semblance, so that folk heard his fame in far countries and men 
flocked to Egypt for the purpose of seeing him. In course of time 
their father, the Wazir, died and was deeply regretted and mourned 
by the Sultan, who sent for his two sons and, investing them with 
dresses of honour/ said to them, " Let not your hearts be troubled, 
for ye shall stand in your father's stead and be joint Ministers of 
Egypt." At this they rejoiced and kissed the ground before him 
and performed the ceremonial mourning 5 for their father during a 
full month ; after which time they entered upon the Wazirate, and 
the power passed into their hands as it had been in the hands of 
their father, each doing duty for a week at a time. They lived 
Bunder the same roof and their word was one ; and whenever the 
Sultan desired to travel they took it by turns to be in attendance 
on him. It fortuned one night that the Sultan purposed setting 
out on a journey next morning, and the elder, whose turn it was to 
accompany him, was sitting conversing with his brother and said 
to him, " O my brother, it is my wish that we both marry, 'I 
and thou, two sisters ; and go in to our wives on one and the 
same night." " Do, O my 'brother, as thou desirest," the younger 
replied, " for right is thy recking and surely I will comply with, 

1 Arab. " Khila'ah " prop, what a man strips from his person: gen. an honorary 
gift. It is something more than the " robe of honour " of our chivalrous romances, as it 
includes a horse, a sword (often gold-hilted), a black turban (amongst the Abbasides) 
embroidered with gold, a violet-coloured mantle, a waist-shawl and a gold neck-chain 
and shoe-buckles. 

2 Arab. " Iza," /.*. the visits of condolence and so forth which are long and terribly 
wearisome in the Moslem East. 

196 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

thee in whatso thou sayest." So they agreed upon this and quoth 
Shams al-Din, " If Allah decree that we marry two damsels and 
go in to them on the same night, and they shall conceive on their 
bride-nights and bear children to us on the same day, and by 
Allah's will thy wife bear thee a son and my wife bear me a 
daughter, let us wed them either to other, for they will be cousins." 
Quoth Nur al-Din, "O my brother, Shams al-Din, what dower 1 
wilt thou require from my son for thy daughter ? " Quoth Shams 
al-Din, " I will take three thousand dinars and three pleasure gar- 
dens and three farms ; and it would not be seemly that the youth 
make contract for less than this." When Nur al-Din heard such 
demand he said, "What manner of dower is this thou wouldest 
impose upon my son ? Wottest thou not that we are brothers and 
both by Allah's grace Wazirs and equal in office ? It behoveth 
thee to offer thy daughter to my son without marriage settlement ; 
or, if one need be, it should represent a mere nominal value by 
way of show to the world : for thou knowest that the masculine is 
worthier than the feminine, and my son is a male and our memory 
will be preserved by him, not by thy daughter." " But what," said 
Shams al-Din, " is she to have ? " ; and Nur al-Din continued, 
" Through her we shall not be remembered among the Emirs of 
the earth ; but I see thou wouldest do with me according to the 
saying : An thou wouldst bluff off a buyer, ask him high price 
and higher ; or as did a man who, they say, went to a friend and 
asked something of him being in necessity and was answered : 
Bismillah, 2 in the name of Allah, I will do all what thou requirest 
but come to-morrow ! Whereupon the other replied in this 
verse : 

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

Quoth Shams al-Din, " Basta ! s I see thee fail in respect to me by 
making thy son of more account than my daughter ; and 'tis plain 

1 Arab. "Mahr," the money settled by the man before marriage on the woman and 
without which the contract is not valid. Usually half of it is paid down on the marriage- 
day and the other half when the husband dies or divorces his wife. But if she take a 
divorce she forfeits her right to it, and obscene fellows, especially Persians, often compel 
her to demand divorce by unnatural and preposterous use of her person. 

2 Bismillah here means " Thou art welcome to it." 

3 Arab. "Bassak," half Pers. (bas = enough) and ak = thou; for thee. "Bas" 
sounds like our " buss " (to kiss) and there are sundry good old Anglo-Indian jokes o/ 
feminine mistakes on the subject. 

Tale of Nur al-Din All and his Son. 197 

that thine understanding is of the meanest and that thou lackest 
manners. Thou remindest me of thy partnership in the Wazirate, 
when I admitted thee to share with me only in pity for thee, and 
not wishing to mortify thee ; and that thou mighest help- me as a 
manner of assistant. But since thou talkest on this wise, by Allah, 
I will never marry my daughter to thy son ; no, not for her weight 
in gold ! " When Nur al-Din heard his brother's words he waxed 
wroth and said, " And I too, I will never, never marry my son to 
thy daughter; no, not to keep from my lips the cup of death." 
Shams al-Din replied, " I would not accept him as a husband for 
her, and he is not worth a paring of her nail. Were I not about to 
travel I would make an example of thee ; however when I return 
thou shalt see, and I will show thee, how I can assert my dignity 
and vindicate my honour. But Allah doeth whatso He willeth." 1 
When Nur al-Din heard this speech from his brother, he was filled 
with fury and lost his wits for rage ; but he hid what he felt and 
held his peace ; and each of the brothers passed the night in a place 
far apart, wild with wrath against the other. As soon as morning 
dawned the Sultan fared forth in state and crossed over from Cairo 2 
to Jfzah 3 and made for the Pyramids, accompanied by. the 
Wazir Shams al-Din, whose turn of duty it was, whilst his brother 
Nur al-Din, who passed the night in sore rage, rose with the light 
and prayed the dawn-prayer. Then he betook himself to his 
treasury and, taking a small pair of saddle-bags, filled them with 
gold ; and he called to mind his brother's threats and the contempt 
wherewith he had treated him, and he repeated these couplets : 

Travel ! and thou shalt find new friends for old ones left behind ; o Toil ! for 

the sweets of human life by toil and moil are found : 
The stay-at-home no honour wins nor aught attains but want ; o So leave 

thy place of birth * and wander all the. world around ! 

1 This saving clause makes the threat worse. The scene between the two brothers is 
written with characteristic Arab humour ; and it is true to nature. In England we have 
heard of a man who separated from his wife because he wished to dine at six and she 
preferred half-past six. 

8 Arab. "Misr" (vulg. Masr), The word, which comes of a ve*y ancient house, 
was applied to the present Capital about the time of its conquest by the Osmanli 
Turks A.H. 923=1517. 

8 The Arab. "Jizah, M = skirt, edge; the modern village is the site of an ancient 
Egyptian city, as the " Ghizah inscription" proves (Brugsch, History of Egypt, ii. 415). 

4 Arab. "Watan" literally meaning birth-place " but also used for "patria, nativt, 
country"; thus " Hubb al- Watan " = patriotism. The Turks pronounce it "Vatan," 
which the French have turned into Va-t'en ! 

198 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

I've seen, and very oft I've seen, how standing water stinks, * And only flowing 

sweetens it and trotting makes it sound : 
And were the moon for ever full and ne'er to wax or wane, o Man would not 

strain his watchful eyes to see its gladsome round : 
Except the lion leave his lair he ne'er would fell his game ; o Except the arrow 

leave the bow ne'er had it reached its bound : 
Gold-dust is dust the while it lies untravelled in the mine, o And aloes-wood 

mere fuel is upon its native ground : 
And gold shall win his highest worth when from his goal ungoal'd ; o And aloes 

sent to foreign parts grows costlier than gold. 

When he ended his verse he bade one of his pages saddle him his 
Nubian mare-mule with her padded selle. Now she was a dapple- 
grey, 1 with ears like reed-pens and legs like columns and a back 
high and strong as a dome builded on pillars ; her saddle was of 
gold-cloth and her stirrups of Indian steel, and her housing of 
Ispahan velvet ; she had trappings which would serve the Chosroes, 
and she was like a bride adorned for her wedding night. Moreover 
he bade lay on her back a piece of silk for a seat, and a prayer- 
carpet under which were his saddle-bags. When this was done he 
said to his pages and slaves, " I purpose going forth apleasuring 
outside the city on the road to Kalyub-town, 2 and I shall lie three 
nights abroad ; so let none of you follow me, for there is something 
straiteneth my breast." Then he mounted the mule in haste ; and, 
taking with him some provaunt for the way, set out from Cairo and 
faced the open and uncultivated country lying around it. 3 About 
noontide he entered Bilbays-city, 4 where he dismounted and stayed 
awhile to rest himself and his mule and ate some of his victual. 
He bought at Bilbays all he wanted for himself and forage for his 
mule and then fared on the way of the waste. Towards night-fall 
he entered a town called Sa'adiyah 5 where he alighted and took 
out somewhat of his viaticum and ate ; then he spread his strip of 
silk on the sand and set the saddle-bags under his head and slept 
in the open air ; for he was still overcome with anger. When 

1 Arab'. " Zarzariyah " = the colour of a stare or starling (Zurzur). 

2 Now a Railway Station on the Alexandria-Cairo line. 

3 Even as late as 1852, when I first saw Cairo, the city was girt by waste lands and 
the climate was excellent. Now cultivation comes up to the house walls ; while the 
Mahmudiyah anal, the planting the streets with avenues and over-watering have 
seriously injured it ; those who want the air of former Cairo must go to Thebes. Gout, 
rheumatism and hydrophobia (before unknown) have become common of late years. 

* This is the popular pronunciation : Yakut calls it "Bilbi's." 

* An outlying village on the "Long Desert," between Cairo and Palestine. 

Tale of Nur al-Din AH and Ms Son. 199 

morning 1 dawned he mounted and rode onward till he reached the 
Holy City, 1 Jerusalem, and thence he made Aleppo, where he dis- 
mounted at one of the caravanserais and abode three days to rest 
himself and the mule and to smell the air. 2 Then, being determined 
to travel afar and Allah having written safety in his fate, he set out 
again, wending without wotting whither he was going ; and, having 
fallen in with certain couriers, he stinted not travelling till he had 
reached Bassorah-city albeit he knew not what the place was. It 
was dark night when he alighted at the Khan, so he spread out his 
prayer-carpet and took down the saddle-bags from the back of the 
mule and gave her with her furniture in charge of the door-keeper 
that he might walk her about. The man took lier and did as he 
was bid. Now it so happened that the Wazir of Bassorah, a man 
shot in years, was sitting at the lattice-window of his palace 
opposite the Khan and he saw the porter walking the mule up 
and down. He was struck by her trappings of price and thought 
her a nice beast fit for the riding of Wazirs or even of royalties ; 
and the more he looked the more was he perplexed till at last he 
said to one of his pages, " Bring hither yon door-keeper." The 
page went and returned to the Wazir with the porter who kissed 
the ground between his hands, and the Minister asked him, ' ' Who 
is the owner of yonder mule and what manner of man is he ? " ; 
and he answered, " O my lord, the owner of this mule is a comely 
young man of pleasant manners, withal grave and dignified, and 
doubtless one of the sons of the merchants." When the Wazir 

1 Arab. "AI-Kuds"=r holiness. There are few cities which in our day have less 
claim to this title than Jerusalem ; and, curious to say, the " Holy Land " shows Jews, 
Christians and Moslems all in their worst form. The only religion (if it can be called 
one) which produces men in Syria is the Druse. " Heiligen-landes Jiiden " are pro- 
verbial and nothing can be meaner than the Christians while the Moslems are famed for 

2 Arab. " Shamm al-hawa." In vulgar parlance to "smell the air" is to take a walk 
especially out of town. There is a peculiar Egyptian festival called *' Shamm al-Nasim " 
(smelling the Zephyr) which begins on Easter-Monday (O.S.), thus corresponding with 
the Persian Nau-roz, veinal equinox and introducing the fifty days of ^Khammasin" 
or " Mirisi " (hot desert winds). On awaking, the people smell and bathe their temples 
with vinegar in which an onion has been soaked and break their fast with a " fisikh" or 
dried "buri" = mullet from Lake Menzalah: the late Hekekiyan Bey had the fish- 
heads counted in one public garden and found 70,000. The rest of the day is spent out 
of doors " Gypsying," and families greatly enjoy themselves on these occasions. For a 
longer description see a paper by my excellent friend Yacoub Artin Pasha, in the Bulletin 
de I'lnstitut Egyptien, 2nd series,. No. 4, Cairo, 1884. I have noticed the Mirisi (South- 
wester) and other winds in the Land of Midian, i., 23. 

'200 Alf Laylah wa Laylak. 

heard the door-keeper's words he arose forthright ; and, mounting 
his horse, rode to the Khan 1 and went in to Nur al-Din who, 
seeing the Minister making towards him, rose to his feet and 
advanced to meet him and saluted him. The Wazir welcomed 
him to Bassorah and dismounting, embraced him and made him 
sit down by his side and said, " O my son, whence comest thou 
and what dost thou seek?" "O my lord," Nur al-Din replied, 
"I have come from Cairo-city of which my father was whilome 
Wazir; but he hath been removed to the grace of Allah ;" and he 
informed him of all that had befallen him from beginning to end, 
adding, " I am resolved never to return home before I have seen 
all the cities and countries of the world." When the Wazir heard 
this, he said to him, " O my son, hearken not to the voice of passion 
lest it cast thee into the pit ; for indeed many regions be waste 
places and I fear for thee the turns of Time." Then he let load 
the saddle-bags and the silk and prayer-carpets on the mule and 
carried Nur al-Din to his own house, where he lodged him in a 
pleasant place and entreated him honourably and made much of 
him, for he inclined to love him with exceeding love. After a 
while he said to him, " O my son, here am I left a man in years 
and have no male children, but Allah hath blessed me with a 
daughter who eveneth thee in beauty ; and I have rejected all her 
many suitors, men of rank and substance. But affection for thee 
hath entered into my heart ; say me, then, wilt thou be to her a 
husband ? If thou accept this, I will go up with thee to the 
Sultan of Bassorah 2 and will tell him that thou art my nephew, 
the son of my brother, and bring thee to be appointed Wazir in 
my place that I may keep the house for, by Allah, O my son, I am 

' So in the days of the "Mameluke Beys'* in Egypt a man of rank would not cross 
the street on foot. 

2 Arab. Basrah. The city now in decay and not to flourish again till the advent of the 
Euphrates Valley R.R., is a modem, place, founded in A.H. 15, by the Caliph Omar 
upon the Aylah, a feeder of the Tigris. Here, according to Al-Hariri, the " whales and 
the lizards meet ; " and, as the tide affects the river, 

Its stream shows prodigy, ebbing and flowing. 

In its far-famed market-place, Al-Marbad, poems used to be recited ; and the city was 
famous for its mosques and Saint-shrines, fair women and school of Grammar which 
rivalled that of Kufah. But already in Al- Hariri's day (nat. A.H. 446= A.D. 1030) 
Baghdad had drawn off much of its population. 

Tale of NAr al-D{n AH and his Son. 201 

stricken in years and aweary." When Nur al-Din heard the Wazir's 
words, he bowed his head in modesty and said, " To hear is to 
obey ! " At this the Wazir rejoiced and bade his servants prepare 
a feast and decorate the great assembly-hall, wherein they were 
wont to celebrate the marriages of Emirs and Grandees. Then he 
assembled his friends and the notables of the reign and the 
merchants of Bassorah and when all stood before him he said to 
them, " I had a brother who was Wazir in the land of Egypt, and 
Allah Almighty blessed him with two sons, whilst to me, as well 
ye wot, He hath given a daughter. My brother charged me to 
marry my daughter to one of his sons, whereto I assented ; and, 
when my daughter was of age to marry, he sent me one of his 
sons, the young man now present, to whom I purpose marrying 
her, drawing up the contract and celebrating the night of unveiling 
with due ceremony : for he is nearer and dearer to me than a 
stranger and, after the wedding, if he please he shall abide with 
me, or if he desire to travel I will forward him and his wife to 
his father's home." Hereat one and all replied, " Right is thy 
recking ; " and they looked at the bridegroom and were pleased 
with him. So the Wazir sent for the Kazi and legal witnesses and 
they wrote out the marriage contract, after which the slaves per- 
fumed the guests with incense, 1 and served them with sherbet of 
sugar and sprinkled rose-water on them and a'll went their ways. 
Then the Wazir bade his servants take Nur al-Din to the Ham- 
mam-baths and sent him a suit of the best of his own especial 
raiment, and napkins and towelry and bowls and perfume-burners 
and all else that was required. And after the bath, when he came 
out and donned the dress, he was even as the full moon on the 
fourteenth night ; and he mounted his mule and stayed not till 
he reached the Wazir's palace. There he dismounted and went in 
to the Minister and kissed his hands, and the Wazir bade him 

welcome. And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and 

ceased to say her permitted say. 

1 This fumigation (Bukhur) is still used. A little incense or perfumed wood is burnt 
upon an open censer (Mibkharah) of earthenware or metal, and passed round, each guest 
holding it for a few moments under his beard. In the Somali Country, the very home 
of incense, both sexes fumigate the whole person after carnal intercourse. Lane (Mod. 
Egypt, chapt. viii.) gives an illustration of the Mibkharah. 

2O2 A If Laylafi wa Laylah. 

jSotu fojjen It foas tfjc ^tocntg-jptrst 

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Wazir 
stood up to him and welcoming him said, " Arise and go in to thy 
wife this night, and on the morrow I will carry thee to the Sultan, 
and pray Allah bless thee with all manner of weal." So Nur 
al-Din left him and went in to his wife the Wazir's daughter. 
Thus far concerning him, but as regards his elder brother, Shams 
al-Din, he was absent with the Sultan a long time and when he 
returned from his journey he found not his brother ; and he asked 
of his servants and slaves who answered, " On the day of thy 
departure with the Sultan, thy brother mounted his mule fully 
caparisoned as for state procession saying: I am going towards 
Kalyub-town and I shall be absent one day or at most two days ; 
for my breast is straitened, and let none of you follow me. Then 
he fared forth and from that time to this we have heard no tidings 
of him. Shams al-Din was greatly troubled at the sudden dis- 
appearance of his brother and grieved with exceeding grief at the 
loss and said to himself, " This is only because I chided and 
upbraided him the night before my departure with the Sultan 
haply his feelings were hurt and he fared forth a-travelling ; but 
I must send after him." Then he went in to the Sultan and 
acquainted him with what had happened and wrote letters and 
dispatches, which he sent by running footmen to his deputies in 
every province. But during the twenty days of his brother's 
absence Nur al-Din had travelled far and had reached Bassorah; 
so after diligent search the messengers failed to come at any 
news of him and returned. Thereupon Shams al-Din despaired of 
finding his brother and said, " Indeed I went beyond all bounds in 
what I said to him with reference to the marriage of our children. 
Would that I had not done so ! This all cometh of my lack of 
wit and want of caution." Soon after this he sought in marriage 
the daughter of a Cairene merchant l and drew up the marriage 
contract and went in to her. And it so chanced that, on the very 

1 The reader of The Nights will remark that the merchant is often a merchant -prince, 
consorting and mating with the highest dignitaries. Even amongst the Romans, a race 
of soldiers, statesmen and lawyers, "mercatura" on a large scale was "not, to be 
vituperated.'* In Boccaccio (x. 19) they are netti e delicati uoroini. England is per- 
haps the only country which has made her fortune by trade, and much of it illicit trade, 
like that in slaves which built Liverpool and Bristol, and which yet disdains or affects to 
disdain the trader. But the unworthy prejudice is disappearing with the last generation, 
and men who formerly would have half starved as curates and ensigns, barristers and 
tarabitis are now only too glad to become merchants. 

Tale of Ntir al-Dtn AH and his Son. 203 

same night when Shams al-Din went in to his wife, Nur al-Din 
also went in to his wife the daughter of the Wazir of Bassorah ; 
this being in accordance with the will of Almighty Allah, that He 
might deal the decrees of Destiny to His creatures. Furthermore, 
it was as the two brothers had said ; for their two wives became 
pregnant by them on the same night and both were brought to 
bed on the same day; the wife of Shams al-Din, Wazir of Egypt, 
of a daughter, never in Cairo was seen a fairer ; and the wife of 
Nur al-Din of a son, none more beautiful was ever seen in his time, 
as one of the poets said concerning the like of him : 

That jetty hair, that glossy brow, 

My slender waisted youth, of thine, 
Can darkness round creation throw, 

Or make it brightly shine. 
The dusky mole that faintly shows 

Upon his cheek, ah ! blame it not ; 
The tulip-flower never blows 

Undarkened by its spot. 1 

And as another also said : 

His scent was musk and his cheek was rose ; o His teeth are pearls and his 
lips drop wine j 

His form is a brand and his hips a hill ; o His hair is night and his face moon- 

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

The world's best joys long be thy lot, my lord ! o And last while darkness and 

the dawn o'erlap : 
O thou who makest, when we greet thy gifts, o The world to dance and Time 

his palms to clap. 2 

1 These lines in the Calc. and Bui. Edits, have already occurred (Night vii.) but such 
Carelessness is characteristic despite the proverb, " In repetition is no fruition." I quote 
Torrens (p. 60) by way of variety. As regards the anemone (here called a tulip) being 
named " Shakik " == fissure, I would conjecture that it derives from the flower often 
forming long lines of red like stripes of blood in the landscape. Travellers in Syria 
always, observe this. 

8 Such an address to a royalty (Eastern) even in the present day, would be a passport 
to future favours. 

2O4 A If Laylah wa Lay la k. 

Then the Sultan rose up to honour them and, thanking Nur al-Din 
for his fine compliment, asked the Wazir, "Who maybe this young- 
man ? " ; and the Minister answered, " This is my brother's son," 
and related his tale from first to last. Quoth the Sultan, " And 
how comes he to be thy nephew and we have never heard speak of 
him ? " Quoth the Minister, " O our lord the Sultan,. I had a 
brother who was Wazir in the land of Egypt and he died, leaving 
two sons, whereof the elder hath taken his father's place and the 
younger, whom thou seest, came to me. I had sworn I would not 
marry my daughter to any but to him ; so when he came I married 
him to her ? l Now he is young and I am old ; my hearing is 
dulled and my judgment is easily fooled ; wherefore I would solicit 
our lord the Sultan 2 to set him in my stead, for he is my brother's 
son and my daughter's husband ; and he is fit for the Wazirate, 
being a man of good counsel and ready contrivance." The Sultan 
looked at Nur al-Din and liked him, so he stablished him in office 
as the Wazir had requested and formally appointed him, present- 
ing him with a splendid dress of honour and a she-mule from his 
private stud ; and assigning to him solde, stipends and supplies. 
Nur al-Din kissed the Sultan's hand and went home, he and his 
father-in-law, joying with exceeding joy and saying, "All this 
followeth on the heels of the boy Hasan's birth!" Next day he 
presented himself before the King and, kissing the ground, began 
repeating : 

Grow thy weal and thy welfare day by day : o And thy luck prevail o'er the 

envier's spite ; 
And ne'er cease thy days to be white as day, o And thy foeman's day to be 

black as night ! 

The Sultan bade him be seated on the Wazir's seat, so he sat 
down and applied himself to the business of his- office and went 

1 In England the man marries and the woman is married : there is no such distinction 
in Arabia. 

2 "Sultan" (and its corruption "Soldan") etymological ly means lord, victorious, 
ruler, ruling over. In Arabia it is a not uncommon proper name ; and as a title it is 
taken by a host of petty kinglets. The Abbaside Caliphs (as Al-Wdsik who has 
been noticed) formally created these Sultans as their regents. Al-Ti'i bi'llah (regn. 
A.H. 363 = 974)f invested the famous Sabuktagin with the office ; and, as Alexander- 
Sikandar was wont to do, fastened for him two flags, one of silver, after the fashion of 
nobles, and the other of gold, as Viceroy-designate. Sabuktagin's son, the famous 
Mahmud of the Ghaznavite dynasty in A.H. 393 = 1002, was the ^first to adopt 
1 ' Sultan " as an independent title some two hundred years after the death of Harun 
al-Rashid. In old writers we have the Soldan of Egypt, the Soudan of Persia, and the 
Sowdao of Babylon ; three modifications of one word. 

Tale of Nur al-Din All and his Son. 205 

into the cases of the lieges and their suits, as is the wont of 
Ministers ; while the Sultan watched him and wondered at his 
wit and good sense, judgment and insight. Wherefor he loved 
him and took him into intimacy. When the Divan was dis- 
missed Nur al-Din returned to his house and related what had 
passed to his father-in-law who rejoiced. And thenceforward Nur 
al-Din ceased not so to administer the Wazirate that the Sultan 
would not be parted from him night or day ; and increased his 
stipends and supplies till his means were ample and he became 
the owner of ships that made trading voyages at his command, as 
well as of Mamelukes and blackamoor slaves ; and he laid out 
many estates and set up Persian wheels and planted gardens. 
When his son Hasan was four years of age, the old Wazir deceased, 
and he made for his father-in-law a sumptuous funeral ceremony 
ere he was laid in the dust. Then he occupied himself with the 
education of this son and, when the boy waxed strong and came 
to the age of seven, he brought him a Fakih, a doctor of law and 
religion, to teach him in his own house and charged him to give 
him a good education and instruct him in politeness and good 
manners. So the tutor made the boy read and retain all varieties 
of useful knowledge, after he had spent some years in learning the 
Koran by heart j 1 and he ceased not to grow in beauty and stature 
and symmetry, even as saith the poet : 

In his face-sky shines the fullest moon ; o In his cheeks' anemone glows 

the sun : 
He so conquered Beauty that he hath won o All charms of humanity one by 


The professor brought him up in his father's palace teaching him 
reading, writing and cyphering, theology and belles lettres. His 
grandfather the old Wazir had bequeathed to him the whole of his 
property when he was but four years of age. Now during all the time 
of his earliest youth he had never left the house, till on a certain 
day his father, the Wazir Nur al-Din, clad him in his best clothes 
and, mounting him on a she-mule of the finest, went up with him to 
the Sultan. The King gazed at Badr al-Din.Hasan and marvelled 

1 i.e. he was a " Hafiz," one who commits to memory the whole of the Koran. It is 
a serious task and must be begun early. I learnt by rote the last " Juzw " (or thirtieth 
part) and found that quite enough. This is the vulgar use of " Hafiz " : technically and 
theologically it means the third order of Tradilionists (the total being five) who know by 
heart 300,0x30 traditions of the Prophet with their ascriptions. A curious " spiritualist" 
book calls itself " Hafed, Prince of Persia," proving by the very title that the Spirits are 
equally ignorant of Arabic and Persian- 

206 Alf Laylah vita Laylah* 

at his comeliness and loved him. As for the city-folk, when he 
first passed before them with his father, they marvelled at his 
exceeding beauty and sat down on the road expecting his return, 
that they might look their fill on his beauty and loveliness and 
symmetry and perfect grace ; even as the poet said in these 
verses : 

As the sage watched the stars, the semblance clear 
Of a fair youth on 's scroll he saw appear. 
\Those jetty looks Canopus o'er him threw, 
And tinged his temple curls a musky hue ; 
Mars dyed his ruddy cheek ; and from his eyes 
The Archer-star his glittering arrow flies ; 
His wit from Hermes came ; and Soha's care, 
(The half-seen star that dimly haunts the Bear) 
Kept off all evil eyes that threaten and ensnare, 
The sage stood mazed to see such fortunes meet. 
And Luna kissed the earth beneath his feet. 1 ' 

And they blessed him aloud as he passed and called upon Almighty 
Allah to bless him. ? The Sultan entreated the lad with especial 
favour and said to his father, " O Wazir, thou must needs bring 
him daily to my presence ; " whereupon he replied, " I hear and 
I obey." Then the Wazir returned home with his son and ceased 
not to carry him to court till he reached the age of twenty. At 
that time the Minister sickened and,, sending for Badr al-Din Hasan, 
said to him, " Know, O my son, that the world of the Present is 
but a house of mortality, while that of the Future is a house of 
eternity. I wish, before I die, to bequeath thee certain charges 
and do thou take heed of what I say and incline thy heart to my 
words." Then he gave him his last instructions as to the properest 
way of dealing with his neighbours and the due management of his 
affairs ; after which he called to mind his brother and his home 
and his native land and wept over his separation from those he had 
first loved. Then he wiped away his tears and, turning to his son, 
said to him, " Before I proceed, O my son, to my last charges and 
injunctions, know that I have a brother, and thou hast an uncle, 
Shams al-Din hight, the Wazir of Cairo, with whom I parted, 
leaving him against his will. Now take thee a sheet of paper and 

1 Here again the Cairo Edit, repeats the six couplets already given in Night xvii. I 
take them from Torrens (p. 163). 

2 This naive admiration of beauty in either sex characterised our chivalrous times. 
Now it is mostly confined to "professional beauties" of what is conventionally called 
the " fair sex " ; as if there could be any comparison between the beauty of man and the 
beauty of woman, the Apollo Belvidere with the Venus de Medici. 

Tale of Nur al-Din AH and his Son. 207 

write upon it vvhatso I say to thee. Badr al-Din took a fair leaf 
and set about doing his father's bidding and he wrote thereon a 
full account of what had happened to his sire first and last ; the 
dates of his arrival at Bassorah and of his foregathering with the 
Wazir ; of his marriage, of his going in to the Minister's daughter 
and of the birth of his son ; brief, his life of forty years from the 
day of his dispute with his brother, adding the words, "And this is 
written at my dictation and may Almighty Allah be with him 
when I am gone ! " Then he folded the paper and sealed it and 
said, " O Hasan, O my son, keep this paper with all care ; for it 
will enable thee to stablish thine origin and rank and lineage and, 
if anything contrary befal thee, set out for Cairo and ask for thine 
uncle and show him this paper and say to him that I died a 
stranger far from mine own people and full of yearning to see him 
and them." So Badr al-Din Hasan took the document and folded 
it ; and, wrapping it up in a piece of waxed cloth, sewed it like a 
talisman between the inner and outer cloth of his skull-cap and 
wound his light turband * round it. And he fell to weeping over 
his father and at parting with him, and he but a boy. Then Nur 
al-Din lapsed into a swoon, the forerunner of death ; but presently 
recovering himself he said, " O Hasan, O my son, I will now 
bequeath to thee five last behests. The FIRST BEHEST is, Be over- 
intimate with none, nor frequent any, nor be familiar with any ; so 
shalt thou be safe from his mischief; 2 for security lieth in seclusion 
of thought and a certain retirement from the society of thy fellows ; 
and I have heard it said by a poet : 

In this world there is none thou mayst count upon o To befriend thy case in 

the nick of need : 
So live for thyself nursing hope of none o Such counsel I give thee : enow, take 

heed ! 

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

Take thought nor haste to win the thing thou wilt ,* o Have ruth on man for 

ruth thou may'st require : 
No hand is there but Allah's hand is higher; o No tyrant but shall rue worse 

tyrant's ire ! 

1 Arab. "Shash" (in Pers. urine), a light turband generally of muslin. 

2 This is a lieu commun of Eastern worldly wisdom. Quite true ! Very unadvisable to 
dive below the surface of one's acquaintances, but such intimacy is like marriage of which 
Johnson said, " Without it there is no pleasure in life." 

208 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

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

Reserve's a jewel, Silence safety is ; o Whenas thou speakest many a word 

withhold : 
For an of Silence thou repent thee once, o Of speech thou shalt repent times 


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

From wine 3 I turn and whoso wine-cups swill ; o Becoming one of those who 

deem it ill : 
Wine driveth man to miss salvation -way, o And opes the gateway wide 

to sins that kill. 

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

When fails my wealth no friend will deign, befriend : o When wealth abounds 

all friends their friendship tender : 
How many friends lent aid my wealth to spend ; o But friends to lack of 

wealth no friendship render. 

1 The lines are attributed to the famous Al-Mutanabbi = the claimant to " Prophecy," 
of whom I have given a few details in my Pilgrimage (iii. 60, 62). He led the life of 
a true poet, somewhat Chauvinistic withal ; and, rather than run away, was killed in 
A. H. 354 = 965. 

2 Arab. " Nabiz" =wine of raisins or dates ; any fermented liquor; from a root to 
" press out " in Syriac, like the word " Talmiz " (or Tilmiz, says the Kashf al-Ghurrah) 
a pupil, student, Date-wine (fermented from the fruit, not the Tadi, or juice of the 
stem, our "toddy") is called Fazikh. Hence the Masjid al-Fazikh at Al-Medinah 
where the Ansar or Auxiliaries of that city were sitting cup in hand when they heard 
of the revelation forbidding inebriants and poured the liquor upon the ground (Pil- 
grimage ii. 322). 

8 Arab. " Huda " = direction (to the right way), salvation, a word occurring in the 
Opening Chapter of the Koran. Hence to a Kafir who offers the Salam-salutation 
many Moslems reply " Allah yahdik "rz Allah direct thee ! (i.e. make thee a Moslem), 
instead of Allah yusallimak = Allah lead thee to salvation. It is the root word of the 
Mahdi and Mohdi. 

Tale of Nilt al-Dtn All and hi* Son. 209 

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

Escape with thy life, if oppression betide thee, o And Jet the house tell of its 

builder's fate ! 
Country for country thou'lt find, if thou seelc it ; Life for life never, early or 

It is strange men should dwell in the house of abjection, o When the plain of 

God's earth is so wide and so great I 1 

At these words of the Mameluke, Badr al-Din covered his head 

1 These lines have already occurred in .The First Kalandar's Story (Night xi). 
I quote by wiy of change and with permission Mr. Payne's version (t. 93). 

VOL. I. O 

2IO A If Laylak wa Laylah. 

with the skirt of his garment and went forth on foot till he stood 
outside of the city, where he heard folk saying, " The Sultan hath 
sent his new Wazir to the house of the old Wazir, now no more, to 
seal his property and seize his son Badr al-Din Hasan and take 
him before the presence, that he may put him to death ; " and all 
cried, " Alas for his beauty and his loveliness I " When he heard 
this he fled forth at hazard, knowing not whither he was going, and 
gave not over hurrying onwards till Destiny drove him to his 
father's tomb. So he entered the cemetery and, threading his way 
through the graves, at last he reached the sepulchre where he sat 
down and let fall from his head the skirt of his long robe 1 which 
was made of brocade with a gold-embroidered hem whereon were 
worked these couplets : 

O thou whose forehead, like the radiant East, o Tells of the stars of Heaven 

and bounteous dews : 
Endure thine honour to the latest day, o And Time thy growth of 

glory ne'er refuse \ 

While he was sitting by his father's tomb behold, there came to 
fcim a Jew as he were a Shroff, 2 a money-changer, with a pair of 
saddle-bags containing much gold, who accosted him and kissed 
his hand, saying, " Whither bound, O my lord : 'tis late in the day 
and thou art clad but lightly and I read signs of trouble in thy 
face ? " " I was sleeping within this very hour," answered Hasan, 
<f when my father appeared to me and chid me for not having 
visited his tomb ; so I awoke trembling and came hither forthright 
lest the day should go by without my visiting him, which would 
have been grievous to me." " O my lord," rejoined the Jew 3 " thy 
father had many merchantmen at sea and, as some of them are 
now due, it is my wish to buy of thee the cargo of the first ship 
that cometh into port with this thousand dinars of gold." " I 
consent," quoth Hasan, whereupon the Jew took out a bag full 
of gold and counted out a thousand sequins which he gave to 

1 Arab. " Farajiyah," a long-sleeved robe worn by the learned (Lane, M. E., 
chapt. i.) 

2 Arab. "Sarraf" (vulg. Sayrafi), whence the Anglo-Indian "Shroff," a familiar 

8 Arab. "Yahudi" which is less polite than "Banu Israil" = Children of Israel., 
So in Christendom " Israelite " when in favour and " Jew " (with an adjective or 
participle) when nothing is wanted of him. 

Tale of Nur al-Dln All and his Son. 211 

Hasan, the son of the Wazir, saying, " Write me a letter of sale 
and seal it." So Hasan took a pen and paper and wrote these 
words in duplicate, " The writer, Hasan Badr al-Din, son of Wazir 
Nur al-Din, hath sold to Isaac the Jew all the cargo of the first of 
his father's ships which cometh into port, for a thousand dinars, 
and he hath received the price in advance." And after he had 
taken one copy the Jew put it into his pouch and went away ; but 
Hasan fell a-weeping as he thought of the dignity and prosperity 
which had erst been his and he began reciting : 

This house, my lady, since you left is now a home no more o For me, nor 

neighbours, since you left, prove- kind and neighbourly : 
The friend, whilere I took to heart, alas ! no more to me o Is friend ; and even 

Luna's self displayeth lunacy : 
You left and by your going left the world a waste, a wold, o And lies a gloomy 

murk upon the face of hill and lea : 
O may the raven-bird whose cry our hapless parting croaked o Find ne'er a 

nesty home and eke shed all his plumery ! 
At length my patience fails me ; and this absence wastes my flesh; o How many 

a veil by severance rent our eyes are doomed see : 
Ah ! shall I ever sight again our fair past nights of yore; o And shall a single 

house become a home for me once more ? 

Then he wept with exceeding weeping and night came upon him ; 
so he leant his head against his father's grave and sleep overcame 
him : Glory to Him who sleepeth not ! He ceased not slumbering 
till the moon rose, when his head slipped from off the tomb and he 
lay on his back, with limbs outstretched, his face shining bright in 
the moonlight. Now the cemetery was haunted day and night by 
Jinns who were of the True Believers, and presently came out a 
Jinniyah who, seeing Hasan asleep, marvelled at his beauty and 
loveliness and cried, " Glory to God ! this youth can be none other 
than one of the Wuldan of Paradise." * Then she flew firmament- 
wards to circle it, as was her custom, and met an Ifrit on the wing 

1 Also called " Ghilmdn " = the beautiful youths appointed to serve the True 
Believers in Paradise. The Koran says (chapt. Ivi. 9 etc.) "Youths, which shall 
continue in their bloom for ever, shall go round about to attend them, with goblets, and 
beakers, and a cup of flowing wine," etc. Mohammed was an Arab (not a Persian, a 
born pederast) and he was loo fond of women to be charged with love of boys : even 
Tristram Shandy (vol. vii. chapt. 7 ; "No, quoth a third ; the gentleman has been com- 
mitting ") knew that the two tastes are incompatibles. But this and other passages 

in the Koran have given the Chevaliers de la Paille a hint that the use of boys, like that 
of wine, here forbidden, will be permitted in Paradise. 

212 Alf Laylah wa Layfah* 

who saluted her and she said to him, " Whence comest thou ? * 
"From Cairo/' he replied. "Wilt thou come with me and look 
upon the beauty of a youth who sleepeth in yonder burial, place ?" 
she asked, and he answered, "I will." So they flew till they lighted 
at the tomb and she showed him the youth -and said, "Now diddest 
thou ever in thy born days see aught like this ?" The I frit looked 
upon him and exclaimed, " Praise be to Him that hath no equal ! 
But, O my sister, shall I tell thee what I have seen this day ? " 
Asked she, " What is that ? " and he answered, " I have seen the 
counterpart of this youth in the land of Egypt. She is the 
daughter of the Wazir Shams al-Din and she is a model of beauty 
and loveliness, of fairest favour and formous form, and dight with, 
symmetry and perfect grace. When she had reached the age of 
nineteen, 1 the Sultan of Egypt heard of her and, sending for the 
Wazir her father, said to him : Hear me, O Wazir : it hath 
reached mine ear that thou hast a daughter and I wish to demaftd 
her of thee in marriage. The Wazir replied : O our lord the 
Sultan, deign accept my excuses and take compassion on my 
sorrows, for thou knowest that my brother, who was partner with 
me in the Wazirate, disappeared from amongst us many years ago 
and we wot not where he is. Now the cause of his departure was 
that one night, as we were sitting together and talking of wives 
and children to come, we had words on the matter and he went off 
in high dudgeon. But I swore that I would marry my daughter 
to none save to the son of my brother on the day her mother gave 
her birth, which was nigh upon nineteen years ago. I have lately 
heard that my brother died at Bassorah, where he had married the 
daughter of the Wazir and that she bare him a son ; and I will not 
marry my daughter but to him in honour of my brother's memory 
I recorded the date of my marriage and the conception of my wife 
and the birth of my daughter ; and from her horoscope I find that 

1 Which, by the by, is the age of an oldish old maid in Egypt. I much doubt 
puberty being there earlier than in England where our grandmothers married at fourteen. 
But Orientals are aware that the period of especial feminine devilry is between the first 
menstruation and twenty when, according to some, every girl is a " possible murderess,'* 
So they wisely marry her and get rid of what is called the "lump of grief," the 
"domestic calamity" a daughter. Amongst them we never hear of the abominable 
egotism and cruelty of the English mother, who disappoints her daughter's womanly 
cravings in order to keep her at home for her own comfort ; and an " old maid" in the 
house, especially a stout, plump old maid, is considered not *' respectable.'* The 
ancient Yirgin is known by being lean and scraggy ; and perhaps this diagnosis is correct*' 

Tale of Nur al-Din AH and his Son. 


her name is conjoined with that of her cousin; 1 and there are 
damsels in foison for our lord the Sultan. The King, hearing his 
Minister's answer and refusal, waxed wroth with exceeding wrath 
and cried : When the like of me asketh a girl in marriage of the like 
of thee, he confer reth an honour, and thou rejectest me and puttest 
me off with cold 2 excuses! Now, by the life of my head I will 
marry her to the meanest of my men in spite of the nose of thee ! ? 
There was in the palace a horse-groom which was a Gobbo with a 
bunch to his breast and a hunch to his back ; and the Sultan sent 
for him and married him to the daughter of the Wazir, lief or 
loath, and hath ordered a pompous marriage procession for him 
and that he go in to his bride this very night. I have now just 
flown hither from Cairo, where I left the Hunchback at the door of 
the Hammam-bath amidst the Sultan's white slaves who we're 
waving lighted flambeaux about him. As for the Minister's 
daughter she sitteth among her nurses and tire-women, weeping 
and wailing ; for they have forbidden her father to come near her, 
Never have I seen, O my sister, more hideous being than this 
Hunchback 4 whilst the young lady is the likest of all folk to this 
young man, albeit even fairer than he." - And Shahrazad per- 
ceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say. 

fojjen ft toa* t&e 

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the 
Jinni narrated to the Jinniyah how the King had caused the wedding 
contract to be drawn up between the hunchbacked groom and the 
lovely young lady who was heart-broken for sorrow ; and how she 

1 This prognostication of destiny by the stars and a host of follies that end in -mancy is. 
an intricate and extensive subject. Those who would study it are referred to chapt. xiv- 
of the " Qanoon-e- Islam, or the Customs of the Mussulmans of India; etc., etc., by 
Jaffur Shurreeff and translated by G. A. Herklots,. M.D. of Madras." This excellent 
work first appeared in 1832 (Allen and Co., London) and thus it showed the way to 
Lane's "Modern Egyptians" (1833-35). The name was unfortunate as "Kuzzilbash " 
(which rhymed to guzzle and hash), and kept the bopk back till a second edition 
appeared in 1863 (Madras: J. Higginbotham). 

* Arab. "Barid," lit. cold : metaph. vain, foolish, insipid. 

3 Not to "spite thee" but "in spite of thee." The phrase is Still used by high, 
and low. 

* Arab. "Ahdab," the common hunchback: in classical language the Gobbo in the 
text would be termed "Ak'as" from " Ka'as," one with protruding back and breast; 
sometimes uaccl for hollow back and protruding breast. 

214 A If Laylak wa Laylah. 

was the fairest of created things and even more beautiful than this 
youth, the Jinniyah cried at him "Thou liest ! this youth is hand- 
somer than any one of his day/' The Ifrit gave her the lie again, 
adding, "By Allah, O my sister, the damsel I speak of is fairer than 
this \ yet none but he deserveth her, for they resemble each other 
like brother and sister or at least cousins. And, well-away ! how 
she is wasted upon that Hunchback ! " Then said she, " O my 
brother, let -us get under him and lift him up and carry him to Cairo, 
that we may compare him with the damsel of whom thou speakest 
and so determine whether of the twain is the fairer." " To hear is 
to obey P replied he, " thou speakest to the point ; nor is there a 
righter recking than this of thine, and I myself will carry him." So 
he raised him from the ground and flew -with him like a bird 
soaring in upper air, the Ifritah keeping close by his side at equal 
speed, till he alighted with him in the city of Cairo and set him down 
on a stone bench and woke him up. He roused himself and find- 
ing that he was no longer at his father's tomb in Bassorah-city he 
looked right and left and saw that he was in a strange place ; and 
he would have cried out ; but the Ifrit gave him a cuff which per- 
suaded him to keep silence. Then he brought him rich raiment 
and clothed him therein and, giving him a lighted flambeau, said, 
'* Know that I have brought thee hither, meaning to do thee a good 
turn for the love of Allah : so take this torch and mingle with the 
people at the Hammam-door and walk on with them without stop- 
ping till thou reach the house of the wedding-festival ; then go 
boldly forward and enter the great saloon ; and fear none, but take 
thy stand at the right hand of the Hunchback bridegroom ; and, 
as often as any of the nurses and tirewomen and singing-girls come 
up to thee, 1 put thy hand into thy pocket which thou wilt find filled 

1 This is the custom with such gentry, who, when they see a likely man sitting, are 
allowed by custom to ride astraddle upon his knees with most suggestive movements, till 
he buys them off. These Ghawazi are mostly Gypsies who pretend to be Moslems ; and 
they have been confused with the Almahs or Moslem dancing-girls proper (Awalim, plur. 
of Alimah, a learned feminine) by a host of travellers. They call themselves Baramikah 
or Barmecides only to affect Persian origin. Under native rule they were perpetually 
"being banished from and returning to Cairo (Pilgrimage i., 202). Lane (M. E., chapts. 
xviii. and xix.) discusses the subject, and would derive Al'mah, often so pronounced, frora 
Heb, Almah, girl, virgin, singing girl, hence he would translate Al-Alamoth shir (Psalm 
xlvi.) and Nebalim al-alamoth (i Chron., xv. 20) by a "song for singing-girls " and 
'harps for singing-girls." He quotes also St. Jerome as authority that Alma in Punic 
(Phoenician) signified a virgin, not a common article, I may observe, amongst singing- 
gills. I shall notice in a future page Burckhardt's description of the Ghawnzi, p. I73i 
" Arabic Proverbs ; " etc., etc. Second Edition. London : Quaritch, 1875. 

' Tale of Nur al-Din AH and his Son. 215 

with gold. Take it out and throw to them and spare not ; for as 
often as thou thrustest fingers in pouch thou shalt find it full of 
coin. Give largesse by handsful and fear nothing, but set thy trust 
upon Him who created thee, for this is not by thine own strength 
but by that of Allah Almighty, that His decrees may take effect 
upon his creatures.'" When Badr al-Din Hasan heard these words 
from the Ifrit he said to himself, " Would Heaven I knew what all 
this means and what is the cause of such kindness !" However, he 
mingled with the people and, lighting his flambeau, moved on with 
the bridal procession till he came to the bath where he found the 
Hunchback already on horseback. Then he pushed his way in 
among the crowd, a veritable beauty of a man in the finest apparel, 
wearing tarbush * and turband and a long-sleeved robe purfled with 
gold ; and, as often as the singing women stopped for the people to 
give them largesse, he thrust his hand into his pocket and, finding it 
full of gold, took out a handful and threw it on the tambourine 2 till he 
had filled it with gold pieces for the music-girls and the tirewomen. 
The singers were amazed by his bounty and the people marvelled at 
his beauty and loveliness and the splendour of his dress. He ceased 
not to do thus till he reached the mansion of the Wazir (who was 
his uncle), where the Chamberlains drove back the people and for- 
bade them to go forward ; but the singing-girls and the tirewomen 
said, " By Allah we will not enter unless this young man enter with 
us, for he hath given us length o' life with his largesse and we will 
not display the bride unless he be present." Therewith they carried 
him into the bridal hall and made him sit down defying the evil 
glances of the hunchbacked bridegroom. The wives of the Emirs 
and Wazirs and Chamberlains and Courtiers all stood in double 
line, each holding a massy cierge ready lighted ; all wore thin face- 
veils and the two rows right and left extended from the bride's 
throne 3 to the head of the hall adjoining the chamber whence she 
was to come forth. When the ladies saw Badr al-Din Hasan and 

1 I need hardly describe the Tarbush, a corruption of the Pers. "Bar-push" (head- 
cover) also called " Fez," from its old home ; and "Tarbrush" by the travelling Briton. 
In old days it was a calotte worn under the turban ; and it was protected from scalp-per* 
spiration by an " Arakiyah " (Pers. Arak-chm), a white skull-cap. Now it is worn without 
either and as a head-dress nothing can be worse (Pilgrimage ii. 275.) 

2 Arab. " Tar.": the custom still prevails. Lane (M. E., chapt. xviii.) describes and 
figures this hoop-drum. 

3 The couch on which she sits while being displayed. It is her throne, for she is the 
Queen of the occasion, with all the Majesty of Virginity. 

216 A If Laylak wa Laylah. 

noted his beauty and loveliness and his face that shone like the new 
moon, their hearts inclined to him and the singing-girls said to all 
that were present, " Know that this beauty crossed our hands with 
naught but red gold ; so be not chary to do him womanly service 
and comply with all he says, no matter what he ask." * So all the 
women crowded round Hasan with their torches and gazed on his 
loveliness and envied him his beauty ; and one and all would gladly 
have lain on his bosom an hour or rather a year. Their hearts were 
so troubled that they Jet fall their veils from before their faces and 
said, " Happy she who belongeth to this youth or to whom he be- 
longeth ! "; and they called down curses on the crooked groom and 
on him who was the cause of his marriage to the girl-beauty ; and 
as often as they blessed Badr al-Din Hasan they damned the 
Hunchback, saying, " Verily this youth and none else deserveth our 
Bride : ah, well-away for such a lovely one with this hideous Quasi- 
modo ; Allah's curse light on his head and on the Sultan who com- 
manded the marriage ! " Then the singing-girls beat their tabrets 
and lulliloo'd with joy, announcing the appearing of the bride ; 
and the Wazir's daughter came in surrounded by her tirewomen 
who had made her goodly to look upon ; for they had perfumed 
her and incensed her and adorned her hair ; and they had robed her 
in raiment and ornaments befitting the mighty Chosroes Kings. 
The most notable part of her dress was a loose robe worn over her 
other garments : it was diapered in red gold with figures of wild 
beasts, and birds whose eyes and beaks were of gems, and claws of 
red rubies and green beryl ; and her neck was graced with a neck- 
lace of Yamani work, worth thousands of gold pieces, whose bezels 
were great round jewels of sorts, the like of which was never owned 
by Kaysar or by Tobba King. 2 And the bride was as the full moon 
when at fullest on fourteenth night ; and as she paced into the hall 

1 This is a solemn " chaff ; 'V such liberties being permitted at weddings and festive 

2 The pre-Islarmtic dynasty of Al-Yamanin Arabia. Felix, a region formerly famed for 
wealth and luxury. Hence the mention of Yamani work. The caravans from Sana'a", 
the capital, used to carry patterns of vases to be made in China and bring back the porce- 
lains at the end of the third year : these are the Arabic inscriptions which have puzzled so 
many collectors. The Tobba, or Successors, were the old Ilimyarite Kings, a dynastic 
name like Pharaoh, Kisra (Persia), Negush (Abyssinia), Khakan or Khan (Tartary), etc., 
who claimed to have extended their conquests to Samarcand and made war on China. 
Any history of Arabia (as Crichton I., chapt iv.) may be consulted for their names and 
annals. I have been told by Arabs that " Tobba " (or Tubba) is still used in the old 
Iiimyar-land = the Creator the Chief. 

Tale oj Nur at- Din Ali and his Son. 2\J 

she was like one of the Houris of Heaven praise be to Him who 
created her in such splendour of beauty ! The ladies encompassed 
her as the white contains the black of the eye, they clustering like 
stars whilst she shone amongst them like the moon when it eats up 
the clouds. Now Badr al-Din Hasan of Bassorah was sitting in 
full gaze of the folk, when the bride came forward with her graceful 
swaying and swimming gait, and her hunchbacked bridegroom stood 
up to meet * and receive her : she, however, turned away from the 
wight and walked forward till she stood before her cousin Hasan, 
the son of her uncle. Whereat the people laughed. But when the 
wedding-guests saw her thus attracted towards Badr Al-Din they 
made a mighty clamour and the singing-women shouted their 
loudest ; whereupon he put his hand into his pocket and, pulling 
out a handful of gold, cast it into their tambourines and the girls 
rejoiced and said, " Could we win our wish this bride were thine !" 
At this he smiled and the folk came round him, flambeaux in hand 
like the eyeball round the pupil, while the Gobbo bridegroom was 
left sitting alone much like a tail-less baboon ; for every time they 
lighted a candle for him it went out willy-nilly, so he was left in 
darkness and silence and looking at naught but himself. 2 When 
Badr al-Din Hasan saw the bridegroom sitting lonesome in the dark, 
aitd all the wedding-guests with their flambeaux and wax candles 
crowding about himself, he was bewildered and marvelled much ; 
but when he looked at his cousin, the daughter of his uncle, he re- 
joiced and felt an inward delight : he longed to greet her and gazed 
intently on her face which was radiant with light and brilliancy. 
Then the tirewomen took off her veil and displayed her in the first 
bridal dress which was of scarlet satin ; and Hasan had a view of 
her which dazzled his sight and dazed his wits, as she moved to and 
fro, swaying with graceful gait ; 3 and she turned the heads of all the 
guests, women as well as men, for she was even as saith the sur- 
passing poet : 

A sun on wand in knoll of sand she showed, <* Clad in her cramoisy-hued 

chemisette : 
Of her lips honey-dew she gave me drink, o And with her rosy cheeks 

quencht fire she set. 

1 Lane and Payne (as well as the Bres. Edit.) both render the word " to kiss her," but 
this would be clean contrary to Moslem, usage. 

2 i.e. he was full of rage which he concealed. 

3 The Hindus (as the Katha shows) compare this swimming gait with -an elephant'* 

21 8 Alf Laylah wa Laylak. 

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

She came apparelled in an azure vest, o Ultramarine, as skies are deckt and 

dight : 
I view'd th> unparallePd sight, which show'd my eyes o A moon of Summer on 

a Winter-night. 

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

Veiling her cheeks with hair a-morn she comes, o And I her mischiefs with 

the cloud compare : 
Saying, "Thou veilest morn with night!" "Ah no!" o Quoth she, "I shroud 

full moon with darkling air 1 " 

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

The sun of beauty she to sight appears o And, lovely-coy, she mocks all 

loveliness ; 
And when he fronts her favour and her smile o A-morn, the Sun of day in 

clouds must dress. 

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

She comes like fullest moon on happy night ; o Taper of waist, with shape 

of magic might : 
She hath an eye whose glances quell mankind, o And Ruby on her cheeks 

reflects his light: 

Tale of Nur al-Dtn Alt and his Son. . 219 

Enveils her hips the blackness of her hair ; o Beware of curls that bite with 

viper-bite ! 
Her sides are silken-soft, the while the heart o Mere rock behind that surface 

lurks from sight : 
From the fringed curtains of her eyne she shoots o Shafts which at farthest 

range on mark alight: 
When round her neck or waist I throw my arms o Her breasts repel me with 

their hardened height. 
Ah, how her beauty all excels ! ah how o That shape transcends the graceful 

waving bough ! 

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

A damsel 'twas the tirer*s art had decked with snares and sleight i 1 o And robed 

in rays as though the sun from her had borrowed light : 
She came before us wondrous clad in chemisette of green, o As veiled by its 

leafy screen pomegranate hides from sight : 
And when he said "How callest thou the manner of thy dress?" o She answered 

us in pleasant way with double meaning dight ; 
44 We call this garment crtve-caur ; and rightly is it hight, o For many a heart 

wi' this we broke 2 and conquered many a sprite ! 

Then they displayed her in the seventh dress, coloured between 
;afflower 3 and saffron, even as one of the poets saith: 

In vest of saffron pale and safflower red o Musk'd, sandal'd, ambergris'd, she 

came to front : 
"Rise !" cried her youth, "go forth and show thyself!" o "Sit!" said her 

hips, "we cannot bear the brunt ! " 
And when I craved a bout, her Beauty said o *'Do, do!" and said her pretty 

shame, * Don't, don't ! " 

1 Arab. "Fitnah," a word almost as troublesome as "Adab." Primarily, revolt 
seduction, mischief: then a beautiful girl (or boy), and lastly a certain aphrodisiac 
perfume extracted from mimosa-flowers (Pilgrimage L, 118). 

* Lit. burst the "gall-bladder:" In this and in the " liver "-allusions I dare not 
be baldly literal. 

s Arab. "Usfur" the seeds of Carthamus tinctorius Safflower (Forskal, Flora, 
etc. lv.). The seeds are crushed for oil and the flowers, which must be gathered by 
virgins or the colour will fail, are extensively used for dyeing in Southern Arabia and 
Eastern Africa. 

22O A If Laylah wa Laylak. 

Thus they displayed the bride in all her seven toilettes before 
Hasan al-Basri, wholly neglecting the Gobbo who sat moping 
alone; and, when she opened her eyes 1 she said, "O Allah make 
this man my goodman and deliver me from the evil of this hunch- 
backed groom." As soon as they had made an end of this part of 
the ceremony they dismissed the wedding guests who went forth, 
women children and all, and none remained save Hasan and the 
Hunchback, whilst the tire-women led the bride into an inner room 
to change her garb and gear and get her ready for the bridegroom. 
, Thereupon Quasimodo came up to Badr al-Din Hasan and said,"O 
my lord, thou hast cheered us this night with thy good company and 
overwhelmed us with thy kindness and courtesy; but now why not 
get thee up and go ?" "Bismillah;" he answered, "In Allah's name 
so be it !"; and rising, he went forth by the door, where the Ifrit met 
him and said, " Stay in thy stead, O Badr al-Din, and when the 
Hunchback goes out to the closet of ease go in without losing time 
and seat thyself in the alcove ; and when the bride comes say to 
her : 'Tis I am thy husband, for the King devised this trick only 
fearing for thee the evil eye, and he whom thou sawest is but a 
Syce, a groom, one of our stablemen. Then walk boldly up to 
her and unveil her face ; for jealousy hath taken us of this matter." 
While Hasan was still talking with the Ifrit behold, the groom fared 
forth from the hall and entering the closet of ease sat down on 
the stool. Hardly had he done this when the Ifrit came out of 
the tank, 2 wherein the water was, in semblance of a mouse and 
squeaked out "Zeek!" Quoth the Hunchback, "What ails 
thee ? " ; and the mouse grew and grew till it became a coal- 
black cat and caterwauled " Meeao ! Meeao 3 " ! Then it grew 
still more and more till it became a dog and barked out " Owh ! 
Owh ! " When the bridegroom saw this he was frightened and 

1 On such occasions Miss Modesty shuts her eyes and looks as if about to faint. 

3 After either evacuation the Moslem is bound to wash or sand the part ; first however 
he should apply three pebbles, or potsherds or clods of earth. Hence the allusion in 
the Koran (chapt. ix-.), " men who love to be purified.*' When the Prophet was ques- 
tioning the men of Kuba, where he founded a mosque (Pilgrimage ii., 215), he asked 
them about their legal ablutions, especially after evacuation ; and they told him that they 
used three stones before washing. Moslems and Hindus (who prefer water mixed with 
earth) abhor the unclean and unhealthy use of paper without ablution ; and the people of 
India call Europeans draught-houses, by way of opprobrium, " Kaghaz-khanah " rr paper 
closets. Most old Anglo-Indians, however, learn to use 'water. 

3 "Miao" or " Mau " is the generic name of the cat in the Egyptian of the hiero- 

Tale of Nur al-Dln AH and his Son. 221 

exclaimed " Out with thee, O unlucky one ! " l But the dog grew 
and swelled till it became an ass-colt that brayed and snorted in 
his face " Hauk ! 2 Hauk !" Whereupon the Hunchback quaked 
and cried, ' Come to my aid, O people of the house ! " But 
behold, the ass-colt grew and became big as a buffalo and walled 
the way before him and spake with the voice of the sons of Adam, 
saying, " Woe to thee, O thou Bunch-back, thou stinkard, O thou 
filthiest of grooms ! " Hearing this the groom was seized with 
a colic and he sat down on the jakes fn his clothes with teeth 
chattering and knocking together. Quoth the Ifrit, " Is the world 
so strait to thee thou findest none to marry save my lady-love ? " 
But as he was silent the Ifrit continued, " Answer me or I will do 
thee dwell in the dust!" "By Allah," replied the Gobbo, "O 
King of the Buffaloes, this is no fault of mine, for they forced me 
to wed her ; and verily I wot not that she had a lover amongst the 
buffalos ; but now I repent, first before Allah and then before 
thee." Said the Ifrit to him, " I swear to thee that if thou fare 
forth from this place, or thou utter a word before sunrise, I 
assuredly will wring thy neck. When the sun rises wend thy 
went and never more return to this house." So saying, the Ifrit 
took up the Gobbo bridegroom and set him head downwards and 
feet upwards in the slit of the privy, 3 and said to him, "I will 
leave thee here but I shall be on the look-out for thee till sunrise ; 
and, if thou stir before then, I will seize thee by the feet and dash 
out thy brains against the wall : so look out for thy life ! " Thus 
far concerning the Hunchback, but as regards Badr al-Din Hasan 
of Bassorah he left the Gobbo and the Ifrit jangling and wrangling 
and, going into the house, sat him down in the very middle of the 
alcove ; and behold, in came the bride attended by an old woman 
who stood at the door and said; " O Father of Uprightness, 4 

1 Arab. *' Ya Mash' urn" addressed to an evil spirit. 

2 "Heehaw!" as we should say. The Bresl. Edit, makes the cat cry "Nauh! 
Nauh !" and the ass-colt " Manu ! Manu !" I leave these onomatopceics as they are 
in Arabic ; they are curious, showing the unity in variety of hearing inarticulate sounds. 
The bird which is called " Whip poor Will* in the U.S., is known to the Brazilians as 
" Joam corta pao" (John cut wood) ; so differently do they hear the same notes. 

3 It is usually a slab of marble with a long slit in front and a round hole behind. The 
text speaks of a Kursi (=: stool) ; but this is now unknown to native houses which have 
not adopted European fashions. 

4 This again is chaff as she addresses the Hunchback. The Bui. Edit, has " O Abu 
Shihdb" (Father of the shooting-star == evil spirit) ; the Bresl. Edit. ' O son of a heapl 
O son of a Something! " (al-AIsh, a vulgarism). 

222 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

arise and take what God giveth thee." Then the old woman went 
away and the bride, Sitt al-Husn or the Lady of Beauty hight, 
entered the inner part of the alcove broken-hearted and saying in 
herself, " By Allah I will never yield my person to him ; no, not 
even were he to take my life ! " But as she came to the further 
end she saw Badr al-Din Hasan and she said, " Dearling ! art thou 
still sitting here ? By Allah I was wishing that thou wert my 
bridegroom or, at least, that thou and the hunchbacked horse- 
groom were partners in me." He replied, "O beautiful lady, how 
should the Syce have access to thee, and how should he share in 
thee with me ? " " Then," quoth she, " who is my husband, thou 
or he?" "Sitt al-Husn," rejoined Hasan, "we have not done 
this for mere fun, 1 but only as a device to ward off the evil eye 
from thee; for when the tirewomen and singers and wedding 
guests saw thy beauty being displayed to me, they feared fascinar 
tion and thy father hired the horse-groom for ten dinars and a 
porringer of meat to take the evil eye off us ; and now he hath 
received his hire and gone his gait." When the Lady of Beauty 
heard these words she smiled and rejoiced and laughed a pleasant 
laugh. Then she whispered him, " By the Lord thou hast 
quenched a fire which tortured me and now, by Allah, O my little 
dark-haired darling, take me to thee and press me to thy bosom ! " 
Then she began singing : 

By Allah, set thy foot upon my soul ; o Since long, long years for this alone 

I long : 
And whisper tale of love in ear of me ; o To me 'tis sweeter than the sweetest 

No other youth upon my heart shall lie ; o So do it often, dear, and do it long. 

Then she stripped off her outer gear and she threw open her 
chemise from the neck downwards and showed her parts genital 
and all the rondure of her hips. When Badr al-Din saw the 
glorious sight his desires were roused, and he arose and doffed his 
clothes, and wrapping up in his bag-trousers 2 the purse of gold 

1 As the reader will see, Arab ideas of "fun" and practical jokes are of the largest, 
putting the Hibernian to utter rout, and comparing favourably with those recorded in 
Don Quixote. 

2 Arab. "Sardwil" a corruption of the Pers. "Sharwal"; popularly called "libas" 
which, however, may also mean clothing in general and especially outer-clothing. I 
translate "bag-trousers" and "petticoat-trousers," the latter being the. divided skirt of 
our future. In the East, where Common Sense, not Fashion, rules dress, men, who have 

Tale of Nur al-Din Ali and his Son. 223 

which he had taken from the Jew and which contained the thou- 
sand dinars, he laid it under the edge of the bedding. Then he 
took off his turband and set it upon the settle J atop of his other 
clothes, remaining in his skull-cap and fine shirt of blue silk laced 
with gold. Whereupon the Lady of Beauty drew him to her and 
he did likewise. Then he took her to his embrace and set her 
legs round his waist and point-blanked that cannon 2 placed where 
it battereth down the bulwark of maidenhead and layeth it waste. 
And he found her a pearl unpierced and unthridden and a filly 
by all men save himself unridden ; and he abated her virginity and 
had joyance of her youth in his virility and presently he with- 
drew sword from sheath ; and then returned to the fray right 
eath ; and when the battle and the siege had finished, some fifteen 
assaults he had furnished and she conceived by him that very 
night. Then he laid his hand under her head and she did the 
same and they embraced and fell asleep in each other's arms, as a 
certain poet said of such lovers in these couplets : 

Visit thy lover, spurn what envy told ; o No envious churl shall smile on love 

Merciful Allah made no fairer sight o Than coupled lovers single couch doth 

hold ; 
Breast pressing breast and robed in joys their own, o With pillowed forearms 

cast in finest mould : 
And when heart speaks to heart with tongue of love, a. Folk who would 'part 

them hammer steel ice-cold : 
If a fair friend 3 thou find who cleaves to thee, o Live for that friend, that 

friend in heart enfold. 
O ye who blame for love us lover kind o Say, can ye minister to diseased 

mind ? 

This much concerning Badr al-Din Hasan and Sitt al-Husn his 

a protuberance to be concealed, wear petticoats and women wear trousers. The feminine 
article is mostly baggy but sometimes, as in India, rt?//a/-tight. A quasi-sacred part of 
it is the inkle, tape or string, often a most magnificent affair, with tassels of pearl and 
precious stones j and "laxity in the trouser-string" is equivalent to the loosest conduct. 
Upon the subject of "libds," "sarwaV' and its variants the curious reader will consult 
Dr. Dozy's " Dictionnaire Detaille des Noms des Vetements cbez les Arabes," a most 
valuable work. 

1 The turban out of respect is not put upon the ground (Lane, M. E., chapt. i.). 

2 Arab. " Madfa'" showing the modem date or the modernization of the tale. In 
Lebid " Madafi' " (plur. of Madfa') means water-courses or leats. 

3 In Arab, the "he" is a "she;" and Habib ("friend") is the Attic $1X09, a 
euphemism for lover. This will occur throughout The Nights. So the Arabs use a 
phrase corresponding with the Stoic ^tXe* i.f. is wont, is fain. 

224 Alf Lay la/i wa Laylah. 

cousin ; but as regards the I frit, as soon as he saw the twain asleep, 
he said to the Ifritah, " Arise ; slip thee under the youth and let 
us carry him back to his place ere dawn overtake us ; for the day 
is nearhand." Thereupon she came forward and, getting under 
him as he lay asleep, took him up clad only in his fine blue shirt, 
leaving the rest of his garments ; and ceased not flying (and the 
I frit vying with her in flight) till the dawn advised them that it 
had come upon them mid-way, and the Muezzin began his call 
from the Minaret, " Haste ye to salvation ! ] Haste ye to salvation ! " 
Then Allah suffered His angelic host to shoot down the Ifrit 
with a shooting star, 2 so he was consumed, but the Ifritah escaped 
and she descended with Badr al-Din at the place where the Ifrit 
was burnt, antl did not carry him back to Bassorah, fearing lest he 
come to harm. Now by the order of Him who predestmeth all 
things, they alighted at Damascus of Syria, and the Ifritah set down 
her burden at one of the city-gates and flew away. When day 
arose and the doors were opened, the folk who came forth saw a 
handsome youth, with no other raiment but his blue shirt of gold- 
embroidered silk and skull-cap, 3 lying upon the ground drowned 
in sleep after the hard labour of the night which had not suffered 
him to take his rest. So the folk looking at him said, " O her luck 
with whom this one spent the night ! but would he had waited to 
don his garments." Quoth another, " A sorry lot are the sons of 
great families ! Haply he but now came forth of the tavern on 
some occasion of his own and his wine flew to his head, 4 whereby 
he hath missed the place he was making for and strayed till he 
came to the gate of the city ; and finding it shut lay him down and 
went to by-by ! " As the people were bandying guesses about him 
suddenly the morning breeze blew upon Badr al-Din and raising 
his shirt to his middle showed a stomach and navel with something 
below it, 5 and legs and thighs clear as crystal and smooth as cream. 
Cried the people, " By Allah he is a pretty fellow ! " : and at the 

1 Part of the Azan, or call to prayer. 

2 Arab. "Shihab," these meteors being the flying shafts shot at evil spirits who 
approach too near Heaven. The idea doubtless arose from the showers of August and 
November meteors (The Perseides and Taurides) which suggest a battle raging in upper 
air. Christendom also has its superstition concerning them and called those of August 
the ' fiery tears of Saint Lawrence," whose festival was on August 10. 

Arab. Takiyah " = Pers. Arak-chin ; the calotte worn under the Fez It is, I 
have said, now obsolete and the red woollen cap (mostly made in Europe) is worn over 
the hair ; an unclean practice. 

4 Often the effect of cold air after a heated room. 

' i.e. He was not a Eunuch, as the people guessed. 

Tale of Ntr al-Dtn AH and his Son. 22$ 

cry Badr al-Din awoke and found himself lying at a city-gate with 
a crowd gathered around him. At this he greatly marvelled and 
asked, " Where am I, O good folk ; and what causeth you thus to 
gather round me, and what have I had to do with you?"; and they 
answered, " We found thee lying here asleep during the call to dawn- 
prayer and this is all we know of the matter, but where diddest 
thou lie last night ? M1 "By Allah, O good people," replied he, " I 
lay last night in Cairo." Said somebody, " Thou hast surely been 
eating Hashish ; " 2 and another, " He is a fool ; " and a third, " H 
is a citrouille\" and a fourth asked him, "Art thou out of thy 
mind ? thou sleepest in Cairo and thou wakest in the morning at 
the gate of. Damascus-city!" 3 Cried he, "By Allah, my good; 
people, one and all, I lie not to you : indeed I lay yesternight in, 
the land of Egypt and yesternoon* I was at Bassorah." Quoth 
one, " Well! well!"; and quoth another, "Ho! ho!"; and a third, 
"So! so!/'; and a fourth cried, "This youth is mad, is possessed? 
of the Jinni.l " So they clapped hands at him and said to onej 
another, " Alas, the pity of it for his youth : by Allah a madman \ 
and madness is no respecter of persons." Then said they to hirrr^ 
" Collect thy wits and return to thy reason ! How couldest thou 
be in Bassorah yesterday and in Cairo yesternight and withal 
awake in Damascus this morning ? " But he persisted, " Indeed I 
was a bridegroom in Cairo last night." "Belike thou hast been, 
dreaming," rejoined they, " and sawest all this in thy sleep." So 
Hasan took thought for a while and said to them, " By Allah, this 
is no dream ; nor vision-like doth it seem ! I certainly was in 
Cairo where they displayed the bride before me, in presence of a, 
third person, the Hunchback groom who was sitting hard by. Bys 
Allah, O my brother, this be no dream, and if it were a dream, 
where is the bag of gold I bore with me and where are my turband 
and my robe, and my trousers ? " Then he rose and entered the 
city, threading its highways and by-ways and bazar-streets ; and 
the people pressed upon him and jeered at him, crying out " Mad^ 
man ! madman ! " till he, beside himself with rage, took refuge iff 

1 In Arab, "this night" for the reason before given. 

2 Meaning especially the drink prepared of the young leaves and florets of Cannabis 
Sativa. The word literally means " dry grass " or " herbage." This intoxicant was 
much used by magicians to produce ecstacy and thus to " deify themselves and receive 
the homage of the genii and spirits of nature." 

3 Torrens, being an Irishman, translates "and woke in the morning sleeping at 

VOL. L p 

226 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

a cook's shop. Now that Cook had been a trifle too clever, that 
is, a rogue and thief; but Allah had made him repent and turn 
from his evil ways and open a cook-shop ; and all the people of 
Damascus stood in fear of his boldness and his mischief. So when 
the crowd saw the youth enter his shop, they dispersed being afraid 
of him, and went their ways. The Cook looked at Badr al-Din and, 
noting his beauty and loveliness, fell in love with him forthright and 
said, " Whence comest thou, O youth ? Tell me at once thy tale, for 
thou art become dearer to me than my soul." So Hasan recounted 
to him all that had befallen him from beginning to end (but in repe- 
tition there is no fruition) and the Cook said, " O my lord Badr al- 
Din, doubtless thou knowest that this case is wondrous and this story 
marvellous ; therefore, O my son, hide what hath betided thee, till 
Allah dispel what ills be thine ; and tarry with me here the mean- 
while, for I have no child and I will adopt thee." Badr al-Din 
replied, "Be it as thou wilt, O my uncle ! " Whereupon the Cook 
went to the bazar and bought him a fine suit of clothes and made 
him don it ; then fared with him to the Kazi, and formally declared 
that he was his son. So Badr al-Din Hasan became known in 
Damascus-city as the Cook's son and he sat with him in the shop 
to take the silver, and on this wise he sojourned there for a time. 
Thus far concerning him ; but as regards his cousin, the Lady of 
Beauty, when morning dawned she awoke and missed Badr al-Din 
Hasan from her side ; but she thought that he had gone to the 
privy and she sat expecting him for an hour or so ; when behold, 
entered her father Shams al-Din Mohammed, Wazir of Egypt. Now 
he was disconsolate by reason of what had befallen him through 
the Sultan, who had entreated him harshly and had married his 
daughter by force to the lowest of his menials and he too a lump 
of a groom bunch-backed withal, and he said to himself, "I will 
slay this daughter of mine if of her own free will she have yielded, 
her person to this accursed carle." So he came to the door of the 
bride's private chamber, and said, " Ho ! Sitt al-Husn." She 
answered him, " Here am .1 ! here am I ! l - O my lord," and came 

* Arab. "Labbayka," the cry technically called "Talbiyah" and used by those 
entering Meccah (Pilgrimage iii. 125 232). I shall also translate it by tf Adsum."* 
The full cry is : 

Here am I, O Allah, here am I ! 

No partner hast Thou, here am I : 

Verily the praise and the grace and the kingdom ture thine : 

No partner hast Thou : here am I ! 

A single Talbiyah is a " Shart " or positive condition : and its repetition is a Sunnat or 
Custom of the Prophet. See Night xci. 

Tale of Nur al-Dln Alt and his Son. 227 

out unsteady of gait after the pains and pleasures of the night ; and 
she kissed his hand, her face showing redoubled brightness and 
beauty for having lain in the arms of that gazelle, her cousin. 
When her father, the Wazir, saw her in such case, he asked her, 
" O thou accursed, art thou rejoicing because of this horse-groom ?" , 
and Sitt al-Husn smiled sweetly and answered, " By Allah, don't 
ridicule me : enough of what passed yesterday when folk laughed 
at me, and evened me with that groom-fellow who is not worthy 
to bring my husband's shoes or slippers ; nay who is not worth the 
paring of my husband's nails ! By the Lord, never in my life 
have I nighted a night so sweet as yesternight ! , so don't mock by 
reminding me of the Gobbo." When her parent heard her words 
he was filled with fury, and his eyes glared and stared, so that little 
of them showed save the whites and he cried, " Fie upon thee ! 
What words are these ? Twas the hunchbacked horse-groom who 
passed the night with thee!" "Allah upon thee," replied the 
Lady of Beauty, " do not worry me about the Gobbo, Allah damn 
his father j 1 and leave jesting with me ; for this groom was only 
hired for ten dinars and a porringer of meat and he took his wage 
and went his way. As for me I entered the bridal-chamber, where 
I found my true bridegroom sitting, after the singer-women had 
displayed me to him ; the same who had crossed their hands with 
red gold, till every pauper that was present waxed wealthy ; and I 
passed the night on the breast of my bonny man, a most lively 
darling, with his black eyes and joined eyebrows." 2 When her 
parent heard these words the light before his face became night, 
and he cried out at her saying, " O thou whore ! What is this 
thou tellest me? Where be thy wits?" "O my father," she 
rejoined, "thou breakest my heart ; enough for thee that thou hast 
been so hard upon me \ Indeed my husband who took my vir- 
ginity is but just now gone to the draught house and I feel that I 
have conceived by him." 3 The Wazir rose in much marvel and 

1 The staple abuse of the vulgar is cursing parents and relatives, especially feminine, 
with specific allusions to their " shame.' 1 And when dames of high degree are angry, 
Nature, in the East as in the West, sometimes speaks out clearly enough, despite Mistress 
Chapone and all artificial restrictions. 

* A great beauty in Arabia and the reverse in Denmark, Germany and Slav-land, 
where it is a sign of being a were-wolf or a vampire. In Greece also it denotes a 
"Brukolak** or vampire. 

* This is not physiologically true : a bride rarely conceives the first night, and certainly 
would not know that she had conceived. Moreover the number of courses furnished by 
the bridegroom would be against conception. It is popularly said that a young couple 
often undoes in the morning what it has done during the night. 

223 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

entered the privy where he found the hunchbacked horse-groom 
with his head in the hole and his heels in the air. At this sight he 
was confounded and said, " This is none other than he, the rascal 
Hunchback!" So he called to him, "Ho, Hunchback!" The 
Gobbo grunted out, " Taghum ! Taghum!"^ thinking it was the 
Ifrit spoke to him ; so the Wazir shouted at him and said, " Speak 
out, or I'll strike off thy pate with this sword." Then quoth the 
Hunchback, " By Allah, O Shaykh of the Ifrits, ever since thou 
settest me in this place, I have not lifted my head ; so Allah upon 
thee, take pity and entreat me kindly ! " When the Wazir heard 
this he asked, " What is this thou sayest ? I'm the bride's father 
and no Ifrit." "Enough for thee that thou hast well nigh done me 
die," answered Quasimodo ; " now go thy ways before he come 
upon thee who hath served me thus. Could ye not marry me to 
any save the lady-love of buffaloes and the beloved of Ifrits? 
Allah curse her and curse him who married me to her and was the 

cause of this my case." And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of 

day, and ceased to say her permitted say. 

toljEit it tons t&e ^Tlncntg-tljttb j2tc$t, 

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the hunch- 
backed groom spake to the bride's father saying, " Allah curse him 
who was the cause of this my easel" Then said the Wazir to 
him, " Up and out of this place ! " " Am I mad," cried the groom, 
" that I should go with thee without leave of the Ifrit whose last 
words to me were : When the sun rises, arise and go thy gait. 
So hath the sun risen or no ? ; for I dare not budge from this place 
till then." Asked the Wazir, "Who brought thee hither? "; and 
he answered " I came here yesternight for a call of nature and to 
do what none can do for me, when lo ! a mouse came out of the 

1 Torrens (Notes, xxiv.) quotes " Fleisher " upon the word " Ghamghama" (Diss. Grit, 
de Glossis Habichtionis), which he compares with "Dumduma" and "Humbuma" 
determining them to be onomatopoeics, " an incomplete and an obscure murmur of a 
sentence as it were lingering between the teeth and lips and therefore difficult to be 
understood." Of this family is "Taghum"; not used in modern days. In my 
Pilgrimage (i. 313) I have noticed another, "Khyas', Khyas !" occurring in a Hizb 
al-Bahr (Spell of the Sea). Herklots gives a host of them ; and their sole characteristics 
ere harshness and strangeness of sound, uniting consonants which are not joined in Arabic. 
The old Egyptians and Chaldeans had many such words composed at will for theurgic 

Tale of Ndr al-Dtn AH and his Son. 229 

water, and squeaked at me and swelled and waxed gross till it was 
big as a buffalo, and spoke to me words that entered my ears. 
Then he left me here and went away, Allah curse the bride and 
him who married me to her !'* The Wazir walked up to him and 
lifted his head out of the cesspool hole ; and he fared forth run- 
ning for dear life and hardly crediting that the sun had risen ; and 
repaired to the Sultan to whom he told all that had befallen him 
with the Ifrit. But the Wazir returned to the bride's private 
chamber, sore troubled in spirit about her, and said to her, "O my 
daughter, explain this strange matter to me ! " Quoth she, " Tis 
simply this. The bridegroom to whom they displayed me yester- 
eve lay with me all night, and took my virginity and I am with 
child by him. He is my husband and if thou believe me not, there 
are his turband, twisted as it was, lying on the settle and his dagger 
and his trousers beneath the bed with a something, I wot not 
what, wrapped up in them." When her father heard this he 
entered the private chamber and found the turband which had been 
left there by Badr al Din Hasan, his brother's son, and he took it 
in hand and turned it over, saying, "This is the turband worn by 
Wazirs, save that it is of Mosul stuff." J So he opened it and, find- 
ing what seemed to be an amulet sewn up in the Fez, he unsewed 
the lining and took it out; then he lifted up the trousers wherein 
was the purse of the thousand gold pieces and, opening that also, 
found in it a written paper. This he read and it was the sale- 
receipt of the Jew in the name of Badr al-Din Hasan, son of 
Nur al-Din Ali, the Egyptian ; and the thousand dinars were also 
there. No sooner had Shams al-Din read this than he cried out 
with a loud cry and fell to the ground fainting ; and as soon as he 
revived and understood the gist of the matter he marvelled and 
said, "There is no god, but the God, whose All-might is over all 
things ! Knowest thou, O my daughter, who it was that became 
the husband of thy virginity ? " " No," answered she, and he said l 
" Verily he is the son of my brother, thy cousin, and this thousand 
dinars is thy dowry. Praise be to Allah ! and would I wot how 
this matter came about ! " Then opened he the amulet which was 
sewn up and found therein a paper in the handwriting of his 
deceased brother, Nur al-Din the Egyptian, father of Badr al-Din 
Hasan ; and, when he saw the hand-writing, he kissed it again and 

1 This may mean cither " it is of Mosul fashion " or, it is of muslin. 

230 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

again ; and he wept and wailed over his dead brother and impro- 
vised these lines : 

I see their traces and with pain I melt, o And on their whilome homes I 

weep and yearn : 
And Him I pray who dealt this parting-blow o Some day he deign vouchsafe a 

safe return. 1 

When he ceased versifying, he read the scroll and found in it 
recorded the dates of his brother's marriage with the daughter of 
the Wazir of Bassorah, and of his going in to her, and her concep- 
tion, and the birth of Badr al-Din Hasan and all his brother's his- 
tory and doings up to his dying day. So he marvelled much and 
shook with joy and, comparing the dates with his own marriage 
and going in unto his wife and the birth of his daughter, Sitt al- 
Husn, he found that they perfectly agreed. So he took the docu- 
ment and, repairing with it to the Sultan, acquainted him with 
what had passed, from first to last ; whereat the King marvelled 
and commanded the case to be at once recorded. 2 The Wazir 
abode that day expecting to see his brother's son but he came 
not ; and he waited a second day, a third day and so on to the 
seventh day, without any tidings of him. So he said, " By Allah, I 
will do a deed such as none hath ever done before me ! "; and he 
took reed-pen and ink and drew upon a sheet of paper the plan of 
the whole house, showing whereabouts was the private chamber 
with the curtain in such a place and the furniture in such another 
and so on with all that was in the room. Then he folded up the 
sketch and, causing all the furniture to be collected, he took Badr 
al-Din's garments and the turband and Fez and robe and purse, 
and carried the whole to his house and locked them up, against the 
coming of his nephew, Badr al-Din Hasan, the son of his lost 
brother, with an iron padlock on which he set his seal. As for the 
Wazir's daughter, when her tale of months was fulfilled, she bare a 
son like the full moon, the image of his father in beauty and loveli- 

1 To the English reader these lines would appear the reverse of apposite ; but Orientals 
have their own ways of application, and all allusions to Badawi partings are effective and 
affecting. The civilised poets of Arab cities throw the charm of the Desert over their 
verse by images borrowed from its scenery, the dromedary, the mirage and the well, as 
naturally as certain of our bards who hated the country, babbled of purling rills, etc. 
Thoroughly to feel Arabic poetry one must know the Desert (Pilgrimage iii., 63). 

a In those days the Arabs and the Portugxiese recorded everything which struck them, 
as the Chinese and Japanese do in our times. And yet we complain of the amount of 
our modern writing t 

Tale of Nur al-Dln AH and his Son. 231 

ness and fair proportions and perfect grace. They cut his navel* 
string 1 and Kohl'd his eyelids to strengthen his eyes, and gave 
him over to the nurses and nursery governesses, 2 naming him Ajfb, 
the Wonderful. His day was as a month and his month was as a 
year ; 3 and, when seven years had passed over him, his grandfather 
sent him to school, enjoining the master to teach him Koran- 
reading, and to educate him well. He remained at the school four 
years, till he began to bully his schoolfellows and abuse them and 
bash them and thrash them and say, " Who among you is like me ? 

I am the son of the Wazir of Egypt ! " At last the boys came in 
a body to complain to the Monitor 4 of what hard usage they were 
wont to have from Ajib, and he said to them, " I will tell you 
somewhat you may do to him so that he shall leave off coming 
to the school, and it is this. When he enters to-morrow, sit ye 
down about him and say some one of you to some other : By 
Allah none shall play with us at this game except he tell us the 
names of his mamma and his papa ; for he who knows not the 
names of his mother and his father is a bastard, a son. of adultery, 5 
and he shall not play with us." When morning dawned -the boys 
came to school, Ajib being one of them, and all flocked round him 
saying, " We will play a game wherein none shall join save he can 
tell the name of his mamma and his papa." And they all cried, 

II By Allah, good ! " Then quoth one of them, " My name is Mdjid 
and my mammy's name is Alawiyah and my daddy's Izz al-Din." 
Another spoke in like guise and yet a third, till Ajib's turn came, 
and he said, "My name is Ajib, and my mother's is Sitt al-Husn, 
and my father's Shams al-Din, the Wazir of Cairo." " By Allah," 
cried they, " the Wazir is not thy true father." Ajib answered, 
" The Wazir is my father in very deed." Then the boys all laughed 
and clapped their hands at him, saying " He does not know who is 
his papa : get out from among us, for none shall play with us except 
he know his father's name." Thereupon they dispersed from around 
him and laughed him to scorn ; so his breast was straitened and he 

1 This is mentioned because it is the act preliminary to naming the babe. 

* Arab. " Kahramdnat " from Kahramdn, an old Persian hero who conversed with the 
Simurgh-Griffon. Usually the word is applied to women-at-arms who defend the Harem, 
like the Urdu-begani of India, whose services were lately offered to England (1885), or 
the "Amazons" of Dahome. 

3 Meaning he grew as fast in one day as other children in a month. 

4 Arab. Al-Arif ; the tutor, the assistant-master. 

8 Arab. " Ibn hardm," a common term of abuse ; and not a factual reflection on the 
parent. I have heard a mother apply the term to her own son. 

A If Laylak wa Laylak. 

well nigh choked with tears and hurt feelings. Then said the 
Monitor to him, " We know that the Wazir is thy grandfather, the 
father of thy mother, Sitt al-Husn, and not thy father. As for thy 
father, neither dost thou know him nor yet do we ; for the Sultan 
married thy mother to the hunchbacked horse-groom; but the Jinni 
tame and slept with her and thou hast no known father. Leave, 
then, comparing thyself too advantageously with the little ones of 
the school, till thou know that thou hast a lawful father ; for until 
then thou wilt pass for a child of adultery amongst them. Seest 
thou not that even a huckster's son knoweth his own sire ? Thy 
grandfather is the Wazir of Egypt ; but as for thy father we wot 
him not and we say indeed that thou hast none. So return to thy 
sound senses!" When Ajib heard these insulting words from the 
Monitor and the school boys and understood the reproach they 
put upon him, he went out at once and ran to his mother, Sitt al- 
Husn, to complain ; but he was crying so bitterly that his tears 
prevented his speech for a while. When she heard his sobs and 
saw his tears her heart burned as thojjgh with fire for him, and she 
said, " my son, why dost thou weep ? Allah keep the tears from 
thine eyes! Tell me what hath betided thee ? " So he toW her all 
that he heard from the boys and from the Monitor and ended with 
asking, "And who, O my mother, is my father?" She answered, 
"Thy father is the Wazir of Egypt ;" but he said, "Do not lie to 
me. The Wazir is thy father, not mine! who then is my father? 
Except thou tell me the very truth I will kill myself with this 
hanger." l When his mother heard him speak of his father she 
wept, remembering her cousin and her bridal night with him 
and all that occurred there and then, and she repeated these 
couplets : 

Love in my heart they lit and went their ways, And all I love to furthest lands 

withdrew ; 
And when they left me sufferance also left, o And when we parted Patience 

bade adieu : 

They fled and flying with my joys they fled, o In very constancy my spirit flew: 
They made my eyelids flow with severance tears o And to the parting-pang 

these drops are due : 
And when I long to see reunion-day, o My groans prolonging sore for ruth 

I sue : 

. . 

1 Arab. " Khanjar " from the Persian, a syn. with the Arab. " Jambiyab.'* It is 
noticed in my Pilgrimage iii., pp. 72, 75. To " silver the dagger," meaas to become a 
rich man. From'" Khanjar," not from its fringed loop or strap, I derive our silly word 
' hanger." Dr. Stcingass would connect it with Germ. Fanger, t.. t Hirscb&uger. 

Tale of Nur al-Din Ali and his Son. 233 

Then in my heart of hearts their shapes I trace, .0 And love and longing care 

and cark renew : 
O ye, whose names cling round me like a. cloak, o Whose love yet closer than a 

shirt I drew, 
Beloved ones! how long this hard despite? o How long this .severance and 

this coy shy flight ? 

Then she wailed and shrieked aloud and her son did the like ; and 
behold, in came the Wazir whose heart burnt within him at the 
sight of their lamentations and he said, " What makes you weep ? " 
So the Lady of Beauty acquainted him with what happened 
between her son and the school boys; and he also wept, calling 
to mind his brother and what had past between them and what 
had betided his daughter and how he had failed to find out what 
mystery there was in the matter. Then he rose at once and, 
repairing to the audience-hall, went straight to the King and told 
his tale and craved his permission 1 to travel eastward to the city 
of Bassorah and ask after his brother's son. Furthermore he be- 
sought the Sultan to write for him letters patent, authorising him 
to seize upon Badr al-Din, his nephew and son-in-law, wheresoever 
he might find him. And he wept before the King, who had pity on 
him and wrote royal autographs to his deputies in all climes 2 and 
countries and cities ; whereat the Wazir rejoiced and prayed for 
blessings on him. Then, taking leave of his Sovereign, he returned 
to his house, where he equipped himself and his daughter and his 
adopted child Ajib, with all things meet for a long march ; and set 
out and travelled the first day and the second and the third and so 
forth till he arrived at Damascus-city. He found it a fair place 
abounding in trees and streams, even as the poet said of it : 

When I nighted and dayed in Damascus-town, o Time sware such 

another he ne'er should view : 
And careless we slept under wing of night, o Till dappled Morn 

'gan her smiles renew : 
And dew-drops on branch in their beauty hung, o Like pearls to be 

dropt when the Zephyr blew : 
A.nd thexLake 3 was the page where birds read and note, <t And the clouds set 

points to what breezes wrote. 

1 Again we have " Dastur" for " Izn. v 

2 Arab. " Ikh'm " ; the seven climates of Ptolemy. 

3 Arab. *' Al-Ghadir," lit. a place where water sinks, a lowland : here the drainage- 
lakes east of Damascus into which the Baradah ( Abana ?) discharges. The higher eastern 
plain is " Al-Ghutah" before' noticed. 

234 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

The Wazir encamped on the open space called Al-Hasd; 1 and, 
after pitching tents, said to his servants, "A halt here for two 
days ! " So they went into the city upon their several occasions, 
this to sell and that to buy ; this to go to the Hammam and 
that to visit the Cathedral-mosque of the Banu Umayyah, the 
Ommiades, whose like is not in this world. 2 Ajib also went, with 
his attendant eunuch, for solace and diversion to the city and the 
servant followed with a quarter-staff 3 of almond-wood so heavy 
that if he struck a camel therewith the beast would never rise 
again. 4 When the people of Damascus saw Ajib's beauty and 
brilliancy and perfect grace and symmetry (for he was a marvel 
of comeliness and winning loveliness, softer than the cool breeze of 
the North, sweeter than limpid waters to man in drowth, and 
pleasanter than the health for which sick man sueth), a mighty 
many followed him, whilst others ran on before and sat down on 
the road until he should come up, that they might gaze on him, 
till, as Destiny had decreed, the Eunuch stopped opposite the shop 
of Ajib's father, Badr al-Din Hasan. Now his beard had grown 
long and thick and his wits had ripened during the twelve years 
which had passed over him, and the Cook and ex-rogue having 
died, the so-called Hasan of Bassorah had succeeded to his goods 
and shop, for that he had been formally adopted before the Kazi 
and witnesses. When his son and the Eunuch stepped before him 
he gazed on Ajib and, seeing how very beautiful he was, his heart 
fluttered and throbbed, and blood drew to blood and natural 
affection spake out and his bowels yearned over him. He had 
just dressed a conserve of pomegranate grains with sugar, and 
Heaven-implanted love wrought within him ; so he called to his 
son Ajib and said, " O my lord, O thou who hast gotten the 
mastery of my heart and my very vitals and to whom my bowels 
yeacn ; say me, wilt thou enter my house and solace my soul by 
eating of my meat ? " Then his eyes streamed with tears which 
he could not stay, for he bethought him of what he had been and 
what he had become. When Ajib heard his father's words his 

1 The " Plain of Pebbles " still so termed at Damascus ; an open space west of 
the city. 

* Every Guide-book, even the Reverend Porter's "Murray," gives a long account of 
this Christian Church 'verted to a Mosque. 

3 Arab. " Nabut" ; Pilgrimage i. 336. 

4 The Bres. Edit, says, "would have knocked him into Al-Yaman" (Southern Arabia} 
aomething like our slang phrase " into the middle. of next week." 

Tale of Nur al-Din Ali and his Son. 235 

heart also yearned himwards and he looked at the Eunuch and said 
to him, " Of a truth, O my good guard, my heart yearns to this 
cook ; he is as one that hath a son far away from him : so let us 
enter and gladden his heart by tasting of his hospitality. Per- 
chance for our so doing Allah may reunite me with my father." 
When the Eunuch heard these words he cried, " A fine thing this, 
by Allah ! Shall the sons of Wazirs be seen eating in a common 
cook-shop ? Indeed I keep off the folk from thee with this quarter- 
staff lest they even look upon thee ; and I dare not suffer thee to 
enter this shop at all." When Hasan of Bassorah heard his speech 
he marvelled and turned to the Eunuch with the tears pouring 
down his cheeks; and Ajib said, "Verily my heart loves him !" 
But he answered, " Leave this talk, thou shalt not go in." There- 
upon the father turned to the Eunuch and said, " O worthy sir, 
why wilt thou not gladden my soul by entering my shop ? O thou 
who art like a chesnut, dark without but white of heart within ! 
O thou of the like of whom a certain poet said * * * " The 
Eunuch burst out a-laughing and asked u Said what ? Speak out 
by Allah and be quick about it." So Hasan the Bassorite began 
reciting these couplets : 

If not master of manners or aught but discreet o In the household of Kings' 

no trust could he take : 
And then for the Harem ! What Eunuch 1 is he * Whom angels would serve 

for his service sake. 

The Eunuch marvelled and was pleased at these words, so he took 
Ajib by the hand and went into the cook's shop : whereupon 
Hasan the Bassorite ladled into a saucer some conserve of 
pomegranate-grains wonderfully good, dressed with almonds. and 
sugar, saying, " You have honoured me with your company : eat 
then and health and happiness to you ! " Thereupon Ajib said to 
his father, " Sit thee down and eat with us ; so perchance Allah 
may unite us with him we long for." Quoth Hasan, " O my son, 
hast thou then been afflicted in thy tender years with parting from 
those thou lovest ?" Quoth Ajib, " Even so, O nuncle mine ; my 
heart burns for the loss of a beloved one who is none other than 

1 Arab. "Khadim": lit. a servant, politely applied (like Agh^ = master) to a 
castrate. These gentry wax furious if baldly called " Tawashi "= Eunuch. A mauvais 
plaisant in Egypt used to call me The Agha because a friend had placed his wife under 
my. charge. 

236 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

my father; and indeed I come forth, I and my grandfather, 1 to 
circle and search the world for him. Oh, the pity of it, and how 
I long to meet him ! " Then he wept with exceeding weeping, and 
his father also wept seeing him weep and for his own bereavement, 
which recalled to him his long separation from dear friends and 
from his mother; and the Eunuch was moved to pity for him. 
Then they ate together till they were satisfied ; and Ajib and the 
slave rose and left the shop. Hereat Hasan the Bassorite felt as 
though his soul had departed his body and had gone with them ; 
for he could not lose sight of the boy during the twinkling of an 
eye, albeit he knew not that Ajib was his son. So he locked up 
his shop and hastened after them ; and he walked so fast that he 
came up with them before they had gone out of the western gate. 
The Eunuch turned and asked him, " What ails thee ? "; and Badr 
al-Din answered, "When ye went from me, meseemed my soul 
had gone with you ; and, as I had business without the city-gate, 
I purposed to bear you company till my matter was ordered and 
so return." The Eunuch was angered and said to Ajib, " This is 
just what I feared ! we ate that unlucky mouthful (which we are 
bound to respect), and here is the fellow following us from place 
to place-; for the vulgar are ever the vulgar." Ajib, turning and 
seeing the Cook just behind him, was wroth and his face reddened 
with rage and he said to the servant, " Let him walk the highway 
of the Moslems ; but, when we turn off it to our tents, and find 
that he still follows us, we will send him about his business with a 
flea in his ear." Then he bowed his head and walked on, the 
Eunuch walking behind him. But Hasan of Bassorah followed 
them to the plain Al-Hasa ; and, as they drew near to the tents, 
they turned round and saw him close on their heels ; so Ajib 
was very angry, fearing that the Eunuch might tell his grand- 
father what had happened. His indignation was the hotter for 
apprehension lest any say that after he had entered a cook-shop 
the cook had followed him. So he turned and looked at Hasan 
of Bassorah and found his eyes fixed on his own, for the father 
had become a body without a soul ; and 'it seemed to Ajib that 
hjs eye was a treacherous eye or that he was some lewd fellow. 
So his rage redoubled and, stooping down, he took up a stone 
weighing half a pound and threw it at his father. It struck him 

1 This sounds absurd enough in English, but Easterns always put themselves first for 

Tale of N&r al-Dln AH and his Son. 237 

on the forehead, cutting it open from eye -brow to eye- brow and 
causing the blood to stream down : and Hasan fell to the ground 
in a swoon whilst Ajib and the Eunuch made for the tents. When 
the father came to himself he wiped away the blood and tore off a 
strip from his turband and bound up his head, blaming himself the 
while, and saying, " I wronged the lad by shutting up my shop 
and following, so that he thought I was some evil-minded fellow." 
Then he returned to his place where he busied himself with the 
sale of his sweetmeats ; and he yearned after his mother at 
Bassorah, and wept over her and broke out repeating : 

Unjust it were to bid the World * be just o And blame her not : She ne'er 

was made for justice : 
Take what she gives thee, leave all grief aside, o For now to fair and then to foul 

her lust is. 

So Hasan of Bassorah set himself steadily to sell hi? sweetmeats ; 
but the Wazir, his uncle, halted in Damascus three days and then 
inarched upon Emesa, and passing through that town he made 
enquiry there and at every place where he rested. Thence he fared 
on by way of Hamah and Aleppo and thence through Diyar Bakr 
and Mdridin and Mosul, still enquiring, till he arrived at Bassorah- 
city. Here, as soon as he had secured a lodging, he presented him- 
self before the Sultan, who entreated him with high honour and the 
respect due to his rank, and asked the cause of his coming. The 
Wazir acquainted him with his history and told him that the Minister 
Nur al-Din was his brother ; whereupon the Sultan exclaimed, 
"Allah have mercy upon him!" and added, " My good S^hib! 2 ; 
he was my Wazir for fifteen years and I loved him exceedingly. 
Then he died leaving a son who abode only a single month after his 
father's death ; since which time he has disappeared and we could 
gain no tidings of him. But his mother, who is the daughter of 
my former Minister, is still among us." When the Wazir Shams 
al-Din heard that his nephew's mother was alive and well, he re- 
joiced and said/* O King I much desire to meet her." The King on 

1 In Arabic the World is feminine. 

* Arab. " Sahib " = lit. a companion ; also a friend and especially applied to the Com- 
panions of Mohammed. Hence the Sunnis claim for them the honour of "friendship" 
with the Apostle ; but the Shia'hs reply that the Arab says " Sahaba-hu'1-hima'r " (the 
Ass was his Sahib or companion). In the text it is a Wazirial title, in modern India it 
is = gentleman, e.g. "Sahib log " (the Sahib people) means their white conqueroi'S, who, 
by the by, mostly mispronounce the word " Sib." 

238 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

the instant gave him leave to visit her ; so he betook himself to the 
mansion of his brother, Nur al-Din, and cast sorrowful glances on 
all things in and around it and kissed the threshold. Then he 
bethought him of his brother, Nur al-Din Ali, and how he had died 
in a strange land far from kith and kin and friends ; and he wept 
and repeated these lines : 

I wander 'mid these walls, my Lavla's walls, o And kissing this and other wall 

I roam : 
Tis not the walls or roof my heart so loves, o But those who in this house had 

made their home. 

Then he passed through the gate into a courtyard and found a 
vaulted doorway builded of hardest syenite 1 inlaid with sundry kinds 
of multi-coloured marble. Into this he walked and wandered about 
the house and, throwing many a glance around, saw the name of 
his brother, Nur al-Din, written in gold wash upon the walls. So 
he went up to the inscription and kissed it and wept and thought of 
how he had been separated from his brother and had now lost him 
for ever, and he recited these couplets : 

I ask of you from every rising sun, o And eke I ask when flasheth 
leven-light : 

Restless I pass my nights in passion-pain, o Yet ne'er I 'plain me of my pain- 
ful plight : 

My love ! if longer last this parting throe o Little by little shall it waste my 

An thou wouldst bless these eyne with sight of thee o One day on earth, I 
crave none other sight : 

Think not another could possess my mind o Nor length nor breadth for other 
love I find. 

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

1 Arab. " Suwn," prop. Syenite, from Syene (Al-Suwan) but applied to flint and any 
hard stone. 

Tale of Ntir at-Din All and his Son. 239 

Answer, by Allah ! Sepulchre, are all his beauties g[ ? o Hath change the 

power to blight his charms, that Beauty's paragon? 
Thou art not earth, O Sepulchre ! nor art thou sky to me ; * How comes it, 

then, in thee I see conjoint the branch and moon ? 

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

Allah be good to him that gives glad tidings of thy steps ; In very sooth for 

better news mine ears would never sue : 
Were he content with worn-out robe, upon his back I'd throw o A heart to pieces 

rent and torn when heard the word Adieu. 

Then the Wazir sent for Ajib and his grandmother stood up and 
fell on his neck and wept ; but Shams al-Din said to her, " This is 
no time for weeping ; this is the time to get thee ready for travelling 
with us to the land of Egypt ; haply Allah will reunite me and thee 
with thy son and my nephew." Replied she, " Hearkening and 
obedience ; " and, rising at once, collected her baggage and trea- 
sures and her jewels, and equipped herself and her slave-girls for the 
, march, whilst the Wazir went to take his leave of the Sultan of 
Bassorah, who sent by him presents and rarities for the Soldan of 
Egypt. Then he set out at once upon his homeward march and 
journeyed till he came to Damascus-city where he alighted in the 
usual place and pitched tents, and said to his suite, " We will halt 
a se'nnight here to buy presents and rare things for the Soldan." 
Now Ajib bethought him of the past so he said to the Eunuch, <f O 
Ldik, I want a little diversion ; come, let us go down lo the great 
bazar of Damascus, 1 and see what hath become of the cook whose 
sweetmeats we ate and whose head we broke, for indeed he was kind 

1 It was famous in the middle ages, and even now it is, perhaps, the most interesting 
to travellers after that "Sentina Gentium," the " Bhendi Bazar" of unromantic 

240 A If Laylah wn Laylak. 

to us and we entreated him scurvily." The Eunuch answered, 
" Hearing i$ obeying ! " So they went forth from the tents ; and the 
tie of blood drew Ajib towards his father, and forthwith they 
passed through the gateway, Bab al-Farddfs l hight, and entered 
the city and ceased not walking through the streets till they 
reached the cookshop, where they found Hasan of Bassorah 
standing at the door. It was near the time of mid-afternoon 
prayer 2 and it so fortuned that he had just dressed a confection 
of pomegranate-grains. When the twain drew near to him and 
Ajib saw him, his heart yearned towards him, and noticing the 
scar of the blow, which time had darkened on his brow, he said 
to him, "Peace be on thee, O man! 3 ; know that my heart is 
with thee." But when Badr al-Din looked upon his son his vitals 
yearned and his heart fluttered, and he hung his head earthwards 
and sought to make his tongue give utterance to his words, but he 
could not. Then he raised his head humbly and suppliant-wise 
towards his boy and repeated these couplets : 

I longed for my beloved but when I saw his face, o Abashed I held my tongue 

and, stood with downcast eye ; 
And hung my head in dread and would have hid my love, o But do whatso I 

would hidden it would not lie : 
Volumes of plaints I had prepared, reproach and blame, But when we met, 

no single word remembered I. 

And then said he to them, " Heal my broken heart and eat of my 
sweetmeats ; for, by Allah, I cannot look at thee but my heart 
flutters. Indeed I should not have followed thee the other day, 
but that I was beside myself." " By Allah," answered Ajib, " thou 
dost indeed love us ! We ate in thy house a mouthful when we 
were here before and thou madest us repent of it, for that thou 
foltowedst us and wouldst have disgraced us ; so now we will not 
eat aught with thee save on condition that thou make oath not to 
go out after us nor dog us. Otherwise we will not visit thee again 
during our present stay; for we shall half a week here, whilst my 

1 "The Gate of the Gardens," in the northern wall, a Roman archway of the usual 
solid construction shaming not only our modern shams, but our finest masonry. 

2 Arab. "Al-Asr," which may mean either the hour or the prayer. It is also the 
moment at which the Guardian Angels relieve each other (Sale's Koran, chapt. v.}. 

3 Arab. "Ya hza"" = O this (one).! a. somewhat slighting address equivalent to 
" Meus tu ! O thou, whoever Uiou art.'* Another form is " Ya hu " = O he ! Can his 
have originated Swift's " Yahoo ?" 

Tale of Nur al Din AH and his Son. 241 

grandfather buys certain presents for the King." Quoth Hasan of 
Bassorah, " I promise you this." So Ajib and the Eunuch entered 
the shop, and his father set before them a saucer- full of conserve of 
pomegranate-grains. Said Ajib, " Sit thee down and eat with us, 
so haply shall Allah dispel our sorrows." Hasan the Bassorite was 
joyful and sat down and ate with them ; but his eyes kept gazing 
fixedly on Ajib's face, for his very heart and vitals clove to him ; 
and at last the boy said to him, "Did I not tell thee thou art a 
most noyous dotard ? ; so do stint thy staring in my face ! " But 
when Hasan of Bassorah heard his son's words he repeated these 
lines : 

Thou hast some art the hearts of men to clip ; o Close-veiled, far-hidden 

mystery dark and deep: 
O thou whose beauties shame the lustrous moon, o Wherewith the saffron 

Morn fears rivalship ! 
Thy beauty is a shrine shall ne'er decay ; o Whose signs shall grow until they- 

all outstrip; 1 
Must I be thirst-burnt by that Eden-brow o And die of pine to taste that 

Kausar 2 -lip ? 

Hasan kept putting morsels into Ajib's mouth at one time and at 
another time did the same by the Eunuch and they ate till they 
were satisfied and could no more. Then all rose up and the cook 
poured water on their hands ; 3 and, loosing a silken waist-shawl, 
dried them and sprinkled them with rose-water from a casting- 
bottle he had by him. Then he went out and presently returned 
with a gugglet of sherbet flavoured with rose-water, scented with 
musk and cooled with snow ; and he set this before them saying, 

1 Alluding to the r^para ("minor miracles which cause surprise") performed by 
Saints' tombs, the mildest form of thaumaturgy. One of them gravely recorded in the 
Dabistan (ii. 226) is that of the holy Jamen, who opened the Samran or bead-bracelet 
from the arm of the beautiful Chistapa with member erect, " thus evincing his manly 
strength and his command over himself" (!) 

2 The River of Paradise, a lieu commun of poets (Koran, chapt. cviiL) : the water 5s 
whiter than milk or silver, sweeter than honey, smoother than cream, more odorous than 
musk ; its banks are of chrysolite and it is drunk out of silver cups set aroottd it thick a 
stars. Two pipes conduct it to the Prophet's Pond which is an exact square, one 
month's journey in compass. Kausar is spirituous like wine ; Salsabil sweet like clarified 
honey ; the Fount of Mildness is like milk and the Fount of Mercy like liquid crystal. 

3 The Moslem does not use the European basin because water which has touched an 
impure skin becomes impure. Hence it is poured out from a ewer ("ibrik" Ptere. Ab- 
riz) upon the hands and falls into a basin (" tisht ") with an open- worked cover. 

VOL. I. Q 

242 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

" Complete your kindness to me ! " So Ajib took the gugglet and 
drank and passed it to the Eunuch ; and it went round till their 
stomachs were full and they were surfeited with a meal larger than 
their wont Then they went away and made haste in walking till 
they reached the tents, and Ajib went in to his grandmother, who 
kissed him and, thinking of her son, Badr al-Din Hasan, groaned 
aloud and wept and recited these lines : 

I still had hoped to see thee and enjoy thy sight, o For in thine absence life 

had lost its kindly light : 
I swear my vitals wot none other love but thine o By Allah, who can read the 

secrets of the sprite ! 

Then she asked Ajib, "O my son ! where hast thou been ?" ; and 
he answered, <4 In Damascus-city ; " Whereupon she rose and set 
before him a bit of scone and a saucer of conserve of pomegranate- 
grains (which was too little sweetened), and she said to the Eunuch, 
" Sit down with thy master ! " Said the servant to himself, " By 
Allah, we have no mind to eat: I cannot bear the smell of bread ;" 
but he sat down and so did Ajib, though his stomach was full of 
what he had eaten already and drunken. Nevertheless he took a 
bit of the bread and dipped it in the pomegranate-conserve and 
made shift to eat it, but he found it too little sweetened, for he was 
cloyed and surfeited, so he said, " Faugh ; what be this wild-beast ' 
stuff? " " O my son," cried' his grandmother, " dost thou find 
fault with my cookery ? 1 cooked this myself and none can cook 
it as nicely as I can save thy father, Badr al-Din Hasan." " By 
Allah, O my lady," Ajib answered, "this dish is nasty stuff; for we 
saw but now in the city of Bassorah a cook who so dresseth pome- 
granate-grains that the very smell openeth a way to the heart and 
the taste would make a full man long to eat ; and, as for this mess 
compared with his, 'tis not worth either much or little." When his 
grandmother heard his words she waxed wroth with exceeding 

wrath and looked at the servant And Shahrazad perceived the 

dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say. 

1 Arab. " Wahsh," a word of many meanings ; nasty, insipid, savage, etc. The off- 
side of a horse is called Wahshi opposed to Insi, the near side. The Amir Taymur 
("Lord Iron") whom Europeans unwittingly call after his Persian enemies' nickname, 
** Tamerlane," ie. Taymur-Mang, or limping Taymur, is still known as "Al-Wahsh" 
(the wild beast) at Damascus, where his Tartars used to bury men up to their necks and 
play at bowls with their heads for ninepins. 

Tale of Nur al-Din Ali and his Son. 243 

Nofo fo{jen it to tje 

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Ajib's 
grandmother heard his words, she waxed wroth and looked at the 
servant and said, " Woe to thee ! dost thou spoil my son, 1 and 
dost take him into common cookshops ? " The Eunuch was 
frightened and denied, saying, " We did not go into the shop j we 
only passed by it." " By Allah," cried Ajib, " but we did go in 
and we ate till it came out of our nostrils, and the dish was better 
than thy dish ! " Then his grandmother rose and went and told 
her brother-in-law, who was incensed against the Eunuch, and 
sending for him asked him, "Why didst thou take my son into a 
cookshop ? " ; and the Eunuch being frightened answered, u We did 
not go in." But Ajib said, " We did go inside and ate conserve of 
pomegranate-grains till we were full ; and the cook gave us to drink 
of iced and sugared sherbet." At this the Wazir's indignation 
redoubled and he questioned the Castrato but, as he still denied, the 
Wazir said to him, " If thou speak sooth, sit down and eat before 
us." So he came forward and tried to eat, but could not and threw 
away the mouthful crying " O my lord ! I am surfeited since 
yesterday." By this the Wazir was certified that he had eaten at 
the cook's and bade the slaves throw him 2 which they did. Then 
they came down on him with a rib-basting which burned him till 
he cried for mercy and help from Allah, saying, " O my master 
beat me no more and I will tell thee the truth ; " whereupon the 
Wazir stopped the bastinado and said, " Now speak thou sooth." 
Quoth the Eunuch, "Know then that we did enter the shop of a 
cook while he was dressing conserve of pomegranate-grains and he 
.set some of it before us : by Allah ! I never ate in my life its like, 
nor tasted aught nastier than this stuff which is now before us." 8 
Badr al-Din Hasan's mother was angry at this and said, " Needs 
must thou go back to the cook and bring me a saucer of conserved 
pomegranate-grains from that which is in his shop and show it ta 
thy master, that he may say which be the better and the nicer, 

1 For "grandson" as being more affectionate. Easterns have not yet learned that 
ilever Western saying : The enemies of our enemies are our friends. 

2 This was a simple bastinado on the back, not the more ceremonious affair of beating 
the feet-soles. But it is surprising what the Egyptians can bear ; some of the rods used 
in the time of the Mameluke Beys are nearly as thick as a man's wrist. 

3 The woman-like spite of the eunuch intended to hurt the grandmother's feelings. 

1244 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

mine or his." Said the unsexed " I will." So on the instant she 
gave him a saucer and a half dinar and he returned to the shop and 
said to the cook, " O Shaykh of all Cooks, 1 we have laid a 
wager concerning thy cookery in my lord's house, for they have 
conserve of pomegranate-grains there also ; so give me this half- 
dinar's worth and look to it ; for I have eaten a full meal of stick 
on account of thy cookery, and so do not let me eat aught more 
thereof." Hasan of Bassorah laughed and answered, " By Allah, 
none can dress this dish as it should be dressed save myself and 
my mother, and she at this time is in a far country." Then he 
ladled out a saucer-full ; and, finishing it off with musk and rose- 
water, put it in a cloth which he sealed 2 and gave it to the Eunuch, 
who hastened back with it. No sooner had Badr al-Din Hasan's 
mother tasted it and perceived its fine flavour and the excellence 
of the cookery, than she knew who had dressed it, and she screamed 
and fell down fainting. The Wazir, sorely startled, sprinkled rose- 
water upon her and after a time she recovered and said, " If my 
son be yet of this world, none dressed this conserve of pomegranate- 
grains but he ; and this Cook is my very son Badr al-Din Hasan ; 
there is no doubt of it nor can there be any mistake, for only I and 
he knew how to prepare it and I taught him." When the Wazir 
heard her words he joyed with exceeding joy and said, " Oh the 
longing of me for a sight of my brother's son ! I wonder if the 
days will ever unite us with him ! Yet it is to Almighty Allah 
alone that we look for bringing about this meeting." Then he 
rose without stay or delay and, going to his suite said to them, 
<{ Be off, some fifty of you with sticks and staves to the Cook's shop 
and demolish it; then pinion his arms behind him with his own 
turband, saying: It was thou madest that foul mess of pome- 
granate-grains ! and drag him here perforce but without doing him 
a harm." And they replied, " It is well." Then the Wazir rode 
off without losing an instant to the Palace and, foregathering with 
the Viceroy of Damascus, showed him the Sultan's orders. After 
careful perusal he kissed the letter, and placing it upon his head 
said to his visitor/ "Who is this offender of thine?" Quoth the 
Wazir, " A man which is a cook." So the Viceroy at once sent 
his apparitors to the shop ; which they found demolished and 

1 The usual Cairen6 " chaff." 

* A necessary precaution against poison (Pilgrimage i. 84, and iii. 43), 

Tale of Nur at- Din Ali and his Son. 245 

everything in it broken to pieces ; for whilst the Wazir was riding 
to the palace his men had done his bidding. Then they awaited 
his return from the audience, and Hasan of Bassorah who was their 
prisoner kept saying, " I wonder what they have found in the 
conserve of pomegranate-grains to bring things to this pass!" 1 
When the Wazir returned to them, after his visit to the Viceroy 
who had given him formal permission to take up his debtor and 
depart with him, on entering the tents he called for the Cook. 
They brought him forward pinioned with his turband ; and, when 
Badr al-Din Hasan saw his uncle, he wept with exceeding weeping 
and said, " O my lord, what is my offence against thee ? " " Art 
thou the man who dressed that conserve of pomegranate-grains?"; 
asked the Wazir, and he answered " Yes ! didst thou find in it 
aught to call for the cutting off of my head ? " Quoth the Wazir, 
" That were the least of thy deserts ! " Quoth the cook, " O my 
lord, wilt thou not tell me my crime and what aileth the conserve of 
pomegranate-grains ? " " Presently," replied the Wazir and called 
aloud to his men, saying " Bring hither the camels." So they 
struck the tents and by the Wazir's orders the servants took Badr 
al-Din Hasan, and set him in a chest which they padlocked and 
put on a camel. Then they departed and stinted not journeying 
till nightfall, when they halted and ate some victual, and took 
Badr al-Din Hasan out of his chest and gave him a meal and 
locked him up again. They set out once more and travelled till 
they reached Kimrah, where they took him out of the box and 
brought him before the Wazir who asked him, "Art thou he 
who dressed that conserve of pomegranate-grains ? " He answered 
" Yes, O my lord ! f> ; and the Wazir said " Fetter him ! " So they 
fettered him and returned him to the chest and fared on again 
till they reached Cairo and lighted at the quarter called Al- 
Raydamyah. 2 Then the Wazir gave order to take Badr al-Din 
Hasan out of the chest and sent for a carpenter and said to him, 
"Make me a cross of wood 3 for this fellow!" Cried Badr al- 

1 The Bresl. Edit. (ii. 108) describes the scene at greater length. 

2 The Bui. Edit, gives by mistake of diacritical points, " Zabdaniyah :" Raydaniyah 
is or rather was a camping ground to the North of Cairo. 

3 Arab. " La'abat " = a plaything, a puppet, a lay figure. Lane (i. 326) conjectures 
that the cross is so called because it resembles a man with arms extended. But Moslems 
never heard of the fanciful ideas of mediaeval Christian divines who saw the cross every- 
where and in everything. The former hold, that Pharaoh invented the painful and 
ignominious punishment. (Koran, chapt. vii.) 

246 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

Din Hasan"* 1 And what wilt thou do with it?"; and the Wazir 
replied, " I mean to crucify thee thereon, and nail thee thereto 
and parade thee all about the city." " And why wilt thou use me 
after this fashion ? *' " Because of thy villanous cookery of con- 
served pomegranate-grains ; how durst thou dress it and sell it 
lacking pepper ? " " And for that it lacked pepper wilt thou do 
all this to me ? Is it not enough that thou hast broken my shop 
and smashed my gear and boxed me up in a chest and fed me 
only once a day?" "Too little pepper! too little pepper! this 
is a crime which can be expiated only upon the cross ! " Then 
Badr al-Din Hasan marvelled and fell a-mourning for his life ; 
whereupon the Wazir asked him, " Of what thinkest thou ? "; and 
he answered him, "Of maggoty heads like thine; 1 for an thou had 
one ounce of sense thou hadst not treated me thus." Quoth the 
Wazir, " It is our duty to punish thee lest thou do the like 
again." Quoth Badr al-Din Hasan, " Of a truth my offence were 
over-punished by the least of what thou hast already done to me ; 
and Allah damn all conserve of pomegranate-grains and curse the 
hour when I cooked it and would I had died ere this ! " But the 
Wazir rejoined, " There is no help for it : I must crucify a man 
who sells conserve of pomegranate*grains lacking pepper." All this 
time the carpenter was shaping the wood and Badr al-Din looked 
on ; and thus they did till night, when his uncle took him and 
clapped him into the chest, saying, " The thing shall be done to- 
morrow!" Then he waited till he knew Badr al-Din Hasan to be 
asleep, when he mounted ; and, taking the chest up before him, 
entered the city and rode on to his own house, where he alighted 
and said to his daughter, Sitt al-Husn, " Praised be Allah who 
hath reunited thee with thy husband, the son of thine uncle ! Up 
now, and order the house as it was on thy bridal night." So the 
servants arose and lit the candles ; and the Wazir took out his 
plan of the nuptial chamber, and directed them what to do till 
they had set everything in its stead, so that whoever saw it 
would have no doubt but it was the very night of the marriage. 
Then he bade them put down Badr al-Din Hasan's turband on the 

1 Here good blood, driven to bay, speaks out boldly. But, as a rule the humblest and 
mildest Eastern when in despair turns round upon his oppressors like a wild cat. Some 
of the criminals -whom Path Ali Shah of Persia put to death by chopping down the fork, 
beginning at the scrotum, abused his mother till the knife reached their vitals and they 
could no longer speak. 

Tale of Nur al-Dln All and his Son. 247 

settle, as he had deposited it with his own hand, and in like manner 
his bag-trousers and the purse which were under the mattress ; 
and told his daughter to undress herself and go to bed in the 
private chamber as on her wedding-night, adding, " When the son 
of thine uncle comes in to thee, say to him: Thou hast loitered 
while going to the privy ; and call him to lie by thy side and keep 
him in converse till daybreak, when we will explain the whole 
matter to him." Then he bade take Badr al-Din Hasan out of the 
chest, after loosing the fetters from his feet and stripping off all 
that was on him save the fine shirt of blue silk in which he had 
slept on his wedding-night ; so that he was well nigh naked and 
trouserless. All this was done whilst he was sleeping on utterly 
unconscious. Then, by doom of Destiny, Badr al-Din Hasan 
turned over and awoke ; and, finding himself in a lighted vestibule, 
said to himself, "Surely I am in the mazes of some dream." So he 
rose and went on a little to an inner door and looked in and lo I 
he was in the very chamber wherein the bride had been displayed 
to him ; and there he saw the bridal alcove and the settle and his 
turband and all his clothes. When he saw this he was confounded 
and kept advancing with one foot, and retiring with the other, 
saying, "Am I sleeping or waking ? " And he began rubbing his 
forehead and saying (for indeed he was thoroughly astounded), 
w By Allah, verily this is the chamber of the bride who was dis- 
played before me ! Where am I then ? I was surely but now in a 
box!" Whilst he was talking with himself, Sitt al-Husn suddenly 
lifted the corner of the chamber-curtain and said, " O my lord, wilt 
thou not come in ? Indeed thou hast loitered long in the water- 
closet." When he heard her words and saw her face he burst out 
laughing and said, "Of a truth this is a very nightmare among 
dreams ! " Then he went in sighing, and pondered what had come 
to pass with him and was perplexed about his case, and his affair 
became yet more obscure to him when he saw his turband and 
bag-trousers and when, feeling the pocket, he found the purse con- 
taining the thousand gold pieces. So he stood still and muttered, 
" Allah is all knowing ! Assuredly I am dreaming a wild waking 
dream!" Then said the Lady of Beauty to him, "What ails thee to 
look puzzled and perplexed?"; adding, "Thou wast a very different 
man during the first of the night ! " He laughed and asked her, 
" How long have I been away from thee?"; and she answered him, 
" Allah preserve thee "and His Holy Name be about thee ! Thou 
didst but go out an hour ago for an occasion and return. Are thy 

248 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

wits clean gone ? " When Badr al-Din Hasan heard this, he laughed, 1 
and sai.d, " Thou hast spoken truth ; but, when I went out from 
thee, I forgot myself awhile in the draught-house and dreamed that 
I was a cook at Damascus and abode there ten years ; and there 
came to me a boy who was of the sons of the great, and with him 
an Eunuch." Here he passed his hand over his forehead and, 
feeling the scar, cried, " By Allah, O my lady, it must have been 
true, for he struck my forehead with a stone and cut it open from 
eye-brow to eye-brow; and here is the mark : so it must have been 
on wake." Then he added, " But perhaps I dreamt it when we fell 
asleep, I and thou, in each other's arms, for meseems it was as 
though I travelled to Damascus without tarbush and trousers and 
set up as a cook there." Then he was perplexed and considered 
for awhile, and said, " By Allah, I also fancied that I dressed a 
conserve of pomegranate-grains and put too little pepper in it. By 
Allah, I must have slept in the numero-cent and have seen the 
whole of this in a dream ; but how long was that dream I " 
"Allah upon thee," said Sitt al-Husn, "and what more sawest 
thou ? " So he related all to her ; and presently said, " By Allah 
had I not woke up they would have nailed me to a cross of 
wood !" "Wherefore?" asked she; and he answered, "For putting 
too little pepper in the conserve of pomegranate-grains, and me- 
seemed they demolished my shop and dashed to pieces my pots 
and pans, destroyed all my stuff and put me in a box ; then they 
sent for the carpenter to fashion a cross for me and would have 
crucified me thereon. Now Alhamdolillah ! thanks be to Allah, 
for that all this happened to me in sleep, and not on wake " Sitt 
al-Husn laughed and clasped him to her bosom and he her to his : 
then he thought again and said, " By Allah, it could not be save 
while I was awake : truly I know not what to think of it." Then 
he lay him down and all the night he was bewildered about his 
case, now saying, " I was dreaming ! " and then saying, " I was 
awake ! ", till morning, wh^n his uncle Shams al-Din, the Wazir, 
came to him and saluted him. When Badr al-Din Hasan saw him 
he said, " By Allah, art thou not he who bade bind my hands 
behind me and smash my shop and nail me to a cross on a matter of 
Conserved pomegranate-grains because the dish lacked a sufficiency 

1 These repealed "laughs" prove the trouble of his spirit. Noble Arabs "show their 
back-teeth" so rarely that their laughter is held worthy of being recorded by their 

Tale of Nur al-Din All and his Son. 249 

of pepper ? " Whereupon the Wazir said to him, " Know, O my 
son, that truth hath shown it soothfast and the concealed hath been 
revealed I 1 Thou art the son of my brother, and I did all this with 
thee to certify myself that thou wast indeed he who went in unto my 
daughter that night. I could not be sure of this, till I saw that 
thou knewest the chamber and thy turband and thy trousers and 
thy gold and the papers in thy writing and in that of thy father, 
my brother ; for I had never seen thee afore that and knew thee 
not ; and as to thy mother I have prevailed upon her to come 
with me from Bassorah." So saying, he threw himself on his 
nephew's breast and wept for joy; and Badr al-Din Hasan, hearing 
these words from his uncle, marvelled with exceeding marvel and 
fell on his neck and also shed tears for excess of delight. Then 
said the Wazir to him, " O my son, the sole cause of all this is 
what passed between me and thy sire;" and he told him the 
manner of his father wayfaring to Bassorah and all that had 
occurred to part them. Lastly the Wazir sent for Ajib; and 
when his father saw him he cried, " And this is he who struck me 
with the stone !" Quoth the Wazir " This is thy son !" And Badr 
al-Din Hasan threw himself upon his boy and began repeating: 

Long have I wept o'er severance* ban and bane, o Long from mine eyelids 

tear-rills rail and rain : 
And vowed I if Time re-union bring o My tongue from name of " Severance" 

I'll restrain : 
Joy hath o'ercome me to this stress that I o From joy's revulsion to shed tears 

am fain : 
Ye are so trained to tears, O eyne of me ! o You weep with pleasure as you 

weep with pain. 2 

When he had ended his verse his mother came in and threw her- 
self upon him and began reciting : 

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

Then she wept and related to him what had befallen her since his 
departure, and he told her what he had suffered, and they thanked 

1 A popular phrase, derived from the Koranic "Truth is come, and falsehood is 
vanished: for falsehood is of short continuance" (chapt. xvii.). It is an equivalent of 
our adaptation from i Esdras iv. 41, " Magna est veritas et prsevalebit." But the 
great question still remains, What is Truth ? 

3 In Night Ixxv. these lines will occur with variants. 

250 Alf Laylak wa Laylak. 

Allah Almighty for their reunion. Two days after his arrival the 
Wazir Shams al-Din went in to the Sultan and, kissing the ground 
between his hands, greeted him with the greeting due to Kings. 
The Sultan rejoiced at his return and his face brightened and, 
placing him hard by his side, 1 asked him to relate all he had seen 
in his wayfaring and whatso had betided him in his going and 
coming. So the Wazir told him all that had passed from first to 
last and the Sultan said, " Thanks be to Allah for thy victory 2 and 
the winning of thy wish and thy safe return to thy children and 
thy people ! And now I needs must see the son of thy brother, 
Hasan of Bassorah, so bring him to the audience-hall to-morrow." 
Shams al-Din replied, " Thy slave shall stand in thy presence to- 
morrow, Inshallah, if it be God's will." Then he saluted him and, 
returning to his own house, informed his nephew of the Sultan's 
desire to see him, whereto replied Hasan, whilome the Bassorite, 
" The slave is obedient to the orders of his lord." And the result 
was that next day he accompanied his uncle, Shams al-Din, to the 
Divan ; and, after saluting the Sultan and doing him reverence in 
most ceremonious obeisance and with most courtly obsequiousness, 
he began improvising these verses : 

The first in rank to kiss the ground shall deign o Before you, and all ends 

and aims attain : 
You are Honour's fount ; and all that hope of you, o Shall gain more honour 

than Hope hoped to gain. 

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

When I think of my love and our parting-smart, o My groans go forth and 

my tears upstart : 
He's a mole that reminds me in colour and charms o 0' the black o* the eye 

and the grain 3 of the heart. 

1 This is always mentioned : the nearer the seat the higher the honour. 
9 Alluding to the phrase " Al-safar zafar " = voyaging is victory (Pilgrimage i., 127). 
3 Arab. " Habb ; " alluding to the black drop in the human heart which the Archangel 
Gabriel removed from Mohammed by opening his breast. 

Tale of Nur al-Dln AH and his Son. 251 

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

That cheek-mole's spot they evened with a grain => Of musk, nor did they here 

the simile strain : 
Nay, marvel at the face comprising all $ Beauty, nor falling short by single 


The King shook with pleasure 1 and said to him, " Say more r Allah 
bless thy days ! " So he began : 

O you whose mole on cheek enthroned recalls o A dot of musk upon a stone 

of ruby, 
Grant me your favours ! Be not stone at heart ! o Core of my heart whose only 

sustenance you be ! 

Quoth the King, "Fair comparison, O Hasan ! 2 thou hast spoken 
excellently well and hast proved thyself accomplished in every 
accomplishment ! Now explain to me how many meanings be 
there in the Arabic language 3 for the word Khdl or mole? He 
replied, "Allah keep the King! Seven and fifty and some by 
tradition say fifty." Said the Sultan, " Thou sayest sooth," pre- 
sently adding, " Hast thou knowledge as to the points of excel- 
lence in beauty ?" "Yes," answered Badr al-Din Hasan, " Beauty 
consisteth in brightness of face, clearness of complexion, shapeli- 
ness of nose, gentleness of eyes, sweetness of mouth, cleverness of 
speech, slenderness of shape and seemliness of all attributes. But 
the acme of beauty is in the hair and, indeed, al-Shihab the Hijazi 
hath brought together all these items in his doggrel verse of the 
metre Rajaz 4 and it is this : 

1 This phrase, I have said, often occurs : it alludes to the horripilation (Arab. 
Kush'arfrah), horror or gooseflesh which, in Arab as in Hindu fables, is a symptom of 
great joy* So Boccaccio's "pelo arriciato " v., 8 : Germ. Gansehaut. 

2 Arab. " Hasanta ya Hasan " = Bene detto, Benedetto ! the usual word-play vulgarly 
called " pun : " Hasan (not Hassan^ as we will write it) meaning "beautiful." 

3 Arab. c< Loghah " also = a vocabulary, a dictionary ; the Arabs had them by camel- 

4 The seventh of the sixteen ' Bahr " (metres) in Arabic prosody ; the easiest because 
allowing the most licence and, consequently, a favourite for didactic, homiletic and 
gnomic themes. It means literally " agitated" and was originally applied to the rude 
song of the Cameleer. De Sacy calls this doggrel " the poet's ass '* (Torrens, Notes xxvi.). 
It was the only metre in which Mohammed the Apostle ever spoke : he was no poet 
(Koran xxxvi., 69) but he occasionally recited a verse and recited it wrongly (Dabistan 
aii., 21*). In Persian prosody Rajaz is the seventh of nineteen and has six distinct 
varieties (pp. 79 81, "Glad win's Dissertations on Rhetoric," etc. Calcutta, 1801). I 
shall have more to say about it in the terminal Essay. 

252 A If Laylak wa Laylah. 

Say thou to skin " Be soft," to face " Be fair , " o And gaze, nor shall they blame 

howso thou stare : 
Fine nose in Beauty's list is high esteemed ; o Nor less an eye full, bright and 

debonnair : 
Eke did they well to laud the lovely lips o (Which e'en the sleep of me 

will never spare) ; 
A winning tongue, a stature tali and straight ;' o A seemly union of gifts rarest 

rare : 
But Beauty's acme in the hair one views it ; o So hear my strain and with 

some few excuse it ! 

The Sultan was captivated by his converse and, regarding him as 
a friend, asked, " What meaning is there in the saw " Shurayh is 
foxier than the fox ?" And he answered, " Know, O King (whom 
Almighty Allah keep!) that the legist Shurayh 2 was wont, during 
the days of the plague, to make a visitation to Al-Najaf ; and, when- 
ever he stood up to pray, there came a fox which would plant him- 
self facing him and which, by mimicking his movements, distracted 
him from his devotions. Now when this became longsome to him, 
one day he doffed his shirt and set it upon a cane and shook out 
the sleeves ; then" placing his turband on the top and girding its 
middle with a shawl, he stuck it up in the place where he used to 
pray. Presently up trotted the fox according to his custom and 
stood over against the figure, whereupon Shurayh came behind 
him, and took him. Hence the sayer saith, " Shurayh foxier than 
the fox." When the Sultan heard Badral-Din Hasan's explanation 
he said to his uncle, Shams al-Din, " Truly this the son of thy 
brother is perfect in courtly breeding and I do not think that his 
like can be found in Cairo." At this Hasan arose and kissed the 
ground before him and sat down again as a Mameluke should sit 
before his master. When the Sultan had thus assured himself of 
his courtly breeding and bearing and his knowledge of the liberal 
arts and belles-lettres, he joyed with exceeding joy and invested 
him with a splendid robe of honour and promoted him to an 

1 " Her stature tall I hate a dumpy woman " (Don Juan). 

* A worthy who was Kazi of Kufah (Cufa) in the seventh century. Al-Najaf, gene- 
rally entitled "Najaf al-Ashraf " (the Venerand) is the place where Ali, the son-in-lav* 
of Mohammed, lies or is supposed to lie buried, and has ever been a holy place to the 
Shi'ahs. I am not certain whether to translate " Sa'alab " by fox or jackal ; the Arabs 
make scant distinction between them. " Abu Hosayn " (Father of the Fortlet) is cer- 
tainly the fox. and as certainly 'Sha'arhar " is the jackal from the Pehlevi Shagal or 

Tale of NAr al-Dtn Ali and his Son. 


office whereby he might better his condition. 1 Then Badr al-Din 
Hasan arose and, kissing the ground before the King, wished him 
continuance of glory and asked leave to retire with his uncle, the 
Wazir Shams al-Din. The Sultan gave him leave and he issued 
forth and the two returned home, where food was set before them 
and they ate what Allah had given them. After finishing his meal 
Hasan repaired to the sitting-chamber of his wife, the Lady of 
Beauty, and told her what had past between him and the Sultan ; 
whereupon quoth she, " He cannot fail to make thee a cup-com- 
panion and give thee largesse in excess and load thee with favours 
and bounties ; so shalt thou, by Allah's blessing, dispread, like the 
greater light, the rays of thy perfection wherever thou be, on shore 
or on sea." Said he to her, " I purpose to recite a Kasfdah, an ode, 
in his praise, that he may redouble in affection for me." " Thou art 
right in thine intent," she answered, " so gather thy wits together 
and weigh thy words, and I shall surely see my husband favoured 
with his highest favour." Thereupon Hasan shut himself up and 
composed these couplets on a solid base and abounding in inner 
grace and copied them out in a hand-writing of the nicest taste. 
They are as follows : 

Mine is a Chief who reached most haught estate, o Treading the pathways of 

the good and great : 
His justice makes all regions safe and sure, o And against froward foes bars 

every gate : 
Bold lion, hero, saint, e'en if you call o Seraph or Sovran 2 he with all may 

The poorest suppliant rich from him returns, o All words to praise him were 


1 Usually by all manner of extortions and robbery, corruption and bribery, the ruler's 
motto being 

Fiat zttjustitia ruat Ccelum. 

There is no more honest man than the Turkish peasant or the private soldier ; but the 
process of deterioration begins when he is made a corporal and culminates in the 
Pasha. Moreover official dishonesty is permitted by public opinion, because it belongs 
to the condition of society. A man buys a place (as in England two centuries ago) 
and retains it by presents to the heads of offices. Consequently he must recoup himself 
in some way, and he mostly does so by grinding the faces of the poor and by spoiling 
the widow and the orphan. The radical cure is high pay ; but that phase of society 
refuses to afford it. 

8 Arab. " Malik w (King) and " Malak " (angel) the words being written the same 
when lacking vowels and justifying the jingle. 

254 Alf Laylah wa .Laylak. 

He to the day of peace is saffron Morn, o And murky Night in furious warfare's 

Bow 'neath his gifts our necks, and by his deeds o As King of freeborn 1 souls 

he 'joys his state : 
Allah increase for us his term of years, o And from his lot avert all risks and 

fears ! 

When he had finished transcribing the lines, he despatched them, 
in charge of one of his uncle's slaves, to the Sultan, who perused 
them and his fancy was pleased ; so he read them to those present 
and all praised them with the highest praise. Thereupon he sent 
for the writer to his sitting chamber and said to him, " Thou art 
from this day forth my boon-companion and I appoint to thee a 
monthly solde of, a thousand dirhams, over and above that I 
bestowed on thee aforetime." So Hasan rose and, kissing the 
ground before the King several times, prayed for the continuance 
of his greatness and glory and length of life and strength. Thus 
Badr al-Din Hasan the Bassorite waxed high in honour and his 
fame flew forth to many regions and he abode in all comfort and 
solace and delight of life with his uncle and his own folk till Death 
overtook him. When the Caliph Harun al-Rashid heard this story 
from the mouth of his Wazir, Ja'afar the Barmecide, he marvelled 
much and said, " It behoves that these stories be written in letters of 
liquid gold." Then he set the slave at liberty and assigned to the 
youth who had slain his wife such a monthly stipend as sufficed to 
make his life easy ; he also gave him a concubine from amongst his 
own slave-girls and the young man became one of his cup-com- 
panions. "Yet this story (continued Shahrazad) "is in no wise 
stranger than the tale of the Tailor and the Hunchback and the 
Jew and the Reeve and the Nazarene, and what betided them." 
Quoth the King, " And what may that be ? " So Shahrazad began, 
in these words, 2 

1 Arab. "Hurr"$ the Latin "ingenuus," lit. freeborn; metaph. noble as opp. to 
a slave who is not expected to do great or good deeds. In pop. use it corresponds, like 
" Fata," with our " gentleman." 

2 This is one of the best tales for humour and movement, and Douce and Madden 
show what a rich crop of fabliaux, whose leading incident was the disposal of a dead body, 
it produced. 

The Hunchback's Tale. 


IT hath reached me, O auspicious King, that there dwelt during 
times of yore, and years and ages long gone before, in a certain 
city of China, 1 a Tailor who was an open-handed man that loved 
pleasuring and merry making ; and who was wont, he and his 
wife, to solace themselves from time to time with public diversions 
and amusements. One day they went out with the first of the 
light and were returning in the evening when they fell in with a 
. Hunchback, whose semblance would draw a laugh from care and 
dispel the horrors of despair. So they went up to enjoy looking 
at him and invited him to go home with them and converse and 
carouse with them that night. He consented and accompanied 
them afoot to their home ; whereupon the Tailor fared forth to the 
bazar (night having just set in) and bought a fried fish and bread 
and lemons and dry sweetmeats for dessert ; and set the victuals 
before the Hunchback and they ate. Presently the Tailor's wife 
took a great fid of fish and gave it in a gobbet to the Gobbo, 
stopping his mouth with her hand and saying, "By Allah, thou 
must down with it at a single gulp ; and I will not give thee time 
to chew it." So he bolted it ; but therein was a stiff bone which 
stuck in his gullet and, his hour being come, he died. - And 
Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her per- 
mitted say. 

jgoto fo&en it foas t&e tJfoentg-JFffti) 

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

^Other editions read, "at Bassorah" and the Bresl. (ii. 123) " at Bassorah and 
Kajkdr " (Ka'shgha'r) : somewhat like in Dover and Sebastopol. I prefer China because 
farther off and making the improbabilities more notable. 

256 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

Why then waste I my time in grief, until o I find no friend to bear my 

weight of woe ? 
How sleep upon a fire that flames unquenched? o Upon the flames to rest were 

hard enow ! 

Asked her husband, " And what shall I do with him ? " ; and .she 
answered, " Rise and take him in thine arms and spread a silken 
kerchief over him ; then I will fare forth, with thee following me, 
this very night and if thou meet any one say : This is my son, 
and his mother and I are carrying him to the doctor that he may 
look at him." So he rose and taking the Hunchback in his arms 
bore him along the streets, preceded by his wife who kept crying, 
" O my son, Allah keep thee ! what part paineth thee and where 
hath this small-pox J attacked thee ? " So all who saw them said 
" 'Tis a child sick of small-pox. " * They went along asking for 
the physician's house till folk directed them to that of a leach 
which was a Jew. They knocked at the door, and there came 
down to them a black slave-girl who opened and, seeing a man 
bearing a babe, and a woman with him, said to them, " What is 
the matter?" "We have a little one with us," answered the 
Tailor's wife " and we wish to show him to the physician : so take 
this quarter dinar and give it to thy master and let him come 
down and see my son who is sore sick." The girl went up to tell 
her master, whereupon the Tailor's wife walked into the vestibule 
and said to her husband, " Leave the Hunchback here and let us 
fly for our lives." So the Tailor carried the dead man to the top 
of the stairs and propped him upright against the wall and ran 
away, he and his wife. Meanwhile the girl went in to the Jew 

1 Arab. "Judri," lit. " small stones" from the hard gravelly feeling of the pustules 
(Rod well, p. 20). The disease is generally supposed to be the growth of Central Africa 
where it is still a plague and passed over to Arabia about the birth-time of Mohammed. 
Thus is usually explained the "war of the elephant" (Koran, chapt. cv.) when the 
Abyssinian army of Abrahah, the Christian, was destroyed by swallows (Ababil which 
Major Price makes the plural of Abilah = a vesicle) which dropped upon them "stones 
of baked clay," like vetches (Pilgrimage ii. 175). See for details Sale (in loco] who seems 
to accept the miraculous defence of the Ka'abah. For the horrors of small-pox in 
Central Intertropical Africa the inoculation, known also to the Badawin of Al-Hijdz and 
other details, readers will consult " The Lake Regions of Central Africa " (ii. 318). The 
Hindus " take the bull by Ihe horns" and boldly make "Sitla" (smallpox) a goddess, 
an incarnation of Bhawa"ni, deess of destruction- reproduction. In China small pox is 
believed to date from B.C. 1200; but the chronology of the Middle Kingdom still 
awaits the sceptic. 

* In Europe we should add "and all fled, especially the women." JBut the fatalism 
inherent in the Eastern mind makes the great difference* 

Story of the Hunchback. 257 

and said to him, " At the door are a man and a woman with a sick 
child and they have given me a quarter-dinar for thee, that thou 
mayest go down and look at the little one and prescribe for it." 
As soon as the Jew saw the quarter-dinar he rejoiced and rose 
quickly in his greed of gain and went forth hurriedly in the dark ; 
but hardly had he made a step when he stumbled on the corpse 
and threw it over, when it rolled to the bottom of the staircase. 
So he cried out to the girl to hurry up with the light, and she 
brought it, whereupon he went down and examining the Hunch- 
back found that he was stone dead. So he cried out, "O for 
Esdras ! l O for Moses ! O for Aaron ! O for Joshua, son of 
Nun ! O the Ten Commandments ! I have stumbled against the 
sick one and he hath fallen downstairs and he is dead ! How shall 
I get this man I have killed out of my house ? O by the hoofs of 
the ass of Esdras ! " Then he took up the body and, carrying it 
into the house, told his wife what had happened and she said to 
him, " Why dost thou sit still ? If thou keep him here till day- 
break we shall both lose our lives. Let us two carry him to the 
terrace-roof and throw him over into the house of our neighbour, 
the Moslem, for if he abide there a night the dogs will come down 
on him from the adjoining terraces and eat him up." Now his 
neighbour was a Reeve, the controller of the Sultan's kitchen, and 
was wont to bring back great store of oil and fat and broken 
meats ; but the cats and rats used to eat it, or, if the dogs scented 
a fat sheep's tail they would come down from the nearest roofs 
and tear at it ; and on this wise the beasts had already damaged 
much of what he brought home. So the Jew and his wife carried 
the Hunchback up to the roof; and, letting him down by his hands 
and feet through the wind-shaft 2 into the Reeve's house, propped 

1 Arab. " Uzayr." Esdras was a manner of Ripp van Winkle. He was riding over 
the ruins of Jerusalem when it had been destroyed by the Chaldeans and he doubted by 
what means Allah would restore it ; whereupon he died and at the end of a hundred 
years he revived. He found his basket of figs and cruse of wine as they -were ; but of 
his ass only the bones remained. These were raised to life as Ezra looked on and the 
ass began at once to bray. Which was a lesson to Esdras. (Koran, chapt. ii). The 
oath by the ass's hoofs is to ridicule the Jew. Mohammed seems to have had an ictie 
fixe that " the Jews say, Ezra is the son of God" (Koran ix.) ; it may have arisen from 
the heterodox Jewish belief that Ezra, when the Law was utterly lost, dictated the whole 
anew to the scribes of his own memory. His tomb with the huge green dome is still 
visited by the Jews of Baghdad. 

2 Arab. "Badhanj," the Pers. Ba"d (wind)-gir (catcher) ; a wooden pent-house on the 
terrace-roof universal in the nearer East 

VOL. J. ^ 

258 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

him up against the wall and went their ways. Hardly had they 
done this when the Reeve, who had been passing an evening with 
his friends hearing a recitation of the Koran, came home and 
opened the door and, going up with a lighted candle, found a son 
of Adam standing in the corner under the ventilator. When he 
saw this, he said, " Wah ! by Allah, very good forsooth ! He who 
robbeth my stuff is none other than a man." Then he turned to the 
Hunchback and said, " So 'tis thou that stealest the meat and the 
fat ! I thought it was the cats and dogs, and I kill the dogs and 
cats of the quarter and sin against them by killing them. And all 
the while 'tis thou comest down from the house terrace through the 
wind-shaft. But I will avenge myself upon thee with my own 
hand ! " So he snatched up a heavy hammer and set upon him 
and smote him full on the breast and he fell down. Then he 
examined him and, finding that he was dead, cried out in horror, 
thinking that he had killed him, and said, " There is no Majesty 
and there is no Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great ! " 
And he feared for his life, and added, " Allah curse the oil and the 
meat and the grease and the sheep's tails to boot ! How hath fate 
given this man his quietus at my hand ! " Then he looked at the 
body and seeing it Was that of a Gobbo, said, "Was it not 
enough for thee to be a hunchback, 1 but thou must likewise be a 
thief and prig flesh and fat ! O thou Veiler, 2 deign to veil me with 
Thy curtain of concealment ! " So he took him up on his shoulders 
and, going forth with him from his house about the latter end of 
the night, carried him to the nearest end of the bazar, where he set 
him up on his feet against the wall of a shop at the head of a dark 
lane, and left him and went away. After a while up came a 
Nazarene, 3 the Sultan's broker who, much bemused with liquor, was 
purposing for the Hammam-bath as his drunkenness whispered in 
his ear, "Verily the call to matins 4 is nigh." He came plodding 
along and staggering about till he drew near the Hunchback and 

1 The hunchback, in Arabia as in Southern Europe, is looked upon by the vulgar with 
fear and aversion: The reason is that he is usually sharper-witted than his neighbours. 

2 Arab. " Y Sattar " r= Thou who veilest the discreditable secrets of Thy creatures. 

8 Arab. " Nasi4ni,"a follower of Him of Nazareth and an older name than "Christian " 
which (Acts xi. r 26) was first given at Antioch about A.D. 43. The cry in Alexandria 
used to be " Ya Nasrani, Kalb awm ! " = O Nazarene ! O dog obscene ! (Pilgrimage, 
i., 160). "Christian " in Arabic can be expressed only by " Masihi " = follower of the 

4 Arab. " Tasbih," = Saluting in the Subh (morning). 

Story of the Hunchback. 259 

squatted down to make water 1 over against him ; when he happened 
to glance around and saw a man standing against the wall. Now 
some person had snatched off the Christian's turband 2 in the first of 
the night ; so when he saw the Hunchback hard by he fancied that 
he also meant to steal his head-dress. Thereupon he clenched 
his fist and struck him on the neck, felling him to the ground, and 
called aloud to the watchman of the bazar, and came down on the 
body in his drunken fury and kept on belabouring and throttling 
the corpse. Presently the Charley came up and, finding a Nazarene 
kneeling on a Moslem and frapping him, asked, " What harm hath 
this one done ? " ; and the Broker answered, " The fellow meant to 
snatch off my turband/' " Get up from him," quoth the watchman. 
So he arose and the Charley went up to the Hunchback and finding 
him dead, exclaimed, " By Allah, good indeed ! A Christian killing 
a Mahometan ! " Then he seized the Broker and, tying his hands 
behind his back, carried him to the Governor's house, 3 and all the 
while the Nazarene kept saying to himself, " O Messiah ! O Virgin ! 
how came I to kill this fellow ? And in what a hurry he must 
have been to depart this life when he died of a single blow ! " 
Presently, as his drunkenness fled, came dolour in its stead. So the 
broker and the body were kept in the Governor's place till morning 
morrowed, when' the Wali came out and gave order to hang the 
supposed murderer and commanded the executioner 4 make pro- 

1 In the East women stand on minor occasions while men squat on their hunkers in a 
way hardly possible to an untrained European. The custom is old. Herodotus (ii., 35) 
says, " The women stand up when they make water, but the men sit down." Will it be 
believed that Canon Rawlinson was too modest to leave this passage in his translation? 
The custom was perpetuated by AUslam because the position prevents the ejection 
touching the clothes and making them ceremonially impure ; possibly they borrowed it 
from the Guebres. Dabistan, Gate xvi. says, " It is improper, whilst in an erect posture* 
to make wafer ; it is therefore necessary to sit at squat and force it to some distance* 
repeating the Avesta mentally." 

8 This is still a popular form of the " Kinchin lay," and as the turbands are often of fine 
stuff, the petite Industrie pays well. 

3 Arab. " Wali" = Governor; the term still in use for the Governor-General of a 
Province as opposed to the " Muhdfiz," or district-governor. In Eastern Arabia the Wall 
is the Civil Governor opposed to the Amir or Military Commandant. Under the 
Caliphate the Wali acted also as Prefect of Police (the Indian Faujdar), who is now 
called "Zdbfc." The older name for the latter was "Sahib al-Shartah " (= chief of 
the watch) or " Mutawalli " ; and it was his duty to go the rounds in person. The old 
" Charley," with his lantern and cudgel, still guards the bazars in Damascus. 

* Arab. " Al-Masha ili " =the bearer of a cresset (Mash'al) who was also Jack Ketch. 
In Anglo-India the name is 'given to a lower body-servant. The " Mash'al" which 
Lane (M. E., chapt vi.) calls " Mesh'al" and illustrates, must not be confounded with 
its congene* the " Sha'ilah " or link (also lamp, wick, etc.). 

260 A If Laylah wet Laytah. 

clamation of the sentence. Forthwith they set up a gallows under 
which they made the Nazarene stand and the torch-bearer, who 
was hangman, threw the rope round his neck and passed one end 
through the pulley, and was about to hoist him up 1 when lo! the 
Reeve, who was passing by, saw the Broker about to be hanged ; 
and, making his way through the people, cried out to the execu- 
tioner, "Hold! Hold! I am he who killed the Hunchback!' 1 
Asked the Governor, " What made thee kill him ? " ; and he 
answered, " I went home last night and there found this man who 
had come down the ventilator to steal my property ; so I smote 
him with a hammer on the breast and he died forthright. Then I 
took him up and carried him to the bazar and set him up against 
the wall in such a place near such a lane ; " adding, " Is it not 
enough for me to have killed a Moslem without also killing a 
Christian ? So hang none other but me." When the Governor 
heard these words he released the Broker and said to the torch- 
bearer, " Hang up this man on his own confession." So he loosed 
the cord from the Nazarene's neck and threw it round that of 
the Reeve and, making him stand under the gallows-tree, was 
about to string him up when behold, the Jewish physician 
pushed through the people and shouted to the executioner, 
" Hold ! Hold ! It was I and none else killed the Hunchback ! 
Last night I was sitting at home when a man and a woman 
knocked at the door carrying this Gobbo who was sick, and gave 
my handmaid a quarter-dinar, bidding her hand me the fee and 
tell me to come down and see him. Whilst she was gone the man 
and the woman brought him into the house and, setting him on the 
stairs, went away ; and presently I came down and not seeing him, 
for I was in the dark, stumbled over him and he fell to the foot of 
the staircase and died on the moment. Then we took him up, I and 
my wife, and carried him on to the top terrace ; and, the house of 
this Reeve being next door to mine, we let the body down through 
the ventilator. When he came home and found the Hunchback in 
his house, he fancied he was a thief and struck him with a hammer, 
so that he fell to the ground, and our neighbour made certain that 
he had slain him. Now is it not enough for me to have killed one 
Moslem unwittingly, without burdening myself with taking the life 
of another Moslem wittingly ? " When the Governor heard this he 
said to the hangman, "Set free the Reeve, and hang the Jew." 

1 I need hardly say that the civilised "drop" is unknown to the East where men are 
strung up as to a yardarm. This greatly prolongs the suffering. 

Story of lite Hunchback. 26 1 

Thereupon the torch-bearer took him and slung the cord round his 
neck when behold, the Tailor pushed through the people, and 
shouted to the executioner, " Hold ! Hold ! It was I and none 
else killed the Hunchback ; and this was the fashion thereof. I 
had been out a-pleasuring yesterday and, coming back to supper, 
fell in with this Gobbo, who was drunk and drumming away and 
singing lustily to his tambourine. So I accosted him and carried 
him to my house and bought a fish, and we sat down to eat. 
Presently my wife took a fid of fish and, making a gobbet of it, 1 
crammed it into his mouth ; but some of it went down the wrong 
way or stuck in his gullet and he died on the instant. So we 
lifted him up, I and my wife, and carried him to the Jew's house 
where the slave-girl came down and opened the door to us and I 
said to her : Tell thy master that there are a man and a woman, 
and a sick person for thee to see ! I gave her a quarter-dinar and 
she went up to tell her master ; and, whilst she was gone, I carried 
the Hunchback to the head of the staircase and propped him up 
against the wall, and went off with my wife. When the Jew came 
down he stumbled over him and thought that he had killed him." 
Then he asked the Jew, "Is this the truth?"; and the Jew 
answered, " Yes." Thereupon the Tailor turned to the Governor, 
and said, " Leave go the Jew and hang me." When the Governor 
heard the Tailor's tale he marvelled at the matter of this Hunch- 
back and exclaimed, " Verily this is an adventure which should be 
recorded in books ! " Then he said to the hangman, " Let the Jew 
go and hang the Tailor on his own confession." The executioner 
took the Tailor and put the rope around his neck and said, " I am 
tired of such slow work : we bring out this one and change him for 
that other, and no one is hanged after all ! " Now the Hunchback 
in question was, they relate, jester to the Sultan of China who 
could not bear him out of his sight ; so when the fellow got drunk 
and did not make his appearance that night or the next day till 
noon, the Sultan asked some of his courtiers about him and they 
answered, *' O our lord, the Governor hath come upon him dead 
and hath ordered his murderer to be hanged ; but, as the hang- 
man was about to hoist him up there came a second and a third 
and a fourth and each one said : It is I, and none else killed the 

1 Arab. "Lukmah":=a mouthful. It is still the fashion amongst Easterns of 
primitive manners to take up a handful of rice, etc., .ball it and put it into a friend's 
mouth honoris tausd. When the friend is a European the expression of his face is 
generally study. 

262 A If Laylah wa Laylak. 

Hunchback ! ; and each gave a full and circumstantial account of 
the manner of the jester being killed." When the King heard this 
he cried aloud to the Chamberlain-in-waiting, " Go down to the 
Governor and bring me all four of them." So the Chamberlain 
went down at once to the place of execution where he found the 
torch-bearer on the point of hanging the Tailor and shouted to 
him, " Hold ! Hold ! " Then he gave the King's command to the 
Governor who took the Tailor, the Jew, the Nazarene and the 
Reeve (the Hunchback's body being borne on men's shoulders) 
and went up with one and all of them to the King. When he 
came into the presence, he kissed the ground and acquainted the 
ruler with the whole story which it is needless to relate for, as they 
say : There is no avail in a thrice-told tale. The Sultan hearing 
it marvelled and was moved to mirth and commanded the story to 
be written in letters of liquid gold, saying to those present, " Did 
ye ever hear a more wondrous tale than that of my Hunchback ? " 
Thereupon the Nazarene broker came forward and said, " O King 
of the age, with thy leave I will tell thee a thing which happened 
to myself and which is still more wondrous and marvellous and 
pleasurable and delectable than the tale of the Hunchback." 
Quoth the King, " Tell us what thou hast to say ! " So he began 
in these words 


O KING of the age, I came to this thy country with merchandise 
and Destiny stayed me here with you : but my place of birth was 
Cairo, in Egypt, where I also was brought up, for I am one of the 
Copts and my father was a broker before me. When I came to 
man's estate he departed this life and I succeeded to his business. 
One day, as I was sitting in my shop, behold, there came up to rne 
a youth as handsome as could be, wearing sumptuous raiment and 
riding a fine ass. 1 When he saw me he saluted me, and I stood up 

1 I need hardly note that this is an old Biblical practice. The ass is used for city-work 
as the horse for fighting and travelling, the mule for burdens and the dromedary for the 
desert. But the Badawi, like the Indian, despises the monture and sings : 

The back of the steed is a noble place ; 

But the mule's dishonour, the ass disgrace ! 

The fine white asses, often thirteen hands high, sold by the Banu Salib and other Badawi 
tribes, will fetch jioo, and more. I rode a little brute from Meccah to Jedda (42 miles) 
in one night and it came in with me cantering. 

The Nazarene Broker's Story. 263 

to do him honour : then he took out a kerchief containing a sample 
of sesame and asked, " How much is this worth per Ardabb 1 ?"; 
whereto I answered/ " An hundred dirhams." Quoth he, " Take 
porters and gaugers and metesmen and come to-morrow to the 
Khan al-Jawali, 1 by the Gate of Victory quarter where thou wilt 
find me." Then he fared forth leaving with me the sample of 
sesame in his kerchief; and I went the round of my customers and 
ascertained that every Ardabb would fetch an hundred and twenty 
dirhams. Next day I took four metesmen and walked with them to 
the Khan, where I found him awaiting me. As soon as he saw me 
he rose and opened his magazine, when we measured the grain till 
the store was empty ; and we found the contents fifty Ardabbs, 
making five thousand pieces of silver. Then said he, " Let ten 
dirhams on every Ardabb be thy brokerage ; so take the price and 
keep in deposit four thousand, and five hundred dirhams for me; 
and, when I have made an end of selling the other wares in my 
warehouses, I will come to thee and receive the amount." " I will 
well/' replied I and kissing his hand went away, having made that 
day a profit of a thousand dirhams. He was absent a month, at 
the end of which he came to me and asked, " Where be the 
dirhams?" I rose and saluted him and answered to him, " Wilt 
thou not eat somewhat in my house ? " But he refused with the 
remark, "Get the monies ready and I will presently return and 1 
take them." Then he rode away. So I brought out the dirhams 
and sat down to await him, but he stayed away for another month, 
when he came back and said to me, " Where be the dirhams ? " I 
rose and saluting him asked, " Wilt thou not eat something in my 
house?" But he again refused adding, "Get me the monies ready 
and I will presently return and take them." Then he rode off. So 
I brought out the dirhams and sat down to await his return ; but 
he stayed away from me a third month, and I said, " Verily this* 
young man is liberality in incarnate form." At the end of the 
month he came up, riding a mare-mule and wearing a suit of 
sumptuous raiment ; he was as the moon on the night of fullness, 
and he seemed as if fresh from the baths, with his cheeks rosy 
bright, and his brow flower-white, and a mole-spot like a grain of 

1 A dry measure ct about five bushels (Cairo). The classical pronunciation is Irdabb 
and it measured 24 sala (gallons) each filling four outstretched hands. 

2 Al-Jawali " should be Al-Jdwali (Al-Makrizi) and the Bab al-Nasr (Gate of Victory) 
is that leading to Suez. I lived in that quarter as shown by my Pilgrimage (i. 62). 

264 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

ambergris delighting the sight ; even as was said of such an one by 
the poet : 

Full moon with sun in single mansion o In brightest sheen and fortune rose 

and shone, 
With happy splendour changing every sprite: o Hail to what guerdons prayer 

with blissfull boon ! 
Their charms and grace have gained perfection's height, o All hearts have 

conquered and all wits have won. 
Laud to the Lord for works so wonder-strange, 6 And what th' Almighty wills 

His hand hath done ! 

When I saw him I rose to him and invoking blessings on him 
asked, " O my lord,,wilt thou not take thy monies ? " " Whence the 
hurry ?" a quoth he, " Wait till I have made an end of my business 
and then I will come and take them." Again he rode away and I 
said to myself, " By Allah, when he comes next time needs must 
I make him my guest; for I have traded with his dirhams and 
have gotten large gains thereby." At the end of the year he came 
again, habited in a suit of clothes more sumptuous than the former ; 
and, when I conjured him by the Evangel to alight at my house 
and eat of my guest-food, he said, " I consent, on condition that 
what thou expendest on me shall be of my monies still in thy 
hands." I answered, " So be it," and made him sit down whilst I 
got ready what was needful of meat and drink and else besides ; 
and set the tray before him, with the invitation " Bismillah " ! 2 
Then he drew near the tray and put out his left hand 3 and ate 
with me ; and I marvelled at his not using the right hand. When 
we had done eating, I poured water on his hand and gave him 
wherewith to wipe it. Upon this we sat .down to converse after I 
had set before him some sweetmeats ; and I said to him, " O my 
master, prithee relieve me by telling me why thou eatest with thy 

1 Arab. " Al-'ajalah," referring to a saying in every Moslem mouth, " Patience is fromj 
the Protector (Allah): Hurry is from Hell." That and "Inshallah bukra 1 " (Please, 
God to-morrow !) are the traveller's b$tes noires. 

2 Here it is a polite equivalent for "fall to! " 

8 The left hand is used throughout the East for purposes of ablution and is considered 
unclean To offer the left hand would be most insulting and no man ever strokes his 
beard -with it or eats with it: hence, probably, one never sees a left-handed man 
throughout the Moslem east. In the Brazil for the same reason old-fashioned people 
wilj not take snuff with the right hand. And it is related of the Khataians that they 
prefer the left hand, " Because the heart, which is the Sultan of the city of the Bo<3y, hath 
his mansion on that side " (Rauzat al-Safa). 

The Nazarene Broker's Story. 26$ 

left hand ? Perchance something aileth thy other hand ? " When 
he heard my words, he repeated these verses : 

Dear friend, ask not what burneth in my breast, o Lest thou see fiery pangs 

eye never saw : 
Wills not my heart to harbour Salma" in stead o Of Layld's * love, but need 

hath ne'er a law ! 

And he put out his right arm from his sleeve and behold, the hand 
was cut off, a wrist without a fist. I was astounded at this but he 
said, " Marvel not, and think not that I ate with my left hand for 
conceit and insolence, but from necessity ; and the cutting off my 
right hand was caused by an adventure of the strangest.' 1 Asked 
I, " And what caused it ? " ; and he answered : Know that I am 
of the sons of Baghdad and my father was of notables of that city. 
When I came to man's estate I heard the pilgrims and wayfarers, 
travellers and merchants talk of the land of Egypt and their words 
sank deep into my mind till my parent died, when I took a large 
sum of money and furnished myself for trade with stuffs of 
Baghdad and Mosul and, packing them up in bales, set out on my 
wanderings ; and Allah decreed me safety till I entered this your 
city. Then he wept and began repeating : 

The blear-eyed scapes the pits o Wherein the lynx-eyed fall : 
A word the wise man slays o And saves the natural : 
The Moslem fails of food o The Kdfir feasts in hall : 

What art or act is man's ? o God's will obligeth all ! 

Now when he had ended his verse he said, So I entered Cairo and 
took off my loads and stored my stuffs in the Khan " Al-Masrur." a 
Then I gave the servant a few silvers wherewith to buy me some 
food and lay down to sleep awhile. When I awoke I went to the 
street called " Bayn al-Kasrayn " Between the two Palaces and 
presently returned and rested my night in the Khan. When it 
was morning I opened a bale and took out some stuff saying to 
myself, " I will be off and go through some of the bazars and see 
the state of the market." So I loaded the stuff on some of my 
slaves and fared forth till I reached the Kaysariyah or Exchange 

1 Two feminine names t as we might say Mary and Martha. 

2 It was near the Caliph's two Palaces (Al-Kasrayn) ; and was famous in the I$th 
century A.D. The Kazi's Mahkamah (Court-house) now occupies the place of the Two 

266 A If Laylah wa Laylak. 

of Jahdrkas ; * where the brokers who knew of my coming came to 
meet me. They took the stuffs and cried them for sale, but could 
not get the prime cost of them. I was vexed at this, however the 
Shaykh of the brokers said to me, " O my lord, I will tell thee 
how thou mayest make a profit of thy goods. Thou shouldest 
do as the merchants do and sell thy merchandise at credit for a 
fixed period, on a contract drawn up by a notary and duly wit- 
nessed ; and employ a Shroff to take thy dues every Monday 
and Thursday. So shalt thou gain two dirhams and more, for 
every one ; and thou shalt solace and divert thyself by seeing 
Cairo and the Nile." Quoth I, " This is sound advice," and carried 
the brokers to the Khan. They took my stuffs and went with 
them on 'Change where I sold them well taking bonds for the 
value. These bonds I deposited with a Shroff, a banker, who 
gave me a receipt with which I returned to the Khan. Here I 
stayed a whole month, every morning breaking my fast with a 
cup of wine and making my meals on pigeon's meat, mutton and 
sweetmeats, till the time came when my receipts began to fall 
due. So, every Monday and Thursday I used to go on 'Change 
and sit in the shop of one or other of the merchants, whilst the 
notary and money-changer went round to recover the monies from 
the traders, till after the time of mid-afternoon prayer, when 
they brought me the amount, and I counted it and, sealing the 
bags, returned with them to the Khan. On a certain day which 
happened to be a Monday, 2 I went to the Hammam and thence 
back to my Khan, and sitting in my own room 3 broke my fast 
with a cup of wine, after which I slept a little. When I awoke 
I ate a chicken and, perfuming my person, repaired to the shop 
of a merchant hight Badr al-Din al-Bostdni, or the Gardener, 4 who 
welcomed me ; and we sat talking awhile till the bazar should 
open. Presently, behold, up came a lady of stately figure wearing 

1 A Kaysariah is a superior kind of bazar, a "bezestein." That in the text stood to 
the east of the principal street in Cairo and was built in A. H. 502 (=. 11089) by a 
Circassian Emir, known as Fakhr al-Din Jaharkas, a corruption of the Persian "Chehar- 
kas" rrrfour persons (Lane, i. 422, from Al-Makrizi and Ibn Khallikan). For Jaharkas 
the Mac. Edit, has Jirjis (George) a common Christian name. I once lodged in a 
! Wakalah (the modern Khan) Jirjis." Pilgrimage, i. 255. 

3 Arab. "Second Day," i.e. after Saturday, the true Sabbath, so marvellously ignored 
by Christendom. 

3 Readers who wish to know how a traveller is lodged in a Wakalah, Khan, or Cara- 
vanserai, will consult my Pilgrimage, i. 60. 

4 The original occupation of the family had given it a name, as amongst us. 

The Nazarem Brokers Story. 267 

a headdress of the most magnificent, perfumed with the sweetest 
of scents and walking with graceful swaying gait ; and seeing me 
she raised her mantilla allowing me a glimpse of her beautiful 
black eyes. She saluted Badr al-Din who returned her salutation 
and stood up, and talked with her ; and the moment I heard her 
speak, the love of her gat hold of my heart. Presently she said 
to Badr al-Din " Hast thou by thee a cut piece of stuff woven 
with thread of pure gold ? " So he brought out to her a piece from 
those he had bought of me and sold it to her for one thousand two 
hundred dirhams; when she said, " I will take the piece home with 
me and send thee its price." " That is impossible, O my lady," 
the merchant replied, " for here is the owner of the stuff and I owe 
him a share of profit." " Fie upon thee ! " she cried, " Do I not 
use to take from thee entire rolls of costly stuff, and give thee a 
greater profit than thou expectest, and send thee the money ? " 
"Yes," rejoined he; "but I stand in pressing need of the price 
this very day." Hereupon she took up the piece and threw it 
back upon his lap, saying " Out on thee ! Allah confound the 
tribe of you which estimates none at the right value;" and she 
turned to go. I felt my very soul going with her ; so I stood 
up and stayed her, saying, " I conjure thee by the Lord, O my 
lady, favour me by retracing thy gracious steps." She turned back 
with a smile and said, " For thy sake I return," and took a seat 
opposite me in the shop. Then quoth I to Badr al-Din " What is 
the price they asked thee for this piece ? "; and quoth he, " Eleven 
hundred dirhams." I rejoined, " The odd hundred shall be thy 
profit : bring me a sheet of paper and I will write thee a discharge 
for it." Then I wrote him a receipt in my own handwriting and 
gave the piece to the lady, saying, " Take it away with thee and, 
if thou wilt, bring me its price next bazar-day; or better still, 
accept it as my guest-gift to thee." "Allah requite thee "with 
good," answered she, " and make thee my husband and lord and 
master of all I have ! " 1 And Allah favoured her prayer. I saw 
the Gates of Paradise swing open before me and said, " O my lady, 
let this piece of stuff be now thine and another like it is ready for 
thee ; only let me have one look at thy face." So she raised her 
veil and I saw a face the sight of which bequeathed to me a thou- 
sand sighs, and my heart was so captivated by her love that I was 

1 The usual " chaff" or banter allowed even to modest women when shopping^ and--' 
many a true word is spoken in jest. 

268 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

no longer ruler of my reason. Then she let fall her face-veil and 
taking up the piece of stuff said, "O my lord make me not desolate 
by thine absence ! " and turned away and disappeared from my 
sight. I remained sitting on 'Change till past the hour of after- 
noon prayer, lost to the world by the love which had mastered me ; 
and the violence of my passion compelled me to make enquiries 
concerning her of the merchant, who answered me, "This is a 
lady and a rich : she is the daughter of a certain Emir who lately 
died and left her a large fortune." Then I took leave of him and 
returned home to the Khan where they set supper before me .; but 
I could not eat for thinking of her and when I lay down to sleep, 
sleep came not near me. So I watched till morning, when I arose 
and donned a change of raiment and drank a cup of wine ; and, 
after breaking my fast on some slight matter, I went to the mer- 
chant's shop where I saluted him and sat down by him. Presently 
up came the lady as usual, followed by a slave-girl and wearing a 
dress more sumptuous than before ; and she saluted me without 
noticing Badr al-Din and said in fluent graceful speech (never 
heard I voice softer or sweeter), " Send one with me to take the 
thousand and two hundred dirhams, the price of the piece." "Why 
this hurry ? " asked I and she answered, " May we never lose 
thee!" 1 and handed me the money. Then I sat talking with her 
and presently I signed to her in dumb show, whereby she under- 
stood that I longed to enjoy her person, 2 and she rose up in haste 
with a show of displeasure. My heart clung to her and I went 
forth from the bazar and followed on her track. As I was walking 
suddenly a black slave-girl stopped me and said, " O my master, 
come speak with my mistress." 3 At this I was surprised and 
replied, " There is none who knows me here ; " but she rejoined, 
" O my lord, how soon hast thou forgotten her ! My lady is the 
same who was this day at the shop of such a merchant." Then I 
went with her to the Shroff's, where I found the lady who drew 
me to her side and said, " O my beloved, thine image is firmly 
stamped upon my fancy, and love of thee hath gotten hold of my 
heart : from the hour I first saw thee nor sleep nor food nor drink 
hath given me aught of pleasure." I replied, " The double of that 

1 " La adamndk" = Heaven deprive us not of thee, i.e. grant I see thee often ! 

2 This is a somewhat cavalier style of advance ; but Easterns under such circumstances 
go straight to the point, hating to filer the parfait amour. 

3 The peremptory formula of a slave delivering such a message. 

The Nazarevte Broker's Story. 269 

suffering is mine and my state dispenseth me from complaint." 
Then said she, " O my beloved, at thy house, or at mine ? " " I 
am a stranger here and have no place of reception save 4 the Khan, 
so by thy favour it shall be at thy house." " So be it ; but this is 
Friday l night and nothing can be done till to-morrow after public 
prayers ; go to the Mosque and pray ; then mount thine ass, 
and ask for the Habbdniyah 2 quarter ; and, when there, look out 
for the mansion of Al-Nakib 3 Barakdt, popularly known as Abu 
Shdmah the Syndic ; for I live there : so do not delay as I shall 
be expecting thee." I rejoiced with still greater joy at this ; and 
took leave of her and returned to my Khan, where I passed a 
sleepless night. Hardly was I assured that morning had dawned 
when I rose, changed my dress, perfumed myself with essences 
and sweet scents and, taking fifty dinars in a kerchief, went from 
the Khan Masrur to the Zuwaylah 4 gate, where I mounted an ass 
and said to its owner, " Take me to the Habbaniyah." So he set 
off with me and brought up in the twinkling of an eye at a street 
known as Darb al-Munkari, where I said to him, " Go in and ask 
for the Syndic's mansion." He was absent a while and then 
returned and said, "Alight." "Go thou before me to the house,'* 
quoth I, adding, " Come back with the earliest light and bring me 
home ; " and he answered, " In Allah's name ; " whereupon I gave 
him a quarter-dinar of gold, and he took it and went his ways. 
Then I knocked at the door and out came two white slave-girls, 
both young ; high-bosomed virgins, as they were moons, and said 
to me, " Enter, for our mistress is expecting thee and she hath not 

1 This would be our Thursday night, preceding the day of public prayers which can 
be performed only when in a state of ceremonial purity. Hence many Moslems go to 
the Hammam on Thursday and have no connection with their wives till Friday night. 

2 Lane (i. 423) gives ample details concerning the Habbaniyah, or grain-sellers' quarter 
in the southern part of Cairo ; and shows that when this tale was written (or transcribed ?] 
the city was almost as extensive as it is now. 

3 Nakib is a caravan-leader, a chief, a syndic; and "Abu Sha"mah" = Father of a 
cheek mole, while "Abu Shammah " = Father of a smeller, a nose, a snout. The 
" Kuniyab," bye-name, patronymic or matronymic, is necessary amongst Moslems whose 
list of names, all connected more or less with religion, is so scanty. Hence Buckingham 
the traveller was known as Abu Kidr, the Father of a Cooking-pot and Hajj Abdullah 
as Abu Shawarib, Father of Mustachios (Pilgrimage, iii., 263). 

* More correctly Bab Zawilah from the name of a tribe in Northern Africa. This 
gate dates from the same age as the Eastern or Desert gate, Bab al-Nasr (A.D. 1087) 
and is still much admired. M. Jomard describes it (Description, etc., ii. 670) and lately 
my good friend Yacoub Artin Pasha has drawn attention to it in the Bulletin de 1'Inst. 
Egypt., Deuxieme Se"rie, No. 4, 1883. 

270 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

slept the night long for her delight in thee." I passed through 
the vestibule into a saloon with seven doors, floored with parti- 
coloured marbles and furnished with curtains and hangings of 
coloured silks : the ceiling was cloisonne with gold and corniced 
with inscriptions 1 emblazoned in lapis lazuli ; and the walls were 
stuccoed with Sultdni gypsum 2 which mirrored the beholder's face. 
Around the saloon were latticed windows overlooking a garden 
full of all manner of fruits ; whose streams were railing and rilling 
and whose birds were trilling and shrilling ; and in the heart of the 
hall was a jetting fountain at whose corners stood birds fashioned 
in red gold crusted with pearls and. gems and spouting water 

crystal-clear. When I entered and took a seat, And Shahrazad 

perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say. 

Nofo fojm ft foas tfje ^fcentp^txtfi 

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the young 
merchant continued, When I entered and took a seat, the lady at 
once came in crowned with a diadem 3 of pearls and jewels; her 
face dotted with artificial moles in indigo, 4 her eyebrows pencilled 
with Kohl and her hands and feet reddened with Henna. When 
she saw me she smiled in my face and took me to her embrace 
and clasped me to her breast ; then she put her mouth to my 
mouth and sucked my tongue 5 (and I did likewise) and said, 

1 This ornament is still seen in the older saloons of Damascus : the inscriptions are 
usually religious sentences, extracts from the Koran, etc., in uncial characters. They 
take the place of our frescos ; and, as a work of art, are generally far superior. 

2 Arab. " Bayaz al-Sultani," the best kind of gypsum which shines like polished 
marble. The stucco on the walls of Alexandria, built by Alexander of the two Horns, 
was so exquisitely tempered and beautifully polished that men had to wear masks for 
fear of blindness. 

3 This Iklil, a complicated affair, is now obsolete, its place having been taken by the 
"Kurs," a gold plate, some five inches in diameter, set with jewels, etc. Lane (M. 
E. Appendix A) figures it. 

4 The woman-artist who applies the dye is called " Munakkishah." 

5 *' Kissing with th' inner lip," as Shakespeare calls it; the French lahgue fourrle : 
and Sankrit <{ Samputa." The subject of kissing is extensive in the East. Ten different 
varieties are duly enumerated in the " Ananga-Ranga ;" or, The Hindu Art of Love 
(Ars Amoris Indica) translated from the Sanscrit, and annotated by A. F. F. and B. F. R. 
It is also connected with unguiculation, or impressing the nails, of which there are seven 
kinds ; morsication (seven kinds) ; handling the hair and tappings or pattings with the 
fingers and palm (eight kinds). 

The Nazarene Broker's Story. 271 

" Can it be true, O my little darkling, thou art come to me ? " 
adding, " Welcome and good cheer to thee ! By Allah, from the 
day I saw thee sleep hath not been sweet to me nor hath food 
been pleasant." Quoth I, " Such hath also been my case : and I 
am thy slave, thy negro slave." Then we sat down to converse 
and I hung my head earthwards in bashfulness, but she delayed 
not long ere she set before me a tray of the most exquisite viands, 
marinated meats, fritters soaked in bee's honey 1 and chickens 
stuffed with sugar and pistachio-nuts, whereof we ate till we were 
satisfied.. Then they brought basin and ewer and I washed my 
hands and we scented ourselves with rose-water musk'd and 
sat down again to converse. So she began repeating these 
couplets : 2 

Had we wist of thy coming, thy way had been strown v; , 

With the blood of our heart and the balls of our sight : 

Our cheek as a foot-cloth to greet thee been thrown, 
That thy step on our eyelids should softly alight* 

And she kept plaining of what had befallen her and I of what 
had betided me ; and love of her gat so firm hold of my heart 
that all my wealth seemed a thing of naught in comparison with 
her. Then we fell to toying and groping and kissing till night- 
fall, when the handmaidens set before us meats and a complete 
wine service, and we sat carousing till the noon of night ; when 
we lay down and I lay with her, never in my life saw I a night 
like that night. When morning morrowed I arose and took leave 
of her, throwing under the carpet-bed the kerchief wherein were 
the dinars 3 and as I went out she wept and said, "O my lord, 
when shall I look upon that lovely face again ? " rt I will be with 
thee at sunset," answered I, and going out found the donkey-boy, 
who had brought me the day before, awaiting at the door. So I 
mounted ass and rode to the Khan of Masrur where I alighted 
and gave the man a half-dinar, saying, " Return at sunset ;" and 
he said " I will." Then I breakfasted and went out to seek the 
price of my stuffs ; after which I returned, and taking a roast lamb 
and some sweet-meats, called a porter and put the provision in his 

1 Arab, "asal-nahl," to distinguish it from "honey" i.e. syrup of sugar-cane and 

2 The lines have occurred in Night xii. By way of variety I give Torrens* version 

P- 273- 

3 The way of carrying money in the corner of a pocket-handkerchief is still common. 

272 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

crate, and sent it to the lady paying the man his hire. 11 1 went 
back to my business till sunset, when the ass-driver came to me ; 
and I took fifty dinars in a kerchief and rode to her house where 
I found the marble floor swept, the brasses burnisht, the branch- 
lights burning, the wax-candles ready lighted, the meat served up 
and the wine strained. 2 When my lady saw me she threw her 
arms about my neck, and cried, " Thou hast desolated me by thine 
absence." Then she set the tables before me and we ate till we 
were satisfied, when the slave girls carried off the trays and served 
up wine. We gave not over drinking till half the night was 
past ; and, being well warmed with drink, we went to the sleeping- 
chamber and lay there till morning. I then arose and fared forth 
from her leaving the fifty dinars with her as before ; and, finding 
the donkey-boy at the door, rode to the Khan and slept awhile. 
After that I went out to make ready the evening meal and took a 
brace of geese with gravy on two platters of dressed and peppered 
rice, and got ready colocasia 3 -roots fried and soaked in honey, and 
wax-candles and fruits and conserves and nuts and almonds and 
sweet-scented flowers ; and I sent them all to her. As soon as it 
was night I again tied up fifty dinars in a kerchief and, mounting 
the ass as usual, rode to the mansion where we ate and drank and 
lay together till morning when I threw the kerchief and dinars 2 to 
her and rode back to the Khan. I ceased not doing after that 
fashion till, after a sweet night, I woke one fine morning and found 
myself beggared, dinar-less and dirham-less. So said I to myself 
V All this be Satan's work ;" and began to recite these couplets : 

Boverty dims the sheen of man whate'er his wealth has been, o E'en as th$ 

sun about to set shines with a yellowing light : 
Absent l^e falls from memory, forgotten by his friends; o Present he shareth 

not their joys for none in him delight : 
He walks the market shunned of all, too glad to hide his head; o In desert 

places tears he sheds and moans his bitter plight : 
By Allah, 'mid his kith and kin a man, however good, o Waylaid by want and 

penury is but a stranger-wight ! 

1 He sent the provisions not to be under an obligation to her in this matter. And she 
received them to judge thereby of his liberality. 

2 Those who have seen the process of wine-making in the Libanus will readily under- 
stand why it is always strained. 

8 Arab. " Kulkasa," a kind of arum or yam, eaten boiled like our potatoes. 
4 At first he slipped the money into the bed-clothes : now he gives it openly and she 
Accepts H for a reason. 

The Nazarene Broker's Story. 273 

I fared forth from the Khan and walked down " Between the 
Palaces " street till I came to the Zuwaylah Porte, where I found 
the people crowding and the gateway blocked for the much folk. 
And by the decree of Destiny I saw there a trooper against whom 
I pressed unintentionally, so that my hand came upon his. bosom* 
pocket and I felt a purse inside it. I looked and seeing a string 
of green silk hanging from the pocket knew it for a purse ; and 
the crush grew greater every minute and just then, a camel laden 
with a load of fuel happened to jostle the trooper on the opposite 
side, and he turned round to fend it off from him, lest it tear his 
clothes; and Satan tempted me, so I' pulled the string and drew 
out a little bag of blue silk, containing something which chinked 
like coin. But the soldier, feeling his pocket suddenly lightened, 
put his hand to it and found it empty ; whereupon he turned to 
me and, snatching up his mace from his saddle-bow, struck me 
with it on the head. I fell to the ground, whilst the people came 
round us and seizing the trooper's mare by the bridle said to him, 
" Strikest thou this youth such a blow as this for a mere push!" 
But the trooper cried out at them, " This fellow is an accursed 
thief!" Whereupon I came to myself and stood up, and the 
people looked at me and said, " Nay, he is a comely youth : he 
would not steal anything ;" and some of them took my part and 
others were against me and question and answer waxed loud and 
warm. The people pulled at me and would have rescued me 
from his clutches ; but as fate decreed behold, the Governor, the 
Chief of Police, and the watch 1 entered the Zuwaylah Gate at this 
moment and, seeing the people gathered together around me and 
the soldier, the Governor asked, " What is the matter ? " '* By 
Allah! O Emir/' answered the trooper, "this is a thief! I had 
in my pocket a purse of blue silk lined with twenty good gold 
pieces and he took it, whilst I was in the crush." Quoth the 
Governor, " Was any one by thee at the time ? " ; and quoth the 
soldier, " No." Thereupon the Governor cried out to the Chief of 
Police who seized me, and on this wise the curtain of the Lord's 
protection was withdrawn from me. Then he said "Strip him;" 
and, when they stripped me, they found the purse in my clothes. 
The Wali took it, opened it and counted it; and, finding in it 
twenty dinars as the soldier had said, waxed exceeding wroth and 

1 Arab. Al-Zalamah : lit. = tyrants, oppressors, applied to the police and generally to 
the employes of Government. It is a word which tells a history. 

VOL. I. S 

274 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

bade his guard bring me before him. Then said he to me, ''Now, 

youth, speak truly: didst thou steal this purse?" 1 At this I 
hung my head to the ground and said to myself, " If I deny 
having stolen Jt, I shall get myself into terrible trouble." So I 
raised my head and said, " Yes, I took it." When the Governor 
heard these words he wondered and summoned witnesses who 
came forward and attested my confession. All this happened at 
the Zuwaylah Gate. Then the Governor ordered the link-bearer to 
cut off my right hand, and he did so ; after which he would have 
struck off my left foot also ; but the heart of the soldier softened 
and he took pity on me and interceded for me with the Governor 
that I should not be slain. 2 Thereupon the Wali left me, and 
went away and the folk remained round me and gave me a cup 
of wine to drink. As for the trooper he pressed the purse upon 
me, and said, " Thou art a comely youth and it befitteth not thou 
be a thief." So I repeated these verses : 

1 swear by Allah's name, fair sir I no thief was I, o Nor, O thou best of men ! 

was I a bandit bred : 
But Fortune's change and chance o erthrew me suddenly, o And cark and care 

and penury my course misled : 
I shot it not, indeed, 'twas Allah shot the shaft o That rolled in dust 

the Kingly diadem from my head. 3 

The soldier turned away after giving me the purse ;- and I also 
went my ways having wrapped my hand in a piece of rag and 
thrust it into my bosom. My whole semblance had changed, and 
my colour had waxed yellow from the shame and pain which had 
befallen me. Yet I went on to my mistress's house where, in 
extreme perturbation of spirit I threw myself down on the carpet- 

1 Moslem law is never completely satisfied till the criminal confess. It also utterly 
ignores circumstantial evidence and for the best of reasons : amongst so sharp-witted 
a people the admission would lead to endless abuses. I greatly surprised a certain 
Governor-General of India by giving him this simple information'. 

2 Cutting off the right hand is the Koranic punishment (chapt. v.) for one who robs- an 
article worth four dinars, about forty francs to shillings. The left foot is to be cut off at 
the ankle for a second offence and so on ; but death is reserved for a hardened criminal. 
The practice is now obsolete and theft is punished by the bastinado, fine or imprison- 
ment. The old Guebres were as severe. For stealing one dirham's worth they took a 
fine of two, cut off the ear-lobes, gave ten stick-blows and dismissed the ciiminal who 
had been subjected to an hour's imprisonment. A second theft caused the penalties to be 
doubled ; and after that the right hand was cut off or death was inflicted according to the 
proportion stolen. 

3 Koran viii. 17. 

The Nazarene Broker's Story. 275 

bed. She saw me in this state and asked me, " What aileth thee 
and why do I see thee so changed in looks ? " ; and I answered, 
"My head paineth me and I am far from well." Whereupon she was 
vexed and was concerned on my account and said, " Burn not my 
heart, O my lord, but sit up and raise thy head and recount to me 
what hath happened to thee to day, for thy face tells me a tale." 
" Leave this talk," replied I. But she wept and said, " Meseems 
thou art tired of me, for I see thee contrary to thy wont." But I 
was silent ; and she kept on talking to me albeit I gave her no 
answer, till night came on. Then she set food before me, but I 
refused it fearing lest she see me eating with my left hand and said 
to her, " I have no stomach to eat at present." Quoth she, " Tell 
me what hath befallen thee to-day, and why art thou so sorrowful 
and broken in spirit and heart ? " Quoth I, " Wait awhile ; I will 
tell thee all at my leisure." Then she brought me wine, saying, 
" Down with it, this will dispel thy grief : thou must indeed drink 
and tell me of thy tidings." I asked her, " Perforce must I tell 
thee ? " ; and she answered, " Yes." Then said I, "If it needs must 
be so, then give me to drink with thine own hand." She filled and 
drank, 1 and filled again and gave me the cup which I took from hei 
with my left hand and wiped the tears from my eyelids and began 
repeating : 

When Allah willeth aught befal a man o Who hath of ears and eyes and 

wits full share ; 
His ears He deafens and his eyes He blinds o And draws his wits e'en as we 

draw a hair 2 
Till, having wrought His purpose, He restores o Man's wits, that warned more 

circumspect he fare. 

When I ended my verses I wept, and she cried out with an exceed- 
ing loud cry, " What is the cause of thy tears ? Thou burnest my 
heart ! What makes thee take the cup with thy left hand ? " Quoth 
I, " Truly I have on my right hand a boil ; " and quoth she, " Put 
it out and I will open it for thee." 3 " It is not yet time to open it," 
I replied, "So worry me not with thy words, for I will not take it 
out of the bandage at this hour." Then I drank off" the cup, and 

1 A universal custom in the East, the object being originally to show that the draught 
was not poisoned. 

2 Out of paste or pudding. 

8 Boils and pimples are supposed to be caused by broken hair- roots and in Hindostani 
are called Bal-tor. 

27" Alf Laylah iya Laytak. 

she gave not over plying me with drink until drunkenness overcame 
me and I fell asleep in the place where I was sitting ; whereupon 
she looked at my right hand and saw a wrist without a fist. So she 
searched me closely and found with me the purse of gold and my 
severed hand wrapped up in the bit of rag. 1 With this such sorrow 
came upon her as never overcame any and she ceased not lament- 
ing on my account till the morning. When I awoke I found that 
she had dressed me a dish of broth of four boiled chickens, which 
she brought to me together with a cup of wine. I ate and drank 
and laying down the purse, would have gone out ; but she said to 
me, "Whither away?" ; and I answered, "Where my business calleth 
me ;" and said she, " Thou shalt not go : sit thee down." So I sat 
down and she resumed, " Hath thy love for me so overpowered 
thee that thou hast wasted all thy wealth and hast lost thine hand 
on my account ? I take thee to witness against me and also Allah 
be my witness that I will never part with thee, but will die under 
thy feet ; and soon thou shalt see that my words are true." Then 
she sent for the Kazi and witnesses and said to them, " Write my 
contract of marriage with this -young man, and bear ye witness that 
I have received the marriage-settlement." 2 When they had drawn 
up the document she said, " Be witness that all my monies which 
are in this chest and all I have in slaves and handmaidens and 
other property is given in free gift to this young man." So they 
took act of this statement enabling me to assume possession in right 
of marriage ; and then withdrew, after receiving their fees. There- 
upon she took me by the hand and, leading me to a closet, opened 
a large chest and said to me, " See what is herein ; " and I looked 
and behold, it was full of kerchiefs. Quoth she," This is the money 
I had from thee and every kerchief thou gavest me, containing 
fifty dinars, I wrapped up and cast into this chest ; so now take 
thine own, for it returns to thee, and this day thou art become of 
high estate. Fortune and Fate afflicted thee so that thou didst 
lose thy right hand for my sake ; and I can never requite thee ; 
nay, although I gave my life 't were but little and I should still 

1 He intended to bury it decently, a respect which Moslems always show even to the 
exuviae of the body, as hair and nail parings. Amongst Guebres the latter were 
collected and carried to some mountain. The practice was intensified by fear of demons 
or wizards geltmg possession of the spoils. 

8 Without which the marriage was not valid. The minimum is ten dirhams (drachmas) 
now valued at about five francs to shillings ; and if a man marry without naming the sum, 
the woman, after consummation, can compel him to pay this minimum. , 

The Nazarene Brokers Story. 277 

remain thy debtor." Then she added, "Take charge of thy pro- 
perty ; " so I transferred the contents of her chest to my chest, 
and added my wealth to her wealth which I had given her, and 
my heart was eased and my sorrow ceased. I stood up and kissed 
her and thanked her ; and she said, " Thou hast given thy hand 
for love of me and how am I able to give thee an equivalent ? " 
By Allah, if I offered my life for thy love, it were indeed but little 
and would not do justice to thy claim upon me." Then she made 
over to me by deed all that she possessed in clothes and ornaments 
of gold and pearls, and goods and farms and chattels, and lay not 
down to sleep that night, being sorely grieved for my grief, till 
I told her the whole of what had befallen me. I passed the night 
with her. But before we had lived together a month's time she 
fell sorely sick and illness increased upon her, by reason of her 
grief for the loss of my hand, and she endured but fifty days 
before she was numbered among the folk of futurity and heirs of 
immortality. So I laid her out and buried her body in mother 
earth and let make a pious perfection of the Koran 1 for the 
health of her soul, and gave much money in alms for her ; after 
which I turned me from the grave and returned to the house. 
There I found that she had left much substance in ready money 
and slaves, mansions, lands and domains, and among her store- 
houses was a granary of sesame-seed, whereof I sold part to thee ; 
and I had neither time nor inclination to take count with thee till I 
had sold the rest of the stock in store ; nor, indeed, even now have 
I made an end of receiving the price. So I desire thou baulk 
me not in what I am about to say to thee : twice have I eaten of 
thy food and I wish to give thee as a present the monies, for the 
sesame which are by thee. Such is the cause of the cutting of 
my right hand and my eating with my left. " Indeed," said I, 
" thou hast shown me the utmost kindness and liberality." Then 
he asked me, "Why shouldst thou not travel with me to my native 
country whither I am about to return with Cairene and Alex- 
andrian stuffs ? Say me, wilt thou accompany me ? ; " and I 
answered " I will." So I agreed to go with him at the head of 
the month, and I sold all I had and bought other merchandise ; 
then we set out and travelled, I and the young man, to this country 

1 Arab. " Khatmah " = reading or reciting the whole Koran, by one or more persons, 
usually in the house, not over the tomb. Like the " Zikr," Litany or Rogation, it is a 
pious act confined to certain occasions. 

278 A If Laylak wa Lay I ah. 

of yours, where he sold his venture and bought other investment 
of country stuffs and continued his journey to Egypt. But it 
was my lot to abide here, so that these things befel me in my 
strangerhood which befel last night, and is not this tale, O King 
of the age, more wondrous and marvellous than the story of the 
Hunchback ? " Not so," quoth the King, " I cannot accept 
it : there is no help for it but that you be hanged, every one of 

you." And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day, and ceased 

saying her permitted say. 

JJofo fojen ft foas tje &foentg=seb0nt!) Jiujfjt, 

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


KNOW, O King, that last night I was at a party where they made 
a perfection of the Koran and got together doctors of law and 
religion skilled in recitation and intoning ; and, when the readers 
ended, the table was spread and amongst other things they set 
before us was a marinated ragout 1 flavoured with cumin-seed. So 
we sat down, but one of our number held back and refused to 
touch it. We conjured him to eat of it but he swore he would 
not; and, when we again pressed him,lie said, " Be not instant with 
me ; sufficeth me that which hath already befallen me through 
eating it " ; and he began reciting : 

Shoulder thy tray and go straight to thy goal ; o And, if suit thee this Kohl, 
why, use this Kohl ! 2 

When he ended his verse we said to him, " Allah upon thee, tell 
us thy reason for refusing to eat of the cumin -ragout ? " "If so it 

1 Arab. " Zirbajah " ^=. meat dressed with vinegar, cumin-seed (Pers. Zir) and hot 
spices. More of it in the sequel of the tale. 

2 A saying not uncommon meaning,, let each man do as he seems fit ; also=: " age 
quod agis " : and at times corresponding with our saw about the cap-fitting 

The Reeve's Tale. 279 

be," he replied, "and needs must I eat of it, I will not do so except 
I wash my hand forty times with soap, forty times with potash 
and forty times with galangale, 1 the total being one hundred and 
twenty washings." Thereupon the hospitable host bade his slaves 
bring water and whatso he required ; and the young man washed 
his hand as afore mentioned. Then he sat down, as if disgusted 
and frightened withal, and dipping his hand in the ragout, began 
eating and at the same time showing signs of anger. And we 
wondered at him with extreme wonderment, for his hand trembled 
and the morsel in it shook and we saw that his thumb had been 
cut off and he ate with his four fingers only. So we said to him, 
" Allah upon thee, what happened to thy thumb ? Is thy hand 
thus by the creation of God or hath some accident befallen it ? " 
" O my brothers," he answered, " it is not only thus with this thumb, 
but also with my other thumb and with both my great toes, as 
you shall see." So saying he uncovered his left hand and his feet, 
and we saw that the left hand was even as the right and in like 
manner that each of his feet lacked its great toe. When we saw 
him after this fashion, our amazement waxed still greater and we 
said to him, "We have hardly patience enough to await thy 
history and to hear the manner of the cutting off of thy thumbs, 
and the reason of thy washing both hands one hundred and 
twenty times." Know then, said he, that my father was chief of 
the merchants and the wealthiest of them all in Baghdad-city 
during the reign of the Caliph Harun al-Rashid ; and he was much 
given to wine-drinking and listening to the lute and the other 
instruments of pleasaunce ; so that when he died he left nothing. 
I buried him and had perlections of the Koran made for him, and 
mourned for him days and nights: then I opened his shop and 
found that he had left in it few goods, while his debts were many. 
However I compounded with his creditors for time to settle their 
demands and betook myself to buying and selling, paying them 
something from week to week on account ; and I gave not over 
doing this till I had cleared off his obligations in full and began 
adding to my principal. One day, as I sat in my shop, suddenly 
and unexpectedly there appeared before me a young lady, than 
whom I never saw a fairer, wearing the richest raiment and orna- 
ments and riding a she mule, with one negro-slave walking before 

1 Arab. *' Su'ud," an Alpinia with pungent rhizome like ginger; here used as a 

280 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

her and another behind her. She drew rein at the head of the 
exchange-bazar and entered followed by an eunuch who said to 
her, " O my lady come out and away without telling any one, lest 
thou light a fire which will burn us all up." Moreover he stood 
before her guarding her from view whilst she looked at the mer- 
chants' shops. She found none open but mine ; so she came up 
with the eunuch behind her and sitting down in my shop saluted 
me ; never heard I aught fairer than her speech or sweeter than her 
voice. Then she unveiled her face, and I saw that she was like the 
moon and I stole a glance at her whose sight caused me a thousand 
sighs, and my heart was captivated with love of her, and I kept 
looking again and again upon her face repeating these verses : 

Say to the charmer in the dove-hued veil, o Death would be welcome to abate 

thy bale ! 
Favour me with thy favours that I live : o See, I stretch forth my palm to 

take thy vaill 

When she heard my verse she answered me saying : 

I've lost all patience by despite of you; o My heart knows nothing save love- 
plight to you \ 
If aught I sight save charms so bright of you; My parting end not in the 

sight of you ! 
I swear I'll ne'er forget the right of you; o And fain this breast would soar to 

height of you : 
You made me drain the love-cup, and I lief o A love-cup tender for delight of 

you : 
Take this my form where'er you go, and when o You die, entomb me in the 

site of you : 
Call on me in my grave, and hear my bones o Sigh their responses to the 

shright of you : 
And were I asked " Of God what wouldst thou see ? " o I answer, " first His will 

then Thy decree ! " 

When she ended her verse she asked me, " O youth, hast thou any 
fair stuffs by thee?"; and I answered, "O my lady, thy slave is 
poor ; but have patience till the merchants open their shops, and 
I will suit thee with what thou wilt." Then we sat talking, I and 
she (and I was drowned in the sea of her love, dazed in the desert 1 
of my passion for her), till the merchants opened their shops ; when 
I rose and fetched her all she sought to the tune of five thousand 
dirhams. She gave the stuff to the eunuch and, going forth by 

1 Arab. " Ta'ih = lost in the " Tfh," a desert wherein man may lose himself, 
translated in our maps "The Desert of the Wanderings," sciL of the children of 
Israel. "Credat Judaeus." 

The Reeve's Tale. 281 

the door of the Exchange, she mounted mule and went away 
without telling me whence she came, and I was ashamed to speak 
of such trifle. When the merchants dunned me for the price, I 
made myself answerable for five thousand dirhams and went home, 
drunken with the love of her. They set supper before me and I 
ate a mouthful, thinking only of her beauty and loveliness, and 
sought to sleep, but sleep came not to me. And such was my 
condition for a whole week, when the merchants required their 
monies of me, but I persuaded them to have patience for another 
week, at the end of which time she again appeared mounted on a 
she-mule and attended by her eunuch and two slaves. She saluted 
me and said, " O my master, we have been long in bringing thee 
the price of the stuffs ; but now fetch the Shroff and take thy 
monies." So I sent for the money-changer and the eunuch counted 
out the coin before him and made it over to me. Then we sat 
talking, I and she, till the market opened, when she said to me, 
" Get me this and that." So I got her from the merchants whatso 
she wanted, and she took it and went away without saying a word 
to me about the price. As soon as she was out of sight, I repented 
me of what I had done ; for the worth' of the stuffs bought for her 
amounted to a thousand dinars, and I said in my soul, " What 
manner of love is this? She hath brought me five thousand 
dirhams, and hath taken goods for a thousand dinars. 1 I feared 
lest I should be beggared through having to pay the merchants 
their money, and I said, " They know none other but me ; this 
lovely lady is naught but a cheat and a swindler, who hath diddled 
me with her beauty and grace ; for she saw that I was a mere 
youth and laughed at me for not asking her address. I ceased 
not to be troubled by these doubts and fears, as she was absent 
more than a month, till the merchants pestered me for their money 
.and were so hard upon me that I put up my property for sale and 
stood on the very brink of ruin. However, as I was sitting in 
my shop one day, drowned in melancholy musings, she suddenly 
rode up and, dismounting at the bazar-gate, came straight towards 
me. When I saw her all my cares fell from me and I forgot every 
trouble. She came close up to me and greeted me with her sweet 
voice and pleasant speech and presently said, " Fetch me the Shroff 
and weigh thy money. 2 " So she gave me the price of what goods 

1 i.e., 125 and 500. 

2 A large sum was weighed by a professional instead of being counted, the reason 
being that the coin is mostly old and worn : hence our words " pound" and " pension " 
(or what is weighed out). 

282 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

I had gotten for her and more, and fell to talking freely with me, 
till I was like to die of joy and delight. Presently she asked me, 
"Hast thou a wife ?" ; and I answered "No, indeed : I have never 
known woman " ; and began to shed tears. Quoth she " Why 
weepest thou ? " Quoth I " It is nothing ! " Then giving the eunuch 
some of the gold pieces, I begged him to be go-between 1 in the 
matter ; but he laughed and said, " She is more in love with thee 
than thou with her : she hath no occasion for the stuffs she hath 
bought of thee and did all this only for the love of thee ; so ask 
of her what thou wilt and she will deny thee nothing." When she 
saw me giving the dinars to the eunuch, she returned and sat down 
again ; and I said to her, " Be charitable to thy slave and pardon 
him what he is about to say." Then I told her what was in my 
mind and she assented and said to the eunuch, " Thou shalt carry 
my message to him," adding to me, " And do thou whatso the 
eunuch biddeth thee." Then she got up and went away, and I paid 
the merchants their monies and they all profited ; but as for me, 
regret at the breaking off of our intercourse was all my gain ; and 
I slept not the whole of that night. However, before many days 
passed her eunuch came to me, and I entreated him honourably 
and asked him after his mistress. " Truly she is sick with love of 
thee," he replied and I rejoined, " Tell me who and what she is." 
Quoth he, "The Lady Zubaydah, queen-consort of Harun al-Rashid, 
bought her up as a rearling 2 and hath advanced her to be stewardess 
of the Harim, and gave her the right of going in and out of her 
own sweet will. She spoke to her lady of thee and begged her to 
marry her to thee ; but she said : -I will not do this, till I see the 
young man ; and, if he be worthy of thee, I will marry thee to him. So 
now we look for the moment to smuggle thee into the Palace and 
if thou succeed in entering privily thou wilt win thy wish to wed 
her ; but if the affair get wind, the Lady Zubaydah will strike off 
thy head. 3 What sayest thou to this " ? I answered, " I will go 

1 The eunuch is the best possible go-between on account of his almost unlimited 
power over the Harem, 

3 i.e. a slave-girl brought up in the house and never sold except for some especial 
reason, as habitual drunkenness, etc. 

3 Smuggling men into the Harem is a stock " topic " of eastern tales. " By means of 
their female attendants, the ladies of the royal harem generally get men into their apart- 
ments in the disguise of women." Says Vatsyayana in The Kama Sutra, Part V., 
London: Printed for the Hindoo Kamashastra Society, 1883. For private circulation 

The Reeve's Tale. 283 

with thee and abide the risk whereof thou speakest." Then said he, 
" As soon as it is night, go to the Mosque built by the Lady 
Zubaydah on the Tigris and pray the night-prayers and sleep 
there." "With love and gladness," cried I. So at nightfall I 
repaired to the Mosque, where I prayed and passed the night. With 
earliest dawn, behold, came sundry eunuchs in a skiff with a number 
of empty chests which they deposited in the Mosque , then all of 
them went their ways but one, and looking curiously at him, 
I saw he was our go-between. Presently in came the handmaiden, 
my mistress, walking straight up to us ; and I rose to her and 
embraced her while she kissed me and shed tears. 1 We talked 
awhile ; after which she made me get into one of the chests which 
she locked upon me. Presently the other eunuchs came back with 
a quantity of packages and she fell to stowing them in the chests, 
which she locked down, one by one, till all were shut. When all 
was done the eunuchs embarked the chests in the boat and made 
for the Lady Zubaydah's palace. With this, thought began to beset 
me and I said to myself, " Verily thy lust and wantonness will be 
the death of thee ; and the question is after all shalt thou win to 
thy wish or not ? " And I began to weep, boxed up as I was in 
the box and suffering from cramp ; and I prayed Allah that He 
deliver me from the dangerous strait I was in, whilst the boat gave 
not over going on till it reached the Palace-gate where they lifted 
out the chests and amongst them that in which I was. Then they 
carried them in, passing through a troop of eunuchs, guardians of 
the Harim and of the ladies behind the curtain, till they came to 
the post of the Eunuch-in-Chief 2 who started up from his slumbers 
and shouted to the damsel " What is in those chests ? " " They 
are full of wares for the Lady Zubaydah ! " " Open them, one by 

1 These tears are shed over past separation. So the " Indians ** of the New World 
never meet after long parting without beweeping mutual friends they have lost. 

2 A most important Jack in office whom one can see with his smooth chin and "blubber 
lips, starting up from his lazy snooze in the shade and delivering his orders more 
peremptorily than any Dogberry. These epicenes are as curious and exceptional in 
character as in external conformation. Disconnected, after a fashion, with "humanity, 
they are brave, fierce and capable of any villany or barbarity (as Agha Mohammed Khan 
in Persia 1795-98). The frame is unnaturally long and lean, especially the arms and legs ; 
with high, flat, thin shoulders ; big protruding joints and a face by contrast extraordinarily 
large, a veritable mask ; the Castrate is expert in the use of weapons and sits his horse 
admirably, riding well "home" in the saddle for the best of reasons; and his hoarse 
thick voice, which apparently does not break, as in the European " Ca'ppone/' invests him 
with all the circumstance of command. 

284 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

one, that I may see what is in them." "And wherefore wouldst thou 
open them ? " " Give me no words and exceed not in talk ! these 
chests must and shall be opened." So saying, he sprang to his feet, 
and the first which they brought to him to open was that wherein 
I was ; and, when I felt his hands upon it, my senses failed me and 
I bepissed myself in my funk, the water running out of the box. 
Then said she to the Eunuch-in-Chief, "O steward! thou wilt 
cause me to be killed and thyself too, for thou hast damaged goods 
worth ten thousand dinars. This chest contains coloured dresses, 
and four gallon flasks of Zemzem water ; ! and now one of them 
hath got unstoppered and the water is running out over the clothes 
and it will spoil their colours." The eunuch answered, " Take up 
thy boxes and get thee gone to the curse of God ! " So the slaves 
carried off all the chests, including mine ; and hastened on with 
them till suddenly I heard the voice of one saying, " Alack, and 
alack ! the Caliph ! the Caliph ! " When that cry struck mine ears 
I died in my skin and said a saying which never yet shamed the 
(sayer, " There is no Majesty and there is no Might save .in Allah, 
fthe Glorious, the Great ! I and only I have brought this calamity 
upon myself." Presently I heard the Caliph say to my mistress, 
v " A plague on thee, what is in those boxes ? " ; and she answered, 
( " Dresses for the Lady Zubaydah " ; 2 whereupon he, " Open them 
before me.! " When I heard this I died my death outright and 
said to myself, " By Allah, to-day is the very last of my days in 
this world : if I come safe out of this I am to marry her and 
no more words, but detection stares me in the face and my head is 
as good as stricken off." Then I repeated the. profession of Faith, 
saying, " There is no god but the God, and Mohammed is the 
Apostle of God ! " And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day 
and ceased to say her permitted say. 

btfjen ft foas tfie Sfoentg*li'Qjt{) 

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the young 
merchant continued as follows : Now when I testified, " I bear 
witness that there is no god save the God, I heard my mistress the 

1 From the Meccan well used by Moslems much lite Eau de Lourdes by Christians ;' 
the water is saltish, hence the touch of Arab humour (Pilgrimage III., 201-202.) 

2 Such articles would be sacred from Moslem eyes. 

The Reeve's Tale. 285 

handmaid declare to the Caliph, "These chests, O Commander of the 
Faithful, have been committed to my charge by the Lady Zubaydah, 
and she dotli not wish their contents to be seen by any one." " No 
matter ! " quoth the Caliph, " needs must they be opened, I wzV/see 
what is in them " ; and he cried aloud to the eunuchs, " Bring the 
chests here before me." At this I made sure of death (without 
benefit of a doubt) and swooned away. Then the eunuchs brought 
the chests up to him one after another and he fell to inspecting the 
contents, but he saw in them only ottars and stuffs and fine dresses ; 
and they ceased not opening the chests and he ceased not looking 
to see what was in them, finding only clothes and such matters, till 
none remained unopened but the box in which I was boxed. They 
put forth their hands to open it, but my mistress the handmaid 
made haste and said to the Caliph, " This one thou shalt see only 
in the presence of the Lady Zubaydah, for that which is in it is her 
secret/' When he heard this he gave orders to carry in the chests ; 
so they took up that wherein I was and bore it with the rest into 
the Harim and set it down in the midst of the saloon ; and indeed 
my spittle was dried up for very fear. 1 Then my mistress opened 
the box and took me out, saying, " Fear not : no harm shall betide 
thee now nor dread ; but broaden thy breast and strengthen thy 
heart and sit thee down till the Lady Zubaydah. come, and surely 
thou shalt win thy wish of me." So I sat down and, after a while, 
in came ten handmaidens, virgins like moons, and ranged them- 
selves in two rows, five facing five ; and after them twenty other 
damsels, high-bosomed virginity, surrounding the Lady Zubaydah 
who could hardly walk for the weight of her raiment and ornaments. 
As she drew near, the slave-girls dispersed from around her, and I 
advanced and kissed the ground between her hands. She signed 
to me to sit and, when I sat down before her chair, she began ques- 
tioning me of my forbears and family and condition, to which I 
made such answers that pleased her, and she said to my mistress, 
" Our nurturing of thee, O damsel, hath not disappointed us." Then 
she said to me, " Know that this handmaiden is to us even as our 
own child and she is a trust committed to thee by Allah." I again 
kissed the ground before her, well pleased that I should marry my 
mistress, and she bade me abide ten days in the palace. So I abode 
there ten days, during which time I saw not my mistress nor any 
body save one of the concubines, who brought me the morning and 

1 Physiologically true, but not generally mentioned in describing the emotions. 

286 A If Lay I ah wa Laylah. 

evening meals. After this the Lady Zubaydah took counsel with the 
Caliph on the marriage of her favourite handmaid, and he gave leave 
and assigned to her a wedding portion of ten thousand gold pieces. 
So the Lady Zubaydah sent for the Kazi and witnesses who wrote 
our marriage-contract, after which the women made ready sweet- 
meats and rich viands and distributed them among all the Odahs 1 
of the Harim. Thus they did other ten days, at the end of which 
time my mistress went to the baths. 2 Meanwhile, they set before 
me a tray of food whereon were various meats and among those 
dishes, which were enough to daze the wits, was a bowl of cumin- 
ragout containing chickens' breasts, fricandoed 3 and flavoured 
with sugar, pistachios, musk and rose-water. Then, by Allah, fair 
sirs, I did not long hesitate ; but took my seat before the ragout 
and fell to and ate of it till I could no more. After this I wiped 
my hands, but forgot to wash them ; and sat till it grew dark, when 
the wax-candles were lighted and the singing women came in with 
their tambourines and proceeded to display the bride in various 
dresses and to carry her in procession from room to room all round 
the palace, getting their palms crossed with gold. Then they 
brought her to me and disrobed her. When I found myself alone 
with her on the bed I embraced her, hardly believing in our union ; 
but she smelt the strong odours of the ragout upon my hands and 
forthwith cried out with an exceeding loud cry, at which the slave- 
girls came running to her from all sides. I trembled with alarm, 
unknowing what was the matter, and the girls asked her, " What 
aileth thee, O our sister ? " She answered them, " Take this madman 
away from me: I had thought he was a man of sense!" Quoth 
I to her, "What makes thee think me mad?" Quoth she, 
'* Thou madman ! what made thee eat of cumin-ragout and 
forget to wash thy hand ? By Allah, I will requite thee for thy 
misconduct. Shall the like of thee come to bed with the like of 
me with unclean hands ? 4 " Then she took from her side a plaited 
scourge and came down with it on my back and the place where I 
sit till her forearms were benumbed and I fainted away from the 
much beating; when she said to the handmaids, "Take him and 

1 Properly " Uta," the different rooms, each ' Odalisque," or concubine, having her 
, 2 Showing that her monthly ailment was over. 

8 Arab. " Muhammarah "neither browned before the fire or artificially reddened. 

4 The insolence and licence of these palace-girls was (and is) unlimited ; especially 
when, as in the present case, they have to deal with a " softy." On this subject number- 
less stories are current throughout the East. 

The Reeve's Tale. 287 

carry him to the Chief of Police, that he may strike off the hand 
wherewith he ate of the cumin-ragout, and which he did not wash." 
When I heard this I said, " There is no Majesty and there is no 
Might save in Allah ! Wilt thou cut off my hand, because I ate of a 
cumin-ragout and did not wash ? " The handmaidens also inter- 
ceded with her and kissed her hand saying, " O our sister, this man 
is a simpleton, punish him not for what he hath done this nonce;" 
but she answered, " By Allah, there is no help but that I dock him 
of somewhat, especially the offending member." Then she went 
away and I saw no more of her for ten days, during which time 
she sent me meat and drink by a slave-girl who told me that she 
had fallen sick from the smell of the cumin-ragout. After that 
time she came to me and said, " O black of face * ! I will teach 
thee how to eat cumin-ragout without washing thy hands ! " Then 
she cried out to the handmaids, who pinioned me ; and she took 
a sharp razor and cut off my thumbs and great toes ; even as 
you see, O fair assembly ! Thereupon I swooned away, and she 
sprinkled some powder of healing herbs upon the stumps and 
when the blood was staunched, I said, " Never again will I eat of 
cumin-ragout without washing my hands forty times with potash 
and forty times with galangale and forty times with soap ! " And 
she took of me an oath and bound me by a covenant to that effect. 
When, therefore, you brought me the cumin-ragout my colour 
changed and I said to myself, " It was this very dish that caused 
the cutting off of my thumbs and great toes ; " and, when you 
forced me, I said, " Needs must I fulfil the oath I have sworn/ 1 
"And what befel thee after this?" asked those present; and he 
answered, When I swore to her, her anger was appeased and I 
slept with her that night. We abode thus awhile till she said to 
me one day, " Verily the Palace of the Caliph is not a pleasant 
place for us to live in, and none ever entered it save thyself; and 
thou only by grace of the Lady Zubaydah. Now she hath given 
me fifty thousand dinars," adding, " Take this money and go out 
and buy us a fair dwelling-house." So I fared forth and bought a 
fine and spacious mansion, whither she removed all the wealth she 
owned and what riches I had gained in stuffs and costly rarities. 
Such is the cause of the cutting off of my thumbs and great toes." 
We ate, (continued the Reeve) and were returning to our homes 
when there befel me with the Hunchback that thou wettest of. 

1 '.*. blackened by the fires of Jehannam. 

288 Alf Laylak wa Laylah. 

This then is my story, and peace be with thee ! Quoth the King 
" This story is on no wise more delectable than the story of the 
Hunchback ; nay, it is even less so, and there is no help for the 
hanging of the whole of you." Then came forward the Jewish 
physician and kissing the ground said, " O King of the age, I will 
tell thee an history more wonderful than that of the Hunchback." 
" Tell on," said the King of China ; so he began the 


RIGHT marvellous was a matter which came to pass to me in my 
youth. I lived in Damascus of Syria studying my art and, one 
day, as I was sitting at home behold, there came to me a Mame- 
luke from the household of the Sahib and said to me," Speak with 
my lord ! " So I followed him to the Viceroy's house and, entering 
the great hall, saw at its head a couch of cedar plated with gold 
whereon lay a sickly youth beautiful withal ; fairer than he one 
could not see. I sat down by his head and prayed to Heaven for 
a cure ; and he made me a sign with his eyes, so I said to him, 
; " O my lord ! favour me with thy hand, and safety be with thee!" 1 
' Then he put forth his left hand and I marvelled thereat and said, 
" By Allah, strange that this handsome youth, the son of a great 
house, should so lack good manners. This can be nothing but 
pride and conceit!" However I felt his pulse and wrote him a pre- 
scription and continued to visit him for ten days, at the. end of 
which time he recovered and went to the Hammam, 2 whereupon 
the Viceroy gave me a handsome dress of honour and appointed 
me superintendent of the hospital which is in Damascus. 3 I ac- 

1 Arab. " Bi'1-Salamah " = in safely (to avert the evil eye). When visiting the sick 
it is usual to say something civil;" "The Lord heal thee ! No evil befal thee!" etc. 

* Washing during sickness is held dangerous by Arabs; and "going to the Ham 
mam*' is, I have said, equivalent to convalescence. 

8 Arab. "Maristdn" (pronounced Muristan) a corruption of the Pers. "Bima- 
ristan " == place of sickness, a hospital much affected by the old Guebres (Dabistati, 
i., 165, 166). That of Damascus was the first Moslem hospital, founded by Al-Walid 
Son of Abd al-MaHk the Ommiade in A.H. 88 = 706-7. Benjamin of Tudela (A.D. 
1164) calls it " Dar-al-Maraphtan " which his latest Editor explains by " Dar-al-Mora- 
bittan" (abode of those who require being chained). Al-Makrizi (Khitat) ascribes 
the invention of "Spitals" to Hippocrates; another historian to an early Pharaoh 
*' Manakiyush ; " thus ignoring the Persian Kings, Saint Ephrem (or Fphraim) Syru 
etc. In modern parlance "-MarisUn" is * madhouse where the maniacs are -treated 

Tale of the Jewish Doctor. 289 

companied liim to the baths, the whole- of which they had kept 
private for his accommodation ; and the servants came in with 
him and took off his clothes within the bath, and when he was 
stripped I saw that his right hand had been newly cut off, and 
this was the cause of his weakliness. At this I was amazed and 
grieved for him : then, looking at his body, I saw on it the scars of 
scourge-stripes whereto he had applied unguents. I was troubled at 
the sight and my concern appeared in my face. The young man 
looked at me and, comprehending the matter, said, "O Physician 
of the age, marvel not at my case ; I will tell thee my story as soon 
as we quit the baths." Then we washed and, returning to his house, 
ate somewhat of food and took rest awhile ; after which he asked 
me, " What sayest thou to solacing thee by inspecting the supper- 
hall ?"; and I answered " So let it be." Thereupon he ordered the 
slaves to carry out the carpets and cushions required and roast a 
lamb and bring us some fruit. They did his bidding and we ate 
together, he using the left hand for the purpose. After a while I 
said to him, " Now tell me thy tale." " O Physician of the age," 
replied he, " Hear what befel me. Know that I am of the sons of 
Mosul, where my grandfather died leaving nine children of whom 
my father was the eldest. All grew up and took to them wives, 
but none of them was blessed with offspring except my father, to 
whom Providence vouchsafed me. So I grew up amongst my 
uncles who rejoiced in me with exceeding joy, till I came to man's 
estate. One day which happened to be a Friday, I went to the 
Cathedral-mosque of Mosul with my father and my uncles, and we 
prayed the congregational prayers, after which the folk went forth, 
except my father and uncles, who sat talking of wondrous things in 
foreign parts and the marvellous sights of strange cities. At last 
they mentioned Egypt, and one of my uncles said, " Travellers tell 
us that there is not on earth's face aught fairer than Cairo and her 

with all the horrors which were universal in Europe till within a few years and of 
which occasional traces occur to this day. In A.D. 1399 Katherine de la Court held 
a "hospital in the Court called Robert de Paris; " but the first madhouse in Christendom 
was built by the legate Ortiz in Toledo A.D. 1483, and was therefore called Casa del 
Nuncio. The Damascus "Maristan" was described by every traveller of the last 
century : and it showed a curious contrast between the treatment of the maniac and 
the idiot or omadhaun, who is humanely allowed to wander about unharmed, if not 
held a Saint. When I saw it last (1870) it was all but empty and mostly in ruins; 
As far as my experience goes, the United States is the only country where the insane 
are .rationally treated by the sane. 

VOL. i. T 

290 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

Nile ;" and these words made me long to see Cairo. Quoth my 
father, "Whoso hath not seen Cairo hath not seen the world. Her 
dust is golden and her Nile a miracle holden ; and her women are 
as Houris fair ; puppets, beautiful pictures ; her houses are palaces 
rare ; her water is sweet and light * and her mud a commodity and 
a medicine beyond compare, even as said the poet in this his 
poetry : 

The Nile 2 -flood this day is the gain you own ; o You alone in such gain and 

bounties wone : 
The Nile is my tear-flood of severance, And here none is forlorn 

but I alone. 

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

An I quit Cairo and her pleasaunces, o Where can I wend to find so glad- 
some ways ? 
Shall I desert that site, whose grateful scents o Joy every soul and call for 

loudest praise ? 
Where every palace, as another Eden, o Carpets and cushions richly wrought 

displays ; 
A city wooing sigjit and sprite to glee, o Where Saint meets Sinner and 

each 'joys his craze ; 
Where friend meets friend, by Providence united In greeny garden and 

in palmy maze : 
People of Cairo, an by Allah's doom o I fare, with you in thoughts I wone 

always ! 
Whisper not Cairo in the ear of Zephyr, o Lest for her like of garden scents 

he reave her. 3 

And if your eyes saw her earth, and the adornment thereof with 
bloom, and the purfling of it with all manner blossoms, and the 
islands of the Nile and how much is therein of wide-spread and 

1 Hence the trite saying "Whoso drinks the water of the Nile will ever long to 
drink it again. "Light" means easily digested water; and the great test is being 
able to drink it at night between the sleeps, without indigestion. 

* " Nil" in popular parlance is the Nile in flood, although also used for the River as a 
proper name. Egyptians (modern as well as ancient), have three .seasons Al-Shita 
(winter), Al-Sayf (summer) and Al-Nfl (the Nile i.e. flood season, our mid-summer) ; 
corresponding with the Growth-months ; Housing (or granary) months and Flood-months 
of the older race 

3 These lines are in the Mac. Edit. 

Tale of the Jewish Doctor. 291 

goodly prospect, and if you bent your sight upon the Abyssinian 
Pond 1 , your glance would not revert from the scene quit of wonder ; 
for nowhere would you behold the fellow of that lovely view ; and, 
indeed, the two arms of the Nile embrace most luxuriant verdure *, 
as the white of the eye encompasseth its black or like filagree'd 
silver surrounding chrysolites. And divinely gifted was the poet 
who thereanent said these couplets : 

By th* Abyssinian Pond, O day divine! o In morning twilight and in 

sunny shine : 
The water prisoned in its verdurous walls, o Like sabre flashes before 

shrinking eyne : 
And in The Garden sat we while it drains o Slow draught, with purfled 

sides dyed finest fine : 
The stream is rippled by the hands of clouds ; a We too, a-rippling, on our 

rugs recline, 
Passing pure wine, and whoso leaves us there o Shall ne'er arise from fall his 

woes design : 
Draining long draughts from large and brimming bowls, o Administ'ring thirst's 

only medicine wine. 

And what is there to compare with the Rasad, the Observatory, 
and its charms whereof every viewer as he approacheth saith : 
Verily this spot is specialised with all manner of excellence ! And. 
if thou speak of the Night of Nile-full, 3 give the rainbow and dis- 
tribute it ! 4 And if thou behold The Garden at eventide, with the 
cool shades sloping far and wide, a marvel thou wouidst see and 
wouldst incline to Egypt in ecstacy. And wert thou by Cairo's 
river- side, 5 when the sun is sinking and the stream dons mail-coat 
and habergeon 6 over its other vestments, thou wouldst be quickened 
to new life by its gentle zephyrs and by its all-sufficient shade." So 

1 Arab. "Birkat al-Habash," a tank formerly existing in Southern Cairo: Galland 
(Night 128) says "en remontant vers l'thiopie." 

2 The Bres. Edit, (ii, 190) from which I borrow this description, here alludes tp the 
well-known Island, Al-Rauzah (Rodah) = The Garden. 

3 Arab. " Laylat al-Wafd," the night of the completion or abundance of the Nile 
(rflood), usually between August 6th and i6th, when the government proclaims that the 
Nilometer shows a rise of 16 cubits. Of course it is a great festival and a high ceremony, 
for Egypt is still the gift of the Nile (Lane M.E. chapt. xxvi a work which would be 
much improved by a better index). 

4 i.e admiration will be complete. 

6 Arab. " Sahil Masr " (Misr) : hence I suppose Galland's villes maritimes. 
6 A favourite simile, suggested by the broken glitter and shimmer of the stream under 
the level rays and the breeze of eventide. 

292 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

spake he and the rest fell to describing Egypt and her Nile. As I 
heard their accounts, my thoughts dwelt upon the subject and when, 
after talking their fill, all arose and went their ways, I lay down to 
sleep that night, but sleep came not because of my violent longing 
for Egypt ; and neither meat pleased me nor drink. After a few 
days my uncles equipped themselves for a trade-journey to Egypt ; 
and I wept before my father till he made ready for me fitting 
merchandise, and he consented to my going with them, saying 
however, " Let him not enter Cairo, but leave him to sell his wares 
at Damascus." So I took leave of my father and we fared forth 
from Mosul and gave not over travelling till we reached Aleppo 1 
where we halted certain days. Then we marched onwards till we 
made Damascus and we found her a city as though she were a 
Paradise, abounding in trees and streams and birds and fruits of all 
kinds. We alighted at one of the Khans, where my uncles tarried 
awhile selling and buying ; and they bought and sold also on rny 
account, each dirham turning a profit of five on prime cost, which 
pleased me mightily. After this they left me alone and set their 
faces Egyptwards ; whilst I abode at Damascus, where I had hired 
from a jeweller, for two dinars a month, a mansion 2 whose beauties 
\vculd beggar the tongue. Here I remained, eating and drinking 
and spending what monies I had in hand till one day, as I was 
sitting at the door of my house behold, there came up a young 
lady clad in costliest raiment never saw my eyes richer. I 
winked 3 at her and she stepped inside without hesitation and 
stood within. I entered with her and shut the door upon myself 
and her; whereupon she raised her face-veil and threw off her 
mantilla, when I found her like a pictured moon of rare and mar- 
vellous loveliness ; and love of her gat hold of my heart. So I 
rose and brought a tray of the most delicate eatables and fruits and 
whatso befitted the occasion, and we ate and played and after 
that we drank till the wine turned our heads. Then I lay with her 
the sweetest of nights and in the morning I offered her ten gold 
pieces; when her face lowered and her eye-brows wrinkled and 

- 1 Arab. "Halab," derived by Moslems from "He (Abraham) milked (halaba) 
the white and dun cow." But the name of the city occurs in the Cuneiforms as Halbun 
or Khalbun, and the classics knew it as Bcpoia, Beroea, written with variants. 

* Arab. " Ka'ah," usually a saloon; but also applied to a. fine house here and elsewhere 
in The Nights. 

3 Arab. " Gharaz "= winking, signing with the eye which, amongst Moslems, is not 
held "vulgar.' 1 

Tale of the Jewish Doctor. 293 

shaking with wrath she cried, " Fie upon thee, O my sweet com- 
panion ! dost thou deem that I covet thy money ? " Then she 
took out from the bosom of her shift 1 fifteen dinars and, laying 
them before me, said, " By Allah ! unless thou take them I will 
never come back to thee." So I accepted them and she said to 
me, " O my beloved ! expect me again in three days' time, when I 
will be with thee between sunset and supper-tide ; and do thou 
prepare for us with these dinars the same entertainment as yester- 
night." So saying, she took leave of me and went away and all 
my senses went with her. On the third day she came again, clad 
in stuff weft with gold wire, and wearing raiment and ornaments 
finer than before. I had prepared the place for her ere she arrived 
and the repast was ready ; so we ate and drank and lay together, 
as we had done, till the morning, when she gave me other fifteen 
gold pieces and promised to come again after three days. Ac- 
cordingly, I made ready for her and, at the appointed time, she 
presented herself more richly dressed than on the first and second 
occasion, and said to me, " O my lord, am I not beautiful ? " " Yea, 
by Allah thou art!" answered I, and she went on, "Wilt thou 
allow me to bring with me a young lady fairer than I, and younger 
in years, that she may play with us and thou and she may laugh, 
and make merry and rejoice her heart, for she hath been very sad 
this long time past, and hath asked me to take her out and let her 
spend the night abroad with me ? " " Yea, by Allah ! " I replied ; 
and we drank till the wine turned our heads and slept till the 
morning, when she gave me other fifteen dinars, saying, "Add 
something to thy usual provision on account of the young lady who 
will come with me." Then she went away, and on the fourth day 
I made ready the house as usual, and soon after sunset behold, she 
came, accompanied by another damsel carefully wrapped in her 
mantilla. They entered and sat down ; and when I saw them I 
repeated these verses : 

How dear is our day and how lucky our lot, *> When the cynic's away 

with his tongue malign ! 
When love and delight and the swimming of head o send cleverness trotting, 

the best boon of wine. 

1 Arab. "Kami's" from low Lat. " Camicia," first found in St. Jerome :^-" Solent 
militantes habere lineas, quas Camicias vocant." Our shirt, chemise, chemisette, etc. 
was unknown to the Ancients of Europe. r 

294 <Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

When the full moon shines from the cloudy veil, o And the branchlet sways in 

her greens that shine : 
When the red rose mantles in freshest cheek, o And Narcissus l opeth his 

love-sick eyne : 
When pleasure with those I love is so sweet, o When friendship with those 

I love is complete ! 

I rejoiced to see them, and lighted the candles after receiving them 
with gladness and delight. They doffed their heavy outer dresses 
and the new damsel uncovered her face when I saw that she was 
like the moon at its full never beheld I aught more beautiful. 
Then I rose and set meat and drink before them, and we ate and 
drank ; and I kept giving mouthfuls to the new comer, crowning 
her cup and drinking with her till the first damsel, waxing inwardly 
jealous, asked me, "By Allah, is she not more delicious than I ?" ; 
whereto I answered, " Ay, by the Lord ! " " It is my wish that 
thou lie with her this night ; for I am thy mistress but she is our 
visitor." " Upon my head be it, and my eyes." Then she rose and 
spread the carpets for our bed 2 and I took the young lady and lay 
with her that night till morning, when I awoke and found myself 
wet, as I thought, with sweat. I sat up and tried to arouse the 
damsel ; but when I shook her by the shoulders my hand became 
crimson with blood and her head rolled off the pillow. Thereupon 
my senses fled and I cried aloud, saying, "O All-powerful Protector, 
grant me Thy protection ! " Then finding her neck had been 
severed, T sprung up and the world waxed black before my eyes, 
and I looked for the lady, my former love, but could not find her. 
So I knew that it was she who had murdered the damsel in her 

1 Arab. " Narjis." The Arabs borrowed nothing, but the Persians much, from Greek 
Mythology. Hence the eye of Narcissus, an idea hardly suggested by the look of the 
daffodil- (or asphodel) flower, is at times the glance of a spy and at times the die-away look 
of a mistress. Some scholars explain it by the form of the flower, the internal calyx 
resembling the iris, and the stalk being bent just below the petals suggesting drooping 
eyelids and languid eyes. Hence a poet addresses the Narcissus : 

O Narjis, look away ! Before those eyes * I may not kiss her as a-breast she lies. 
"What ! Shall the lover close his eyes in sleep * While thine watch all things between 
earth and skies ? 

The fashionable lover in the East must affect a frantic jealousy if he does not feel it. 

8 In Egypt there are neither bedsteads nor bed-rooms : the carpets and mattresses, 
pillows and cushions (sheets being unknown) are spread out when wanted, and during 
the day are put into chests or cupboards, or only rolled up in a corner of the room 
(Pilgrimage i., 53). 

Tale of the Jewish Doctor. 295 

jealousy \ and said, " There is no Majesty and there is no Might 
save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great ! What is to be done now ? " 
I considered awhile then, doffing my clothes, dug a hole in the 
middle of the court-yard, wherein I laid the murdered girl with her 
jewellery and golden ornaments ; and, throwing back the earth on 
her, replaced the slabs of the marble 2 pavement. After this I 
made the Ghusl or total ablution, 3 and put on pure clothes ; then, 
taking what money I had left, locked up the house and summoned 
courage and went to its owner to whom I paid a year's rent, saying, 
" I am about to join my uncles in Cairo." Presently I set out and, 
journeying to Egypt, foregathered with my uncles who rejoiced 
in me, and I found that they had made an end of selling their 
merchandise. They asked me, " What is the cause of thy coming ? ;" 
and I answered " I longed for a sight of you ;" but did not let them 
know that I had any money with me. I abode with them a year, 
enjoying the pleasures of Cairo and her Nile, 4 and squandering the 
rest of my money in feasting and carousing till the time drew near 
for the departure of my uncles, when I fled from them and hid 
myself. They made enquiries and sought for me, but hearing no 
tidings they said, " He will have gone back to Damascus." When 
they departed I came forth from my hiding-place and abode in 
Cairo three years, until naught remained of my money. Now 
every year I used to send the rent of the Damascus house to its 
owner, until at last I had nothing left but enough to pay him for 
one year's rent and my breast was straitened. So I travelled to 
Damascus and alighted at the house whose owner, the jeweller, 
was glad to see me and I found everything locked up as I had left 
it. I opened the closets and took out my clothes and necessaries 
and came upon, beneath the carpet-bed whereon I had lain that 
night with the girl who had been beheaded, a golden necklace set 

* The women of Damascus have always been famed for the sanguinary jealousy with 
Which European story-books and novels credit the "Spanish lady." The men were as 
celebrated for intolerance and fanaticism, which we first read of in the days of Bertrandon 
de la Brocquiere and which culminated hi the massacre of 1860. Yet they are a 
notoriously timid race and make, physically and morally, the worst of soldiers : we 
proved that under my late friend Fred. Walpole in the Bashi-Buzuks during the old 
Crimean war. The men looked very fine fellows and after a month in camp fell off to 
the condition of old women. 

* Arab. "Rukham," properly = alabaster and " Mannar "== marble; but the two 
are often confounded. 

8 He was ceremonially impure after touching a corpse. 

4 The phrase is perfectly appropriate : Cairo without "her Nile " would be nothing. 

296 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

with ten gems of passing beauty. I took it up and, cleansing it of 
the blood, sat gazing upon it and wept awhile. Then I abode in 
the house two days and on the third I entered- the Hammam and 
changed my clothes. I had no money by me now ; so Satan whis- 
pered temptation to me that the Decree of Destiny be carried out. 
Next day I took the jewelled necklace to the bazar and handed it 
to a broker who made me sit down in the shop of the jeweller, my 
landlord, and bade me have patience till the market was full 1 , 
when he carried off the ornament and proclaimed it for sale, privily 
and without my knowledge. The necklet was priced as worth two 
thousand dinars but the broker returned to me and said, "This 
collar is of copper, a mere counterfeit after the fashion of the 
Franks 2 and a thousand dirhams have been bidden for it." "Yes," 
I answered, " 1 knew it to be copper, as we had it made for a 
certain person that we might mock her : now my wife hath inherited 
it and we wish to sell it ; so go and take over the thousand dir- 
hams." And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased 

to say her permitted say. 

Nofo to&m ft foa* t&c Sfoents-m'n9 

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the beautiful 
youth said to the broker, "Take over the thousand dirhams" ; and 
when the broker heard this, he knew that the case was suspicious. 
So he carried the collar to the Syndic of the bazar,, and the Syndic 
took it to the Governor who was also prefect of police, and said to 
him falsely enough, " This necklet was stolen from my house, and 
we have found the thief in traders' dress." So before I was aware 
of it the watch got round me and, making me their prisoner, carried 
me before the Governor who questioned me of the collar. I told 
him the tale I had told to the broker ; but he laughed and said, 
" These words are not true." Then, before I knew what was doing, 
the guard stripped off my clothes and came down with palm-rods 
upon my ribs, till for the smart of the stick I confessed, " It was I 
who stole it ;" saying to myself, " ' Tis better for thee to say, I stole 

1 The market was hot " say the Hindustanis. This would begin between 7 and 8 a.m. 

* Arab. Al-Faranj, Europeans generally. It is derived from "Gens Francorum," 
and dates from Crusading days when the French played the leading part. Hence the 
Lingua Franca, the Levantine jargon, of which Moliere has left such a witty specimen. 

Tale of the Jewish Doctor. 297 

it, than to let them know that its owner was murdered in thy 
house, for then would they slay thee to avenge her." So they 
wrote down that I had stolen it and they cut off my hand and 
scalded the stump in oil, 1 when I swooned away for pain ; but they 
gave me wine to drink and I recovered and, taking up my hand, was 
going to my fine house, when my landlord said to me, " Inasmuch, 

my son, as this hath befallen thee, thou must leave my house and 
look out for another lodging for thee, since thou art convicted of 
theft. Thou art a handsome youth, but who will pity thee after 
this ? " " O my master " said I, " bear with me but two days or 
three, till I find me another place." He answered, " So be it," and 
went away and left me. I returned to the house where I sat weep- 
ing and saying, 4< How shall I go back to my own people with my 
hand lopped off and they know not that I am innocent ? Perchance 
even after this Allah may order some matter for me." And I 
wept with exceeding weeping ; grief beset me and I remained in 
sore trouble for two days ; but on the third day my landlord came 
suddenly in to me, and with him some of the guard and the Syndic 
of the bazar, who had falsely charged me with stealing the necklet. 

1 went up to them and asked, " What is the matter ? " however, they, 
pinioned me without further parley arid threw a chain about my 
neck, saying, " The necklet which was with thee hath proved to be 
the property of the Wazir of Damascus who is also her Viceroy ;" 
and they added, " It was missing from his house three years ago 
at the same time as his younger daughter." When I heard these 
words, my heart sank within me and I said to myself, "Thy life is 
gone beyond a doubt ! By Allah, needs must I tell the Chief my 
story ; and, if he will, let him kill me, and if he please, let him 
pardon me." So they carried me to the Wazir's house and made 
me stand between his hands. When he saw me, he glanced at 
me out of the corner of his eye and said to those present, " Why 
did ye lop off his hand ? This man is unfortunate, and there is no 
fault in him ; indeed ye have wronged him in cutting off his hand." 
When I heard this, I took heart and, my soul presaging good, I 
said to him, "By Allah, O my lord, I am no thief; but they calum- 
niated me With a vile calumny, and they scourged me midmost 
the market, bidding me confess till, for the pain of the rods, I lied 
against myself and confessed the theft, albeit I am altogether 

A process familiar to European surgery of the same date. 

298 A If Laylah wa 

innocent of it." "Fear not," quoth the Viceroy, "no harm shall 
come to thee." Then he ordered the Syndic of the bazar to be im- 
prisoned and said to him, " Give this man the blood-money for his 
hand; and, if thou delay I will hang thee and seize all thy 
property." Moreover he called to his guards who took him ano! 
dragged him away, leaving me with the Chief. Then they loosed 
by his command the chain from my neck and unbound my arms ; 
and he looked at me, and said, " O my son, be true with me, and 
tell me how this necklace came to thee." And he repeated these 
verses : 

truth best befits thee, albeit truth o Shall bring thee to burn on the threatened 

"By Allah, O my lord," answered I, "I will tell thee nothing but 
the truth." Then I related to him all that had passed between me 
and the first lady, and how she had brought me the second and had 
slain her out of jealousy, and I detailed for him the tale to its full. 
When he heard my story, he shook his head and struck his right 
hand upon the left, 1 and putting his kerchief over his face wept 
awhile and then repeated : 

\ see the woes of the world abound, o And worldings sick with spleen and 

teen ; 
There's One who the meeting of two shall part, o And who part not are few 

and far between ! 

Then he turned to me and said, " Know, O my son, that the elder 
damsel who first came to thee was my daughter whom I used to 
keep closely guarded. When she grew up, I sent her to Cairo 
and married her to her cousin, my brother's son. After a while he 
died and she came back: but she had learnt wantonness and 
.ungraciousness from the people of Cairo 2 ; so she visited thee four 

1 In sign of disappointment, regret, vexation ; a gesture still common amongst Moslems 
and corresponding in significance to a certain extent wifti our .stamping, wringing the 
hands and so forth. It is not mentioned in the Koran where, however, we find " biting 
fingers' ends out of wrath " against a man (chapt. iii). 

2 This is no unmerited scandal. The Cairenes, especially the feminine half (for 
reasons elsewhere given), have always been held exceedingly debauched. Even the 
modest Lane gives a " shocking " story of a woman enjoying her lover under the nose of 
her husband and confining the latter in a madhouse (chapt. xiii.) With civilisation, 
which objects to the good old remedy, the sword, they become worse : and the Kazi's 
court is crowded with would-be divorcees. Under English rule the evil has reached its 

Tale of the Jewish Doctor. 299 

times and at last brought her younger sister. Now they were 
sisters german and much attached to each other ; and, when that 
adventure happened to the elder, she disclosed her secret to her 
sister who desired to go out with her. So she asked thy leave and 
carried her to thee ; after which she returned alone and, finding her 
weeping, I questioned her of her sister, but she said: I know 
nothing of her. However, she presently told her mother privily 
of what had happened and how she had cut off her sister's head 
and her mother told me. Then she ceased not to weep and say : 
By Allah ! I shall cry for her till I die. Nor did she give over 
mourning till her heart broke and she died ; and things fell out 
after that fashion. See then, O my son, what hath come to pass ; 
and now I desire thee not to thwart me in what I am about to 
offer thee, and it is that I purpose to marry thee to my youngest 
daughter ; for she is a virgin and born of another mother 1 ; and I 
will take no dower of thee but, on the contrary, will appoint thee 
an allowance, and thou shalt abide with me in my house in the 
stead of my son." "So be it," I answered, "and how could I 
hope for such good fortune ? " Then he sent at once for the Kazi 
and witnesses, and let write my marriage-contract with his daughter 
and I went in to her. Moreover, he got me from the Syndic of the 
bazar a large sum of money and I became in high favour with 
him. During this year news came to me that my father was dead 
and the Wazir despatched a courier, with letters bearing the 
royal sign-manual, to fetch me the money which my father had left 
behind him, and now I am living in all the solace of life. Such 

acme because it goes unpunished : in the avenues of the new Isma'iliyah Quarter, 
inhabited by Europeans, women, even young women, will threaten to expose their 
persons unless they receive '* bakhshish." It was the same in Sind when husbands were 
assured that they would be hanged for cutting down adulterous wives : at once after it* 
conquest the women broke loose ; and in 184350, if a young officer sent to the bazai 
for a girl, half-a-dozen would troop to his quarters. Indeed more than once the profes- 
sional prostitutes threatened to memorialise Sir Charles Napier because the '* modest 
women," the " ladies" were taking the bread out of their mouths. The same was the 
case at Kabul (Caboul) of Afghanistan in the old war of 1840 ; and here the women had 
more excuse, the husbands being notable sodomites as the song has it : 

The worth of slit the Afghan knows ; 
The worth of hole the Kabul-man. 

1 So that he might not have to do with three sisters german. Moreover amongst 
Moslems a girl's conduct is presaged by that of her mother ; and if one sister go wrong, 
the other is expected to follow suit. Practically the rule applies everywhere: "'like 
mother like daughter." 

3OO A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

was the manner"of the cutting off my right hand. " I marvelled at 
his story (continued the Jew), and I abode with him three days 
after which he gave me much wealth, and I set out and travelled 
Eastward till I reached this your city and the sojourn suited me 
right well ; so I took up my abode here and there befel me what 
thou knowest with the Hunchback." Thereupon the King of 
China shook his head 1 and said, "This., story of thine is not 
stranger and more wondrous and marvellous and delectable than 
the tale of the Hunchback ; and so needs must I hang the whole 
number of you. However there yet remains the Tailor who is the 
head of all the offence ;" and he added, " O Tailor, if thou canst 
tell me any thing more wonderful than the story of the Hunchback, 
I will pardon you all your offences." Thereupon the man came 
forward and began to tell the 


KNOW, O King of the age, that most marvellous was that which 
befel me but yesterday, before I foregathered with the Hunchback. 
It so chanced that in the early day I was at the marriage-feast of 
one of my companions, who had gotten together in his house some 
twenty of the handicraftsmen of this city, amongst them tailors and 
silk-spinners and carpenters and others of the same kidney. As 
soon as the sun had risen, they set food 2 before us that we might 
eat when behold, the master of the house entered, and with him a 
foreign youth and a well-favoured of the people of Baghdad, 
wearing clothes as handsome as handsome could be ; and he was 
of right comely presence save that he was lame of one leg. He 
came and saluted us and we stood up to receive him ; but when he 
was about to sit down he espied amongst us a certain man which 
was a Barber ; whereupon he refused to be seated and would have 

1 In sign of dissent ; as opposed to nodding the head which signifies assent. These 
are two items, apparently instinctive and universal, of man's gesture-language which has 
been so highly cultivated by sundry North American tribes and by the surdo-mute estab- 
lishments of Europe. 

3 This "Futiir" is the real " breakfast'* of the East, the "Chhoti hazri" (petit 
dejeuner) of India, a bit of bread, a cup of coffee or tea and a pipe on rising. In the 
text, however it is a ceremonious affair. 

Tale of the Tailor. 301 

gone away. But we stopped him and our host also stayed him, 
making oath that he should not leave us and asked him, " What is 
the reason of thy coming in and going out again at once ? " ; 
whereto he answered, "By Allah, O my lord, do not hinder me ; 
for the cause of my turning back is yon Barber of bad omen, 1 yon 
black o* face, yon ne'er-do-well ! " When the house-master heard 
these words he marvelled with extreme marvel and said, " How 
cometh this young man, who haileth from Baghdad, to be so troubled 
and perplexed about this Barber?" Then we looked at the 
stranger and said, " Explain the cause of thine anger against the 
Barber." " O fair company," quoth the youth, " there befel me a 
strange adventure with this Barber in Baghdad (which is my 
native city) ; he was the cause of the breaking of my leg and of my 
lameness, and I have sworn never to sit in the same place with 
him, nor even tarry in any town where he happens to abide ; and 
I have bidden adieu to Baghdad and travelled far from it and 
came to stay in this your city ; yet I have hardly passed one night 
before I meet him again. But not another day shall go by ere I 
fare forth from here." Said we to him, " Allah upon thee, tell us 
the tale ; and the youth replied (the Barber changing colour from 
brown to yellow as he spoke) : Know, O fair company, that my 
father was one of the chief merchants of Baghdad, and Almighty 
Allah had blessed him with no son but myself, When I grew up 
and reached man's estate, my father was received into the mercy 
of Allah (whose Name be exalted!) and left me money and 
eunuchs, servants and slaves ; and I used to dress well and diet 
well. Now Allah had made me a hater of women-kind and one 
day, as I was walking along a street in Baghdad a party of females 
met me face to face in the footway ; so I fled from them and, 
entering an alley which was no thoroughfare, sat down upon a 
stone-bench at its other end. I had not sat there long before the 
latticed window of one of the houses opposite was thrown open, 
and there appeared at it a young lady, as she were the full moon 
at its fullest ; never in my life saw I her like ; and she began to 
water some flowers on the window-sill. 2 She turned right and left 
and, seeing me watching her, shut the window and went away. 

1 Arab. " Nahs," a word of many meanings ; a sinister aspect of the stars (as in Hebr. 
and Aram.) or, adjectively, sinister, of ill-omen. Vulgarly it is used as the reverse of 
nice and corresponds, after a fashion with our " nasty." 

3 4< Window-gardening," new in England, is an old practise in the East. 

3O2 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

Thereupon fire was suddenly enkindled in my heart ; my mind 
was possessed with her and my woman-hate turned to woman- 
love. I continued sitting there, lost to the world, till sunset when 
lo ! the Kazi of the city came riding by with his slaves before him 
and his eunuchs behind him, and dismounting entered the house 
in which the damsel had appeared. By this I knew that he was 
her father; so I went home sorrowful and cast myself upon my 
carpet-bed in grief. Then my handmaids flocked in and sat about 
me, unknowing what ailed me ; but I addressed no speech to them, 
and they wept and wailed over me. Presently in came an old 
woman who looked at me and saw with a glance what was the 
matter with me : so she sat down by my head and spoke me fair, 
saying, " O my son, tell me all about it and I will be the means of 
thy union with her." * So I related to her what had happened and 
she answered, " O my son, this one is the daughter of the Kazi 
of Baghdad who keepeth her in the closest seclusion ; and the 
window where thou sawest her is her floor, whilst her father 
occupies the large saloon in the lower story. She is often there 
alone and I am wont to visit at the house ; so thou shalt not 
win to her save through me. Now set thy wits to work and 
be of good cheer." With these words she went away and I 
took heart at what she said and my people rejoiced that day, 
seeing me rise in the morning safe and sound. By and by the 
old woman returned looking chopfallen 2 , and said, "O my son, 
do not ask me how I fared with her ! When I told her that, she 
cried at me : If thou hold not thy peace, O hag of ill-omen, and 
leave not such talk, I will entreat thee as thou deservest and do 
thee die by the foulest of deaths. But needs must I have at her 
a second time. 3 " When I heard this it added ailment to my 
ailment and the neighbours visited me and judged that I was not 
long for this world ; but after some days, the old woman came to 
me and, putting her mouth close to my ear, whispered, " O my son ; 
I claim from thee the gift of good news." With this my soul 
returned to me and I said, "Whatever thou wilt shall be thine." 
Thereupon she began, " Yesterday I went to the young lady who, 
seeing me broken in spirit and shedding tears from reddened eyes, 

1 Her pimping instinct at once revealed the case to her. 

2 The usual 4< pander-dodge" to get more money. 

8 The writer means that the old woman's account was all false, to increase apparent 
difficulties and/^ar sefaire valoir. 

of the Tailor. ,303 

asked me : O naunty 1 mine, what ails thee, that I see thy breast 
so straitened ?"; and I answered her, weeping bitterly, "O my lady, 
I am just come from the house of a youth who loves thee and who 
is about to die for sake of thee ! " Quoth she (and her heart was 
softened), " And who is this youth of whom thou speakest ?"; and 
quoth I, " He is to me as a son and the fruit of my vitals. He saw 
thee, some days ago, at the window watering thy flowers and espying 
thy face and wrists he fell in love at first sight. I let him know 
what happened to me the last time I was with thee, whereupon his 
ailment increased, he took to the pillow and he is naught now but 
a dead man, and no doubt whatever of it." At this she turned 
pale and asked, "All this for my sake ?"; and I answered, "Ay^by 
Allah ! 2 what wouldst thou have me do ?" Said she, "Go back to 
him and greet him for me and tell him that I am twice more heart- 
sick than he is. And on Friday, before the hour of public prayer, 
bid him here to the house, and I will come down and open the 
door for him. Then I will carry him up to my chamber and fore- 
gather with him for awhile, and let him depart before my father 
return from the Mosque." When I heard the old woman's words, 
all my sickness suddenly fell from me, my anguish ceased and my 
heart was comforted, I took off what clothes were on me and gave 
them to her and, as she turned to go, she said ; " Keep a good 
heart!" " I have not a jot of sorrow left" I replied. My household 
and intimates rejoiced in my recovery and I abode thus till Friday, 
when behold, the old woman came in and asked me how I did, to 
which I answered that I was well and in good case. Then I 
donned my clothes and perfumed myself and sat down to await the 
congregation going in to prayers, that I might betake myself to 
her. But the old woman said to me, "Thou hast time and to 
spare : so thou wouldst do well to go to the Hammam and have 
thy hair shaven off (especially after thy ailment), so as not to show 
traces of sickness." " This were the best way," answered I, " I 

1 Arab. " Yd KMlati " = mother's sister ; a familiar address to the old, as uncle or 
nuncle (father's brother) to a man. The Arabs also hold that as a girl resembles her 
mother so a boy follows his uncle (mother's brother) : hence the address "Ya tayyib 
al-Khal 1 " = O thou nephew of a good uncle. I have noted that physically this is 
often fact. 

2 Ay w* AllaTii," contracted popularly to Aywa, a word in every Moslem mouth and 
shunned by Christians because against orders Hebrew and Christian. The better 
educated Turks now eschew that eternal reference to Allah which appears in The Nights 
and which is still the custom of the vulgar throughout the world of Al-lslam. 

304 A If Laylak wa Layla*i. 

have just now bathed in hot water ; but I will have my head 
shaved." Then I said to my page, " Go to the bazar and bring 
me a barber, a discreet fellow and one not inclined to meddling 
or impertinent curiosity or likely to split my head with his excessive 
talk." 1 The boy went out at once and brought back with him this 
wretched old man, this Shaykh of ill-omen. When he came in he 
saluted me and I returned his salutation ; then quoth he, " Of a 
truth I see thee thin of body;" and quoth I, "I have been ailing." 
He continued, "Allah drive far away from thee thy woe and thy 
sorrow and thy trouble and thy distress." "Allah grant thy 
prayer 1 " said I. He pursued, " All gladness to thee, O my 
master, for indeed recovery is come to thee. Dost thou wish to be 
polled or to be blooded ? Indeed it was a tradition of Ibn Abbas 8 
(Allah accept of him !) that the Apostle said : Whoso cutteth his 
hair on a Friday, the Lord shall avert from him threescore and ten 
calamities ; and again is related of him also that he said : Cupping 
on a Friday keepeth from loss of sight and a host of diseases." 
" Leave this talk," I cried ; " come, shave me my head at once for 
I can't stand it." So he rose and put forth his hand in most 
leisurely way and took out a kerchief and unfolded it, and lo ! it 
it contained an astrolabe 3 with seven parallel plates mounted in 
silver. Then he went to the middle of the court and raised head 
and instrument towards the sun's rays and looked for a long while. 
When this was over, he came back and said to me, " Know that 
there have elapsed of this our day, which be Friday, and this 
Friday be the tenth of the month Safar in the six hundred and 
fifty- third year since the Hegira or Flight of the Apostle (on whom 
be the bestest of blessings and peace !) and the seventh thousand 
three hundred and twentieth year of the era of Alexander, eight 
degrees and six minutes. Furthermore the ascendant of this our 

1 The " Muzayyin " or barber in the East brings his basin and budget under his arm : 
he is not content only to shave, he must scrape the forehead, trim the eyebrows, pass 
the blade lightly over the nose and correct the upper and lower lines of the mustachios, 
opening the central parting and so forth. He is not a whit less a tattler and a scandal- 
monger than the old Roman tonsor or Figaro his confrere in Southern Europe. The 
whole scene of the Barber is admirable, an excellent specimen of Arab humour and not 
over-caricatured. We all have met him. 

54 Abdullah ibn Abbas was a cousin and a companion of the Apostle ; also a well- 
known Commentator on the Koran and conserver of the traditions of Mohammed. 

3 I have noticed the antiquity of this father of our sextant, a fragment of which was 
found in the Palace of Sennacherib. More concerning the "Arstable" (as Chaucer 
calls it) is given ia my " Camoens : his Life and his Lusiads " p. 381. 

Tale of the Tailor. 305 

day is, according to the exactest science of computation, the planet 
Mars; and it so happeneth that Mercury is in conjunction with him, 
denoting an auspicious moment for hair-cutting ; and this also maketh 
manifest to me that thou desirest union with a certain person and 
that your intercourse will not be propitious. But after this there 
occurreth a sign respecting a matter which will befal thee and where- 
of I will not speak." " O thou," cried I, " by Allah, thou weariest 
me and scatterest my wits and thy forecast is other than good ; I 
sent for thee to poll my head and naught else : so up and shave 
me and prolong not thy speech." " By Allah," replied he, " if thou 
but knew what is about to befal thee, thou wouldst do nothing this 
day, and I counsel thee to act as I tell thee by computation of the 
constellations." " By Allah," said I, " never did I see a barber 
who excelled in judicial astrology save thyself: but I think and I 
know that thou art most prodigal of frivolous talk. I sent for thee 
only to shave my head, but thou comest and pesterest me with this 
sorry prattle." " What more wouldst thou have ? " replied he. 
" Allah hath bounteously bestowed on thee a Barber, who is an 
astrologer, one learned in alchemy and white magic * ; syntax, 
grammar, and lexicology ; the arts of logic, rhetoric and elocution ; 
mathematics, arithmetic and algebra ; astronomy, astromancy and 
geometry ; theology, the Traditions of the Apostle and the Com- 
mentaries on the Koran. Furthermore, I have read books galore 
and digested them and have had experience of affairs and compre- 
hended them. In short I have learned the theorick and the practick 
of all the arts and sciences ; I know everything of them by rote 
and I am a past master in totti re scibili. Thy father loved me 
for my lack of officiousness, argal, to serve thee is a religious duty 
incumbent on me. I am no busy-body as thou seemest to suppose, 
and on this account I am known as The Silent Man, also, The 
Modest Man. Wherefore it behoveth thee to render thanks to. 
Allah Almighty and not cross me, for I am a true counsellor to 
thee and benevolently minded towards thee. Would that I were 

1 Arab. " Simiyd " to rhyme with Kimiya (alchemy proper). It is a subordinate 
branch of the Urn al-Ruhdni which I would translate "Spiritualism," and which is 
divided into two great branches, " Ilwi or Rahmani" (the high or related to the Deity) 
and Sifli or Shaytani (low, Satanic). To the latter belongs Al-Sahr, magic or the black 
art proper, gramarye, egromancy, while Al-Simiy is white magic, electro-biology, a kind 
of natural and deceptive magic, in which drugs and perfumes exercise an important action. 
One of its principal branches is the Darb al-Mandal or magic mirror, of which more in a 
future page. See Boccaccio's Day x. Novel 5. 

VOL. I. - U, 

36 A If Laylah wa Laylak. 

in thy service a whole year that thou mtghtest do me justice ; and 
I would ask thee no wage for all this." When I heard his flow of 
words, I said to him, " Doubtless thou wilt be my death this 
day 1 )? And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased 
saying her permitted say. 

^Toto fofjen ft foas tfje <3$frtfet& Nig&t, 

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

I went to my patron some blood to let him, o But found that the moment was 
far from good : 

So I sat and I talked of all strangenesses, o And with jests and jokes his good 
will I wooed : 

They pleased him and cried he, ' man of wit, o Thou hast proved thee per- 
fect in merry mood ! ' 

Tale of the Tailor. 307 

Quoth I, 'O thou Lord of men, save Ihou o Lend me art and wisdom I'm fou 

and woodT 
In thee gather grace, boon, bounty, suavity ; o And I guerdon the world with 

lore, science and gravity. 

Thy father was delighted and cried out to the servant, " Give him 
an hundred and three gold pieces with a robe of honour ! " The 
man obeyed his orders, and I awaited an auspicious moment, when 
I blooded him ; and he did not baulk me ; nay he thanked me and 
I was also thanked and praised by all present. When the blood- 
letting was over I had no power to keep silence and asked him, 
" By Allah, O my lord, what made thee say to the servant : Give 
him an hundred and three dinars ?"; and he answered, " One dinar 
was for the astrological observation, another for thy pleasant con- 
versation, the third for the phlebotomisation, and the remaining 
hundred and the dress were for thy verses in my commendation." 
" May Allah show small mercy to my father," exclaimed I, "for 
knowing the like of thee." He laughed and ejaculated, " There is 
no god but the God and Mohammed is the Apostle of God ! 
Glory to Him that changeth and is changed not ! I took thee 
for a man of sense, but I see thou babblest and dotest for illness. 
Allah hath said in the Blessed Book * : Paradise is prepared for 
the goodly who bridle their anger and forgive men, and so forth ; 
and in any case thou art excused. Yet I cannot conceive the 
cause of thy hurry and flurry ; and thou must know that thy 
father and thy grandfather did nothing without consulting me, 
and indeed it hath been said truly enough : Let the adviser be 
prized ; and : There is .no vice in advice ; and it is also said in 
certain saws, Whoso hath no counsellor elder than he, will never 
himself an elder be 2 ; and the poet says : 

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

And indeed thou shalt never find a man better versed in affairs 
than I, and I am here standing on my feet to serve thee. I am 
not vexed with thee : why shouldest thou be vexed with me ? But 
whatever happen I will bear patiently with thee in memory of the 
much kindness thy father shewed me." " By Allah/' cried I, " O 

1 Chap. iii. 128. See Sale (in loco) for the noble application of this text by the Imam 
Hasan, son of the Caliph Ali. 

2 These proverbs at once remind us of our old friend Sancho Panza and are equally 
true to nature in the mouth of the Arab and of the Spaniard. 

308 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

thou with tongue long as the tail of a jackass, thou persistest in 
pestering me with thy prate and thou becomest more longsome in 
thy long speeches, when all I want of thee is to shave my head and 
wend thy way I " Then he lathered my head saying, " I perceive 
thou art vexed with me, but I will not take it ill of thee, for thy wit 
is weak and thou art but a laddy : it was only yesterday I used to 
take thee on my shoulder * and carry thee to school." " O my 
brother," said I, "for Allah's sake do what I want and go thy 
gait ! " And I rent my garments. 2 When he saw me do this he 
took the razor and fell to sharpening it and gave not over strop- 
ping it until my senses were well nigh leaving me. Then he came 
up to me and shaved part of my head ; then he held his hand and 
then he said, " O my lord, haste is Satan's gait whilst patience is 
of Allah the Compassionate. But thou, O my master, I ken thou 
knowest not my rank ; for verily this hand alighteth upon the 
heads of Kings and Emirs and Wazirs, and sages and doctors 
learned in the law, and the poet said of one like me : 

All crafts are like necklaces strung on a string, o But this Barber's the union 

pearl of the band : 
High over all craftsmen he ranketh, and why ? o The heads of the Kings are 

under his hand!" 3 

1 Our nurses always carry in the arms : Arabs place the children astraddle upon the 
hip and when older on the shoulder. 

2 Eastern clothes allow this biblical display of sorrow and vexation, which with our 
European garb would look absurd : we must satisfy ourselves with maltreating our hats. 

3 Koran xlviii., 8. It may be observed that according to the Ahadis (sayings of the 
Prophet) and the Sunnat (sayings and doings of Mahommed), all the hair should be 
allowed to grow or the whole head be clean shaven. Hence the "Shushah," or top- 
knot supposed to be left as a handle for drawing the wearer into Paradise ; and the Zulf, 
or side-locks, somewhat like the ringlets of the Polish Jews, are both vain " Bida'at," or 
innovations, and therefore technically termed " Maknih," a practice not laudable, neither 
"Hala!" (perfectly lawful) nor Haram " (forbidden by the law). When boys are first 
shaved, generally in the second or third year, a tuft is left on the crown and another 
over the forehead ; but this is not the fashion amongst adults. Abu Hanifah, if I am 
rightly informed, wrote a treatise on the Shushah or long lock growing from the 
Nasiyah (head-poll) which is also a precaution lest the decapitated Moslem's mouth be 
denied by an impure hand ; and thus it would resemble the chivalry-lock by which the 
Redskin brave (and even the "cowboy" of better times) facilitated the removal of his 
own scalp. Possibly the Turks had learned the practice from the Chinese and intro- 
duced it into Baghdad (Pilgrimage i., 240). The Badawi plait their locks in Kurun 
(horns) or Jaddil (ringlets) which are undone only to be washed with the water of the 
she-camel. The wild Sherifs wear Haffah, long elf-locks hanging down both sides of 
the throat, and shaved away about a finger's breadth round the forehead and behind the 
neck (Pilgrimage in., 35-36). I have elsewhere noted the accrocke'ta>urs t the "idiot- 
fringe," etc. 

Tale of the Tailor. 309 

Then said I, "Do leave off talking about what concerneth thee 
not : indeed thou hast straitened my breast and distracted my 
mind." Quoth he, "Meseems thou art a hasty man;" and quoth 
I, " Yes ! yes ! yes ! " and he, " I rede thee practise restraint of self, 
for haste is Satan's pelf which bequeatheth only repentance and 
ban and bane, and He (upon whom be blessings and peace !) hath 
said, The best of works is that wherein deliberation lurks : but I, 
by Allah ! have some doubt about thine affair ; and so I should 
like thee to let me know what it is thou art in such haste to do ; 
for I fear me it is other than good." Then he continued, " It wanteth 
three hours yet to prayer-time ; but I do not wish to be in doubt 
upon this matter; nay, I must know the moment exactly, for 
truly : A guess shot in times of doubt, oft brings harm about ; 
especially in the like of me, a superior person whose merits are 
famous amongst mankind at large; and it doth not befit me to 
talk at random, as do the common sort of astrologers." So saying, 

I he threw down the razor and taking up the astrolabe, went forth 

under the sun and stood there a long time ; after which he returned 
and counting on his fingers said to me, "There remain still to 
prayer-time three full hours and complete, neither more nor yet 
less, according to the most learned astronomicals and the wisest 
makers of almanacks." "Allah upon thee," cried I, "hold thy 
tongue with me, for thou breakest my liver in pieces." So he took 
the razor and, after sharpening it as before and shaving other 
two hairs of my head, he again held his hand and said, " I am con- 
cerned about thy hastiness and indeed thou wouldst do well to let 
me into the cause of it ; 't were the better for thee, as thou knowest 
that neither thy father nor thy grandfather ever did a single thing 
save by my advice." When I saw that there was no escape from 
him I said to myself, " The time for prayer draws near and I wish 
to go to her before the folk come out of the mosque. If I am 
delayed much longer, I know not how to come at her/' Then said 
I aloud, "Be quick and stint this talk and impertinence, for I 
have to go to a party at the house of some of my intimates." 
When he heard me speak of the party, he said, " This thy day is a 
blessed day for me ! In very sooth it was but yesterday I invited 
a company of rny friends and I have forgotten to provide anything 
for them to eat. This very moment I was thinking of it : Alas, 
how I shall be disgraced in their eyes ! " " Be not distressed about 
this matter," answered I ; " have I not told thee that I am bidden 
to an entertainment this day ? So everything in rny house, eatable 

3IO A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

and drinkable, shall be thine, if thou wilt only get through thy 
work and make haste to shave my head." He replied, "Allah 
requite thee with good ! Specify to me what is in thy house for my 
guests that I may be ware of it." Quoth I, " Five dishes of meat 
and ten chickens with reddened breasts 1 and a roasted lamb." 
"Set them before me," quoth he, ".that I may see them." So Ij 
told my people to buy, borrow or steal them and bring them in' 
anywise, and had all this set before him. When he saw it he cried, 
" The wine is wanting," and I replied, " I have a flagon or two of 
go6d old grape-juice in the house," and he said, "Have it brought 
out ! " So I sent for it and he exclaimed, " Allah bless thee for a 
generous disposition! But there are still the essences and per- 
fumes." So I bade them set before him a box containing 
Nadd, 2 the best of compound perfumes, together with fine lign- 
aloes, ambergris and musk unmixed, the whole worth fifty dinars. 
Now the time waxed strait and my heart straitened with it ; so I 
said to him, "Take it all and finish shaving my head by the life of 
Mohammed (whom Allah bless and keep !)." " By Allah," said he, 
" I will not take it till I see all that is in it." So I bade the page 
open the box and the Barber laid down the astrolabe, leaving the 
greater part of my head unpolled ; and, sitting on the ground, turned 
over the scents and incense and aloes-wood and essences till I was 
well nigh distraught. Then he took the razor and coming up to 
me shaved off some few hairs and repeated these lines : 

The boy like his father shall surety show, o As the tree from its parent root 
shall grow.* 

Then said he, " By Allah, O my son, I know not whether to thank 
thee or thy father ; for my entertainment this day is all due to thy 
bounty and beneficence ; and, although none of my company be ', 
worthy of it, yet I have a set of honourable men, to wit Zantut' 
the bath-keeper and Salf'a the corn-chandler ; and Silat the bean- 

1 Meats are rarely coloured in modern days ; "but Persian cooks are great adepts in 
staining rice for the " PuUo " (which we call after its Turkish corruption " pilaff") : it 
sometimes appears in rainbow-colours, red, yellow and blue ; and in India is covered 
with gold and silver leaf. Europe retains the practice in tinting Pasch (Easter) eggs, the 
survival of the mundane ovum which was hatched at Easter -tide ; and they are dyed red 
in allusion to the Blood of Redemption. 

2 As I have noticed this is a mixture. 

3 We say : 'Tis rare the father in the son we see : 

He sometimes rises in the third degree. 

Tale of .the Tailor. 311 

seller; and Akrashah the greengrocer; and Humayd the scavenger; 
and Sa'id the camel-man ; and Suwayd the porter ; and Abu 
Makdrish the bathman * ; and Kasim the" watchman ; and Kari'm 
the groom. There is not among the whole of them a bore or a 
bully in his cups ; nor a meddler nor a miser of his money, and 
each and every hath some dance which he danceth and some of his 
own couplets which he caroleth ; and the best of them is that, like 
thy servant, thy slave here, they know not what much talking is 
nor what forwardness means. The bath-keeper sings to the tom- 
tom 2 a song which enchants ; and he stands up and dances and 


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

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

O Keener, 3 O sweetheart, thou fallest not short 

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

News my wife wots is not locked in a box ! 4 

And he hath privilege, for 'tis a shrewd rogue and a witty; 5 and 
speaking of his excellence I am wont to say : 

; * Arab. ' Ballan " i.t. the body-servant : " Ballanah" is a tire-woman. 

2 Arab. ' ' Darabukkah " a drum made of wood or earthen- ware (Lane, M. E., xviii.), 
jfnd used by all in Egypt. 

* Arab. "Naihah" more generally "Nadddbah" Lat. praefica or carina, a hired 
mourner, the Irish "Keener" at the conclamatio or coronach, where the Hullabaloo, 
Hulululu or Ululoo showed the survivors* sorrow. 

4 These doggrels, which are like our street melodies, are now forgotten and others have 
taken their place. A few years ago one often heard, " Dus yr lalli " (tread, O my joy) 
and " Nazil il'al-Ganinah" (Down into the garden) and these in due turn become obsolete. 
Lane (M. E. chapt. xviii.) gives the former e.g. 

Tread, O my joy ! Tread, O my joy ! 
Love of my love brings sore annoy, 

A chorus to such stanzas as : 

Alexandrian damsels rare ! Daintily o'er the floor ye fare : 

Your lips are sweet, are sugar-sweet, * And purfled Cashmere shawls ye wear ! 

It may be noted that "humming " is not a favourite practice with Moslems ; if one of 
the company begin, another will say, "Go to the Kahwah" (the coffee-house, the 
proper music-hall) "and sing there ! " I have elsewhere observed their dislike to Al-sifr 
or whistling. 
6 Arab. Khali'a-=worn out, crafty, an outlaw ; used like Span. " Perdido." 

$12 Alf Laylak wa Laylak. 

My life for the scavenger ! right well I love him, o Like a waving bough he is 

sweet to my sight : 
Fate joined us one night, when to him quoth I o (The while I grew weak and 

love gained more might) 
'Thy love burns my heart ! ' * And no wonder,' quoth he o 'When the drawer 

of dung turns a stoker wight.' * 

And indeed each is perfect in whatso can charm the wit with joy 
and jollity ; " adding presently, " But hearing is not seeing ; and 
indeed if thou make up thy mind to join us and put off going to thy 
friends, 't will be better for us and for thee. The traces of illness are 
yet upon thee and haply thou art going among folk who be mighty 
talkers, men who commune together of what concerneth them not ; 
or there may be amongst them some forward fellow who will split 
thy head, and thou half thy size from sickness." " This shall be 
for some other day/' answered I, and laughed with heart an- 
gered : " finish thy work and go, in Allah Almighty's guard, to 
thy friends, for they will be expecting thy coming." " O my lord," 
replied he, " I seek only to introduce thee to these fellows of infinite 
mirth, the sons of men of worth, amongst whom there is neither 
procacity nor dicacity nor loquacity ; for never, since I grew to 
years of discretion, could I endure to consort with one who asketh 
questions concerning what concerneth hi'm not, nor have I ever fre- 
quented any save those who are, like myself, men of few words. 
In sooth if thou were to company with them or even to see them 
once, thou wouldst forsake all thy intimates." " Allah fulfil thy 
joyance with them," said I, '' needs must I come amongst them 
some day or other." But he said, " Would it were this very day, 
for I had set my heart upon thy making one of us; yet if thou 
must go to thy friends to-day, I will take these good things, where- 
with thou hast honoured and favoured me, to my guests and leave 
them to eat and drink and not wait for me ; whilst I will return to 
thee in haste and accompany thee to thy little party ; for there is 
no ceremony between me and my intimates to prevent my leaving 
them. Fear not, I will soon be back with thee and wend with thee 
whithersoever thou wendest. There is no Majesty and there is no 
Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great!" I shouted ; "'Go 
thou to thy friends and make merry with them ; and do let me go 

1 * ' Zabbal " is the scavenger, lit. a dung-drawer, especially for the use of the Hammam 
which is heated with the droppings of animals. " Wakkad " (stoker) is the servant 
who turns the fire. The verses are mere nonsense to suit the Barber's humour. 

Tale of the Tailor. 313 

to mine and be with them this day, for they expect me." But the 
Barber cried, " I will not let thee go alone ; " and I replied, " The 
truth is none can enter where I am going save myself." He 
rejoined, " I suspect that to-day thou art for an assignation with 
some woman, else thou hadst taken me with thee ; yet am I the 
right man to take, one who could aid thee to the end thou wishest. 
But I fear me thou art running after strange women and thou wilt 
lose thy life ; for in this our city of Baghdad one cannot do any 
thing in this line, especially on a day like Friday : our Governor is 
an angry man and a mighty sharp blade." " Shame on thee, thou 
wicked, bad, old man ! " cried I, "Be off! what words are these 
thou givest me ? " " O cold of wit/' * cried he, " thou sayest to me 
what is not true and thou hidest thy mind from me, but I know the 
whole business for certain and I seek only to help thee this day 
with my best endeavour." I was fearful lest my people or my 
neighbours should hear the Barber's talk, so I kept silence for a 
long time whilst he finished shaving my head ; by which time the 
hour of prayer was come and the Khutbah, or sermon, was about 
to follow. When he had done, I said to him, " Go to thy friends 
with their meat and drink, and I will await thy return. Then we 
will fare together." In this way I hoped to pour oil on troubled 
waters and to trick the accursed loon, so haply I might get quit of 
him; but he said, "Thou art cozening me and thou wouldst go 
alone to thy appointment and cast thyself into jeopardy, whence 
there will be no escape for thee. ^Now by Allah! and again by 
Allah ! do not go till I return, that I may accompany thee and 
watch the issue of thine affair." " So be it," I replied, " do not be 
long absent." Then he took all the meat and drink I had given 
him and the rest of it and went out of my house ; but the accursed 
carle gave it in charge of a porter to carry to his home but hid 
himself in one of the alleys. As for me I rose on the instant, for 
the Muezzins had already called the Salam of Friday, the salutation 
to the Apostle ; 2 and I dressed in haste and went out alone and, 

1 Arab. Ya band "=O fool. 

2 This form of blessing is chaunted from the Minaret about half-an-hour before midday, 
when the worshippers take their places in the mosque. At noon there is the usual Azan 
or prayer-call, and each man performs a two-bow, in honour of the mosque and its 
gathering, as it were. The Prophet is then blessed and a second Salam is called from the 
raised ambo or platform ("dikkah") by the divines who repeat the midday-call. Then 
an Imam recites the first Khutbah, or sermon "of praise"; and, the congregation, 
worships in silence. .This is followed by the second exhortation " of Wa'az." dispensing 

314 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

hurrying to the 'street, took my stand by the house wherein I had 
seen the young lady. I found the old woman on guard at the door 
awaiting me, and went up with her to the upper story, the damsel's 
apartment. Hardly had I reached it when behold, the master of 
the house returned from prayers and entering the great saloon, 
closed the door. I looked down from the window and saw this 
Barber (Allah's curse upon him !) sitting over against the door and 
said, " How did this devil find me out ? " At this very moment, as 
Allah had decreed it for rending my veil of secrecy, it so happened 
that a handmaid of the house-master committed some offence for 
which he beat her. She shrieked out and his slave ran in to inter- 
cede for her, whereupon the Kazi beat him to boot, and he also 
roared out. The damned Barber fancied that it was I who was 
being beaten ; so he also fell to shouting and tore his garments and 
scattered dust on his head and kept on shrieking and crying Help ! 
Help! So the people came round about him and he went on 
yelling, " My master is being murdered in the Kazi's house!" 
Then he ran clamouring to my place with the folk after him, and 
told my people and servants and slaves ; and, before I knew what 
was doing, up they came tearing their clothes and letting loose 
their hair 1 and shouting, "Alas, our master!" ; and this Barber 
leading the rout with his clothes rent and in sorriest plight ; and he 
also shouting like a madman and saying, " Alas for our murdered 
master ! " And they all made an assault upon the house in which 
I was. The Kazi, hearing the yells and the uproar at his door 
said to one of his servants, " See what is the matter " ; and the man 
went forth and returned and said, " O my master, at the gate there 
are more than ten thousand souls what with men and women, and 
all crying out. Alas for our murdered master ! ; and they keep 
pointing to our house." When the Kazi heard this, the matter 
seemed serious and he waxed wroth ; so he rose and opening the 
door saw a great crowd of people ; whereat he was astounded and 

the words of wisdom. The Imam now stands up before the Mihrab (prayer niche) and 
recites the Ikdmah which is the common Azan with one only difference : after "Hie ye 
to salvation " it adds "Come is the time of supplication " ; whence the name, "causing 
(prayer) to stand (i.e. to begin). Hereupon the worshippers recite the Farz or Koran- 
commanded noon-prayer of Friday; and the unco'guid add a host of superogatories. 
Those who would study the subject may consult Lane (M. .E. chaptf. iii. and its abstract 
in his "Arabian Nights," I, p. 430, or note 69 to Chapt. v.) 

1 i.e., The women loosed their hair ; an immodesty sanctioned only by a great 

Tale of the Tailor. 31$ 

said, " O folk ! what is there to do ? " " O accursed ! O dog ! O 
hog 1 " my servants replied ; " 'Tis thou who hast killed our 
master ! " Quoth he, " O good folk, and what hath your master 
done to me that I should kill him ? " And Shahrazad perceived 
the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say. 

Jtofo fofren it foas t&e f)tttg=ftrst 

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Kazi 
said to the servants, " What hath your master done to me that I 
should kill him ? This is my house and it is open to you all." 
Then quoth the Barber, " Thou didst beat him and I heard him 
cry out ;" and quoth the Kazi, " But what was he doing that I 
should beat him, and what brought him in to my house ; and 
whence came he and whither went he ?" " Be not a wicked, per- 
verse old man ! " cried the Barber, " for I know the whole story ; 
and the long and short of it is that thy daughter is in love with 
him and he loves her ; and when thou knewest that he had entered 
the house, thou badest thy servants beat him and they did so : by 
Allah, none shall judge between us and thee but the Caliph ; or 
else do thou bring out our master that his folk may take him, 
before they go in and save him perforce from thy house, and thou 
be put to shame." Then said the Kazi (and his tongue was bridled 
and his mouth was stopped by confusion before the people), " An 
thou say sooth, do thou come in and fetch him out." Whereupon 
the Barber pushed forward and entered the house. When I saw 
this I looked about for a means of escape and flight, but saw no 
hiding-place except a great chest in the upper chamber where I 
was. So I got into it and pulled the lid down upon myself and 
held my breath. The Barber was hardly in the room before he 
began to look about for me, then turned him right and left and 
came straight to the place where I was, and stepped up to the chest 
and, lifting it on his head, made off as fast as he could. At this, my 
reason forsook me, for I knew that he would not let me be ; so I 
took courage and opening the chest threw myself to the ground. 
My leg was broken in the fall, and the door being open I saw a 
great concourse of people looking in. Now I carried in my sleeve 
much gold and some silver, which I had provided for an ill day 
like this and the like of such occasion ; so I kept scattering it 
amongst the folk to divert their attention from me and, whilst 

316 A If Laylah wa Laylak. 

they were busy scrambling for it, I set off, hopping as fast as I 
could, through the by-streets of Baghdad, shifting and turning right 
and left, But whithersoever I went this damned Barber would go 
in after me, crying aloud, "They would have bereft me of my 
maa-a-ster ! They would have slain him who was a benefactor to 
me and my family and my friends ! Praised be Allah who made 
me prevail against them and delivered my lord from their hands!" 
Then to me, " Where wilt thou go now ? Thou wouldst persist in 
following thine own evil devices, till thou broughtest thyself to this 
ill pass ; and, had not Allah vouchsafed me to Jhee, ne'er hadst 
thou escaped this strait into which thou hast fallen, for they would 
have cast thee into a calamity whence thou never couldest have 
won free. But I will not call thee to account for thine ignorance, as 
thou art so little of wit and inconsequential and addicted to hasti* 
ness ! " Said I to him, " Doth not what thou hast brought upon me 
suffice thee, but thou must run after me and talk me such talk in 
the bazar-streets ?" And I well-nigh gave up the ghost for excess 
of rage against him. Then I took refuge in the shop of a weaver 
amiddlemost of the market and sought protection of the owner 
who drove the Barber away ; and, sitting in the back-room, 1 I said 
to myself, "If I return home I shall never be able to get rid of this 
curse of a Barber, who will be with me night and day ; and I can- 
not endure the sight of him even for a breathing-space." So I sent 
out at once for witnesses and made a will, dividing the greater part 
of my property among my people, and appointed a guardian over 
them, to whom I committed the charge of great and small, direct- 
ing him to sell my houses and domains. Then I set out on my 
travels that I might be free of this pimp 2 ; and I came to settle in 
your town where I have lived some time. When you invited me 
and I came hither, the first thing I saw was this accursed pander 
seated in the place of honour. How then can my heart be glad 
and my stay be pleasant in company with this fellow who brought 
all this upon me, and who was the cause of the breaking of my leg 
and of my exile from home and native land ? And the youth 
refused to sit down and went away. When we heard his story 
(continued the Tailor) we were amazed beyond measure and 
amused and said to the Barber, "By Allah, is it true what this 

1 These small shops are composed of a "but" and a "ben" (Pilgrimage t. 99.) 
8 Arab. "Kawwad," a popular term of abuse; hence the Span, and Port. *'Alco- 
viteiro." The Italian "Galeotto" is from Galahalt, not Galahad. 

The Barber's Tale of Himself . 317 

young man saith of thee ?" "By Allah," replied he, " I dealt thus 
by him of my courtesy and sound sense and generosity. Had it 
not been for me he had perished and none but I was the cause of 
his escape. Well it was for him that he suffered in his leg and not 
in his life ! Had I been a man of many words, a meddler, a busy 
body, I had not acted thus kindly by him ; but now I will tell you 
a tale which befel me, that you may be well assured I am a man 
sparing of speech in whom is no forwardness and a very different 
person from those six Brothers of mine ; and this it is. 


I WAS living in Baghdad during the times of Al-Mustansir bi'llah, 1 
son of Al-Mustazi bi'llah the then Caliph, a prince who loved the 
poor and needy and companied with the learned and pious. One day 
it happened to him that he was wroth with ten persons, highwaymen 
who robbed on the Caliph's highway, and he ordered the Prefect of 
Baghdad to bring them into the presence on the anniversary of the 
Great Festival. 2 So the Prefect sallied out and, making them his 
prisoners, embarked with them in a boat. I caught sight of them 
as they were embarking and said to myself, "These are surely 
assembled for *a marriage-feast ; methinks they are spending their 
day in that boat eating and drinking, and none shall be companion 
of their cups but I myself." So I rose, O fair assembly ; and, of 
the excess of my courtesy and the gravity of my understanding, I 
embarked with them and entered into conversation with them. 
They rowed across to the opposite bank, where they landed and 
there came up the watch and guardians of the peace with chains, 
which they put round the robbers' necks. They chained me among 
the rest of them ; and, O people, is it not a proof of my courtesy 

1 i.e. " one seeking assistance in Allah." He was the son of Al-Zahir bi'Jleih (one 
pre-eminent by the decree of Allah). Lane says (1.430;), " great-grandson of Harun 
al-Rashid," alluding to the first Mustansir son of Al-Mutawakkil (regn. A.H. 247-248 = 
861-2). But this is the 56th Abbaside and regn. A.H. 623-640 ( = 1226-1242). 

2 Arab. "YaumaMd," the Kurban Bairam of the Turks, the Pilgrimage festival. 
The story is historical. In the "Akd," a miscellany compiled by Ibn Abd Rabbuh 
(vulg. Rabbi-hi) of Cordova, who ob. A.H. 328 = 940 we read : A spunger found ten 
criminals and followed them, imagining they were going to a feast ; but lo, they were 
going to their deaths. And when they were slain and he remained, he was brought before 
the Khalifah (Al-Maamuo) and Ibrahim son of Al-Mahdi related a tale to procure pardon 
for the man, whereupon the Khalifah pardoned him. Lane ii, 506. 

3*8 Alf Layldh wa Laylah. 

and spareness of speech, that I held my peace and did not please? 
to speak? Then they took us away in bilbos and next morning 
carried us all before Al-Mustansir bi'llah, Commander of Ithe 
Faithful, who bade smite the necks of the ten robbers. So the 
Sworder came forward after they were seated on the leather of 
blood j 1 then drawing his blade, struck off one head after another 
until he had smitten the neck of the tenth ; and I alone remained 
The Caliph looked at me and asked the Headsman, saying, 
" What ails thee that thou hast struck off only nine heads? "; and 
he answered, " Allah forbid that I should behead only nine, when 
thou biddest me behead ten ! " Quoth the Caliph, " Meseems thou 
hast smitten the necks of only nine, and this man before thee is 
the tenth." " By thy beneficence ! " replied the Headsman, " I have 
beheaded ten." "Count them!" cried the Caliph and whenas 
they counted heads, lo ! there were ten. The Caliph looked at me 
and said, " What made thee keep silence at a time like this and 
how earnest thou to company with these men of blood. Tell me 
the cause of all this, for albeit thou art a very old man, assuredly 
thy wits are weak." Now when I heard these words from the 
Caliph I sprang to my feet and replied, " Know, O Prince of the 
Faithful, that I am the Silent Shaykh and am thus called to dis- 
tinguish me from my six brothers. I am a man of immense 
learning whilst, as for the gravity of my understanding, the 
wiliness of my wits and the spareness of my speech, there is no 
end to them ; and my calling is that of a barber. I went out 
early on yesterday morning and saw these men making for a skiff; 
and, fancying they were bound for a marriage-feast, I joined them 
and mixed with them. After a while up came the watch and 
guardians of the peace, who put chains round their necks and 
round mine with the rest ; but, in the excess of my courtesy, I 
held my peace and spake not a word ; nor was this other but 
generosity on my part. They brought us into thy presence, and 
thou gavest an order to smite the necks of the ten ; yet did I not 
make myself known to thee and remained silent before the 
Sworder, purely of my great generosity and courtesy -which led 

1 Arab. "Nala* al-Dam " ; the former word was noticed in the Tale of the Bull and 
the Ass. The leather of blood was not unlike the Sufrah and could be folded into a 
bag by a string running through rings round the edges. Moslem executioners were 
very expert and seldom failed to strike off the head with a single blow of the thirt 
narrow blade with razor-edge, hard as diamond withal, which contrasted so strongly 
with the great coarse chopper of the European headsman. 

The Barber's Tale of his First Brother. 319 

me to share with them in their death. But all my life long have I 
dealt thus nobly with mankind, and they requite me the foulest 
and evillest requital t " When the Caliph heard my words and 
knew that I was a man of exceeding generosity and of very few 
words, one in whom is no forwardness (as this youth would have 
it whom I rescued from mortal risk and who hath so scurvily 
repaid me), he laughed with excessive laughter till he fell upon 
his back. Then said he to me, " O Silent Man, do thy six brothers 
favour thee in wisdom and knowledge and spareness of speech ? " 
I replied, " Never were they like me ! Thou puttest reproach upon 
me, O Commander of the Faithful, and it becomes thee not to 
even my brothers with me ; for, of the abundance of their speech 
and their deficiency of courtesy and gravity, each one of them 
hath gotten some maim or other. One is a monocular, another 
palsied, a third stone-blind, a fourth cropped of ears and nose and 
a fifth shorn of both lips, while the sixth is a hunchback and a 
cripple. And conceive not, O Commander of the Faithful, that I 
am prodigal of speech ; but I must perforce explain to thee that I 
am a man of greater worth and fewer words than any of them. 
From each one of my brothers hangs a tale of how he came by 
his bodily defect and these I will relate to thee. So the Caliph 
gave ear to 


KNOW then, O Commander of the Faithful, that my first brother, 
Al-Bakbuk, the prattler, is a Hunchback who took to tailoring in 
Baghdad, and he used to sew in a shop hired from a man of much 
wealth, who dwelt over the shop, 1 and there was also a flour-mill 
in the basement. One day as my brother, the Hunchback, was 
sitting in his shop a-tailoring, he chanced to raise his head and 
saw a lady like the rising full moon at a balconied window of his 
landlord's house, engaged in looking out at the passers-by. 2 When 
my brother beheld her, his heart was taken with love of her and he 
passed his whole day gazing at her and neglected his tailoring till 

1 The ground floor, which in all hot countries is held, and rightly so, unwholesome 
during sleep, is usually let for shops. This is also the case throughout Southern Europe, 
and extends to the Canary Islands and the Brazil. 

8 This serious contemplation of street-scenery is one of the pleasures of the Harems. 

320 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

eventide. Next morning he opened his shop and sat him down to 
sew ; but, as often as he stitched a stitch, he looked to the window 
and saw her as before ; and his passion and infatuation for her 
increased. On the third day as he was sitting in his usual place, 
gazing on her, she caught sight of him and, perceiving that he had 
been captivated with love of her, laughed in his face, 1 and he 
smiled back at her. Then she disappeared and presently sent her 
slave-girl to him with a bundle containing a piece of red flowered 
silk. The handmaid accosted him and said, " My lady salameth to 
thee and desireth thee, of thy skill and good will, to fashion for her 
a shift of this piece and to sew it handsomely with thy best 
sewing." He replied, " Hearkening and obedience " ; and shaped 
for her a chemise and finished sewing it the same day. When the 
morning morrowed the girl came back and said to him, " My lady 
salameth to thee and asks how thou hast passed yesternight ; for she 
hath not tasted sleep by reason of her heart being taken up with 
thee." Then she laid before him a piece of yellow satin and said, 
" My lady biddeth thee cut her two pair of petticoat-trousers out 
of this piece and sew them this very day. " Hearkening and 
obedience ! " replied he, " greet her for me with many greetings 
and say to her, Thy slave is obedient to thine order; so com- 
mand him as thou wilt." Then he applied himself to cutting out 
and worked hard at sewing the trousers ; and after an hour the 
lady appeared at the lattice and saluted him by signs, now casting 
down her eyes, then smiling in his face, and he began to assure 
himself that he would soon make a conquest. She did not let him 
stir till he had finished the two pair of trousers, when she with- 
drew and sent the handmaid to whom he delivered them ; and 
she took them and went her ways. When it was night, he threw 
himself on his carpet-bed, and lay tossing about from side to side 
till morning, when he rose and sat down in his place. Presently 
the damsel came to him and said, ' My master calleth for thee." 
Hearing these words he feared with exceeding fear ; but the slave- 
girl, seeing his affright, said to him, " No evil is meant to thee : 
naught but good awaiteth thee. My lady would have thee make 
acquaintance with my lord." So my brother the tailor, rejoicing 
with great joy, went with her ; and when he came into the presence 
of his landlord, the lady's husband, he kissed the ground before 
him, and the master of the house returned his greeting and gave 

1 We should say *' smiled at him " : the laugh was not intended as an affront. 

The Barbers Tale of his First Brother. 321 

him a great piece of linen saying, "Shape me shirts out of this 
stuff and sew them well ;" and my brother answered, "To hear is 
to obey." Thereupon he fell to work at once, snipping, shaping 
and sewing till he had finished twenty shirts by supper time, 
without stopping to taste food. The house-master asked him, 
" How much the wage for this ? " ; and he answered, " Twenty 
dirhams." So the gentleman cried out to the slave-girl, " Bring 
me twenty dirhams," and my brother spake not a word ; but the 
lady signed, "Take nothing from him; 1 ' whereupon my brother 
said, "By Allah I will take naught from thy hand." And he 
carried off his tailor's gear and returned to his shop, although he 
was destitute even to a red cent. 1 Then he applied himself to do 
their work ; eating, in his zeal and diligence, but a bit of bread 
and drinking only a little water for three days. At the end of this 
time came the handmaid and said to him, "'What hast thou 
done ? " Quoth he, " They are finished," and carried the shirts to 
the lady's husband, who would have paid him his hire : but he 
said, " I will take nothing," for fear of her and, returning to his 
shop, passed the night without sleep because of his hunger. Now 
the dame had informed her husband how the case stood (my 
brother knowing naught of this) ; and the two had agreed to make 
him tailor for nothing, the better to mock and laugh at him. Next 
niorning he went to his shop, and, as he sat there, the handmaid 
came to him and said, " Speak with my master," So he accom- 
panied her to the husband who said to him, " I wish thee to cut 
out for me five long-sleeved robes. 2 " So he cut them out 3 and 
took the stuff and went away. Then he sewed them and carried 
them to the gentleman, who praised his sewing and offered him a 
purse of silver. He put out his hand to take it, but the lady 
signed to him from behind her husband not to do so, and he 
replied, " O my lord, there is no hurry, we have time enough for 
this." Then he went forth from the house meaner and meeker 

1 Arab. " Fals ahmar." Fals is a fish-scale, also the smaller coin and the plural 
"Fulus" is the vulgar term for money (=Ital. quattrini) without specifying the-coin. 
It must not be confounded with the "Fazzah," alias " Nuss," alias " Piirah" (Turk.) ; 
the latter being made, not of " red copper " but of a vile alloy containing like the 
Greek "Asper," some silver; and representing, when at par, the fortieth of a piastre, 
the latter being rzz2d. -fths. 

2 Arab. "Farajiyah," a long-sleeved robe; Lane's " Farageeyeh," M. E., chapt i. 

9 The tailor in the East, as in Southern Europe, is made to cut out the doth in 
presence of its owner to prevent " cabbaging." 

VOL. I. X 

322 Alf Laylak wa Laylafu 

than a donkey, for verily five things were gathered together in him 
viz: love, beggary, hunger, nakedness and hard labour. Never- 
theless he heartened himself with the hope of gaining the lady's 
favours. When he had made an end of all their jobs, they played 
him another trick and married him to their slave-girl ; but, on the 
night when, he thought to go in to her, they said to him, M Lie this 
night in the mill ; and to-morrow all will go well." My brother 
concluded that there was some good cause for this and nighted 
alone in the mill. Now the husband had set on the miller to make 
the tailor turn the mill : so when night was half spent the man 
came into him and began to say, " This bull of ours hath become 
useless and standeth still instead of going round : he will not turn 
the mill this night, and yet we have great store of corn to be 
ground. However, I'll yoke him perforce and make him finish 
grinding it before morning, as the folk are impatient for their 
flour." So he filled the hoppers with grain and, going up to my 
brother with a rope in his hand, tied it round his neck and said to 
him, " Gee up ! Round with the mill f thou, O bull, wouldst do 
nothing but grub and stale and dung ! " Then he took a whip and 
laid it on the shoulders and calves of my brother, who began to 
howl and bellow ; but none came to help him ; and he was forced 
to grind the wheat till hard upon dawn, when the house-master 
came in and, seeing my brother still tethered to the yoke and the 
man flogging him, went away. At day-break the miller returned 
home and left him still yoked and half dead ; and sooa after in 
came the slave-girl who unbound him, and said to him, "I and my 
lady are right sorry for what hath happened and we have borne 
thy grief with thee." But he had no tongue wherewith to answer 
her from excess of beating and mill-turning. Then he retired to 
his lodging and behold, the clerk who had drawn up the marriage- 
deed came to him 1 and saluted him, saying, " Allah give thee long 
life ! May thy espousal be blessed ! This face telleth of pleasant 
doings and dalliance and kissing and clipping from dusk to dawn." 
" Allah grant the liar no peace, O thou thousandfold cuckold I ", 
my brother replied, " by Allah, I did nothing but turn the mill in 
the place of the bull all night till morning ! " " Tell me thy tale," 
quoth he ; and my brother recounted what had befallen him and 
he said, "Thy star agrees not with her star; but an thou wilt I can 
alter the contract for thee," adding, " 'Ware lest another cheat be 

1 Expecting a present. 

The Barber's Tale of his First Brother. 323 

not in store for thee." And my brother answered him, " See if 
thou have not another contrivance." Then the clerk left him and 
he sat in his shop, looking for some one to bring him a job whereby 
he might earn his day's bread. Presently the handmaid came to 
him and said, " Speak with my lady." " Begone, O my good girl/' 
replied he, " there shall be no more dealings between me and thy 
lady." The handmaid returned to her mistress and told her what 
my brother had said and presently she put her head out of the 
window, weeping and saying, " Why, O my beloved, are there to be 
no more dealings 'twixt me and thee?" But he made her no 
answer. Then she wept and conjured him, swearing that all which 
had befallen him in the mill was not sanctioned by her and that 
she was innocent of the whole matter. When he looked upon 
her beauty and loveliness and heard the sweetness of her speech, 
the sorrow which had possessed him passed from his heart; he 
accepted her excuse and he rejoiced in her sight. So he saluted 
her and talked with her and sat tailoring awhile, after which the 
handmaid came to him and said, " My mistress greeteth thee and 
informeth thee that her husband purposeth to lie abroad this night 
in the house of some intimate friends of his ; so, when he is gone, 
do thou come to us and spend the night with my lady in delight- 
somest joyance till the morning." Now her husband had asked 
her, " How shall we manage to turn him away from thee ? ; " and 
she answered, " Leave me to play him another trick and make him 
a laughing-stock for all the town." But my brother knew naught 
of the malice of women. As soon as it was dusk, the slave-girl 
came to him and carried him to the house, and when the lady saw 
him she said to him, " By Allah, O my lord, I have been longing 
exceedingly for thee." " By Allah," cried he, " kiss me quick before 
thou give me aught else. 1 " Hardly had he spoken, when the lady's 
husband came in from the next room 2 and seized him, saying, " By 
Allah, I will not let thee go, till I deliver thee to the chief of the 
town watch." My brother humbled himself to him ; but he would 
not listen ta him and carried him before the Prefect who gave him 
an hundred lashes with a whip and, mounting him on a camel,, 
promenaded him round about the city, whilst the guards pro- 
claimed aloud, "This is his reward who violateth the Harims of 

1 Alluding to the saying, " Kiss is the key to Kitty." 

2 The " panel-dodge" is fatally common throughout the East, where a man found in 
the house of another is helpless. 

324 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

honourable men ! " Moreover, he fell off the camel and broke his 
leg and so became lame. Then the Prefect banished him from the 
city ; and he went forth unknowing whither he should wend ; but 
I heard of him and fearing for him went out after him, and brought 
him back secretly to the city and restored him to health and took 
him into m$ house where he still liveth." The Caliph laughed at 
my story and said, " Thou hast done well, O Samit, O Silent Man, 
O spare of speech ! " ; and he bade me take a present and go 
away. But I said, " I will accept naught of thee except I tell thee 
what befel all my other brothers ; and do not think me a man of 
many words." So the Caliph gave ear to, 


KNOW, O Commander of the Faithful, that my second brother's 
name was Al-Haddar, that is the babbler, and he was the paralytic. 
Now it happened to him one day, as he was going about his 
business, that an old woman accosted him and said, " Stop a little, 
my good man, that I may tell thee of somewhat which, if it be to 
thy liking, thou shalt do for me and I will pray Allah to give thee 
good of it ! " My brother stopped and she went on, " I will put 
thee in the way of a certain thing, so thou not be prodigal of 
speech." " On with thy talk," quoth he ; and she, " What sayest 
thou to handsome quarters and a fair garden with flowing waters, 
flowers blooming, and fruit growing, and old wine going and a 
pretty young face whose owner thou mayest embrace from dark 
till dawn ? If thou do whatso I bid thee thou shalt see something 
greatly to thy advantage." " And is all this in the world ?" asked 
my brother ; and she answered, " Yes, and it shall be thine, so thou 
be reasonable and leave idle curiosity and many words, and do my 
bidding, " I will indeed, O my lady," said he, " how is it thou 
hast preferred me in this matter before all men and what is it that 
so much pleaseth thee in me ? " Quoth she, " Did I not bid thee 
be spare of speech ? Hold thy peace and follow me. Know, that 
the young lady, to whom I shall carry thee, loveth to have her own 
way and hateth being thwarted and all who gainsay ; so, if thou 
humour her, thou shalt come to thy desire of her." And my 
brother said, " I will not cross her in anything." Then she went on 
and my brother followed her, an-hungering after what she described 

The Barbers Tale of his Second Brother 325 

to him till they entered a fine large house, handsome and choicely 
furnished, full of eunuchs and servants and showing signs of pros- 
perity from top to bottom. And she was carrying him to the 
upper story when the people of the house said to him, " What dost 
thou here ? " But the old woman answered them, " Hold your 
peace and trouble him not : he is a workman and we have occasion 
for him." Then she brought him into a fine great pavilion, with a 
garden in its midst, never eyes saw a fairer; and made him sit upon 
a handsome couch. He had not sat long, before he heard a loud 
noise and in came a troop of slave-girls surrounding a lady like the 
moon on the night of its fullest. When he saw her, he rose up and 
made an obeisance to her, whereupon she welcomed him and bade 
him be seated. So he sat down and she said to him, "Allah 
advance thee to honour! Is all well with thee?" "O my lady," 
he answered, " all with me is right well." Then she bade bring in 
food, and they set before her delicate viands ; so she sat down to 
eat, making a show of affection to my brother and jesting with him, 
though all the while she could not refrain from laughing ; but as 
often as he looked at her, she signed towards her handmaidens as 
though she were laughing at them. My brother (the ass !) under- 
stood nothing ; but, in the excess of his ridiculous passion, he fancied 
that the lady was in love with him and that she would soon grant 
him his desire. When they had done eating, they set on the wine 
and there came in ten maidens like moons, with lutes ready strung 
in their hands, and fell to singing with full voices, sweet and sad, 
whereupon delight gat hold upon him and he took the cup from 
the lady's hands and drank it standing. Then she drank a cup of 
wine and my brother (still standing) said to her "Health," and 
bowed to her. She handed him another cup and he drank it off, 
when she slapped him hard on the nape of his neck. 1 Upon this 
my brother would have gone out of the house in anger ; but the 
old woman followed him and winked to him to return. So he 
came back and the lady bade him sit and he sat down ^without a 
word. Then she again slapped him on the nape of his neck ; and 
the second slapping did not suffice her, she must needs make all 
her handmaidens also slap and cuff him, while he kept saying to 
the old woman, " I never saw aught nicer than this." She on her 
side ceased not exclaiming, " Enough, enough, I conjure thee, O 

1 This was the beginning of horseplay which often ends in a bastinado. 

326 A If Laylak zva Laylak. 

my rpistress ! " ; but the women slapped him till he well nigh 
swooned away. Presently my brother rose and went out to obey a 
call of nature, but the old woman overtook him, and said, " Be 
patient a little and thou shalt win to thy wish." "How much 
longer have I, to wait," my brother replied, "this slapping hath 
made me feel faint." 4< As soon as she is warm with wine," answered 
she, " thou shalt have thy desire," So he returned to his place and 
sat down, whereupon all the handmaidens stood up and the lady 
bade them perfume him with pastiles and besprinkle his face with 
rose-water. Then said she to him, "Allah advance thee to honour! 
Thou hast entered my house and hast borne with my conditions , 
for whoso thwarteth me I turn him away, and whoso is patient hath 
his desire." " O mistress mine," said he, " I am thy slave and in the 
hollow of thine hand ! " " Know, then," continued she, " that Allah 
hath made me passionately fond of frolic ; and whoso falleth in with 
rny humour cometh by whatso he wisheth." Then she ordered 
her maidens to sing with loud voices till the whole company was 
delighted ; after which she said to one of them, " Take thy lord, 
and do what is needful for him and bring him back to me forth- 
right." So the damsel took my brother (and he not knowing what 
she would do with him) ; but the old woman overtook him and 
said, " Be patient ; there remaineth but little to do." At this his face 
brightened and he stood up before the lady while the old woman 
kept saying, " Be patient ; thou wilt now at once win to thy wish ! " ; 
till he said, " Tell me what she would have the maiden do with 
me?" "Nothing but good," replied she, "as I am thy sacrifice! 
She wisheth only to dye thy eyebrows and pluck out thy mus- 
tachios." Quoth he, "As for the dyeing of my eyebrows, that will 
come off with washing, 1 but for the plucking out of my mustachios 
that indeed is a somewhat painful process." " Be cautious how 
thou cross her," cried the old woman ; " for she hath set her heart 
on thee." So my brother patiently suffered her to dye his eye- 
brows and pluck out his mustachios; after which the maiden 
returned to her mistress and told her. Quoth she, " Remaineth now 
only one other thing to be done ; thou must shave his beard and 

1 Hair-dyes, in the East, ate all of vegetable matter, henna, indigo-leaves, galls, etc. : 
our mineral dyes are, happily for them, unknown. Herklots will supply a host of recipes. 
The Egyptian mixture which I quoted in Pilgrimage (ii., 274) is sulphate of iron and 
ammoniure of iron one part and gall nuts two parts, infused in eight parts of distilled water. 
It is innocuous but very poor as a dye. 

The Barbers Tale of his Second Brother. 327 

make him a smooth o' face. 1 " So the maiden went back and told 
him what her mistress had bidden her do ; and my brother (the 
blockhead !) said to her, " How shall I do what will disgrace me 
before the folk ? " But the old woman said, " She would do on 
this wise only that thou mayst be as a beardless youth and that no 
hair be left on thy face to scratch and prick her delicate cheeks ; 
for indeed she is passionately in love with thee. So be patient and 
thou shalt attain thine object." My brother was patient and did 
her bidding and let shave off his beard and, when he was brought 
back to the lady, lo ! he appeared dyed red as to his eyebrows, 
plucked of both mustachios, shorn of his beard, rouged on both 
cheeks. At first she was affrighted at him ; then she made 
mockery of him and, laughing till she fell upon her back, said, 
" O my lord, thou hast indeed won my heart by thy good nature ! " 
Then she conjured him, by her life, to stand up and dance, and he 
arose, and capered about, and there was not a cushion in the house 
but she threw it at his head, and in like manner did all her women 
who also kept pelting him with oranges and lemons and citrons 
till he fell down senseless from the cuffing on the nape of the neck, 
the pillowing and the fruit-pelting. " Now thou hast attained thy 
wish," said the old woman when he came round ; " there are no 
more blows in store for thee and there remaineth t>ut one little thing 
to do. It is her wont, when she is in her cups, to let no one have 
her until she put off her dress and trousers and remain stark 
naked. 2 Then she will bid thee doff thy clothes and run ; and 
she will run before thee as if she were flying from thee ; and do 
thou follow her from place to place till thy prickle stands at fullest 
point, when she will yield to thee 3 ;" adding, " Strip off thy clothes 
at once." So he rose, well nigh lost in ecstacy and, doffing his 
raiment, showed himself mother-naked. And Shahrazad per- 
ceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say. 

1 Arab. Amrad, etymologically " beardless and handsome,*' but often used in a bad 
sense, to denote an effeminate, a catamite. 

2 The Hindus prefer "having the cardinal points as her sole garment." Vetu de climat, 
says Madame de Stael. In Paris nude statues are ' draped in cerulean blue." Rabelais 
(iv., 29) robes King Shrovetide in grey and gold of a comical cut, nothing before, nothing 
behind with sleeves of the same. 

3 This scene used to be enacted a few years ago in Paris for the benefit of concealed 
spectators, a young American being the victim. It was put down when one of the lookers- 
on lost his eye by a. pen-knife thrust into the "crevice." 

328 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

fofjen it foas t!je i)irtg=becon& 

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the old 
woman said to the Barber's second brother, " Doff thy clothes," he 
rose, well nigh lost in ecstacy ; and, stripping off his raiment, showed 
himself mother-naked. Whereupon the lady stripped also and said 
to my brother, " If thou want anything run after me till thou catch 
me." Then she set out at a run and he ran after her while she 
rushed into room after room and rushed out of room after room, 
my brother scampering after her in a rage of desire like a veritable 
madman, with yard standing terribly tall. After much of this kind 
she dashed into a darkened place, and he dashed after her ; but 
suddenly he trod upon a yielding spot, which gave way under his 
weight ; and, before he was aware where he was, he found himself 
in the midst of a crowded market, part of the bazar of the leather- 
sellers who were crying the prices of skins and hides and buying 
and selling When they saw him in his plight, naked, with stand- 
ing yard, shorn of beard and moustachios, with eyebrows dyed red, 
and cheeks ruddled with rouge, they shouted and clapped their 
hands at him, and set to flogging him with skins upon his bare 
body till a swoon came over him. Then they threw him on the 
back of an ass and carried him to the Chief of Police. Quoth the 
Chief " What is this ? " Quoth they, " This fellow fell suddenly 
upon us out of the Wazir's house 1 in this state." So the Prefect 
gave him an hundred lashes and then banished him from Baghdad. 
However I went out after him and brought him back secretly into 
the city and made him a daily allowance for his living : although, 
were it not for my generous humour, I could not have put up with 
the like of hrm. Then the Caliph gave ear to 


MY third brother's name was Al-Fakfk, the 1 Gabbler, who was 
blind. One day Fate and Fortune drove him to a fine large house, 
and he knocked at the door, desiring speech of its owner that Jie 

1 Meaning" that the trick had been played by the Wazir's wife or daughter. I could 
mention sundry names at Cairo whose charming owners have done worse things than 
this unseemly frolic. 

The Barber's Tale of his Thtrd Brother. 329 

might beg somewhat of him. Quoth the master of the house, 
** Who is at the door ? " But my brother spake not a word and 
presently he heard him repeat with a loud voice, " Who is this ? " 
Still he made no answer and immediately heard the master walk 
to the door and open it and say, "What dost thou want?" My 
brother answered " Something for Allah Almighty's sake, 1 " " Art 
thou blind ? '" asked the man, and my brother answered " Yes." 
Quoth the other, "Stretch me out thy hand." So my brother put 
out his hand thinking that he would give him something ; but he 
took it and, drawing him into the house, carried him up from stair 
to stair till they reached the terrace on the house-top, my brother 
thinking the while that he would surely give him something of 
food or money. Then he asked my brother, " What dost thou 
want, O blind man ? " and he answered, " Something for the 
Almighty's sake." " Allah open for thee some other door I" " O 
thou ! why not say so when I was below stairs ?" " O cadger, 
why not answer me when I first called to thee?" "And what 
meanest thou to do for me now ? " " There is nothing in the 
house to give thee." " Then take me down the stair." " The path 
is before thee." So my brother rose and made his way downstairs, 
till he came within twenty steps of the door, when his foot slipped 
and he rolled to the bottom and broke his- head. Then he went 
out, unknowing whither to turn, and presently fell in with two other 
blind men, companions of his, who said to him, "What didst thou 
gain to-day ? " He told them what had befallen him and added, 
" O my brothers, I wish to take some of the money in my hands 
and provide myself with it." Now the master of the house had 
followed him and was listening to what they said ; but neither my 
brother nor his comrades knew of this. So my brother went to his 
lodging and sat down to await his companions, and the house-owner 
entered after him without being perceived. When the other blind 
men arrived, my brother said to them, " Bolt the door and search 
the house lest any stranger have followed us." The man, hearing 
this, caught hold of a cord that hung from the ceiling and clung to 
it, whilst they went round about the house and searched but found 
no one. So they came back, and, sitting beside my brother, brought 
out their money which they counted and lo ! it was twelve thousand 
dirhams. Each took what he wanted and they buried the rest in 

1 Arab. "Shayyun li'llahi," a beggar's formula =z per amor diJDio. 

33 Alf Laylak wa Laylak. 

a corner of the room. Then they set on food and sat down, to eat 
Presently my brother, hearing a strange pair of jaws munching by 
his side, 1 said to his friends, "There is a stranger amongst us;" 
and, putting forth his hand, caught hold of that of the house-master. 
Thereupon all fell on him and beat him ; 2 and when tired of 
belabouring him they shouted, " O ye Moslems ! a thief is come in 
to us, seeking to take our money!" A crowd gathered around 
them, whereupon the intruder hung on to them ; and complained 
with them as they complained ; and, shutting his eyes like them, so 
that none might doubt his blindness, cried out, " O Moslems, I take 
refuge with Allah and the Governor, for I have a matter to make 
known to him ! " Suddenly up came the watch and, laying hands 
on the whole lot (my brother being amongst them), drove them 3 to 
the Governor's who set them before him and asked, "What news 
with you ? " Quoth the intruder, " Look and find out for thyself, 
not a word shall be wrung from us save by torture, so begin by 
beating me and after me beat this man our leader." 4 And he pointed 
to my brother. So they threw the man at full length and gave 
him four hundred sticks on his backside. The beating pained 
him, whereupon he opened one eye and, as they redoubled their 
blows, he opened the other eye. When the Governor saw this 
he said to him, " What have we here, O accursed ? " ; whereto 
he replied, " Give me the seal-ring of pardon J We four have 
shammed blind, and we impose upon people that we may enter 
houses and look upon the unveiled faces of the women and con- 
trive for their corruption. In this way we have gotten great gain 

1 Noting how sharp-eared the blind become. 

* The blind in Egypt are notorious for insolence and violence, fanaticism and rapacity. 
Not a few foreigners have suffered from them (Pilgrimage i. 148). In former times 
many were blinded in infancy by their mothers, and others blinded themselves to escape 
conscription of honest hard work. They could always obtain food, especially as Mu f ezzins ; 
and were preferred because they could not take advantage of the minaret by spying into 
their neighbours* households. The Egyptian race is chronically weak-eyed, the effect of 
the .damp hot climate of the. valley, where ophthalmia prevailed even during the pre- 
Pharaohnic days. The great Sesostris died stone-blind and his successor lost his sight 
for ten years (Pilgrimage ii. , 176). That the Fellahs are now congenially weak-eyed, 
may by seen by comparing them with negroes imported from Central Africa. Ophthalmia 
rages, especially during the damp season, in the lower Nile-valley; and the best cure for 
it is a fortnight's trip to the Desert where, despite glare, sand and wind, the eye readily 
recovers tone. 

3 i.e. With kicks and cuffs, and blows, as is the Custom. (Pilgrimage i., 174.) 

* Arab. Kaid (whence " Alcayde") a word still much used in North Western Africa* 

The Barber's Tale of his Fourth Brother. 331 

ana our store amounts to twelve thousand dirharns. Said I to my 
company : Give me my share, three thousand ; but they rose and 
beat me and took away my money, and I seek refuge with Allah 
and with thee ; better thou have my share than they. So, if thou 
wouldst know the truth of my words, beat one and every of the 
others more than thou hast beaten me, and he will surely open his 
eyes. The Governor gave orders for the question to begin with 
my brother, and they bound him to the whipping-post, 1 and the 
Governor said, " O scum of the earth, do ye abuse the gracious 
gifts of Allah and make as if ye were blind .! " " Allah ! Allah !" 
cried my brother, "by Allah, there is none among us who can 
see." Then they beat him till he swooned away and the Governor 
cried/ " Leave him till he come to and then beat him again." 
After this he caused each of the companions to receive more than 
three hundred sticks, whilst the sham-abraham kept saying to them 
" Open your eyes or you will be beaten afresh." At last the man 
said to the Governor, "Dispatch some one with me to bring thee 
the money ; for these fellows will not open their eyes, lest they 
incur disgrace before the folk." So the Governor sent to fetch 
the money and gave the man his pretended share, three thousand 
dirhams ; and, keeping the rest for himself, banished the three 
blind men from the city. But I, O Commander of the Faithful, 
went out and overtaking my brother questioned him of his case ; 
whereupon he told me of what I have told thee ; so I brought him 
secretly into the city, and appointed him (in the strictest privacy) 
an allowance for meat and drink ! The Caliph laughed at my 
story and said, " Give him a gift and let him go ;" but I said, " By 
Allah ! I will take naught till I have made known to the Com- 
mander of the Faithful what came to pass with the rest of my 
brothers ; for truly I am a man of few words and spare of speech.'* 
Then the Caliph gave ear to 


NOW as for my fourth brother, O Commander of the Faithful, 
Al-Kuz al-aswani, or the long-necked Gugglet hight, from his 
brimming over with words, the same who was blind of one eye, ho 

1 Arab. ' Sullara ** == Jit. a ladder ; a frame- work of sticks, used by wajr of our triangl* 
or whipping-posts.. 

Alf Laylak wa Laylak. 

became a butcher in Baghdad and he sold flesh and fattened rams ; 
and great men and rich bought their meat of him, so that he 
amassed much wealth and got him cattle and houses. He fared 
thus a long while, till one day, as he was sitting in his shop, there 
came up an old man and long o' the beard, who laid down 
some silver and said, " Give me meat for this." He gave him his 
money's worth of flesh and the oldster went his ways. My brother 
examined the Shaykh's silver, and, seeing that the dirhams were 
white and bright, he set them in a place apart. The greybeard 
continued to return to the shop regularly for five months, and my 
brother ceased not to lay up all the coin he received from him in its 
own box. At last he thought to take out the money to buy sheep; 
so he opened the box and found in it nothing, save bits of white 
paper cut round to look like coin 1 ; so he buffetted his face and 
cried aloud till the folk gathered about him, whereupon he told 
them his tale which made them marvel exceedingly. Then he 
rose as was his wont, and slaughtering a ram hung it up inside his 
shop ; after which he cut off some of the flesh, and hanging it 
outside kept saying to himself, " O Allah, would the ill-omened 
old fellow but come ! " And an hour had not passed before the 
Shaykh came with his. silver in hand ; whereupon my brother rose 
and caught hold of him calling out, <r Come aid me, O Moslems, and 
learn my story with this villain ! " When the old man heard this, 
he quietly said to him, " Which will be the better for thee, to let 
go of me or to be disgraced by me amidst the folk ? " " In what 
wilt thou disgrace me ? " " In that thou sellest man's flesh for 
mutton ! " " Thou liest, thou accursed ! " " Nay, he is the accursed 
who hath a man hanging up by way of meat in his shop." " If 
the matter be as thou sayest, I give thee lawful leave to take my 
money and my life." Then the old man cried out aloud, " Ho, ye 
people ! if you would prove the truth of my words, enter this man's 
shop." The folk rushed in and found that the ram was become 
a dead man 2 hung up for sale. So they set upon my brother 
crying out, "O Infidel! O villain!"; and his best friends fell to 
cuffing and kicking him and kept saying, " Dost thou make us eat 
flesh of the sons of Adam ?" Furthermore, the old man. struck 

1 This is one of the feats of Al-Simiya = white magic; fascinating the eyes.- .In 
Europe it has lately taken the name of " Electro-biology.'* 

2 Again by means "of the "Simiya" or power of fascination possessed by the old 

The Barbels Tale of his Fourth Brother, 333 

him on the eye and put it out. Then they carried the carcass, 
with the throat cut, before the Chief of the city-watch, to whom the 
old man said, "O Emir, this fellow butchers men and sells their 
flesh for mutton and we have brought him to thee ; so arise and 
execute the judgments of Allah (to whom be honour and glory !) " 
My brother would have defended himself, but the Chief refused to 
hear him and sentenced him to receive five hundred sticks and to 
forfeit the whole of his property. And, indeed, had it not been for 
that same property which he expended in bribes,, they would have 
surely slain him. Then the Chief banished him from Baghdad ; 
and my brother fared forth at a venture, till he came to a great 
town, where he thought it best to set up as a cobbler ; so he opened 
a shop and sat there doing what he could for his livelihood. One 
day, as he went forth on his business, he heard the distant tramp of 
horses and, asking the cause, was told that the King was going out 
to hunt and course ; so my brother stopped to look at the fine 
suite. It so fortuned that the King's eye met my brother's; where- 
upon the King hung down his head and said, " I seek refuge with 
Allah from the evil of this day! J ; and turned the reins of his steed 
and returned home with all his retinue. Then he gave orders to 
his guards, who seized my brother and beat him with a beating so 
painful that he was well-nigh dead ; and my brother knew not 
what could be the cause of his maltreatment, after which he returned 
to his place in sorriest plight. Soon afterwards he went to one of 
the King's household and related what had happened to him ; 
'and the man laughed till he fell upon his back and cried, "O 
brother mine, know that the King cannot bear to look at a monocu- 
lar, especially if he be blind of the right eye, in which case he doth 
not let him go without killing him." When my brother heard this, 
he resolved to fly from that city; so he went forth from it to 
another wherein none knew him and there he abode a long while. 
One day, being full of sorrowful thought for what had befallen him, 
he sallied out to solace himself; and, as he was walking along, he 
heard the distant tramp of horses behind him and said, "The 
judgment of Allah is upon me!" and looked about for a hiding- 

1 A formula for averting " Al-Ayn," the evil eye. It is always unlucky to meet a one- 
eyed man, especially the first thing in the morning and when setting out on any errand. 
The idea is that the fascinated one will suffer from some action of the physical eye. 
Monoculars also are held to be rogues : so the Sanskrit^aying "Few one-eyed men be 
honest men." 

334 Atf Laylah wa Laylah. 

place but found none. At last he saw a closed door which he 
pushed hard : it yielded and he entered a long gallery in which he 
took refuge, but hardly had he done so, when two men set upon 
him crying out, " Allah be thanked for having delivered thee into 
our hands, O enemy of God ! These three nights thou hast robbed 
us of our rest and sleep, and verily thou hast made us taste of the 
death-cup." My brother asked, "O folk, what ails you?"; and 
they answered, " Thou givest us the change and goest about to 
disgrace us and plannest some plot to cut the throat of the house- 
master ! Is it not enough that thou hast brought him to beggary, 
thou and thy fellows ? But now give us up the knife wherewith 
thou threatenest us every night." Then they searched him and 
found in his waist-belt the knife used for his shoe-leather ; and he 
said, " O people, have the fear of Allah before your eyes and mal- 
treat me not, for know that my story is a right strange ! " " And 
what is thy story ? " said they : so he told them what had befallen 
him, hoping they would let him go ; however they paid no heed to 
what he said and, instead of showing some regard, beat him 
grievously and tore off his clothes : then, finding on his sides the 
scars of beating with rods, they said, " O accursed ! these marks 
are the manifest signs of thy guilt ! " They carried him before the 
Governor, whilst he said to himself, " I am now punished for my 
sins and none can deliver me save Allah Almighty!" . The Governor 
addressing my brother asked him, " O villain, what led thee to 
enter their house with intention to murther ? "; and my brother 
answered, " I conjure thee by Allah, O Emir, hear my words and 
be not hasty in condemning me ! " . But the Governor cried, " Shall 
we listen to the words of a robber who hath beggared these people, 
and who beareth on his back the scar of his stripes ? " adding, " They 
surely had not done this to thee, save for some great crime/' So 
he sentenced him to receive an hundred cuts with the scourge, after 
which they set him on a camel and paraded him about the city, 
proclaiming, "This is the requital and only too little to requite him 
who breaketh into people's houses." Then they thrust him out of 
the city, and my brother wandered at random, till I heard what had 
befallen him ; and, going in search of him, questioned him of his 
case ; so he acquainted me with his story and all his mischances, 
and I carried him secretly to the city where I made him an allow- 
ance for his meat and drink. Then the Caliph gave ear to 

The Barbels Tale of his Fifth Brother. 



MY fifth brother Al-Nashshar, 1 the Babbler, the same who was 
cropped of both ears, O Commander of the Faithful, was an asker 
wont to beg of folk by night and live on their alms by day. Now 
when our father, who was an old man well stricken in years, 
sickened and died, he left us seven hundred dirhams whereof 
each son took his hundred ; but, as my fifth brother received his 
portion, he was perplexed and knew not what to do with it. 
While in this uncertainty he bethought him to lay it out on glass- 
ware of all sorts and turn an honest penny on its price. So he 
bought an hundred dirhams worth of verroterie and, putting it into 
a big tray, sat down to sell it on a bench at the foot of a wall 
against which he leant back. As he sat with the tray before him 
he fell to musing and said to himself, " Know, O my good Self, 
that the head of my wealth, my principal invested in this glass-ware, 
is an hundred dirhams. I will assuredly sell it for two hundred ? 
with which I will forthright buy other glass and make by it four 
hundred ; nor will I cease to sell and buy on this wise, till I have 
gotten four thousand and soon find myself the master of much 
money. With these coins I will buy merchandize and jewels and 
ottars 2 and gain great profit on them ; till, Allah willing, I will 
make my capital an hundred thousand dirhams. Then I will 
purchase a fine house with white slaves and eunuchs and horses ; 
and I will eat and drink and disport myself; nor will I leave a 
singing man or a singing woman in the city, but I will summon 

1 Al-Nashshar from Nashrn: sawing : so the fiddler in Italian is called the "village- 
saw" (Sega delnillaggio) He is the Alnaschar of the Englished Galland and Richard- 
son. The tale is very old. It appears as the Brahman and the Pot of Rice in the 
Panchatantra ; and Professor Benfcy believes (as usual with him) that this, with many 
others, derives from a Buddhist source. But I would distinctly derive it from /Esop's 
market-woman who kicked over her eggs ; whence the Lat. prov. Ante victoriam canere 
triumphum =r to sell the skin before you have caught the bear. In the "Kalilah and 
Dimnah" and its numerous offspring it is the " Ascetic with his Jar of oil and honey ;" 
in Rabelais (i } 33) Echephron's shoemaker spills his milk, and so La Perette in La 
Fontaine. See M. Max Muller's "Chips," vol. iii., appendix. The curious reader will 
compare my version with that which appears at the end of Richardson's Arabic Grammar 
(Edit, of l8n) : he had a better, or rather a fuller MS. (p. 199) than any yet printed. 

2 Arab. "Atr" = any perfume especially oil of roses; whence our word " Ottar," 
through the Turkish corruption. 

Alf Laylak wa Laylak. 

them to' my palace and make them perform before me." All this 
he counted over in his mind, while the tray of glassware, worth an 
hundred dirhams, stood on the bench before him , and, after 
looking at it, he continued, u And when, Inshallah ! my capital shall 
have become one hundred thousand l dinars, I will send out 
marriage-brokeresses to require for me in wedlock the daughters of 
Kings and Wazirs ; and I will demand to wife the eldest daughter 
of the Prime Minister ; for it hath reached me that she is perfect 
in beauty and prime in lovelinesss and rare in accomplishments. I 
will give a marriage-settlement of one thousand dinars ; and, if her 
father consent, well : but if not I will take her by force from under 
his very nose. When she is safely homed in my house, I will buy 
ten little eunuchs 2 and for myself a robe of the robes of Kings and 
Sultans ; and get me a saddle of gold and a bridle set thick with 
gems of price. Then I will mount with the Mamelukes preceding 
me and surrounding me, and I will make the round of the city 
whilst the folk salute me and bless me ; after which I will repair to 
the Wazir (he that is father of the girl), with armed white slaves 
before and behind me and on my right and on my left. When he 
sees me, the Wazir stands up, and seating me in his own place sits 
down much below me ; for that I am to be his son-in-law. Now I 
have with me two eunuchs carrying purses, each containing a 
thousand dinars ; and of these I deliver to him the thousand, his 
daughter's marriage-settlement, and make him a free gift of the 
other thousand, that he may have reason to know my generosity 
and liberality and my greatness of spirit and the littleness of the 
world in .my eyes. And for ten words he addresses to me I answer 
him two. Then back I go to my house, and if one come to me on 
the bride's part, I make him a present of money and throw on him 
a dress of honour ; but if he bring me a gift, I give it back to him 
and refuse to accept it, 3 that they may learn what a proud spirit is 
mine which never condescends to derogate. Thus I establish my 
rank and status. When this is done I appoint her wedding night 
and adorn my house showily ! gloriously ! And as the time for 

1 The texts give " dirhams " (100,000 =r 5,000 dinars) for " dinars," a clerical error as 
the sequel shows. 

8 " Young slaves," says Richardson, losing " colour.** 

3 Nothing more calculated to give affront than such a refusal. Richardson (p. 204) 
who, however, doubts his own version (p. 208) here translates, "and I will not give 
liberty to my soul (spouse) but in her apartments." The Arabic or rather Cairene, is, 
" wa 1 akhalli ruhi " =; I will not let myself go i.e. be my everyday self, etc. 

The Barber's Tale of his Fifth Brother. 


parading the bride is come, I don my finest attire and sit down on 
a mattress of gold brocade, propping up my elbow with a pillow, 
and turning neither to the right nor to the left ; but looking only 
straight in front for the haughtiness of my mind and the gravity of 
my understanding. And there before me stands my wife in her 
raiment and ornaments, lovely as the full moon; and I, in my 
loftiness and dread lordliness, 1 will not glance at her till those 
present say to me, " O our lord and our master, thy wife, thy 
handmaid, standeth before thee ; vouchsafe her one look for 
standing wearieth her." Then they kiss the ground before me 
many times ; whereupon I raise my eyes and cast at her one single 
glance and turn my face earthwards again. Then they bear her 
off to the bride-chamber, 2 and I arise and change my clothes for a 
far finer suit ; and, when they bring in the bride a second time, I 
deign not to throw her a look till they have begged me many times; 
after which I glance at her out of the corner of one eye, and then 
bend down my head. I continue acting after this fashion till the 
parading and displaying are completed 3 And Shahrazad per- 
ceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say. 

Noto fojim it foas tje f)(rtj)Jirti 

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Barber's 
fifth brother proceeded : Then I bend down my head and continue 
acting after this fashion till her parading and displaying are com- 
pleted. Thereupon I order one of my eunuchs to bring me a bag 
of five hundred dinars which I give as largesse to the tirewomen 
present and bid them one and all lead me to the bride-chamber. 
When they leave me alone with her I neither look at her nor speak 
to her, but lie 4 by her side with my face to the wall showing my 
contempt, that each and every may again remark how high and 
haughty I am. Presently her mother comes in to me ; and kissing 5 
my head and hand, says to me, " O my lord, look upon thine 
handmaid who longs for thy favour ; so heal her broken spirit ! " 
I give her no answer ; and when she sees this she rises and busses 

Whilst she is in astonishment and terror. " (Richardson). 
Chamber of robes," Richardson whose text has " Nam " for "Manim." 
Till I compleat her distress," Richardson, whose text is corrupt. 
Sleep by her side," R. the word " Nama " bearing both senses* 
Will take my hand," R. " takabbal " being also ambiguous. 


A If Laylah wa Laylak. 

my feet many times and says, "O my lord, in very sooth my 
daughter is a beautiful maid, who hath never known man ; and if 
thou show her this backwardness and aversion, her heart will 
break ; so do thou incline to her and speak to her and soothe her 
mind and spirit." Then she rises and fetches a cup of wine ; and 
says to her daughter, " Take it and hand it to thy lord." But as 
she approaches me I leave her standing between my hands and sit, 
propping my elbow on a round cushion purfled with gold thread, 
leaning lazily back, and without looking at her in the majesty of 
my spirit, so that she may deem me indeed a Sultan and a mighty 
man. Then she says to me, " O my lord, Allah upon thee, do not 
refuse to take the cup from the hand of thine handmaid, for verily 
I am thy bondswoman." But I do not speak to her and she 
presses me, saying, " There is no help but that thou drink it ; " and 
she puts it to my lips. Then I shake my fist in her face and 
kick her with my foot thus. So he let out with his toe and 
knocked over the tray of glass-ware which fell to the ground 
and, falling from the bench, all that was on it was broken to bits. 
" O foulest of pimps, 1 this comes from the pride of my spirit ! " 
cried my brother ; and then, O Commander of the Faithful, he 
buffeted his face and rent his garments, and kept on weeping and 
beating himself. The folk who were flocking to their Friday 
prayers saw him ; and some of them looked at him and pitied 
him, whilst others paid no heed to him, and in this way my 
brother lost both capital and profit. He remained weeping a long 
while, and at last up came a beautiful lady, the scent of musk ex- 
haling from her t who was going to Friday prayers riding a mule 
with a gold saddle and followed by several eunuchs. When she 
saw the broken glass and my brother weeping, her kind heart was 
moved to pity for him, and she asked what ailed him and was told 
that he had a tray full of glass-ware by the sale of which he hoped 
to gain his living, but it was broken, and (said they), " there befel 
him what thou seest." Thereupon she called up one of her eunuchs 
and said to him, " Give what thou hast with thee to this poor 
fellow ! " And he gave my brother a purse in which he found five 
hundred dinars ; and when it touched his hand he was well-nigh 

1 Arab. "Mu'arras" one who brings about '"Ars," marriages, etc. So the Germ. 
*' Kupplerinn," a Coupleress. It is one of the many synonyms for a pimp, and a word 
in general use (Pilgrimage i., 276). The most insulting ternij like Dayyus, insinuates 
that the man panders for his own wife. 

The Barber's Tale of his Fifth Brother. 


dying for excess of joy and he offered up blessings for her. Then 
he returned to his abode a substantial man ; and, as he sat con- 
sidering, some one rapped at the door. So he rose and opened 
and saw an old woman whom he had never seen. " O my son," 
said she, " know that prayertide is near and I have not yet made 
my Wuzu-ablution ! ; so kindly allow me the use of thy lodging for 
the purpose/' My brother answered, " To hear is to comply ;" and 
going in bade her follow him. So she entered and he brought her 
an ewer wherewith to wash, and sat down like to fly with joy 
because of the dinars which he had tied up in his belt for a purse. 
When the old woman had made an end of her ablution, she came 
up to where he sat, and prayed a two-bow prayer ; after which she 
blessed my brother with a godly benediction, and he while thank- 
ing her put his hand to the dinars and gave her two, saying to 
himself " These are my voluntaries." 2 When she saw the gold she 
cried, " Praise be to Allah ! why dost thou look on one who loveth 
thee as if she were a beggar ? Take back thy money : I have no 
need of it ; or, if thou -want it not, return it to her who gave it thee 
when thy glass-ware was broken. Moreover, if thou wish to be 
united with her, I can manage the matter, for she is my mistress." 
" O my mother," asked my brother, " by what manner of means 
can I get at her?"; and she answered, "O my son! she hath an 
inclination for thee, but she is the wife of a wealthy man ; so take 
the whole of thy money with thee and follow me, that I may guide 
thee to thy desire: and when thou art in her company spare 
neither persuasion nor fair words, but bring them all to bear 
upon her; so shalt thou enjoy her beauty and wealth to thy heart's 
content." My brother took all his gold and rose and .followed the 
old woman, hardly believing in his luck. She ceased not faring 
on, and my brother following her, till they came to a tall gate at 
which she knocked and a Roumi slave-girl 3 came out and opened 
to them. Then the old woman led my brother into a great sitting- 

1 Of hands and face, etc. See Night cccclxiv. 

2 Arab. " Sadakah " (sincerity), voluntary or superogatory alms, opposed to " Zakdt " 
(purification) legal alms which are indispensable. ' ' Prayer carries us half way to Allah ; 
fasting brings us to the door of His palace and alms-deeds (Sadakah) causes us to enter.*' 
For " Zakat " no especial rate is fixed ; but it should not be less thao one-fortieth of 
property or two and a half per cent. Thus Al-Islam is, as far as I know, the only faith 
which makes a poor-rate (Zakdt) obligatory and which has invented a property-tax, as 
opposed to the unjust and unfair income-tax upon which England prides herself. 

3 A Greek girl . 

34 Atf Laylak wa Laylak. 

room spread with wondrous fine carpets and hung with curtains, 
where he sat down with his gold before him, and his turband on his 
knee. 1 He had scarcely taken seat before there came to him a 
young lady (never eye saw fairer) clad in garments of the most 
sumptuous ;' whereupon my brother rose to his feet, and she smiled 
in his face and welcomed him, signing to him to be seated. Then 
she bade shut the door and, when it was shut, she turned to my 
brother, and taking his hand conducted him to a private chamber 
furnished with various kinds of brocades and gold-cloths. Here he 
sat down and she sat by his side and toyed with him awhile ; after 
which she rose and saying, " Stir not from thy seat till I come back 
to thee ; " disappeared. Meanwhile as he was on this wise, lo ! 
there came in to him a black slave big of body and bulk and hold- 
ing a drawn sword in hand, who said to him, " Woe to thee ! Who 
brought thee hither and what dost thou want here ? " My brother 
could not return him a reply, being tongue-tied for terror ; so the 
blackamoor seized him and stripped him of his clothes and bashed 
him with the flat of his sword-blade till he fell to the ground, 
swooning from excess of belabouring. The ill-omened nigger 
fancied that there was an end of him and my brother heard him 
cry, "Where is the salt-wench ?" 2 Whereupon in came a handmaid 
holding in hand a large tray of salt, and the slave kept rubbing it 
into my brother's wounds ; 3 but he did not stir fearing lest the 
slave might find out that he was not dead and kill him outright. 
Then the salt-girl went away, and the slave cried " Where is the 
souterrain 4 -guardianess ? " Hereupon in came the old woman and 
dragged my brother by his feet to a souterrain and threw him down 
upon a heap of dead bodies. In this place he lay two full days, 
but Allah made the salt the means of preserving his life by staunch- 
ing the blood and staying its flow. Presently, feeling himself able 

1 This was making himself very easy ; and the idea is that the gold in pouch caused 
him to be so bold. Lane's explanation (in loco) is all wrong. The pride engendered by 
sudden possession of money is a lieu commun amongst Eastern story-tellers ; even in the 
beast-fables the mouse which has stolen a few gold pieces becomes confident and stout- 

* Arab. " Al-Malihah " also means the beautiful (fern.), from "Milh" - salt, 
splendour, etc. the Mac. Edit, has "Mumallihah" = a salt- vessel. 

3 i.e. to see if he felt the smart. 

4 Arab. " Sardabeh " (Persian) = an underground room used for coolness in the hot 
season. It is unknown in Cairo but every house in Baghdad, in fact throughout the 
Mesopotamian cities, has one. It is on the principle of the underground cellar without 
which wine will not keep : Lane (i., 406) calls it a " vault." 

The Barbels Tale of his Fifth Brother. 


to move, Al-Nashshar rose and opened the trap-door in fear and 
trembling and crept out into the open ; and Allah protected him, 
so that he went on in the darkness and hid himself in the vestibule 
till dawn, when he saw the accursed beldam sally forth in quest of 
other quarry. He followed in her wake without her knowing it, 
and made for his own lodging where he dressed his wounds and 
medicined himself till he was whole. Meanwhile he used to watch 
the old woman, tracking her at all times and seasons, and saw her 
accost one man after another and carry them to the house. How- 
ever he uttered not a word ; but, as soon as he waxed hale and 
hearty, he took a piece of stuff and made it into a bag which he 
filled with broken glass and bound about his middle. He also dis- 
guised himself as a Persian that none might know him, and hid a 
sword under his clothes of foreign cut. Then he went out and 
presently, falling in with the old woman, said to her, speaking 
Arabic with a Persian accent, " Venerable lady, 1 I am a stranger 
arrived but this day here where I know no one. Hast thou a pair 
of scales wherein I may weigh eleven hundred dinars ? I will give 
thee somewhat of them for thy pains." "I have a son, a money- 
changer, who keepeth all kinds of scales," she answered, " so come 
with me to him before he goeth out and he will weigh thy gold." 
My brother answered " Lead the way !" She led him to the house 
and the young lady herself came out and opened it, whereupon the 
old woman smiled in her face and said, " I bring thee fat meat 
to-day." 2 Then the damsel took my brother by the hand, and lad 
him to the same chamber as before ; where she sat with him awhile 
then rose and went forth saying, " Stir not from thy seat till I come 
back to thee." Presently in came the accursed slave with the drawn 
sword and cried to my brother, " Up and be damned to thee ! " 
So he rose, and as the slave walked on before him he drew the 
sword from under his clothes and smote him with it, making head 
fly from body. Then he dragged the corpse by the feet to the 
souterrain and called out, " Where is the salt-wench ? " Up came 
the girl carrying the tray of salt and, seeing my brother sword in 
hand, turned to fly ; but he followed her and struck off her head. 
Then he called out " Where is the souterrain-guardianess ? " ; and 
in came the old woman to whom he said, " Dost know me again, O 
ill-omened hag ? " " No my lord," she replied, and he said, " I am the 

1 In the orig. " O old woman ! " which is insulting. 
8 So the Italians say "a quail to skin." 

342 A If Laylak wa Laylah. 

owner of the five hundred gold pieces, whose house thou enteredst 
to make the ablution and to pray, and whom thou didst snare 
hither and betray." " Fear Allah and spare me," cried she ; but 
he regarded her not and struck her with the sword till he had cut 
her in four. Then he went to look for the young lady ; and when 
she saw him her reason fled and she cried out piteously " Aman ! l 
Mercy ! " So he spared her and asked, " What made thee consort 
with this blackamoor ? ; " and she answered, " I was slave to a 
certain merchant, and the old woman used to visit me till I took a 
liking to her. One day she said to me: We have a marriage 
festival at our house the like of which was never seen and I wish 
thee to enjoy the sight. To hear is to obey, answered I and 
rising arrayed myself in my finest raiment and ornaments, and took 
with me a purse containing an hundred gold pieces. Then she 
brought me hither and hardly had I entered the house when the 
black seized on me, and I have remained in this case three whole 
years through the perfidy of the accursed beldam." Then my 
brother asked her, " Is there anything of his in the house ? " ; 
whereto she answered, " Great store of wealth, and if thou art able 
to carry it away, do so and Allah give thee good of it ! " My 
brother went with her and she opened to him sundry chests wherein 
were money bags, at which he was astounded ; then she said to him, 
4t Go now and leave me here, and fetch men to remove the money." 
He went out and hired ten men, but when he returned he found the 
door wide open, the damsel gone and nothing left but some small 
matter of coin and the household stuffs. 2 By this he knew that the 
.girl had overreached him ; so he opened the store rooms and seized 
what was in them, together with the rest of the money, leaving 
nothing in the house. He passed the night rejoicing, but when morn- 
ing dawned he found at the door some twenty troopers who laid 
hands on him saying, " The Governor wants thee ! " My brother 
implored them hard to let him return to his house ; and even 
offered them a large sum of money ; but they refused and, binding 
him fast with cords, carried him off. On the way they met a friend 
of my brother who clung to his skirt and implored his protection, 
begging him to stand by him and help to deliver him out of their 
hands. The man stopped, and asked them what was the matter, 

1 " Aman is the word used for quarter on the battle-field ; and there are Joe Millers 
about our soldiers in India mistaking it for " a man " or (Scottic?) ft a mon." 

2 Illustrating the Persian saying " Allah himself cannot help a fool.'* 

The Barber's Tale of his Sixth Brother. 


and they answered, " The Governor hath ordered us to bring this 
fellow before him and, look ye, we are doing so." My brother's 
friend urged them to release him, and offered them five hundred 
dinars to let him go, saying, " When ye return to the Governor tell 
him that you were unable to find him." But they would not listen 
to his words and took my brother, dragging him along on his face, 
and set him before the Governor who asked him, " Whence gottest 
thou these stuffs and monies ? " ; and he answered, " I pray for 
mercy ! " So the Governor gave him the kerchief of mercy ; l and 
he told him all that had befallen him from first to last with the old 
woman and the flight of the damsel ; ending with, " Whatso I have 
taken, take of it what thou wilt, so thou leave me sufficient to 
support life.' 72 But the Governor took the whole of the stuffs and 
all the money for himself ; and, fearing lest the affair come to the 
Sultan's ears, he summoned my brother and said, " Depart from this 
city, else I will hang thee. ' u Hearing and obedience " quoth my 
brother and set out for another town. On the way thieves fell foul 
of him and stripped and beat him and docked his ears; but I 
heard tidings of his misfortunes and went out after him taking him 
clothes ; and brought him secretly into the city where I assigned 
to him an allowance for meat and drink. And presently the Caliph 
gave ear to, 


MY sixth brother, O Commander of the Faithful, Shakashik, 3 or 
Many-clamours, the shorn of both lips, was once rich and became 
poor ; so one day he went out to beg somewhat to keep life in him. 
As he was on the road he suddenly caught sight of a large and 
handsome mansion, with a detached building wide and lofty at the 
entrance, where sat sundry eunuchs bidding and forbidding. 4 My 
brother enquired of one of those idling there and he replied, " The 

1 Any article taken from the person and given to a criminal is a promise of pardon, of 
course on the implied condition of plenary confession and of becoming " King's 

2 A naive proposal to share the plunder. 

3 In popular literature " Schacabac." And from- this tale comes our saying "a 
Barmecide's Feast," i.e. an illusion. 

4 The Castrato at the door is still (I have said,) the fashion of Cairo and he acts 
' Suisse " with a witness. 

344 <Atf Laylah wa Laylak. 

palace belongs to a scion of the Barmaki house ; " so he stepped up 
to the door-keepers and asked an alms of them. " Enter," said 
they, " by the great gate and thou shalt get what thou seekest from 
the Wazir our master." Accordingly he went in and, passing 
through the outer entrance, walked on a while and presently came 
to a mansion of the utmost beauty and elegance, paved with 
marble, hung with curtains and having in the midst of it a 
.flower garden whose like he had never seen. 1 My brother stood 
awhile as one bewildered not knowing whither to turn his steps ; 
then, seeing the farther end of the sitting-chamber tenanted, he 
walked up to it and there found a man of handsome presence and 
comely beard. When this personage saw my brother he stood up 
to him and welcomed him and asked him of his case ; whereto he 
replied that he was in want and needed charity. Hearing these 
words the grandee showed great concern and, putting his hand to 
his fine robe, rent it exclaiming, " What ! am I in a city, and thou 
here an-hungered ? I have not patience to bear such disgrace! " 
Then he promised him all manner of good cheer and said, " There 
is no help but that thou stay with me and eat of my salt. 2 " "O 
my lord," answered my brother, " I can wait no longer ; for I am 
indeed dying of hunger." So he cried, " Ho boy ! bring basin and 
ewer ; " and, turning to my brother, said, " O my guest come for- 
ward and wash thy hands." My brother rose to do so but he saw 
neither ewer nor basin ; yet his host kept washing his hands with 
invisible soap in imperceptible water and cried, " Bring the table !" 
But my brother again saw nothing. Then said the host, " Honour 
me by eating of this meat and be not ashamed." And he kept 
moving his hand to and fro as if he ate and saying to my brother, 
" I wonder to see thee eating thus sparely : do not stint thyself for 
I am sure thou art famished." So my brother began to make as 

1 As usual in the East, the mansion was a hollow square surrounding what in Spain is 
called Patio : the outer entrance was far from the inner, showing the extent of the 

2 "Nahnu ma"lihin " = we are on terms of salt, said and say the Arabs. But the 
traveller must not trust in these days to the once sacred tie ; there are tribes which will 
give bread with one hand and stab with the other. The Eastern use of salt is a curious 
contrast with that of Westerns, who made it an invidious and inhospitable distinction, 
e.g. to sit above the salt-cellar and below the salt. Amongst the ancients, however, "he 
took bread and salt " means he swore, the food being eaten when an oath was taken. 
Hence the " Bride cake " of salt, water and flour. 

The Barber's Tale of his Sixth Brother. 345 

though he were eating whilst his host kept saying to him, " Fall 
to, and note especially the excellence of this bread and its white- 
ness!" But still my brother saw nothing. Then said he to 
himself, " This man is fond of poking fun at people ; " and replied, 
" O my lord, in all my days I never knew aught more winsome than 
its whiteness or sweeter than its savour." The Barmecide said, 
"This bread was baked by a handmaid of mine whom I bought 
for five hundred dinars/' Then he called out, " Ho boy, bring in 
the meat pudding 1 for our first dish, and let there be plenty of fat 
in it ;" and, turning to my brother said, " O my guest, Allah upon 
thee, hast ever seen anything better than this meat-pudding? 
Now by my life, eat and be not abashed." Presently he cried out 
again, " Ho boy, serve up the marinated stew 2 with the fatted sand- 
grouse in it ; " and he said to my brother, rt Up and eat, O my 
guest, for truly thou art hungry and needest food." So my 
brother began wagging his jaws and made as if champing and 
chewing, 3 whilst the host continued calling for one dish after 
another and yet produced nothing save orders to eat. Presently 
he cried out, " Ho boy, bring us the chickens stuffed with pistachio 
nuts ; " and said to my brother, " By thy life, O my guest, I have 
fattened these chickens upon pistachios ; eat, for thou hast never 
eaten their like." "O my lord," replied my brother, "they are 
indeed first-rate." Then the host began motioning with his hand 
as though he were giving my brother a mouthful ; and ceased not 
to enumerate and expatiate upon the various dishes to the hungry 
man whose hunger waxt still more violent, so that his soul lusted 
after a bit of bread, even a barley-scone. 4 Quoth the Barmecide, 
" Didst thou ever taste anything more delicious than the seasoning 
of these dishes ? " ; and quoth my brother, " Never O my lord ! " 
" Eat heartily and be not ashamed," said the host, and the guest, 

1 Arab. " Harisah," the meat-pudding before explained. 

2 Arab. " Sikbaj," before explained ; it is held to be a lordly dish, invented by 
Khusraw Parwiz. "Fatted duck" says the Bresl. Edit. ii. 308, with more reason. 

3 I was reproved in Southern Abyssinia for eating without this champing, " Thou 
feedest like a beggar who muncheth silently in his corner ; " and presently found .that it 
was a sign of good breeding to eat as noisily as possible. 

4 Barley in Arabia is, like our oats, food for horses : it fattens at the same time that 
it cools them. Had this been known to our cavalry when we first occupied Egypt in 
1883-4 our losses in horse-flesh would have been far less; but official ignorance persisted 
in feeding the cattle upon heating oats and the riders upon beef, which is indigestible, 
instead of mutton, which, is wholesome. 

346 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

" I have eaten my fill of meat." So the entertainer cried, " Take 
away and bring in the sweets ; and turning to my brother said, 
" Eat of this almond conserve for it is prime and of these honey 
fritters ; take this one, by my life, the syrup runs out of it." " May 
I never be bereaved of thee, O my lord," replied the hungry one 
and began to ask him about the abundance of musk in the fritters. 
" Such is my custom/' he answered : " they put me a dinar-weight 
of musk in every honey-fritter and half that quantity of amber- 
gris." All this time my brother kept wagging head and jaws till 
the master cried, " Enough of this. Bring us the dessert ! " Then 
said he to him, " Eat of these almonds and walnuts and raisins ; 
and of this and that (naming divers kinds of dried fruits), and be 
not abashed." But my brother replied, " O my lord, indeed I am 
full : I can eat no more." " O my guest," repeated the host, " it 
thou have a mind to these good things eat : Allah ! Allah ! 1 do not 
remain hungry ; " but my brother rejoined, " O my lord, he who hath 
eaten of all these dishes how can he be hungry ? " Then he con- 
sidered and said to himself, " I will do that shall make him repent 
of these pranks." Presently the entertainer called out " Bring me 
the wine ; " and, moving his hands in the air, as though they had 
set it before them, he gave my brother a cup and said, " Take this 
cup and, if it please thee, let me know." " O my lord," he replied, 
" it is notable good as to nose but I am wont to drink wine some 
twenty years old." " Knock then at this door, 2 " quoth the host, 
"for thou canst not drink of aught better." "By thy kindness," 
said my brother, motioning with his hand as though he were 
drinking. " Health and joy to thee," exclaimed the house-master 
and feigned to fill a cup and drink it off; then he handed another 
to my brother who quaffed it and made as if he were drunken. 
Presently he took the host unawares ; and, raising his arm till the 
white of his armpit appeared, dealt him such a cuff on the nape 
of his neck that the palace echoed to it. Then he came down 
upon him with a second cuff and the entertainer cried aloud, 
"What is this, O thou scum of the earth?" "O my lord/' 
replied my brother, " thou hast shown much kindness to thy slave, 
and admitted him into thine abode and given him to eat of thy 
victual ; then thou madest him drink of thine old wine till he 

1 i.e. " I conjure thee by God." 

2 i.e. "This is the very thing for thee." 

The Barbels Tale of his Sixth Brother. 347 

became drunken and boisterous; but thou art too noble not to 
bear with his ignorance and pardon his offence." When the Bar- 
maid heard my brother's words he laughed his loudest and said, 
" Long have I been wont to make mock of men and play the 
madcap among my intimates, but never yet have I come across a 
single one who had the patience and the wit to enter into all my 
humours save thyself: so I forgive thee, and thou shalt be my 
boon-companion in very sooth and never leave me." Then he 
ordered the servants to lay the table in earnest and they set on all 
the dishes of which he had spoken in sport ; and he and my 
brother ate till they were satisfied ; after which they removed to 
the drinking-chamber, where they found damsels, like moons who 
sang all manner songs and played on all manner instruments. 
There they remained drinking till their wine got the better of 
them and the host treated my brother like a familiar friend, so 
that he became as it were his brother, and bestowed on him a robe 
of honour and loved him with exceeding love. Next morning 
the two fell again to feasting and carousing, and ceased not to 
lead this life for a term of twenty years ; at the end of which the 
Barmecide died and the Sultan took possession of all his wealth 
and squeezed my brother of his savings, till he was left a pauper 
without a penny to handle. So he quitted the city and fled forth 
following his face ; * but, when he was half way between two towns, 
the wild Arabs fell on him and bound him and carried him to their 
camp, where his captor proceeded to torture him, saying, " Buy 
thy life of me with thy money, else I will slay thee ! " My brother 
began to weep and replied, " By Allah, I have nothing, neither 
gold nor silver ; but I am thy prisoner ; so do with me what thou 
wilt.'* Then the Badawi drew a knife, broad-bladed and so sharp- 
grided that if plunged into a camel's throat 2 it would sever it clean 
.across from one jugular to the other, and cut off my brother's lips 
and waxed more instant in requiring money. Now this Badawi 
had a fair wife who in her husband's absence used to make 
advances to my brother and offer him her favours, but he held off 
from her. One day she began to tempt him as usual and he 

1 i.e. t at random. 

8 This is the way of slaughtering the camel, whose throat is never cut on account of 
the thickness of the muscles. "gorger un chameau" is a mistake often made in 
French books. 


A If Laylah wa Laylah, 

played with her and made her sit on his lap, when behold, in came 
the Badawi who, seeing this, cried out, " Woe to thee, O accursed 
vallain, wouldest thou debauch my wife for me ? " Then he took out 
a knife and cut off my brother's yard, after which he bound him on 
the back of a camel and, carrying him to a mountain, left him 
there. He was at last found by some who recognised him and 
gave him meat and drink and acquainted me with his condition ; 
whereupon I went forth to him and brought him back to Baghdad 
where I made him an allowance sufficient to live on. This, then, 
O Commander of the Faithful, is the history of my six brothers 
and I feared to go away without relating it all to thee and leave 
thee in the error of judging me to be like them. And now thou 
knowest that I have six brothers upon my hands and, being more 
upright than they, I support the whole family. When the Caliph 
heard my story and all I told him concerning my brothers, he 
laughed and said, "Thou sayest sooth, O Silent Man! thou art 
indeed spare of speech nor is there aught of forwardness in thee ; 
but now go forth out of this city and settle in some other." And he 
banished me under edict. I left Baghdad and travelled in foreign 
parts till I heard of his death and the accession of another to the 
Caliphate. Then I returned to Baghdad where I found all my 
brothers dead and chanced upon this young man, to whom I 
rendered the kindliest service, for without me he had surely been 
killed. Indeed he slanders me and accuses me of a fault which 
is not in my nature ; and what he reports concerning impudence 
and meddling and forwardness is idle and false ; for verily on his 
account I left Baghdad and travelled about full many a country 
till I came to this city and met him here in your company. And 
was not this, O worthy assemblage, of the generosity of my 
nature ? 


THEN quoth the Tailor to the King of China : When we heard 
the Barber's tale and saw the excess of his loquacity and the way 
in which he had wronged this young man, we laid hands on him 
and shut him up, after which 1 we sat down in peace,, and ate and 
drank and enjoyed the good things of the marriage-feast till the 

The End of the Tailor's Tale. 


time of the call to mid-afternoon prayer, when I left the party and 
returned home. My wife received me with sour looks and said, 
" Thou goest a^pleasuring among thy friends and thou leavest me 
to sit sorrowing here alone. So now, unless thou take me abroad 
and let me have some amusement for the rest of the day, I will 
cut the rope 1 and it will be the cause of my separation from 
thee." So I took her out and we amused ourselves till supper 
time, when we returned home and fell in with this Hunchback 
who was brimful of drink and trolling out these rhymes : 

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

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

Nofo fofjen it foas t&e Stfjtrt^fourtf) 

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the King of 
China bade, " Bring me the Barber who shall be the cause of your 

. I will break bounds. 

3 SO A If Laylah wa Laylak. 

deliverance ; then we will bury this Hunchback, for that he is dead 
since yesterday and set up a tomb over him/' So the Chamberlain 
and the Tailor went to the jail and, releasing the Barber, presently 
returned with him to the King. The Sultan of China looked at 
him and considered him carefully and lo and behold ! he was an 
ancient man, past his ninetieth year ; swart of face, white of beard, 
and hoar of eyebrows; lop-eared and proboscis-nosed, 1 with a vacant, 
silly and conceited expression of countenance. The King laughed 
at this figure o' fun and said to him, " O Silent Man, I desire thee 
to tell me somewhat of thy history." Quoth the Barber, " O King 
of the age, allow me first to ask thee what is the tale of this Naza- 
rene and this Jew and this Moslem and this Hunchback (the 
corpse) I see among you ? And prithee what may be the object 
of this assemblage ? " Quoth the King of China, " And why dost 
thou ask ? " "I ask," he replied, " in order that the King's majesty 
may know that I am no forward fellow or busy-body or impertinent 
meddler ; and that I am innocent of their calumnious charges of 
overmuch talk ; for I am he whose name is the Silent Man, and 
indeed peculiarly happy is my sobriquet, as saith the poet : 

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

Then said the King, " Explain to the Barber the case of this 
Hunchback and what befel him at supper-time ; also repeat to him 
the stories told by the Nazarene, the Jew, the Reeve, and the 
Tailor ; and of no avail to me is a twice told tale." They did his 
bidding, and the Barber shook his head and said, " By Allah, this 
is a marvel of marvels! Now uncover me the corpse of yonder 
Hunchback." They undid the winding-sheet and he sat down and, 
taking the Hunchback's head in his lap, looked at his face, and 
laughed and guffaw'd 2 till he fell upon his back and said, " There 

1 The Arabs have a saying corresponding with the dictum of the Salernitan school : 

Noscitur a labiis quantum sit virginis antrum : 
Noscitur a naso quanta sit hasta viro ; 
(A maiden's mouth shows what's the make of her chose; 
And man's mentule one knows by the length of his nose.} 

Whereto I would add : 

And the eyebrows disclose how the lower wig grows. 

The observations are purely empirical but, as far as my experience extends, correct. 
'* Arab. " Kahkahah," a very low proceeding. 

The End of the Tailor's Tale. 351 

is wonder in every death, 1 but the death of this Hunchback is 
worthy to be written and recorded in letters of liquid gold ! " The 
by-standers were astounded at his words and the King marvelled 
and said to him, " What ails thee O Silent Man ? Explain to us 
thy words ! " " O King of the age," said the Barber, " I swear by 
thy beneficence that there is still life in this Gobbo Golightly !" 
Thereupon he pulled out of his waist-belt a barber's budget, whence 
he took a pot of ointment and anointed therewith the neck of the 
Hunchback and its arteries. Then he took a pair of iron tweezers 
and, inserting them into the Hunchback's throat, drew out the fid 
of fish with its bone ; and, when it came to sight, behold, it was 
soaked in blood. Thereupon the Hunchback sneezed a hearty 
sneeze and jumped up as if nothing had happened and passing his 
hand over his face said, " I testify that there is no god, but the God, 
and I testify that Mohammed is the Apostle of God." At this 
sight all present wondered ; the King of China laughed till he 
fainted and in like manner did the others. Then said the Sultan, 
" By Allah, of a truth this is the most marvellous thing I ever saw! 
O Moslems, O soldiers all, did you ever in the lives of you see a 
,man die and be quickened again ? Verily had not Allah vouchsafed 
to him this Barber, he had been a dead man !" Quoth they, " By 
Allah, 'tis a marvel of marvels." Then the King of China bade 
record this tale, so they recorded it and placed it in the royal 
muniment-rooms ; after which he bestowed costly robes of honour 
upon the Jew, the Nazarene and the Reeve, and bade them depart 
in all esteem. Then he gave the Tailor a sumptuous dress and 
appointed him his own tailor, with suitable pay and allowances; 
and made peace between him and the Hunchback, to whom also he 
presented a splendid and expensive suit with a suitable stipend. 
He did as generously with the Barber giving him a gift and a dress 
of honour; moreover he settled on him a handsome solde and 
created him Barber-surgeon 2 of state and made him one of his cup- 
companions. So they ceased not to live the most pleasurable life 
and the most delectable, till there came to them the Destroyer of 

1 Or " for every death there is a cause ; '* but the older Arabs had a saying correspond- , 
ing with " Deus non fecit mortem." 

a The King's barber is usually a man of rank for the best of reasons that he holds his 
Sovereign's life between his fingers. One of these noble Figaros in India married an 
English lady who was, they say, unpleasantly surprised to find out what weie her hus- 
band's official duties. 


A If Laylah wa Laylak. 

all delights and the Sunderer of all societies, the Depopulator of 
palaces and the Garnerer for graves. Yet, O most auspicious King ! 
(continued Shahrazad) this tale is by no means more wonderful than 
that of the two Wazirs and Ani's al-Jalfs. Quoth her sister 
Dunyazad, " And what may that be?"; whereupon she began to 
relate the following tale of 



ABBAS "hero eponymus" of the 

Abbaside dynasty . . .188 
Abdullah ibn Abbis, companion and 

traditioner ..... 304 
Abu Kidr = father of the cooking- 
pot . tf. 

Abu Shamahnz father of a cheek- 
mole 269 

Abu Shammah = father of a smeller 

or nose ib. 

Abu Shawarib = father of mustachios ib. 
Abu Shihab, father of the shooting 

star =. evil spirit. . . . 221 

Abu Yakzan = the wakener =:ass . 1 6 

cock 18 

Ad = tribe of prehistoric Arabs . 65 
Adab = anything between good edu- 
cation and good manners . .132 
Agha = master, politely applied to an 

Eunuch . 235 

Ahdab, hunchback = classical Ak'as 213 

Ain = Smiter with the evil eye . 123 

Ajal = appointed period of life . 74 

r Aj ami = foreigner, esp. Persian . 120 
Ajuz, for old woman, highly insulting; 

use Shaybah . . . .174 

Akdsirah s Kisra-Kings 75 

Akrds rr cakes . . . 83 

Al-Aftahrr Broad-'o-Brow 17 

Al-Ajam = region not Arab, Persia . 2 
M-Amin, son and successor of Harun 

al-Rashid 185 

Al-Arif monitor . . . 231 
Al- Asr =. time or prayer of tdd- 

afternoon . . , . , 240 
VOL. I. 

Al-Basharah:=gift of good tidings, 

guerdon ..... 30 
AHBostani = gardener, family name 

from original occupation . . 266 
Al-Faranj r= European . . . 296 
Al- Hasan: plain of pebbles, west of 

Damascus ..... 234 
Al-Kahanah = the craft of a Kahin 

or soothsayer .... 28 
Al-Maamun, son and successor of 

Harun al-Rashid . . .185 
Al-Malihah =r salt-girl ; beautiful . 340 
Al-Mustansir bi'llah = one seeking 

help in Allah . . . .31? 
Al-Nashshar r= sawing . . . 335 
Al-Nilrr: flood season corresponding 

to mid-summer .... 290 
Al-Bauzah =. the gardens . . 291 
Al-Safar Zafar rr voyaging is victory 250 
Al-Sahr rr magic, black art . . 305 
Al-Zahir bi'llah = one pre-eminent 

by the decree of Allah . . 317 
Al-Zalamah (tyrants, oppressors) = 

police and employes . . . 273 
Allah ! Allah ! = I conjure thee by * 

God Passim 

Allah hath said, formula of quoting 

the Koran ..... 61 
Allah Karim = Allah is all beneficent 32 
Allah will open thee, a formula of re- 

fusing . . . , ib. 

Allaho a'alam = God is all knowing 2 ; 50 
Allahumma = Yd Allah with empha- 

Aman =r quarter, mercy 



Alf Laylak wet Laylah., 

Amir = Military Commandant . 259 
Amfr al-Muummin = Prince of the 

Faithful 1 12 

Amrad beardless and handsome, 

effeminate 327 

AmsaV rrr cities . . .II 
Amshat (combs) perhaps =r Kundfah 

(vermicelli) .... 83 
Andam = the gum called dragon's 

blood; brazilwood . . .176 
Arab al-Araba" = prehistoric tribes 

of the Arabs . . . .112 
Arab al-Musta'ajimah = barbarised 

Arabs ib. 

Arab al-Musta'aribah = naturalised 

Arabs ib. 

Arab al-Muta'arribah = Arabised 

Arabs . . . ib. 

Arakiyah = white scull-cap . . 215 

Ardabb (Irdabb) =: about five bushels 263 

Arun (Heb.) in his shirt . . 78 

Asal-nahl = bee's honey . . . 271 

Ashkanian =. race of Persian Kings . 78 

Astrolabe, father of our sextant . 304 

Atr = any perfume . . . . 335 
Auhashtani thou hast made me 

desolate 62 

A wali m pi. of Alimah = dancing 

girls 214 

Aysh (Egypt.) = Ayyu shayyin for 

classical "Ma" = what . . 79 
Aywa (for Ay wa'llihi) =Ay, by 

Allah ..... 303 

Azim = ' deuced " or " mighty fine " 1 78 

BAB = gate; chapter . . . 136 
Bab al-Faradis gate of the gardens 

at Damascus .... 240 

Babel = Gate of God ... 85 

Babes of the eyes = pupils . . 100 

Badawi's dying farewell . . 75 

Bddhanj = wind-shaft, ventilator . 257 

Badmasti = le vin mauvais . . 88 
Baghlah she-mule . . .129 
Bahr = water cut or trenched in the 

earth, sea, large river . . 44 
Bahr al-muhft = circumambient 

ocean * . . . -133 
Balid =r simpleton . . . .17 

Ballan rr body servant . . . 311 

Ballanah =r tire -woman . ib. 

Ban] = Nibanj = Nepenthe, hemp . 70 

Baradiyah= wide-mouthed jug . 36 

Band vain, foolish, insipid . . 213 

Barley, food for horses . . . 345 

Barmecides ...... .188 

Basaltic statues in Hauranic ruins 

give rise to the idea of men meta- 
morphosed into black stones . 170 
Basil ~ the Indian Tulsi, Ocymum 

basilicum . . . 19 

Basil of the bridges =: pennyroyal . 91 

Bastinado of women . . . 183 
Bayaz al-Sultani = the best kind of 

gypsum 270 

Bazar of Damascus famous in the 

Middle Ages 3 
Beheading or sacking a faithless wife 

unlawful but leniently looked upon l8l 
Before the face of Allah = for the 

love of God . . . .135 
Bi'1-Salamah == in safety (to avert 

the evil eye) .... 288 

Birkat al-Habash = Abyssinian pond 391 

Bismillah = in the name of God . 40 

said before taking action . 80 

a civil form of dismissal . 98 

= "fall to I". . . 264 

Blackamoors preferred by debauched 

women 6 

Blind notorious for insolence, etc. . 330 
Blinding a common practice in the 

East, how done . . . . loS 
Blue and yellow turbans prescribed 

to Christians and Jews . . 77 
Boils and pimples supposed to be 

caused by broken hair-roots . 275 

Breast broadening with delight. . 48 
Breast straitened, the converse of 

breast broadening (48) . . 119 

Bride's throne .... 215 

Buzah =r beer .... 72 

CAIRENES held exceedingly debauched 29$ 

Cairo nothing without the Nile. . 295 

Camel, how slaughtered . . . 347 

Carpet-beds ..... 294 
Chaff or banter allowed even to 

modest women . . . 267 

Chess-anecdote . 132 
Children carried astraddle upon hip 

or shoulder. .... 308 



Claims of maidenhead . . .190 
Clapping of hands to summon 

servants . . . . . 177 
Clever young ladies dangerous in the 

East '/ 15 

Conception on the bride-night rare . 227 
Confession after concealment a cha- 
racteristic of the servile class . 53 
Confession on the criminal's part 

required by Moslem Law . . 274 
Confusion of metaphors characteristic 

of The Nights . . . 86 
Contemplation of street-scenery one 

of the pleasures of the Harem . 319 

Corpse pollutes him who touches it . 295 

Champing sign of good breeding . 345 
Cutting off the right hand Koranic 

punishment for theft . . . 274 
Cutting of the navel string preliminary 

to naming the babe . . . 231 
Cutting the rope = breaking 

bounds 349 

DAJLAH = Tigris, Heb. Hid-dekel . 180 
Dakhil-ak = under thy protection . 61 
Damascus women famed for san- 
guinary jealousy . . . . 295 
Darabukka = tom-tom . . . 31 1 
Darbar = public audience . . 29 
Dastur = leave, permission . . 66 
Daughter of my uncle = my wife . 69 
Daurakrz narrow-mouthed jug . 36 
Despite his nose = against his will . 26 
Destiny blindeth human sight . , 67 
Dinar r= gold piece, Daric, Miskdl . 32 
Dirham r= silver piece . . 33 
* Dog " and " hog " popular terms 

of abuse 188 

Drinking first to show that the draught 

is not poisoned . . . 8.8:295 
" Drop " unknown to the Eastern 

gallows . ." 266 

Dunyazad = world-free ... 14 

Dust-storm in tropical lands . . in 

EYEBROWS joined a great beauty in 

Arabia 227 

Elephant's roll (to Hindu) = swaying 

and graceful gait . . .217 

Erotic inferences drawn from parts of 
body .' . . . n ...350 

Eternal truth of The Nights ,-.? 7 

Eunuch best go-between . . 282 

Eunuch employed as porter , . 343 
Eunuch-in-Chief a most important 

Jack in office . . . .283 
Eunuchs, different kinds of . .132 
Euphemistic formulas to avoid men- 
tioning unpleasant matters . . 31 
Exaggeration part .of humour . . 12 
Eyes of me = my dears . . . 163 

FACE-VEIL = nose-bag" . . 82 
Fakir = religious mendicant gene- 
rally 95 

Falcon == blinding the quarry . . 51 
Fals ahmar = a red cent . .321 
Fardiz := orders expressly given in 

the Koran 169 

Farajiyah = a long sleeved robe 210, 321 
Fass = bezel of a ring, gem cut en 

cabochon, contenant for contenu 165 

Fata = a youth j generous man, etc. 67 

Favours foreshadowing downfall . 48 
Female depravity going hand in hand 

with perversity of taste . . 73 

Fiat zwjustitia ruat ccelum . . 253 
First personal pronoun placed first 

for respect ''' \ . . 237 
Fitnah = revolt, seduction, mischief j 
. beautiful girl; aphrodisiac per- 
fume 219 

Following one's face = at random . 347 

Friday night = our Thursday night . 269 

Friday Service described . . . 313 

Frolics of high-born ladies . . 328 
^ Fun " = practical jokes of the 

largest 220 

Futur = breakfast . ; * . 300 

GALL-BLADDER and liver allusions . 219 
Ghadirrra place where water sinks, 

lowland 235 

Ghamz = winking, signing with the 

eye 292 

Gharib = foreigner 95 
Ghawdzi =: singing girls . . .214 
Ghazl al-bandt (spinning of girls) = 

vermicelli . . -83 

Ghilmdn r= Wulddn, the beautiful 

youths of Paradise . . .211 

Ghutah == thickly grown lowland . 1 15 


Alf Laylak wa Laylak, 

Ghulah = ogress . . . 55 
Going straight to the point preferred 

to filer le parfait pmour . . 268, 

Gold makes bold .... 340 

Ground-floor usually let for shops . 319 

H ABB = grain of the heart . 250 

Habbaniyah = grain-seller's quarter 269 
Habib, euphemism for lover . .223 

Haihat, onomatopoetic = heigh-ho ! 76 
Hair should be allowed all to grow 

or be shaven off . , * . . 308 
Hair-dyes all vegetable matter . 326 
Halab = Aleppo . . . 292 
Hammam, going to the = conva- 
lescence .... 288 
^T: , showing that a woman's 

monthly ailment is over . . 286 
Harim == Harem, used for the in- 
mates, wife, etc. . . .165 

Harisah, a favourite dish . ' 131 
Hasanta ya Hasan = bene detto. 

Benedetto f . . . .251 

Hashish, intoxicant prepared of hemp 225 
Haste ye to salvation, part of the 

Azdn. , 224 

Hdtif= mysterious voice . . 142 

Hauk \ Hauk !== heehaw ! . . 221 

Head in the poke = into the noose . 179 
High-bosomed damsel a favourite 

with Arab tale-tellers . . 84 
Hog, popular term of abuse . . 188 
Horoscopes, etc. . . . .213 
Horseplay frequently ending in bas- 
tinado . . . . . 325 
House of Peace == Baghdad . .139 
Houses of Lamentation in Moslem 

burial-grounds .... 94 
Humming not a favourite practice 

with Moslems . . . . 311 
Hunchback looked upon with fear 

and aversion .... 258 
Hur al-Ayn = with, eyes of lively 

white and black ... 90 

Hurr =r gentleman .... 254 

Hurry is from Hell .... 264 

IBLIS = Despairer . . . . 13 
Ibn Hardm = son of adultery, abuse 
not necessarily reflecting on the 
parent .. . ... ... , 231 

Ibrat = needle-graver and Ibrat = ' 

warning, a favourite jingle . 104 
'Ibrik=ewer, and Tisht = basin, used 

for washing the hands . . 241 
Ifrit, divided into two races like 

mankind . . . . .11 

Ifritah = she-Ifrit 34 

Ihdak = encompassing, as the white 

encloses the black of the eye . 49 

Ihtizaz =: shaking with delight . 50 

Iklil = diadem, now obsolete . . 270 

Iklim = the seven climates of Ptolemy 233 

Ilm al-Ruhani = Spiritualism . . 305 
Improvising still common amongst 

the Badawin .... 39 
Incest lawful amongst ancient peo- 
ples I lo 

Inheritance, law of, settled by the 

Koran 174 

Inshad =r conjuring by Allah . . 1 1 

Insolence and licence of palace girls 286 
Intellect of man stronger than a 

Jinni's 43 

Internally wounded = sick at heart 

Inwa= jerking the date-stone . 25 

Id al-Kabirr=the Great Festival . 28 

Isha = the first watch of the night . 175 
Izar = sheet worn as veil . .163 

JA'AFAR = contrasting strongly with 

his master . . . .102 

Jaharkas = Pers. Chehsir-kas, four 

persons 266 

Jannat al-Na'im = The Garden of 

Delights i.e. Heaven ... 98 

Jazirah = Peninsula, Arabia . . 2 
Jaziiit al-Khaliddt = Eternal Isles ==_ 

Canaries 141 

Jild = displaying the bride before the 

bridegroom . . . .174 
Jinn = the French genie, the Hindu 

Rakshasa or Yaksha . . ic 
Joseph of the Koran very different 

from him of Genesis ... 13 
Judri = small-po< . . . .256 
Junun = madness . . . .10 

KA'AH = ground-floor hall . . 85 

Ka'ah (saloon) .= fine house, mansion 292 

Kabul-men noted for Sodomy . 299 

Kaf, popularly = Caucasus .. 72, 133 



Kahbah = whore . . . . 70 

Kahilat al-atraf= having the eyelids 
lined with Kohl .... 

Kahkahah ==: horse-laughter 

Kahramanat = nursery governess 

Kaid = leader .... 

Kalam = reed-pen .... 

Kalam al-Mubah = the permitted 
say . ... 

Kalandar = mendicant monk . . 

Kamat Alfiyyah = straight stature . 

Kamis = shift, etc 

Kat'a = bit of leather . 

Kata sand -grouse . . . 

Katf =r pinioning .... 

Katha-Sarit-Sagara = poetical ver- 
sion of the Vrihat-Kathd . 

Kaus al-Banduk pellet-bow 

Kausar = a lieu commun of poets . 

Kawwad =z pimp .... 

Kayanian race of Persian Kings 

Kay lulah = siesta . . . 

Kaysariyah = superior kind of Bazar 

Kazi = judge in religious matters 

Kerchief of mercy .... 

Khadim = servant, politely applied 
to a castrato .... 

Khali'a = worn out ; wag 

Khalifah = Vicar of Allah; suc- 
cessor of a Santon 

Khan =r caravanserai 

Khan Al-Masrur, in Cairo, famous 
in the I5th century 

Khanjar = hanger .... 

Khatmah = reading or reciting the 
whole Koran .... 

Khinzir = hog * 

Khubz zn scones .... 

Khuff = walking shoes . 

Khyas, Khyas, onomatopoetic, used 
in a sea-spell .... 

King's barber a man of rank . 

" Kiss, key to Kitty " 

Kissing the eyes a paternal salute . 

Kohl =. powdered antimony for the 

proverbially used 

Koran quoted (xx.) .... 

(ii. 34) .... 

(xxv. 31) . 

(xix. 69) . ib. 

<xxyi.). , 39 























Koran quoted (xxvii.) , . 42 
(v., xx.) . . . .119 

(vii., xviii.) 
(i.) . 
(Ivi. 9) 

(v.) . 
(xvii.) . 
(xxxvi. 69) 
(cv.) . 

(v.) . 
(vifi. 17) 
(iii) . 
(iii. 128) 

Kufr = rejecting the True Religion . 

Kulkasa r= colocasia roots 

Kullah = gugglet . . . . 

Kumkum =r a gourd-shaped bottle 
for sprinkling scents . , 

Kari rz: teacher of the correct pro- 
nunciation of the Koran 

Kurrat al-Ayn = coolness of the eye 

Kurs has taken the place of Iklil 

Kursf (choir, throne) = desk or stool 
for the Koran .... 

Kash'arirah = horripilation, symp- 
tom of great joy or fear 









I '3 




LA'ABAH = a play thing, a puppet, a 

lay figure . , ...... 245 

La adamnak Heaven deprive us 

not of thee .... 268 
Labbayka =. Here am I, called 

Talbiyah 226 

Laylat al-Wafa = the night of com- 
pletion of the Nile-flood . . 291 
La Haula, etc. = there is no Majesty 

etc 69 

La tawahishna = do not make us 

desolate . . . . .62. 
La tawakhizna = do not chastise us 

= excuse us . . .164 

Latter night = hours between the 

last sleep and dawn . . 24 

Laughing in one's face not intended 

as an affront .... 320 
Laughter rare and sign of a troubled 

spirit 248 

Life-breath in the nostrils ^ heart 

in the mouth . . 4ft 


A If Laylah wa Laytah. 

mother like daughter . . 299 
Jliver = seat of passion ... 27 
Loghah = Arabic language, also a 

vocabulary, dictionary . .251 
Loosening the hair an immodesty in 
women sanctioned only by a great 
calamity . . . . 3*4 
Lukmah = mouthful . .261 

MADFA' = cannon, showing modern 

date 223 

Magnet Mountains, fable probably 

based on the currents . . .140 
Mail-coat and habergeon simile for a 

glittering stream . . .291 
Ma'in, Ma'un = smitten with the 

evil eye . . . . . , . 123 
Majnun = madman . . . 10 
Making water . . . ... 2 S9 
Mahkamah = Kazi's Court . .21 
Malik or Malak = Seraph or Sovran 
Mamluk = white slaves trained to 

arms .81 

Marid contumacious Jinni . . 41 
Mdristdu (from Pers. Bimaristan = 

place of sickness . . . . 288 
Marmar = marble .... 295 
Marriage not valid without receipt of 

settlement 276 

Masha'ili =: bearer of a cresset 

(Mash'al) 259 

Masihi =. follower of the Messiah . 258 
Maskhut = transformed (mostly into 

something hideous) ; a statue . 165 
Massage (shampooing) . . .172 
Mausil (Mosul) alluding to the 

junction of Assyria and Babylonia 82 
Maydan = parade ground . . 46 
Maymunah, proverbial name now 

forgotten . . . . -57 
Meat rarely coloured in modern days 310 
Merchants and shopkeepers carrying 

swords .' . 54 

Miao or Mau = cat . . . 220 
Mikra'ah =: palm-rod ... 99 
Mihrab and Minaret, symbols of 

Venus and Priapus ? . . . 166 

Mflhrrsalt 340 

Miracles performed by Saints* tombs 241 
Miskal = 71-72 grams in gold, used 

for dinar . 126 

Mizr, Mizar r= beer ... 72 

Moles compared with pearls . 177 
Monday rr: second day, reckoning 

from Sabbath (Saturday) . . 266 
Money carried in the corner of a 

handkerchief . . . .271 

Monoculars unlucky to meet . . 333 

Mosul stuff = muslin .- . . 229 
Mounds = rubbish heaps outlying 

Eastern cities . . . -71 
Mouth compared to the ring of 

Sulayman 84 

Mu'arras pimp .... 338 

Muhafiz =. district-governor . . 259 

Muhakkah = " Court-hand *' . 129 

Muhammarah fricandoed . . 286 

Mujtaba = the Accepted . . 77 
Munakkishah r= woman who applies 

the dye to a face . . . 270 
Murtaza =. the Elect . . -77 

Mustapha rr: the Chosen . . . ib* 

Mutawalli zz: Prefect of Police . . 259 

Muzayyin =s Figaro of the East . 304 

NABUT = quarter-staff ... 234 

Nadd, a compound perfume . . 310 

Nadddbah = mourning woman . 311 

Nadim == cup-companion . . 46 
Nafas = breath . . . .107 

Nafs = soul, life .... ib. 

Nahas asfar = brass ... 40 

Nahas (aswad) := copper. . . ib. 
Nahnu malihin = we are on term of 
salt ... . . .344 

Nahs ^r nasty ..... 301 

Naihah = keener, hired mourner . 311 

Nakedness paraphrased . . . 327 

Nakib a caravan-leader, chief, syndic 269 
Name of Allah introduced into an 

indecent tale essentially Egyptian 12 

Narjis = Narcissus .... 294 

Naskh = copying hand . . .128 
Nasrani = follower of Him of 

Nazareth 258 

Nat'a = leather used by way of table- 
cloth 20 

Nata' al-dam = the leather of blood, 318 

Navel as to beauty and health . . 84 

Nearness of seat a mark of honour . 250 
Negroes preferred by debauched 

women 6 



New-moon beginning Ramazan care- 
fully looked for . ... 84 

Nile-water sweet and light . . 290 

Nineteen the age of an oldish old 

maid in Egypt .... 212 

Noisy merriment scandalous to 

Moslem " respectability " . . 95 

Nothing for nothing a sexual point 
dhonneur 87 

OATH a serious thinjj amongst 

Moslems . . . . . 179 

Oman = Eastern Arabia ... 83 

Oriental orgie different from European 93 

PANDER-DODGE to get more money 302 
Panel-dodge fatally common . . 323 
Paris Jockey-club scene anticipated . 327 
Parody on the testification of Allah's 

Unity ..... 177 

Parrot-story a world-wide folk-lore 52 
Passengers in difficulties take com- 
mand ...... 140 

Pearl, supposed to lose one per cent. 

per ann. of its splendour . . 165 
Peshdadians, race of Persian Kings . 75 
Plain (ground), synonyms for . . 46 
Plural masc. used by way of modesty. 

when a girl addresses her lover . 98 
Poetry of the Arabs requires know- 
ledge of the Desert to be under- 
stood 230 

Pomegranate fruit supposed to contain 

seed from Eden garden . . 134 
Prime Minister carrying fish to the 

cookmaid ..... 63 
Privy, a slab with slit in front and a 

round hole behind * .. . 221 
Proverbs true to nature , . ' . 307 


QANOON-E-ISLAM quoted on the 
subject of horoscopes, etc. . 213 

KAY DAN {YAH, a camping ground near 

Cairo 245 

Rayhani =r a curved character . . 128 
Rais captain of a ship . . .127 
Rajazrrthe seventh Bahr of Arabic 

prosody . . . . .251 
Rajul ikhtiyar =r middle-aged man 55 

Refusal of a gift greatest affront . 336 
Rending of garments as sign of 

sorrow or vexation . . . 308 
Respect shown to parts of the body, 

exuviae, etc. .... 276 
Riding on the ass an old Biblical 

practice . 262 

Rims cars 331 

Rozistan m day station ... 29 

Ruka'irr correspondence hand . 128 

Rukham = alabaster . - 295 

Ruka'tayn = two-bow paayer . . 142 

SA'AD = auspiciousness, prosperity ; 

derivatives . ... 9 
Sabr = patience and aloes, source of 

puns ..*.. 138 

Sadafzr cowrie , . . 19 
Sadakah = voluntary alms, opposed 

toZakat 339 

Sadd = wall, dyke . . . .114 
Sayd wa Kanas = hunting and 

coursing . . . 9 
Sahib=companion, used as a Wazirial 

title 237 

Sahib al-Shartah = chief of the watch 

(Prefect of Police) . . .259 
Sahib Nafas = master of breath, a 

minor saint healing by expiration 107 

Sahil Masr = the river side (at Cairo) 291 

Saj ' a = rhymed prose . . . Il6 

Sakhr al-Jinni alluded to . . 41 

Sakiyah = the Persian water wheel . 123 

Salih, prophet sent to Thamud . 169 
Salma and Layla = our " Mary and 

Martha" . . . .. . 265 

Sama'an wa ta atan to be translated 

variously ..... 96 

Samn = clarified butter . . . 144 
Sar=: vendetta . . . .idi,- 1x4 

Sarawil=i:bag or petticoat trousers . 222 

Sardab = underground room . . 340 

Sarrafnz Anglo-Indian "Shroff" . 210 

Sassanides 75 

Sawab =. reward in Heaven . , 96 
Scalding a stump in oil common 

surgery practice .... 297 
Scorpions of the brow = accroche- 

cceurs, etc. .... 168 
Sealing a covered dish a necessary 

precaution against poison 244 

A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

Seas, the two = the Mediterranean 

and the Indian Ocean . . 173 
Sepulchre, erroneously called u a little 
Wali" ... . . .105 

Seven schools or editions of the 

Koran 113 

Shdbb= youth between puberty and 

forty 55 

Shabista*n = night station . . 29 
Shakaik al-Nu'uman zz anemone . 175 
Shahrazd.d = city-freer . . 14 
Shahryar^: city friend ... .2 
Shah Zdman = King of the Age . i&. 
Shaykh = an old man, elder, chief . 26 
Shaykh, Shaybah^rgrey-beardjoldster, 55 
Sha'ilah = link (also lamp, wick, etc) 259 
Shaking and nodding the head, uni- 
versal items of gesture language . 300 
Shim (Syria) = land on the left, 
opposed to Al- Yaman == land on 
the right ... . .83 
"Shame" alluded to in cursing 

parents of an abused person . 227 

Shampooing the feet . . . 1 1 7 
Sharmutah rags, tatters ; strumpets; 

shreds of meat=Kadid . . 163 

Sha*mah = Khdl, mole on the cheek 167 
Shartrra single Talbiyah or cry 

Labbayka 226 

Shatm rr obscene abuse . . .182 

Shayyun li'llahimper amor di Dio 329 

Shedding tears no disgrace for a man 68 
Sham hamphorashzrrthe hundredth 
name of God, engraved on the 

seal-ring of Solomon . . . 173 

Shibah =. shooting stars . . . 224 
Shirk (partnership) = Syntheism, 

Dualism, Trinitarianism . . 181 
Shops composed of a " but " and a 

"ben" 316 

Shudder preceding the magnetic 

trance ..... 44 

Shuhada, martyrs, extensive cate- 
gory . . . . . . 171 

Shuhud = assessors of the Kazi s 

Court 21 

Shurayh, foxier than the fox . . 252 

Shushah= top-knot of hair . . 308 
Simat = dinner table . . .178 

Simiyarr. white magic . . 305, 332 
Sitting on shins and knees a trying 

posture . . * - 130 

Slaves fancied by debauched women 19.1 
Slice of the moon =. digit of the 

moon ...... 91 

Smuggling men into the Harem . 282 
Snatching off the turband a paying 

industry t . 259 

Soft-sided, attribute of beauty . 168 
Solomon's death fixing the date of a 

tale ,41 

"Son"- used for ." grandson" .as 

more affectionate . . . 243 

Son of a century =. hundred years old 126 

Sons of Adam = men . . . 130 

Sons of Sasan = Sassanides . . 2 

Speaker puts himself first .. . 33 

Spittle dried up from fear , . 285 
Staff broken in the first boutrr 

failure in the first attempt . . 64 

Street melodies changing with fashion 311 
Striking the right hand upon the left 

sign of vexation . . . 298 
Striking with the shoe, the pipe- 
stick, etc., highly insulting . no 
Subhri-kdzib = false dawn . -78 
Subh-i-sadik = true dawn . * ib 
Sucking the tongue =: " kissing with 

th* inner lip" .... 270 
Sufrah = dinner table . .178 
Sugar-stick = German .Zucker- 

piippchen 167 

Suha, star in the Great Bear . . ib 

Sulayman and Sakhr al-Jinni . . 42 

Sullam = ladder ; whipping-post . 331 
Sulus = engrossing hand .128 

Sums of large amount weighed . 281 

Sun greeting Mohammed . . 45 
Superstitious practices not confined 

to the lower orders . . ..40 

Surriyah = concubine ... 27 
Su'ubdn = dragon, cockatrice = 

Tannfn 172 

Su'ud used as a counter odour . .. 279 

Suwan = syenite A . . .. 238 

TAGHUM a kind of onomatopoetic 

grunt 228 

Tailor made to cut out the cloth in 

owner's presence . . . 321 

Takiyah, calotte worn under the 

Fez, scull-cap .... 224 

Talbiyah = the cry Labbayka . . 226 



Tammuz = July . ' . 53 
Tamar Hanna =. flower of privet . 83 
Tar = tambourine . . . .215 
Tarbush = Pers. Sar-push, head 

cover . . . ib. 

Tank = clear the way ... 66 
Tarjuman =. truchman dragoman . loo 
Tasbih =. saluting in the Subh . . 258: 
Taur (Thaur, Saur), a venerable 

remnant of un-spl it speech . . 16 
Tawashi, obnoxious name for a 

Eunuch 235 

Tears shed over past separation . 283 
Thousand dirhams and thousand 
dinars = 125 and 500 re- 
spectively 281 

Three days term of hospitality . 3 
Throwing one = bastinado on the 

back 243 

Tibn = crushed straw . . .16 
Tobba (Himyaritic)=rthe Great or 

Chief 216 

Tongue of the case = words sug- 
gested by the circumstances . 121 
Tughyin r= Kufr, rejection of the 

True Religion . . . ; 169 
Tumar= uncial letters . . .129 
Turband not put upon the ground out 

of respect ..... 223 
" Turk " probably a late addition . 52 
Turning round in despair against an 
oppressor 246 

UDAH, properly Uta = private room 

of a concubine . . . . 286 
Ultra-Shaksperean geography, " Fars. 

of Roum" .... 45 
Umamah and Atikah. tale of two 

women now forgotten . . 61 
Umm Amir = Mother of Amir, 

nickname for the hyena . . 43 
' Urban = wild Arabs . . .112 
Usfur = safflower . . . 219 
Uzayr = Esdras . . . .257 

VARIETIES of handwriting 


WADY, Anglice " valley " . .51 
Wahsh = wild-beast and synonyms . 242 
Wakalah ; described in Pilgrimage 

i. 60 266 

VOL. I. 

Wakkad = stoker . . . 312 

Wali = (civil) Governor . . . 259 
Wa'l-Salam = and here ends the 

matter ..... 102 

Washings after evacuation . . 220 

Way of Allah common property . 91 

Wazirrz: Minister .... a 
" What is it compared with," popular 

way of expressing great difference 37 
Wi'fe euphemistically spoken of in the 

ttiasculine 67 

Window-gardening, old practice in 

the East ... .301 

Wine boiled = vinum coctum . . 1^32 
Wine-drinking vitiates the Pilgrimage- 

rite 97 

Wine flying to the head, effect of the 

cold after a heated room . . 224 
Wine why strained ? . . .27 
Wiswas = diabolical temptation or 

suggestion . . .106 

Women bastinadoed . . .183 
Wonder (= cause) in every death . 351 
Wuldan = Ghilman, the beautiful 

youths of Paradise . . . 211 
Wuzu-ablution = lesser ablutions , 142 

YA B A' fo = O- distant one, euphe- 
mism for gross abuse . . -41 
Ya barid = O fool . . . .313 
Yd hu = O he ! Swift's Yahoo ? . 240 
Yahvidi for Jew, less polite than Banu 

Israel 210 

Ya Khalati = mother's sister, in ad- 
dressing the old . . . .303 
Ya Mash' urn = O unlucky one . 221 
Ya haza = O this (one), somewhat 

slightingly 240 

Ya Sattar = Thou who veilest the 
discreditable secrets of Thy crea- 
tures 258 

Ya Taiyyib al-Khal = O thou nephew 

of a good uncle .... 303 
Yaum al-Id =the great festival . 317 
Youth described in terms applying to 

women 144 

. 259 


. 90 

. . 28 4 


rr: Prefect of Police 
Zakat = legal alms . 
Zambur = clitoris . 
Zemzem == water saltish . 


A If Laylah wa Lay I ah. 

Zikr litanies . . . .124 

Zirbajah = meat dressed with cumin- 
seed, etc 278 

Ziyarat = visit to a pious person or 

place , 125 

Zauba'ah = sand-storm in the 
desert. . . . .114 

Zubbrr penis 92 

Zabbal = scavenger . . .312 
Zulfzr side-lock . . . .308 
Zulm, injustice, tyranny; worst of a 

monarch's crimes . . .190 
Zuwaylah gate, more correctly Bab 

Zawilah . .... 269